Skip to Main Content

Polish-Americans - Archives Dept.: Researching Polish-Americans in the Archives Department

This guide suggests how to use the Archives Department to study the local history of Polish-Americans. It provides recommendations for search paths and search tools, and lists some pertinent collections.


Subject Guide

Recommended Collections on Polish-Americans

In the Archives Dept., we have a significant amount of primary sources for your study of 19th and 20th-century Polish-Americans in the Milwaukee metro area. Our strengths are cultural and social organizations, businesses including the local press, and religion.  Also, we have rich visual documentation of the lives of southside Polish Milwaukeeans in the Roman Kwasniewski photographs.

A list of pertinent collections follows. We have many other collections on the general topic, which you may explore by using the search strategies described elsewhere in this guide, or by asking an archivist.


Search the library catalog to locate archival and manuscript collections which provide sources on the history of local Polish-American people and organizations.

Use the search box below, already limited to the Archives Dept.'s holdings. Note that these results will include some books on the subject, but more of them will describe archival or manuscript collections.

Here are four examples of simple keyword searches.  Note that the boolean operator and is not necessary between keywords.

1) Polish Americans Wisconsin

2) polish world war

3) polish music

4) polish press

A general search hint: when reading any catalog record, follow the links found at "Subjects" to locate other material in the UWM Libraries on that same subject.

We write finding aids, or guides, for most of our collections. These guides explain the creator, contents and dates of the collection. This information is important to you when deciding if something is useful to your research. A finding aid also provides the information you will need to request and use a collection when you visit the Archives Dept.
All of our finding aids are included in Archival Resources in Wisconsin, a database of over 4,000 finding aids of collections held in seventeen repositories statewide.
Search our finding aids by using the search boxes below. Be sure to select an operator (and, or or not) as appropriate, and then click on "Search." Then explore the links in the grey band that appears with each result. Note: this search is limited to our holdings at the Archives Department, UWM Libraries, which is also known as the Milwaukee Area Research Center.

Use Archivegrid to find archives and collections in your geographic area.

The Library of Congress has a wealth of digital collections, which you can search right from their homepage.  

If you're not sure where to start, you can also browse their collections by topic.