A REALLY BIG BIRTHDAY CARD – A 4th of July lecture by Zbigniew Kantorosinski

Last weekend as America celebrated the anniversary of this country’s founding and independence, the Kosciuszko Foundation made available a lecture online by Zbigniew Kantorosinski, who served as Chief of the Germanic and Slavic Division, Library of Congress. The lecture was about an unusual proof of friendship between Poland and the US. We were invited to hear about an earlier American birthday, 95 years ago, in 1926. That year a newly independent Poland celebrated along with Americans in very special way. To mark the 150th Independence Day, a congratulatory message signed by an estimated 5.5 million Poles on over 31,000 pages was presented to President Calvin Coolidge on October 14, 1926. It was a unique testimonial exhibiting gratitude and friendship of the Polish people for the United States.

The Library of Congress website, entitled “Emblem of Good Will: A Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship for the United States of America”, honors the 111 volumes gifted by Poland to the United States. Over a sixth of Poland’s population signed the declaration, thus expressing their esteem for American democracy. The books are sectioned into volumes of signatures, including those of municipal, societal, religious officials, university faculty and students, members of Polish organizations, as well as teachers and pupils of secondary schools. The Library of Congress website provides rich illustrations from the book and an excellent history of this gesture.

Because a presidential library system was not created until after Coolidge’s administration, all the volumes were transferred that same year to the Library of Congress and forgotten for 70 years, only to be discovered in the 1990’s.
Zbigniew Kantorosinski was involved in the meticulous effort to process and publicize this collection in the United States as well as in Poland. The collection has gained popularity not only among visitors to the Library of Congress, but with historians, genealogists, art lovers and anyone interested in Poland and Polish American relations as well.

This interesting lecture highlights a unique and enormous expression of friendship between 2 nations and provides a snapshot of life and spirit of the Polish nation at a time soon after regaining her independence. Their gesture joyfully pays tribute to freedom and democracy.

I encourage you to listen about this inspiring act of friendship by linking to the Kosciuszko Foundation website: www.thekf.org or the link below and hear this fascinating lecture. You will be impressed.

Thank you!

The Library of Congress website is entitled ‘Emblem of Good Will’: A Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship for the United States of America