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Edward and Loda Rozanski papers

Identifier: IHRC2303


Papers (1940-1991) of Dr. Edward C. and Loda (Procanin) Rozanski include correspondence, minutes, press releases, newspaper clippings, and organizational publications relating to their activities in the Polish American community. Organizations represented in the collection include the Polish American Congress, the Polish National Alliance of the United States of North America, the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, the Polish Western Association of America, the Orchard Lake Schools, the Legion of Young Polish Women, the Chicago Society, Alliance College, the American Museum of Immigration, the Polish Army Veterans of America. Included are minutes of the Protokol Trzeciego Zjadzu Polskieg Rady Miedzynarodowey (Minutes of the 3rd Convention of the Polish International Council, the Mikolaj Kopernik Observance Committee (Nicholas Copernicus), materials related to Radio Free Europe, the United States Bicentennial and Polish Falcons of America, and information on displaced persons.


  • Creation: 1940-1991


Language of Materials

Polish and English


Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.


This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRCA.

Biographical sketch - Edward Rozanski

Edward Casimir Rozanski was born on March 7, 1915, on the northwest side of Chicago to Casimir Joseph and Bess (Pelagia Kilinski) Rozanski, as the first of their four children. According to an article in the Park Ridge Herald, of July 31, 1958, the Rozanski family immigrated to America before World War I and settled in Chicago. Edward's father with his two brothers opened a photography studio and an ice cream parlor there. Edward was five years old when the family returned to Poland. While Edward was attending elementary school there, his father engaged in many different business enterprises. After his graduation in 1931, Edward returned to Chicago to live with his uncle and work in the photo studio. He was fluent in both Polish and German, but in order to catch up on his English, Edward went to grammar school for two more years.

Rozanski worked as a photographer in his uncle's studio until 1939. He worked at the Washington Photo Studio during the day and studied at Crane Technical High School at night. Despite financial struggles, R6Zailski managed to put himself through school; and after graduation he enrolled in the Illinois College of Optometry. He graduated in 1948 with a Doctor of Optometry degree. In the years 1939-1942, Rozanski worked as a photographer-reporter for the Polish daily Zgoda in Chicago, initiating his lifelong interests in Polish press and journalism. During the war (1942-45), Rozanski served in Washington with the US Coast and Geodetic Survey as a shift supervisor of wet plate process chart and map reproduction for the US Navy, Army, and Air Force. On August 24, 1940, he married Leocadia (Loda) Procanin.

When his military service expired, Rozanski returned to Zgoda in Chicago and continued to work there as a photographer-reporter until 1950. In the years 1950-1975, Ro:lailski was employed as a color specialist for the gravure Cuneo Press in Chicago, gaining valuable experience in printing and publishing. He also supplemented his education by studies at the Chicago School of Printing, Chicago Lithographic Institute, Winona School of Professional Photography, and the Chicago Graphic Art Institute. In 1975, Rozanski was named general manager of Alliance Printers and Publishers, publishing, among others, Dziennik Zwiqzkowy and Zgoda, the two major publications of the Polish National Alliance. R6Zaiiski retired in 1985, although he continued his involvement in the Polish American community.

Edward Rozanski's activities and achievements are featured in many reference publications, such as Who's Who in the Midwest, Illinois Lives, Community Leaders ofAmerica, etc. They list numerous civic involvements and positions held by Rozanski within Polonia and American communities. Similarly, Rozanski's archival records point to an extraordinary number of organizations, committees, and institutions that became the arena of his involvement. Merely listing honors and positions, impressive as they may be, would not, however, give full testimony to the scope of Rozanski's passion for service and activism within his community. His life and work for American Polonia can be characterized within five specific areas of interests and activities: Polish National Alliance (PNA), Polish American Congress (PAC), and other Polonian fraternal organizations; work for the preservation and popularization of Polish and Polonia's history; Polish American press-publishing and editorial work; bridging the gap between old and new immigrants in the Polish American community; and service in the Roman Catholic Church.

Biographical sketch - Loda Procanin Rozanski

Loda (Leocadia, Lillian) Procanin was born in Chicago on June 11, 1918, a dauihter of Peter and Anna (Barzyk) Procanin. She studied at the Saint John Cantius School, the Vinchel Vocational School, the Saint Stanislaus Business School in Chicago, and at the McGrath Drafting School in Washington, DC.

Loda Procanin was employed in the Washington Photo Studio in Chicago when she met Edward Rozanski. They were married on August 24, 1940. Loda also worked at Edwards Photos in Chicago as a photo finisher, and as a draftsman and photographer at the US Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington, DC.

As her biographical entry in Illinois Lives indicates, after her marriage, Loda combined "her duties of a homemaker with those of a cultural leader." Although the list of her memberships in Polish American organizations is shorter than her husband's, Loda and Edward shared many interests. Loda was a patron and life member of the Polish Museum of America and a life member of the Societe Historique et Litteraire Polonaise of Paris, France. Her contributions to the Societe's collections earned her the Krasinski Medallion. Together with her husband, Loda also supported the College Library in Cambridge Springs and belonged to the Friends of the Alliance College Library. Developing her historical interests, Loda became active in the Illinois State Historical Society.

Loda Rozanski remained involved in the organizational life of Polonia through her membership in the Ad Astra Lodge #2320, Klub Leczan of Zjednoczone Kluby Malopolskie w Ameryce, the Polish Alma Mater, the Polish Roman Catholic Union, and especially, the Agaton Giller and Thomas Zan Society of the Polish National Alliance. She is also a member of the Polish Falcons of America. As a communicant of the Roman Catholic Church, Loda plays an active role in the Saint Hyacinth parish in Chicago.

All the biographical data do not, however, convey fully the scope of Loda's involvement in community work. Despite the fact that Loda Rozanski did not hold prominent positions within the numerous organizations her husband worked for, her name can frequently be found on the attendance lists o f many meetings Edward presided over. Her signature on protocols and financial statements indicates that, like many other Polish American women ofher generation, the character of her work for the organizations was more often "behind the scenes," doing clerical and secretarial jobs or devoting time and energy on the organizational committees. Photographs show Loda attending various social functions together with her husband. The decisions to support financially numerous causes and organizations within Polonia were also made jointly. Although it is difficult to find press interviews with Loda herself, Edward R6i:ailski often spoke publicly about Loda's crucial help in the preparation of the book donations, cataloguing and packaging of the materials, and assisting in their mailing.

Opened in 1991, the "Edward C. And Loda Rozanski Room" in the Orchard Lake Schools, as well as the manuscript collection at the IHRC bearing names of both Rozanskis, attest to the fact of close cooperation between the husband and wife in their work for Polonia. Support they provided to each other over the years made that work possible.


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Polish American Congress and Fraternal Organizations

Edward Rozanski has been an active member of the Polish National Alliance since 1932. His work for Zgoda and later for the Alliance Printers and Publishers strengthened those ties, as did involvement in other aspects of the organization. Both Edward and Loda R6:i:aflski belonged for years to PNA District 13 Lodge 170, Giller-Zan Society, assisting the group in various capacities. They supported District 13 Youth Home and youth summer camps both financially and organizationally, and Edward was a vice president ofthe PNA Youth Home Corporation in 1975- 86. For a decade beginning in 1979, Edward Rozanski worked as secretary of PNA District 13.

On the national level, Edward Rozanski served as a PNA director between 1967 and 1971, a period that marked an important transition from the presidency of Charles Rozmarek to the presidency of Aloysius A. Mazewski. After Rozanski's 1975 bid for the position of PNA secretary failed, he did not demonstrate further interest in running for national office.

Rozanski's attention focused instead on the Polish American Congress. He was elected president of the Illinois State Division for the years 1966-70, and again 1978-79. During both periods, the Illinois State Division displayed vigorous activity, as documented in detail throughout his reports to the PAC national conventions and in other sources. Developing his interest in the preservation and propagation of Polish and Polonia's history, Rozanski involved the Illinois State Division in the organization ofnumerous cultural events and celebrations. In 1971, Rozanski was named "Man of the Year" by the United Polish American Councils, to honor "his dedication to Polonia and his significant and meaningful contributions toward furthering the interests ofcitizens of Polish extraction." In 1975 and 1978, Rozanski participated in the organization of two international conferences, Polonia '75 and Polonia Jutra '78. In his later years, Rozanski was named an archivist of the PAC. He gave his expertise on Polonia's history and tradition to PAC authorities, collected and secured historical sources, and supported educational and archival institutions. In 1983, R6:i:aflski received the PAC Heritage Award.

The PAC artd the PNA, were, no doubt, the major arenas for Edward R6:i:aflski's activities. However, both he and his wife were also active members of other Polish American fraternal organizations, including the Polish Roman Catholic Union and the Polish Falcons of America. In the 1970s, R6:i:aflski served as a vice-president and trustee of Falcons' Nest 2 in Chicago. Edward and Loda remained active in the Falcons also during the later years of their retirement, in the 1990s.

Preservation of Culture and History

Perhaps the greatest merit of Rozanski's work for Polonia remains his tireless effort to document and preserve the Polish past in America. His initiative and perseverance were instrumental in the erection o f several monuments commemorating great people in the Polish past. In 1966, a monument in honor of Pawel Sobolewski was unveiled; in 1969, Rozanski was involved in constructing a monument to Stanislaw Kociemski; in 1985, to Mieczyslaw Haiman; and in 1988, to Teofila Samolinska - all ofthem significant figures of Polonia's history. The year 1985 witnessed also the unveiling of the monument to Jerzy Popieluszko, a priest murdered in Poland by the Communist secret service.

Rozanski understood the significance of reminding both the larger American society and the Polish American community itself about the many achievements and contributions of Poles to American history and culture. With this purpose in mind, Rozanski engaged in vigorous work onvarious national-level celebrations. One of them was the Civil War Centennial Observance that in the 1960s occupied the attention of many different groups, organizations, and individuals from all over the country. Edward Rozanski served as Midwestern coordinator for the celebrations planned within the Polish American community. As part of his duties, Rozanski linked themes of the national- and state-level observances to the history of Poles in America, cooperating with the Civil War Centennial Commission of Illinois and the Polish American Civil War Centennial Committee. The main aim ofthe campaign was to publicize Polish contributions to the Civil War.

In connection with celebrations honoring the US Bicentennial, Rozanski was appointed a member of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and served as its treasurer. Rozanski was also a vice chairman of the PAC Bicentennial Commission. Both engagements required a large investment of time and energy on the part of Rozanski, but also fit perfectly his interests and passion. Continuing his relationship with the Illinois historical organizations, he later was a member ofthe Illinois Historical Records Advisory Board and the Cook County Sesquicentennial Commission.

The year 1973 was dedicated to the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Mikolaj Kopernik (Copernicus). Edward Rozanski served as general chairman of the Mikolaj Kopernik Quincentennial Committee, PAC Illinois Division. Observances included a Copernicus Exhibit in the Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago, organized in cooperation with the Technical Organization in Poland. Another part of the celebration was the erection of the Kopemik Monument near the Chicago Adler Planetarium (a copy of Kopernik's monument in Warsaw). In order to coordinate the activities and collect the research materials, Rozanski traveled to Poland in May 1972. Both the exhibit and the unveiling of the monument proved to be very successful and broadly publicized events.

Rozanski contributed also to strengthening the position of the traditional Polish American heroes in Polonia's culture. In October 1978, the Polish community of Chicago celebrated a re-dedication of the General Tadeusz Kosciuszko monument. Originally dedicated and unveiled in 1904 in Humboldt Park, it was later moved to the front of the Adler Planetarium. In 1971, the community successfully mobilized to place Kosciuszko House in Philadelphia on the National Register as a National Historic Site.

In 1977 Rozanski was chairman of the General Pulaski Commemoration Committee, which organized Pulaski Bicentennial Observances honoring the 200th anniversary of General Pulaski's arrival in America. Rozanski also served as chairman of the General Pulaski Stamp Drive Committee in 1977. As the effort failed to have a Pulaski commemorative stamp issued, the project was pursued in 1979, the 200th anniversary of Pulaski's death at Savannah.

Many of the above mentioned cultural events were organized in close cooperation with the Polish Museum ofAmerica. Rozanski was its patron, served on its board, and together with Loda, supported the Museum with generous financial and book donations. Rozanskiski can be credited with donating thousands of volumes ofpublished materials, as well as manuscript sources and artifacts, to many scholarly institutions in the United States, Poland, France, and Great Britain. The Orchard Lake Schools, Michigan, became one of the recipients of Polish and Polonia memorabilia, including books, archival materials, and artifacts. Recognizing both Rozanskis, the Orchard Lake Schools named them honorary alumni in 1982, and soon after opened the "Dr. Edward C. and Loda Rozanski Room," housing the most significant parts of their collection. Another major recipient of the manuscript records-many of them salvaged from destruction and oblivion-became the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Rozanski donated also to the Alliance College Library during its existence; and, after its liquidation, he was appointed in charge of distributing its holdings to other places.

Within the United States, Rozanski contributed to the Paderewski Foundation, the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Falcons Museum, the Chicago Historical Society, the Library of Congress, the Truman Library, the Hoover Library, the Eisenhower Library, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Illinois State Historical Society in Springfield. The institutions in Poland included Chopin Institute in Warsaw, Pulaski Museum in Warka, Jagiellonian University in Krac6w, the National Library in Warsaw, Paderewski Philharmonic in Bydgoszcz, and the University Library in Gdaflsk. Rozanski supported institutions outside of Poland with books and other material donations: the British Museum, General Haller Museum in London, General Sikorski Institute in London, Societe Historique et Litteraire Polonaise in Paris, and the Sorbonne University.

The Polish Press

Having established his career in printing and publishing, Rozanski was acutely aware of the crisis in which the Polish press in America found itself during the 1970s. In his A Hundred Years of Polish Press in America (1963), he stressed: "If we want to keep Polishness in America, to maintain organizations and the significance of Polonia, her cultural and political influence - then we have to rescue the Polish press." He was well familiar with the press circles of Polonia, and many distinguished journalists were among his closest friends. Rozanski demonstrated his own journalistic skills by contributing to the Polish American Journal and other Polonia publications. He was also an editor of the PNA Almanac (1977-84), and Zgoda (1982-86), as well as several other publications on Polish and Polish American history. His poetry appeared in Polonia press under the pen name J. Ker.

Bridging the Gap

Edward Rozanski and his activities are an excellent example of the involvement of second generation Polish Americans in the Polonia community. Rozanski, however, maybe more than others understood the need to bridge the gap between the so-called Old Polonia and the new immigrants who began to stream to the United States with the waves of post-war refugees. Rozanski for many years served as the president of the Chicago chapter of the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee, devoting much of his time and effort to securing jobs and housing as well as providing any other necessary aid to the newly arrived Poles. He also cherished his close connections to many organizations formed of veterans of World War II, including the Polish Veterans of World War II Association, Independent Polish Veterans Association of the United States, 1st Polish Armoured Division Veterans Association, and others. He served as a chaplain to numerous veteran posts. At the same time, he retained his membership and kept up relationships with the Polish Army Veterans Association of America, a combatant organization established by World War I veterans.

Rozanski was also chairman of the Commission on the Care of Polish Military Cemeteries, which gathered funds necessary to maintain such historical sites as the Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino, Italy. He was a chairman of the 1964 General Sikorski Memorial Committee, to commemorate the twenty-first anniversary of Sikorski's death. Rozanski was also involved in the projects of the General Sikorski Foundation, the Sikorski Institute in London, and the Polish Hungarian Federation. He participated in the organization of the 30th anniversary observance of the Katyfl Forest Massacre in 1970. Both he and his wife were frequent guests at the celebrations and cultural events sponsored by the various organizations formed of the post-war immigrants, including the Mutual Aid Association of the New Polish Immigration in Chicago.

Although political involvement remained largely outside of Rozanski's activities, he supported the Polish government in exile in London and President Zaleski, as well as some other London- based emigre organizations. However, he did cooperate with Polish institutions on cultural matters, and, as was already mentioned, both donated materials to Polish libraries and travelled to Poland on behalf of the Copernicus Foundation.

Service to the Church

A separate area of Rozanski's activities became his involvement in the Roman Catholic Church. Since 1979, Rozanski served as a permanent deacon at the St. Hyacinth Church in the Polish part of Chicago, and since 1985, as a field advocate and notary of the Metropolitan Tribunal and Archdiocese of Chicago. He was also a vice president of the school board at St. Hyacinth, and a member of the advisory board of the Chicago Cathedral.


Rozanski received numerous awards and distinctions, including chevalier Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jerusalem (France); cavalier and officers cross Order Polonia Restituta; Gold Cross Legion ofHonor; Gold Cross of Merit; General Hailer's Swords; Krzyz Zasl:ugi Cross of Merit (Poland); comdr.Order St. Lazarus ofJerusalem (Malta); Order Lafayette (US); citation of the Polish Legion of American Veterans (1962, 1963); citation of Polish Combatants of World War II (four times); Silver Emblem (1968); Gold Emblem (1983); Gold Cross Polska WalcZitca (1988).

Others: citation of the Polish Welfare Council in Schenectady (1964); Polonus Philatelic Society (1964); Lincoln Plaquette Station WON-Radio-TV (1965); medal Pope Paul VI (1971); Silver Medal, National Library, Poland (1980); Bronze Medal, General Pulaski Museum, Warka, Poland (1981); Legion of Honor Medal, Polish Falcons of America (1982); Haiman's Silver Medal Award, Polish American Historical Association (1986); Cultural Merit Award, Ministry of Culture and Learning, Poland (1990); Presidential Legion of Merit.

Significance of the Collection

Edward C. Rozanski devoted his entire life to service for American Polonia. His achievements, however, attest not only to the talents of one specific individual, but also illustrate larger trends and transformations within the Polish American community after World War II. Rozanski is an example, unique as it may be, of a second generation activist who embodies the distinctive understanding of Polish ethnic identity in the Chicago community. As many others of his generation, Rozanski was born and raised within this community, making Polish American areas of Chicago a place of his home, business, and public service.

Rozanski received his education in American schools, but returned to his community to establish his career. His membership in PNA and other fraternals became a basis of his involvement in many aspects of community work. Rozanski distinguished himself by running for higher offices and serving in national level positions of the organizations. Without severing his ties with the fratemals, Rozanski, like several million of his compatriots, supported the Polish American Congress and understood its role as an umbrella organization, capable of uniting American Polonia for both political and cultural purposes. As PAC Illinois Division Director, Rozanski skillfully utilized the PAC structure and resources to promote cultural development of the community. From the moment of the arrival of new waves of Polish war refugees, Rozanski perceived their potential and appreciated their role in the revitalization of the community. He belonged to the majority o f Polish Americans who vigorously participated in the resettlement effort; and after its completion, he remained involved in work for the new arrivals through his activities in the Chicago chapter o f the Polish American Immigration and Relief Committee. He also maintained close social ties with the New Emigration, especially the veteran organizations.

Rozanski's political views were also representative ofthe Polish American community at that time. He demonstrated his loyalty to the Polish government in exile, never accepted the Communist regime in Poland, and strongly supported the PAC's Cold War attitudes as led by Rozmarek. In the 1970s, however, together with many others in the community, Rozanski undertook some cooperation with Polish institutions, carefully distinguishing between the charitable and cultural ties to the people and relationships with the authorities.

Perhaps the most significant and interesting aspect of Rozanski's community involvement is his contribution to the revival of white ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. He is an example of how European ethnic groups in America approached and prompted the resurgence of ethnic and national pride. The ideas of white ethnic revival found their realization in Rozanski's efforts to propagate Polish and Polish American achievements and provide distinguished role models for Polonia's youth. Rozanski made Polish American history a source of pride and inspiration to the community. He consciously worked on building bridges between Polonia and the larger American society, presenting Polish American contributions to the American nation. He disseminated information on Polish American achievements by book donations to American libraries and research centers as well as initiation of exhibits and monuments that could commemorate Polonia's accomplishments. Rozanski's ties to cultural and scholarly institutions in Poland had a similar purpose. Through his donations to Polish libraries, Rozanski tried to create a research base that could later become a source ofknowledge about life and accomplishments ofAmerican Polonia.

Various aspects of the ethnic revival in the 1970s find their documentation also in other examples of Rozanski's activities. Demise of the Alliance College as an ethnic institution of higher learning, economic problems of the Alliance Printers and Publishers, and the crisis of the Polish-language press in the United States are just a few illustrations of the problems faced by the community at that time.

Finally, Rozanski's devotion to and involvement in the Roman Catholic church, as well as his participation in the Chicago community's cultural, social, and organizational life, could make him an excellent subject for study of the experiences of second generation Polish Americans in large urban centers after World War II. Rozanski made Polonia his focus and lifelong commitment. The scale and scope ofhis involvement in the community decidedly exceeding the average, Rozanski's significance in post-war Polish American history is established. In addition, his manuscript collection conjures up a picture of an activist with a movingly human face. Through the stories of his financial struggles; closeness with his wife, family and a circle of friends; battling worries and isolation of old age, Rozanski's portrait retains deeply personal dimensions.

In one of his letters to a friend, he said about himself: "Jam juz dziecko Ameryki, Jez krew lechicka plynie..." [I'm America's child, but with Polish blood in my veins] (Letter to M. Kukiel, Dec. 2, 1962). In a different letter, he commented on the massive tasks facing him in his work: "I am working extremely hard for POLONIA, with malice to none, and understand how rough and thankless Social and Patriotic work is. To quit is easy..., but to continue and succeed...takes patience, perseverance and charity to the enemies..." (Letter to Henry Archacki, Aug. 11, 1964). Throughout the many decades ofhis tireless efforts, Rozanski certainly succeeded in his work and impressed his own mark on American Polonia's history in the post-war years.

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