History of The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc.

Poles in great numbers began to settle and establish inner-city communities in the Connecticut River Valley and Greater Hartford area at the turn of the twentieth century. While struggling to acclimate themselves and their children to a new language and new way of life, they held a fierce determination to maintain their strong religious faith and the beautiful customs of their homeland. These immigrants built Polish churches and schools. They founded Polish social clubs. They sought out fellow Poles so as to remember, celebrate, and perpetuate their rich and time-honored heritage.

In 1976 a core group of Local Polish-American volunteers, who have been sharing aspects of their cultural heritage at public community events, decided to formalize their mutual interest. An article in Polish newspaper describing a national organization , "The American Council for Polish Culture," provided the impetus for the group to organize and become a recognized cultural club. Thanks to the efforts of these beacons Polonia Eleanor (Lottie) Pozniak, Patricia Archie, Hedy Briks, Krystyna Slowikowska Farley, Joan Godlewski, Valarie Gray, Zofia Guzek, Joseph Jedynak, Mary Marek Hartz, Ann Oleasz, Ann Okon, Janusz Sekulski, and Alexandria Szerejko-the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. (PCCGH) was thus established and accepted as an affiliate of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC).

Throughout its thirty-three year history, the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. has remained true to its Mission Statement to preserve, promote, and share the history, culture, and customs of Poland with fellow Americans. This has been accomplished on many levels and in numerous ways, particularly through education, history, cultural awareness, the arts, crafts, cuisine, language, scholarships and fund raising.

The following are some examples of the Club's involvement on a Local Level:


  • Compiling Polish artifacts and memorabilia for the "Immigration Trunk Project" of the Connecticut Historical Society, which is available to schools throughout Connecticut.

  • Donating Polish literary works and historic displays to libraries and colleges with the mission of awakening recognition and interest for the many achievements of the Poles and Americans of Polish ancestry.

  • Endorsing and supporting the "Books for Poland" project, which sent hundreds of books and magazines to schools in Poland.

  • Sponsoring lectures highlighting prominent Polish authors whose works underscore the important role Poles have played in world history as well as their invaluable contributions to strength and prosperity of American life.

  • Awarding scholarships to eighty Polish-American youth since 1986 to assist with undergraduate and graduate studies.


  • Supporting the annual Kosciuszko/Pulaski commemoration held each October.

  • Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Club In April 2001 at the Polish National Home in Hartford with a luncheon and exhibit of ariel photography of the Katyn Forest Massacre presented by the world-renovated author/lecturer Waclaw Godziemba Maliszewski.

  • Preparing a visual display highlighting important aspects of Polish history for public viewing at the State Legislative Office Building in May 2007 as part of Connecticut's annual "Polish Constitution Day at the Capital."

Cultural Awareness:

  • Representing Polonia in community events highlighting cultural awareness and diversity to promote s a better understanding and appreciation of Polish culture and history.

  • Playing a significant role in the production of "Sharing Stories-Polish Life in our Valley," a documentary film featured by Massachusetts PBS station, WGBY.

  • Promoting annual events "Polish Heritage Month" in October.


  • Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Club in June 2001 at the Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford with artistic works by Polish-American Artists.

  • Sponsoring renowned Polish soprano, Dr. Laura Kafka in concert in 2002.

  • Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Club in June 2006 at the Wampanoag Country Club in West Hartford with the Polish Poster Exhibit presented by Pennsylvania historian and lecturer, Peter J. Obst.

  • Presenting the varied programs throughout the years for members and the general public as well as publicizing Polish concerts, art presentation, theatre, dance, displays, and other events that are being offered in the Greater Hartford area.


  • Preparing, introducing and serving high Polish cuisine for an event sponsored by the Institute of World Affairs, an elder hostel group in Salisbury, CT.

  • Compiling and publishing a members' Cookbook of Favorite Recipes featuring Polish Christmas Eve and Easter recipes and traditions, which is still on demand.


  • Presenting demonstrations of folk art, such as "Pisanki" (decorated Easter eggs), "Wycinanki (cut paper art), and "Szopki" (Christmas Crèches).

  • Participating for twenty-five in the Wadsworth Atheneum's annual "Festival of Trees and Customs "by donating a decorated tree or wreath with a Polish theme.

  • Sponsoring the annual "Szopka (Christmas Crèche) Festival for twenty-eight years, which encourages the participation and creativity of young students through the Szopka competition and showcases Polish crafts, food, literatures and culture. The proceeds from this Festival are dedicated to the Club's Scholarship Fund.

Fund Raising:

  • Making a substantial monetary donation toward the establishment of the Stanislaus A. Blejwas Chair in Polish and Polish-American Studies at Central Connecticut State University, a renowned center for Polish research and sponsor of Polish artists, lectures, and events.

  • Assisting, in conjunction with Central Connecticut State University, in the major fund-raising campaign in 2008 to install the permanent Kosciuszko Squadron Exhibit at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This exhibit honors the legendary and heroic efforts of Polish airmen during World War II fighting alongside Allied forces.

On a National Level through its affiliation with the American Council for Polish Culture, the Club's involvements include:

  • Hosting the ACPC National Convection in Hartford in 1998, as well as three national Board meetings.

  • Having five Club members honored at national convections for their outstanding service and dedication in promoting Polish heritage: Dr. Stanislaus Blejwas, Eleanor Pozniak, Jo Louise and Marion Winters, and Marek Czarnecki.

  • Sponsoring five young women who received the ACPC scholarship for summer study at the Jagiellonian in Cracow.

  • Having numerous Club members serving as ACPC Board Members and Committee Chairs over many years, thus gaining a perspective of issues facing Polish-Americans across America and bringing a positive influence and impact to possible solutions.

  • Hosting the 61st Annual Convention of the American Council for Polish Culture in Hartford, CT in August 2009. The theme of the Convention:"The Soaring Polish Spirit-Welcome to the Constitution State" underscores pride in heritage and community. In recognition of this commitment, the Club was presented with the "Bring it Home to Hartford Award" by the Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. looks back with pride and satisfaction on its many accomplishments over the past thirty-three years. It also remembers with gratitude and admiration the contributions of many individuals whose sprit, energy, guidance, and joy of being Polish made everything possible. These people were indispensable in bringing the Club to its present course. Looking forward, we plan to approach the future with vision and innovation. A new generation of Polonia needs to be inspired to continue our mission with diligence, dedication, and commitment. We want to encourage the second and third generations of Polish-American youth to take on the mantle of Polish pride and "spread the word" that our Polish heritage is an important, unequaled, and glorious one. Without a doubt, Polish history, traditions, and contributions enrich and benefit our country and the world at large.

Long Live the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc.! Sto Lat!

Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. Presidents

Eleanor (Lottie) Pozniak    1976-1988
Dr. Stanislaus Blejwas 1988-1989
Joan Godlewski 1989-1990
Regina Rudewicz 1990-1992
Donna Swols 1992-1994
Clifford Archie 1994-1996
Walter Twardowski 1996-1998
Mary Heslin 1998-2000
Ursula Brodowicz 2000-2004
Florence Langridge 2004-2008
Anna-Mae Maglaty 2008-2010
Clifford Archie 2010-