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East Europe: New Acquisitions

April 17, 2014
New Collection: Papers of Polish Ambassador Zdzisław Rurarz

In December 1981, when Poland’s communist authorities declared martial law and arrested thousands of Solidarity activists, two distinguished Polish diplomats protested by renouncing their allegiance to the Moscow-dominated government in Warsaw and seeking political asylum in the United States. One was Romuald Spasowski, ambassador to the United States; the other was Zdzisław Rurarz, Poland’s ambassador to Japan. The Spasowski papers came to Hoover nearly two decades ago, the Rurarz archives only now. That both collections ended up here and not in Poland or elsewhere reflects the donors’ confidence in the strength and the credibility of the Hoover Archives, which are already home to the largest and most comprehensive holdings on modern Poland outside Poland.

March 4, 2014
Memoirs of King Kong Director and War Hero at Hoover

Merian Caldwell Cooper would be a top candidate for the "Most Interesting Man in the World." Although Cooper is known for his 1933 production of King Kong, there were many more interesting episodes in his life in addition to that iconic movie. Indeed, in the words of the film historian Richard Schickel, “his career was larger than life.” Expelled from Annapolis in his senior year for advocating air power, a view the navy frowned on, in 1916 he joined the Georgia National Guard and served with General Pershing’s expedition against Pancho Villa. Transferred to the US Army Air Service, Cooper saw action in World War I over Germany, where he was shot down, seriously injured, and spent the last several months of the war in a German prisoner of war (POW) camp. From 1919 until 1921, Cooper worked with the American Relief Administration (ARA) and later volunteered for the US flight unit the Kosciuszko Squadron, part of the Polish effort to stop the Bolshevik advance into Europe.

February 6, 2014
Helena Paderewska Memoirs Discovered in the Hoover Archives

Not long ago the Hoover Archives received the papers and memorabilia of the US musician and military intelligence officer Ernest Schelling. Found during initial sorting of the materials was a tattered manila envelope containing two unsigned typewritten copies of a text in English ending with “Riond Bosson, Morges, Switzerland, May 29, 1920.”

January 17, 2014
Mieczysław Rakowski's Diaries Open for Research

With the twenty-fifth anniversary of the peaceful revolution that swept Eastern Europe approaching, Hoover Archives has made available for research the papers of Mieczysław Rakowski (1926–2008), Poland's top communist intellectual, and for many years the editor in chief of the Polish United Worker's Party (PUWP) organ Polityka, perhaps the most open and sophisticated weekly in all the Soviet bloc.  Rakowski was prime minister during 1988–89, the last year of the communist regime in Poland before the takeover of the government by the Solidarity opposition.

December 13, 2013
Pro-Soviet Baltic “Interfront” Collection Added to Hoover Archives

The 1988-1991 movement for national independence in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was resisted not only by Moscow, but it also had to contend with strong local opposition. Several pro-Soviet organizations emerged in reaction to growing popular demands for national sovereignty and independence in the Baltic region. The documentation received by the Hoover Archives consists of issuances and internal documents of the Interfront of Latvia, supplemented by similar materials from Lithuania and Estonia, as well as other parts of the USSR. 

January 31, 2013
Herbert Romerstein Collection Comes to the Hoover Archives

Herbert Romerstein, most recently a professor at the postgraduate Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC, is a specialist on espionage, Soviet political warfare, international terrorism, and internal security. He is the author of such books as Stalin’s Secret Agents: The Subversion of Roosevelt’s Government (2012), The Venona Secrets: Exposing Soviet Espionage and American Traitors (2000), and Heroic Victims: Stalin’s Foreign Legion in the Spanish Civil War (1994). The Hoover Institution has recently acquired Romerstein’s archives, the result of some sixty years of his research and collecting.

December 21, 2012
A Philatelic History of the ARA: the Arthur H. Groten Collection

The Hoover Archives has received a collection of documents, postcards and letters connected with the work of the American Relief Administration. Herbert Hoover organized and directed the ARA, providing assistance to millions of displaced and hungry victims of World War I. The collection, consisting mostly of stamped postal requests and acknowledgements from individuals and private organizations assisting in the American aid effort, covers the entire period of the ARA’s operation in Central and Eastern Europe, from its early 1919 start in Austria, Hungary and Poland, until the summer of 1923, the end of the American mission in Moscow.

November 13, 2012
Edmund Osmanczyk Papers Come to Hoover

The papers of Polish journalist, writer, politician, and Silesian activist Edmund Osmanczyk (1913–1989) have been added to the Hoover Institution Archives. Osmanczyk’s life was rather atypical for his generation of Polish intellectuals; unlike most others, who were either killed or had to leave the country, he survived the war and forty-five years of communism, and died in free Poland.

October 8, 2012
Major Shalikashvili and the KGB: Hoover Georgian Archives Expand

For a country located on the strategic frontier of Europe and Asia, with a proud history going back to the fourth century AD, Hoover Archives' holdings on Georgia are modest compared to some of our other international collections, such as those on Russia, Germany, or Poland. Our Georgian collection is expanding, however, thanks to recent initiatives. One such effort involves digitizing the records of the security police and those of the Ministry of the Interior of Soviet Georgia; the other concerns the Dmitri Shalikashvili papers, our most comprehensive and best-known source on Georgian history.

August 28, 2012
Album of photographs of UN Balkan Commission donated to Hoover Archives

George S. Scherbatoff (1897-1976), a US Navy commander during and after the Second World War, also served as a member of numerous naval and diplomatic missions, including the US delegation to the conference at Yalta in 1945. The donated album, which is entitled “Trip to Greece with the UN Balkan Commission, November 1947-May 1948,” contains many photographs of the commission’s activities that are described by accompanying notes.

August 3, 2012
Wladyslaw Gomulka Collection Opened for Research

The Hoover Archives has added a collection that documents the career of Wladyslaw Gomulka, a Polish communist leader and first secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party from October 1956 to December 1970. The collection consists of Gomulka’s early memoirs, the interrogation file compiled during his imprisonment in 1951–54, transcripts of oral history interviews with his two secretaries, and other documents and photographs.

July 18, 2012
New Hungarian Acquisitions

Two significant émigré collections have been added to Hoover’s already extensive Hungarian library and archival holdings: those of Hugo Sonyi and Bela Csejtey. The two have very different biographies: the first was a top Hungarian general, the other, an American-educated scientist. Their collections however are similar in focus: Hungary’s military efforts in the two world wars, which, despite the valiant sacrifice of many thousands of soldiers, ended in defeat.

June 18, 2012
Ernest Schelling’s Papers and Memorabilia Come to Hoover

Known affectionately by his youngest fans as “Uncle Ernest,” Ernest Schelling was an American pianist and composer, the founder and for sixteen years the conductor of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Young People’s concerts until his untimely death in 1939. His musical papers, which are held by the University of Maryland’s International Piano Archives, provide detailed documentation of the course of his artistic career, but relatively little has been known or available about Ernest Schelling’s life outside music. The new Hoover collection sheds light on an important segment of his biography: his distinguished career as an intelligence officer and diplomat during and immediately after World War I, and his lifetime friendship with Ignace Jan Paderewski. the charismatic Polish piano virtuoso and statesman.

April 17, 2012
Documenting Soviet Crimes in Estonia

The Hoover Institution and the National Archives of Estonia have signed an agreement of cooperation for digitizing and sharing records pertaining to Estonia. The first project will be Hoover Archives’ acquiring copies of selected groups of records of the NKVD and of its successor, the KGB of the former Estonian SSSR.

March 21, 2012
Wojtek, the Bear of Monte Cassino

The Hoover Institution Archives has acquired the wartime memoirs of Stanislaw Kroczak, an officer with the Twenty-Second Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. In his memoirs Kroczak recalls his childhood in a village south of the city of Lwow (now Lviv), his fight against invading German and Soviet forces in September 1939, and his subsequent imprisonment and hard labor in the north of Russia. One charming part of the memoir concerns one of the best-known and celebrated animal mascots of the war, Wojtek the bear.

January 20, 2012
Oswald’s Bulgarian Connection: The Spas Raikin Papers

The Hoover Archives has received the papers of Spas Raikin, a Bulgarian-American historian, and émigré anti-communist activist. His papers, contained in ninety-nine binders, document Raikin’s historical research and writing as well as Bulgarian émigré activities in the United States. Binder nr. 71, however, is different from the others. It documents an episode in Raikin’s life that has a place in world history: his meeting with Lee Harvey Oswald in the port at Hoboken, New Jersey on June 13, 1962, when Oswald was returning from the Soviet Union.

October 20, 2011
Vaclav Havel Correspondence Open for Research

Vaclav Havel is a man of letters—author, playwright, essayist, and poet. A series of more than two hundred letters between him and Czech emigre historian Vilem Precan are now available to researchers at the Hoover Institution. Havel’s correspondence with Precan, like the published prison letters, will be an essential source for future biographers of Vaclav Havel, the man, the writer, and the unlikely hero of the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution.

October 19, 2011
A Half Century of Service: Charles Nelson Leach, MD

The Hoover Archives have received the papers and photographs of Charles Nelson Leach (1884–1971), a US doctor who participated in some of the greatest health emergencies of the twentieth century. His association with programs led by Herbert Hoover and contribution to the building of the Hoover Tower are remembered on the walls inside the lobby of the Hoover Tower, where his name is inscribed in three separate places. The bulk of the Charles Leach collection pertains to the 1917–1920 period. It includes photo albums, calendars, clippings, and a diary of an adventurous 1919 trip, in an ARA Cadillac, through Central and Eastern Europe.

September 21, 2011
Hoover acquires papers of Alexei Milrud

Much of Alexei Milrud’s collection relates to the activities of his father, Mikhail Milrud, editor of the newspaper Segodnia in Riga, Latvia, between the two world wars. The collection includes materials on Mikhail’s career and copies of his NKVD file (he was arrested by the Soviets when they incorporated Latvia), as well as materials relating to the newspaper and the history of Russian publishing in Latvia. Also included is an interview with Alexei Milrud describing life in Latvia before and during the Second World War.

August 5, 2011
Echoes of the 1956 Hungarian Exodus: Judit Brody and Thomas Kovari Correspondence Donated to Hoover Archives

Following the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 some 200,000 people escaped to the West. Among them was a group of young mathematicians and scientists, most of whom had never set foot outside the Iron Curtain. The Hoover Institution Archives has received a primary source documenting the life and concerns of some of these Hungarian exiles in their first years of life in the West: a collection of one hundred letters, dated between 1956 and 1959, written to Thomas Kovari and Judit Brody by their friends, young intellectuals and academics, who, like them, had left Hungary in late 1956.

August 2, 2011
Hoover Acquires Substantial Collection of Papers of the Late Yugoslav Dissident Mihajlo Mihajlov

Recently the Hoover Institution Library and Archives acquired more than seventy boxes of archival materials from the estate of the late Mihajlo Mihajlov (1934–2010), a Serbian writer, political activist, and dissident who was imprisoned for his critiques of Tito’s Yugoslavia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This collection, which augments an earlier donation made during Mihajlov’s lifetime, contains correspondence, publications, and audiovisual media that document the breadth of Mihajlov’s public career.

June 17, 2011
Sklenarz-Bokota Family Archives

Among its many strengths the Hoover Institution Archives boasts the largest and most comprehensive documentation on twentieth-century Poland outside Poland. A very substantial part of these archives is from the period of World War II and includes large collections of documents generated by various institutions and agencies, as well as the leaders of the London-based Free Polish government in exile. Less numerous are the archives of ordinary individuals and families; the just received family papers of Krystyna Sklenarz and Stanislaw Bokota fall into that category.

June 10, 2011
Andrzej Pomian’s London trunk comes to Hoover

Andrzej Pomian, who died three years ago in Washington, DC, at the age of ninety-seven, was a Polish émigré journalist and author, who worked for many years for Radio Free Europe. During World War II, he was a ranking officer in the Information and Propaganda Bureau of Poland’s clandestine Home Army, the largest underground organization in Nazi-occupied Europe. He kept a large metal trunk filled with his notes, documents, underground publications, and reports on the activities of the Home Army.The contents of that trunk, untouched in more than fifty years, have now arrived in the Hoover Archives as a large increment to the small Pomian collection already in the Archives.

June 6, 2011
Life and Death with Honor: The Papers of Wojewoda Alfred Bilyk

Hoover Archives has received the personal documents of Alfred Bilyk, the last Polish provincial governor (wojewoda) of Lwow (now Lviv). A prominent member of the professional and political elite of interwar Poland, Bilyk committed suicide in September 1939, in the final days of Poland’s struggle against the Nazi and Soviet invaders in September 1939. The papers are a gift from Bilyk’s family in Brazil.

April 15, 2011
Bohdan Kleczynski Photo Album and Diary

The Hoover Institution Archives has received an important increment, an album of photographs and a handwritten diary, to the personal papers of one of the wing commanders in the Polish Air Force in Britain, Lieutenant Colonel Bohdan Kleczynski (1902–1944). The Kleczynski diary, which covers the period September 1940 through March 1943, is in the form of long, melancholic letters that were never sent to his beloved wife who remained in German-occupied Poland.

March 28, 2011
Rare Latvian imprints acquired by Hoover

A unique Latvian collection has been added to the holdings of the Hoover Institution Archives consisting of more than a hundred items: underground leftist publications, pamphlets, leaflets, calendars, manuals, and ephemeral periodicals.

March 3, 2011
Hoover Archives’ Polish Collections digitized

The bulk of Hoover Archives’ World War II–era Polish archival collections has been digitized and made available online by Poland’s National Digital Archives (Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe).  The digitized copies were made from the 1,599 reels of microfilm donated by Hoover to Poland a decade ago.  More than one and half million pages of Hoover documents can now be accessed on the NDA website www.szukajwarchiwach.pl.   The website is linked to the Hoover Library and Archives site and to the Online Archive of California, providing online access to Hoover finding aids.

January 3, 2011
The Diaries of Ludwik Kowalski, Former Stalinist, Donated to the Hoover Institution Archives

The Ludwik Kowalski Papers available in the Hoover Institution Archives include the original notebook diaries (in Polish), hundreds of letters, and personal documents and photographs.

November 5, 2010
Hoover Archives acquires the papers of Klement Simoncic

The papers of Klement Simoncic comprise six manuscript boxes of correspondence, minutes of meetings, notes, photographs, reports, reviews, and other matter relating to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in the 1950s-70s and the creation and functions of the Society of International Broadcasters.

November 3, 2010
The papers of Jerzy Urban are now available at the Hoover Institution

Urban’s archival collection consists of family documents, materials from his unsuccessful parliamentary run in June 1989, as well as a lot of published and unpublished texts. Most valuable perhaps are copies of political strategy memoranda submitted by Urban to General Jaruzelski during 1987-1989.

October 26, 2010
The papers of Polish General Zygmunt Berling now available at the Hoover Institution

The collection is not large but it includes many important documents that may throw new light on the life of Zygmunt Berling.

April 20, 2010
Marian Spychalski Papers Received by the Hoover Institution Archives

The private papers of Marian Spychalski, one of the “founding fathers” of communist Poland and a prominent Polish politician during the period from 1944 to 1968, are now available in the Hoover Institution Archives.

August 12, 2008
Bernard Gotfryd Gives His Photographs and Papers to the Hoover Institution

The Hoover Institution Archives received the papers and the photographs of Bernard Gotfryd, Holocaust survivor and celebrated staff photographer for Newsweek for more than three decades until his retirement in the late 1980s.

August 11, 2008
Jakub Berman’s Papers Received at the Hoover Institution Archives

The private papers of Jakub Berman, one of the most powerful Polish communist politicians of the 1944–56 period, are now available in the Hoover Institution Archives.

September 21, 2007
Andrzej Dudzinski’s Art Received by Hoover Archives

Andrzej Dudzinski, a prominent and critically acclaimed contemporary Polish artist, has donated a large collection of his original graphic works to the Hoover Institution. The materials provide an extensive sampling of Dudzinski’s thirty years of work in the United States as an illustrator, cartoonist, and graphic commentator.