By Maciej Siekierski
Tomasz Schramm, professor of political history of the 19th and 20th centuries at the University of Poznań in Poland, has gone through Hoover’s extensive materials on Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860−1941), pianist and statesman. He was particularly interested in documentation on Paderewski’s crucial contributions to the recovery of Poland’s independence, the one hundredth centenary of which is celebrated this year.
As a pianist, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, was celebrated during his concert tours across the continents. However, during World War I, Paderewski set music aside and turned to politics, becoming the most eloquent spokesman for the country of his birth, Poland, then occupied by the empires of Russia, Germany, and Austria. Through his musical fame, Paderewski gained access to the political leadership of France, Britain, and the United States. Uniting Polish émigré communities in Europe and the United States around the cause of independence, he eventually gained the support of the Wilson administration and the Allied governments for his program, becoming newly restored Poland’s first prime minister. Hoover Institution Library & Archives includes numerous sources and collections with documentation on Paderewski’s life and his political and musical career. In 2015, Hoover Institution Press published one of such important documents discovered in the Hoover Archives, the memoirs of Helena Paderewska, Ignacy’s devoted wife and closest collaborator.
Professor Schramm is a recognized international scholar, with memberships in the governing boards of various historical societies. He has been the Vice-President of the Association Internationale d’Histoire Contemporaine de l’Europe for the past eighteen years. He is the recipient of many Polish and French medals and awards. He is the author or co-author/editor of eleven books and about two-hundred articles. Tomasz Schramm’s visit to Hoover was made possible by funding from Cri Cri Solak-Eastin and Richard Eastin, Hoover Institution supporters, who are interested in promoting Paderewski studies.
Maciej Siekierski PhD
Maciej Siekierski is curator of the European Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
siekierski [at] stanford.edu