The Hoover Institution Press released Helena Paderewska, Memoirs, 1910-1920, which were discovered in a collection acquired by the Hoover Library & Archives in 2013. The memoirs – edited by Maciej Siekierski, senior curator of the European Collection at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives – chronicle the life of Helena and her husband, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, a world-renowned pianist and statesman, during World War I and tell the story of their grassroots efforts to influence the course of history for their native Poland.
“Together with his wife Helena, Ignacy Jan Paderewski fought hard to spread a message of unity in a time of extreme conflict and uncertainty in Poland, and he ultimately succeeded by achieving his dream of a free and independent Poland,” said Maciej Siekierski.
As Paderewski’s most trusted confidant, Helena’s memoirs give a firsthand narrative of her husband’s life from 1910 to 1920, when he gradually set music aside and turned to politics. Through his fame as a musician, Paderewski gained access to the top leadership of France, Britain, and the United States. Helena’s memoirs – written in English as a tribute to the US contribution in the Allied victory and help in the restoration of Poland – are the story of this great international effort. Paderewska’s story is one about an exceptionally talented self-made man who accomplished his boyhood dream of freedom and independence for his homeland.
“Not only was Ignacy Jan Paderewski an exceptional man and visionary, his wife's memoirs are also an excellent example of a woman’s look at the world of international politics during the Great War and its immediate aftermath,” stated Eric Wakin, the Robert H. Malott Director of the Library & Archives. “The Hoover Library & Archives is honored to have received this one-of-a-kind account of history and to preserve this important legacy.”
Founded by Herbert Hoover in 1919, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives are dedicated to documenting war, revolution, and peace in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With nearly one million volumes and more than six thousand archival collections from 171 countries, Hoover supports a vibrant community of scholars and a broad public interested in the meaning and role of history. For more information on the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, visit www.hoover.org/library-archives.
Editor: Maciej Siekierski is a research fellow and senior curator of the European Collection at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in Stanford, California. A specialist on Poland and Eastern Europe, he has been a member of the staff since 1984, with principal responsibility for acquiring European archival materials.
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