Though the idea of building a Polish Nationality Room first came up in 1925, it was only discussed in earnest in the late 1920s. Planning began in 1930 and the committee for the erection of the Polish Hall in the Cathedral of Learning was organized February 5, 1931. Fundraising for the room occurred until the German invasion of Poland in late 1939, when the Polish community focused instead on creation the Polish Emergency Relief Committee. The first chairman of the committee was Colonel Theophilus A. Starzynski, who served in that capacity until 1939. After him, Dr. Chester S. Sierakowski was appointed chairman and held that position until the end of World War II. The committee worked closely with both the Polish Women's League and Ruth Crawford Mitchell, who was the Advisor to the Nationality Rooms. The Polish Falcons of America and the Polish National Alliance of North America were also involved with providing publicity and funds for the establishment of the room.
Professor A. Szyszko-Bohusz, a famous Cracow-based architect, provided the design for the Polish Nationality Room. The room is designed in the style of the 1500s Polish Renaissance and was based on Wawel Castle, which overlooks the city of Cracow. The entrance door was carved out of oak by a Lwow craftsman and was gifted to the room by the Polish Women's Alliance. The cornerstone, presented by the faculty of the University of Cracow, is a fragment from the oldest university building in Poland, the Jagiellonian Library. The University of Pittsburgh provided the remaining funds for the construction of the Polish Nationality Room, which was dedicated on February 16, 1940, before a group of both American and Polish representatives.
For more information on the history of the room and committee, please visit: Guide to the Polish Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1926-1981 UA.40.17 | Documenting Pitt
The make-up of the Polish Room Committee has changed through the years, but the underling commitment to continue its programs, events and project remains and is rooted in out hearts, minds and souls it is love. The love of our ancestors, the love of our heritage and the love of a county and culture across the ocean, a place we call POLAND. Wen invite anyone and everyone to become part of the Polish Room with your financial support as well volunteering the many free events offered each year. Remember the opening words to Poland's National Anthem: Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, kiedy my żyjemy - . "Poland In Not Lost As Long As We Are Alive." Become part of Poland's future keeping this rich heritage alive at the University of Pittsburgh and the Polish Nationality Room - "Thank You Very Much" - Dziekuje Bardzo"