Tuesday, January 22, 2019
07 March 2017

Ewa Modzelewska studies of Polish emigrants in Ohio

Some of you may know that in September we hosted young researcher from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. I hope you will enjoy reading about her findings below.

With the support of Ohio State University I have been awarded the Kosciuszko Foundation’s scholarship, which allowed me to conduct the research in the United States for three months. The purpose of my research is to systematize the knowledge about Poles who greatly contributed to the American culture following the November Uprising and today are almost forgotten or completely unknown.

Study in Ohio turned out to be even more fruitful than I had originally expected, because I accessed valuable materials regarding many Polish emigrants, especially Martin Rosienkiewicz. He was an exile in the first massive deportation of Poles (1833) to the United States following the November Uprising and became the author of the first book for Poles in English in the United States, as well as the founder of the first Polish library in Philadelphia. He was famous as a teacher of drawing and painting in Ohio and Philadelphia (Rosienkiewicz also opened the first Polish school in the United States). With my own hands I dug up his gravestone in Cincinnati, which, according to the records of the cemetery, did not exist for over a hundred years.

I’m particularly thankful to the Polish American Club in Columbus for their kindness and assistance at every stage of my research. They took care of tombstone of Rosienkiewicz, a man who dedicated all his life in exile to helping other Poles.
My work here is more than scientific research, it is the mission of restoring Polish American history and achievements of Poles who, despite many difficulties, have been successful overseas. I hope that the fate and the works of many other Poles will be taken from the shadow of oblivion, just like a tombstone of Rosienkiewicz.

Note about Ewa Modzelewska: doctoral student of the Faculty of Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Kosciuszko Foundation’s grant recepient for the year 2016/2017. She is the author of the work entitled August Antoni Jakubowski – the poet of despair. The life and work. It is the first monograph of works by Jakubowski who was sent to the United States in 1833, where he wrote The Remembrances of a Polish Exile that is the first synthesis of Polish history and at the same time the first anthology of Polish poetry translated into English and published in the US. Ewa Modzelewska is also the editor of the first edition of the American novel entitled Major Aleksander written by Jakubowski.


We encourage you to take a historical trip and visit the grave. Ewa provided us with detailed information on the location at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. The grave is in Sector 40, Lot, 73. Here is the plan of the cementary, click to zoom.


Here is a detailed plan of Lot 73

Lot kwatera

 And here is the picture of the gravestone that Ewa literally dug up from the weeds that completly covered it. The flag was set there by Ewa as well.

rosienkiewicz gravestone Large

If you visit, leave some flowers or a candle and share the picture with us!

Ewa, thank you for visiting us and for providing us with this material to publish here. You are always most welcome to visit again!


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