Contact Us
View Report!
No.: PR0358.003SF
TITLE: Edmonton Polish Hall Library sous-fonds
CREATOR: Edmonton Polish Hall Library
DATE RANGE: 1964-1992
EXTENT: 0.05 m of textual records

The first iteration of the Edmonton Polish Hall was erected at 10858-98 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, in 1932 by the Polish Canadian Society (PCS) of Edmonton. The Society, aided by the monetary contributions of its members, purchased the land from the City of Edmonton for $600 in 1930, and began construction two years later. The local Polish community donated funds and labour to the construction effort, with Waclaw Fridel, a coal mine owner, emerging as one of the key donors. The project was swiftly completed between June 1932 and September 10, 1932, when the first hall function took place. Although the PCS struggled to pay property taxes on the hall during the Great Depression of the 1930s, wealthy donors helped the organization to stay afloat, and the original hall served the population for three decades as a place for meetings, discussions, dances and holiday celebrations.

Beginning in 1947, the PCS began to cooperate closely with the newly created Polish Combatants’ Association No.6, and in 1959, the two organizations, along with the Polish Veterans’ Society, signed an agreement to construct and share a new, larger Polish Hall. All three organizations were members of the Canadian Polish Congress, Alberta Branch.

The Polish Library was gifted to the local Polish population by the PCS, and existed both within the old and new Polish Hall buildings. Beginning with 100 books in 1949, the collection grew to about 3,600 by 1961, and then 5,000 by 1971. It is estimated that the collection grew to roughly 10,000 volumes at its height, however, due to a flood in the hall, the current number has dropped to around 6,000.

Two key individuals involved with the development of the library were Czeslaw Fokowicz and Jerzy Hedinger. Beginning in 1955, Fokowicz collected, catalogued and bound over 700 volumes for the library. Hedinger, a former Polish Naval Officer, looked after the library for over eleven years after it opened in the new Polish Hall in 1967 (the library was closed for over six years following the sale of the old hall, before the new one was complete).

The library subscribed to and collected many Polish newspapers, bulletins and magazines published in Alberta and Canada, as well as periodicals such as Kultura and Zeszyty Historyczne, published by Institut Litteraire in Paris, France.

Beginning in 1983, Waclaw Grocholski, a former paratrooper who fought in the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War, was in charge of the Edmonton Polish Hall Library. As of 2020, the library is no longer open to the public, however, its remaining 6,000 volume collection continues to be housed at the Polish Hall.

CUSTODIAL HISTORY:The records of the sous-fonds were donated to the Royal Alberta Museum by then Polish Hall Librarian Wactaw Grocholski in 1992, and later transferred to the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 2011.

The fonds consists of Polish-language bulletins, magazines and newspapers published primarily in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, for the Polish-Albertan population, by Polish-Albertan churches and community organizations, and containing information on church and community events.

Titles include: Biuletyn Polonijny (Polish Bulletin), published in Calgary; SPK w Kanadzie (Quarterly of the Polish Combatants’ Association in Canada), published in Toronto and containing several mentions of Lethbridge, Alberta; Magazyn Polonii (The Polish Magazine), published in Edmonton; Bulletyn Niedzielny (Sunday Bulletin), published by Our Lady Queen of Poland Church in Edmonton; Wspolnota (Togetherness), Sunday bulletin published by Holy Rosary Parish in Edmonton; and, 500 Lat Temu Urodzil sie Mikolaj Kopernik (500 Year Anniversary of Nicholas Copernicus), published by Canadian Polish Congress, Alberta Branch.

LANGUAGE NOTE: The material is in Polish and English.
ASSOCIATED MATERIAL: For more information on the Polish Cultural Society of Edmonton, please see the Polish Cultural Society of Edmonton fonds at the City of Edmonton Archives (Edmonton, Alberta).
RELATED RECORDS: The administrative history is taken from the book Polonia in Alberta: 1895-1995, The Polish Centennial in Alberta, edited by Andrzej M. Kobos and Jolanta T. Pekacz.
GENERAL NOTE: The administrative history is taken from the book Polonia in Alberta: 1895-1995, The Polish Centennial in Alberta, edited by Andrzej M. Kobos and Jolanta T. Pekacz.
RELATED FONDS: PR0358 (Canadian Polish Congress, Alberta Branch fonds)
Back to search results

Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve.

Home    About the Provincial Archives   Login

© 1995 - 2024   Government of Alberta    Copyright and Disclaimer    Privacy    Accessibility