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Rediscovering Buffalo’s Polonia

Monday, September 21st, 2015
Broadway Market furniture store, located at 243-245 Lombard Street

Buffalo’s rich immigrant past takes center stage in Album pamiatkowe i przewodnik handlowy : osady polskiej w miescie Buffalo, z dolaczeniem okolicznych miejscowósci ze stanu New York. Available as a digital collection from the University Libraries, the “Souvenir album and commercial guide of the Polish settlements in the City of Buffalo, and neighboring villages in the State of New York” contains hundreds of photographs, offering a unique glimpse of the individuals, churches, parish schools, and business establishments that were once part of Buffalo’s vibrant Polonia community.

Buffalo; Wojciech Mioducki and his wife in their automobile

Buffalo; Wojciech Mioducki and his wife in their automobile

First published in Buffalo in 1906, the Album is an important historical and genealogical resource for Buffalo and Western New York. While it holds special significance for area residents of Polish ancestry, it also offers anyone interested in the history of Buffalo and the city’s historic Polonia district a chance to revisit the past.

View along the Buffalo River, c.1906

View along the Buffalo River, c.1906

Molly Poremski, curator of the University Libraries’ Polish Room, has carefully mapped photographs of buildings and landmarks included in Album pamiatkowe to the Historypin website. “Historypin’s Street View feature pairs the historical image with the modern-day view,” says Poremski, “and it allows people to create new connections between the past and present. I’m hoping people will use the Album as a starting point to launch conversations and share their memories of this historic Buffalo neighborhood.”

When complete, nearly all 400 images from the Album pamiatkowe will be included in the digital collection, and Poremski is excited about the many new research opportunities it provides for students, researchers, and genealogists. To view the Album, visit: library.buffalo.edu/collections/album-pamiatkowe