American Originals: Northwest Ohio’s Polish Community at Home, Work, Worship, and Play is the latest book to be published by the University of Toledo Press.
The 258 page work presents a glimpse into the history of one of Toledo’s most important ethnic groups.
“The book is a mix of the broader themes that have shaped our community with the actual lives that Polish-Americans recall–sometimes remembered with pain, more often with joy, and always with the respect for the accomplishments of the families, friends and neighbors,” said Timothy Borden, editor of the book. “These are the histories of true American originals, who found a proper home for their ideals in the Polish-American community of northwest Ohio.”
The book includes several chapters by Borden, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University Bloomington. Others with chapters include David Chelminski, Dorothy Stohl, Jane Armstrong-Hudiburg, Sarah Miller, William Samiec, and Margaret Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur also contributed a chapter on the history of her Polish family, including the story of her father, Steve, who was known in the community as “Kappy.” Kappy began his career as a trucker and produce dealer in the 1930’s, and in the 1950’s, he and his wife Anastasia, opened the Supreme Market in Rossford. The market sold Polish specialty items. Kaptur also recounts several trips she made to Poland to visit the homeland of her ancestors, and how moved she was by the Polish people and the tales of their struggles throughout history.
The book also looks at the artistic expressions of Toledo’s Polish community in its polka music. The chapter by Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk looks at some of the beloved polka bands that played in many venues around Toledo. It includes interviews with some of the bands’ leaders and discusses the evolution of Toledo’s polka music. A listing of polka recordings by Toledo bands is also included. In addition, Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk discusses the influential Toledo Polish music radio show hosted for years by Chet Zablocki, assisted by his wife Helen, and then after Helen’s death, by his second wife, Sharon.
Other chapters look at Polish wedding traditions, the role of local Catholic sisters in educating the new immigrants to Toledo, and the experience of those growing up in Toledo’s two Polish neighborhoods–Kuhschwantz and Lagrinka. “American Originals is an important contribution to Toledo’s history and is also a fascinating read for anyone who is a part of the Polish community, or just an admirer,” Barbara Floyd, director of the UT Press said.
The book is for sale from the UT Press website: www.utoledopress.com, at Barnes & Noble at The University of Toledo, or by contacting Barbara Floyd, at 419-530-2170.
For more information about the book, or to schedule interviews with the authors, contact Floyd.