The archives are accessible to academics, students and employees of cultural institutes on site in the reading room. Those using the collections for the first time are asked to produce a letter from their place of work or studies, containing information about the subject and nature of their research work and studies. Doctoral theses can only be accessed upon consent from the author. A catalogue of artists is available in the reading room. Detailed descriptions of archive materials can be found in the inventories.
IS PAN’s Special Collections comprise a rich collection of documents, facilitating studies in the history of Polish artistic life in the broadest sense, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Collections contain nearly 2,000 inventory entries (comprising from one to up to a few hundred archival units), 1,983 microfilms, 281 photocopies and approximately 1,000 microfiches. The following catalogues are available: alphabetical, etymological, PhD theses, theatrical plays, alphabetical IPS Archive catalogue, microfilms and photocopies.
History and Characteristics of the Collections
The Special Collections of IS PAN were compiled from materials and documents that were handed over by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts and other state institutions and private individuals. They found a home in the Manuscripts Section of PIS, which was established on 1 January 1950.
The most precious documents include:
- the collection of Henryk Rodakowski’s correspondence;
- letters of Kamila Rodakowska, Jacek Malczewski and Maria Malczewska neé Gralewska;
- a collection of 889 letters of Stanisław Witkiewicz from 1868-1914;
- memoirs of artists such as Alfons Karpiński, Kazimierz Lasocki, Stanisław Rzecki, Jan Skotnicki, Ludomir Ślendziński and others;
- documents regarding current artistic life, including famous interviews with artists about Socialist-Realism, which were conducted by art historians in 1950;
- archive of Mieczysław Rulikowski, comprising over 120 inventory items on theatre, literature, fine arts, bibliology and periodicals.
From the mid 1960s, the Collections were systematically supplemented with handwritten documents on history and theatre, as well as materials gathered from the Departments of Film, Music and Folk Art. Many of them pertained to film production (screenplays and film programmes), drama and literature from the period of Socialist-Realism. Materials from academic and programme conferences held at that time cover the same period. They are complemented by the Archive of Juliusz Starzyński, taken over in the 1970s, which broadly documents the activity of the artist and director of PIS. Starzyński is also associated with the Archive of the Institute for the Propaganda of Art, of which he was director between 1935 and 1939. The Archive, comprising nearly 100 volumes, has been preserved intact within the Collections from the very inception of PIS.
The Special Collections also feature the Archive of ZZPAP in Warsaw from 1933-1939 and the Archive of the Professional Association of Polish Artists from 1934-1939. The Archive of the Paris Exhibition in 1925, which has been preserved in its entirety, deserves special attention. Other noteworthy items include the Archive of the Historic Conservator at Warsaw City Council from 1919-1939 and the Archive of the Historic Conservator in the Łódz Voivodeship from 1921-1939. In addition to the aforesaid, research focuses on collections of cuttings gathered by such outstanding representatives of Polish culture in the first half of the twentieth century, as Mieczysław Treter, Mieczysław Rulikowski and Wacław Husarski.
Archive materials from throughout Poland found their way into the Special Collections, and included the legacies of artists such as Władysław Jarocki, Franciszek Siedlecki, Wojciech Stattler, Stefan Zbigniewicz, Stanisław Majchrzak, Zygmunt Waliszewski, Sasza Blonder, Irena Lorentowicz, the documents of Józef Chełmoński, Józef Męcina-Krzesz, the Puget family, Ludwik Gardowski, Stanisław Szukalski, letters from Władysław Strzemiński to Julian Przyboś, the diaries and letters of Jadwiga Rapacka. Employees of the Institute also donated materials that they had gathered during their research, such as the archive materials on Tadeusz Makowski donated by Władysława Jaworska and Jerzy Sienkiewicz, materials for a monograph of a forgotten critic, Teodor de Wyzew, donated in the 1990s by Janina Wiercińska, as well as numerous notes made by Andrzej Ryszkiewicz. The Collections also include the legacies of some outstanding, late art historians, such as the research documents of Piotr Bohdziewicz, Irena and Andrzej Jakimowicz, Jerzy Sienkiewicz, Mieczysław Wallis and the architecture historian Feliks Markowski, as well as the personal documents of people strongly associated with the circles of artists and art historians operating in both fields, for example Romana Gintyłło.
The first big theatrical and literary set of archival materials, which found its way to the Special Collections in the first half of the 1960s, is the priceless Archive of Tadeusz Rittner, brought over from Vienna by Zbigniew Raszewski. Up until the end of the 1970s, the Special Collections were supplemented by archive materials from the Theatre Documentation and the Department of the History and Theory of Theatre, including those of Michał Bałucki, Stanisława Wysocka, Jan Mroziński and in later years, Franciszek Siedlecki, Michał Chomiński, Stanisław Krzesiński, Wincenty Rapacki, Julia Rylska, Helena Modrzejewska, Leon and Janusz Stępowski, Teofil Trzciński, Irena Solska. Other important theatrical collections found their way to the Special Collections either in the form of gifts or as acquisitions by the Institute of Arts. These include: the Archive of Edmund Wierciński, donated by Maria Wiercińska in 1970, the Archive of Arnold Szyfman donated by Ewa Szyfman in 1971, the Archive of Mieczysław Kotlarczyk, including the entire documentation of the Rhapsody Theatre, purchased in 1986, the Archive of Wilam Horzyca, donated in 1987, the Archive of Stanisław Witold Balicki, acquired in 1987, the Archive of Tola Korian, donated by Tymon Terlecki in 1990. The most important new acquisitions in the 1990s were the archives of Zofia Lindorf, Janusz Warnecki, Stanisław Marczak-Oborski and Tadeusz Sivert.
The Special Collections gather materials on fine arts and theatre, as well as other spheres of artistic and academic activity. Examples include Józef Galewski’s Wspomnienia filmowe [Film Memories] from 1907-1944, Antoni Krzemiński’s reminiscences about the establishment of the first cinema in Poland, or the works produced by Jerzy Toeplitz in the course of the workshop.
The musicology materials in the Special Collections are mainly in the form of microfilms of pieces by Polish composers, such as Józef Elsner, Karol Lipiński, Witold Maliszewski, Tadeusz Jarecki, Zygmunt Noskowski, Henryk Wieniawski, Władysław Żeleński and foreign composers, including Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, and Karol Förster. The following mediaeval manuscripts of musical pieces can also be found on microfilm: missals, antiphonals, graduals, passions, laments, lute and organ tabulatures, as well as treatises on music theory. In addition, the miscellaneous music materials include the archive of the musicologist and composer Zdzisław Jachimecki, documents of the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Enlightenment (MWRiOP) concerning the reforms in music education between 1928-1929, and music manuscripts of Polish, French, English and German composers held in the Archive of Tola Korian.
Literary materials are mainly letters of Polish writers, grouped into different correspondence categories, such as, for example, the letters of Michał Choromański, Kazimiera Iłłakowicz, Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, Jan Karłowicz, Jan August Kisielewski, Julian Klaczko, Cyprian Norwid, Wincenty Pol, Karol Hubert Roztworowski, Lucjan Rydel, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Julian Tuwim, Stanisław Wyspiański, Emil Zegadłowicz, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Stefan Żeromski. The Collections also include literary autographs, mainly short pieces by various authors, such as Seweryn Goszczyński, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Teofil Lenartowicz, Kamil Cyprian Norwid, Wincenty Pol, Adam Pług, Władysław Syrokomla, as well as manuscripts of plays by Dominik Magnuszewski.
Throughout the 1990s, the large archives of Kazimierz Mitera, Eleonora Plutyńska and Bohdan Urbanowicz found their way to the Collections, as well as the equally valuable though smaller archive collections such as, for example, documents belonging to the following artistic families: the Ostrowskis, the Ejsmonts, the Szerers and Gepperts, Jan Rembowski’s legacy and the correspondence of Feliks Rychling.