Illuminating the Particular: Photographs of Milwaukee's Polish South Side

Overview

Roman B.J. Kwasniewski, son of Polish immigrants, used his camera to document life in Milwaukee's Polish community during the early decades of the twentieth century. His images transform the particulars of everyday life at local businesses, in homes and classrooms, and at cultural, social, and recreational events into powerful depictions of the immigrant experience. With an introduction by well-known Milwaukee historian John Gurda, this book offers rare insight into the daily lives of a proud people struggling to...

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Overview

Roman B.J. Kwasniewski, son of Polish immigrants, used his camera to document life in Milwaukee's Polish community during the early decades of the twentieth century. His images transform the particulars of everyday life at local businesses, in homes and classrooms, and at cultural, social, and recreational events into powerful depictions of the immigrant experience. With an introduction by well-known Milwaukee historian John Gurda, this book offers rare insight into the daily lives of a proud people struggling to maintain their heritage while living in a time of rapid change.

While Kwasniewski's camera captured the sights and sounds of Milwaukee at the turn of the century from the perspective of a single ethnic group in a single neighborhood, his photographs resonate far beyond Milwaukee's Polish South Side. They illuminate the particulars of American life during the early decades of the twentieth century. "What we see, reflected in the distant mirror," says John Gurda, "is ourselves."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870203473
  • Publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Publication date: 10/15/2003
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 998,765
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Christel T. Maass is Academic Librarian in the Special Collections Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Golda Meir Library. She holds a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and M.S. (LIS) and M.A. (History) degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She participated in processing the extensive Kwasniewski Photographic Collection. She is the author of a monthly photo/caption column, "A Glance at Yesteryear," in the Small Business Times. Many of the Kwasniewski photos have appeared in that column.

John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been studying his hometown for more than 25 years. He is a photographer, lecturer, and the local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He holds a B.A. in English from Boston College and M.A. in Cultural Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Gurda is a eight-time winner of the Wisconsin Historical Society's Award of Merit.

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