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Register of the Papers of



5 linear ft.

MSS 25


Loretta Zwolak



The Zygmunt Nagorski, Sr. papers document the activities and reflect the political, economic, and social beliefs of a Polish government official, legal scholar and lawyer who was in exile in London during World War II and was later an emitter to the United States.  The bulk of the papers, 1939-1969, represent Nagorski's post-World War II efforts to aid in a just settlement of war problems, prevent the spread of communism, and promote the growth of knowledge.

Born in Warsaw on June 14, 1884, Nagorski received law degrees from the universities of Warsaw, Berlin and Zurich.  Between the two world wars, Nagorski taught law and served in various advisory positions to the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance, and committees on Polish civil law.  He also wrote articles on Polish law and the Polish civil code as well as serving as co-editor of the legal publications Themis Polska and the .Quarterly Review of Private Law.  During the war, he served as chairman and trustee for the newspaper Polish Daily and Soldier's Daily.

After the outbreak of World War II, Nagorski was appointed by the President of Poland to serve the Polish government-in-exile in London as deputy president of the Supreme State Audit.  This office supervised the expenditures of the Polish military and the prime minister's office.  During the years 1940-1951, Nagorski also taught civil law at Oxford and consulted in foreign and international law.  He was active in the Congress of Europe for Central European Unity, the London International Assembly, and other organizations, working for an equitable post-war settlement, reestablishment of political stability, and utilization of the talents of exiled intellectuals.

Immigrating to the United States in 1951, Nagorski lived in New York, established a legal practice and was active in organizations which promoted American and Polish culture, most notably the Polish Institute for Arts and Sciences, where he served in several capacities, including director.

In his later years and until his death in 1973, Nagorski continued writing legal material and books about the war, lecturing, and being involved in various legal and cultural activities like the Rotary Club and the Polish Institute for Arts and Sciences.  (Additional biographical is available in Series VII (box 9, folder 13).


The Zygmunt Nagorski Papers, c. 1920-1969, consist of correspondence, writings and speeches, legal documents, notes, briefs, and organizational minutes relating to Nagorski's legal career and writings, post World War II political and economic interests, involvement in educational organizations and personal activities.  Most of the material is in Polish.  Much of the original order has been retained.  The papers are arranged in eight series.


SERIES I: CORRESPONDENCE, 1939-1970, is divided into two subseries.  Personal correspondence, arranged chronologically and primarily in Polish, includes letters from Nagorski and his wife Maria to their children Zygmunt, Jr. and Mary, as well as letters by Maria Nagorski and by Zygmunt, Jr., 1939-1970, n.d.  Professional correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and reflects many of Nagorski's post war activities, 1939-1968.

SERIES II: WRITINGS AND SPEECHES, c. 1920-1968, includes Nagorski's writings on diverse economic and political topics.  Other material includes radio speeches, newspaper articles, book reviews and book notes.  This series is primarily in Polish.

SERIES III: LEGAL ORGANIZATIONS AND WRITINGS, 1924-1969 (years not consecutive), consists of three subseries: judicial organizations of which Nagorski was a member; Nagorski's writings on the Polish civil code and legislation; and his legal briefs.  Composed of writings and printed matter, this material is partially in Polish.

SERIES IV: POLITICAL SETTLEMENT, 1940-64, n.d., is divided into two subseries: post-war settlement pertaining to Poland, and settlement related to Germany and Europe.  The nature of Nagorski's post-war activities has produced a mass of materials that share a common themean equitable reestablishment of European, especially Polish, society.  This material consists of correspondence, writings, statements, and newspaper clippings.  It relates to Nagorski's efforts and opinions in the boundary settlement; political conditions and the establishment of political parties in Poland; war claims; policies towards West Germany; related international law issues; and the Dumbarton Oaks conference.  This material is mostly in Polish.

SERIES V: ORGANIZATIONS, 1941-65, is arranged chronologically by the material dates for each organization.  This series consists of writings, correspondence, notes, proposals, minutes, and reports for the development of European and international organizations to work for the reconstruction of Europe and serve as forums for the study and discussion of problems.  With each group, Nagorski had a hand in organizational or policy development.  This material is partially in English.

SERIES VI: POLISH INSTITUTE FOR ARTS AND SCIENCES (PIAS), 1951-68, n.d., consists of by-laws and amendments, membership lists, minutes, reports, financial statements, correspondence and miscellaneous material about the organization and operation of the Institute, which promoted the spread of American and Polish culture in both America and Poland.  This series is partially in English.

SERIES VII: PERSONAL MATERIAL includes newspaper clippings, biographical material, immigration papers, documents, photographs and miscellaneous material primarily about Nagorski, but also about his wife Maria.

SERIES VIII: PRINTED MATERIAL is a reference file of newspapers and printed and published material selected from many in the collection as most relevant to Nagorski's research and interests.

The box list of the Register of the Papers of Zygmunt Nagorski, Sr. is ten pages long.