Community Organizations and Fraternal Groups

Polonia is made up of an extensive network of voluntary organizations. Among the most prominent of these groups at the national level are the Polish Roman Catholic Union, founded in 1873; the Polish National Alliance, founded in 1880; and the Polish Women's Alliance, founded in 1898. All three organizations are headquartered in Chicago--the city with the nation's largest concentration of Polish Americans--and are all essentially federations of local chapters. Because of their two-tiered structure, these organizations have been able to serve many different functions, from representing views of Polish Americans on national issues, to selling life insurance policies, to providing social outlets for members in their neighborhoods.


Batory memento

Stephania Batory traveled from Philadelphia to attend the annual convention of the Polish Women's Alliance in Chicago, 1947. The PWA was established as a national group in Chicago in 1898 by Polish middle-class women interested in women's issues. Batory's scrapbook contains momentos and photographs of her train trip and the convention.

(Stephania Batory Papers)


This emblem is a variation of the Polish National Alliance emblem. According to a P.N.A. publication called The P.N.A. Story: On the Path of Service (ca. 1970), the white eagle on red shield represents the "crown land," or Poland proper; the white knight on blue shield was the coat-of-arms of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania while Michael Archangel symbolized the Duchy of Ruthenia. The emblem came into popular use during the January (1863) Uprising of Poland against Russian occupation. In using this symbol, the Revolutionary Government proclaimed that the Poles, Lithuanians and Ruthenians are heirs to the old Royal Republic and brothers in the common struggle against Russian oppression. The P.N.A. was inspired principally by Agaton Giller, member of the Revolutionary Government, and adopted the January Uprising symbol for its fraternal emblem. Jednosc emblem



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