Polish Heritage Collection

Cover Image:
Patricia Vidoni with sons David & Michael pose for Photo with Neighbors
Patricia Vidoni with sons David & Michael pose for Photo with Neighbors - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

In the 1880s, Central New York began to see the arrival of a large number of Polish immigrants attracted to the area by the prospect of finding work in the textile industry. By the 1920s, however, immigration slowed because of the discriminatory federal immigration acts of 1921 and 1924. Polish immigrants came to Central New York once again in the 1930s and 1940s as refugees of the second world war. Polish immigration continued into the postwar era as veterans of the Polish Armed Forces in Exile came to the United States unwilling to return to a Soviet satellite state. Cold War-era Communist-controlled Poland witnessed the movement of Poles to the Central New York region for political and economic reasons. The new wave of immigration typically brought skilled Polish laborers hoping to expand their career opportunities in the United States. By 1990, Polish Americans comprised the third largest ethnic group in Oneida County. 

Scope of Collection

The Polish Heritage Collection contains several documents, photographs, scrapbooks, a “Golden Book,” and memorabilia from Utica’s Polish Community. The majority of the collection consists of photographs from Utica Polish families dating back to the 1920s.