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Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks, 1954-1974
3 boxes (1.25 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 246

Polish immigrant who worked in a basket shop and as a machinist while residing in Florence, Massachusetts. Includes nine volumes of Kislo's writing (mostly in Polish and thematically religious, patriotic, personal, and autobiographical) and artwork (drawings and paintings with religious allusions, Polish costumes, weapons, imaginary animals and fanciful landscapes).

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Biographical Note

Michael Z. Kislo (1896-1978) of Dzieciekowo, Poland, immigrated to the United States and married Mary A. Skowronek (1907-65) of Holyoke, Massachusetts. He began work in a basket shop in Northampton and eventually became a machinist at International Silver Company. The Kislos lived in Florence, Massachusetts.

Scope and contents of the collection

The collection comprises 9 volumes (1954-74) of Michael Kislo's writing and artwork. The writing, mostly in Polish, handwritten and typewritten, is frequently religious, but also patriotic, personal, and autobiographical. It is usually in the form of "songs," as Kislo calls them. Allusions to the F.B.I., especially in 1962, are of interest.

The drawings and paintings are Chagall-like at times-a floating world of religious allusions. At other times, Polish costumes make appearances, as do weapons, imaginary animals, and fanciful landscapes. It is unclear whether the images are traditional, re-interpretations of traditional ones, or unique to Kislo's imagination.

The notebooks make accessible the thoughts and feelings of a Polish immigrant in a uniquely intense way, when ordinarily the inner life of this generation is lost to the future.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Michael Z. Kislo Notebooks (MS 246). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

History of the Collection

Acquired from: Susan Kislo via Stanley Radosh, 1989.

Processing Information

Processed by Linda Seidman.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Link to SCUA
English and Polish
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List

Volume numbers taken from cover.

Polish and English; much art; remarks on writing
1954-1955, 1962

Vol. 5
1955-1956, 1962-1963

Vol. 6
1956-1958, 1962-1963

Vol. 7
No artwork; nearly all Polish

Vol. 8
"John told the truth" around page ends

Vol. 9
March-June, 1971

Vol. un-numbered
Many drawings
November 1971-September 1972

Vol. un-numbered
No artwork

Vol. un-numbered
No artwork

Vol. un-numbered

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Art, Polish--Massachusetts--20th century.
  • Florence (Mass.)--Biography.
  • Immigrants--Massachusetts--Florence--Diaries.
  • Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978--Notebooks, sktechbooks, etc.
  • Kislo, Michael Z., 1896-1978--Views on United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Poles--Massachusetts--Florence.
  • Polish American artists--Massachusetts--Florence--Diaries.
  • United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Genre terms
  • Notebooks.

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