Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers Records
The Polish American Women Citizens Political Club of Three Rivers and Thorndike was founded in 1924 with the assistance of Stanley Zerdocki, Walter Dymon, Michael Boyko, and Joseph Les. Under the leadership of the first president, Anna Rusek, the original fifty-nine members established the organization's aims: to encourage Polish women to become United States citizens and provide them with classes in the English language; to take an active part in local, state and federal politics; and to support local Polish-owned businesses. In 1958 the club changed its name to the Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers, and updated the constitution to reflect their current goals of preserving and integrating Polish culture with those of other ethnicities present in the United States, and encouraging higher education in the Polish-American community.
Throughout its history, the Club developed a strong Polish-American political presence, as well as lasting ties to other Polish-American communities in Massachusetts and nation-wide. State and national connections were fostered by affiliation with groups including the United Polish-American Citizens of Massachusetts (since 1926), the Polish American Congress, John Paul II Polish-American Foundation, the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York, and the United Polish-American Organization Council in the Township of Palmer. Beginning in 1933, the Club was active in the Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Club, Inc., with Three Rivers members serving as executive committee members and also as presidents. Federation activities advanced the Club's cultural goals; for instance, since 1961 the Federation has sponsored annual essay contests for eighth grade students on topics of Polish history and culture. The Three Rivers Club also gave scholarships to local Polish-American high school students. The Club regularly contributed both money and volunteer efforts to their parish, Saints Peter and Paul Church, as well as to many other civic organizations; members were active with local war efforts during World War II.
The Club has observed their many anniversaries with masses and dinners, and the production of a golden jubilee program book for their 50th anniversary. The 55th, 60th, 65th, and 70th anniversaries were celebrated concurrently with the 48th, 53rd, 58th, and 63rd Annual Conventions of the Massachusetts Federation of Polish Women's Clubs. For their contributions to the Polish-American community, the Polish Women's Club of Three Rivers has received numerous citations from the Town of Palmer, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. The national citations, and club histories, are recorded in the Extensions of Remarks in the Congressional Records for the years 1974, 1984, 1989, and 1994.