Polonia’s Voice Since 1911
The PAJ is the nation's largest, independent English language monthly newspaper dedicated to the preservation and continuance of Polish American culture. The paper's history, outlined below, offers a glimpse into the past, present and future of this highly respected publication.
October 1911. Ignatius Haduch begins publication of a small Polish language paper, Zorza (The
Dawn) in Pittston, Pa.
1913. Zorza's offices relocate to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The paper is renamed Republika (The Republic).
1918. Republika's editor Haduch moves to Scranton, Pa., home of another Polish-language newspaper, Gornik Pennsylwanski (The Pennsylvania Miner). Haduch's offices are located in the Farr Building, 127 Adams Ave.
1920. John Dende, a recent arrival from Poland, purchases both the Gornik Pennsylwanski and the Republika. He renames his new publication Republika-Gornik Pennsylwanski (The Republic Pennsylvania Miner). The name of the paper would later be shortened to Republika-Gornik.
May 1926. (above, right) John Dende purchases and remodels a building at 409 Cedar Ave. in Scranton, Pa. and makes it the new home of Dende Press.
(below, left) Staff of the PAJ’s Polish-language predecessor, the Republika-Gornik, outside the newspaper’s office on 409 Cedar Ave. in Scranton, Pa. In the doorway (behind the girl), is John Dende, the paper’s founder, and father of Henry and Richard Dende. Upon John Dende’s passing, Henry become the Gornik’s editor, and Richard its publisher. The men retained their titles when the switch to an all-English-language newspaper was made in 1948. The others in the photo are not identified.
The Dende family were also owners of Dende Press, identified in the window as “Polska Drukarnia,” (“Polish Printshop”), which served the area’s need for letterhead, business cards, calendars and other stationery. photographs courtesy of Sharon Dende Harrington
December 10, 1944. John Dende dies. The paper is taken over by his sons Henry, who serves as editor, and Richard, who becomes publisher.
January 25, 1948. Realizing that more Americans of Polish descent are conducting their lives in the English language, the Dende brothers cease publication of the Polish-language Republika-Gornik and print the first all -English language Polish American newspaper. The new publication is called the Polish American Journal.
(below, right) Editorial and printing shop staff at Dende Press, Inc. included Dende brothers Henry (left, with pipe) editor; Richard (holding first English edition) publisher; and Raymond (2nd row, center),linotype operator.
photo courtesy of Sharon Dende Harrington
1950. Polish American Journal named "Newspaper of the Week" for its "vigorous anti-Communist" campaign by the Publisher's Auxiliary, a publication devoted to publishers and editors.
1955. The PAJ challenges Poland's Communist government to lift the Iron Curtain and allow journalists to visit the country.
1956. The PAJ advocates closer ties between Americans of Polish descent and those living behind the Iron Curtain in Poland.
1962. Henry Dende becomes the first Polish American newspaper editor to travel behind the Iron Curtain. He documents his trip on over 3,000 feet of film and discusses his findings at 125 public events over the next several years.
1962. The PAJ becomes the official publication of the Polish Union of North America, USA, a fraternal benefit society based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Within the next three years, the PAJ becomes the official publication of the Polish Beneficial Association (Philadelphia), The Polish National Alliance of Brooklyn, USA, and the Association of the Sons of Poland, then headquartered in Jersey City, N.J.
1975. Henry Dende elected president of the Polish Union of North America.
1979. A group of college graduates in Buffalo, N.Y. invest their limited resources to form Panagraphics, Inc., a computerized typesetting and graphic arts studio. Among this group are editor Mark Kohan and art director Christopher Misztal.
1980. Panagraphics is contracted by the Buffalo, N.Y.-based Polish Union of America, to produced the PUA's newspaper, the Polonia Reporter.
January 1983. Panagraphics publishes its last edition of the PUA's Polonia Reporter.
February 1983. The first edition of Panagraphics' new newspaper, the Polish American Voice, premiers.
August 1983. After several months of meetings with Henry Dende, Panagraphics begins publication of the Polish American Journal. The PAJ's new editor is David Franczyk, who would eventually be elected a Common Council Member for Buffalo's Fillmore District.
December 1983. Panagraphics purchases and remodels an office building at 774 Fillmore Ave. and leaves the PUA building at 761 Fillmore Ave.
December 1984. Noticing dual subscribers and hoping to eliminate duplication of effort, Panagraphics merges its Polish American Voice with the Polish American Journal. The last edition of the Voice is published this month.
February 1985. The first edition of the combined Polish American Voice and Polish American Journal is published.
July 1985. After almost two years of letter-writing campaigns spurred by PAJ columnist Diane Rogodzinski, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences announces the addition of a separate category for polka music within the Grammy Awards.
January 22, 1985. South Center Vocational Tech is renamed the Henry J. Dende Center by Northeast Intermediate Union, in honor of Dende's contributions to the community.
February 1988. The Polish American, a monthly magazine published since 1981, merges with the PAJ.
March 1988. The Union of Poles in America, a Cleveland-based fraternal benefit society, turns over publication of its newspaper, Kuryer Zjednoczenia, to the PAJ. The Kuryer becomes an insert to the PAJ for members of the Union of Poles.
February 1989. Mark Kohan named PAJ editor. Larry Wroblewski named senior associate editor.
April 1991. Panagraphics sells its building at 774 Fillmore and moves to 1275 Harlem Road.
November 1991. The PAJ becomes a charter member of Ethnic News Watch, an electronic media reference database.
September 1993. PAJ is honored by the Association of Polish Veterans in Warsaw for its reporting on behalf of veterans.
January 1995. Mark Kohan awarded by the Polish American Historical Association for his work within Polonia and as PAJ editor.
November 1995. The PAJ releases "A Polish Village Christmas," a compact disc and cassette tape of Polish Christmas carols.
January 1996. Associate Editor Steve Litwin places the PAJ on the internet with the paper's own web page.
April 1997. PAJ, exhibiting at the first "European-Middle Eastern American Marketing Conference" on Ellis Island, is featured in The Wall Street Journal.
July 2000. PAJ launches new internet site.
September 2000. PAJ Editor in Chief Mark Kohan recognized by General Pulaski Association of Western New York for contributions to area’s Polonia.
January 29, 2001. Former editor and publisher and Polish American Journal founder Henry J. Dende (inset, left) dies at age 82.
December 4, 2001. PAJ artist/writer Basia Frackiewicz demonstrates the art of the Krakowska Szopka (Krakow Christmas manger scene) on Martha Stewart’s “Christmas Around the World” special on CBS.
September 6, 2002. The PAJ joins the “e-generation.” Thanks to the internet, the entire paper is now written, composed and edited by writers and staff in locations throughout the United States and Poland. The paper is now published from the growing Buffalo suburb of Boston, an area settled at the turn of the 20th century by immigrant Polish farmers.
April 21, 2003. PAJ Editor Mark Kohan is interviewed from Washington, D.C. on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” one of the most-listened to radio shows in the country. He discusses the custom of “Smigus-Dyngus,” the Easter Monday holiday also known as “Wet Monday.” The feature is the second most popular of the day.
November 13, 2003. PAJ Editor Mark Kohan inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame for his work as a Polish American musician, folk artist and historian.
September 26, 2004. PAJ Polka Editor Steve Litwin inducted into the World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame for his contributions in promoting the concertina in Polish American music.
October 24, 2004. Mark Kohan named “Distinguished Polonian of the Year” by the Kopernik Memorial Association of Utica, New York.
April 4, 2005. PAJ Editor Kohan interviewed live on BBC’s Five Live “Up All Night” about Polish American reaction to Pope John Paul II’s passing.
June 1, 2005. PAJ Book Reviewer John M. Grondelski, of Perth Amboy, N.J., was awarded the State Department’s “Meritorious Honor Award” by U.S. Ambassador Victor H. Ashe at the American Embassy in Warsaw. The Award was conferred for Dr. Grondelski’s activities in promoting training of the Embassy’s Polish consular employees during the past three years.
July 1, 2005. PAJ Religion Editor Benjamin Fiore, S.J., (inset, left) leaves his post as chair of the Religious Studies Department at Canisius College to fill the seat of the presidency at Campion College at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.
October 22, 2005. PAJ columnist Eleanor “Ellye” Slusarczyk named “Distinguished Polonian of the Year” by the Kopernik Memorial Association of Utica, New York.
October 23, 2005. Death of Philadelphia Polonia leader and Polish Beneficial Association president Ted Drejerski, one of the PAJ’s strongest advocates.
March 2007. PAJ editor Mark Kohan named “Citizen of the Year” in the Media Category by Western New York’s weekly Polish American newspaper, the Am-Pol Eagle. This is Kohan’s second honor from the newspaper, being cited in 1994 for his work on the “Polkas For Children” recordings.
April 2007. Polonia Today, which was formed in 1983 from the Chicago edition of the Polish American Journal, consolidates its subscriptions with the Polish American Journal, giving the PAJ a stronger presence in Chicago’s Polonia. With the April 2007 edition, the PAJ begins to carry news from the Polonia Media Network, which published Polonia Today.
June 2009. PAJ editor Mark Kohan interviewed by the Voice of America’s Korean section, which compared early and present-day immigration of Poles to the arrival of Koreans in the United States.
January 2011. PAJ announces plans for 100th anniversary editions of the newspaper.
February 2011 . The Polish American Historical Association publishes its Polish American Encyclopedia. Among the almost 600 entries is one for the PAJ.
March 2011 . Polish American Journal establishes a page on the social network site, Facebook.
April 2011. PAJ Editor Mark Kohan among those interviewed for feature on late radio legend Stan “Stas” Jasinski, on “Sounds & Echoes: Musical Portrait of Buffalo, N.Y., aired on NPR affiliate WBFO’s “All Things Considered.”
April 2011. PAJ’s Polka Magazine staffer of 23 years Barb Pinkowski named “Writer of the Year” by the United States Polka Association in Cleveland.
December 2012. PAJ Editor Mark Kohan awarded the Skalny Civic Achievement award by the Polish American Historical Association. This award honors “individuals or groups who advance PAHA's goals of promoting research and awareness of the Polish American experience and/or have made significant contributions to Polish or Polish American community and culture.”
June 2013. PAJ Religion editor, Fr. Ben Fiore, S.J., retires as president of Campion College at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada and is named pastor of historic St. Michael's R.C. Church in downtown Buffalo, N.Y.
December 2013. PAJ columnist and Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka has been named Science and Technology Fellow by the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center. The center runs a program to enhance judges’ knowledge of the fundamentals of science and forensic analysis.
December 2013. Steve Litwin, editor of the PAJ's Polka Magazine pages, is this year's recipient of the International Polka Association's Jozwiak Special Achievement award.
May 2014. PAJ Editor Mark Kohan guest panelist at Polish American Congress Convention in Buffalo, N.Y.
August 2014. PAJ Editor Mark Kohan named “Polish American of the Year” by the Toronto Blue Jay’s minor league affiliate Buffalo Bisons for the team’s annual “Polish Night.”
© 2017 POLISH AMERICAN JOURNAL
P.O. BOX 271, NORTH BOSTON, NY 14110-0271
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