Konteksty Kultury

The Adam Mickiewicz controversy, 1948: Eisenhower and Columbia

Data publikacji: 17.03.2016

Konteksty Kultury, 2015, Tom 12, Numer 4, s. 474 - 488



Travis Beal Jacobs
Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, Stany Zjednoczone
Wszystkie publikacje autora →


Columbia University announced the Adam Mickiewicz Chair in Philology, Language and Literature in May, 1948, during the Cold War. The Chair’s incumbent would be Manfred Kridl, an émigré who had left Poland 1940, and the communist Warsaw government would contribute $10,000 annually. Polish Ambassador Josep Winiewicz, with the assistance of Czeslaw Milosz, had suggested Kridl. Arthur Coleman, an Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages, and the Polish-American Congress loudly protested the appointment, “This infiltration of the Communist voice.” The Polish-American press agreed. The controversy received nationwide attention when Coleman resigned and asserted that Poland, controlled by Moscow and the Comintern, would wage a campaign of “academic infiltration” with the Mickiewicz Chair. Sigmund Sluszka, a former Coleman student, called Kridl “a noted Marxist.” The New York Timesgave the resignation front-page coverage, and the media emphasized that Columbia was “a Hot-Bed of Communism.” The fact that World War II hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had just become the university’s president increased public interest in the controversy, even though the decision on the Chair had been made before his arrival. Columbia’s Provost launched an extensive investigation into the accusations against Kridl and two professors, and Eisenhower presented the confidential report to the University’s Trustees. Columbia stood by hersupport of the Chair and Kridl.

The protest lasted throughout the summer, and several university officials had questioned accepting the funding from Warsaw.  While the controversy had undermined the Polish Studies program for the Polish-American and émigré communities, the Provost believed that the Adam Mickiewicz Chair and Professor Kridl contributed to the furthering of Polish-American Studies in America.


Primary Sources:

Central Archives, Columbia University (CACU), Columbia University.

“Columbia (University) Spectator”, 1947–1949.

Harron R.C., Jacobs A.C., personal interview, Hartford, CT., February 5, 1965.

Jacobs A.C., “Memoirs,” Unpublished, 1974, author’s possession.

Jacobs A.C., MSS., Michigan Historical Collections, University of Michigan.

“New York Times”, May–September, 1948.

The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower: Columbia University, ed. L. Galambos, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984, X.


Secondary Sources:

Aaron D., The Americanist, University of Michigan Press, 2007.

Blajwas S.J., The Adam Mickiewicz Chair of Polish Culture: Columbia University and the Cold War (1948–1954) (Parts 1 and 2), “The Polish Review” 1991, Vol. 36, Nos. 3–4, pp. 327–337, 435–450.

Blejwas S.J., Two Chairs in Polish Studies (and the Space Between) at Columbia 
University, access: 

Caute D., The Fellow Travelers, Yale University Press, 1988.

Caute D., The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge under Truman and Eisen­hower, Simon & Schuster, 1978.

Jacobs T.B., Eisenhower at Columbia, Transactions Publishers, 2001.

McCaughey R.A., Stand, Columbia, Columbia University Press, 2003.

Schrecker E.W., No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and The Universities, Oxford University Press, 1986.

Simmons E.J., The Department of Slavic Languages [in:] History of the Faculty of Philosophy, Columbia University, ed. D.C. Miner, Columbia University Press, 1957.

Sovern M., An Improbable Life: My Sixty Years at Columbia and other Adventures, Columbia University Press, 2014.


Informacje: Konteksty Kultury, 2015, s. 474 - 488

Typ artykułu: Oryginalny artykuł naukowy



The Adam Mickiewicz controversy, 1948: Eisenhower and Columbia


Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, Stany Zjednoczone

Publikacja: 17.03.2016

Status artykułu: Otwarte __T_UNLOCK

Licencja: Żadna

Udział procentowy autorów:

Travis Beal Jacobs (Autor) - 100%

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