Overview of the Boleslaw Boreysza papers

Processed by Hoover Institution Archives Staff.
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Phone: (650) 723-3563
Fax: (650) 725-3445
Email: hooverarchives@stanford.edu
© 2008
Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Boleslaw Boreysza papers

Hoover Institution Archives

Stanford University

Stanford, California
Processed by:
Hoover Institution Archives Staff
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Machine-readable finding aid derived from MARC record by David Sun.
© Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Title: Boleslaw Boreysza papers
Dates: 1938-2002
Collection Number: 2008C23
Creator: Boreysza, Boleslaw, 1921-2002.
Collection Size: 7 manuscript boxes. (2.8 linear feet)
Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Personal and military documents, correspondence, and photographs, relating to Polish military activities during World War II, and to Polish émigré affairs.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages: English Polish

Administrative Information


Collection is open for research.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Boleslaw Boreysza papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2008.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Biographical Note

Boleslaw "William" Boreysza, a librarian-cataloger, served in the Hoover Institution Library for more than thirty years until his retirement in 1990. Boreysza (1921-2002) known as Bolek to his Polish friends and as Bill to his coworkers, was a well-known figure in the Polish émigré community of Northern California. Today readers can see a lightly penciled WB inside the cover of the many thousands of Hoover books that he cataloged over the years. His quiet profession contrasted with the tumultuous history that swept him up in his younger years, when he participated in and was a witness to the events in Poland, Soviet Russia, the Middle East, and Italy in World War II.
In many respects Boreysza was a "poster child" of Hoover's rich Polish collections. A native of Eastern Poland, Boleslaw fought in the anti-Soviet underground during 1939-1940, was arrested by the NKVD, and spent time in Soviet prisons and camps. His release certificate from a prison near Arkhangelsk in the Russian North is among 13,000 such documents preserved in the Poland Ministerstwo Informacji i Dokumentacji Collection. As a cadet-officer in General Wladyslaw Anders Polish II Corps, made up mostly of former GULAG prisoners and deportees, Boleslaw fought with distinction on the Italian front, participating in the battles of Monte Cassino and Ancona, where he suffered a serious head wound, resulting in the loss of his left eye. The bullet that caused the injury, and miraculously did not kill him, would remain lodged in the back of his skull for the rest of his life, as shown on X-rays and doctors' reports in the collection. After the war, Boreysza emigrated to England and later to Canada, where he received his degrees in Slavic studies, political science, and librarianship or library science. He was recruited for the Hoover Library by Witold Sworakowski, the chief builder of Hoover library and archival collections after the Second World War. In addition to cataloging, thanks to his excellent émigré contacts, Boreysza helped Sworakowski expand Hoover's Polish collections.

Scope and Content of Collection

Boreysza's papers consist of his military service documents, photographs, and correspondence. Also in the collection is a photocopy of his extensive NKVD arrest and interrogation file, recently sent from the former KGB archives in Vilnius-one of the first items received as result of the agreement regarding the duplication of these archives concluded by the Hoover Institution and the Lithuanian State Archives.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
World War, 1939-1945--Poland.
Poles--United States.
Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945.