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Inventory of the William John Tonesk papers
2015C36  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Accruals
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: William John Tonesk papers
    Date (inclusive): 1923-1992
    Collection Number: 2015C36
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language of Material: English and Polish
    Physical Description: 18 manuscript boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder (13.3 linear feet)
    Abstract: Writings, correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, personnel records, printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia relating to the post-World War II transition to a communist regime in Poland, relations between the United States and Poland, and other aspects of American foreign policy.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Creator: Tonesk, William John, 1906-1992.

    Access

    Boxes 20-22 restricted; use copies available in Box 19. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William John Tonesk papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2015.

    Accruals

    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 at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    The American naval, intelligence, and foreign service officer William John Tonesk was born in 1906 as Władysław Jan Toniecki to a Polish immigrant family in Schenectady, New York. During the years 1925 to 1929, Tonesk studied English and economics, receiving his bachelor’s degree from Union College in Schenectady. He then worked for two years as a supervisor for International Telephone and Telegraph in New York City. In 1931, he began graduate studies at Columbia University, receiving a master’s degree in English and East European studies the following year.
    Tonesk spent the next several years traveling and studying in Eastern Europe. While working on his dissertation on the Polish writer and philosopher Stanislaw Przybyszewski, Tonesk took a job with a travel agency, Raymond Whitcomb, Inc., as chief lecturer for global travel. He moved on to Pan American Airways in 1940; by 1943, Tonesk had moved to the Office of Naval Intelligence with the rank of lieutenant.
    Tonesk’s first station was Cairo, Egypt, where he established contact with the military intelligence of the Polish army of General Władysław Anders, an army made up of former Polish Gulag prisoners evacuated from the Soviet Union into the British-controlled Middle East. His next post was Moscow, where he worked as an interpreter for U.S. ambassador Averell Harriman. In the second half of 1945, Tonesk moved to Warsaw as aide to U.S. ambassador Arthur Bliss Lane. Soon after, he began working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
    While in Warsaw, Lieutenant Tonesk organized the visits of General Dwight Eisenhower, in September 1945, and Herbert Hoover, in March 1946; most importantly, however, he studied the political situation in the country and reported to Washington. Tonesk grew increasingly disillusioned with U.S. intelligence authorities, so when Ambassador Lane quit in protest of the U.S. failure to confront Soviet aggression in Poland, Tonesk followed.
    After leaving the CIA in 1952, Tonesk served as a consultant to the Republican National Committee and directed public relations for the United States Travel Agency in Washington, D.C. The election of Dwight Eisenhower encouraged him to return to government service via the United States Department of the State, first as a political officer and analyst in Washington and then, from 1956 to 1961, as consul and chief of a special intelligence research unit in Frankfurt, Germany. From 1961 until 1964, Tonesk served as deputy chief of protocol of the United States.
    During the Vietnam War era, Tonesk was first a liaison officer with the Economic Commission to Asia and the Far East and later the first secretary of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. In retirement, Tonesk consulted for multiple organizations and corporations regarding business ventures in Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Far East. He also collaborated with his longtime friend and Polish émigré activist, Stefan Korboński, on multiple articles, letters, and editorials concerning the situation in Poland and the Solidarity movement. Tonesk passed away in March 1992 in Tucson, Arizona.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of the American naval, intelligence, and foreign service officer William John Tonesk include writings, correspondence, memoranda, reports, notes, personnel records, printed matter, photographs, and memorabilia relating to the post-World War II transition to a communist regime in Poland, relations between the United States and Poland, and other aspects of American foreign policy.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Poland--Foreign relations--United States.
    Poland--History--1945-1980.
    United States--Foreign relations--Poland.
    United States--Foreign relations.