Collection Scope and Content Summary
Title: Leszcza, Jan. Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1949-1992
Collection number: M0672
1 linear ft.
Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Abstract: The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, clippings, and photographs
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights
reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To
obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the
Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.
Jan Leszcza Papers. M0672. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Jan LESZCZA (native name Wiktor LONDZIN) was born May 20, 1918, in the small city of Zabrze near Cieszyn in the Silesia region
of Poland. Shortly before World War II, he graduated from the Humanities Lyceum in Bielsko and soon after was drafted into
the military. In the aftermath of the September 1939 defeat, he was imprisoned as a P.O.W. and spent the rest of the war in
Nazi concentration camps, first in Dachau, then in GUsen. After the liberation by the American army in 1945, he pursued journalistic
studies at the UNRRA university in Munich, Germany.
In 1951, Jan Leszcza immigrated to the United States and for a few years lived in Chicago. He received schoollng in construction/drafting
and then landed a job in industry. In 1959, he changed his place of residency one more time to California where he settled
in Los Altos near San Francisco and continued working in his adopted profession.
During all this time, despite hardships in foreign surroundings, Jan Leszcza remained a true patriot and intellectual, faithful
to his ideals and fascinated with belle lettres. He continuously sought contacts with other "men of a pen", organized literary
circles and conducted extensive correspondence.
His debut came late, in 1947, with a volume of poetry, "Czas oblakany" (Time Gone Mad) published in Munich by the Founding
Committee of the Polish Writers in Germany. The volume was received with little benevolence by the critics which disappointed
the poet and cooled off his enthusiasm. The next volume of his poetry, "Konie drewniane" (Wooden Horses") appeared in print
twenty years later in London in 1967. This time, however, it was accompanied by the prize for the best bibliophile print work
awarded to Sigma, the Bednarczyk Publishing House.
During the 60's, Jan Leszcza began collaboration with the established literary journal "Tematy". The result of this symbiosis
was the collection of poems titled "Szkicownik" (Notebook). published in New York in 1969. The most mature of his works to
date appeared in 1980, in London, printed again by Sigma, under the title "Trzy sciany" ("Three Walls") and was the last abridged
volume published during his life.
Speaking of Leszcza's literary achievements, it is necessary to mention that a great volume of his work has not appeared in
book format. Much of his work has never see daylight. His literary legacy is significant and awaits future research.
In addition to the archives at Stanford University Ubraries, more of Jan Leszcza's archives can be found with Mr. Jan Kowailk
in San Jose.
Jan Leszcza, who died March 5, 1992, was one of the most distinguished poets of Polish post-war immigration to the United
States. His work has not been satisfactorily explored and awaits fair and objective evaluation.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
The collection includes correspondence, literary manuscripts, clippings, and
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Union of Polish Writers Abroad.
Polish literature--20th century.