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Winter 2003
A Publication of the St. Louis Public Library

Vol. 3   No. 1

Ethnic Spotlight

A subject of special interest in the history of Connecticut is the story of the Polish Americans. Over 300,000 Connecticut residents are Polish American; almost 10 percent of the state’s total population. There are large concentrations of first and second generation Polish Americans in the cities of New Britain (Connecticut’s largest Polish-American community), Bridgeport, Stamford, and greater Hartford. Radio station WRYM-AM broadcasts several of its weekly programs (including a Polka Party) in Polish to audiences of up to 350,000 listeners.

Large numbers of Poles came to the United States in the late 19th century, during the World War II period, and again in the 1980s during the political turmoil in Poland. These immigrants took jobs in Connecticut’s mills, factories, and on its farms.

There are a number of important sources of information on Connecticut’s ethnic communities. The Connecticut Polish American Archives ( is located in the Elihu Burritt Library at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. The collection includes records of organizations and institutions, personal papers of individuals, Polish-American periodicals in hard copy and microfilm formats, plus collections of posters, ephemera, and recorded music.

A large collection of materials on various Connecticut ethnic groups is housed in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, located at the University of Connecticut. The Center’s Collections for Ethnic Heritage and Immigration History Research ( include materials on French Canadians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Chinese Americans. Collections include the New London Italian-American Oral History Project, the Robert Bisaillon Papers (French Canadians in Connecticut), and the Hartford Voter Registration Records, 1840-1984, which consists of voter checklists and voter registration cards from the City of Hartford. .

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