Wilkes University

Cultural Artifacts


Artifacts in the Polish Room 

The furniture in the Polish Room was constructed by the late Stefan Hellersperk, Dallas, Pennsylvania. He used heavy birch which was imported from Washington. to construct the seven foot bench. It weighs approximately 450 pounds. The large oval table with its highly polished finish has half inch deep carvings in the Goral tradition.

On the table is an antique samovar from 18th Century Warsaw. This samovar is a silver tea urn with a Greek design.

Eagle Carving (Above fireplace)
The carved wooden eagle is a replica of the 12th century eagle which is the symbol of Poland. The carving was executed by the late Stefan Hellersperk, Dallas, Pennsylvania. The Polish Room collection also includes many ornamental wood carvings and sculptures.

"Jesus" Mask
Wladyslaw Theo Benda came to the United States in 1899. Before he became celebrated as the creator of a new type of masks, he was well-known as an illustrator. Benda's masks are made of hard, unbleached paper, glued in tightly compressed layer reinforced with brass wires, protected from atmospheric conditions by coats of varnishes, painted with oil colors and gilded. W.T. Benda's "Jesus" mask rests on a high pedestal which was carved by Stefan Hellersperk, Dallas, Pennsylvania.

Imported Polish kilims grace the two walls of the Polish Room. On kilim is of a North Baltic scene. The other kilim is a typical floral pattern.

Map (Right side of fireplace)
The map of Poland from the 16th Century was executed by Abraham Ortelius, royal geographer to King Philip II of Spain.

The painting, Farmer with his Horses (Chlop z Konmi), is an original oil painting by Joseph Brodowski. Brodowski was born in Warsaw in 1828 and was a student of January Suchodolski. He is generally known for his battlescenes and enre pieces.

The Polish Room also contains paintings and lithographs of the American Revolutionary war heroes, Casmir Pulaski and Thaddeus Kosciuszko, astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, Nobel Prize winner Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Pope Jan Pawel II (Pope John Paul II), Anthony Mroz, a Tatra bagpiper, and many others.

Commemorative Plaque (Outside the door)
To commemorate the contributions of the early Polish immigrants to Wyoming Valley, a bronze plaque celebrating their achievements is place near the door.

Piasanki (Decorated Eggs)
The pisanki in the glass case at the entrance to the Polish Room were designed by Anna Kalonick and her mother, and by Sophie Yurkowski (Yurko) both of whom resided in Luzerne County. The artistic designs are etched with beeswax and dipped in coloring fluids several times. Other techniques for decorating eggs during the Easter season are skrobanki or rysowankiwhere the outline of birds, flowers, and animals are delicately scratched with sharp instruments. The colors and designs have different symbolic meanings. The glass case also contains traditional handmade Christmas ornaments.

Books The library in the Polish Room has a fine collection of books in both Polish and English. The topics of the books include history, the poems of Adam Mickiewicz, poetry, art, music, cookbooks to mention just a few topics. The library collection has contains a music collection and a stamp collection. The Wilkes University Polish Room is in the process of inventorying the entire collection. When this inventory is completed, a database of the collection will be created. It is hoped that this database will become resource tool for Polish and Polish-American studies.

The Polish Room has clothing which was worn traditionally in the Krakow and Zakopane regions. The clothing is embellished with hand embrodiery in the style representative of the regions.

A doll collection representing various regions in Poland and historical figures is located near the entrance door.  Above the mantel inside the Polish Room are two sets of wooden dolls in regional attire.

A set of goblets from the Royal Palce of Wawel in Krakow, Poland, are located in the bookcase to the left of the fireplace.