The "History of the Workers' Movement Library" Collection: A preliminary guide




As extensive as it is, the real significance of the acquisition of the History of the Workers’ Movement Library collection is yet to be fully discovered. A preliminary examination, however, has left little doubt that it is a highly unique collection including hundreds of publications that are rarely, if ever, found outside Poland. One might even consider the acquisition of this unique Polish collection as the attainment of an important piece of history itself, for the collection came from a unique research library that the Central Trade Union Council (Centralna Rada ZwiÄ…zków Zawodowych, or CRZZ) built in Warsaw with a clear focus on the history of the workers’ movement in Poland. Much still remains to be learned about the collection. What follows may be best thought of as a preliminary guide to the collection--the first step of that learning process. Suggestions and comments are welcome. (see the contact information below)
Summary information

Name: The History of the Workers’ Movement Library (Biblioteka Historii Ruchu Zawodowego, or BHRZ)
Type of materials: Published monographs and periodicals
Extent: 647 bound newspaper and journal volumes, mostly oversized, about 1,550 unbound journal issues, about
          1,250 monographs
Subjects: CRZZ (Centralna Rada ZwiÄ…zków Zawodowych, or Central Trade Union Council), PZPR (Polska
          Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, or Polish United Workers' Party), trade unions, workers' movement,
          labor, working class, workers' benefits, propaganda, BHP (bezpieczeÅ„stwo i higiena pracy,
          or safety and hygiene at work)
Date of publications: Ranges from the early 20th century to the early 2000s, with a high concentration in the
          1950s – 1980s
Languages: Polish (predominant), Russian, English, German, Spanish, French, Czech, Hungarian, Serbian
Provenance: The former History of the Workers’ Movement Library in Warsaw, Poland. Click here for a
          brief history of the BHRZ written by Padraic Kenney (Department of History, Indiana University) 
Date of arrival at Indiana University: September 2009
Current location: ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility) of IUB
Physical conditions: Some publications are brittle, but the majority are in good conditions
Restrictions: Oversize bound newspapers are library use only, but all others circulate
Search method: Search in IUCAT “biblioteka historii ruchu zawodowego” as a keyword
Ephemera: Book slips (over 1,000), workers’ union membership card, a few
          book order slips, catalogs, correspondence regarding book orders
Contact: Direct all questions and suggestions to Wookjin Cheun (, 812-855-9413),
          Librarian for Slavic and East European Studies, Wells Library E560, 1320 E. 10th St., Bloomington, IN

Periodicals constitute the backbone of the BHRZ collection, but monographs are far from marginal in the collection. Numerically significant, they cover a wide range of topics in diverse publishing formats. In the following, the section for monographs lists some of the more salient topics and formats, and the section for periodicals the CRZZ's national press. 

Monographs: Click each category to see sample titles.
          BHP (bezpieczeÅ„stwo i higiena pracy): Issues related to safety and hygiene at work places
          CRZZ (Centralna Rada ZwiÄ…zków Zawodowych) directives and training materials
          Foreign countries
          KC PZPR (Komitet Centralny, Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza) 
          Monographic series: Includes titles from more than 80 monographis series. Click here for a full list of the
               series titles. 
          Reference publications
          Reports (sprawozdania)
          Statutory publications  
          Trade Unions
          Vacations and recreations
          Workers’ rights and welfare 

Periodicals: The CRZZ was publishing 22 national periodicals in the early 1970s. The BHRZ Collection currently contains 21 out of those 22 titles including GÅ‚os pracy, the holdings of which are almostcomplete. Click here to see the sample images of each periodical. Except for DziaÅ‚kowiec and WiadomoÅ›ci graficzne, each of the following titles is linked to an IUCAT record.
          DziaÅ‚kowiec (monthly)
          Energetyk (monthly)
          GÅ‚os nauczycielski (weekly)
          GÅ‚os pracy (daily)
          Górnik (bi-weekly)  
          Horyzont (monthly)
          Kultura i życie (monthly)
          Kwartalnik historii ruchu zawodowego (quarterly)
          ÅÄ…czność (weekly)
          Magazyn hutniczy (bi-weekly)
          Metalowiec (bi-weekly)
          Nasze Å¼ycie (bi-weekly)
          Produkcja i usÅ‚ugi (bi-weekly)
          Pracownik paÅ„stwowy i spoÅ‚eczny (bi-weekly)
          PrzeglÄ…d zwiÄ…zkowy (monthly)
          Przyjaciel przy pracy (monthly)
          Robotnik rolny (bi-weekly)
          Sprawy chemików (bi-weekly)
          SygnaÅ‚y (weekly)
          Transport i drogi (weekly)
          Trybuna samorzÄ…du robotniczego (bi-weekly)
          WiadomoÅ›ci graficzne (monthly)                  
          *Click here to see the full list of the periodical titles of the BHRZ collection

The exhibition was held in the Reference Reading Room of the Wells Library from October 4 to 29, 2011. Though the primary goal of the exhibition was to bring this rare collection of official publications to the university community and beyond, it incorporated some materials pertinent to the underground resistance under communist rule. The result was a unique opportunity to present the "above-ground" and underground publications and artifacts side by side. This section may be considered an abridged electronic version of the exhibition. One may notice certain inconsistencies in the use of technology. For optimal viewing it is recommended to be prepared to zoom in or out of the images. 
          Sections of the exhibition: Congress publications, Identity and legitimacyMonographic series,

Related resources
This is a reference section that puts together information that would facilitate access to the body of scholarly information relevant to the workers' movement of Poland, mainly of the communist era.
          Periodical articles
Useful links
          Archiwum opozycji: Formerly (1991-1998) called "Archiwum Peerelu," it is a comprehensive
                   collection of materials in different formats related to the Polish opposition to communist rule
          Biblioteka Cyfrowa OÅ›rodka KARTA: The KARTA Center's digital library of its own archival
                    materials. It currently consists of collections on: Jacek KuroÅ„, Solidarność - Narodziny Ruchu,
                    Federacja MÅ‚odzieży WalczÄ…cej, Ruch Obrony Praw CzÅ‚owieka i Obywatela, Komitet Obrony
                    Robotników (KOR) i KSS KOR, Studencki Komitet SolidarnoÅ›ci (SKS), Ruch MÅ‚odej Polski
                    (RMP), Konfederacja Polski NiepodlegÅ‚ej (KPN), Solidarność WalczÄ…ca, Ruch "Wolność i Pokój,"
                    PomaraÅ„czowa Alternatywa, Komitet Oporu SpoÅ‚ecznego (KOS), Niezależne Zrzeszenie Studentów
                    (NZS), Niezależny Ruch ChÅ‚opski, Wolne ZwiÄ…zki Zawodowe (WZZ)
          BibuÅ‚a: Polskie wydawnictwa niezależne 1976-1989 r.: Comprehensive reference resource
                    (bibliographies and indexes) for independent publications from 1976 to 1989
          Encyklopedia SolidarnoÅ›ci: Web version of the important encyclopedia Encyklopedia SolidarnoÅ›ci
                    (Warszawa and Katowice, 2010- ) with numerous supplementary resources such as the  
                    comprehensive digital library "Wirtualna Czytelnia BibuÅ‚y"
          Instytut Lecha WaÅ‚esy
          Instytut PamiÄ™ci Narodowej: The website of the all-important IPN. Comprehensive and informative
                    (regarding IPN's history and activities including publishing). Its monthly journal Biuletyn Instytutu
          Internetowe Muzeum Polski Lodowej: Contains a number of text fragments, photos, and documentary films
                    from the PRL era
          KOR (Komitet Obrony Robotników)            
          OÅ›rodek KARTA: The KARTA Center's website. Comprehensive, informative, and rich in resources.
                    Contains several archives ("Archiwum fotografii," "Archiwum opozycji," "Archiwum wschodnie")
          PoznaÅ„ski czerwiec '56
          Rewolta grudniowa 1970
          Serwis fotograficzny XX wieku
Created in December 2011