The Jedność Polek (“Unity of Polish Women”) was established in 1923 as the official organ of the Association of Polish Women of the United States of America. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the Association had formed in 1912 as a benefit society of Polish women who wanted the dues they paid to the Polish Women’s Alliance of America to stay in the area. Among its efforts on behalf of the local Polish-American community, the Association established an insurance fund; awarded scholarships for parochial schools, colleges, and universities; taught classes on Polish language and heritage; established choirs and bowling clubs; and led various charitable projects. By 1935, its membership had reached 9,000, with 49 chapters in Cleveland and one in Erie, Pennsylvania. Poles represented Cleveland’s largest ethnic group during the early 20th century. They were particularly influential during the period of heavy industrial growth in Cleveland, although by 1930 the number of Poles had begun to fall with the decline in immigration.
Information on the administration, events, and good works of the Association of Polish Women of the United States of America only comprised part of the coverage of the Jedność Polek. The weekly newspaper also reported on local, state, national, and international news and politics as well, publishing regular bulletins from Poland. Those interested in Cleveland and its environs (such as Toledo, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) could find business and personal sales advertisements and announcements about local events, meetings, weddings, deaths, and more. Religion was an important aspect of Polish culture and communities, so the Jedność Polek often included local, national, and international news regarding the Roman Catholic Church. It also printed serialized fiction, poetry, and humor items. Nearly all content was in Polish, with occasional articles in English.
In 1992, the Association of Polish Women of the United States of America was incorporated into the Polish National Alliance, a life insurance and fraternal organization that still serves the Polish community in the United States today. It is not known when the Jedność Polek ceased publication.
Researched and written by Jenni Salamon