Paderewski- The Chicago Connection

A Lecture by Victoria Granacki   Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7 pm
Polish Museum of America Sabina P. Logisz Great Hall, 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60642
A $5.00 donation is requested to help defray the costs of light refreshments.

There will be tours of the Paderewski Room prior to and after the lecture.
Over a musical career that spanned six decades and covered every continent, Ignacy Jan Paderewski gave more than 1500 performances in 200 US cities. Of these, 65 were in Chicago, in all the city’s major concert halls. He was hosted by Conductor Theodore Thomas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s founders and supporters, and dined in the homes of the city’s elite. From his first American Tour in 1892 until his final concert in 1939 there was a special place in his heart for Chicago He said it was Chicago that “impressed me more than any other city in America.” The unbridled enthusiasm of its audiences lifted his spirit and inspired his performances.

During World War I Paderewski’s war relief efforts led him to America on a “begging tour” which raised $50 million for Polish war victims. From 1915 through 1918, he gave 340 speeches, often paired with a piano recital. Of these, four major political addresses were in Chicago – at the Humboldt Park boathouse, the Auditorium Theater, the International Amphitheater, and the Coliseum, and he appeared in Polonia’s major churches and organizational headquarters. In 1932 Mayor Anton Cermak made Paderewski an “Honorary Citizen of Chicago” and he was feted at hotels and private homes throughout the city. Upon his death in New York in 1941, memorial services were held in Chicago at St. Stanislaus Kostka, the Civic Opera House and at Soldier Field. Paderewski’s personal effects were donated to the Polish Museum in Chicago which remains the single most important repository.
“Paderewski – the Chicago Connection” traces the steps of this great Polish hero throughout Chicago, a city that worshipped him. It identifies the Chicagoans he knew and the buildings and sites where he appeared. This presentation is a tribute to Ignacy Jan Paderewski – artist, statesman, and undying champion of Polish freedom — and the mark he made on Chicago, a city he loved. 

Victoria Granacki is president of Granacki Historic Consultants, a historic preservation consulting firm located in Chicago that serves local governments, real estate developers, and private property owners. As part of her work she has written many architectural and community histories for Chicago and its suburbs and prepared landmark nominations for a wide variety of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. She is the author of Chicago’s Polish Downtown, published by Arcadia Press in 2004 and reprinted several times. Her article, “Ignacy Jan Paderewski – a Pianist and His Passion for Poland Come to Chicago” was published this year in the Journal of Illinois History.
Ms. Granacki has taught Introduction to Historic Preservation at Northwestern University and is a guest lecturer for the Historic Preservation program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has given presentations on historic preservation at the Illinois Statewide Preservation Conference, Landmarks Illinois, the Glessner House Museum, and for many Chicago neighborhood organizations and suburban communities. Ms. Granacki holds a BA in Art from Mundelein College (Loyola University) in Chicago, and an MS in Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI.