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IMPRESSIONS OF AMERICA

Konstanty Buszczyński

When Konstanty Buszczyński travelled to America in 1910, it was the start of a love affair that would culminate in his appointment as the first Polish Consul of New York. He was delighted by the wide variety of landscapes and people he encountered and recorded everything for the benefit of readers back home in Poland. Whether describing his visit to Niagara Falls (where all the staff had left for a funeral) or explaining the National Park system (admirable, but watch out for rattlesnakes), Buszczyński had an opinion on everything. In this new edition from Kabaty Press, his account has now been translated into English for the very first time.
 

Includes a foreword by Dominic A. Pacyga, Professor Emeritus at Columbia College Chicago and author of American Warsaw: The Rise Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Konstanty Buszczyński, the son of Stefan and Helena (Hlebicki-Józefowicz) Buszczyński married Jadwiga Dmochowska with whom he had six children. As a young man, he graduated from the Real School in Dresden, Germany and began his studies at the Dresden University of Technology. He soon moved to the Riga University of Technology in the Russian Empire. Buszczyński studied briefly at the Faculty of Chemistry (1877-1878) and afterwards attended the University of Lwów in Galicia. He returned to the Riga University of Technology and its Faculty of Agriculture, where he obtained a diploma with distinction in 1883. After graduation, he worked at his estate in Niemiercze in Podolia, and in 1886 started a business focused on development and production of sugar beet seeds with his relative Łążyński. In 1894 Łążyński sold his share of the business to Buszczyński, who expanded the business substantially and became a market leader in research and development of seed varieties. His company eventually owned research and development facilities in both California and Utah, which were used for testing the performance of various seeds under specific climactic conditions. He spent much of his time during 1910-1912 in the United States, and drew on this for the first edition of Impressions from America in 1916. Due to this experience, Minister Leon Wasilewski entrusted him with organizing the first Polish consulate in New York City, where he served as consul general (1919). Buszczyński was dismissed from the post by Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski for participating in the congress of the National Defense Committee, a group supporting Józef Piłsudski in Boston. Before his death in 1921 he returned to Poland and was buried in the Rakowicki Cemetery in Kraków.

“In lively prose Impressions of America evokes the energy and complexity of the society and culture of the United States in the era of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency.  Buszczyński pays little attention to politics but captures the complexity, diversity of the society, economy, and culture, particularly the popular culture. It is a remarkable survey across the continent.”

Thomas H. Bender, Professor Emeritus of History, New York University

“When Konstanty Buszczynski returned to Poland after visiting the United States shortly before World War I, he carried a rosy picture of what he had seen and what he believed the United States stood for. Particularly striking was his view of the United States' strong moral traditions, a view that probably needed to be qualified at the time, but that still offered a welcome complement to less complimentary opinions from foreign visitors. This first English translation of the book is particularly welcome for showing what a wide-awake Polish businessman found to be important in his American sojourn.”

Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus, University of Notre Dame