The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center, established at Buffalo State by former President Muriel Howard, continues and expands the archival collection work begun more than 30 years ago by Dr. Monroe Fordham. It serves as a resource for the department's vibrant academic life and brings together teaching materials including newspapers, documentary videos and slide collections for classroom use. The center also functions as a place to prepare research materials for ongoing short term projects.
The mission of the center is: to promote understanding of regional history and foster its inclusion into local school curricula, and to make historical resources accessible to students, scholars, and community groups. This mission is sustained through collaboration with community groups and other local archival resources to actively preserve and disseminate historically significant documents of persons and institutions that contributed to Western New York history.
An important collection preserved in the Fronczak Room of the E. H. Butler Library at Buffalo State are the papers and personal memorabilia of Dr. Francis Fronczak. Born at the turn of the century in Buffalo, Dr. Fronczak was the son of Polish immigrants. He became a lawyer, a medical doctor and served as Commissioner of Health in Erie County, New York. Dr. Fronczak was internationally active before World War I in efforts to restore Polish independence. In this regard he met with and corresponded with Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Wladyslaw Reymont, Henryk Sienkiewicz, and President Woodrow Wilson. In the inter-war period, Dr. Fronczak was active in aid and relief services for Poland—a mission he continued during and after World War II.
An extensive collection of Dr. Fronczak's correspondence, papers, and documents in Polish and English reflecting those activities are available to the public and to scholars for review and research. The collection is of particular interest to students and scholars of Polish and Polish-American history in the twentieth century.
The Peterson Collection includes textiles, ceramic, metal, and stone pieces that were produced by early Indian civilizations of South and Central America. The collection was donated to the department by the late Dr. Harold F. Peterson, Latin American scholar and former member of the Buffalo State History Department. The collection makes up the major part of a permanent exhibit that is housed in the department's Peterson seminar/conference room.
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