Thaddeus F.B. Wasielewski Papers, 1932-1973

Summary Information
Title: Thaddeus F.B. Wasielewski Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1973

  • Wasielewski, Thaddeus F.B.,1904-1976
Call Number: Milwaukee Mss 15; Milwaukee Micro 24; Micro 864

Quantity: 4 boxes (3 c.f.) and 1 reel of microfilm (35mm)

Archival Locations:
UW-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives / Milwaukee Area Research Ctr. (Map)
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Papers of the Democratic representative of Wisconsin's 4th Congressional district, 1941-1947. Wasielewski, who also maintained a law practice in Milwaukee, was active in many local Polish-American organizations. His papers consist of correspondence, primarily from his years in Congress and family letters, microfilmed newspaper clippings illustrating his political career, files of campaign speeches in English and in Polish, campaign brochures and leaflets, printed voting records, material from the 1948 Democratic National Convention, and personal and family biographical material.

Language: English

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Thaddeus F.B. Wasielewski was born 2 December 1904 in Milwaukee, to Dr. Frank S. and Felicia H. (Baranowski) Wasielewski. He attended S.S. Cyril and Methodius Parochial School and South Division High School, and received degrees from the University of Michigan (B.A., 1927) and from Marquette University Law School (J.D., 1931). In 1931 Wasielewski entered practice as an attorney in Milwaukee. On 28 October 1939, he married Stephanie M. Gorak, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gorak of Milwaukee.

Following an unsuccessful campaign in 1938 for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Wasielewski defeated the Republican incumbent, John Schafer, in November 1940 to represent Wisconsin's 4th Congressional District (Milwaukee). He served on the Foreign Affairs and Ways and Means Committees, and was a staunch supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the American war effort. In 1946 Wasielewski was defeated in the primary election, partially due to allegations that he had voted for antilabor legislation in the preceding Congress. When the Democratic cominee, Edmund V. Bobrowicz, was accused of having Communist sympathies and a Communist Party membership, Wasielewski entered the race as an Independent. He was third in the general election.

In 1948 Wasielewski served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and also was a candidate for appointment as Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Two years later he attempted to regain the 4th District Congressional seat, losing in the primary election to Clement Zablocki. Following his earlier defeat in 1946, Wasielewski had returned to his law practice in Milwaukee, which he continued for the remainder of his life.

Wasielewski was also active in numerous fraternal, civic and religious organizations in Milwaukee. He held memberships in and served as an officer of the Polish National Alliance, Polish Roman Catholic Union, Polish Association of America, Pulaski Council, and American Committee for Relief to Poland. Wasielewski organized both the Milwaukee County Citizen's Committee (1938), an umbrella group representing all Milwaukee Polish organizations; and the Woodrow Wilson Lawyers Club, composed of Milwaukee-area attorneys of Polish ancestry.

Thaddeus Wasielewski died on 25 April 1976, and was survived by his widow, Stephanie, and five children, Francis, Stephanie Fay, Janina Clossen, Mary Parsons, and John.

Scope and Content Note

The collection is composed of Wasielewski's correspondence files, political speeches, campaign brochures, newspaper clippings, and other political and personal papers. There is also a folder of biographical material, which includes several very complete biographical sketches of Wasielewski, with a history of his parents and grandparents, and a single sheet of data regarding Mrs. StephanieWasielewski.

Wasielewski's correspondence is most complete for the years when he was in Congress. There is some political correspondence, as well as a separate folder of letters to and from the White House. Major correspondents include Wasielewski's mother, Felicia, who remained in Milwaukee during his three terms in Congress, and his brother and sister-in-law, Eugene and Regina Wasielewski. These letters and others to relatives and friends, present a good picture of the Wasielewskis' family life and social activities in Washington, the births of their first three children, and family relationships and contacts, with some references to Congressional business. Wasielewski also wrote many letters to men serving in the military during World War II, especially to friends and acquaintances, and to men from the Milwaukee area. Other correspondence includes letters from constituents.

Political papers in the collection consist of copies of campaign and general speeches, delivered by Wasielewski and by his supporters, with scattered press releases and radio talk show scripts included. Materials are in both English and Polish. Some of the speeches, like some correspondence, show fire and water damage from a fire in Wasielewski's Milwaukee office. A file of general political papers contains lists of supporters and poll lists (1938 and 1940), statements of receipts and expenditures from the 1942 campaign and from the 1944 contested election law suit brought by John C. Schafer, a copy of the Congressional Record recording debates on Polish Constitution Day, 1944, and a few other items. An extensive file of microfilmed newspaper clippings spans 1938-1950, and illustrates Wasielewski's actions in Congress, the campaigns and elections, and his speeches and talks. Clippings from the Congressional Record provide coverage of the Congressman's speeches, questions, and legislation introduced. A few personal and family clippings are included, as are several clippings regarding the Polish Relief Fund Committee of Milwaukee, and the Polish-American National Bar Association and Woodrow Wilson Lawyers Club. Most of the items were taken from Milwaukee newspapers, in particular from the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee Star, and from the Polish-language press - Nowiny Polskie, Kuryer Polski, and Dziennik Zwiazkowy. Other political papers include a folder of campaign brochures and leaflets, a reference file regarding lend-lease legislation (1941), programs and invitations to various Washington events, printed voting records (1940-1946), and materials from the 1948 Democratic National Convention.

Other papers in the collection consist of certificates relating to Wasielewski's election to Congress and to his admission to the Wisconsin bar, and miscellany and personal memorabilia, primarily regarding land purchases and sales.

There are numerous family photographs in Box 3 of the collection. Those individuals who have been identified are Thaddeus and Stephanie Wasielewski, their children, Francis and Stephanie, and Thaddeus's brother, Eugene. Many of the photos were taken when Wasielewski was in Congress.

Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Stephanie Wasielewski, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1980. Accession Number: M80-543

Processing Information

Processed by Menzi Behrnd-Klodt and William Orr, December 1980.

Contents List
Milwaukee Mss 15
Box   1
Folder   1
Biographical Material
Box   1
Folder   2
Campaign Brochures and Leaflets
Box   1
Folder   3
Certificates, 1942-1947
Box   1
Folder   4-12
1932-1973, n.d.
Box   2
Folder   1
With White House, 1941
Box   2
Folder   2
Democratic National Convention Materials, 1948
Box   2
Folder   3
Lend-Lease Legislation, 1941
Box   2
Folder   4
Miscellany and Personal Memorabilia
Box   2
Folder   5
Political Papers - General, 1938-1950
Box   2
Folder   6
Programs and Invitations, 1940-1945
Box   2
Folder   7-8
Campaign Speeches in English, by Wasielewski and Others, 1938-1946
Box   2
Folder   9
Campaign Speeches in Polish, 1938-1950
Box   2
Folder   10
General Speeches - in Polish and English, 1939-1948
Box   2
Folder   11
Voting Records, 1940-1946
Box   3
Folder   1
Portraits of Wasielewski
Box   3
Folder   2
Wasielewski Family and Friends
Box   4
Scrapbooks - Volume 1, 1940-1941; Volume 2, January-September 1942
Milwaukee Micro 24/Micro 864
Microfilmed Scrapbooks and Newspaper Clippings
Reel   1
Frame   0-25
March-June 1938
Reel   1
Frame   26-50
June-September 1938
Reel   1
Frame   51-75
September 1938
Reel   1
Frame   76-100
September-November 1938
Reel   1
Frame   101-125
January 1939-September 1940
Reel   1
Frame   126-150
September 1940-December 1941
Reel   1
Frame   151-175
April 1941-March 1942
Reel   1
Frame   176-200
April-October 1942
Reel   1
Frame   201-225
October 1942-December 1943
Reel   1
Frame   226-250
January-September 1944
Reel   1
Frame   251-275
September 1944-August 1946
Reel   1
Frame   276-300
July 1946-September 1950, n.d.
Reel   1
Frame   301-303
Reel   1
Frame   304-317
Clippings regarding the Polish Relief Fund Committee of Milwaukee, Polish-American National Bar Association and Woodrow Wilson Lawyers Club, January-February 1940