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Mollie West: A Century of Activism


Welcome to Mollie West: A Century of Activism!

This online exhibit will outline the significant events of labor activist and leader Mollie Lieber West’s life and work. Using the materials  preserved in Mollie West’s archival collection at the Women & Leadership Archives, the exhibit will tell the compelling story of one woman’s experiences during some of the most significant events of the twentieth century including the Great Depression, the Memorial Day Massacre, and World War II.

This digital history project explores Mollie Lieber West’s memorable life through time via an interactive timeline that depicts photographs, audio, and transcripts of correspondence. To explore individual items in the collection, click on the 'Browse Items' link on the left sidebar.


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The Legion of Young Polish Women

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From its founding in 1939 to today, the Legion of Young Polish Women (Legion Młodych Polek) has remained an enduring non-profit organization within Chicago’s large Polish-American community. For over 75 years, the Legion has worked to support the people of Poland, Polish immigrants, and Polish-Americans through funding charitable organizations, supporting cultural events, and promoting Polish heritage.

This exhibit traces the history of the Legion of Young Polish Women from its founding at the beginning of the Second World War (WWII) to the present. The exhibit is divided into four sections; the first three sections are arranged thematically, exploring the Legion’s founding and early years (1939-1950), the organization’s activities and causes, and its iconic events. The final section of the exhibit explores how the Legion of Young Polish Women has continued to remain a vital part of Chicago’s Polish-American community and what it means to its members.

The exhibit was created utilizing materials from the Legion of Young Polish Women Records at the Women and Leadership Archives. Sources included newspapers, correspondence, photographs, administrative and financial documents, programs, and audio-visual material found in the collection. Additional contemporary interviews for this exhibit were conducted with members and supporters of the Legion of Young Polish Women and have since become part of the archival collection.

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