Kasa Im. Józefa Mianowskiego – Fundacja Popierania Nauki

 

History

Sprawozdanie kasy z 1895 r.

Fund’s report in 1895

The renowned physician and social activist Józef Mianowski (1804-1879) has won a permanent place in the history of Polish science. Professor of physiology at the Medical and Surgical Academy of Vilnius in the years 1839-1842 and during the following period (1842-1860) in St. Petersburg, in 1862 Mianowski became Rector of the Warsaw Main School [Szkoła Główna], the only Polish higher educational facility in the Russian partition at the time. In 1863, during the January Uprising against Russian rule in Poland, Mianowski managed to shield his students from repressions, deliberately diminishing in the eyes of his Russian superiors their activities during the insurrection. Many of these combatants figured on false class attendance lists; in the closing phase of the Uprising and after its defeat numerous participants were admitted to the Main School, with their soldierly past omitted from record. Thanks to Józef Mianowski the Main School evaded immediate repression and became a kind of refuge for patriotic youth, who managed to survive the Uprising.

In 1881, the alumni of the Main School in Warsaw, to honor the memory of their former Rector, established a foundation named after Józef Mianowski to support scholars active in the humanities and sciences. Already in the late nineteenth century this institution became the major Polish organization sponsoring research and publication of scholarly works. The Mianowski Fund, which carried on through the interwar period in the form of the Institute for the Promotion of Science, was closed down on 31 December 1952, alongside with the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences.

On 20 May 1991, the Mianowski Fund was reactivated by a notary act as the Foundation for the Promotion of Science. Public recognition of this act came on 11 October 1991, when the District Court for the City of Warsaw promulgated its decision of inscribing the Foundation into the official register of foundations.

An Outline of the History of the Mianowski Fund

I. 1881-1920

Skład Komitetu Kasy Mianowskiego z 1894 r

List of members of the Fund in 1894

The disastrous condition of Polish scholarly activities during the period of the partitions was one of the chief reasons for establishing the Mianowski Fund. There were no Polish scientific institutions, universities and schools, and the organizations and scientific societies, which functioned in autonomous Galicia, the part of pre-partition Poland which was occupied by Austria, were not capable of providing for the enormous needs of the whole nation. The original intention was to establish a society for the furthering of Polish scholarship and simultaneously to honor the only rector of the only Polish higher school in Russian Poland by naming it after the former Rector of the Varsovian Main School, which had been closed down by the Tsarist authorities in 1869 after just seven years of existence. But Tsarist authorities declined to give their consent. Nevertheless, from 22 January 1879, when the first session held by the former professors and students of the Main School took place, until 12 July 1881, when the foundation was finally instituted, the struggle for official recognition never ceased. Ultimate success, though, was paid for by far reaching concessions, which severely diminished the new organization’s functions. Russian authorities only allowed the organization to be constituted in the form of a mutual aid fund, similar to charitable institutions common at the time. This rather narrow range of statute activity was soon unofficially expanded, and until the regaining of independence by Poland in 1918 the “Józef Mianowski Fund for Individuals Working in the Fields of Scholarly Activity,” its full official name, became the major institution in Russian Poland supporting Polish research and publishing, earning its later renown as the “Polish Ministry for Research in the years of captivity.”

From the very beginning the Mianowski Fund drew together personalities, who were undisputed intellectual authorities from Warsaw and from the entire Russian partition. Among the forty-five founders of the Fund one finds Jerzy Aleksandrowicz, Ignacy Baranowski, Eugeniusz Dziewulski, Aleksander Głowacki (Bolesław Prus), Władysław Holewiński, Aleksander Kraushar, Leopold Kronenberg, Stanisław Kronenberg, Jakób Natanson, Józef Kazimierz Plebański, Stanisław Przystański, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Antoni Slósarski, Karol Strasburger, Filip Sulimierski, August Wrześniowski and Bronisław Znatowicz.

On 6 October 1881 Mianowski Fund members created a committee to administer the Fund, and elected as the organization’s president, Dr. Tytus Chałubiński, a former professor of the Medical and Surgical Academy and the Main School, considered one of the most prominent Polish physicians. Stanisław Kronenberg, financier and patron of scholars, one of the wealthiest men in the Russian partition, became Vice-President. Karol Deike, another financier, President of the Commercial Bank (Bank Handlowy) in Warsaw, became the Treasurer. The physician and social activist Konrad Dobrski was elected Secretary of the Committee. Piotr Chmielowski, Mścisław Godlewski, Władysław Holewiński, Jakób Natanson, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Franciszek Sliwicki, Henryk Struve and Filip Sulimierski became members of the Committee.1 All the members of the committee were in one way or another associated with the Main School. As it was emphasized by Zygmunt Szweykowski, author of a monograph of the Mianowski Fund, during the period until 1918, the Committee attempted to resemble “as closely as possible, the character of the Main School: to this end representatives of all four faculties were included (the professors representing the four faculties were: Chałubiński, Holewiński, Natanson and Struve).2

Skład Komitetu Kasy Mianowskiego z 1894 r.

Members list of the Fund in 1994

The Mianowski Fund began its functioning with capital of 6.750 rubles in silver, i.e. slightly more than $9,100 (according to the rate of exchange at the time). The first office of the Fund was located in the Kronenberg Palace, at 18 Mazowiecka Street (the building was destroyed during World War II; nowadays, the site is occupied by the Hotel Victoria).

The public followed the establishment of the Mianowski Fund with interest; furthermore, this attention was coupled with great generosity. The extent of this attitude may well be illustrated by the following figures: by 31 December 1882, the capital of the Fund rose to 25,686 rubles, and the number of active members was 635 persons. The number of honorary members totaled 54, while the founding members’ list reached 65. The Fund was supported by all levels of society, including the aristocracy (Count Ludwik Krasiński, Count Kazimierz Krasiński, Karol Zamoyski, Tomasz Zamoyski, Zofia Raczyńska, Konstanty Przezdziecki), and representatives of financial and industrial circles (the Kronenberg family, Samuel Bergson, Jan Bloch, Edward Lilpop, Stanisław Rotwand, Hipolit Wawelberg), but most of all by a great number of the Polish intelligentsia, not only from Polish territories, including the former Kingdom of Poland and the eastern parts of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but also from remote parts of the Russian Empire. During the years 1881-1906, the number of members of the Fund totaled 2,746 persons, who donated 126,730 rubles (c. $171,080). At the same time the Mianowski Fund received 572,228 rubles ($772,500) from a group of 78 major contributors.3 At the outbreak of the First World War, the Mianowski Fund was the richest organization among the institutions called into being for the purpose of supporting scientific research in all of the Polish territories. The biggest contributor was engineer Witold Zglenicki, who in 1904 bequeathed the revenues derived from an oil field in Surachany in Azerbaijan, today found within the boundaries of the capital city Baku, to the Mianowski Fund. The income from the oil field, nearly 1,773,913 rubles (some 2.4 million dollars), constituted nearly 63 percent of all sums donated to the Fund in the years between 1881 and 1918.4 The financial success of the Mianowski Fund allowed for widespread activity in supporting research and publishing already in the first years of its functioning.

The statute of the Mianowski Fund, as was already mentioned, limited its scope of activity; nevertheless, considering that there was no independent Polish state at the time, it must be viewed as a certain success. The Russians consented to expand the activities of the Fund beyond the group of people connected with the former Main School, to encompass “everybody working in the field of learning” (§1). Unfortunately, other paragraphs of the statute limited the activity severely. The Fund could not support subjects of other monarchs, or even the Tsar’s subjects, who remained abroad without official permission of the authorities (§2). This immediately limited the possibility of financially supporting research conducted by Poles from other partitions and emigrants. Paragraph 16, an explication of the Fund Committee’s activities, contained a clause which severely limited the Committee’s scope. Apart from strictly administrative functions, the Committee could “look into and decide upon applications for grants and loans,” and “solicit means for the development of the Fund’s activities.” That meant, as Zygmunt Szweykowski pointed out, that by definition the Fund’s administrators were totally deprived of initiative and rendered completely passive. The functioning of the Fund was to be dependent on the state of development of research and the energy displayed by scholarly circles. Needless to say that the aforementioned restrictions could be circumvented and, within a short period of time from the establishment of the institution, the milieu gathered around the Mianowski Fund initiated a number of editorial as well as research enterprises.

In spite of renewed attempts to reform the scope of activity of the Fund, like the memorials by Feliks Kucharzewski (1899) or Zygmunt Kramsztyk (1907), it was not until the Russians evacuated Warsaw in 1915, in the midst of World War I and the political situation in the former Kingdom of Poland was completely changed that reform became possible and the Fund was able to adapt itself to the true needs of the scholarly life of the nation.

In 1916 the Committee undertook measures to convert the Fund into a modern institute for supporting research. The effect of these actions finally could be seen in 1920 in the new Statute of the Mianowski Fund. At that time the political restraints were no more and the charity facade could be done away with. The scope of activity was widened and the Fund modernized. The main new feature introduced was the Academic Council, which encompassed representatives of twenty-four institutions from across the nation, plus the twelve members of the Committee. The Council was the body upon which rested the responsibility for the shaping of the character of the institution, and it was invested with the power to elect the Committee. A new category of members was also introduced, members-correspondents from all over Poland, who were to collaborate with the Committee both to seek out the needs for support among important scholarly enterprises, and to work towards finding new resources of funding. The democratization of the Mianowski Fund mirrored the changes which Poland had experienced at the time. Another factor was the broadening of the fields of activity to encompass the whole country. The name of the institution was also changed, which now became: The Mianowski Fund. Institute for the Promotion of Science.5

The activity of the Fund in the first phase of its existence, until 1920, developed along several different lines. Primarily the Fund supported the publication of books and periodicals of learned character; it also distributed grants aimed at sponsoring studies and individual research projects. After 1905, during a period of limited political liberalization in Russia, the Fund could also support numerous specialized and general scientific societies, and co-finance publishing of school textbooks for the newly opened Polish schools. At the same time, the Fund sponsored scholarly institutions which functioned in the Kingdom of Poland and increased the range of its publishing activities.

The Catalogue of Works Published with the Assistance of the Mianowski Fund in the years 1881-1929 bears witness to the scale of the activities of this institution.6 Nearly seven hundred titles were issued by the Fund, including many series of fundamental character for respective disciplines. The number of actual volumes can be assessed at around fifteen hundred.

In the broadly understood domain of philosophy over seventy titles were published, encompassing, apart from texts of classics of philosophy, also a number of original works by Polish authors, including publications in psychology (Edward Abramowski, Władysław Heinrich, Julian Ochorowicz), ethics (Władysław Biegański), history of philosophy (Wiktor Wąsik, Wincenty Lutosławski), epistemology (Benedykt Bronstein). The Mianowski Fund also financed the periodical Przegląd Filozoficzny [Philosophical Review], edited by Władysław Werycho (1899-1920: vols. 1-23; continued in the interwar period with the financial assistance of the Fund) and Biblioteka Filozoficzna [Philosophical Library], edited first by Henryk Struve and later by Henryk Goldberg (vols. 1-19: 1885-1916).

Historical disciplines were represented in the publishing output of over seventy titles, including the series of monographs in modern history edited by Szymon Askenazy (vols. 1-23), and the fundamental primary source editions, Matricularum Regni Poloniae Summaria [Registers of The Crown Chancellery], Uchansciana [The Uchański Papers], and Komisja Edukacji Narodowej i jej szkoły w Koronie (1780-1793) [The National Education Commission and its Schools in the Crown (1780-1793)] by Teodor Wierzbowski.

In the realm of legal sciences, the Mianowski Fund supported over forty titles and the periodical, Themis Polska [Polish Themis], edited by Karol Lutostański and Szymon Rundstein (vols. 1-8: 1913-1918).

Economic sciences were represented by over thirty titles, including the works of Zofia Daszyńska-Golińska, Ludwik Krzywicki, Włodzimierz Wakar and Witold Załęski. The Mianowski Fund also assisted in the publishing of the periodicals, Ekonomista [The Economist] (vols. 1-5: 1901-1905), and Rocznik Statystyczny Królestwa Polskiego [Statistical Yearbook of the Kingdom of Poland] (vols. 1-3: 1913-1915).

Over twenty of all the Fund’s published titles can be categorized as belonging to the realm of linguistics, including fundamental works by Jan Bauduin de Courteneay, Antoni Krasnowolski, Adam Antoni Kryński, Stanisław Szober and Kazimierz Wóycicki. The periodical Prace Filologiczne [Philological Works] (vols. 1-9: 1885-1920) was also supported, and it continued with the financial assistance of the Mianowski Fund during the interwar period. The most important linguistic work published from the resources of the Fund was the Słownik Języka Polskiego [Dictionary of the Polish Language], by Jan Karłowicz, Adam Kryński and Władysław Niedźwiedzki (vols. 1-8: 1900-1927).

Over forty titles were published in the field of literary research, including the works of Henryk Galle, Gabriel Korbut, and Manfred Kridl. Numerous critical editions of literary texts and anthologies also were sponsored. The Fund supported the printing of the Biblioteka zapomnianych poetów i prozaików polskich XVI-XVIII w. [A Library of Forgotten Polish Writers and Poets from the 16th to the 18th Centuries], edited by Teodor Wierzbowski (vols. 1-25:1885-1908).

Apart from over twenty publications in pedagogy, the Mianowski Fund financed the publication of the periodicals Przegląd Pedagogiczny [Pedagogical Review], Rocznik Pedagogiczny [Pedagogical Yearbook], and the encyclopedia, Encyklopedia wychowawcza [Encyclopedia of Upbringing].

Over ten titles in the field of aesthetics and history of art were published, including the works of Stanisław Łoza, Władysław Matlakowski and Władysław Tatarkiewicz.

Anthropology and ethnography were represented by over twenty titles, encompassing, among others, the works by Stanisław Ciszewski (Krakowiacy), Zygmunt Gloger, Oskar Kolberg (Mazowsze). The Fund financed also the publishing of the periodical Wisła [The Vistula] (vols. 4-20, 1880-1917).

In the realm of mathematical sciences, over fifty titles were published, including the series Biblioteka Matematyczno-Fizyczna [Mathematico-Physical Library], edited by M.A. Baraniecki and A. Czajewicz, and the periodicals Prace Matematyczno-Fizyczne [Mathematico-Physical Works] and Wektor [The Vector].

Natural sciences, with over a hundred and twenty titles printed, were the most frequently represented among the publications of the Mianowski Fund. Apart from the Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich [Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavonic Countries], edited first by Filip Sulimierski and Władysław Walewski, and then by Bronisław Chlebowski (vols. 1-15: 1880-1902), the multi-volume work Obrazy roślinności Królestwa Polskiego [Plant Life Images of the Kingdom of Poland] by Zygmunt Wóycicki also was published, as were the periodicals Pamiętnik Fizjograficzny [Physiographical Records] (vols. 3-25: 1883-1918) and Chemik Polski [The Polish Chemist] (vols. 3-6: 1903-1906; vols. 15-16: 1917-1918).

Over sixty titles of medical works were published; and, over a hundred and twenty appeared in technology and agriculture, which encompassed, among others, the series Biblioteka Rolnicza [Agricultural Library] and Biblioteka Dzieł Technicznych [The Library of Technical Works]. The Mianowski Fund also supported the publishing of the Wielka Encyklopedia Powszechna Ilustrowana [The Great Illustrated Universal Encyclopedia] (volumes published in the years 1904-1911) and the works published by the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences.

The publication of the series, Poradnik dla samouków [The Teach-Yourself Companion], edited by Stanisław Michalski and Aleksander Heflich, was an initiative worthy of separate mention. These books contained systematic articles devoted to various fields of learning, usually organized in three levels of difficulty. The series was aimed at filling the gap in education, which was inevitable with the absence of Polish schooling in the Kingdom. The most important authorities described their scholarly disciplines. The list of authors included names such as Piotr Chmielowski, Samuel Dickstein, Ludwik Krzywicki, Adam Mahrburg, Kazimierz Stołyhwo, Zygmunt Wóycicki, and Florian Znaniecki. The second enhanced and enlarged edition, which started to come out in 1903, appeared under the title Świat i człowiek [The World and Man]. Three series, altogether fifteen volumes, were published in the years 1898-1913.

The scope of the activities of the Mianowski Fund in the field of financing scholarly publications, particularly in the period before 1920, could have been even greater than has been described above, because the Fund also gave individual subventions for works published by other companies, which found themselves in financial difficulty. This remark about the Fund’s cooperation also applies to the Fund serving as co-publisher with Edward Wende’s publication company, which distributed the publications of the Mianowski Fund.7

The support of research, through offering fellowships and stipends for scholars living in difficult material conditions, was another field of activity. According to recent estimates, the Fund gave 464 grants for “scholarly ends and research” in the years 1881-1906, provided 168 grants in the years 1881-1906 for research and studies within the country and abroad and 131 grants for scholars in financial difficulties. In all, during the years 1881-1906, the fund spent over 559,192 rubles ($750,000) supporting Polish research efforts.8 Through 1920, as estimates indicate, this sum could have doubled.

Scholarly competitions were an important measure aimed at propagating and disseminating research. In 1884, through the bequest of Jakób Natanson, a separate fund (with the capital of thirty thousand rubles) was established, the income from which was designated to provide two prizes, one in the humanities and one in the social sciences, “for the most valuable scholarly contributions in the last four years, by the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Poland, those born in the Kingdom, and published in the Polish language.” The prizes were considerable, as they oscillated between 2,500 – 3,500 rubles ($3,000 – $4,500). Among the books distinguished were such outstanding works as Rządy sejmikowe w epoce królów elekcyjnych [The Governance of Provincial Diets in Poland During the Times of Elected Kings] by Adolf Pawiński (1888); Przymierze polsko-pruskie [Polish-Prussian Alliance] by Szymon Askenazy (1900); Kara w najdawniejszym prawie polskim [Punishment in the Oldest Polish Law] by Marceli Handelsman (1908) in history; an ethnographical and anthropological classic, Kurpie by Ludwik Krzywicki (1892); in philosophy – Wstęp krytyczny do filozofii [Critical Introduction to Philosophy] — by Henryk Struve (1896); in mathematics, physics and chemistry – O związkach między zasadą najmniejszego działania, a najprawdopodobniejszym układem [On the Connection Between the Principle of Least Action and Most Probable Configuration] by Władysław Gosiewski (1888), Wstęp do fizyki teoretycznej [Introduction to Theoretical Physics] by Władysław Natanson (1890), Badania w dziedzinie azotowych związków organicznych i ich pochodnych [Researches on Organic Nitrate Compounds and their Derivatives] by Julian Braun (1908).

Two smaller prizes, considering the awarded money, were created from other resources. Zenon Pilecki, a physician from Warsaw financed one of them. Among its laureates one finds Piotr Chmielowski, Zygmunt Gloger, Gabriel Korbut, Władysław Smoleński, Stanisław Kramsztyk, and Bronisław Znatowicz. The other prize, intended for historical works only, was provided for by the Adolf Pawiński Fund, established by Hipolit Wawelberg and Stanisław Rotwand, prominent Varsovian industrialists and patrons of learning and education. The Pawiński Fund Prizes among others were granted to Aleksander Jabłonowski (Polska XVI wieku pod względem geograficzno-statystycznym; 1897) [Poland in the 16th Century: Geography and Statistics], Adam Szelągowski (Pieniądz i przewrót cen w Polsce XVI i XVII w.; 1902) [Money and Inflation in 16th and 17th Century Poland], and Jan Karol Kochanowski (Teka Pawińskiego, Vol. 7: Księgi sądowe brzesko-kujawskie; 1905) [The Pawiński Papers, Vol. 7: The Judicial Records of the Courts in Brześć Kujawski].

After 1905 the activity of the Mianowski Fund intensified even more. The opening of Polish schools resulted in an increased demand for the so-called “intelligent” catalogues of books and publications in the methodology of pedagogical sciences; and the establishment of the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences, with its numerous laboratories, not to mention the intensified activity of specialized societies, increased the need for financing scientific equipment and the printing of books and journals. Until 1920, for example, the Mianowski Fund sponsored the majority of the Warsaw Society’s publications. Many of the laboratories of the Society survived the First World War only due to subsidies of the Fund.9

During the first phase of its existence, The Mianowski Fund’s presidency, after Tytus Chałubiński, was held by Stanisław Kronenberg (1886-1887), Ignacy Baranowski (1887-1893), Antoni Okolski (1893-1897), Henryk Struve (1897-1900, and 1902-1903), Władysław Holewiński (1900-1902, and 1904), and Konrad Dobrski (1904-1915). In 1914, the Fund’s administrators created a special section (Academic Section), which was responsible for supporting ongoing research and subsidies, within its administrative office. The need for this section arose with the multiplying applications for subsidies and stipends, and with the increased role of the Fund in financing publications. Stanisław Michalski, the editor-in-chief of Poradnik dla samouków, became the head of this section. It was Michalski, who initiated in 1916 the discussion concerning the reorganization of the Fund (his memorial of 31 May, 1916). The discussion resulted, as was already mentioned, in the new Statute of 1920, and a substantial democratization of the Fund’s structures. The most important novelty was the introduction of the Academic Council. Encompassing members from all three former partitions, the Academic Council of the Mianowski Fund was to add to the professional character of the institution and help in integrating the scholarly circles. The Council was also to help in casting away the dubious practices of the former period, when the Committee was often accused of arbitrary decisions. But it is obvious that this arbitrariness was primarily caused by the legal limitations imposed on the Fund by its original Statute of 1881.

II. 1920-1939

Stanisław Michalski

Stanisław Michalski

The first list of the institutions to be represented in the Scientific Council was put together by the functioning Committee. This list included: the Polish Academy of Art and Sciences (delegate: Kazimierz Żorawski), the Poznań Society of Friends of Arts and Sciences (Heliodor Święcicki), the Union of Polish Learned Societies in Lwów (Paweł Dąbkowski), the Vilnius Society of Friends of Arts and Sciences (Władysław Tatarkiewicz), the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences (Jan Karol Kochanowski), the Jagiellonian University (Wacław Tokarz), the University of Vilnius (Władysław Dziewulski), the University of Lwów (Alfred Halban), the Warsaw University (Stanisław Thugutt), the University of Poznań (Heliodor Święcicki), the Lwów University of Technology (Ignacy Mościcki; later President of the Republic of Poland), the Warsaw University of Technology (Kazimierz Pomianowski). The mathematician K. Żorawski became the first Chairman of the Council. During the years 1921-1932, Kazimierz Twardowski, creator of the Lwów-Warsaw philosophical school, held the post. He was succeeded by the chemist Wociech Świętosławski, who later became the Minister of Religious Affairs and Public Enlightenment.

During the entire interwar period, Karol Lutostański held the post of President of the Committee. Elected in 1920, Lutostański was a renowned professor of civil law at the University of Warsaw. The other members of the Committee in the years 1920-1939 were: Czesław Białobrzeski, Franciszek Bujak, Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Feliks Kucharzewski, Stanisław Szober, Józef Ujejski, Witold Doroszewski, Maksymilian Tytus Huber, Adam Krokiewicz, Ignacy Matuszewski, Bogdan Suchodolski, Zygmunt Szweykowski, and more than ten other personalities, equally important for Polish culture. Through the whole period Stanisław Michalski, the spiritus movens of the Fund, remained the head of the Academic Section, while his formal position allowed only for advisory status in the Committee.

With the loss of the oil fields in the Caucasus – the main source of income before the war, the economic crisis in the twenties and the thirties, and the devaluation of bonds in which the Fund held its assets, the financial state of the Mianowski Fund was difficult. Countermeasures, such as financial operations on the stock exchange, shifts in publishing policies (which until then has operated under a substantial deficit), and the taking over of the distribution of published books, only in a small degree remedied the situation. Housing problems disallowed the opening of a bookstore, which would have sold books issued by the Fund and publications of the various societies and academic institutions to bring revenue.

In this state of affairs, the Fund decided to call upon the generosity of the general public. Already in 1920 Stanisław Michalski and the Vice-President of Warsaw, Artur Śliwiński, organized a campaign for popular support of academe. The campaign brought as its chief result that from that moment on, local communities reserved money in their budgets for scholarly ends and forwarded it to the Mianowski Fund. In 1923, Stanisław Michalski, eager to get every possible backing for the cause, turned for support to Stanisław Wojciechowski, President of the Republic of Poland, to the famous writer Stefan Żeromski, and to many other public authorities. President Wojciechowski volunteered to write personally to a hundred important people and institutions in the country and abroad with a request to support the Fund. Stefan Żeromski, on Michalski’s request, wrote an article entitled Sprawa Kasy Mianowskiego (Warsaw, 1924) [The Cause of the Mianowski Fund], which was published in several newspapers and separately as a booklet. Żeromski called for the development of learning in general, and for the support of the Mianowski Fund in particular. The campaign initiated by Michalski received widespread backing from the academic milieu and the press.

The campaign was aimed not only at increasing the financial resources of the Fund, but also, as was stated in the official report, at “elevat[ing] learning to public view, as an ideal [means] to take people’s eyes off the prosaic matters of the post-war period and lead[ing] them to the heights of the spirit, which would give the nation a place among the leading civilized peoples in their march towards a bright future.”10

As result of the campaign, the Mianowski Fund received enhanced public support. The number of members rose to two thousand in 1924; a similar increase occurred in the number of other sponsors, among whom there were some who volunteered to pay for the publication, if not of complete books, then to participate in the costs. In the reports, one finds emphasis on the support received from factory workers, secondary school youth and university students, who established in Cracow and Warsaw special clubs of supporters of the Mianowski Fund. Already in 1924 it was observed: “In spite of the lack of revenue from traditional resources (i.e. the Caucasus oil fields), public and government support, outside of the Fund’s own initiatives, allowed for activity at the scale comparable to former times.”11

In later years, nearly half of the finances of the Institution was provided by governmental subventions, directed through the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Enlightenment, and through the National Culture Fund, which was established in 1928, and administered by Stanisław Michalski. The other half of the Mianowski Fund’s finances came from contributions (bequests, bigger and smaller donations), membership fees, revenue from the sale of publications, and income from a percentage from assets held.

With time the problems with the office space of the Fund were solved too. An agreement was reached with the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences, which offered rooms in the Staszic Palace, obtained by the Society because it was heir to the early nineteenth-century Royal Warsaw Society of Friends of Sciences. The library and the bookstore of the Mianowski Fund were located there, as well as stockrooms for books, and certain institutions affiliated to the Fund.

In the interwar period, the activities of the Mianowski Fund continued, to a large extent, the former endeavors of the organization. The Fund sponsored research, publishing, provided the so-called personal subventions, and financed prizes for best works. But the significance of its functioning was much less important than before and during the war, when the Fund was practically the sole institution which subsidized Polish research within the confines of the Russian partition. This function was now fulfilled primarily by the state, through the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Enlightenment, the National Culture Fund, and other organizations. The Mianowski Fund, due to funding received from the government, also was partly within this framework.

As to research, the Fund sponsored primarily investigations performed within institutions. It provided numerous subventions for the Warsaw Philosophical Institute, the State Geological Institute, the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, and the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences; the Societies of Friends of Arts and Sciences in Poznań, Vilnius, and Przemyśl; the Scientific Society of Lwów, the Nicholas Copernicus Polish Society of Natural Scientists in Lwów, and many others.

Among numerous renowned and accomplished scholars who were individually assisted by the Mianowski Fund in the interwar period, one can find the following names: Józef Kostrzewski, Ludwik Hirszfeld, Stanisław Leśniewski, Hilary Lachs, Stefan Banach, Ludwik Wertenstein, Józef Rotblat, Konrad Górski, Władysław Konopczyński, Władysław Szafer, Witold Taszycki, Kazimierz Michałowski and Tadeusz Kotarbiński.

The publication of scholarly works remained the main activity of the Mianowski Fund, but its scope was increased and somewhat changed in character. In the discussed period, the Fund not only supported the authors who applied for grants, but also initiated publications, which were printed by the Fund’s press, opened in 1929.

In the same year, 1929, the Mianowski Fund, acting on the request of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Enlightenment started publishing the Complete Works of Adam Mickiewicz, a series initiated by the Polish Parliament. The Ministry also demanded that the Mianowski Fund start issuing academic textbooks.

However, the Mianowski Fund did not depend completely on external initiatives for new publications. A guide to universities and other higher educational institutions in Poland, Zasady fizyki [Foundations of Physics] by August Witkowski, the ethnological works of Stanisław Ciszewski, were all internal ideas, as was the supplement to the eight-volume Słownik języka polskiego [Dictionary of the Polish Language], finished in 1927 (financed by the Mianowski Fund too). In the 1930s, a project for a new, ten-volume Historia Polski [History of Poland] was started. At the same time, two important philological enterprises were started: Biblioteka zapomnianych poetów i prozaików polskich XVI-XVIII w., [Library of Forgotten Polish Poets and Writers: 16th-18th centuries], which was edited by Julian Krzyżanowski and Biblioteka prozaików greckich i łacińskich [Library of Greek and Latin Writers], supervised by Adam Krokiewicz. Both these series were a parallel to similar enterprises edited by Teodor Wierzbowski and Henryk Struve and supported by the Fund in the 1890s.

These initiatives were only a part of the publishing program, which increased with each year. In the 1930s, the combined issues of entirely owned and supported publications exceeded 0.5 million copies.

The Mianowski Fund also used the publications that it had completely financed to establish an exchange program with numerous Polish and foreign institutions and to send free copies to libraries within the country and abroad; the program of providing free copies to selected libraries was launched already in the nineteenth century. The idea, in the case of foreign libraries, was to propagate Polish science. Another type of financial assistance to persons in academe was a scheme of considerable reductions in book prices for students and scholars.

The Mianowski Fund, apart from releasing books which belonged to its own publishing program, took care of publications of various institutions associated with science, like those of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Enlightenment, the National Cultural Fund, the Academy of Technical Sciences, the State Geological Institute, the State Meteorological Institute, numerous scientific societies, and museums.

The pre-war traditions of the Mianowski Fund also were continued in the scholarship program aimed at youth, attending both secondary schools and universities; in providing loans, granting prizes for best scholarly works, and establishing country retreats for recreation and creative work.

Initially, the fellowships and prizes were granted only from funds, which had not been diminished by hyperinflation during the immediate post-war financial crisis. This policy limited the number of prizes and fellowships. Gradually, however, thanks to new endowments and to help from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Public Enlightenment, the Mianowski Fund reached its pre-war level of activity in this sphere. The list of scholars who were beneficiaries of such aid encompasses, among others, ethnographer Stanisław Ciszewski, linguist Stanisław Szober, physicist Józef Patkowski, and geologist Stanisław Małkowski. Among the recipients of prizes granted by the Mianowski Fund one finds Stanisław Pigoń, Artur Śliwiński, Jan Ptaśnik, Kazimierz Tymieniecki, Wojciech Świętosławski, Stanisław Zaremba, Stanisław Zakrzewski and Jan Dembowski.

A donation from Stanisław Hiszpański, an owner of a shoemaker’s shop in Warsaw, provided new opportunities for activity. In 1922, he donated a plot of land, called Kilinskie, which contained several buildings, in the village of Mlądz on the river Świder, near Warsaw. This donation encompassed two houses with accompanying sheds and warehouses. The benefactor requested that the donation be turned into a place for work and recreation of scholars.

From the beginning, The House of the Mianowski Fund in Mlądz, which acquired the amusing name Mądralin [Village of the Wise], became a country retreat for a large number of scholars from Warsaw, who found there wonderful conditions for work and leisure for a modest payment.

In later years, thanks to two other donations, the Mianowski Fund created similar houses in Konstancin near Warsaw, and in Zakopane, in the Tatra Mountains. But, these were of much smaller importance. Mądralin had a specific climate of intellectual exchange, created by the efforts and the personality of Stanisław Michalski, who oversaw the house.

During the interwar period, the continuation and expansion of traditional forms of activity were a significant, but not the most important part of the Fund’s accomplishments. Stanisław Michalski, mentioned already in relation to the house in Mądralin, became the key person in the new forms of activity. It was his idea to convert the whole institution into a non-governmental center, which would coordinate organizational work in the scholarly world and provide the nation information on the general conditions and needs of scholarship in Poland. One of the forms to serve this end were conventions of researchers. A convention, for which Michalski pressed since 1917, devoted to the problems of organization and development of science in independent Poland, took place on 7-10 April 1920. The convention was preceded by an inquiry in the form of a questionnaire prepared and circulated by the Academic Section, together with a call for papers concerned with the needs of Polish science. In this way, opinions of the most competent Polish scholars were solicited. The answers sent in evaluated the condition of scholarship in the country, described the relations between research and other spheres of public life, and brought forward the most important postulates of the represented disciplines. The results of this inquiry were published in two volumes, entitled Nauka Polska, jej potrzeby, organizacja i rozwój [Polish Science: Requirements, Organization and Development], which initiated an annual of the Mianowski Fund under the same title. A discussion was also opened within the scholarly milieu, which focused not only on individual research disciplines, but also on broader questions, including the issue of Polish science in general and its significance for public life.

The convention in 1920 gathered 533 participants, mostly researchers, but also representatives of the Polish parliament, the national government and local self-governments. Fifteen higher schools and thirty-five other research institutions were represented; twenty-one papers and 149 co-reports were delivered.

A few years later the Mianowski Fund organized a second, and final general convention of Polish scholars in the interwar period. The event took place in Warsaw, on 2-3 April 1927. It was dedicated to two major themes: the situation of higher-education institutions vis-a-vis the necessity of providing professional training for masses of youth, and the preparation of students for future research. Academic teachers and administrators discussed how to harmonize these two divergent functions of a university. The convention was attended by delegates of forty higher schools (with full-participant status), and by representatives of the national government (with observer status).

The organizing of conventions was perhaps the most spectacular, but not the only initiative of the Mianowski Fund on the national scale. Representatives of the organization were constantly approached by parliamentary bodies and the government in problems related with the academe, took part in working out legal solutions and were involved in specialized conferences. Opinions were also provided on problems relative to the organization of science upon the request of governmental institutions, local self-governments and international organizations. The Mianowski Fund also initiated actions aimed at assuring adequate funding for scientific institutions in the national budget and successfully worked to obtain tax reductions for donations and bequests for scholarly purposes.

The annual Nauka Polska, edited by S. Michalski, was an important factor in the organizational life of academe, providing space for articles devoted to this subject. Among others, in 1928, the editorial board initiated an enquiry on the situation of scientific institutions, which included research within specialized disciplines, publications, research staff, the need for and plans of international relations’ development, and problems concerning the reform of academic training. The inquiry related to the one conducted ten years earlier (preceding the first general convention of Polish researchers). The authors voiced the opinion that “the current need is to fulfill the plans made several years ago, to bring them up-to-date, and to put together a new concise register of necessities for practical purposes.”

Apart from practical problems, the periodical Nauka Polska also discussed the theoretical side of science, adding significantly to the working out of a program of a new research discipline, named science studies.

Already in volume four of Nauka Polska the editor called for research on science, and the creation of a theoretical basis for individuals who were active in supporting, organizing and propagating science. The new element in this program was the postulate to research science as a part of culture, which could be aided by choosing topics for study that would help in the practical organization of research.

Nauka Polska was open to scholars of all fields, who were interested in such problems. Theses and theoretical questions, fundamental for the nascent science studies, were treated in particular by sociologists (Florian Znaniecki, Maria and Stanisław Ossowski, Paweł Rybicki) and philosophers (Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Bohdan Kieszkowski, Marian Heitzman). The editors of Nauka Polska came forward with an interesting initiative of printing autobiographies of outstanding scholars. These autobiographies became valuable source materials for inquiries into the psychology of research.

Nearly all contributors to Nauka Polska participated in the Science Studies Seminar, organized in 1928 by Stanisław Michalski within the framework of the Mianowski Fund. Like the periodical Nauka Polska, the Seminar was charged with the task of working out the theoretical basis for the activities of persons and institutions organizing and supporting research, and in particular for the Mianowski Fund. The Seminar, periodically held at the Staszic Palace, brought together researchers and administrators interested in science studies problems. The exchange of opinions between scholars and academic managerial staff was to inspire the latter group, and to develop new lines of research. The papers presented at sessions of the Seminar discussed various problems of philosophy, psychology, sociology, history and organization of science. Debates over current problems in the academic milieu were held; foreign accomplishments in science studies, understood in the broadest sense, were examined. The theme that attracted the largest number of papers was the role and significance of science, and its place among cultural values.

From the beginning, the focus of the discussions held at these meetings was the vision of science studies – its shape, aims and methods. Although the participants of the Seminar postulated practicing the new discipline from “the fundamentals,” by way of research experience despite incomplete methodology, they did not neglect to formulate a program for its development. Discussions about the place of science among other cultural values – debates of a philosophical and methodological nature – helped to develop an interesting, theoretical and programmatic conception of science studies, which was an original Polish contribution to this new branch of learning. This conception was formulated by Maria and Stanisław Ossowski, who already in late 1929, delivered a paper entitled ‘Problematyka naukoznawcza’ [The Problems of Science Studies], which in November 1934 was published in the article ‘Nauka o nauce’12 [The Science of Science].

Michalski’s intention was to convert the Science Studies Seminar and the entire Academic Section of the Mianowski Fund into an institute for science studies. To this end a new periodical was released in 1936, entitled Organon. This second, alongside Nauka Polska, annual devoted to science studies issued by the Mianowski Fund, intended for the international reader, was to be published in the “international” languages. Michalski invited many participants of the Science Studies Seminar to contribute to Organon; among others the Ossowski couple, whose article, ‘Nauka o nauce’ [The Science of Science], had brought forth their program for the new discipline, opened the first volume. The second, and last volume of Organon (1939) published before the war contained, in addition to regular articles, the responses of sixty-six Polish and foreign scholars to a questionnaire concerning the organization of scientific congresses. The Academic Section’s documentary center, which accommodated an archive, devoted to the collection of statutes and reports of domestic and foreign research institutions, periodicals and books related to the subject, and all other types of information concerning the academe in Poland and abroad, was intended to be the nucleus of the prospective science studies institute. One of the lasting achievements of this center, managed by Janina Małkowska, a long-term collaborator of Michalski, was the elaboration and constant upgrading of a science studies bibliography. The materials were published first in Nauka Polska, and then in Organon. These journals were to become official organs of the new institute. The Academic Section exchanged publications with thirty-three similar foreign institutions (1938), and with the publishers of numerous journals in Poland and abroad.

During the interwar period, as is clear from this brief outline, the Mianowski Fund oriented its activities along two major lines. The first encompassed financial support of academic enterprises; and publishing in particular. This program, in comparison with the period prior to 1918, evolved in the direction of emphasizing the Fund’s own activity in initiating scientific enterprises, developing cooperation with the national government of the now independent state, and of course in expanding endeavors in progress in number and scope. The second line of activity encompassed encouraging works on the organization of scientific life and developing a theoretical basis for such efforts. This aspect was a novelty, and in the situation when the Polish state assumed the main financial burden of sustaining research in the country, this line seemed to open most interesting perspectives for the Fund.

III. 1939-1945

The outbreak of the war, and the subsequent German occupation, did not stop the activity of the Mianowski Fund entirely, although limited it severely. At the beginning, the overt functioning of the Fund was restricted to the administration of its property. But, in 1940, after the promulgation by the occupants of a special decree, which closed down all Polish societies, the Committee had to turn to secret functioning altogether. The publications continued to be sold, and the money acquired in this way was destined to grants and loans (including aid in food products) to research workers not only from Warsaw and other cities, and also to those who were imprisoned and sent to concentration camps. Access to books belonging to the Fund was provided to scholars and students who studied at the underground university. Cooperation with institutions, like the University of Warsaw, Ossolineum, and the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association was maintained. The considerable, under the circumstances, income from vending of books enabled to keep up the publishing of new books, to a certain degree. During the first year of the occupation, the printing of the book Promieniotwórczość [Radioactivity] by Marie Curie-Skłodowska was completed, and the “parliamentary” edition of Adam Mickiewicz’s Complete Works was continued. Ludwik Szperl initiated the preparation of illustrated materials concerning war damage in Warsaw. These materials were to be published in Polish, English and French. Zygmunt Szweykowski organized the continuation of works on the history of the Mianowski Fund.

These works were supervised by the Committee, which held regular sessions at least once a month. The post of president, vacant after the death of Karol Lutostański during the siege of Warsaw in September 1939, was taken over by the Vice-President, Tytus Huber. Huber, and Secretary Zygmunt Szweykowski managed the Mianowski Fund until the early days of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, representing it in necessary contacts with German authorities, with the administration of the city of Warsaw, and with the Polish Central Relief Council [Rada Główna Opiekuńcza]. The Committee also was concerned with the future organization of Polish academe after the end of the war. Plans for a centralized institution, which would coordinate the problems of foundations and donations for scholarly purposes were elaborated, and for a committee, which would publish academic textbooks. During these discussions, Stanisław Michalski brought forward a proposition to develop the Mianowski Fund after the war into a central institution for the support of research, a kind of a non-governmental ministry of science. On the basis of this proposition, Czesław Białobrzeski wrote a lengthy paper developing it further.

The functioning of the Mianowski Fund was abruptly stopped by the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. During the fighting nearly all the Fund’s possessions were destroyed. The losses, as they were registered after the war, amounted to a total of around 7 million zloties (according to the value of the currency in 1939). Three buildings in Warsaw, a country house in Zakopane, the printing-house, assets in money, quantities of books, archives and manuscripts, books in print, including whole issues of Nauka Polska (vol. 25), Poradnik dla samouków (vol. 11), Organon (vol. 3), the Complete Works of Adam Mickiewicz (vol. 8), were all annihilated.

IV. 1945-1952

Stanisław Michalski po wyjściu z obozu w Auschwitz po roku 1945.

Stanisław Michalski after the detainment in Auschwitz in 1945.

The first meeting of the Committee of the Mianowski Fund after the war took place on 18 August 1945. The six pre-war members of the Committee and Tadeusz Manteuffel, the Curator of the Mianowski Fund nominated by the Ministry of Education, participated in the session. As a result of its deliberations, Franciszek Czubalski was elected the new President of the Committee, Stefan Zalewski became Vice-President, and Tadeusz Manteuffel assumed the post of Secretary. The meeting also decided upon appointments to the permanent commissions (auditorial; publications; grants; prizes; and several other bodies). One-and-a-half years later, on 16 December 1947, Stanisław Małkowski was elected President, Stanisław Ossowski – Vice-President, and Tadeusz Manteuffel, who at the same time was still the Ministerial Curator, Secretary. Stanisław Michalski remained the head of the Academic Section, the editor-in-chief of the periodicals Nauka Polska and Organon, and of the series Poradnik dla samouków [The Teach-Yourself Companion]. Michalski, in spite of old age, health problems, and residing in Cracow, continued (albeit not personally but through correspondence) to inspire the Committee and influence the activities of the whole institution.

In 1947 the Academic Council of the Mianowski Fund was reconstituted. Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński (delegate of the Jagiellonian University, Cracow) became its president. The members were: Stefan Starszewski (Warsaw University of Technology), Wojciech Świętosławski (Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cracow), Jan Rutkowski (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), Zygmunt Wojciechowski (Poznań Society of Friends of Arts and Sciences), Wojciech Rubinowicz (Warsaw University), and Julian Krzyżanowski (Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences).

The primary task of the Committee after the war was to raise financial resources, indispensable for the functioning of the Fund. With practically all its assets lost, the institution had to find subventions from governmental, non-governmental, and private institutions. In the years 1945-1948, the Fund received approximately 10 million zloties, half of which was used entirely for the restoration of the Fund’s house in Mlądz on the Świder river.

In the sphere of direct help for scholars, so important during the interwar period, the running of recreation and creative-work houses remained the only field of activity: as many as 2,691 persons visited Mądralin in the period 1946-1950. The Fund’s financial resources allowed neither for subsidizing research work, nor for providing personal grants and prizes.

All of the income from the sale of publications printed by the Fund was used for publishing purposes. Thus, within the series of classical writers, edited by Adam Krokiewicz, volume four of Tacitus’ works was issued; an important survey by M. Hornowska and H. Zdzitowiecka-Jasieńska, Zbiory rękopiśmienne w Polsce średniowiecznej [Manuscript Collections in Medieval Poland] and volume two of Zasady fizyki [Principles of Physics] by A. Witkowski were published. Volume fourteen of the Acta Biologiae Experimentalis, published by the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology was subsidized, and work on a supplement to Słownik Języka Polskiego [Dictionary of the Polish Language] was initiated; Witold Doroszewski was chosen to prepare this supplement.

In the years 1945-1949, the main task of the Academic Section was the gathering of materials for the twenty-fifth jubilee volume of the periodical Nauka Polska. S. Michalski, who was managing that enterprise from Cracow, was assisted by Janina Małkowska, an experienced employee of the institution and wife of the current President of the Mianowski Fund. She was responsible for all the organizational work in Warsaw. It was chiefly thanks to her efforts that the Section managed to recreate the links with all the collaborating institutions from before the war. Informational materials and publications acquired from those institutions were used in preparing the main discussion points on the organization of academe in volume 25 of Nauka Polska. The library of the Section, which partly survived the German occupation, was reorganized and reopened as the Science Studies Library; the holdings of this library were enlarged through exchange (with over one hundred institutions in 1949 alone), and acquisitions. The library was used by research staff and students of the University of Warsaw. Thanks to the holdings of this library, the science studies bibliography could also be resumed. Materials relative to organizational problems of the academic world in Poland and abroad were collected; research on the history of the Mianowski Fund was initiated. In 1948 the Science Studies Commission was established, encompassing Tadeusz Kotarbiński, Janina Małkowska, Stanisław Małkowski, Stanisław Ossowski, and Bogdan Suchodolski as participants. This Commission assumed supervision over all the activities of the Academic Section of the Mianowski Fund.

Stanisław Michalski intended to open science studies courses for academic decision-makers and to create a book series entitled Wiedza o nauce (The Knowledge of Science), which was supposed to encompass the texts of lectures for proposed courses and certain articles reprinted from Nauka Polska. Michalski wanted a university textbook on the science studies to be prepared, and respective courses to be opened at universities. He also pointed to the years directly after World War I, when the Mianowski Fund started reconstruction by research on the state of development and needs of individual disciplines and by organizing a convention devoted to similar and related problems of the organization of academe in Poland.

The ideas forwarded by S. Michalski were represented in volume 25 of Nauka Polska, entitled Perspektywy nauki polskiej w epoce dziejowej przemiany [The Perspectives of Polish Science at the Time of Historical Changes]. The situation of individual branches of learning were discussed by: Wacław Sierpiński, Jan Samsonowicz, Jan Czekanowski, Józef Kostrzewski, Władysław Konopczyński, and Edward Taylor. The whole volume, which even in its layout resembled the pre-war series, opened with theoretical articles by Adam Górski, ‘Nauka i człowiek’ [Science and Man], Czesław Białobrzeski, ‘Synteza filozoficzna i metodologia nauk przyrodniczych’ [Philosophical Synthesis and the Methodology of Natural Sciences], and Stanisław Małkowski, ‘Postulaty z dziedziny organizacji nauki’ [Postulates Pertaining to the Organisation of Science].

The publishing of volume 25 of Nauka Polska was momentous not only from the scientific and practical point of view; but this book, in a way, also influenced the future of the Mianowski Fund. Already in early 1947 the Committee was aware of the communist regime’s negative attitude towards the Fund, which could not find its place in the highly centralized and strictly controlled economic and cultural system. The Fund, impoverished and receiving declining state subventions, displayed rather limited activities and hence attracted little attention from the governing circles. But with the publication of volume 25 of Nauka Polska, it suddenly acquired relative prominence, which in the eyes of the communist decision-makers was the straw that tipped the balance. After critical remarks published in the press by Stefan Żółkiewski, and expressed by Eugenia Krassowska during the sitting of the Main Council for the Problems of Science and Higher Education, came a statement by Henryk Jabłoński. In an article published in the newspaper Robotnik (Worker), Jabłoński, while describing the future shape of scientific organizations in Poland, explicitly stated, that there will be no place for the institutions of the Mianowski Fund type, in particular after the recent experiences with its theoretical publications.13

The efforts connected with the establishing of the Polish Academy of Sciences as the chief scientific institution in the country sped up the closing of the Mianowski Fund. On 3 March 1951 the Fund was institutionally incorporated into the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences. In 1952 the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences and the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cracow were integrated into the newly established Polish Academy of Sciences (PASc).

V. 1952-1991

After 1951, the milieu connected with the former Mianowski Fund only once formally applied for the reactivation of the institution. It happened in consequence of the momentous events of October 1956, when the political climate seemed to be favorable for such initiatives. In January 1957, Stanisław Małkowski, the last President of the Mianowski Fund addressed a special letter to the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences in this respect. However, the communication was never answered. Some time later, the Documentary Center, a remnant of the former Academic Section of the Mianowski Fund, was dissolved and its last employee, Wanda Osińska, was transferred to the Center for the History of Science and Technology, PASc, which was expanded in 1977 and renamed the Institute for the History of Science, Education and Technology, PASc.

It is no accident, then, that the traditions of the Mianowski Fund were always vivid in the Institute for the History of Science, Education and Technology. The latter institution, by definition occupied with the history of scholarly establishments, always cultivated the memory of the Mianowski Fund. It published also the periodical Organon, a journal which was devoted to the history of sciences and the humanities, and which appeared in foreign languages. The title of this journal itself was a sui generis reference to the annual, that had been published by the Mianowski Fund. Finally, the Institute for the History of Science, Education and Technology also employed persons, who had been connected with the activities of the Fund: Bogdan Suchodolski, a former member of the Committee of the Mianowski Fund, and the above mentioned Wanda Osińska (d. 1978).

The political changes of 1989 in Poland and the return to the system of parliamentary democracy created an a opportunity for the return of non-governmental organizations. Already, during the so called “First Solidarity” period (1980-1981), the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences was reactivated. Nevertheless, the Mianowski Fund did not find its place within the re-established Society. A plan for the reactivation of the Mianowski Fund came into existence only in 1990.

On 29 March 1990, during a meeting at the Center for the History of the Organization of Science (Institute for the History of Science, Education and Technology, PASc) Jan Piskurewicz delivered a paper devoted to the last phase of the functioning of the Mianowski Fund and the attempts to reactivate it. The participants at the meeting agreed to undertake measures to reestablish the Fund. The persons, who took an active part in this respect, were Andrzej Biernacki, Zbigniew Ciok, Piotr Hübner, Barbara Kuźnicka, Jan Piskurewicz and Leszek Zasztowt. The initiative received support from the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences and the Polish Academy of Sciences. Both these institutions sustained the idea of reactivating the Mianowski Fund as an independent organization.

The act of notary public of 20 May 1991 officially reestablished the Mianowski Fund, with the additional designation of “Foundation for the Promotion of Science”. The act was signed by Edward Potkowski, on behalf of the Warsaw Society of Arts and Sciences, Jerzy Kołodziejczak, on behalf of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and Andrzej Biernacki, Stefan Bratkowski, Piotr Hübner, Barbara Kuźnicka, Jan Piskurewicz, and Leszek Zasztowt. On 11 October 1991, by the decision of the City of Warsaw District Court, the Mianowski Fund was inscribed into the official register of foundations.

During the efforts aimed at reactivating the Mianowski Fund, the people involved devoted a great deal of time to discussing the prospective activities and the model of the planned institution. It was obvious that in the completely changed conditions of contemporary Poland, in the new political system, and after so many years, it was not advisable to simply copy the old solutions. Yet, it was also clear that the grand traditions and the great achievements of the Mianowski Fund called for referring to every single positive aspect of its former doings.

In the light of this, the Statute of the Mianowski Fund refers to former solutions, but does not repeat the old text. The status of the Fund was clarified: it has always functioned as a foundation, not a society. To this end, the Board of Founders was called into being; a body grouping the sponsors of the Fund, which is to supervise the economic activities of the institution. The members of the Committee of the Mianowski Fund are still allowed to participate on the Academic Council, but with advisory status only. In the future, the Board of Founders may become one of the bodies, which integrates Polish academic institutions. The competences of other governing bodies of the Mianowski Fund received a similarly clear definition.

The Statute is particularly important with respect to directing the activities of the Mianowski Fund. This institution should be a formative factor in the creation of a non-governmental scientific policy, it should represent the interests of the academic milieu, it should support the non-governmental scientific movement, and present information on the actual condition of research in the country to Polish society. The Mianowski Fund also will continue its traditional activities by financially supporting research and publishing, by providing grants and prizes, and by organizing competitions.

Written by Piotr Hübner, Jan Piskurewicz and Leszek ZasztowtTranslated by Jacek Soszyński