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CRA077 -- Frank B. Roman Papers


5.25 Linear Feet
February 1988


Mrs. Frank B. Roman (formerly & Sally A. Legowski) donated the Frank B. Roman Collection to the Calumet Regional Archives on March 14, 1987.

Property rights in the collection are held by the Calumet Regional Archives; literary rights are dedicated to the public. There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Linear Feet of shelf Space: 5.25 linear feet
Number of Containers: 7 boxes
Calumet Regional Archives Collection 077
Arranged and Described by: Stephen McShane
Date: February 1988

Scope and Content

The Frank B. Roman Collection documents the life and times of Mr. Roman from 1936 to 1984. In addition, these records furnish information on a variety of subjects in the history of the City of Gary.

Subject series and files focus upon the Gary schools (specifically Horace Mann School, 1942-1977), Gary's Diamond Jubilee (1981), Holy Angels Church, and Poles in Northwest Indiana, as well as local legends Frank Borman and Tony Zale. These records contain newsclippings, programs, and other printed material offering basic information on the topics. A large series of pamphlets / programs from local Polish organizations offer useful insight into one of the Region's most active ethnic groups. Because Mr. Roman served as a president and principal supporter of the Polish American Historical Association, the collection contains some files of newsletters and papers from that body.

Of very special interest is the series dealing with the founding of a religious mission in Poland. The Czartorysk series contains diaries and correspondence of Mr. Roman (known in that period as Brother Roman Witowski) and other members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross as the CSC attempted to establish a Polish mission in the 1920s, succeeding in the mid-1930s. The series contains primary information about the struggle and hardships faced by the missionaries, including their capture by Soviet armed forces during the invasion of Poland in 1939.

In the Czartorysk series, the historical information files will provide researchers with an understanding of the primary participants in the venture, Such as Casimir Sztuczko, Stanislaus Gruza, Hilary Paszek, Joseph Kmiciek, and Theophilus Michalinski. Of special note, in the Roman subseries correspondence, a letter to Mr. Roman's brother (September 8, 1937) reveals some account of Mr. Roman's personal life. Also, a file of correspondence with the Dambroska family deals with the displaced person phenomenon of WWII. The Sztuczko subseries not only describes the Czartorysk endeavor, but also includes a file detailing the "Polish problem" in the CSC. Correspondence in the Stanislaus Gruza subseries discusses the tense circumstances of St. Casimir parish in South Bend, site of the 1914 "Bloody Sunday" riot; the subseries contains little on Czartorysk, which is surprising, since Fr. Gruza led the first effort to build the mission in 1935. A series of intriguing photographs concludes the Czartorysk series.

The variety of data in the Frank B. Roman Collection reflects the varied experience and interests of this proud and staunch Pole from Gary, Indiana. Researchers should note that historical information about Frank B. Roman is located in Box 1, File Folder 1.

Historical Sketch

Born in Chicago on August 10, 1913, Francis John Witowski provided an example of the "white ethnic" experience in twentieth century America. His parents, Adalbert and Agatha (Kosal) Witowski, died when he was nine years old, and Francis traveled to Gary, Indiana to live with a maternal aunt, beginning his long association with the city. He attended St. Hedwig School, graduated in 1928, and enrolled at Sacred Heart Juniorate in Watertown, Wisconsin, affiliated with the Congregation of the Holy Cross. He graduated in 1932 and jointed the CSC as Brother Roman Witowski. Four years later, he was on his way to Czartorysk, Poland to help build the first CSC mission established in that country. The venture ceased abruptly in 1939, however, as the Soviet army invaded Poland and captured the missionaries. After much confusion and negotiation, the priests and brothers were released and traveled to Rome for rest and recovery.

Upon his return to the U.S., Brother Roman entered the University of Notre Dame and earned an A.B. in 1944. He obtained a teaching post at Chicago's Holy Trinity High School, remaining there until 1955 (he received an M.A. from DePaul University in 1949). He left the CSC (reason unknown), changed his name to Frank B. Roman, and returned to Gary in 1956, teaching at Horace Mann High School until his retirement in 1978. He served as Mann's night school principal from 1956 to 1964 and also as a library media specialist in his later career. Soon after he left the CSC, he married Sallie Ann Legowski of Chicago.

Throughout his life, Mr. Roman maintained a strong pride in his Polish heritage while demonstrating fierce American patriotism (in 1975-1976, he was known locally as "Mr. Bicentennial"). He served as president of the Polish American Historical Association in 1963 and as a director of the Polish Museum of Chicago, along with memberships in numerous local Polish associations. He received many awards and commendations for his teaching, patriotic, and historical work, most notably the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Gold Medal. When he returned to Gary, Mr. Roman became interested in local history and appeared frequently in the print and electronic media as the self-appointed historian of Gary. In this role, he became well-known throughout the community and participated in local historical celebrations and commemorations. He remained active in retirement until his health failed in the early 1980s. He died on April 27, 1985, at the age of 71.

Box File Description
1 1 Historical Information, Frank B. Roman, (1955-1977)
2 Newsclippings, Frank B. Roman, (1952-1982)
3-4 Awards/Memberships, Frank B. Roman, (1959-1979)
5-7 Education Records, Frank B. Roman, (1940-1980)
8-11 Correspondence, General, Frank B. Roman, (1942-1984)
12-13 Speeches, Frank B. Roman, (ca. 1950-1981)
14-15 Writings, Frank B. Roman, (1944-1979)
16 Newspaper Articles by Frank B. Roman, (1950-1978)
17 "Letters to the Editor," Frank B. Roman, 1975-1980

Series: Horace Mann School / Gary Schools
Box File Description
1 18 Correspondence/Memoranda, Horace Mann High School, (1955-1977)
19 Principal's Newsletter, Horace Mann High School, 1973-1977
20 Handbook, Horace Mannerisms, Horace Mann High School, 1959-1960
21 Student directory/Activity Calendar, Horace Mann High School, 1962-1963
22 Booklet, The Pen-Mann, Horace Mann High School, 1942-1943
23 Program, Horace Mann Fighting Horsemen, Gary City Champions, 1961
24 Programs, Cornerstone Laying and Dedication, Horace Mann School, 1926, 1928
25 Program, Groundbreaking, Horace Mann Elementary School, (John Vohr School), 1957
26 Ritual, Junior Honor Society, Horace Mann High School, n.d.
27 Superintendent's Bulletin, School City of Gary, 1963
28 Manual, Personnel Policy, School City of Gary, 1963
29 Report, "We Believe:" Gary Public Schools Report to the Community, 1954
30 Staff Directory, School City of Gary, 1967-1969
31 Booklet: "Your Gary Schools: Four years of Progress", 1960
32 Booklet, "Present Tense: A Collection of Creative Writing by Students, Grades 7-12", School City of Gary, 1969
33 Handbook, Library Media Centers, Gary Public Schools, 1969
34 Constitution and By-Laws, Mutual Benefit Association, Gary Public Schools, 1954, 1958
2 1 Constitution and By-Laws, Gary Classroom Teachers Association, ca. 1958
2 Directory, Lake County Retired Teachers Association, 1979-1980

Series: Subject Files
Box File Description
2 3 Press Releases, Black Americans on Postage Stamps, (1974-1981)
4 Programs and Newsclippings, Frank Borman, (1966-1978)
5 Notes, Calumet Region History, ca. 1976-1982
6 Speeches and Programs, Gary Diamond Jubilee, 1976, 1981
7 Historical Information, Holy Angels Church, Gary, 1934, (1962-1979)
8 Newsclippings, Northwest Indiana Poles, 1956, 1976-1981
9 Agreements, School City of Gary and Gary Teachers Unit, 1970-1973, 1977-1978
10 Correspondence and Newsletters, U.S. Bicentennial Celebration, 1975-1977
11 Historical Information, Tony Zale, 1976-1977

Series: Programs / Pamphlets
Box File Description
2 12 Program, Akademja 3-go Maja, 1791-1967 (Gary)
13 Programs, Annual Catholic Scouting Recognition Dinner, Gary diocese, 1959, 1962
14 Programs, Founders Day, Gary, 1976-1977, 1980
15 Program, Freedom and Liberty Sesquicentennial, Indiana Polish-American Congress, Gary, 1968
16 Program, Frontiers Service Club Breakfast, Gary, 1981
17 Program, Gary Branch NAACP Ovington Award, 1979
18 Program, Gary Teachers Union Annual Dinner, 1978
19 Anniversary Programs, Holy Trinity Lodge 337, P.R.C.U., Gary, 1968-1978
20 Anniversary Programs, International Institute of Northwest Indiana, 1969, 1979
21 Anniversary Programs, Indiana P.N.A. Youth Camp, Crown Point, (1960-1978)
22 Pamphlet, Indiana Poles in the Bicentennial Year of the United States, 1976
23 Programs, Miss P.N.A. Coronation, Gary, 1968
24 Anniversary Booklets, P.N.A. Council 83, East Chicago, 1964, 1974
25 Anniversary Banquet, P.N.A. Council 127, Gary, 1948, 1961, 1968, 1976
26 Anniversary Program, P.N.A. 912, Gen. T. Kosciuszko Group, Gary, 1977
27 Anniversary Program, P.N.A. Group 2947, East Chicago, 1965
28 Anniversary Programs, P.N.A. Lodge 3134, Madame Curie Circle, Gary, 1975, 1980
29 Printed Material, Polish-American Congress, Indiana Division, (1972-1981)
30 Anniversary Programs, Polish American Democratic Club, Gary, 1956, 1966
31 Paper, "Polish American Steelworkers Americanization Through Industry and Labor," n.d. (by Neil Betten)
32 Booklet, The Polish Americans of Indiana: Their History and Their Jubilee, 1966
33 Anniversary Program, Polish Army Veterans Association of America, Post No. 15, 1956, 1961
34 Program, Polish Army Veteran's and Ladies Auxiliary District 1, 40th Convention, 1970
35 Anniversary Program, Polish Club of Gary, 1955
36 Program, Polish Mission House of the Salvatorian Fathers, Silver Jubilee, Gary, 1963
37 Program, Dedication of Polish National Catholic Church of Divine Providence, Merrillville, 1970
38 Anniversary Programs, Polish Singers Alliance, No. 122, Chopin Chorus, Gary, (1965-1974)
39 Anniversary Program, Polish women's Alliance of America, Group 429, East Chicago, 1949
40 Programs, Silver Bell Club Award Banquet, (1975-1987)
41 Pamphlet, St. Casimir Parish Golden Jubilee, Gary, 1966
42 Program, St. Hedwig Church Diamond Jubilee, Gary, 1983
43 Anniversary Program, Syrena Club, 1962
44 Testimonial Programs, Various Ethnic Leaders, (1955-1980)
45 Bulletin, Holy Trinity High School, Chicago, 1935-1936
46 Yearbook, Holy Trinity High School, Chicago, 1939-1940
47 Viewbook, Holy Trinity High School, Chicago, ca. 1943
3 1-2 Anniversary Books, Holy Trinity Parish, Chicago, 1898, 1943
3 Paper, "Patience, Promise, and Power--History of the Poles In Chicago," 1953
4 Program, Poland's Millennium of Christianity, Chicagoland Observance, 1966
5 "The Polish Perspective June 1978," Indiana History Bulletin, May 1978
6 Bulletin, Quincentennial of Nicolas Copernicus, Polish American Congress of Indiana, 1973
7 Viewbook, the South Bend Catholic High School, n.d.

Series: Polish American Historical Association
Box File Description
3 8 Historical Information, Polish American Historical Association, 1951, 1980
9 Polish American Historical Association, 1963
10 Correspondence, Polish American Historical Association, (1951-1964)
11 Correspondence, Polish American Historical Association, Sister Clarenta, 1963-1964, 1967
12 Newsletters/Bulletins, Polish American Historical Association, (1952-1981)
13 Programs and Papers, Annual Meetings, Polish American Historical Association, (1949-1977)
14 Newsclippings, Polish American Historical Association, (1952-1969)
15 Guide, Polish American Studies, n.d.
16 Program, Youth Conference, Polish Women's Alliance of America, Orchard Lake, Michigan, 1978
17 Papers, Polish History, Various Conventions, PAHR, (1940-1955)

Series: Czartorysk
Box File Description
3 18 Historical Information, Czartorysk
19 "The Congregation of the Holy Cross in Poland", by Frank B. Roman, 1954

Sub-Series: Brother Roman Witowski, CSC (a.k.a. Frank B. Roman
Box File Description
3 20-21 Diaries, Frank B. Roman, Czartorysk Mission, (1936-1940)
22 Correspondence, Frank B. Roman, Czartorysk, (1936-1961), 1974
23 Correspondence, Dambroska Family, (1944-1949)
24 Travel Records, Czartorysk to Rome, Frank B. Roman, 1940

Sub-Series: Casimir Sztuczko, CSC
Box File Description
3 25 Biography, Rev. Casimir Sztuczko, CSC, 1955
26 Anniversary Booklet, Golden Anniversary of Casimir Sztuczko, 1941
27 Notes, Casimir Sztuczko's Effort for a Polish Mission (compiled by Rev.Gruza), n.d.
4 1-2 Notebooks, Plan for Holy Cross Mission in Poland, Rev. Casimir Sztuczko, 1920
3 Diary, European Journey, Rev. Casimir Stztuczko, CSC, 1920
4 Diary, European Journey, Rev. Casimir Sztuczko, 1935
5 Notebook, "The Object of My Trip to Europe and Especially to Poland", 1935
6 Report, Condition in Poland, Rev. Casimir Sztuczko to Very Rev. G. Francis, 1921
7-9 Correspondence, Casimir Sztuczko, (1938-1945)
10 Correspondence and Brief, Polish Priests, Brothers, and Parishes in the Congregation of the Holy Cross, 1924, 1926, 1938
11 Correspondence, Questions of Separation in the Congregation, 1932
12 Financial Summary, Holy Trinity Parish, Chicago, 1921
13 Letter, "Polish Bank," 1922
14 History, Holy Trinity Parish, Chicago, 1956
15 Passenger List, R.M.S. Canada, 1911

Sub-Series: Stanislaus Gruza, CSC
Box File Description
4 16 Newsclippings, Death of Stanislaus Gruza, CSC, 1963
17 Diary, Czartorysk, Stanislaus Gruza, 1935
18 Travel Records, Czartorysk , Stanislaus Gruza, CSC, 1935
19-25 Correspondence, Stanislaus Gruza, CSC, 1907, 1911, (1913-1963)
26 Writings, Stanislaus Gruza, CSC, 1925, n.d.
27 Writings, St. Hedwig High School, South Bend, Indiana, Stanislaus Gruza, CSC, n.d.
28 Bulletin, Echo Z Kazimierzowa, 1914-1915
29 Newsclippings, Riot at St. Casimir's Parish, South Bend, Indiana, 1914-1915

Sub-Series: Various CSC Members at Czartorysk
Box File Description
4 30 Historical Information, Anthony Rosewicz, CSC, ca. 1950
31 Diary, European Journey, Rev. Anthony Rosewicz, 1938-1940
32 Radio Addresses, Anthony Rosewicz, CSC, 1940-1941
33 Writings, Anthony Rosewicz, CSC, n.d.
34 Correspondence, Rev. Anthony Rozewicz, CSC, 1947, 1952-1956
35 Newsarticles, Anthony Rozewicz, CSC, 1938
5 1 Diary, Journey to Czartorysk, Brother Theophilus Michalinski, CSC, 1935
2 Holy Trinity High School, Chicago, by Brother Theophilus Michalinski, CSC, 1928
3 Historical Information, Hilary Paszek, CSC, 1941, 1952, 1978
4 Correspondence Regarding Safety of Hilary Paszek, Czartorysk, 1939-1940
5 Historical Information, Joseph Kmiecik, CSC, 1937, 194?
6 Letter, Brother Hormisdas to Brother Edward, CSC, 1938
7 Golden Anniversary Booklet, Boleslaus J. Sztuczko, CSC, 1910-1960
8 Scrapbook, Czartorysk and General Polish Events, (1938-1954)
9 Historical Information, Congregation of the Holy Cross, n.d.
10 The Associate of St. Joseph, October - December, 1943
11 Newsclippings, Fall of Poland, 1940

Series: Oversize
Box Description
7 Diploma, University of Notre Dame, 1944
Proclamation, Honoring WWII Veterans, East Chicago, 1979
Poster, Gary Founders Day, 1980
Newspaper, The Philosopher, Lew Wallace High School, Gary, 1963
Newspapers, Mann-U-Script, Horace Mann High School, (1960-1970)
Poster, Tony Zale Benefit Fight, n.d.

Series: Sound Recordings (located in CRA oral history collection)
Cassette, (1), Frank Roman on Radio Station WLTH, 1981
Cassettes, (2), Frank Roman Telephone Calls to WLTH, ca. 1976
Discs, (17), Polish Class, Holy Trinity High School, Chicago, 1946
Disc, (1), "Our Lady of Bright Mountain," Brother Roman, CSC, ca. 1954
Cassette, (1), Frank Roman--Reflections, ca. 1975

Subject Tracings

  • African Americans -- History
  • Borman, Frank
  • Cathedral of the Holy Angels (Gary)
  • Catholic Church
  • Chicago (Ill.)
  • Churches
  • Congregation of the Holy Cross
  • Displaced Persons
  • Education
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Gary
  • Gary Diamond Jubilee
  • Gary Teachers Union
  • Gruza, Stanislaus, Rev.
  • Horace Mann High School
  • International Institute of Northwest Indiana
  • Labor
  • Lew Wallace High School
  • Piatek, Mary Lou
  • Poland
  • Polish American Historical Association
  • Silver Bell Club
  • South Bend
  • St. Hedwig Church
  • Sztuczko, Casimir, Rev.
  • World War II
  • Zale, Tony