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People in History

Famous Polish Officers

PulaskiPolish-born Count Casimir Pulaski was one of many foreign officers to serve under the command of General George Washington during the American Revolution. Other Polish officers also came to America and sought to join General Pulaski's command. Pulaski's reputation was well known to them, and being a fellow countryman, they naturally were drawn to him, for their language, customs and habits were the same. And Pulaski was rather free to recruit his own staff of officers as well as enlisted men, especially after he formed the Pulaski Legion in 1778.
The Pulaski Legion was comprised of mostly foreigners, especially Germans. Among the officers were several Frenchmen, Germans and Poles. A famous American officer in the Legion was General Lighthorse Harry Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee. Of the Poles, the following notable officers served with the great Pulaski:

Captain Joseph Baldeski - Served as paymaster of the Legion. Auditors of the Continental Congress questioned and investigated his accounting practices, but cleared him of any wrongdoing. Nevertheless, he resigned his commission in late 1779. He apparently lived out his last years in Germantown, Pa. and was a starchmaker.

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Poles Developed Early Television

It has recently become fashionable to credit the invention of television to the American Philo T. Farnsworth. But the truth is, modern television was not so much a single invention by a single person, but a long process of interdependent discoveries. Many scientists from different countries and backgrounds contributed to its development. Among them were Poles.

Paul Gottlieb Nipkow (1860-1940) is usually called a German inventor. But more detailed sources identify him as a Kaszubian Pole. He was born in Lębork in the Kaszub region of Poland west of Gdańsk, and schooled in nearby Wejherowo. These were lands taken by Germany (Prussia) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since they were part of Germany, Nipkow was legally a German citizen, and pursued his career in Berlin.

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John Quincy Adams, future US President, visiting Silesia

In the year 1800, John Quincy Adams, the U.S. Minister to Prussia, undertook a two month tour of Silesia, then part of Prussia. He detailed his experiences in a series of letters to his brother. It was a thoroughly German area in that time (Western Silesia) that Adams visited, yet it is interesting to note the observations of a distinguished American, later President of the United States, of this region. Silesia, during its complicated history, was in centuries past a part of Poland and is currently a part of that nation, comprising its southwestern region.

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Littlepage: American Citizen, Polish Statesman

Lewis Littlepage was a young American who was a figure in the final years of the Kingdom of Poland. He was born in Virginia in 1762 into a well-connected family and at seventeen was sent to Madrid to live in the household of John Jay, U.S. Minister to Spain. There, he furthered his education in politics and foreign diplomacy in a hands-on manner.
   In 1781 he joined the Spanish army and served with distinction against the British in Gibraltar. Two years later the French General    Lafayette accompanied him to Paris, and Littlepage was introduced to the French royal court where he made a favorable impression.
In 1784, Littlepage traveled across Europe with a French prince who was married to a Polish woman. In Poland, he became acquainted with the leading social and political families and was personally introduced to King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Littlepage made an immediate impression upon the king, for he was charming, witty and intelligent bordering on genius. They shared an interest in books and liberal ideas. King Stanisław admired all things American, and Littlepage's friendship with Lafayette and knowledge of France and Spain appealed to him. The king offered Littlepage a position in his court and he enthusiastically accepted.

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Czartoryski Boosted Dupont’s Fortunes

    E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company has been one of the world's largest industrial companies for more than a century. Its beginnings date back more than 200 years when the Dupont family immigrated to America from France. And it was the family patriarch who owed a debt of gratitude to Poland.

    Pierre Samuel Dupont was born in Paris in 1739 into a family neither rich nor poor. He received a decent education and after he left home he lived a hand-to-mouth existence while deciding on his life's calling. He began writing about economics and society and his theories drew the attention of influential people. Soon he was recognized as a serious thinker who could contribute to the betterment of French society.

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