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Early Polish Culture Research Team

The Early Polish Culture Research Team at the Institute of History, University of Warsaw, has been working since 1994.  It was established as a Department of Early Polish Culture and in 2000 was transformed into a permanent research team approved by the Senate of the University of Warsaw.
In its first ten years the Team carried out the following research programmes: 
1. 1994-1998: A cultural melting pot in the northern regions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century
2. 2000-2001: Political awareness of Polish society in the 16th-18th centuries
3. 2002-2004: The functioning of classical political terminology in the language of the Polish elites in the 15th-18th centuries. Reception and evolution of meanings.
Organisational achievements and publications in 1994-2004:
1)  1994: symposium devoted to Sarmatism and the Baroque – an explanation of concepts; co-organised by Early Polish Literature Unit, Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences; Department of Early Polish Literature, Institute of Polish Studies, University of Warsaw; and “Book Garden” Association at the Faculty of Polish Studies, University of Warsaw. 
2)  1995: symposium entitled The twilight of early Polish culture; publication of conference proceedings: The Twilight of Early Polish Culture. Continuity and Crises, ed.  U. Augustyniak, A. Karpiński, Warsaw 1997, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Semper. 
3)  1997: interdisciplinary symposium entitled The splendours and daily life of old Polish manor houses
4)  1998: symposium entitled Charitas. Charity and social welfare in the ideology, norms of behaviour and practice of religious communities in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 16th-18th centuries; co-organised by  the Department of Early Modern History, Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences; publication under the same title, ed. U. Augustyniak, A. Karpiński, Warsaw 1999, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Semper. 
5)  1999: participation in a symposium entitled Classical and modern republicanism organised by the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Tradition in Central and Eastern Europe, University of Warsaw; papers by U. Augustyniak and M. Janicki published in Łacina jako język elit, ed. J. Axer, Warsaw 2004, Wydawnictwo DiG
6) 2000: work begins on an electronic database of Protestant communities in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 16th-18th centuries. The idea for the programme came from Dr Marek Janicki, its first coordinator, and the main objective was to create a “new Merczyng” – a modern version of Henryk Merczyng’s classic study devoted to Protestant communities and senators in Poland (Warsaw 1904) in the form of an Internet database containing information from available printed sources, information that could be updated and supplemented with data provided by researchers from Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.  The first team studying the Protestant communities also included Mgr Agnieszka Kuś and Dr Rafał Jaworski.
Research and achievements in 2004-2009
Since 2004 the Early Polish Culture Research Team has been working with new members and on the basis of new organisational principles. There are two sub-teams conducting separate research programmes. Their members are academic staff, graduates, doctoral students and students of the Institute of History, University of Warsaw. The head of the Team responsible for coordination of both programmes is Prof. Urszula Augustyniak.
Team I. Programme: Protestant communities in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 16th-18th centuries. Database.
Dr Maciej Ptaszyński, e-mail:
Prof. dr hab. Urszula Augustyniak, e-mail:
Dr Tomasz Chmielak, e-mail:
Mgr Rafał Degiel, e-mail:
Mgr Anna Portacha-Szacoń, e-mail:
Mgr Anna Wilanek-Kińska, e-mail:
Krzysztof Kubik, e-mail:
Maciej Próba, e-mail:
Sławomir Popiel, e- mail:
Paweł Talarski, e-mail:
The team began working in 2004 using a modified computer programme. In 2009 the scholars finished entering the available source information in a database of Protestant communities (Lutherans,  Bohemian Brethren and Reformed Evangelicals in the Wielkopolska province, and Reformed Evangelicals in the Małopolska province and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania).  The database is available (in Access) on the website of the Institute of History, University of Warsaw. 
The research results were presented and discussed on 15 January 2009 during a meeting of the Historical Geography Commission at the Committee on Historical Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences. During the meeting the Team started collaboration with the Historical Geography Unit of the Catholic University of Lublin, headed by Prof. Stanisław Litak. The electronic database of Protestant communities from the 16th-17th centuries compiled by the Team is to become, after being professionally prepared for visualisation, part of the Historical Atlas of Churches and Religious Communities in the First Polish Republic – parallel to a map illustrating the situation in the 1770s, prepared by Dr Bogumił Szady from the Catholic University of Lublin.  
At the same time the Team members began the second stage of the project by changing the structure of the database and expanding the questionnaire to include personal data of  clergymen employed by the communities. This necessitated a modification of the data already entered. In addition to continuing their work on the collective database, which requires further supplementary information and archive research, Team I plans to launch the second stage of research and move from historical geography to prosopography, entering also Protestant clerics in the database. The change in the database profile will also be accompanied by an expansion of the theoretical foundations of the project and the catalogue of questions stemming from the modernisation paradigm.
The information included in the database has been presented in the form of an electronic map prepared by Dr Bogumił Szady.
Link to the map.

Team II. Programme: Testaments of Warsaw burghers between the 15th century and the first half of the 17th century as a historical source. Electronic database and source edition
Dr hab. prof. UW Agnieszka Bartoszewicz, e-mail:
Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Karpiński, e-mail:
Dr Tomasz Wiślicz, e-mail:
Mgr Anna Karpińska, e-mail: 
Mgr Jakub Wysmułek, e-mail:
Mgr Karolina Latek, e-mail:
Mgr Karolina Cuper, e-mail:
Mgr Inga Stembrowicz, e-mail:,
Mgr Łukasz Truściński, e-mail:
Mgr Katarzyna Warda, e-mail:
Mgr Joanna Zalewska, e-mail:
The team studying old Polish testaments was established in 2007. The aim of the project is to conduct wide-ranging study of last wills in the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The programme covers all the stages of analysing such sources: archive research, cataloguing, preparation of a source edition, source study and substantive analysis. 
So far the Team’s work has focused on testaments of Warsaw burghers.  Two MA dissertations have been written on the topic: one by Anna Karpińska and one by Karolina Latek. In addition, research has been carried out at the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw; its results (several hundred documents) collected in an electronic database will be published in the form of a catalogue of testaments of Warsaw burghers in the 15th-17th centuries. The first stage of the project was summed up by a workshop devoted to the methodological and source studies of testaments, held on 12 November 2009.
Apart from editorial work on other Warsaw testaments from the Central Archives of Historical Records (archive research and registration of 18th century testaments), planned work will include studies of testaments of burghers from other cities and towns (e.g. Płock, Pułtusk, Sieradz, Warta, Lanckorona, Radziejów) as well as work on registration of testaments kept in the municipal records in Kraków.