Drexel’s Polish Poster Collections Now Available Online Through iDEA
In April 2017, the Drexel University Libraries and the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University added the University’s collections of Polish posters to iDEA, Drexel’s digital repository. The collection includes pieces from the Frank Fox Polish Poster Collection at Drexel University and the Kenneth F. Lewalski Polish Posters Collection.
Previously, digitized versions of these collections were available via Artstor Shared Shelf, an external platform that enables universities to upload, catalog and share their digital collections online. Moving these collections to iDEA represents an important step in the Libraries’ efforts to improve discovery by making these posters searchable and browsable alongside the other digital content archived in iDEA.
Distinct from other content in iDEA, these poster collections include metadata tags that improve discoverability specifically for design students, such as colors, patterns and brush techniques. These tags are available on the individual record pages and are hyperlinked so that users can find other posters with similar tags (ex: ‘splatter’). The metadata for these collections was created by Westphal students as part of the STAR Scholars program.
Staff members from both the Drexel University Libraries and Westphal College of Media Arts & Design contributed to this project, including the Libraries’ Diane Kinney, Shannon Robinson, Eddie Rubeiz and Holly Tomren, and Westphal’s Kim Coulter and Mark Willie.
The digital poster images available in iDEA represent a subset of the physical collections. Both physical collections are housed in Westphal’s URBN Center at Drexel and together represent one of the largest surveys of Soviet-era Polish posters in an institution in the United States.
Access to the digital images from both collections is available online via iDEA.
Photo: Jazz Greats, by Waldemar Swierzy, is just one of the many posters included in Drexel's Polish Poster Collection.
About the Frank Fox Polish Poster Collection at Drexel University
The Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University acquired the collection from Mr. Frank Fox, an alumni of the University, in 2007. This collection contains around 2,500 posters that range in date from the 1930’s through the 1990’s, with the bulk of the collection dating from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. The collection includes Solidarity posters, Wiktor Sadowski posters, WWII and anti-Nazi posters produced outside of Poland, Polish anti-American posters from the 1950s, jazz posters and posters by Alexiun, Gorowski and other renowned artists.
About the Kenneth F. Lewalski Polish Posters Collection
In 2009, the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University acquired the Kenneth F. Lewalski Polish Posters Collection. The collection includes around 140 posters, many of which relate to American jazz performers and theater and film productions. Nearly 20 percent of the collection is the work of Waldemar Swierzy, who designed 1,500 posters in his lifetime. Twenty-six of his posters are included in this collection. Other artists featured in the collection include Jan Lenica, Franciszek Strarowiejski, Jan Sawka, A. Pagowski, J. Czerniawski, Roman Cieslewicz and more.