Poland Sent The U.S. A Birthday Card With 5.5 Million Signatures

July 4, 2017

In 1926, a Polish citizen named Leopold Kotnowski came to the White House with a huge greeting card for the United States' 150th birthday.

The birthday card contained 5.5 million signatures, artwork, photographs, poems, and pressed flowers.

poland birthday card to US
Photo credit: Katherine Frey / The Washington Post

The good wishes came on 30,000 pages, in 111 bound volumes compiled by the people of Poland, newly independent following World War I, who wanted to express their affection for the United States.

"It's essentially a gigantic birthday card, signed by … almost a sixth of the population of Poland in 1926," said Sahr ­Conway-Lanz, a manuscript historian at the Polish Library of Washington.

poland birthday card to US
Photo credit: Katherine Frey / The Washington Post

The Poles thanked the United States for the good example it set, for its role in World War I, and for saving Poland's children from famine and disease at the war's end.

poland birthday card to US
Photo credit: Katherine Frey / The Washington Post

"Noble Americans," the Poles wrote, "your national holiday is sacred not for you alone. It finds a warm reverberation over the whole world."

"We, the people of Poland, send to you, citizens of the great American union, fraternal greetings [and] . . . our deepest admiration . . . for the institutions which have been created by you.

"In them, Liberty, Equality and Justice have found their highest expression and have become the guiding stars for all modern democracies."

"With eternal gratitude in our hearts," the Poles declared, "we . . . desire . . . to wish your country and your nation all possible prosperity. . . . Long live the United States of America!"

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