Historic Winona Newspapers

Wiarus and Katolik – Polish Newspapers

In 1886 a Polish language newspaper was established in Winona and was published weekly until 1916, then semi-weekly until 1921.  The paper was known as Wiarus from 1886 to 1893 and Katolik from 1893-1895. In 1895, the newspaper was reverted to its original name, Wiarus, until it folded in 1919

Although Winona’s Polish community was known as the Kashubian Capital of America, Wiarus was published in the “good” Polish spoken in Warsaw and Krakow (not the Kashubian language).

The newspaper had subscribers all over the United States and in some foreign countries. Hieronim Derdowski was the founder and editor of this paper and he emigrated from the Kashubian village of Wiele. He died in 1902 and his widow, Joanna, continued publishing the Wiarus until she sold it in 1915. A statue of Hieronim Derdowski was constructed in Wiele and still stands today. He is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Winona. 

PGS-MN member, Greg Kishel, has documented information about Poles who came to various towns in Minnesota in his Drobne Echa articles in past PGS-MN newsletters. These articles are translations from the historic Wiarus and Katolik newspapers.

Copies of Wiarus and Katolik can be found in the Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub of the Minnesota Historical Society. Both newspapers are in the Polish language. Scroll down alphabetically within the link to Katolik and Wiarus.

Other Newspapers in Winona

In addition to the Polish newspapers in Winona, there were a number of local newspapers from the mid-1850s until today. 

yearsnewspaper titlecomments
1854 – 1857Winona ArgusBegan publication when the city was only three years old
1854 – 190013 new newspapersAll competed to get advertisers to pay for the cost, many not surviving very long
1857 – 1860Several newspapers startedOnly lasted a short time
1860 – 1901Winona Daily Republican
1901 – 1954Winona Republican Herald
1954 – presentWinona Daily News

Winona Newspaper Project

The Winona Newspaper Project is a database that was developed by the Darrell W. Krueger Library at Winona State University. The database provides free access to the general public, and includes many issues of the four primary Winona newspapers mentioned above between 1855 and 1976. The website for this database has been recently updated – it is much easier to use than the original version.

The newspapers can be searched by keyword (such as a person’s name) or paged through by issue. You can find many types of records in the newspapers including births, engagements, marriage articles, obituaries, articles that include individual person names. It is a fascinating way to learn more about your ancestors and what life was like in Winona at the time. While the Winona Daily News is still in print today, the database only goes through 1976. Check it out – it is well worth your time.