Other Names: Waleria Lipczynski
Valeria Lipczynska immigrated to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1869. The location was chosen because her husband John’s sister Louise, wife of Valentine Pogodzinski, had been there since 1865.
Lipczynska and her husband helped at least forty other families from Trzemeszno to settle in Grand Rapids.
Valeria and her husband staged the first Polish Ball in Grand Rapids, and in 1871 helped to found the first Polish organization in western Michigan (the Wiarus Society). She and her husband also helped to establish the St. Adalbert Aid Society and the Polish National Aid Society. She was instrumental in the founding of not one, but three, Grand Rapids parishes: St. Mary’s, St. Adalbert’s and St. Isadore’s. In 1890, she inaugurated the Polish Ladies Society and was also a member of the Polish Falcons. She also was involved in organizing the Ladies Welfare Society and the Harvester Ladies (Zniwiarki). She also recognized the need for immigrants to socialize together and observe their customs. She and her husband owned the Lipczynski Hall on Eastern Avenue north of Michigan Street, where they staged patriotic performances and trained children for amateur theatre.
Lipczynska would accompany new immigrant men to the mills, mines, and factories to help them find work. She formed a corps of American-born young people to help with this task, and acted as an intermediary with the authorities in the event of an unfortunate occurrence in the community. She supported the Lutnia and Halka Choir and the Arkopolan Singing Society, and would often visit the sick and act as a midwife. She was the Grand Rapids correspondent for Midwest Polish newspapers, and as Vice-Censor of the Polish National Alliance (as well as the first woman to serve on its board of directors) had private audiences with presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.
She also served as a translator, and, fluent in German, was a member of the German Arbeiter Society and the Germania Society. In August 1927, she was honored with the Polish Golden Service Cross for altruistic services to Polish immigrants. She also received the General Haller medal for her work with Polish American soldiers. She died February 16, 1930 and was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery.