American Lithuanian Cultural Archives
American Lithuanian Cultural Archives or ALKA (Lithuanian: Amerikos lietuvių kultūros archyvai) is located at 37 Mary Crest Drive in Putnam, Connecticut. It is dedicated to the preservation of Lithuanian culture in the United States. ALKA comprises a museum, a library and the archives. It is maintained by Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Science (Lithuanian: Lietuvių katalikų mokslo akademija).
- 1922: Catholic priest, Pranciškus Mykolas Juras begins collecting Lithuanian books, periodicals, artwork and crafts at his parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
- 1935: Father Juras' growing collection is moved to the offices of the newspaper "Darbininkas" in South Boston.
- 1963: A building is built in Putnam, CT and the collection is moved there.
- 1972: Responsibility for ALKA is transferred to the Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Science.
- 1981: The ALKA building is expanded to its current size (814 sq. meters).
The ALKA museum houses artwork by over 40 American Lithuanian artists, including Galdikas, Vizgirda, Viesulas, Ignas, Paukštienė, Petrikonis, Murinas and Kasiulis; collections of wood carvings by Končius, Motuza and others; old photographs of significant events in American Lithuanian history; medals of societies dating from the second half of the 19th century; textiles with Lithuanian designs; several items exhibited in the Lithuanian pavilion at the 1939 World Fair, including sculptures by Antinis and Kašuba and artwork by Dobužinskis, Kalpokas, Smetona and Galdikas.
The ALKA library contains over 30,000 books about topics of interest to Lithuanians, or written by Lithuanians; over 1,000 collections of Lithuanian periodicals dating from 1883 to the present; old and rare books (the oldest being "Tabellen Zur Übersicht der Geschichte ALLER EUROPÄISCHEN LÄNDER und staaten" by C. Kruse, published in 1802); calendars dating from the late 19th century to the present; prayerbooks dating from 1859 to the present (some with dedications).
The ALKA archives contain over 200 collections of manuscripts, letters and other documents. Collections include, among others, those of composers Kačinskas, Gaidelis and Marijošius; organizations VLIK, BALF, Lithuanian Foundation, Knights of Lithuania, APPLE, Lithuanian Consulate in New York, various Lithuanian societies from the end of the 19th century; poet Faustas Kirša; Father Stasys Yla, Father Cukuras.
ALKA is supported by donations from several generations of Lithuanian immigrants. Its collections continue to grow as American citizens of Lithuanian descent strive to ensure that the history of Lithuanians in America is not forgotten.
- Dr. Juozas Kriaučiūnas, "ALKA Preserves Material of Lithuanian Culture", Lituanus, Volume 32, No. 1 - Spring 1986
- Isabelle T. Laučka, "The Monsignor and His Archives", Lituanus, Volume 28, No. 4 - Winter 1982
- Simas Sužiedėlis, "Lithuanian Cultural Institute", Encyclopedia Lituanica, Volume 3, p. 390
- Simas Sužiedėlis, "ALKA", Encyclopedia Lituanica, Volume 1, p. 76