The Obrebski Collection (call no.: MS 599) consists largely of ethnographic data collected by Obrębski in Macedonia (1932–1933), Polesie (1934–1937), and Jamaica (1947–1948), including field and interview notes, genealogies, government documents relating to research sites, and ca. 1550 photographs, together with correspondence (1946–1974), drafts of articles, analyses of collected data and papers of Obrębski’s wife, Tamara Obrębska (1908–1974), also an ethnologist and sociologist.
The Qualitative Data Archive at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences posesses and makes available, by kind permission of the UMass Archives, a part of the field materials of Józef Obrębski. They are digitalised and available online for research purposes. They consist of three complexes of documents.
Józef Obrębski’s Macedonia research (1932–1933)
The materials presented here are just a small part of the collection at the UMass Archives, showing a sample of Obrębski’s methodological skills and instruments: the way he prepared field notes and ordered them, his preliminary conclusions and the early versions of writings on magic, religion and beliefs of the inhabitants of Macedonian Poreche. The notes are written in the local dialect and are often supplemented with Polish titles, comments and translations. The writings are in Polish and English.
Józef Obrębski’s Polesie research (1934–1937)
The presented collection includes photocopies of original Polesie field materials from the “Obrebski Collection” at the UMass Archives. These are first of all notes and transcripts of interviews, and also students’ essays, extracts from official data, maps, plans and sketches of the villages, lists of rural dwellers, newspaper clippings, questionnaires and instructions, as well as the drafts of Obrębski’s works based on the Polesie research.
Peasant Autobiographies from the 1930s
This collection consists of 40 autobiographies written by young inhabitants of villages located in the Polesie region and other eastern provinces of the Second Polish Republic. Most of them are works submitted to the national competition entitled “The description of my life, work, reflections and aspirations”, announced in 1937 by the State Institute of Rural Culture and the journal “Przysposobienie Rolnicze”. A handful were created at the behest of Obrębski himself during his fieldwork in Polesie.