The Institute’s first Director and founder was Father Eugene Reczek SJ (1916-1971). Established on September 8, 1958, it was approved as Pontifical Institute on December 17, 1970 and has been located at the present site since 1974.
The main purpose of the Institute is to systematically record, register, collect material (microfilm, photocopies) so as to facilitate access to documents pertinent to the history of the Catholic Church within Poland’s historical boundaries. Material to be found in the archives of the Apostolic See as well as in other archives in Italy, whether ecclesiastical, state or private. Also gathered are documents and papers from Polish or Italo – Polish publishing houses and private collections.
The Institute engages in publishing activities with a hundred books to its name to date as well as a number of issues of the review ‘Informationes’ on archival research. It also contributes to Polish and foreign scientific committees both in Poland and abroad. A reference point for the Roman Institute was founded in Warsaw in 1976.
The reproduction of Polish documents collected by the Institute, mainly from Vatican Archives, amount to three million frames of microfilm and forty-thousand photocopies and photographs. The bulk of the material is housed at the Institute’s reference point in Warsaw.
The library owns around forty-five thousand volumes and pamphlets beyond the ancient books and manuscripts, roughly two-thousand periodicals among which one hundred and twenty of the present day. The content of the publications is mainly in Polish and regards ecclesiastical disciplines and humanities with a special emphasis on history.