Dr. Francis E. Fronczak was born in Buffalo, New York, on September 20, 1874, the son of Polish immigrants. He studied at Canisius College and the University of Buffalo, receiving his M.D. degree in 1897, the first Polish-American to do so. He maintained a private practice in Buffalo but also was known for his local charity work including at the local Polish Orphan Asylum. He went on to become Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Buffalo.
At the same time, he wrote extensively on Polish and other issues in local newspapers. He was an important and committed activist for Polish independence and WWI war relief. He worked with internationally known leaders such as Ignacy Jan Paderewski in the Polish Central Relief Committee of America for Polish victims of WWI. Between World War I and World War II, Fronczak represented the United States at many international medical conventions. He also continued to keep in close contact with Polish leaders such as Paderewski and Roman Dmowski. In 1946, Dr. Fronczak was appointed to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration where his main assignment was to investigate sanitary conditions in Poland. He died on December 27, 1955, at the age of 81.
The Dr. Fronczak collection includes: biographical sketches, copies of birth and baptismal certificates, and other family records; correspondence of Dr. Fronczak and his wife Lucy, 1905-1919, and of the Fronczaks and their daughter Eugenia and other children; personal financial records, including account books and investments in various companies and in Polish bonds, 1898-1931; postcards sent to family and friends, and received by him; personal correspondence between Fronczak, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and W.C. Gorski, 1905-1955, and materials concerning Ignacy Paderewski, 1905-1960, including photographs, clippings, and programs; letters from Dr. Stanislaw Ciechanowski, professor at the University of Crakow, 1900-1907, 1919; bound monographs written by Fronczak and addresses delivered by him, 1901-1932, and undated, on health matters, Polish settlement in Buffalo, Nobel Prize recipients, Polish history and government, and other topics; miscellaneous Polish and Polish American periodicals and pamphlets, 1899-1948; and correspondence, reports, photographs, and other materials, documenting Fronczak's medical career, including his years as Buffalo Health Commissioner, service with the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War I, Polish relief work during and after both world wars, European trips, medical conferences and involvement with Polish organizations, 1900-1955. Also, calling cards, passports, membership cards, and certificates; autographed photographs of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, actress Helena Modrzejewska (Modjeska), Henryk Sienkiewicz, and other prominent people; photographs of Fronczak, his family and friends, and of various conferences and events; a galley proof of Jozef Orlowski's book about Helena Paderewska; and many artifacts, including ceremonial flags, badges, personal items, Fronczak's Army coat and trunk, medals of honor, and the marshal baton of General Josef Haller, head of the Polish Army in France during World War I. The collection also includes the documents and memorabilia of his daughter, Dr. Eugenia Fronczak-Bukowski, and her husband, Dr. Edward Bukowski, who succeeded Dr. Fronczak as the Commissioner of Public Health.