Jan Stanisław Bystroń,
ethnologist and sociologist spceializing the history of Polish culture; b. 20th October 1892 in Kraków, d. 18th November 1964 in Warsaw. He was born to an Evangelical family of rural origins. His father was a philologist and middle school teacher, while his grandfather, Andrzej Cinciała, was an activist from Cieszyn Silesia who fought for patriotic and educational causes, while collecting folk songs and proverbs. Before his school-leaving exam, Jan joined "Zet" – the Union of Polish Youth. He studied Polish and Slavic studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, simultaneously briefly attending the Polish School of Political Studies. In 1912 he received a prestigious scholarship that allowed him to attend lectures in philosophy, sociology, and ethnology at the École pratique des hautes études and the Sorbonne. After graduation he went on to study for a PhD, writing a thesis later published under the title O rzeczywistości społecznej (On Social Reality; 1915). Having left the academia, he moved to Vienna to become the secretary of the board of the Polish Military Archive. During WWI he was released from active duty due to poor health. Having returned to Kraków in 1918, he worked as press officer for the Polish Liquidation Committee, a temporary Polish government body in Galicia. In 1919 he came rejoined the academic staff of the Jagiellonian University and three years later got promoted to professor of ethnography and ethnology at the Poznań University. He held the chair in Poznań until 1925 and he came back to Kraków to become the head of the Ethnology and Ethnography Department at his alma mater (five years later renamed as the Department of Ethnology and Sociology).
In the mid-1930s Jan Bystroń moved to Warsaw in ordert to work at the University of Warsaw. At the same time he led the Department of University Studies of the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Education. He was a member of many academic associations, including the Polish Ethnological Society, Poznań Society of Friends of Sciences, and the Warsaw Scientific Society. He collaborated with the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Academia Umiejętności), worked as editor for academic journals such as "Przegląd Socjologiczny" or "Biblioteka Socjologiczna". He represented the academic community at significant international conferences and conventions. Towards the end of his life, he was appointed a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN).
updated: February 2015 (mkk, ab)