Historian in Training
Studying history has taught Julian Brosi ’21 to narrow in on the smallest of details. Whether he is reading about post-WWII Europe or thinking about philosophy, Julian is constantly thinking about how the past can influence the future.
“Without knowing how we got here, how can you make factual, well-informed decisions?” asks the West Newbury, MA, resident.
Until he came to Elms, Julian didn’t assign much weight to historical events. That all changed, however, when he met professors Damien Murray and Laura McNeil of the History Department. The way that they focused on thoughts and ideas, rather than memorizing dates, upended Julian’s way of thinking.
“I appreciate talking about progressions around the world and not only how they impacted the next generation, but how they’re impacting us now,” he said.
Down the Rabbit Hole
As an intern at the Polish Center of Learning and Discovery in Chicopee, Julian gained firsthand experience chronicling the past, present, and future.
He spent most of his days in the stacks of the Rowinski Collection, an archive of the papers and belongings of Leokadia and Stanislaw Rowinski, Polish refugees who fled post-WWII Europe and settled down in Holyoke, MA.
“Analyzing these collections has helped teach me what it really means to be a historian,” Julian said.
He recalls one experience in particular: discovering a “seemingly unremarkable laundry ticket” written in German. At first, he couldn’t figure out why such a mundane item would be included in the collection. But, after discussing it with his supervisor at the Center and contacting the descendents of the Rowinskis, Julian learned that Leokadia Rowinski used the ticket as a means of masking her identity. If questioned, Leokadia could have produced the ticket to suggest German loyalties, Julian said.
“The most inconspicuous thing can mean so much,” he added.
On the verge of graduating in spring 2021, Julian intends to pursue a career as an educator and soccer coach.
“I want to learn from my students as much as they’re hopefully learning from me,” he said.