Bronius Kviklys (1913–1990)
Photo from the archive of
Diaspora Studies Centre
Bronius Kviklys, as many other intellectuals in exile was interested in Lithuania‘s past, poltical realities of those days, tried to find relations between those who remained in Lithuania and those emigrated to the West. This step encouraged B. Kviklys to do meaningful intellectual work, the results of which would integrate into Lithuanian culture and become a guarantor of preservation and development of Lithuanian identity.
B. Kviklys was born and grew up in Lithuania, Utena region, Zastronas village. In 1932 he graduated from Utena gymnasium and until 1937 studied economics at the Faculty of Law of Vytautas Magnus University. In 1938–1941 he continued his studies in Kaunas and Vilnius. B. Kviklys realised himself not only in the economic context, but also became editor of some magazines published in interwar Lithuania
B. Kviklys had to suffer the fate of an emigrant, but even in difficult life circumstances he tried to foster the idea of Lithuanian identity. In 1944–1945 in Germany together with other emigrants he established Lithuanian community. In 1951 he left for the United States of America and lived in Chicago. The beginning of life in a foreign country was not easy at first – for many years B. Kviklys worked in a factory, but gradually became involved into intellectual activity: contributed to numerous newspapers and journals, organised publishing. He devoted 32 years to this activity collecting actual material about Lithuania‘s locations, churches, history.B. Kviklys accumulated a vast archive of Lithuanian studies containing valuable collections of press, books, numismatic, philately and photographs. In 1993 this archive was given to Diaspora Studies Centre of Vytautas Magnus University.
In due time B. Kviklys became recognised as prominent journalist of Lithuanian press in US, collector and economist. The magnum opus crowning his extraordinary career was his seven-volume series „Lithuanian Churches“ and four-volume encyclopaedia „Our Lithuania“. B. Kviklys‘ intellectual activities were extremely prominent and meaningful. In recognition of B. Kviklys‘ unparalleled undertakings, Pope John Paul II awarded him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal in 1984.