The preparation for the publication of Kolberg’s legacy started already in 1958, in the so-called “Kolberg Study” created by the Polish Ethnological Society (PTL) in Wrocław by professor Józef Gajek. PTL was an advocate and initiator of this publication. In addition, it had in deposit most of the Kolberg’s archive.
In 1960 the highest national authorities (The Council of State) passed a resolution to publish all material collected by Kolberg under the title ‘Dzieła wszystkie’ [The Complete Works]. It was one of the initiatives undertaken to commemorate the millennium of the Polish state. The academic auspices of this task were entrusted to the Polish Academy of Sciences, which also financed the project.
A separate Editorial Office of ‘The Complete Works of Oskar Kolberg’ (CWOK) was established to accomplish the task. Originally it was located in Wrocław, but in 1962 it was transferred to Poznań. Professor Józef Burszta became the chief-editor of CWOK; he organized a small team of specialists eventually creating the Editorial Office of CWOK in Poznań. Professor Julian Krzyżanowski was the head of the Editorial Board from 1962. After his death, in 1976, this post was assumed by professor Gerard Labuda, still presides.
The financial crisis in Poland in the mid-1990s hindered the effort of the Editorial Office, which was still, at that time, a section of the Polish Ethnological Society. A lack of funds for the editorial work of CWOK forced the unit to change its status and find other solutions to publish the rest of Kolberg’s legacy. In 1997 a new independent unit was established which assumed the tasks as well as the experienced team of experts. The Oskar Kolberg Institute in Poznań was established at the beginning of 1998 and has continued the work on Kolberg’s legacy to the present day.
Some of the outcomes of the Institute’s work (the former Editorial Office) are the recognition of the legacy of Kolberg, the development of specialized editorial techniques based on systematic scientific research, the publication of 81 volumes of CWOK as well as many other works from the disciplines of folklore studies and musicology.