By Jennifer Walker
When Marianne Frederick, MS, RN, isn’t working in the Radiology Department at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, she can be found celebrating her Polish heritage by caroling, dancing, or managing her store in Upper Fells Point.
Frederick has lived in Baltimore all of her life—”I always joked that when my mother came from Poland, she landed at the foot of Broadway and we just never left,” she says—but her family continued to embrace Poland’s traditions.
In 1987, Frederick opened Polish Treasures at 429 South Chester Street. To stock the store, she travels to Poland to choose items like wooden boxes and crystals, then has them shipped to Baltimore.
Polish Treasures also functions as a sort of Welcome Center for Polish men and women who need help with immigration papers or translating documents, or advice on bringing loved ones from Poland to the U.S.
“We jokingly say [the store] is Little Poland,” Frederick says.
Even with her dual career as a nurse and store owner, Frederick is still active in two of the city’s largest Polish celebrations: the Baltimore City Polish Festival, held every summer since 1971, and East Baltimore Christmas, a caroling event that Frederick calls “one of Baltimore’s best-kept secrets.”
These events are so popular that families who have left Baltimore come back to attend. Now that’s a tribute to the strength of Baltimore’s Polish community—and to Frederick for working so hard to support it.