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    Jun 2

    Written by: Michael Dalby 6/2/2008 7:10 AM 

    Gypsy KingThe Gypsies, or Roma, as they preferred to be called, are known more through folklore and legend than through facts. They probably originated in northern India, and in the tenth century began to migrate westward. When they appeared in Europe in the fourteenth century, some Roma claimed to have come from "Little Egypt," a term which at that time referred to any part of the Near East and beyond.  Thus the description of them as "Egyptian" eventually was shortened to "Gypsy."   Freedom to roam is their chosen way of life.   The John G. White Special Collections Department collects material on Gypsies as part of a mandate to collect material related to folklore.  This photograph, featured in the exhibit  Travelers, Travel, Exploration, and Adventure, shows the King of the Gypsies being crowned.  As the photograph captions reads, "Janusz Kwiek, seated on the throne after being crowned King of the Gypsies at the Army Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, on July 4, 1937, reigned over 35,000 Polish gypsies. The coronation chair was borrowed from the Warsaw Opera House and was the one used in the opera "Boris Godunov." The coronation robes, also borrowed from the Opera House, were those used in the production of "King Lear." About 12,000 spectators watched the election, including Madame Skladkowska, wife of the Prime Minister, and many members of the Diplomatic Corps.  Photo: Plain Dealer  Rotogravure Dept.  July 13, 1937."  The image is from the Photograph Collection at the Cleveland Public Library.  Visit the Cleveland Public Library Special Collections Department to view the display of books, photographs, and souvenir pamphlets related to travelers, travel, exploration, and adventure or to see other items related to gypsy culture or folklore.


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