Some documents of the Ivanaj family are preserved by the Albanian government in the National State Archives in Tirana. They consist of dozens and dozens of dossiers for both Dr. Martin Ivanaj and Prof. Mirash Ivanaj, amounting to thousands of documents, which were cataloged and microfiched on Fuji film in 1988, when Albania was still isolated from the rest of the world.

These collections are in no particular order since they were sequestrated by the Albanian State when Prof. Mirash Ivanaj was arrested and imprisoned for political reasons in 1947, together with his properties, confiscated first in 1939 by the Italian occupying forces, but lost by them at the end of World War II when the Communist regime appropriated them for its own use.

These papers consist of personal correspondence, some family photographs and household records, but the bulk of the collections represent prepared works of all sorts by the Ivanaj brothers. They include handwritten poetry and literary pieces, in Serbo-Croatian, dating back to 1902, composed during their youth while studying in Belgrade; a full length mythological drama in Italian, written while they attended the University in Rome, Italy, in the 1920’s; texts of teaching materials in various faculties, such as literature, history, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and many legal proceedings in civil and penal laws.

Lots of the personal — and now historical — documents of the family, however, were saved by Giuseppina Pogliotti (Dr. Martin’s wife) for several years in Italy, and they were eventually transferred to the United States in the 1970’s by their daughter, Drita, who still lives in New York City. All of the documents in her possession will be sorted, organized, cataloged, and exhibited in the Ivanaj Institute in Tirana, hopefully in the not too distant future when the Foundations’ new headquarters now being built in Tirana will be completely setup and furnished.

In 1998, thanks to an Albanian professor, teaching in Belgrade, Drita Ivanaj obtained photocopies of the works that her father and uncle wrote while students in Belgrade, which were published in several literary magazines and newspapers in the early 1900’s, and are still preserved in the Archives of that city. A selection of these poems were translated from Serbian to Albanian by a Montenegrin cousin of the Ivanajs, Pjeter Dreshaj, and published, for fundraising purposes, in 2008 by the Ivanaj Foundation in a booklet entitled “My Tower of Hope”.

In 1991 Drita found in Italy a copy of the thesis that Martin Ivanaj defended at the University of Rome in 1921 when he became Doctor of Jurisprudence. This dissertation gives a great and detailed account of the ancient laws that governed the Tribes of Northern Albania, such as Hoti, Grudë, and Kelmendi. It has been digitized and it is planned to be published after an appropriate translation from Italian to Albanian.

Ivanaj Family Tree

During her first trip back to Albania in 1993, Drita also found in the National Archives of Tirana a sketch of the family tree, handwritten by her father, that traces the male generations of the Ivanajs back 500 years to the time of Skanderbeg. Since then, Drita has researched the family history whenever the occasion has presented itself and more facts continued to surface. This included the discovery of relatives that live since the turn of the 19th century in northern Albania and Montenegro, and others that emigrated many decades ago to the Great Lakes region of the United States. Some of them had children and grandchildren, now forming almost six generations.