Book collections from the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century preserved in the NM are among the richest and most interesting book collections of the Czech Republic. Research into personal book collections of the NM within the NAKI project (2012–2015), including besides the historical book collection also books from the 19th and 20th centuries, has provided valuable information on the history of the entire book culture. The PROVENIO database is an important source of information and knowledge in terms of book owners and ownership provenance, library history, bibliophilia and the reception by readers, as well as the history of book binding, book publishing houses and book trade of the given period.
The library preserved in the collections of the Hussite Museum in Tábor is a reflection of the life of the Prague burgher and pharmacist Jan Dobromil Arbeiter (1794–1870). In the context of three quarters of the 19th century, it testifies to the emergence of the National Revival, the renewed interest in the Czech language and the related development of Czech theatre. J. D. Arbeiter was an important Prague burgher and patriot actively involved in social and political events. His versatile interests and the support of patriotism led him to the foundation and expansion of his personal library. He was a member of many associations, including Stálci, established by Amerling. Its members regularly purchased Czech books and thus supported the development of Czech, in particular scientific, literature. Arbeiter was also a generous patron. Among other things, he supported the education of poor students. He played an important role in the establishment of the Realgymnasium grammar school in Tábor, to which he donated his library. He had developed it for his entire life; originally, it comprised an impressive number of 3,000 volumes. The library of J. D. Arbeiter is not only an example of one of a few extant burgher libraries of the 19th century. Thanks to the breadth of Arbeiter’s interests, it also provides a selective overview of Czech book production at the time.
The activities of the Landfras printing works and the associated publishing house are an important part of the history of book culture in the Czech lands in the 19th century and form a significant chapter in the history of book printing and publishing in this period. The focus of the production of the printing works and the publishing house reflected the new needs of literate broad social classes in the 19th century, showing increased interest in the printed word. The company used the modern methods and technologies available, which reduced the price of the final book or other printed materials. For publication, it selected titles whose sales were guaranteed or at least expected. The result was the repeated printing of a number of titles of religious, educational and entertainment literature, which had already been popular in previous centuries, and the development of contemporary titles for the general public from both urban and rural areas. For centuries, great popularity was mainly enjoyed by the titles of religious folk literature (Himmelschlüssel prayer books by the theologian Martin von Cochem and other prayer and devotional books), in which Baroque Catholic piety was reflected until the late 19th century. To the original Himmelschlüssel and other traditional titles, the printing works added titles of its regular authors and their translations of contemporary prayer and religious literature. It complemented the titles of secular entertainment literature (reprints of original works, e.g. Kronika o Štilfridovi [The Chronicle of Štilfríd] or Kronika sedmi mudrců [The Chronicle of the Seven Wise Men]) with translations and original works by Jan Hýbl and Václav Rodomil Kramerius, and it also printed moralising stories by local priests. Educational literature, such as guides for homesteaders, cooks and the like sold also well. A separate activity section comprises the publication and printing of textbooks mostly for local schools. Until the end of the 19th century, they were abundantly complemented by printed broadsides, affordable to every household. A significant chapter of the 19th century was the development of periodicals, which was mirrored in the second half of that century also in newly emerging regional titles, especially in the weekly Ohlas od Nežárky [Echoes from the River Nežárka], which began to be published in 1871.
The article deals with broadside ballads with themes related to pilgrimage, which were used by Moravian pilgrims from the 1790s, but mainly in the first half of the 19th century. The period under study thus begins after the death of the Enlightenment ruler Joseph II, who introduced a number of restrictive measures into the pilgrimage system, which altered the pilgrimage practice. The quantity of pilgrimage songs then published as broadside ballads proves the unceasing interest of especially commoners in pilgrimages and the culture associated with them. The songs themselves, however, occasionally mirror the new situation. The first case is represented by songs about the pilgrimage sites abolished by the reforms of Joseph II and later (mostly from the second quarter of the 19th century) renewed (an analysis on the examples of Bludov and Hostýn). The second case includes newly established pilgrimage sites, which sometimes claim allegedly ancient history but are often only local replacements for more remote pilgrimage sites (an analysis on the examples of Jalubí and Lutršték near Němčany). The main role in the restoration and establishment of pilgrimage sites at that time was played by commoners, often peasants, who, after the Enlightenment reforms, assumed the role previously reserved for higher-ranking people (the nobility, clergy and burghers). Likewise the literature promoting the new or restored sites comes from these circles, which is reflected in a certain primitiveness of expression, yet interspersed with remnants of Baroque stereotypes.
The article presents the history of Otto’s publishing house from its establishment in 1871 until the death of its founder, Jan Otto, in 1916 with an emphasis on the formative years of the development of the business (1871, 1883/84, 1899). It deals with the transformation of the company and Otto’s exceptional business success. Otto managed to build the biggest nationally Czech publishing enterprise, characterised by a sophisticated universal editing programme, through which he tried to cover all literary needs of the Czech nation. At the end of Otto’s life, his company stopped expanding and gradually began to stagnate. The lack of a suitable successor in the management of the company and fights over the inheritance eventually led to the fall of this company.
The article provides information on the cultural life of the small town of Sobotka near Jičín and its surroundings during the National Revival. In its short introduction, it presents its main cultural activities from the 14th century while focusing on significant figures of the end of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century: the burgher Raymund Šolc and the priests Antonín Marek, František Vetešník and Damián Šimůnek. It draws particular attention to their libraries and the spread of Czech books. It also mentions other important inhabitants of the town, such as the saleswoman Barbora Pavienská or the shoemaker Josef Novák.
An important role in the activities of the Slovakophile movement, which was born in Bohemia and Moravia at the end of the 1870s, was played by book culture. Especially by means of books and articles in magazines, Czech Slovakophiles acquainted the wider Czech public with the position of Slovaks in Hungary and aroused interest in the development of Czech-Slovak solidarity. A significant role in this activity was played by the national-defence and Slovakophile association Czechoslovak Unity in Prague (1896–1914), which would send the Slovaks books and magazines, and even the entire libraries. Cooperation in this area was supported even by T. G. Masaryk, but especially by such Slovakophiles as Rudolf Pokorný, Josef Holeček, Adolf Heyduk, Karel Kálal, Jaroslav Vlček, František Pastrnek and František Bílý.
The development of school libraries established at schools providing elementary education in the 19th century is closely related to the development of this type of schools after 1774, when the General School Rules were published. For the first time, they referred to education as a political issue and declared the interest of the state in the education of all the population. In the 1820s, a decree of the court study committee ordered district school supervisors to inspect books in school libraries and gave them the right to decide whether a particular book fits into the school library. In 1869, a new school act cancelled the supervision of the Church over schools and transferred it to the state. First, the state supported school libraries by listing them among the teaching aids that should be available for every school. In addition, a decree of the Ministry of Cult and Education encouraged the establishment of school libraries where they were still missing. Subsequently (1875), however, the ministry ordered teachers to check new books acquired by school libraries, to inspect also all the other books already deposited in the libraries and to discard all of those that were unsuitable. Ten years later (1885), new inspection of all school libraries was ordered.