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Karlštejn Castle as ‘Bergungsdepot’ for the Historical Collections of the Land and University Library in Prague at the End of the Second World War

Abstract

The article covers the history of the former Land and University Library in Prague (now the National Library) between 1939 and 1945. The activities of the library were to be supervised by a German commissioner appointed in 1940 – Josef Becker, First Director of the Prussian State Library. As his duties kept him primarily in Berlin, he appointed the younger Berlin bibliologist Carl Wehmer as his permanent deputy in Prague. Although their main task was clearly the Germanisation of the library, one cannot deny that they deserve some credit, for example for increasing the staff level of the institution. Yet their main merit lies in that many of the library collections seized by the Gestapo and other bodies were not shredded but taken to the Clementinum, the seat of the library. From 1943, they organised the evacuation of book collections to places outside of Prague, which was threatened by air raids. The transport was supervised by Emma Urbánková, the head of the department of manuscripts. Approximately 12,000 volumes of medieval manuscripts and printed Bohemica of the 16th–19th centuries were evacuated to Karlštejn Castle in wooden crates. They included the library’s most valuable manuscript – the Codex Vyssegradensis, a coronation evangeliary from the 11th century. At the castle, they were deposited in the Burgrave’s House as well as directly in the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross. The massive Zlatá Koruna (Golden Crown) monastery and the châteaux in Pohled and Horažďovice also served as depositaries for the book collections. By the beginning of 1945, a total of 582,000 volumes had been sent to these three premises. They included many historical book collections. The paper is accompanied by recently discovered photographs documenting the course of the book evacuation.

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Landscape as a National Symbol. Říp Mountain, Blaník Mountain, the River Vltava and the River Elbe and Their Role in Shaping the National Identity in the Final Stage of the Czech National Movement

Abstract

The paper deals with the role of the landscape in the shaping of the national identity in the final stage of the formation of the Czech modern nation. The topic is treated through the perspective of two pairs of Bohemian landscape features (Říp and Blaník Mountains, and the rivers Vltava and Elbe), both rich in symbolism. This concept was further highlighted by the travelling panel exhibition Story of Landscape at the Nation’s Service, which was held in the Lapidarium of the National Museum in the autumn of 2018. The present text is based on the research of literature and period sources (collection items) located in the National Museum Library and in the Historical Museum of the National Museum. The author presents the landscape as an important national symbol which has assumed this function through its relation to stories based on national history. The landscape is perceived here not only as a real (physical) environment, as a scene where a wide range of national and later tourist activities took place, but also as a symbolic space closely connected to the ideas of individuals within the national society.

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Provenance Records in the Historical Part of the Library of Bohuslav Dušek

Abstract

The article presents the provenance records preserved in the part of the library of the collector Bohuslav Dušek deposited in the Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books of the National Museum Library. Numerous provenance marks were left in the books by Dušek himself. Other preserved marks of Czech provenance come from Protestants as well as Catholics, from peasants, burghers and nobles, and later from scholars. The studied part does not contain any coherent set, because Dušek did not purchase the books in large quantities and chose them carefully according to his interests. For comparison, the collection of the director of Živnostenská banka Jaroslav Preiss is briefly presented as well.

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