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Manuscripts Department Print

Opening hours: Tuesday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
tel: +48 22 55 25 902, e-mail: rps.buw@uw.edu.pl

HISTORY

 

Department of Manuscripts collects manuscript documents dating from Middle Ages (including parchment codexes) to present times and doctoral theses defended at the following faculties of Warsaw University: Polish Studies, Biology, Geology (until 1974) and Physics (until 1985).

The origins of Warsaw University Library collection of manuscripts dates back to 1816 when the Library was established. First pieces in the collection included objects acquired from the collection of Biblioteka Liceum Warszawskiego (the Library of Warsaw Lyceum) and Biblioteka przy Sądzie Apelacyjnym (the Library of the Court of Appeals) and collections obtained by Samuel Bogumił Linde from the monasteries in the territories of the Congress Kingdom of Poland. The collection had been increasing in size so dynamically before 1830 that in the eve of the November Uprising outbreak it consisted of approximately 2000 inventory items (nearly half of them were medieval codexes). Warsaw University and Warsaw University Library were hit badly by the collapse of the Uprising. As a result of severe repressions the considerable number of manuscripts were confiscated and transferred to Petersburg in Russia. The Library retained 303 objects considered harmless to the czarist empire.

Since that moment until the 1860s the collection was stagnant and virtually unused. The stagnation of the university life and research on manuscripts limited the activity around the collection to preservation and cataloging.The year 1862, when Warsaw University was reopened as Szkoła Główna (the Main School – until 1869), brought a radical change to the whole situation. The Kingdom of Poland Public Education Act passed in May 1862 obligated Biblioteka Główna (the Main Library) not only to maintain but also to enhance its collections. This favorable period ended with the outbreak of World War I when in 1915 the whole collection (1380 items) was evacuated to Rostov-on-Don.

In the 1920s Warsaw University Library managed to reclaim the prevailing part of its collection of manuscripts. However, it was obligated to transfer them to the National Library of Poland (the transfer was performed in 3 stages in 1930, 1931 and 1936).Although manuscripts the Library acquired in the interwar period were not numerous, the collection had included 4100 objects by September 1939.So far the last irreversible damage to the collection had been caused by the collapse of the Warsaw Uprising in October 1944 – approximately 4000 manuscripts (nearly 95% of the Library manuscript collection) together with special collections of other Warsaw libraries were torched by Nazi occupying forces.In the postwar period the remaining part of the collection that survived the war (262 manuscripts) was cared for by Adam Lewak – the Director of Warsaw University Library, historian and expert on manuscripts. In 1949 it became the core of a new collection housed in newly opened Manuscripts Department. The collection currently consists of approximately 5000 manuscript items and over 1500 doctoral theses. 

COLLECTIONS

Next to several medieval codexes (the earliest dates back to the 9th century) the Department boasts valuable historic sources from the period between the 16th and 18th century in the history of Poland, including the archives of monastic orders of the Capuchins, Augustinians, Canons Regular and Carmelites as well as nobility miscellanies, autographs of the Enlightenment writers (Ignacy Krasicki, Stanisław Trembecki, Franciszek Zabłocki) and fragments of Józef Wybicki’s personal papers. Among 150 separate documents and diplomas (12th to 19th century) users may access a collection of manuscripts concerning Mogielnica including the medieval conferment documents issued by Mazovian princes and dukes.The collection of Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie (the Warsaw Scientific Society,  established in 1907 and deriving from the circle of Warsaw members of Polska Akademia Umiejętności <Cracow Academy of Arts and Sciences>) donated to the Library in 1945 involves papers of the Society members such as Aleksander Jabłonowski, Bronisław Chlebowski, Samuel Dickstein, Feliks Kucharzewski and Michał Federowski (including ethnographic materials gathered in eastern Belarus) and General Jan Krukowiecki’s personal papers.

Another subcollection donated to Warsaw University Library in 1945 involves the archives of Evangelical Reformed Church spanning the 16th to 20th century and providing sources for the history of Reformation and dissident movements in Poland. This collection includes fragments of the archives of former Małopolska Evangelical Reformed Union (16th to 19th century), personal papers of Karol Diehl (the Senior General for Evangelical Reformed Churches and the President of Evangelical Reformed Consistory in the Duchy of Warsaw and Congress Kingdom of Poland), records of Evangelical Reformed Chapel in Warsaw and some other chapels from the territory of the Kingdom of Poland, fragments of clergy and believers’ legacies, including papers of Aleksander Woyde and Józef Spleszyński.

Larger subcollections of shared provenance include the papers of writers, scholars and political and social activists from the 19th and 20th century: Maria Dąbrowska and her husband Marian Dąbrowski, Stanisław Stempowski, Stanisław Posner, Ludwik Krzywicki, Karol Sulikowski, Stanisław „Orsza” Broniewski,  Robert Bielecki, some Warsaw University professors (Stefan Pieńkowski, Witold Kula, Antoni Mączak and others).Moreover, the Department collections include the autographs and letters by such writers as Stefan Żeromski, Julian Tuwim, Teofil Lenartowicz, Maria Konopnicka, Eliza Orzeszkowa and Antoni Słonimski.Materials concerning World War II may be found in the archives of Szare Szeregi (the underground Polish Scouting Association) and Biuro Informacji i Propagandy Armii Krajowej (the Office of AK Home Army Information and Propaganda), personal papers of Józef Roman Rybicki – the Warsaw head of Kedyw (the Polish Directorate of Sabotage and Diversion) and papers left by Robert Bielecki.Finally, the Department collections include a small set of oriental manuscripts in Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Armenian and Hebrew.Users of the Department collections are offered access to the Department reference works (over 3700 items) provided with a separate alphabetical and subject catalog. In justified cases the Department reference works may be accessed in the Main Reading Room of the Library. 

INFORMATION ON THE COLLECTIONS

 

More information on the history and content of the Department collections may be found in:
  • H. Kozerska: Straty w zbiorze rękopisów w czasie I i II wojny światowej, Warsaw 1960
  • H. Kozerska: Warszawska Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w latach 1832-1871, Warsaw 1967
  • W. Stummer: Oddział Rękopisów. In: Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie. Przewodnik, Warsaw 1979, pp. 45-50
  • M. Tyszkowa: Z historii Oddziału Rękopisów. In: Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Warszawie w latach 1945-1980, Warsaw 1998, pp. 287-298. 
 Printed catalogs of manuscripts, card catalogs, informational publications:
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 1 (manuscripts no. 1-262). Ed. H. Kozerska and W. Stummer, Warsaw 1963 – descriptions of manuscripts from „old holdings” (objects saved from World War II)
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 2 (manuscripts no. 263-583). Ed. H. Kozerska and W. Stummer, Warsaw 1973 – descriptions of manuscripts from the collection of Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie (the Warsaw Scientific Society)
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 3 parts 1, 2 (part 3 only in type, available in the Department reading room) (manuscripts no. 584-1340). Ed. H. Kozerska and W. Stummer, Warsaw 1987 – documentation of the activity of Evangelical Reformed Church in the period from the 16th to the 20th century
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 4 (manuscripts no. 1341-1646). Ed. H. Kozerska, W. Stummer, M. Tyszkowa, Warsaw 1990 – descriptions of papers, documents and correspondence of writers, scientists, political and social activists from the 19th and 20th century
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 5 (manuscripts no. 1647-1837). Ed. J. Borysiak [et al.], Warsaw 1992 – descriptions of manuscripts from the period between 1914 and 1939
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 6 (manuscripts no. 1838-2052). Ed. J. Borysiak [et al.], Warsaw 1994 – descriptions of manuscripts from the period between the 16th and the 18th century and medieval documents issued by Mazovian princes and dukes
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 7 (manuscripts no. 2053-2295). Ed. M. Tyszkowa, Warsaw 1998 – descriptions of materials from the period of World War II
  • Katalog rękopisów Biblioteki Uniwersyteckiej w Warszawie (The catalog of manuscripts held by Warsaw University Library). Vol. 8 (manuscripts no. 2296-2513). Ed. J. Borysiak, E. Piskurewicz, W. Stummer, Warsaw 1998 – descriptions of 19th century polonica
  • Katalog mikrofilmów. Rękopisy. (The catalog of microfilms. Manuscripts). Vol. 1-5. Ed. Ewa Piskurewicz, Warsaw 1986-1998.
 Auxiliary catalogs
  • the catalog of manuscripts acquired by the Library in the period between 1945 and 2000 (includes index of names, geographical locations and subjects)
  • subject guide on the Department acquisitions
  • the catalog of doctoral theses (arranged according to authors’ home faculties) with the alphabetical index of authors
 Information on the collections may be viewed in the online database „Acquisitions” (manuscripts and their preservation copies recorded in the Library inventory from 2000 onwards). PRACTICAL INFORMATION 
  • The user may enter the reading room of the Department with the pass issued by the Information Desk staff. In order to receive the pass the user is requested to show valid Library and identification card.
  • The collections of Warsaw University Library Department of Manuscripts may be viewed in the reading room of the Department only.
  • Manuscripts without any preservation form may be accessed by academic staff for research purposes without any restraints; students and postgraduates need to present written references from their tutors or thesis supervisors.
  • Preservation forms of manuscripts (microfilms, CD-ROM) are available without any restraints in the Library Reading Room of Current Periodicals and Microforms.
  • Copies of preservation forms (photocopies of microfilms, copies of microfilms) may be requested for further research from Warsaw University Library Reprographic Services Department on the approval of the Department staff only.

 The details on the availability of the Department collections are provided in The rules on the use of UW Library Special Collections. 

Location:
3rd floor, room 327 

Opening hours:
Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.Wednesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 
For July and August opening hours consult the Library website (http://www.buw.uw.edu.pl/) 

 

University of Warsaw Library
Manuscripts Department
Dobra 56/66
00-312 Warsaw
Phone: +48 22 55 25 900, +48 22 55 25 902
E-mail: buwrps@uw.edu.pl

 
 
 
 
 
© 2017 University of Warsaw Library
Financial support from the European Commision within the Socrates/Erasmus Programme.