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Kansas city 
public library 
kansas city, 






C.B.E., M.A., LittD., F.LA. 

formerly Secretary of The British Museum 

Second Edition 
Completely Revised 


E j. HILL, M. A., F.LA, 

Assistant Keeper, Department of Printed Books 

The British Museum 





First edition published by Grafton & Co., 1934 





Chapter Page 

I London. The British Museum I 

A. Edinburgh. The National Library of Scotland 28 

B. Aberystwyth. The National Library of Wales 38 

II Paris. La Bibliotheque Nationale .... 49 

III Vienna. Die (Dsterreichische Nationalbibliothek . 77 

IV Berlin. Die Deutsche Staatsbibliothek ... 98 

V Berne. La Bibliotheque Nationale Suisse. (Die 

Schweizerische Landesbibliothek) . . .121 

VI Dublin. The National Library of Ireland . . 128 

VII Brussels. La Bibliotheque Royale dc Bclgique . 134 

VIII The Hague. De Koninklijke Bibliotheek . 154 

IX Luxemburg. La Bibliotheque Nationale. . . 163 

X Florence. La Bibliotcca Nazionale Centrale . . 167 

A. Rome. La Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale 

Vittorio Enianucle If . . .176 

B. Milan. La Biblioteca Nazionale Braidcnse . 179 

C. Naples. La Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio 

EmanuelcIH 181 

D. Palermo. La Biblioteca Nazionale . . 182 

E. Turin. La Biblioteca Nazionale . . . 183 

F. Venice. La Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana . 184 
XI Athens. The National Library of Greece . . 185 

XII Madrid. La Biblioteca National . . . ,191 

XIH Lisbon, A Biblioteca Nacional . 201 

XTV Copenhagen. Det Kongcligc Bibliotek , , ,207 

XV Oslo, Universitctsbiblioteket . . . .216 


Chapter Page 

XVI Stockholm. Kungliga Biblioteket . . . .224 

XVH Helsinki. The Library of the University of Helsinki . 233 

XVIII Moscow. The Lenin State Library . . .240 

Leningrad. The Saltykov-Shchedrin Library . . 253 

XIX Sofia. The "Vassil Kolarov" State Library . . 267 

XX Prague. The National Library of Czechoslovakia . 274 

XXI Warsaw. The National Library of Poland . . 280 

XXII Washington. The Library of Congress . . .288 

XXIII Ottawa. The National Library of Canada , .310 

XXIV Mexico City. La Biblioteca Nacional de Mexico . 319 

XXV Buenos Aires. La Biblioteca Nacional . . .326 

XXVI Rio de Janeiro. A Biblioteca Nacional . . . 335 
XXVII Santiago. La Biblioteca Nacional .... 343 

XXVIII Lima. La Biblioteca Nacional .... 346 

XXIX Cape Town. The South African Public Library. (Die 

Suid-Afrikaanse Openbare Biblioteek) . . 352 
Pretoria. The State Library. (Die Staatsbiblioteek) . 360 

XXX Jerusalem. The Jewish National and University 

Library ........ 367 

XXXI Canberra. The National Library of the Common- 
wealth of Australia . , . . . - 377 
XXXII Tokyo. The National Diet Library . . . 386 


Facing page 

I The British Museum. The South Front 96 

II The Reading Room 97 

III The National Library of Scotland: The Reading Room 112 

IV The National Library of Wales 113 
V Paris. La Bibliotheque Nationale. Cour d'honneur 208 

VI The Versailles Annexe 209 

VII Vienna, Die Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek. Prunksaal 224 

VIII Berne. La Biblioth&que Nationale Suisse 225 

IX Florence. La Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale. Tribuna 

Galilciana 320 

X Moscow, The Lenin State Library 321 

XI Washington. The Library of Congress, with the Annexe 

(rear) 33<$ 

XII Ottawa. The National Library of Canada. Model of the 

new building 337 


On the history of libraries there is a voluminous literature, and the 
noble monuments of our civilisation of which they are the guardians 
have been described and illustrated by many scholars. There is, 
however, in all the flood of printed matter produced by modern 
librarianship, which the editor of a magazine devoted to libraries has 
to endure, apparently no general account of that comparatively modern 
product, the national library. 

The idea of a national library has for over a century, and for longer 
still, if we consider it rightly, been expanding. Bignon, Panizzi, Korf, 
and Putnam have each in his generation taken into the functions of a 
national library some fresh and valuable element. Each has made the 
institution under his charge, and indirectly other similar institutions, 
useful to a wider world of students. What their successors will 
do we cannot foresee. The age of wireless, the gramophone, the 
film, and the microphotograph may change the whole face of libraries. 
We may at least be certain that the process of expansion is not at an 

It may, therefore, be worth while to take stock, to compare the 
achievements and the systems in different countries. Uniformity is not 
to be expected; the political and social traditions of one country will 
produce a quite different type of library service from those in another. 
Thus in Germany we find the well-established practice of free lending 
and of highly organised library co-operation under central authority; 
in England the typical compromise of a new lending organisation side 
by side with the older reference library; and in the United States the 
birth and apotheosis of the catalogue card. Facilities for photographic 
reproduction of documents, which have so greatly eased the urgency 
of the demand for unrestricted lending, will be seen to be fairly 
general* Such matters as the methods of recruiting staffs show wide 
variation, and there can be seen, at Paris, Rome, and Madrid, the 
survival of the conception of a national library as a library not only 
for all citizens but also for all uses, a conception which is in effect 
impracticable, and which the development of local public libraries 


deprives of its force. But the widest variation is probably to be found 
in the value set upon the national library by the national government, 
as assessed in its annual budget. Let librarians be encouraged. If they 
have the bold conception of their great predecessors, all these things 
will be added unto them. 

A series of descriptions of libraries, not all of which has the author 
seen, and with only one of which can he be minutely conversant, must 
be a work in the main of compilation of material supplied from the 
various libraries. I have benefited abundantly by the generous 
co-operation of colleagues, many of whom my experience as British 
representative in the International Library Committee has enabled me 
to call my friends. Information, photographs, and in some cases the 
use of blocks have been lavished upon me. M. Tourneur of Brussels, 
Dr. 2ivny of Prague, Dr. Munthe of Oslo, Dr. Tudeer of Helsingfors, 
Mr. Yuan of Peiping, and Mr. Matsumoto of Tokyo even wrote the 
complete chapters relating to their libraries, and I am aware that all the 
chapters of such a book as this ought really to be written by the men 
on the spot. 

Taking the chapters in their order, my thanks are due and are 
gratefully given to the Trustees of the British Museum for leave to 
reproduce pictures and plan, to Dr. H. W. Meilde (Edinburgh), 
Mr. W. LL Davies (Aberystwyth), Dr. R. I. Best (Dublin), M. Julien 
Cain, Administrator-General, and M. E. Leroy, Secretary-General 
(Paris), Dr. Herbert Putnam (Washington), Dr. H. A. Kruss, Direktor, 
and Dr. Rudolf Juchhoff (Berlin), Dr. R. TeichI (Vienna), Dr. Jan 
Emler and Dr. L. J. 2ivny (Prague), M. Marcel Godct (Berne), Dr. 
Artigas, Director, and Seiior N. E Victorio, Secretary (Madrid), 
M. Victor Tourneur (Brussels), Dr. P. C. Molhuysen, Royal Librarian, 
and Dr. L. Brummel, Sub-Librarian (The Hague), Dr. Carl S. Petersen 
(Copenhagen), Dr. Isak CoUijn, Riksbibiiotckar, and Dr. Carl 
Bjorkbom (Stockholm), Dr. Wilhelm Munthe, Overbibliotekar, and 
Dr. H. S. Bakken, Secretary (Oslo), Dr, L. Tudeer (Helsingfors), 
Mr. T. L. Yuan (Peiping), and Mr. K. Matsumoto and also the 
Maruzen Co* (Tokyo)* 

Without Miss Margaret Burton's help I could not have finished the 
book without much delay. She came in to help when I had written the 
first three chapters, and her researches were invaluable. 

It will be noticed that not all the national libraries of the world are 
described in the pages which follow. The book, in fact* is not Intended 
to be a statistical dictionary of all such institutions. Those which are 
the most famous or historically interesting or significant for their 
administration have been selected, with some view also to their 


geographical distribution. One or two, however, which might have 
been included are omitted, as no adequate information had been ob- 
tained about them; it will be seen that the Balkans are unrepresented. 
Again Parliamentary and State Libraries of the British Dominions 
were omitted from a desire not to give the British Empire too large a 
share of the space. If I were so fortunate as to be asked for a second 
edition, the inclusion of the dozen or so omitted libraries would be well 
worth considering: meanwhile for statistics there is always the in- 
valuable Minerva. 



The natural growth of the stocks of national libraries, the development 
of the services offered, the adoption of new techniques, and above all 
the calamity of a second world war have made necessary considerable 
alterations and additions in the revision of Dr. Esdaile* s text. A few 
libraries not mentioned in the first edition have been included, as Dr. 
Esdaile suggested, but in other cases insufficient information has again 
made it necessary to omit libraries, or treat them more briefly than 
would otherwise have been the case. In most instances, however, 
kind interest and generous help have been forthcoming, and I am 
grateful to all those librarians who answered my inquiries, and particu- 
larly to those, representing a large majority of the whole, who were 
good enough to read in proof the relevant chapters and suggest 
corrections or additions to my text. 

I am most happy to record my debt to some of those who were 
associated with Dr. Esdaile in the preparation of the first edition: 
M. Cain (Paris), Dr. Brummel (The Hague), and the late Dr. Tudeer 
(Helsinki). Others for whose help I am most grateful are Dr. C. B. 
Oldman, Dr. A. S. Fulton, Mr. Jacob Leveen and Mr. T. C, Skeat 
(British Museum), Mr. M. R. Dobie (Edinburgh), Dr. Thomas Parry 
and Mr. Gildas Tibbott (Aberystwyth), Dr. Josef Stummvoll and Dr. 
Alois Kisser (Vienna), Dr, Helmut Luft and Dr. Luise von Schwarz- 
koppen (Berlin), Dr. Pierre Bourgeois (Berne), Dr. R. J* Hayes 
(Dublin), Dr. F. Lyna and Dr. Herman Liebaers (Brussels), Dr. 
Alphonse Sprunck (Luxembourg), Dr. Anita Mondolfo and Dr. 
Alberto Giraldi (Florence), Dr. N. Santovito Vichi (Rome), Dr. Maria 
Buonanno Schellembrid and Dr. Emma Pirani (Milan), Dr. Guemera 
Guerrieri (Naples), Dr. A. Giraldi and Dr. G. M. Simonato (Palermo), 
Dr. Luisa Nofri (Turin), Dr. TuIKa Gasparrini Leporace (Venice), 
Mr. D. A. Cokkinos (Athens), Senor E. Ponce de Leon Freyrc, Sefiora 
Maria Pilot Lamarque and Senor M. Goded of the Spanish Institute in 
Loadon (Madrid), Dr. Ma&uel Santos Estevtaas and Dr. R. A. Lcitao 


(Lisbon), Dr. Palle Birkelund and Mr. Ib Magnussen (Copenhagen), 
Dr. A. Wessd Nyhagen and Dr. H. Tveteris (Oslo), Dr. O. Wkselgren, 
Dr. G. Ottervik and Dr. Olof von Feilitzen (Stockholm), Mr. Karl- 
Erik Henriksson (Helsinki), The Society for Cultural Relations with 
the U.S.S.R. (Moscow, Leningrad), Professor T* Borov, Director of 
the Bulgarian Bibliographical Institute, Sofia, and the Bulgarian 
Legation in London (Sofia), Mr. J. A. Snellgrove and Dr, F. A* Toufar 
(Prague), the Polish Cultural Institute, London, and Dr. Wladyslaw 
Bienkowski (Warsaw), Mr. Verner W. Clapp, Mr. David C Mearns, 
Mrs. M, B. McMahon and Mrs. Elizabeth Hamer (Washington), 
Dr. Wm. Kaye Lamb (Ottawa), Dr. Juan B. Iguiniz and Dr. Manuel 
Alcala (Mexico), Dr. G. Martinez Zuvirfa and the Argentine Embassy 
in London (Buenos Aires), Dr. Josue Montello (Rio de Janeiro)* Dr. 
Augusto Iglesias and Dr. Eduardo Barrios (Santiago), Dr. C. de 
Losada y Puga (Lima), Mr. M. M. Stirling (Pretoria), Mr. D. H. Varley 
(Cape Town), Dr. C. Wormaim (Jerusalem), Messrs. H. L. White, K, 
Bernie, N. Lynravn and L. S. Lake (Canberra), Dr. T. Kanaxnori, Mr. 
H. Nakane, Mr. T. Ichikawa, and Mr. R. B. Downs (Tokyo). I must 
also thank the publishers of The Book Collector for permission to quote 
from an article on the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library, Mr. S. J, Krit- 
zinger and the Editor of South African Libraries for allowing me to 
make use of two articles on the Pretoria and Cape Town libraries, and 
Prof. M. S. Cardozo, the Editors of The Hispanic American Historical 
Review, and Duke University Press for allowing me to make use of an 
article on the Rio de Janeiro library. 

My thanks are also due to the staffs of the Foreign Service, the 
British Council, the Library Association, Unesco and to numerous 
other people who have helped me to obtain information or given 
assistance in other ways. Mr. R. J. Fulford kindly helped me with 
translations from Slavonic languages, while Mr, J, L. Thornton read 
the manuscript and gave me valuable advice. To the librarians who 
sent me photographs I offer my thanks, and regret that not aH those 
sent could be reproduced. For the photographs of the reading rooms 
of the British Museum and the National Library of Scotland I am 
indebted to the Ministry of Works, aad, for permission to reproduce 
the second, to the Controller of HJML, Stationery Office, while that of 
the south front of the British Museum was supplied by lite Central 
Office of Information, 

Dr. Esdaile's lifetime of work for Hbrariauship will be long and 
widely remembered with gratitude, and my own tliarib arc due and 


gladly recorded, not only for this but for his patient and understanding 
help and encouragement for my own undertaking, given liberally to 
the end of his life. 

My gratitude to my wife, for her help and encouragement 
throughout the task of her revision, and for her work in compiling 
the index, is more than any words of mine can express. 

P. J. H. 




The foundation of the British Museum Library was due to no 
revolution, nor to the gradual opening to the public of a private royal 
collection of books. It took its inception, more Britamrico, from the 
initiative of an individual. The roots of the institution may indeed be 
traced much farther back into the past than the mid-eighteenth 
century. The Royal Library had existed from the reign of Henry VII 
at least; while Sir Robert Cotton and his collection of historical MSS, 
had been of interest, mainly suspicious, to the Crown since the 
beginning of the seventeenth century, and the collection had actually 
been transferred to the Crown in 1700. 

After abortive earlier proposals, the effective motion came by the 
bequest of the fashionable and wealthy physician, Sir Hans Sloane 
(1660-1753). Sloane, as is not uncommon among successful men of his 
profession, was an omnivorous collector, and his 40,000 printed books 
and 3,516 manuscripts, choice as they were, did not rival in importance 
his specimens in the fields of botany, zoology, and mineralogy. Indeed 
as a book-collector he was second to his contemporary, Dr. Mead. 
Sloane' s will directed his trustees to offer his collections to the Crown 
or to Parliament for .20,000, which was much below their market value, 
in spite of the remarks of some of his contemporaries, notably Pope. 
The offer was accepted with much hesitation: the Treasury, as George II 
bluntly said, had hardly ^20,000 in it; in the end, by Act of Parliament 
of the same year (26 Geo. II, cap. 22), ; 100,000 was raised by a lottery 
for the purchase of Sloane*s collections, with 10,000 for the Harleian 
MSS., collected by Robert and Edward Harley, Earls of Oxford (their 
printed books were most unluckily allowed to be dispersed), for pro- 
viding a repository for these collections and also for the Cotton MSS. 
which were already public property, and for setting aside an endowment 
of ^30,000. This endowment provides all the income, except for cer- 
tain special funds, which the Trustees enjoy in their own right; for the 
rest they depend on annual Parliamentary grants, as explained below. 


2 KLW 



The Act of Incorporation of the Museum, already referred to, set up 
a Trust for the perpetual preservation and government of the newly 
founded establishment. Its public character was secured by the 
composition of the Board : three Principal Trustees, viz., the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor (then also called the Lord Keeper 
of the Seal), and the Speaker of the House of Commons; the Bishop of 
London; the Principal Secretaries and Officers of State; the Presidents 
of the Royal Society and the College (now the Royal College) of 
Physicians, and two representatives each of the Sloane, Cotton, and 
Harley families. To these were later added a nominee of the Sovereign, 
thus completing the representation of the three Estates of the Realm; 
the Presidents of the Royal Academy of Arts and the Society of 
Antiquaries, and three more representatives of the families of 
benefactors of the Department of Antiquities, the Earl of Elgin, and 
the Towneley and Knight families. These Trustees elect fifteen others 
from no defined class, but from a combination of men of eminence in 
scholarship and science, and of public men who are distinguished by 
their intellectual interests. The long lack of an academy of learning in 
this country was in a sense compensated by the existence of such a 

The full Board is too large, and also too much composed of busy 
men, to conduct the affairs of the Museum in detail. They elect, 
therefore, from their number a Standing Committee of twenty, who 
meet monthly, in turn at Bloomsbury and at the Natural History 
Museum, and exercise the necessary control The Standing Committee 
has two special Sub-Committees for the Library Departments and for 
the Departments of Antiquities, which hold an annual inquisition into 
matters of policy. The Museum in no way comes under tfie control of 
the Ministry of Education, as is usually, and, it may be added, logically, 
the case with national libraries. The relations of the Trustees with the 
Government are maintained through H.M. Treasury, the Parliamen- 
tary Secretary of which acts for them, for example, when questions 
concerning the Museum are asked in the House of Commons* 


Sloane's will had stipulated that Parliament should provide a 
"general repository" for his collections. In 1755 one was found, in 
Montague House, Bloomsbury, the home of the second Duke of 
Montague, who died in 1749; on its site the front of the present 


Museum building stands. The collections were moved into it from 
Sloane's home, the Manor House of Chelsea (a district in which his 
name is largely perpetuated) in the following year, and the "British 
Museum" was opened to the public on Jamiary 15, 1759. 

Montagu or Montague House (it was spelt both ways, but is now 
docked of the "e") was the second house on the site, the town mansion 
of the Lords Montague of Boughton, in Northamptonshire, afterwards 
Dukes of Montague. It was built by the French architect, Pierre 
Puget, after the total destruction of its short-lived predecessor by fire 
in January 1686, and was a dignified but by no means unhomely 
budding, of beautiful proportions. Lower wings flanked the forecourt 
and in them were housed the Principal Librarian and Keepers; this 
arrangement was repeated in the two wings containing the residences 
in the nineteenth-century building. The Ebrary occupied practically 
all the ground floor, and the eastern half of the first floor, in the 
main block. 

The Reading Room was one of the ground-floor rooms on the 
north side, and this gave rise to perhaps the earliest of the very few 
reprimands ever given by the Trustees to a senior officer of the Museum^ 
when the Librarian in charge, Mr, Templeman, deserted his duty and 
took the air in the large garden which lay on that side of the house, and 
in which the Keeper of Natural History is said to have anticipated Kew 
Gardens. In 1774 a new Reading Room was fitted up in the south-west 
angle of the first state storey. 

The accessions of ancient sculpture (the Towneley and Elgin marbles 
and the Egyptian sculptures taken at the Battle of the Nile) drove the 
Trustees and Parliament to building special and temporary structures in 
the grounds. But the only additions of any size to the foundation 
collections of books and MSS. were the Thomason or King's Tracts, 
presented by George III on his accession, the beautiful library of 
Cracherode (1799), Garrick's plays (1779), and Burney's newspapers 
and classics (1817), none of them very bulky collections; and room for 
them was found in the house. The Old Royal Library and Major 
Edwards's books had arrived before the opening in 1759* 

It was far otherwise when King George Hfs library ("the King's 
Library") was acquired in 1823. The Trustees were faced with the 
problem of a library which at a stroke was doubled in size. Perhaps 
they could have thrown out a wing designed in some harmony with 
the existing Museum, and so have saved its elegant architecture to 
posterity; in fact* however, they decided on a grandiose new building, 
and Sir Robert Smirke designed it for them in the Greek style, to which 
die Elgin marbles irresistibly tempted them, with four wings enclosing 


a vast quadrangle. Of that building, which is a very large part of the 
whole Museum as it stands today, the first wing built was that on the 
east, and in 1828 its ground-floor gallery, 300 feet in length, received 
the King's Library; over the doors inscriptions, whose courtliness 
exceeded their truth, announced, as they still announce, the gift of 
King George IV. The old library was transferred to the new north 
wing, the next to be built, in 1838, and the two rooms at the east end 
of this wing (now the Catalogue and Old Music Rooms) formed the 
Reading Rooms. The north wing was subsequently extended to the 
west by the Arched Room, now containing, inter alia? the Museum's 
incunabula. When Montagu House went, and the south wing was 
erected, the MSS. were transferred thither. 

Smirke's architecture is severe and gloomy, but rime has toned the 
stone of the exterior, and fine proportions save the whole. Additions 
have been made in similar style; those affecting the library are: (r) the 
White Wing in the south-east (1884), which housed the British 
newspapers and still houses the Oriental Library and much of the 
Manuscripts Department; and (2) part of the King Edward VII 
Galleries on the north (1914), which hold the music, maps, State Papers, 
and Copyright Receipt Office, and which are joined to the old north 
wing by the great "North Library,'* or Reserve Reading Room, 
provided from the bequest of 45,000 to the Library by Vincent 
Stuckey Lean (1900). 

These are mentioned as being in the tradition set by Sir Robert 
Smirke: a complete innovation was mrdc in the design of his brother 
Sydney for the celebrated round Reading Room. Readers had grown 
too numerous for the existing reading rooms, and Antonio Panizzi 
conceived in 1852, and drew the rough sketches for, his briUiant 
application of the Engineering Age to library construction. He planned 
a structure in cast iron, the only walls being those enclosing the whole, 
in fact a stack to hold a million and a half volumes, which should 
surround and support a huge domed reading room. This %vas the first 
library stack to be designed, though metal shelving had been used a 
few years earlier at the Ste. Geneviive in Paris; whatever its short- 
comings, the fact that die "Iron Library" gave useful service in its 
original form for almost a century bears adequate testimony to the 
fundamental soundness of its design. 

The Reading Room is similarly the ancestor of all the round reading 
rooms in the world, but it needs none of the charity of latter days, 
Probably it was not for nothing, Panizzi being an Italian* that the span 
of the dome is short of that of the Pantheon of Rome, but of no omer 
dome, by some two feet The radiating rows of seats, derived from 


the circular plan, facilitated supervision. In many details of fittings, 
and in the bare and austere style of the interior, clothed on the wall 
with books alone, and devoid of distracting ornament, the Reading 
Room is a model. Litde has been done in later years to alter its 
appearance, though it now has a modern lighting installation, and, with 
the North Library and Iron Library, air conditioning. 

The Reading Room and Iron Library, with a surrounding roadway, 
fill the handsome quadrangle, which had existed for but a few years, 
having been completed in 1845. It is a tradition that the assistants were 
wont to play cricket in it during their lunch hour. The Reading Room 
was commenced in 1854 and opened in 1857. 

In consequence of the Interim Report of the Royal Commission on 
National Museums and Galleries (1928), it was decided to reconstruct 
the ironwork on modern lines. Movable presses had been adapted for 
use in the Museum by Henry Jenner in 1887, and had not only 
lengthened the life of the Iron Library, but had also enabled accessions 
to be placed for another generation in their correct place in a single 
shelf-classification. But the old ironwork was wasteful of space, even if 
light and easy to work: an extra storey added in 1921 to the South-East 
Quadrant proved an uneconomical experiment, and the removal of 250 
of the movable presses on the ground that they threw too heavy a load 
on the structure brought matters to a head. As a start, therefore, the 
Supplementary Rooms, lying to the west of the North Library, were 
converted in 1930-31 into additional stacks, equipped with rolling 
presses. At the same time, additional working space for the staff of the 
Department of Printed Books was secured by the insertion of mezza- 
nine floors in the rooms of the north wing, and the North Library was 
reconstructed, in a much plainer and more severe style than hitherto. 
Then demolition and reconstruction of the quadrants of the Iron 
Library began. In 1937 the first was completed; it was equipped with 
six decks of steel shelving, lift and mechanical conveyor, pneumatic 
tubes, and air-conditioning plant. At the outbreak of war in 1939 the 
shell of a second was ready, and the subsequent installation of temporary 
wooden shelving enabled it to be brought into use. 

Towards the end of the First World War, some MSS* and rare books 
had been evacuated to the National Library of Wales, at Aberystwyth, 
and others to Malvern, Elaborate plans were in readiness in 1939; the 
MSS. and the most valuable of the printed books and Orientalia were 
evacuated, some to the National Library of Wales again, others to the 
Bodleian. From its very bulk, however, the greater part of the 
collection of printed books had perforce to remain at Bloomsbury, 
with little protection against enemy air attack. A year later, the 


Library suffered its first damage: it was at first comparatively light, 
caused by small bombs which struck the King's Library and the dome 
of the Reading Room. Far greater damage was to follow, however. 
On the night of May 10, 1941, many incendiary bombs fell on the 
building, and the south-west quadrant of the ironwork caught fire and 
was completely destroyed. Fortunately the Reading Room, though 
separated from the flames only by thin sheet iron, did not catch fire. Of 
the books in the south-west quadrant which escaped damage by fire, 
many were destroyed by water: in all about 100,000 volumes were lost, 
in the sections dealing with theology, law, medicine, art, architecture, 
and sport, together with many periodicals. Some 40,000 have been 
replaced, but many may prove irreplaceable. 

Emergency repairs to the building were soon effected, and per- 
manent repairs more slowly in the postwar years, but the reconstruction 
of the south-west quadrant, with a far larger capacity than the iron 
structure destroyed, was not completed until 1954. 

When the reconstruction of the Iron Library was planned, it was 
hoped thereby to provide space for the accessions of printed books for 
the remainder of the present century. This estimate later proved 
altogether too optimistic, and the Trustees ultimately concluded that 
the only solution lay in the erection of an entirely new Library building. 
In 1894 the Government had purchased the ground, not only on the 
north, where the King Edward VII Galleries were built in the years 
before 1914, but on the east and west, completing the island site bounded 
by four streets. Even after the construction of the new Elgin Room on 
the west, and when adequate galleries have been built for the 
ethnographical collections and for the assembling of a true Oriental 
Antiquities Department, and with them a lecture hall, there will 
remain much space on these sides. The sites thus made available, 
however, would be by no means ideally suited to the layout of a great 
library, and it was finally decided to acquire further land for a new 
Library building. 11955, after some controversy and a public inquiry, 
an area of nearly six acres immediately to the south of the Museum was 
designated in the Development Plan for the County of London as the 
site for a new national library building. 

Panizzi's circular Reading Room seats 430 readers (formerly 450), 
and is supervised from the centre, from which a service sector, cut out 
from the rest of the room by converging counters, leads to the inner 
parts of the library and to the North Library* The walls of the Reading 
Room and the various floor cases hold some 65,000 books of reference* 
but 40,000 of these are on two galleries which are not accessible to 
readers. The whole reference collection is comtautly revised, 


It has often been complained by occasional readers that delays of as 
much as three-quarters of an hour occur in the delivery of books. The 
Library covers a very large area, and though pneumatic tubes have 
been installed, by which tickets can be sent without delay to most parts 
of the building, it will not be possible to remedy the evil completely 
till the complete reconstruction of the stacks allows the full use of 
mechanical book-carriers. The reader engaged on continued research 
and with occasion to use books of reference, finds no grievance; the 
man who comes to see a single book can write the day before, or in an 
emergency ask for his book to be expedited. 

The North Library, which has 120 seats, is devoted to the study of 
rare books. The southern half was used in part for the display of some 
2,000 select periodicals until the reconstruction of the room in 1936-38. 
Certain seats in this room are permanently allocated to readers using 
the Library continuously for research, since there are no carrels or 
individual studies for readers in the Museum. British Parliamentary 
Papers were read in the old Newspaper Room (now the Students' 
Room for the Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts) until it was 
closed in 1932. In 1934 a new State Paper Room for the government 
publications of all countries,withaccomrnodationfor twenty-six readers, 
typing room, and rooms for photographic work are needed. Maps are 
mainly consulted in the Map Room in the King Edward VII Building. 

Another step to relieve congestion in the Library was taken in 
1902, when the Trustees took Parliamentary powers (2 Edw. VII, 
cap* 12} to move the British provincial newspapers to a repository at 
Colindale (Hendon), in the north-western suburbs of London. This 
building, a stack of two floors, each measuring 300 feet by 40 feet, was 
completed in 1903, and was quickly filled. In 1932, therefore, it was 
converted into a Newspaper Library by the addition of a stack of six 
floors, 264 feet by 50 feet, together with a reading room and bindery. 
The London and foreign newspapers were then moved there. 

In the Second World War the Newspaper Library unhappily suffered 
severe damage* The original storage block received a direct hit from 
a heavy bomb on October 20, 1940; of the 100,000 bound volumes in 
it, some 5*000, mainly issues for the middle years of the nineteenth 
century, were lost The volumes salvaged were housed at first with 
great difficulty in the gangways and open spaces of the surviving 
building, and later in temporary sheds erected in the grounds. Work 
was due to begin in 1957 on an extension to the permanent building. 
The Library now contains about 400,000 bound volumes. In 1950 a 
Microfilm Annexe to the Newspaper Library was completed to the 


design of American experts, and is equipped with five cameras and 
ancillary apparatus of a type specially suited to the photography of 
newspapers, presented by the Rockefeller Foundation. 

The Departments of MSS. and of Oriental Printed Books and MSS. 
have separate reading rooms. Extension of the MSS. students' room, 
to provide a total of some 65 seats, was begun in 1956. 

Permission to use the reading rooms is given, not in the rooms or the 
departments themselves, but in the Director's Office. Applicants must 
be twenty-one years of age (but the Trustees sometimes waive this) ; 
they must give evidence of a definite study, and of serious need for the 
Museum Library, and not (as is common) a mere fancy to read there 
rather than in a local public or special library; they must be recommen- 
ded by some person in a responsible position; and they must not be 
reading for an examination. The rules, when once the threshold has 
been crossed, are very similar to those in force elsewhere. Books, 
however, must in the normal way be given up when done with, and 
not left on the tables; the tickets for books are then returned and 
serve as an acquittance; books can be kept ready from day to day. No 
book may be taken out of a room by a reader. There are special rules 
for the handling of MSS. 

Each department has also its own permanent exhibition, and 
temporary exhibitions from time to time. The illuminated MSS. are 
shown in the Grenville Room; the historical and literary papers with 
other ancient MSS., Bibles, chronicles, bindings, charters, seals, and 
papyri in the Manuscripts Saloon; Oriental MSS* at the south end of 
the King's Library; books illustrating the history, and particularly the 
early history, of printing, famous English books, bindings of printed 
books, music, etc., in the rest of the King's Library, There is space for 
a small permanent exhibition of maps at the entrance to the King 
Edward VII Galleries. A series of special exhibitions intended to 
demonstrate the richness of the collections in the principal literatures of 
the world was held during 1953 to mark the bicentenary of the 

Readers and Issues for 

Books, etc,, issued, other 
Readers than reference books 
Reading Room .. .. 140,627 482,157 
North Library .. .. 31,548 33,370 
State Paper Room .. 6,624 297$$ 
Map Room .. .. 2,605 15,180 

Oriental Students' Room 4,812 (*5,43O printed books 

^ 6,423 


Manuscripts Students' Room 9,457 39,233 

Newspaper Library . . 6,580 43,298 

The Music Room is not open to readers, music being sent to the Reading 
Room or North Library for consultation. 


A. Manuscripts 

The Foundation Collections, amounting to about 12,000 volumes in 
all, were the following: 

(1) The Cotton: Collected by Sir Robert Cotton (1571-1631). 
Given to the Crown by his grandson, Sir John, 1700, Very rich in 
books from the libraries of the monasteries, dispersed at the Reforma- 
tion, and in historical papers. The collection remained in Cotton 
House at Westminster, then was transferred to Ashburnham House, 
close by, where it was seriously damaged by fire in 173 1. Catalogues by 
T, Smith, 1696 (of value, since it precedes the fire), and J, Planta, 1802. 

(2) The Harkian: Collected by Robert (1661-1724) and Edward 
(1689-1741) Harley, first and second Earls of Oxford; general, but like 
the Cotton rich in political history, and incorporating the papers of 
Sir Simonds D'Ewes (1602-50). Purchased under the Act of 
Incorporation of the Museum, 1753. Catalogue commenced by the 
Harleys' librarian, Humphrey Wanley, 1708-62; revised edition, 
1808-12. The Harleian printed books were dispersed. 

(3) The Stoane: Collected by Sir Hans Sloane, and purchased from 
his executors under the Act of Incorporation of the Museum, 1753* 
Very rich in botanical and zoological records and drawings, but 
general. Catalogue by S. Ayscough, 2 vol., 1782, and index by 
E. J. L, Scott, 1904. A fuller catalogue (c. 1837) survives* pardy in 
proof, and partly in transcribed form in the Department. 

Also virtually a foundation collection is: 

(4) The Royal: sometimes known as the "Old Royal" to distinguish 
it from the King's MSS. (no. 8, below). Collected by the Kings from 
Edward IV, and including dispersals from monastic libraries, and the 
library of Prince Henry, eldest son of James I (d. 1612), based on those 
of Thomas Cranmer, Lord Lumley, and the Earl of Arundel. Presented 
by George II in 1757, before the opening of the Museum, with the 
printed collections of the Old Royal Library. Catalogue (with the 
King's), by Sir G* Warner and J* P, Gilson, 4 vol., 1921 (first catalogue, 

Later accessions: 

(5) The Lansdowne: Purchased from the executors of the Marquess of 


Lansdowne, 1807, and including papers of William Cecil, Lord 
Burghley. Catalogue, 1819. 

(6) The Hargrave: Legal MSS., purchased from the trustees of 
Francis Hargrave, K.C., 1813. Catalogue, 1818. 

(7) The Burney: Classical MSS., purchased from the executors of 
Charles Burney, D.D., 1818. Catalogue, 1840. 

(8) The Kings (so called to distinguish them from the Old Royal): 
Collected by George III from his accession in 1760, and transferred by 
George IV in 1823. Catalogue (with the Royal), 1921. 

(9) TheEgerton: Bequeathed by Francis Egerton, Earl of Bridgewater, 
1829. Maintained an<l added to by an endowment established by the 
testator and augmented by Charles Long, Lord Farnborough (d. 1838). 
This most valuable form of bequest has in the course of a century 
produced a collection far larger than the original benefactor could have 
contemplated; since 1934, Greek papyri have been included among the 
Egerton purchases. A centenary exhibition was held in 1929. There is 
a catalogue of the original collection and additions to 1835 in the 
Department; since 1836 Egerton MSS. have been catalogued with the 

(10) The Arundel: Collected by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel 
(d. 1646), and presented to the Royal Society by Henry Howard in 
1667; purchased in 1831. Catalogue, 1834; Index, 1840. 

(n) The Stowe: Purchased from the Earl of Ashbuniham, 1883. 
Catalogue, 1895, 96, 2 vol. 

(12) The Ashley: See below; Printed Books. 

(13) The Yates Thompson: Forty-six fine illuminated MSS. from the 
collection of Henry Yates Thompson (1839-1928) bequeathed by his 
widow in 1941, together with five purchased from him for the 
Museum on earlier occasions, Catalogues issued by the collector, 

(14) The Additional: All gifts and purchases from the Museum's funds 
which do not form part of any special collection. Catalogue from 
1836; of earlier Additions MS. catalogues exist, and a printed index 
(1849) for Additions of 1783-1835. 

Besides these there are the various collections of charters, rolls, seals, 
ostraca, and papyri. Egyptian papyri were transferred to the Depart- 
ment of Egyptian Antiquities in 1840; Oriental MSS, to the newly 
formed Department of Oriental MSS. in 1867, MS. music (other than 
the Queen's) is retained in the Department, as are many MS, maps and 
drawings. The great need of the Department is a unified catalogue, 
such as the Bodleian's Summary Catalogue of Western MSS. But a 
necessary preliminary to such a catalogue, or to a combined index, is 


the recataloguing of some of the older collections, and for this task 
staff has always been lacking. Under the Keepership of Sir Edward 
Bond (1866-78) a temporary substitute of great value, the Class 
Catalogue, was commenced, which is compiled largely from cuttings 
from the printed catalogues and acts as a unified subject index, or 
rather classified analysis of the whole. Certain classes of MSS. have 
been the subject of published catalogues: 

Ancient MSS. Greek, 1881. Latin, 1884. 

Spanish MSS. 1875-93. 

Irish MSS. 1926-53. 

Romances. 1883-1910. 

Seals. 1887-1900. 

Music. 1906-09. 

Maps, etc. 1844, 6r. 

Greek Papyri. 1893- . 

Literary Papyri. 1927. 

Among facsimiles published may be noted: 

Codex Alexandrinus. 1879-83 ; reduced scale facsimile, 1909-57. 

Biblical MSS. 1900. 

An Exultet Roll from Monte Cassino. 1929. 

The Luttrell Psalter, 1932. 

The Lindisfarne Gospels. 1923. 

Aristotle on the Constitution of Athens, 1891. 

Herodas. 1892. 

Bacchylides. 1897. 

Greek Papyri. 1893-1907. 

Ancient Charters. 1873-78. 

Royal and other Charters. 1903. 

Queen Mary's Psalter (Royal MS. 2 B VII). 1912. 

Magna Carta. 1884, etc, 

Reproductions from Illuminated MSS. 1923-28. 

Schools of Illumination. 1914-30. 

The collections now (1956) number roughly: 

MSS., 63,000. 

Charters and Rolls, 100,000. 
Detached Seals and Casts, 19,000. 
Papyri (Greek), 2,945- 
Ostraca, 2,150, 

The accessions in 1955 numbered 399 volumes, excluding charters and 


B. Printed Books 

The Foundation Collections were: 

(1) The Shane: Rich in natural history ; purchased from the executors 
of Sir Hans Sloane under the Act of Incorporation of the Museum, 
1753. No separate published catalogue. 

(2) The Old Royal: Presented by George II in 1757. General, and 
consisting of purchases by and gifts to the Kings since Henry VII. An 
important part of the collection is that brought in by the death of 
Henry, Prince of Wales in 1612; which had as its nucleus the library of 
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Cranmer's library had passed at his 
death to the Earl of Arundel and so to Arundel's son-in-law, Lord 
Lumley. Lumley either gave the books to Prince Henry, or the latter 
acquired them with Nonesuch Palace after Lumley' $ death in 1609. 
Catalogue of the Lumley library, edited by Sears Jayne and F. R. 
Johnson, 1956. 

In the earlier years of the Museum there were no funds for 
acquisitions other than the interest on .7,000, which had been 
bequeathed in 1738 by Major Arthur Edwards for the rehousing of the 
Cotton MSS. Before regular purchase grants began in 1834-35, in the 
words of Edward Edwards, "the Museum had been founded 
grudgingly. It was kept up parsimoniously"; and Horace Walpolc 
lightheartedly anticipated the auction of the collections. 

Later additions are: 

(3) The Thomason (or Kitigs) Tracts of the Civil War and 
Commonwealth: Collected by George Thomason, bookseller, 
1641-61, and purchased by George III for the Museum in 1761. 
Catalogue, 1908. 

(4) The Garrick Plays: Bequeathed by David Garrick in 1779* 

(5) The Cracherode: Bequeathed by the Rev. C. M, Crachcrodc in 
1799. Including much early printing, and distinguished by the beauty 
of the copies and of the bindings. 

(6) Charles Burneys classical collections and English newspapers, 
purchased from his executors in 1818, 

(7) Sir Joseph Banks 9 s library, bequeathed in 1820. Rich in botany 
and travels. Catalogue by Dryandcr, 1796-1800. 

(8) The Kings: Collected by George III, and transferred by George IV 
in 1823. General, but notably rich in early printing and in English 
literature, both of which were being seriously collected in the latter 
half of the eighteenth century. Catalogue, 1820-29, by the King's 
Librarian, Sir Frederick Augusta Barnard. 


(9) The Croker French Revolution Tracts: Purchased in 1818, 183 1, and 
1856. Summary analysis of contents by G. K. Fortescue, 1899. 

(10) The Grenville: Collected and bequeathed by the Rt. Hon. 
Thomas Grenville (d. 1846). General; rich in fine copies (rebound) of 
early printing, romances, literature, and history. Catalogue, 1842-72. 
The Grenville duplicates are kept in reserve, and not normally issued 
to readers. 

Collections received since the Grenville have been incorporated in 
the general library and not kept separate, except: 

(i i) The Huth: Thirty-seven printed books selected from the library 
collected by Henry and Alfred Henry Huth, under the will of the 
latter, 1910. Catalogue, 1912. The form of benefaction employed by 
Mr. Huth, that of bequeathing a definite number of volumes to be 
selected by the Museum, gives a precedent which we may hope will be 
followed, since the Museum can now absorb whole collections only at 
the cost of multiplying duplicates, unless the testator allows these to be 
sold or exchanged, or transferred to another institution. 

(12) The Ashley Library: Collected by Thomas J. Wise (1859-1937), 
Including original editions of all the major and many minor English 
poets, each in the greater part of the states known. MSS. (transferred to 
the Department of MSS.), including correspondence and other 
biographical material relating to the poets of the Romantic and 
Pre-Raphaelite periods. Wise's own printed catalogue, 1922-36. 

(13) The Holkham Library: A selection of eighty-five printed books 
from the library of the Earls of Leicester at Holkham Hall, Norfolk, 
purchased in 1952. They include over thirty incunabula. 

(14) The Hirsch Music Library: Collected in Germany by Paul 
Hirsch between 1897 and 1936, and purchased by the Museum in 1946. 
Rich in early editions of the Viennese composers from 1760-1830, 
and including also many other rare and valuable works of all periods, 
Hirsch's own printed catalogue, 1928-47, listed only about one-third 
of the music. A catalogue of the music was published by the Museum 
in 1951; that of the musical literature is in preparation. 

(15) The Queens Music (partly MS.), deposited by King George V in 
1911. In consequence, the Principal Keeper of Printed Books has the 
additional title of Honorary Curator of the Queen's Music, Catalogue, 

(16) Incunabula: (c. 10,000) drawn from all the collections except the 
King's and Grenville (copies in which are represented by dummies), 
and gathered by Robert Proctor into one room (the Arched Room) 
at the west end of the north wing and arranged by order of countries, 
towns, presses, and date, an arrangement now often caEed "Proctor 


order." Proctor's own privately produced Index to these and those in 
the Bodleian is now being superseded by the Catalogue of fifteenth 
century books, 1908- . 

Regular and unappropriated Parliamentary grants began in 1834-35. 
In the mid-nineteenth century, after 1845, with the aid of a special 
annual grant the library was very rapidly and cheaply built up; but in 
the last half-century, and particularly since the First World War, 
American competition and other causes multiplied prices by ten to 
fifty times; while the special grant ceased, leaving the Museum's 
purchasing power even in face value only two-thirds of what it had 
been. It is doubtful, then, if the Museum will ever again be the power 
in the market that it was in 1870. Increases in purchasing power are 
badly needed, not only for old books, but even more for subscribing to 
the flood of new journals, largely scientific and archaeological. Panizzi 
laid down the principle that the Museum should possess the best 
library of each language outside the native country of that language, 
and this is still the aim of the Museum in purchasing, though the need 
for more selective acquisition of foreign material, due in recent years 
not only to the limitation of funds but also to the enormous growth in 
the output of printed material everywhere, has led to a tendency to 
concentrate more on the arts and humanities than on science and 
technology. Moreover, in comparison with Panizzi's day science and 
technology are relatively well covered by the collections of special 

The source cf the bulk of accessions, however, is legal deposit under 
the Copyright Acts. The legal deposit system (preceded by an 
agreement in favour of the Bodleian made in 1610-11 between Sir 
Thomas Bodley and the Stationers* Company) began with the 
Licensing Act of 1662, which enjoined the delivery of copies to the 
Royal Library and the two English universities. This Act and its 



copies to nine. The list was again increased in 1801 to eleven, ana 
reduced in 1836 to five. 

In 1757 the gift by George I! of the Old Royal Library to the 
Museum legally carried with it the right to one copy of every new book 
produced in the United Kingdom; but only in 1815, the Copyright 
Act of 1814 having strengthened their hands, did the Trustees claim 
books. The consolidated Act of 1842 further improved the law, and 
then for the first time, by the energy of Panizzi, was the right of the 
Museum properly enforced, as it has been ever since. The current 
Act is that of 1911, which added a sixth (the Welsh) library. By a 


clause in the Act of Separation of the Republic of Ireland (1921), the 
claim to Irish books is continued. 

A further source of accessions, which has been expanded very 
greatly since the Second World War, lies in the exchange of publica- 
tions with foreign institutions. This is particularly valuable as a source 
of foreign government publications, copies of British official documents 
being supplied to the Museum for exchange purposes by H.M. 
Stationery Office. 

Accessions to the Printed Books during 1955 were as follows: 

Colonial Inter- 



Dona- national 
tion Exchange Purchase Total 

Volumes and pam- 

phlets .. .. 32,999 






Serials and parts . . 92,952 






Atlases (complete and 

parts) . . , . 100 





Sheet maps . . . . 9,270 






Music (items) ., 7,316 




Newspapers (numbers) 169,130 






Sets of 4,024 different newspapers were received. 12,253 single sheets, 129 
postage stamps and 220 rolls of microfilm were also received. 

The number of volumes in the library is only very roughly known; 
it probably amounts to about 5,000,000. The shelf-run is about 
eighty miles. 

The first catalogues of printed books were published in 1787 and 
1813-19; and to these was added that of the King's Library, 1820-29. 
After a scheme for a subject-catalogue had been given up in 1834, a 
new alphabetical catalogue, to include the King's Library, was 
promoted, with Panizzi in charge. The mistake was made of beginning 
to print prematurely* and only one volume appeared, in 1841. The 
scheme was given up at Panizzi's instigation in 1849, an <l the system of 
a movable MS. slip for each entry adopted. The catalogue of 1841 was 
the occasion of the famous catalogue rules, also inspired and largely 
devised by Panizzi. The first general printed catalogue since 1819 was 
commenced in 1881 and completed in 1905-, with a supplement 
covering all accessions down to 1900, but omitting British newspapers. 
State Papers, and certain other classes* 

After the commencement of the printing of the General Catalogue, 
monthly parts of a catalogue of accessions were, and continue to be, 
issued, fa. 1931 a revised edition of the General Catalogue was begun; 
work has been hindered by the war and by the priority necessarily 


given to the cataloguing of new accessions, but fifty-one volumes have 
now appeared, reaching DEZ. 

The printing of the accessions titles gave the opportunity for a 
Subject-Index of new books. This was at first the private venture of 
G. K. Fortescue, but was later taken over by the Trustees. The 
indexes for the period 1881-1900 were cumulated, and since then 
quinquennial volumes have regularly appeared. A temporary 
Subject-Index, made up from slips from the Accessions Lists, is kept in 
the Reading Room during the period of compilation of each volume. 
The printed catalogue of reference books in the Reading Room, last 
issued in 1910, has now been replaced by a card catalogue. 

The basis of the current Map Catalogue is the Catalogue of the printed 
maps, plans and charts in the British Museum, 2 vol., 1885, compiled by 
R. K. Douglas; mounted copies in the Reading Room and Map Room 
are kept up to date by the addition of slips from accessions lists pub- 
lished annually. The catalogue of Printed Music is similarly kept up 
to date. 

Of catalogues, etc., not mentioned in their places above and not 
superseded, the following are the chief; a complete list (for the whole 
Museum) is issued at intervals: 

Printed Music, 1487-1800. By W. Barclay Squire. 1912. Supplement. 

By William C. Smith. 1940. 
Greek Printing Types, 1465-1927. Facsimiles with an historical introduction 

by Victor Scholderer. 1927. 
Catalogues of English Book Sales, 1676-1900. 1915. 
Early Stamped Bookbindings. By W. H. J. Weak and L. Taylor. 1922. 
Facsimiles from Early Printed Books. 1897. 
Books printed in Iceland from 1578 to 1880. 1885. 
Books printed in Spain and Spanish Books printed elsewhere before i6o(. 

Books printed in France and French Books printed in other countries from 

1470-1600. 1924. 

Portuguese Books printed before 1601. By Sir Henry Thomas* 1940. 
Spanish-American Books printed before 1601. By Sir Henry Thomas, 1944, 
Rules for compiling the Catalogues (other than that of fifteenth-century 

books). 1 1936. 
Guide to the Arrangement of Headings and Entries in the General Catalogue 

of Printed Books. 1940. 

Guide to the Exhibition in die King's Library. 1939. 
Guide to the Use of the Reading Room. 1938. 
The Preservation of Leather Bookbindings. By H, J. Plenderleith, 1946. 

1 Rules for the Cataloguing of Incunabula, by Henry Guppy* based on the !Vuseuf*s 
rules, were published by the Library Association, 1932. 


C. Orientalia 

Most of the old collections of MSS. included Oriental books, mainly 
Hebrew and Arabic, those in the Old Royal Library being particularly 
noteworthy. Few large separate collections have been added, but 
mention should be made of that formed in the Near East by the 
remarkable young scholar Claudius James Rich, who died in 1821 at 
the age of thirty-three, which incidentally included the first cuneiform 
inscription to reach Europe; of the Syriac MSS. which were found in 
the monasteries of the Nitrian valley in 1841 and 1843, a&d were 
catalogued with sensational and controversial results by William 
Cureton; and of the library of H. J. Michael of Hamburg, acquired in 
1848. Recent important additions are the Zouche or Curzon MSS., 
deposited in 1888 and bequeathed in 1917; the ancient MSS. found by 
Sir Aurel Stein in Chinese Turkestan (1901 and later years); and the 
1,000 Caster MSS. (1924), mainly Hebrew, and particularly strong in 
the Kabbalah. The MSS. were separated in 1867, and the printed 
books later. The latter included the Hebrew books of Solomon da 
Costa, from the Old Royal Library. The language now most strongly 
represented, both in the MSS. and printed books, is Arabic; the 
collection of Ethiopic MSS. is the largest in Europe. 

The collection of printed Orientalia is virtually complete for works 
issued up to 1900; since that date, the great increase in the output of 
printed material in the countries concerned, above all in the Middle 
East, has made a policy of selective acquisition necessary. The Indian 
copyright privilege, enjoyed by the Museum since 1867, wa s 
surrendered on the assumption of autonomy by India and Pakistan in 
1947. An increase in the purchase grant has been made to enable the 
acquisition of Indian and Pakistani books to continue on an adequate scale. 
The first catalogue of the Oriental MSS. was published in 1838-71, 
and included Syriac, Karshuni, Arabic and Ethiopic (Supplement, 
1899). The cliicf later catalogues arc: 

MSS. Printed Boob 

Syriac, 1870-72 Persian, 1922 

Arabic, 1894 Hebrew, 1867, 94 

Coptic, 1905 Arabic, 1894-1926 

Ethiopic, 1877 Sanskrit and Pali, 1876-1928 

Persian, 1879-95 Burmese, 1913 

Turkish, 1888 Hindi, etc., 1899-1913 

Armenian, 1913 Tamil, 1931 

Hebrew and Samaritan, 1900-35 Chinese, 1877, 1903 

Japanese, 1898, 1904 

while many Coptic and other texts have been reproduced. 


The volumes hi the Oriental Library number approximately: 

MSS. 50,000 

Printed Books, 260,000 

Accessions during 1955: 

MSS. 26 

Printed Books: purchased, 1,420; presented, 430. 


The Departments of the Museum have multiplied by fission, after 
the manner of the amoeba, but less in the Library Division than in those 
of Antiquities and Natural History. The original organisation of the 
Museum contained separate Departments of Printed Books, MSS., and 
Natural History, and they were placed in 1756 each under the charge 
of a Keeper and one Assistant Keeper, while in 1758 there was appointed 
a Keeper of the Reading Room, all five being under the control of the 
Principal Librarian, Go win Knight, M.D. Coins and Medals were 
separated from Manuscripts in 1803, and Antiquities became a separate 
department in 1807, under pressure of the acquisitions of the time. 
The Department of Prints and Drawings, still treated as one of the 
Library Departments, but not further noticed in this account of the 
Museum, branched off in 1836, and the Oriental MSS., later to be 
joined by the Oriental Printed Books, in 1867. In the same year the 
collections of maps, charts, and plans were assembled from the 
Department of Printed Books to form a new Department under the 
Keepership of Richard Henry Major, but in 1880 the experiment was 
abandoned. The MS. maps in the Department of Manuscripts remained 
unaffected, though many acquisitions of MS* material were made for 
the new Department, and continue to be made for the map collection. 
The maps, and the printed music each form a sub-section of the Depart- 
ment of Printed Books, but, like the State Papers and Newspapers, 
without any formal constitution. 

The Natural History Departments were moved to South Kensington 
in 1880. 


The Museum is, by its Act of Incorporation, forbidden to alienate 
its possessions or to send them out of its gates; for this reason the 
binding is done on the spot. By an Act of 1924 the Trustees were 
empowered to lend, for exhibition in public galleries in diis country, 
duplicates or other objects which are not important to students or 


Unable to take part in, still less to take the lead in, any national 
system of inter-library lending (though Panizzi had visualised the 
creation of a separate loan collection from the duplicates in the 
Library), the Museum leaves that function to the National Central 
Library, on the Board of Trustees and Committee of which it is 
officially and strongly represented, and keeps to the role of a stationary 
library of reference and research, for which it was founded. The 
Inquiry Bureau of the National Central Library thus allied with the 
Museum makes free use of its bibliographical resources, which it would 
have otherwise to duplicate. The Museum also provides accommoda- 
tion and the use of its collections to such centralised bibliographical 
services as the British National Bibliography and the British Union 
Catalogue of Periodicals, and is represented on their governing bodies. 
The help of the Museum to the student world which cannot come to 
it is of necessity confined to the issue of catalogues and facsimiles, loans 
of lantern slides, and the sale of photostats and microfilms made in its 


A studio for photography has existed in the Museum for many 
years, but only since 1926 has it numbered professional photographers 
on its staff. Both before that date and since, outside photographers, 
professional and amateur, have used the studio on payment of fees. 
Photostats and microfilms, of both printed and MS. originals, are in 
large request ; since 1935 the Museum has co-operated in an undertaking 
for the filming of all English books printed before 1640. There are 
microfilm reading machines in the North Library, the MSS. Students' 
Room, and the Newspaper Library. 

Since 1930, apparatus has been in use in the Department of 
Manuscripts for making faded MSS. legible by ultra-violet rays. The 
unrolling of desiccated leather rolls is an example of the applications to 
library needs of the Research Laboratory of the Museum, which 
was established in 1919, at first as a part of the Department of 
Scientific and Industrial Research. 


The earliest librarians were mostly, as was natural, rather men of 
science with general intellectual tastes. The first Principal Librarian, 
Gowin Knight {d. 1772), was an inventor; the first Keeper of MSS. and 
Medals, Charles Morton (d. 1776), was a medical man; Matthew Maty, 
however, the first Keeper of Primed Books (d. 1765), was a Hterary 
critic of international repute. It is noticeable that he and the Plantas, 


father and son, of whom the latter was Principal Librarian (1799-1827), 
were Huguenots. 

The Museum posts were very ill paid, in the absence of proper 
financial support for the Trustees, and were unattractive to men of the 
highest talents; in the first century quite a number of the staff were 
clergy who held other appointments. But about the turn of the 
century there entered several really good scholars, who were destined 
to enhance the reputation of the Museum, Among these were: 

Robert Nares (B.M., 1795-1829), the philologist and author of the 
well-known Glossary. 

Francis Douce (Keeper of MSS., 1807-12), author of the Illustrations 
to Shakespeare, 1807, and collector of the great library, which, owing 
to a quarrel with the Trustees, he bequeathed not to them but to the 

Later came Henry Francis Gary (B.M., 1826-37). the translator of 
Dante, and friend of Lamb, who in his application for the Keepership 
of Printed Books, for which he was passed over in favour of the 
energetic Panizzi, crystallised the dying philosophy of a peaceful but 
pensionless public service in the words "my age might ask for me that 
alleviation from labour which is gained by promotion to a superior 

Sir Henry Ellis (Principal Librarian, 1827-56), good scholar and most 
amiable of men, had the ill luck to be contemporary with the forceful 
Italian and the rising tide of modernity. 

Sir Frederic Madden (Keeper of MSS., 1837-66), a better scholar 
than Ellis, was a querulous and illiberal man; he led the nationalist feud 
against the "foreigner," who had done so much for the Museum, and 
who, it must be added, was far from declining that or any other combat. 

But these were men of the old world. The creative mind in the 
history not only of the Museum, but of libraries at large, was Antonio 
Panizzi (1797-1879). A native of Brescello in the Duchy of Modcna, 
he allied himself with revolutionary politics, was arrested as a 
Carbonaro in 182,2, and escaped to England. At first, by the patronage 
of Roscoe, he gave lessons in Italian, but in 1831 he was appointed 
Assistant Librarian in the Museum. Panizzi's volcanic energies first 
found scope in the preparation of the ill-fated catalogue of 1841, and 
the preliminary establishment of a set of rules. Succeeding to the 
Keepership in 1837 he supervised the transfer of the library from 
Montague House in 1838, In the years after 1842 he enforced the 
deposit of copies under the Copyright Act. In 1843-45 he made a 
drastic report which resulted in Government assistance for the building 
up of die library in the shape of an annual purchase grant of ^10,000, 


which remained at that figure for half a century. In 1846 Thomas 
Grenville, an active Trustee, bequeathed his wonderful library to the 
Museum, and this was entirely due to Paiiizzi's influence, which he had 
gained not only by his ability as an administrator but by his knowledge 
and taste as a scholar. In the next years Panizzi was largely engaged in 
facing the governmental inquiry into the management of the Museum 
Library, the result of which was an immense triumph for him over a 
number of celebrated amateur critics. In 1852 he conceived, perhaps 
with the assistance of Thomas Watts, a later Keeper of Printed Books, 
the idea of the circular Reading Room and the surrounding stacks, and 
in 1854-57 carried it through. In 1856 he succeeded Sir Henry Ellis as 
Principal Librarian. He retired in 1866, having secured the admission 
of the Museum staff to the benefits of the Civil Service, of which he 
had always insisted that the Museum was a department. 

Even if we admit that much that Panizzi achieved came about by the 
aid of his political influence with the Whig Cabinets, for whom he was 
a powerful ally in Continental affairs, and who rewarded him by giving 
adequate financial support to the Museum, his record is a marvellous 
one for any one man, and that a man who was deeply engaged in 
another life of politics, and yet another of literature. To have conceived 
and created the first serious cataloguing code, the first large and properly 
equipped Reading Room, open to all serious students, and the first 
metal stacks, capable of holding a library of over a million books, 
marked Panizzi out from his contemporaries, who were men of the 
old world, and indeed from any other men, as the founder of the 
modern library. He was "a bonny fighter,*' but impulsive and 
generous; while he would not endure slackness, he abounded in 
kindness to his subordinates. 

There was but one Panizzi, and Edwards was his prophet. Edward 
Edwards was admitted to the staff of the Printed Books in 1839 to 
assist with the new alphabetical catalogue, and helped Panizzi to frame 
the rules. He was not altogether a success either in die Museum or as 
the first Librarian of the first Free Library (Manchester, 1850); but he 
had been able to assist Ewart in the preparation of the Libraries Bill of 
1850, and he did much to bring Panizzi's liberal ideas into a new field. 
After his enforced resignation in 1858, he produced two massive works 
doing his master fuE justice: Memoirs of Libraries, 1858, andLiVes of the 
founders of the British Museum, 1870. 

Another of the entrants of 1839 was Thomas Watts. Like Edwards 
he was self-taught, and had interested himself in the problems of the 
Museum during the inquiry of 1835-36. Watts's great achievement was 
the selection of the boob ia a vast range of foreign tongues, which 


flowed in during the years of the Museum's prosperity after 1845. But 
he was also the inventor of the system of shelf-classification which is 
still in use in the Museum, and of the guard-book form of catalogue, 
with movable MS. slips, which preceded and showed the way for the 
printed catalogue; he also introduced the device of duplicating the 
written slips and rearranging them as a shelf-list or classified catalogue, 
thus anticipating the uses of the card. Watts became first Superinten- 
dent of the new Reading Room in 1857, and Keeper of Printed Books 
in 1866, but died in 1869. 

Of those who linked the time of the Museum's expansion and 
modernisation with the present century, we may mention (Sir) 
Edward Augustus Bond, (Sir) Edward Maunde Thompson, Richard 
Garnett, and George Knottesford Fortescue; and of those who 
followed them, (Sir) Frederic George Kenyon, (Sir) George Frederic 
Warner, Alfred William Pollard and Julius Parnell Gilson. 

Bond came in 1838 into the Department of MSS. from the Public 
Record Office, where he had laid the foundations of a fine pako- 
graphical experience. He received a special tribute in Maddcn's 
evidence before the Commission of 1849-50. During the discreditable 
quarrel between the latter and Panizzi, Bond had to act for his Keeper 
in many details of administration. On succeeding to the Kccpership in 
1866 he vigorously reformed the Department, bringing the catalogues 
up to date and starting the Class Catalogue in lieu of the unattainable 
complete index. In 1878 he succeeded as Principal Librarian John 
Winter Jones (previously Keeper of Printed Books), and was 
responsible for two important library reforms outside his old 
Department, the introduction of electric light and the printing of the 
written General Catalogue. He retired in x 8 88 and died in rSpB, 

Bond's successor as Keeper of MSS. and as Principal Librarian was 
Edward Maunde Thompson, who had entered the Museum in 1861. 
Thompson continued enthusiastically Bond's Class Catalogue, and 
made himself a master of classical paleography, on which subject his is 
the standard work, and of such widely different fields as mediaeval 
illumination and history, his knowledge overflowing into a long series 
of important publications without lessening his official output. 
Thompson's energy was worthy of Panizzi. As Principal Librarian {in 
1898 the title was changed to Director and Principal Librarian}, he was 
perhaps too masterful; but he was warm-hearted if alarming to his 
juniors, and at the end of the century he succeeded in having the 
salaries of the Museum staff raised, if not to the level of other 
Government offices, at least to a living wage, Thompson retired in 
1909 and did not die till 193 x. His last work was an acute study of the 


passage in Sir Thomas More believed to be in Shakespeare's hand. In 
the Directorate of Frederic George Kenyon fell the opening of the 
King Edward VII Galleries, and the trials of the First World War, 
while later he represented admirably the interests of the Museum before 
the Royal Commission of 1927-29. 

In the Printed Books the most interesting among the men of this 
generation was Richard Garnett. Bornin 1835, he was brought into the 
Museum at the age of sixteen on the death of his father (also Richard, 
Assistant Keeper 1838-50). He was already widely read in ancient and 
modern literature, and the Museum was his university. Panizzi's ideals 
captured his loyalty; he became Superintendent of the Reading Room 
in 1875, and it is largely through him that that office acquired its unique 
reputation. His previous work as Placer (classifier) and his great 
memory made his help invaluable to readers, particularly in the 
absence of a printed Subject-Index. He retired from the Room in 1884 
to give his whole time to superintending the printing of the catalogue. 
In 1890 he became Keeper, and retired in 1899. The Museum owes to 
his foresight its wealth in the English Romantic writers, whose books 
were neglected by the copyright collectors when new. On his 
retirement his colleagues produced a handsome volume describing the 
300 most noteworthy books added during his Kcepership. 

Garnett wrote largely and appreciatively on literature, notably on 
Shelley. By far his best original work is The Twilight of the Gods 
(1888), a learned and ironical collection of tales of the mediaeval and 
ancient world rather in the manner of Anatole France. 

Fortescue's health having proved unequal to the career at sea which 
he commenced, he entered the Department of Printed Books in 1870. 
He was self-educated; well versed in languages and modern history 
hence his work on the Croker Tracts and as editor of the Thomason 
Catalogue but primarily a practical man. He became Placer, then 
Superintendent of the Reading Room in succession to Garnett, and 
while in this capacity introduced the Subject-Index for which he is 
best known. He became Keeper in 1899, and retired in 1912. Alfred 
William Pollard joined the Printed Books staff in 1883, and is best 
remembered for his bibliographical work: he edited the Museum 
catalogue of incunabula, and was Keeper from 1919 to 1924, at the 
beginning of the period of reconstruction, In the Department of 
Manuscripts there was no transformation comparable to that wrought 
by Panizzi; much in its present form, however, is due to Julius Parnell 
Gilson, Keeper from 1911 to 1929, above all in the enlarging and 
improvement of the Class Catalogue. With Warner, Gilson edited the 
Catalogue of Old Royal and King's MSS. 


Of the many important men who have not reached high office in 
the Museum Library, we can mention only a few: William Cureton 
(MSS., 1837-50), the Syriac scholar; Emmanuel Deutsch, the brilliant 
Hebrew scholar and writer, who "for fifteen years [1855-70] did 
helot's work at the Museum"; 1 Coventry Patmore (Printed Books, 
1846-64), the poet, (Sir) Edmund Gosse (Printed Books, 1867-75), 
poet and critic. Of one who was only there for ten years (1893-1903) 
a word more is due. This was Robert Proctor, who in those ten years 
did his fair share of the routine work and also, single-handed, gathered 
all the eight or nine thousand incunabula from all over the library 
(reading the entire catalogue through for the purpose), and arranged 
them, adespota and all, in the order which is now known by his name, 
but was really the conception of Henry Bradshaw. Proctor's sight was 
failing at the end, and his death, alone, in the Alps in 1903 was a fit end, 
a kind of Grammarian's Funeral. 


The staff and their salaries are listed below. The administrative, 
laboratory, and domestic staffs are not exactly set out, as it is impossible 
to say what proportion of them would disappear if the Library and 
Antiquities were divorced. The whole staff numbers 680 persons, of 
whom 250 are directly employed in the Library departments. 

A Office and House ^ 

Director and Principal Librarian (and house) . . . . 3,250 

Secretary 1,640-1,785 

Assistant Secretary 1,013-1,6x0 

Senior Executive Officer . . 1,285-1,530 

Higher Executive Officer .. 1,055-1,225 

Executive and clerical officers, attendants, typists, locksmiths, hall staff", 
warders, firemen, housemen, etc. Laboratory and photographic staffs, 

B. Printed Books and Newspaper Library * 

Principal Keeper and Curator of the Queca's Music (and 

house) 2,400-2,600 

2 Keepers 2,000-2,300 

3 Deputy Keepers , 1,640-1,785 

37 Assistant Keepers 539-1,610 

141 Executive and Clerical Officers . * 240-1,225 

i Examiner of Binding * , . 715-950 

23 Messengers (Basic weekly rate) 7*3** 

1 S. Lane-Poole in Dictionary ofNattowl Biography. 


C. MSS. r 

Keeper and Egerton Librarian 2,000-2,300 

3 Deputy Keepers 1,640-1,785 

8 Assistant Keepers 539-1,610 

1 6 Executive and Clerical Officers, etc 240-1,225 

3 Messengers, etc. (Basic weekly rate) fjj 135. 

D. Oriental Printed Books and MSS. + 

Keeper 2,000-2,300 

3 Assistant Keepers 539-1,610 

8 Executive and Clerical Officers, etc. . . . . . . 240-1,225 

2 Messengers (Basic weekly rate) 7 13$. 

The upper grades are recruited from young men and women who 
have taken university degrees with honours in ancient, modern, or 
Oriental literatures or history. Previous experience and technical 
training in librarianship are not required (though the staff numbers 
more than one diplomate of the University of London School of 
Librarianship), since the Library is thought to give its own special 
training in the course of the daily work. Special value is attached to a 
working knowledge of foreign languages. 

Clerical Officers are appointed from boys and girls who have left 
school with the General Certificate of Education, and have passed the 
competitive examination for entry into the grade. 

The three Principal Trustees used to appoint outright to all posts as 
an act of patronage. Now they first authorise candidatures and then 
"nominate" (i.e., make up the short list) for Assistant Keepers, the final 
selection being made not on examination but on interview by the 
Civil Service Commission with the Director and the Keeper of the 
Department concerned. 

The Director and Principal Librarian is appointed (always from the 
staff of the Museum) by the Crown. 


The responsibility for the buildings lies with H.M, Minister of 
Works, who administers it in consultation with the Trustees, being 
represented for routine purposes by a Clerk of Works attached to the 

The Trustees possess small funds in their own right Of the 
foundation endowment of ^30,000 capital, .20,000 is allocated to 
Bloomsbury and ^10,000 to South Kensington. They have certain 


endowed funds for purchase; the most notable in the Library is the 
Egerton (q.v. above, p. 10), For the bulk of their commitments the 
Trustees appeal formally once a year to Parliament for a Grant in Aid, 
and submit estimates to H.M. Treasury for inclusion in the National 
Budget. These estimates appear regularly in Civil Estimates, Class IV 
(Education). To find the cost of the Library exactly is not possible, as 
the figures include the Departments of Antiquities; but it is fair to 
reckon it for 1956-57 as .262,311 about half of the grand net total 
(when the Treasury has absorbed any rents and profits from 
photography and the sale of publications) of .524,622, The important 
items during 1956-57 were, approximately: 

Salaries and Pensions (for die whole Museum) 452,027 

Printing 17,5 

Photography (including microfilm service at the Newspaper 

Library) 55OO 

Purchases: Printed Books 43ooo 

MSS. (excluding available reserve) . . . . . . 500 

Orientalia (excluding available reserve) . . . . 2,000 

Buildings, etc. (for the whole Museum) , 262,000 

The Trustees are voted a block "Grant in Aid" or sum for purchases, 
and they allocate it among the Departments, placing in favourable 
times about one-third in a reserve fund which is allowed to accumulate, 
and is used for specially costly acquisitions. The normal grant (for the 
whole Museum) was, in 1956-57, ^53,680. 

Much help towards special purchases has been given since its 
formation in 1933 by the Society of the * 4 Friends of the National 
Libraries," and also for a number of years, in purchases of illuminated 
MSS. by the National Art Collections Fund. 

The purchase fund is inadequate, During the latter half of the 
nineteenth century (sec above, p. 14) the amount stood at .^io t ooo 
for the Printed Books; in 1897 this was reduced to a normal ,6,500 
and remained so until the Reports of the Royal Commission of 
1928-30 indicated how inadequate it had become, particularly in view 
of the rise in costs which followed the First World War. An increase 
was recommended to enable gaps to be filled and purchases maintained. 

The financial difficulties of the Museum were aggravated by the 
Second World War and the conditions which followed so that the 
Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries, reporting on the 
period 1949-53, spoke of the position of the Museum as "profoundly 
disquieting," Lack of staff, money and accommodation were making 
it increasingly difficult for it to maintain its standards and reputation in 


the face of the new and exacting demands which were being made on 
museums and libraries. In the Library there were serious arrears of 
cataloguing, it was impossible to pursue a satisfactory programme in 
acquiring new material, the service to readers was inadequate, and, 
with space in the newly completed South-West Quadrant available for 
the accessions of only twelve to fifteen years, at the present rate of 
receipt, the question of a new national library building demanded 
urgent consideration. To enable prompt action to be taken in the 
light of these findings, the annual Treasury grant to the Museum was 
raised by stages from 357,021 in 1952-53 to 462,996 in 1955-56. 


Apart from the catalogues and other official publications indicated above, the 
following selection of the large literature of the Museum may suffice: 
Accounts, Estimate, etc. 1812- . (Now "Annual Report," the financial 

statement being found in Civil Estimates, Class IV.) 
The British Museum Quarterly. 1926- . (Mainly devoted to an illustrated 

account of acquisitions.) 

Report from the Select Committee on the British Museum. 1835, 36. 
Report of the Commissioners. 1850. 

{The second of these two Parliamentary enquiries dealt largely with the Library). 
Royal Commission on National Museums and Galleries. Interim Report. 1928. 

Oral Evidence. Memoranda and Appendices to die Interim Report. 1928. 

Final Report. 1929, 30. 

Standing Commission on Museums and Galleries. Reports, 1933- . 
Panizzi, A. On the Collection of Printed Books at the British Museum. 

(A report.) [1845.] 

Esdaile, A, J. K. The British Museum Library. 1946. 
Edwards, Edward. Lives of the Founders of the British Museum. 1870. 

-Memoirs of Libraries. 1859. (2nd ed. of all that the author revised. 1901.) 

Pagan, L. A. The Life of Sir Anthony Panizzi 1880. 

Dahl, S. Antonio Panizzi og British Museum. 1916. 

Cowtan, R, Memories of the British Museum. 1872 [1871]* 

Sims R. Handbook to the Library. 1854. 

Rawlmgs Gertrude B. The British Museum Library. 1916. 

Peddle, V R. A. The British Museum Reading Room. 1912. 

Barwick, G- F* The Reading Room of the British Museum. 1929. 

The Catalogues of the British Museum. Printed Books. By F. C. Francis. 

Manuscripts, By T. C. Skeat, Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts. 

By F. C. Francis. 3 pt 1951, 52. 
Gilson, J. P. A Student's Guide to die Manuscripts of the British Museum. 

(Helps for Students of History, no. 31.) 1920. 
Partridge, R. C. B- The History of die Legal Deposit of Boob throughout the 

British Empire, 1938. 
De Beer, G. R. Sir Hans Sloane and the British Museum, 1953. 


Apart from the British Museum, which is the central library for the 
whole, each of the two smaller countries of Great Britain has its own 
national library. Some short account of these is given here as an 



Like so many other institutions in Great Britain which perform 
national functions and yet remain in the hands of private societies, the 
chief library in Scotland was for 243 years the private library of the 
Faculty of Advocates, that is, the Scottish Bar, and it was not till 
October 26, 1925, that the Advocates' Library was formally handed 
over to the nation and became the National Library of Scotland. 

The national character of the Library was recognised by the 
Copyright Act of Queen Anne (1709), by which the Library became 
entitled to receive a copy of every work published in the United 
Kingdom, and the Faculty in return, though this was not made a 
condition of the privilege, have always allowed scholars to make use of 
the Library. 

On July 6, 1680, a proposal was made and adopted to devote part of 
the funds of the Faculty to the formation of a Library, the chief 
supporter being the Lord Advocate of the day* Sir George Mackenzie 
of Rosehaugh, labelled by his enemies "the bluidy Mackenzie/ 1 and on 
November 18, 1682, the Faculty rented a house in the Parliament Close 
for the accommodation of the Library. Mackenzie proved a good 
friend to the Library: "from the beginning he was active in urging its 
claims on the Faculty and on the Court; he presented a valuable gift of 



books; and on March i, 1689 ... he delivered at the formal inaugura- 
tion of the Library a Latin oration, which is printed in his collected 

i * 

Two curators were appointed in 1683, and thereafter they were 
appointed every year at the Anniversary Meeting of the Faculty, with 
other officers. Their number was afterwards increased to five, then to 
six, and in recent times to eight. The first Librarian was James 
Naismith, advocate, who was appointed in 1684 to the office of 
Bibliothecarius, or Keeper of the Library. 

The cultural ties of Scotland with the Continent are reflected in the 
number of foreign books, especially French, bought for the Library 
during the eighteenth century. In 1692 the first printed catalogue was 
issued. "Of 158 pages of catalogue the law-books occupy 89. ... 
There is a fair representation of English legal writers, with a fine 
array of historians and a modest group of theologians. . . . Modern 
poets and writers of imagination are sadly to seek. . . . The entries 
number 3,140." 

- On February 3, 1700, a fire destroyed the greater part of the buildings 
in the Parliament Close, though owing to the devotion of James 
Stevenson, who had succeeded Naismith as Keeper in 1693, most of 
the books were saved. The Library was then moved to the Laigh 
Parliament House, which, with additions, it still occupies. 

In 1703, Stevenson was succeeded as Keeper by John Spottiswoode, 
advocate. It was during his Keepership, in 1709, that the advocates 
received the privilege of legal deposit, which was, however, very 
imperfectly applied until well into the nineteenth century. But the 
Library was fortunate in having a man of ability and vigour as Librarian 
during the first half of the* eighteenth century. "Thomas Ruddiman 
joined the staff" in a humble capacity in 1700, and on the death of 
Spottiswoode in 1730 was appointed Keeper. ... In the Library he 
left his enduring mark on every department of its administration. In 
1735 he undertook the task of preparing a complete author-catalogue. 
It was finished and printed in 1742, a large folio volume containing 
some 25,000 entries. * 

In 1752 there raged over the appointment of David Hume as 
Librarian a fierce controversy, which he describes in a letter to a 
friend of February 4, 1752. "The violent cry of deism, atheism, and 
scepticism/* he writes, "was raised against me; and 'twas represented 
that my election would be giving the sanction of the greatest and most 
learned body of men in this country to my profane and irreligious 

Htimc resigned in 1757, and, was succeeded by Adam Ferguson, who 


was present as chaplain of the Black Watch at Fontenoy, and who 
afterwards became Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh. The 
remaining Keepers appointed during the eighteenth century were: 
William Wallace, appointed in 1758; Alexander Brown, in 1776; and 
William Manners, in 1794. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century the burden consequent on 
the large increase of books due to the operation of the Copyright Acts 
was becoming too much for the resources of the Faculty; there 
was not sufficient money to pay for adequate staffing or general 
upkeep, so that books went unrepaired, no stocktaking was done, and 
for accessions after 1871 no catalogue was available to readers. In 1864, 
in 1869, and again in 1873 attempts were made to obtain public support, 
but without success, although Carlyle wrote a letter on behalf of the 
Library upholding its claim to national support; he writes: "such helps, 
bibliographical and others, as I have never met with elsewhere, and 
found the Library by very far the best I had ever been in.'* 

After the First World War it was obvious that the maintenance of 
the Library as a National Library was entirely beyond the financial 
powers of the Faculty, and that either the Government must take over 
the financial responsibility or the Library give up its national character, 
relinquish its copyright privilege, and become a private library. In 1922 
the Faculty made a definite offer to present the Library to the nation, 
with certain reservations. The state of the national finances prevented 
the acceptance of the offer, but the Government made an annual grant 
of .2,000. In 1923 a gift of ^100,000 from Sir Alexander Grant made 
it possible for the Government to accept the Faculty's gift of the 
Library. The National Library of Scotland Act was passed in August, 
1925. The conditions attached to Sir Alexander's gift were that the 
Library should be handed over to the nation and accepted, and that 
the association with the Advocates be preserved. The Government, as 
we have said, took over the Library and temporarily stopped its grant* 
The Faculty on their side reserved die ownership of legal books* both 
those already in the Library and those which should be received in 
future, though these are available to the public as other works. The 
borrowing powers of those advocates who had been admitted to the 
Faculty before the date of the gift of the Library, and who had 
contributed to its upkeep, were continued to their death, At tht dat 
of the transfer, the Library contained about 750,000 books and 
pamphlets, not including MSS., maps, or music. 

Government of the Library is in the hands of a Board of Trustees* 
who include among their number representatives of the Raculty of 
Advocates, the Scottish universities, local authorities, efcc. 


maintains jointly with the other British copyright libraries (except the 
British Museum) and that of Trinity College, Dublin, an agency in 
London through which those publications which it requests from 
publishers are received. 


In the first printed catalogue of 1692 very few MSS. are noted, and 
these are entirely legal; it was not until 1698 that the purchase by the 
Faculty of the Balfour MSS. laid the foundation of the present 

"The collection of MSS. includes some fine illuminated books of the 
Middle Ages, such, for example, as a beautiful thirteenth-century 
Bible, the Psalter and Hours illuminated for Eleanor de Bohun, 
daughter-in-law of Edward III, a great Italian Justinian of the fourteenth 
century, and the magnificent copy of the 'De civitate Dei* of St. 
Augustine, written and illuminated in Paris about 1503 for Cardinal 
Georges d'Amboise. The unique interest of the collection, however, is 
in the number of Scottish MSS., not a few of which are among the 
original authorities for the history of the country. Among these may 
be noted Charters of the Scottish Kings from William the Lion 
downwards, the Bull of John XXII, authorising the anointing and 
coronation of Robert Bruce and his successors as kings of Scotland, 
chartularies and chronicles of religious houses, examples of the earliest 
types of Scottish law books, the MSS. of Fordun s Scotichronicon, 
Wyntoun's Chromcle, Barbour's Bruce, and Blind Harry's Wallace, 
and the heraldic MS. of Sir David Lyndsay. The papers of Sir James 
Balfour of Denmilne, Lyon King-of-Arms to Charles I, purchased in 
1698, contain a mass of original documents relating to the reigns of 
James VI and Charles L The Balcarres papers, presented in 1712 by the 
third Earl of Balcarres, contain papers relating to the reigns of James V, 
Mary Queen of Scots, and James VI. The 'Lyon in Mourning,' the 
collection of Jacobite memorials made by the pious care of Bishop 
Robert Forbes, and bequeathed to the Faculty by Robert Chambers, is 
the source of much of the popular history of the Forty-five. 

"Among ecclesiastical MSS. of pre-Rerbrmation days may be noted 
the Rosslyn Missal, the Ramsay and Culross Psalters, the Herdmanston 
and Sprouston Breviaries, and the Scone Antiphonary. Among 
post-Reformation documents are the 'King's Confession/ the Covenant 
of 1580, signed by James VI, and the National Covenant of 1636. The 
literary MSS. range from the Bannatyne MS.> presented by the third 
Earl of Hy&dford in 1772, which is the chief source of our knowledge 
of early Scottish verse* to the MSS* of 'Marmion* and 'Waverley*; and 


the autograph letters of literary interest include those of Hume and 
Adam Smith, Boswell, Burns, Scott (most of his correspondence), 
Lockhart, Carlyle, Ruskin, and Stevenson. 

"The collection of early printed books includes a copy of the 
42-line Gutenberg Bible . . . and fine examples of the work of most of 
the great fifteenth-century Continental printers. Here again, however, 
the chief interest of the Library lies in its Scottish books. These include 
the only known copy of the first book printed in Scotland, the poems 
printed by Walter Chepman and Andrew Myllar at Edinburgh in 
1508." The Thorkelin collection from Copenhagen, purchased early 
in the nineteenth century, laid the foundation of an important 
Scandinavian section in the Library, and the library of the Marquis de 
Astorga, purchased by the Advocates on the advice of J. G. Lockhard, 
of the collection of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American works. 

Since the transfer, Scottish patriotism has been stimulated, and the 
Library has received a great many valuable gifts and made a few 
important purchases. The Trustees have made known their desire to 
co-operate with other public bodies in attempting to secure the 
preservation of Scottish legal, historical, and literary MSS. 

The largest gift was that of the Lauriston Castle Library, which was 
bequeathed to the Trustees by the late Mr. and Mrs, W. R. Reid in 
1926, The printed matter amounted to 11,211 books and pamphlets* 
while the Reid bequest also included the residue of their estate, the 
income of which is applied to maintaining and making suitable 
additions to the Lauriston Library. Another important gift that year 
was the Glenriddell MSS. of Robert Burns, given by Mr. John Gribbe! 
of Philadelphia. In 1927 the Library received the most valuable 
donation of printed books it has ever received, the Earl of Rosebery's 
Scottish collection at Barnbougle Castle. 

In 1928 came the Walter Blaikie Jacobite collection. In 1929 and 
1930 the Carlyle papers were given by Carlyle's nephew, Mr. Alexander 
Carlyle, A collection of rare and early editions formed by HL F. B 
Sharp was presented to the Library by his mother and sister; while the 
correspondence of the publishing firm of Blackwood from its founda- 
tion in 1804 to 1900, some 80,000 letters, was given in 1942, 

In 1950, under the terms of the will of the nth Marquess of Lothian, 
the Newbatde Abbey Library was received; it is rich in the history and 
literature of the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Another 
collection of over 200 Scottish books of the same period was presented 
by Mr. F. S. Ferguson in 1954 through the Friends of the Natiosntal 
Libraries, and the Bute collection of English pkys of the sklcoith to 
the eighteenth centuries was purchased w 1956. 


Photostats and microfilms of early Scottish books not represented in 
Edinburgh are collected, and almost every book printed in Scotland 
before 1601 is now available, either in original or facsimile. In 
purchasing foreign works the Library concentrates mainly on the 
humanities, and co-operates with Edinburgh University Library to 
avoid unnecessary duplication. The number of volumes in the 
Library, reckoned in round figures, amounted in 1956 to 1,500,000, 
including over 400 incunabula. 


The Library's first home was a house in the Parliament Close, which 
the Faculty rented on November 18, 1682. "Before the end of the 
seventeenth century," says Dr. Dickson, "the Library was beginning 
to press on its accommodation, and the Faculty had under consideration 
the question of providing it with new quarters. The matter was 
brought to a crisis by the great fire of February 3, 1700. It was resolved 
to apply to the Town Council of Edinburgh for the use of part of the 
Laigh Parliament House, the arched and pillared room under the great 
Parliament Hall. The corporation, with the consent of the Privy 
Council, on October i, 1701, granted the Faculty the use of part of the 
room *the south end to the fourth stone pillar thereof* the remainder 
still being occupied by the public registers. On the removal of the 
Records to the new Register House in 1790, the Library secured the use 
of the whole Laigh Parliament House, which it still occupies. The 
large adjoining premises which it now also occupies were added 
piecemeal from time to time. 

"In 1808 the Faculty acquired for the Library the large hall on the 
upper floor of the buildings on the south side of the Parliament Square, 
now occupied by the Signet Library. This fine room was finished in 
1815. It was, however, not long occupied by the Library. In 1825 it 
was resolved to erect the range of buildings extending westward from 
the south end of Parliament House, which the Library now occupies, 
and to dispose of the Hall to the Society of "Writers to the Signet. . . . 
In 1833 the Library was removed to the new buildings. A large 
extension to the west was completed in 1901, and another large 
extension was made in 1908." 

At the time of the transfer there were two main needs: better 
accommodation for the public and staff, and additional book storage. 
In their first report the Building Committee pointed out that at the 
then "current rate of accessions the existing storage space will be filled 
in about fifteen years* time." This did in fact come to pass, and 


further shelving had to be erected in vaults and disused cells below the 
Parliament House. 

It was therefore proposed to erect a new building, adjacent to the 
old, on the site of the Sheriff Court and of part of the old premises; the 
alternative plan was to transfer the whole Library to a new site, but 
there were so many cogent arguments against this extra cost, the 
inadvisability of splitting up the historic collection, since die Advocates 
would have retained the legal books, etc., that the suggestion was 
dropped on the advice of the most experienced librarians. The plan 
drawn up for the Office of Works by Dr. Reginald Fairlie was for a 
building which could be completed in three stages: a main block facing 
George IV Bridge, adjacent to and communicating with the Parliament 
House, and further blocks at die back of this. The existing buildings 
were to be retained (except five stack rooms, which were to be 
demolished), and eventually used only for storage. This, it was 
estimated, would house the accessions of a century, and there would be 
space for further extension. The cost of the first part, about .200,000,, 
the Government was not prepared to find entirely; but a second gift of 
; 100,000 came from Sir Alexander Grant, provided, among other 
conditions, that the Government contributed at least equally, and that 
the building should be erected on the existing site, or an adjacent site 
fronting and having a public entry from George IV Bridge, 
communicating with the present buildings. These conditions were an 
attempt, which proved vain, to stifle in advance various conflicting and 
mosdy rather wild alternatives which it was foreseen would be 

There was some delay in starting on the new buildings, because of 
opposition raised to the demolition of the Sheriff Court; the Act for 
obtaining powers to purchase the site for a new Court House, and to 
obtain the site of the old Court House for the Library, received the 
Royal Assent in April, 1932. 

Building operations on the first stage, begun in 1937 but interrupted 
at the outbreak of the Second World War, were brought to completion 
in 1955, and on July 4, 1956, the new building was opened by iLJVL 
Queen Elizabeth II. The elevation of the main block, facing George IV 
Bridge* is without windows, thus shielding the reading room from the 
noise of traffic. The room, which can accommodate about 100 
readers, is lit from cupolas above and a line of windows to the east. 
Sculptured figures on the facade represent Medicine, Science, History, 
Imaginative Writing, Law, Theology and Music, while figured panels 
illustrate the Arts of Communication. From the front mil open the 
Board Room, also available as a lecture room, and exhibition rooms. 


while the main staircase leads to the catalogue hall and reading room. 
Two smaller rooms for special collections open from the reading room. 
The staff workrooms are in the rear of the building, while the lower 
part of the building forms a stack of seven tiers with storage for about 
1,197,000 volumes. A new reading room has been provided for the 
Faculty of Advocates, their former reading room being converted into 
the map room of the National Library. 


The first printed catalogue of the Library was issued within three 
years of the inauguration with the title: Catalogus Libroruni 
Bibliothecce Juris Utritisque, tarn Civilis quam Canonici, Publici quam 
Privati, Feudalis quam Munidpalis variorum Regnorum, cum Historicis 
Gr&tis et Latinis, Liter atis et Philosophic pkrisque celebrioribus; a Facultate 
Advocatorum in supremo Senatu Judicutn in Scotia, in usum cupidce legum 
Juventtitis, constructs, etc. Edinburgi, 1692. The entries are divided 
into four classes: Libri Juridici, Libri Historici, Libri Miscellanei, and 
Libri Theologici. Each class is further divided by format. 

No new catalogue was put in hand till the time of Thomas 
Ruddiman, when the accessions under the Copyright Act made the 
provision of new catalogues even more necessary, Ruddiman's 
complete author-catalogue was printed in 1742, a large folio volume 
containing 25,000 entries. It followed the model of the catalogue of 
Cardinal Imperiali at Rome. A second and supplementary volume 
appeared in 1776, followed by a second supplement in 1787 and a 
third in 1807. 

The latest printed catalogue, to the end of 1871, completed in 1879 
(7 vol., 4) was planned and to a large extent compiled by Samuel 
Halkett, Keeper from 1848. 

When the Library was transferred, the most urgent practical 
administrative need was that of up-to-date catalogues for the public. 
The catalogue had been kept up on slips, available only to the staff. The 
Trustees came to the conclusion that a book catalogue "would 
involve delays which could not be justified," and recommended a card 
catalogue to be formed by typing on cards the entries existing on slips. 
Two card catalogues were eventually formed, one for entries for the 
period 1872-1931, typed from the slips, and a second, from 1931, 
compiled according to the British Museum rules. Their amalgamation 
into a single unit was commenced in 1949. There is also a shelf-list, and 
a subject-catalogue for books other than those received by copyright. 
In 1950, 31,886 cards were added to the catalogue of printed books. 


There is a catalogue of incunabula: 

List of fifteenth century books in the Library of the Faculty cf Advocates. 
By W. K. Dickson and Miss J. M. G. Barclay. 1913. Supplements. 
By W. Seattle. 1944, 46. (Publications of the Edinburgh Biblio- 
graphical Society, vol. 9. Transactions of the Edinburgh Biblio- 
graphical Society, vol. 2. pts. 3, 4.) 

In 1927 the cataloguing of the MSS. acquired during the two years 
since the transfer was begun; a summary catalogue describing the main 
contents of each MS. on the principle of the British Museum catalogue 
was prepared and a provisional typed copy made available; and the 
first volume was published in 1938. A beginning was also made on 
recataloguing the MSS, which were in the Library before October, 


There are Departments of MSS. and Printed Books. Binding is 
carried out for the Library by H.M. Stationery Office; in 1955, 2,176 
volumes of printed books and 163 volumes of MSS. were bound. 
11,499 readers used the Library during the same year. Accessions for 
the year totalled 74,505, of which 65,233 items were received by legal 
deposit; of these, 5,745 items were transmitted to the Faculty of 
Advocates in accordance with the National Library of Scotland Act. 


Lending is only occasionally practised. Full use is made of 
photographic methods of reproduction, both photostat and microfilm, 


The authorised staff in 1955 wa $ made up as follows: 
Keeper of MSS. 
Keeper of Printed Books. 
10 Assistant Keepers. 
10 Research Assistants. 
6 Higher Executive and Executive Officers, 
14 Clerks, typists, etc. 
14 Paperkeepers, messengers and cleaners. 
6 Watchmen. 


While the Library remained the property of the Advocates* it 
received no grant from the Government; it possessed the copyright 
privilege, but dhat, though it relieved their book purchases, brought 


great expense in upkeep and storage. When proposals were being 
made in 1922 for the transfer of the Library to the nation, the 
Government, though then refusing to take the whole responsibility, 
made an annual grant of ^2,000. When Sir Alexander Grant's first 
endowment gift of ^100,000 was made in 1925, the Government 
stopped its grant, though through the Office of Works it at once 
assumed the care of the building, and some ^6,000 was spent in 
"improving the lighting arrangements, and in securing the Library 
against fire and damp." The Committee could, however, only report 
at the end of 1926 that "the funds available in the hands of the Trustees 
for the administration of the Library consist in the revenue from the 
endowment provided by the generous donor. But the funds do not 
materially exceed the limits of the expenditure incurred by the Faculty 
of Advocates in administering the Library prior to the transfer. 
There were no funds for cataloguing; a committee was appointed to 
try to raise the necessary sum and ^3,000 was subscribed by private 
donors. The annual revenue from endowments is .5,017. An 
increased grant-in-aid amounting to 1,000 was received in 1949-50 
to enable arrears in the purchase of foreign books, which had arisen 
through the war, to be made good. 
Estimated expenditure for the year 1956-57 was as follows: 

Salaries . . . . . . . . 44,243 

Travelling expenses, etc. . . . . 785 

Purchase of books. . . . . . 22,000 l 

Incidental expenditure . . . . 655 

Expenses of Copyright Agency . . 1,500 


Buildings and maintenance . . 54,100 
Printing and office supplies . . 7,095 
Other expenditure . . . . 1,245 


Chalmers, George. The Life of Thomas Ruddiman. 1794. 

Dickson s W K. The Advocates* Library. 1927. In: Library Association 

Record, n.s* v. 5. pp. 169*82. (Passages above in quotation marks are quoted 

from this.) 
Meikle, R W. The National Library of Scotland. Proposed new buildings. 

1937. /: Library Association Record, ser. 4. v. 4. pp. 12-15. 

1 mcluc!ei a special grant towards the purchase of the Bute Collection of English plays. 


Barker, W. M. The National Library of Scotland. 1941. In: The Scots 

Magazine, n.s. v. 34. no. 6. pp. 401-09. 
3reat British Libraries II. The National Library of Scotland. In: The Times 

Literary Supplement, v, 52. August 28, 1953. p. 555, 
The First Twenty Years of the National Library of Scotland, 1925-45. I. 

Manuscripts. By M. R. Dobie. II. Printed Books. By W. Beattie, 1946. 

In: Edinburgh Bibliographical Society Transactions, v, 2. pt. 4. pp. 285-302. 
A. National Library for Scotland. Proposal to establish a Scottish National 

Library on the basis of the Advocates' Library. 1922. n pp. 
National Library of Scotland. Report of the Standing Committee and 

Librarian. 1927- . 
National Library of Scotland. Report by the Standing Committee (Buildings). 

National Library of Scotland. The opening of the new Library by Her Majesty 

the Queen, July 4, 1956. 15 pp. 



The surviving language and strong national feeling of the Welsh 
have made the National Library primarily Celtic in character* The 
movement for its establishment dates back to 1873, when a large 
gathering at the National Eisteddfod at Mold declared for forming a 
national collection of books and MSS. in connection with the 
University College of Wales at Abcrystwyth, founded in the previous 
year. A committee was formed charged with the task of collecting 
books and MSS. Public interest continued to grow, and the project 
began to be discussed in Parliament. A Roya! Charter was granted in 
1907, and two years later the various collections were brought together 
and the Library opened as the National Library of Wales, under the 
charge of its first Librarian, the late Sir John Ballingcr, C.B.E. 

Its first object was stated to be "to collect and preserve written and 
printed literature of all kinds in Welsh or any other Celtic language or 
relating to Wales, the Welsh and the other Celtic people or by Welsh 
authors/* As a secondary object it aimed at building up "a general 
library of all works . . . which may help to further education, 
especially higher education, in Wales.* 

The foundation collections were three in number; the private 


library of Sir John Williams, a distinguished Welsh surgeon, the 
Welsh library of 13,500 volumes which had been brought together at 
the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, between the years 
1873 and 1909, and the library of Mr. Edward H. Owen, Ty Coch, 
Caernarvon. These three collections, with the later addition of that of 
Principal J. H. Davies, contain, in addition to MSS., practically 
everything of importance published in the Welsh language since 1546. 
Sir John Williams's collection contains about 25,000 printed books and 
1,200 MSS., which the donor had spent many years collecting with the 
express intention of presenting them to the Welsh nation. Notable 
are the 500 Peniarth MSS., so named from the Merioneth house from 
which they were brought to Aberystwyth. They were -collected 
mainly by the antiquary Robert Vaughan (1592-1666) and include 
some of the most valuable Welsh MSS. in existence, among which are 
the "Black Book of Carmarthen," written about 1200, the oldest 
Welsh MS, extant, the "Book of Taliesin," and the earliest extant 
Welsh and Latin versions of the ancient code of Welsh laws known as 
the Laws of Hywel Dda. Among the libraries which he acquired was 
the Welsh library formed between 1690 and 1740 by Samuel and 
Moses Williams, and containing many rare and some unique Welsh 
books, which had been owned since 1749 by successive Earls of 
Macclesfield and kept at Shirburn Castle in Oxfordshire. Mr. Owen's 
library, known as the Ty Coch Library, though it did not contain a 
large number of Welsh books, had an exceptionally large proportion 
of rare ones, including a collection of chapbooks. The identity of these 
foundation collections has been preserved, each being kept intact and 
separately shelved, and it is hoped ultimately to publish a separate 
catalogue of each* 

In its very early days, the Library was fortunate in acquiring several 
large and important collections which, though not of specific Celtic or 
Welsh interest, have contributed largely towards the realisation of 
what has been described above as the secondary object of the Library, 
namely, to further higher education in Wales. Two of these collections 
were purchased, the collection of books of French romances made by 
R W. Bourdillon, and Sidney Hartland's collection on ethnology and 
folklore. Professor Witton Davies bequeathed to the Library his 
incomparable collection of books on Hebrew and other Semitic 
literature, while Sit Charles Thomas Stanford presented his collection 
of incunabula, early editions of Euclid, and Civil War Tracts, To 
L* W. Dillwyn the Library owes a fine collection of works on botany. 

By 1956 the Library contained over 1,500,000 printed books, 
mducling about 150 incunabula. 


Sir John Ballinger retired on May 31, 1930, after over twenty-one 
years' service as the first Librarian. Sir William Llewelyn Davies, who 
followed him, died in office in 1952, and was succeeded by Dr. Thomas 

The Library is governed by a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, 
Court of Governors, and Council. Full control of the Library and of 
its income is vested in the Court of Governors, the members of which 
number about 150 and are drawn from the principal cultural and 
administrative spheres of Welsh life. All the counties of the Principality 
are represented, together with the Parliamentary constituencies, the 
University of Wales, the Welsh Joint Education Committee, and the 
National Museum of Wales, as also are the Privy Council, the British 
Museum, the Publishers 5 Association, and Jesus College, Oxford. The 
Council is a smaller body, numbering about thirty-five persons drawn 
from the Court, and having greater executive powers than the Court. 

From 1912 the Library became entitled under the terms of the 
Copyright Act of 1911 to free deposit, but with certain limitations to 
the right of claim in the case of books not wholly or mainly of Welsh 
or other Celtic interest. 


The first home for the Library was the old Assembly Rooms in 
Aberystwyth, to which Sir John Williams transferred his great 
collection. A fine site for the permanent building was chosen in 1896 
on a hill overlooking the town, and building was begun in 1910, the 
foundation stones being laid by T.M. King George V and Queen Mary 
on July 15, 1911. After the outbreak of war in 1914 it was decided to 
suspend building operations and to occupy those portions which had 
been already erected. The removal to the new buildings began in 
March 1915, and was finished early in 1916* 

The original plan for the building, designed by Mr. S. K. Greemlade, 
with the close co-operation of the Librarian, shows four rectangular 
blocks built round a court with transverse sections from each Slock 
meeting in a central hall, the whole occupying about 250 feet by 
170 feet; at the back, joined to the two main side blocks, are two 
rectangular book stacks, x8o feet by 25 feet. The first blocks to be 
completed, those opened in 1916, were the two side wings; die south 
wing contains the Print and Map Room on the main floor. Above 
this is a lofty and well-proportioned exhibition gallery, now known as 
the Gregynog Gallery. The other wing contains the dignified Reading 
Room, rising to the top of the building, with galleries and having 
seats for 120 readers. One cross-section forming the back of the 


projected rectangle has also been built, and contains the MSS. The first 
book stack was partly completed in 193 1 ; an extension to it and further 
stacks are planned for future construction. Rooms for accessions, 
photography, and the bindery are contained in the lower floors of the 
side wings. The cost of completing the original scheme of buildings to 
Mr. S. K. Greenslade's designs after the war being considered 
prohibitive, his successor, Dr. Charles Holden, redesigned the 
Administrative Block, which connects the side wings and forms the 
main front of the building. This was completed in 1937, and the 
Library was then formally opened by T.M. King George VI and 
Queen Elizabeth. Further building work was delayed by the Second 
World War, but the construction of the Central Block was begun in 
1950 and the completed building was declared open by H.ML Queen 
Elizabeth II on August 8, 1955. It provides additional storage for prints, 
drawings, maps, and newspapers, space for exhibitions, and canteens 
for readers and staff. 

The general aspect of the Library is so dignified on its hill overlooking 
the sea that it has been called the Parthenon of Wales. The site has the 
exceptional advantage that it provides practically unlimited scope for 
the extension of the buildings. 


The general author catalogue of the Library is on cards. Two 
World Wars and shortage of staff have caused delays in cataloguing 
work, but the arrears are being slowly but steadily made up. There is 
a separate catalogue for works on Celtic philology and literature, and 
it is hoped to extend this to cover the whole of the Celtic collections, 
which have not yet been fully catalogued or classified. Several 
sectional catalogues and lists in book form have been produced. Since 
1940 the printed catalogues issued have formed Supplements to the 
Journal of the Library. The Peniarth collection of MSS. had been 
calendared for the Historical MSS. Commission by Dr. J- Gwenogvryn 
Evans, while they were still in Sir John Williams' possession, and a 
detailed catalogue of Sir John's Additional MSS. was prepared by 
Principal J, H. Davies. It is intended to publish a complete catalogue 
of Sir Jom Williams's library, printed books and MSS., and this, it is 
hoped, will be foEowed by catalogues of the other foundation 

Among the printed sectional catalogues and hand-lists are: 

Anglesey MSS. 1929, 

3 vol. 1921-31. 


Calendar of Wynn of Gwydir Papers, 1515-1690, in the National Library 

of Wales and elsewhere. 1926. 
Calendar of Clennenaw Letters and Papers. 1947- - 
Catalogue of MSS. Additional manuscripts in the collection of Sir John 

Williams, Bart., by Principal J. H. Davies. 1921. 
Catalogue of MSS. and Rare Books exhibited in die Great Hall of the 

Library. 1916. 
Catalogue of Oriental MSS., Persian, Arabic, and Hindustani. Compiled by 

H.Ethe. 1916. 
Catalogue of Tracts of the Civil War and Commonwealth period relating to 

Wales and the Borders. 1911. 

Catalogue of Works by or relating to Robert Owen. 2 ed. 1925. 
Handlist of Incunabula. Compiled by Victor Scholderer. 1940,41. 
Handlist of Manuscripts. 1940- . 
Handlist of Books on Agriculture. 3 ed. 1926. 

The Library also publishes the annual Bittiotheca Celtica, a register of 
publications relating to Wales and the Celtic peoples and languages. 
It has its own printing press on which all its publications are printed. 


The Library is divided departmentally into MSS. and Records, 
Printed Books, and Prints, Drawings, and Maps. 

The MSS. are, as we have said, mainly Welsh or of Welsh interest, 
and now number about 30,000; the nucleus of the collection was 
provided by the MSS. of Sir John Williams, and later additions have 
resulted in a very high proportion of extant Welsh literary MSS. being 
now in the possession of the Library. The most important single item 
is the Hendregadredd MS., which is the oldest (thirteenth century) 
text of the poetry of the Gogynfeirdd who sang in the period of tne 
Welsh princes. There are also in the Library 16 MSS. in or relating to 
the Cornish language, a small group of Arthurian MSS., and the 
Bourdillon collection of the Roman de la Rose. 

The Records collection began in 1909, when the papers of the 
Court of Great Sessions dating from 1660 were transferred to the 
Library from the Public Record Office. The Library has become the 
de facto Record Office for Wales, in recognition of which it receives 
special Treasury support. A subsection of the Department deals with 
the historical documents, court and manor rolls, etc. The most 
important collections in this section, which contains over 3,500,000 
documents, are the Wynn of Gwydir papers (formerly known as the 
Panton papers), covering the period 1515-1690, the Carreglwyd 


papers, ranging from 1329 to 1864, and the Brogyntyn MSS. of the 
sixteenth-eighteenth centuries, presented by successive Barons Harlech. 
The records of the Beaufort Welsh estates were deposited by the Duke 
of Beaufort in 1940. Other important deposited collections are those 
of the Marquis of Bute, Margam and Penrice, Wynnstay, Dynevor, 
Tredegar Park, and Powis Castle. In 1944 all episcopal, chapter, 
diocesan, and other records of the Church in Wales were transferred to 
the Library; grants received from the Pilgrim Trust have made it 
possible to repair and bind them. The records of the Monmouthshire 
and South Wales Coalowners* Association for the years 1864-1954 
were deposited in the Library in 1954. All Welsh probate records to 
1858 from the local registries have also been deposited. 

The collection of printed books now numbers over 1,500,000. The 
foundation collections, especially the library of Sir John Williams, and 
the later collection of Principal J. H. Davies, contained several complete 
or nearly complete sets of the more important Welsh newspapers and 
periodicals. Continuous and largely successful efforts have been made 
to fill the gaps in these and other sets. 

As a new library of general scope, making provision for the research 
worker, the National Library of Wales deservedly received many 
donations, and a remarkable national enthusiasm has brought to it gifts 
from all parts of the Principality. The importance of such material as 
ballads, chapbooks, church magazines, and eisteddfod programmes as a 
record of the social and cultural life of the Principality is fully realised, 
and no effort is spared to make the collection as comprehensive as 
possible. Most magnificent among the Welsh collections is the 
Shirburn, containing Welsh books printed before 1750, all in fine 
condition; this was received with the library of Sir John Williams, 
which also contains many valuable English books having a bearing on 
Wales. About half of his collection of 25,500 books and periodicals is 
of Welsh interest. 

New Breton books are purchased for the Library, Some were 
acquired with the collections of Sir Edward Anwyl and Thomas 
Powel. Recently the valuable collection of Breton books of the late 
Pol Diverres was acquired. As a result the total of Breton books in the 
Library was nearly doubled and is now about 1,000 volumes, apart 
from volumes containing ballads, songs, and almanacs. Irish and 
Scottish Gaelic books printed before 1912 are assiduously collected, 
while there is in the Library a copy of practically every book printed 
in Cornish and Manx, Thanks to the receipt of the libraries of Edward 
Spencer Dodgson (1923) and Sir Alfred T. Davies (1924), almost 
the whole of printed Basque literature is represented. 


A committee meets periodically to confirm the selection of books for 
purchase, which fall into two categories* One consists of the more 
important British and Irish works, including periodicals, published 
before 1912, the date of the Library's copyright privilege. The 
Library has had the good fortune in this sphere of its activities to have 
had the assistance of many generous donors, through whose kindness 
many a gap in its collections has been filled. The other class referred 
to consists of foreign books. With the limited funds available, it is 
impossible for the Library to acquire a thoroughly representative 
collection of the literature of all or any foreign countries. Rather, the 
emphasis is laid on the acquisition of source>-books collections ^ of 
special texts, facsimiles of particular manuscripts, encyclopaedias, 
dictionaries, and linguistic atlases. Files of foreign periodicals acquired 
with some of the collections mentioned above are continued as far as 
possible. In the acquisition of foreign books, the Library makes full 
and ever-increasing use of exchanges with libraries and other 
institutions, employing for this purpose its Journal and Bibliotheca 

The general collections of the Library are arranged according to the 
Library of Congress system of classification. The foundation 
collections remain shelved in numerical order, but it is hoped that they, 
too, will one day be similarly classified. 

The Department of Printed Books is organised in two divisions: 
Cataloguing and Classifying, and Copyright and Accessions. 

The Department of Prints, Drawings, and Maps contains all kinds of 
graphic material, and here again particular emphasis is placed on the 
collection and preservation of all things of Welsh and Celtic interest. 
Sir John Williams's collection provided a valuable nucleus for the three 
main sections of the Department, and these have been extended by the 
addition of donations from private collections, by purchase, and, more 
especially in the case of maps, by copyright accessions, 

The two main branches in the section devoted to prints are (a) the 
comprehensive collection of about 10,000 topographical prints, 
relating mainly to Wales, and (b) the extensive collection of about 8,000 
portraits, mainly engraved, but including also a number of original 
portraits in oil and other media. Other smaller collections of prints 
illustrate Welsh costume and customs and various other aspects of 
Welsh life. 

The collection of original drawings is also largely topographical in 
character, and, in addition to including examples of the work of many 
of the foremost artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who 
visited Wales, contains an important set of forty-eight drawings made 


by Thomas Rowlandson during a tour in Wales in 1797, and large 
groups of water-colour drawings by such artists as John "Warwick" 
Smith, Moses Griffith, John Ingleby, the Rev. John Parker, and 
Kenneth Rowntree. This section also includes a number of works by 
contemporary Welsh artists. 

The Department is particularly rich in its collection of early atlases 
and also of MS. and early published maps of Wales. Thanks to receipts 
under the terms of the Copyright Act, the collection of modem sheet 
maps now numbers approximately 75,000. 

This wealth of material, available at first hand to research workers, 
also affords a rich source of 'illustrations, and forms the basis of 
exhibitions held from time to time both in the Library and extra- 
murally. Annual exhibitions, open to the public, are held in the 
Gregynog Gallery; pictures drawn from public and private collections, 
and rare and valuable MSS. and printed books are displayed. 

Cleaning, repairing, and binding of rare books and MSS. too 
valuable to leave the Library are carried out in the bindery, which also 
repairs for other institutions such material as parish registers and local 
records. During 1955-56, 390 printed books were bound, of which 
150 required rehabilitating. The MS. volumes cleaned, repaired and 
bound numbered 56, including 20 parish registers, whilst 27 maps were 
cleaned, repaired and mounted. Of the typewritten schedules of 
collections 162 volumes were bound. The photographic section 
undertakes photographic, photostat, and microfilm work. Its 
equipment includes two ' nuorescencc" cabinets and a microfilm 

Accessions by copyright during 1955-56 were: 


Volumes . . 12,836 

Pamphlets . . 5,724 

Single sheets . . i>449 

Serial parts . . 25,519 



Volumes . . 234 
Pieces , . . . 638 


Atlases .... 26 

Maps ., .. 1,270 




In 1955, the staff of the Library was as follows: 

Librarian . . . . . . . . . . i 

Deputy Librarian i 

Heads of Departments 3 

Assistant Keepers 15 

Cataloguing Assistants 12 

Clerical Assistants and Typists . . . . 7 

Technical Assistant i 

Head of Bindery .. .... .. i 

Head of Printing Department . . . . i 

Assistants (Bindery and Printing Press) . . 8 


The National Library being primarily a Celtic library is the natural 
centre for the study of Welsh and other Celtic languages: its influence 
in this field has been strengthened by the publication since 1939 of 
The National Library of Wales Journal Among projects of collective 
research in which it participates are the compilation of a Dictionary 
of Welsh Biography, sponsored by the Honourable Society of 
Cymmrodorion, and of a Dictionary of the Welsh Language, 
published by the University of Wales. 

In support of the scheme of regional libraries established in Great 
Britain in conjunction with the National Central Library, the National 
Library acts as the regional library for Wales, with the exception of 
Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, which have their own regional 
bureau at Cardiff. All applications for books from libraries in Wales 
are sent to the National Library or to the Cardiff bureau, and are only 
forwarded to the National Central Library if Aberystwyth or Cardiff 
is unable to supply the books. The Library also houses one of the two 
regional Union Catalogues. During 1955, 19,960 entries were added to 
the Union Catalogue, and 3,363 withdrawn. 8,017 applications for 
books were received; 3,814 were satisfactorily dealt with, and the 
remainder were passed to the Cardiff bureau or the National Central 

Extra-mural work, so far as the Charter of the Library and its 
financial resources allow, takes the form of help given by correspondence 
and books sent by post to serious workers who have not access to other 
libraries. Classes for adult study are organised by the four constituent 


colleges of the University, the Workers' Educational Association, and 
other institutions. Until 1950 the National Library supplied books to 
all these classes as well as to many summer schools. During that year, 
2,448 books were lent to adult study classes. Since 1951, the County 
Libraries have undertaken this work, but the National Library is still 
often called upon for help when a County Library is unable to meet 
the demand for books. Until 1954 the Library also distributed con- 
signments of books, specially bought for the purpose at the expense of 
the Welsh Regional Hospital Board, to the sanatoria and tuberculosis 
hospitals in Wales and Monmouthshire. 

During both World Wars the Library provided safe storage for 
treasures of outstanding value belonging to the British Museum and 
other institutions. 


The Library has been extremely fortunate in its benefactors. The 
land for the site of the new Library was the gift of Lord Rendel, while 
for the building, which up to 1956 had cost approximately ^375ooo, 
gifts ranging from twopence to ^5,000 provided the whole of the 
sum, apart from Sir John Williams's bequest and Treasury grants 
totalling .92,000. The ultimate completion of the buildings was also 
assured by the handsome provision made by the will of Sir John 
Williams, who died in 1926. 

The Library receives an annual grant from the Treasury, amounting 
in 1956-57 to ^67,850. Its collections also benefit from the donations 
made by the Friends of the National Libraries* 


The National Library of Wales. Animal Report. 1909-. 

A brief summary of its history and its activities. 1955. 

Coming-o-age celebration, 1909-29. 1929. 

A description of the permanent building. 1914- 

Memorandum on the work of die Library in relation to Welsh studies; 

prepared for die Departmental Committee on Welsh. 1926. 
Tedder, H. R. The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. 1911. 

(Reprinted from the Library Association Record, 1911.) 
Davies, Sir W. Ll. The National Library of Wales. A survey of its history, its 

contents, and its activities. 1937. 
The National Library of Wales. July 15, r9ii-July 15, 1937- [ Witl * P lates *J 

pp. x& 1937. 
Davies, Sir Wm. Ll. [and others]. The National Library of Wales. (Reprinted 

from "Wales" magazine. Winter, 1946-) [With plates.] 1946. 


Great British Libraries. L The National Library of Wales. In: The Times 

Literary Supplement. 52 (2684). July 10, 1953. p. 452, 
The National Library of Wales Journal, 1939- . 
Library Association. Welsh Branch. Library co-operation in Wales; 

statements prepared by Harry Farr and W. C. Williams. 1931. 
Regional Libraries Scheme for Wales and Monmouthshire. Annual report. 

1932- . 
Davies, Sir Wm. Ll. The National Library of Wales in relation to other 

libraries in Wales. In : Report of the proceedings of the Fifteenth Conference 

of Library Authorities in Wales and Monmouthshire. 1948. pp. 21-30. 




There is no precise date which can be fixed for the foundation of the 
Bibliotheque Nationale de France, since it is a development of the 
personal library of the sovereigns, and was, while still their property, 
open to students. It is, even if we disregard the early collections which 
were dispersed and have not been incorporated into the present insti- 
tution, the oldest of European national libraries, since its continuous 
history dates from Louis XL 

Before that date there were personal libraries of individual kings. 
Charlemagne had one at Aix, as might be expected, and though it was 
dispersed under his will for the benefit of the poor, its remote descendant 
still contains one volume from it. The pious Saint Louis similarly 
divided his books at his death among his favourite religious houses. 
John the Good in 1364 bequeathed his to Charles V, and began the 
tradition of a continuing collection. 

Charles V, called Charles the Wise, was a true lover of books. He 
established his library in the Louvre, and employed Gilles Mallet as 
keeper. Mallet drew up an inventory of the Louvre Library, which, 
with the supplements by Jean le Begue of 1411 and 1424, forms the 
foundation-stone of French bibliography. After the death of Charles V 
the books, which had numbered 1,183, began to vanish, and in 1424 
those remaining were recatalogued, valued (at 3,323 livres, 4 sols) and 
sold to the Duke of Bedford. 

Louis XI brought together some MSS. and printed books by 
confiscations, though these were not at all on the scale which 
characterised such book-loving monarchs of his day as Charles the 
Bold, whose library, the "Bibliotheque de Bourgogne," was the 
foundation of the Royal Library of Brussels. His successor, Charles 
VIII (1483-98), brought home from the siege of Naples most of the 
Royal Library of that city. It was during this period that printed books 
first began to figure among the MSS. Louis XII, himself a collector, 
brought to the Crown the library of the House of Orleans, which 

5 NLW 


included that of the poet Charles d' Orleans. Among the spoils acquired 
from Italy were books from Petrarch's library, and the collection of 
Louis of Bruges was acquired for the Library, now known as the 
Librairie de Blois. 

Fran9ois I, the magnificent patron of Renaissance art and learning, 
incorporated into the library at Blois a noble heritage in the Librairie 
d'Angouleme, a collection of the kind usual in the fifteenth century, 
while he himself turned his attention to new fields, acquiring Greek 
and Oriental MSS. through agents in Italy and the East. This recalls 
his foundation of the College de France with its chair of Greek, and his 
acquisition of Greek types. Francois appointed in 1522 as maitre de la 
Ubrairie the great humanist scholar, Guillaume Bude, who held the 
office till his death in 1540. Under Bude, in 1534, the library at Blois 
was transferred to Fontainebleau and incorporated into the newly 
established library there. Bude had as assistants two very distinguished 
writers, Jacques Lefevre d'fitaples (Faber Stapulensis) and the poet 
Mellin de Saint-Gelais, the latter of whom accompanied the library to 
Fontainebleau. This was the beginning of the great period of French 
binding, and Francois, like Grolier and Mahieu ("Maiolus"), employed 
the finest craftsmen and also gave scholars access to the books. 

In the troubled second half of the sixteenth century, the books were 
brought from Fontainebleau to Paris. Among the maitres were 
Jacques Amyot, Bishop of Auxerre and translator of Plutarch and 
Thucydides (1567-93), and following him the historian and book- 
collector, J. A. de Thou (1593-1617). Catherine de Medici's Greek and 
other MSS. were acquired in 1599. Collections received in the 
seventeenth century include the Hurault, of Greek and French historical 
MSS. (1661); the Lomenie de Brienne, of political papers (1638), the 
first acquisition of this kind, to be so frequent in later centuries; but 
these two were temporarily intercepted by Richelieu, and Mazarin 
retained the Lomenie de Brienne papers, not unreasonably in view of 
their character; both collections eventually came into the Royal 
Library, however. Later, in 1656, Jacques Dupuy, the survivor of two 
brothers, Pierre and Jacques, who had both served as gardes de la librairie, 
bequeathed the fine library of his family; in 1661 the splendid collection 
of Gaston d'Orleans brought in not only MSS. and printed books but 
also the beginnings of the Department of Medals; and in 1662 Philippe 
de Bethune gave to Louis XIV his celebrated collection of French 
historical papers, for which Christina of Sweden had offered him 
100,000 crowns. A few years later Colbert secured for the library the 
cabinet of engravings of the Abbe Michel de Marolles, from which 
the Department of Prints grew up. The intelligence and energy of 


Colbert (who as Surintendant des Bailments du Roi was practically all- 
powerful) and the glory of the Grand Monarch, his master, gave the 
Library its second period of splendour, the first having been that of its 
formation under Louis XII and Francois I. Not only were the collec- 
tions named presented or bequeathed; the Minister purchased the 557 
Oriental MSS. of Gilbert Gaulmin in 1667 ^d the works on Italian 
history from the library of the disgraced Fouquet. He also caused 
MSS. and printed books from the Mazarine Library to be exchanged 
for duplicates from the Royal collection, and sent agents all over the 
world to seek books and MSS. for the Library, which he had installed 
under his own eye in the Rue Vivienne. 

Colbert died in 1683, but his enthusiasm for the Library lived on, and 
collections continued to be gathered into it under his successor, 
Louvois, who was advised by his brother, the learned Archbishop of 
Rheims. The latter in 1700 presented his collection of 500 MSS. to the 
Royal Library. The MSS. now numbered some 10,000 and the 
printed books 43,000, and the catalogue by Nicolas Clement met an 
urgent need. In 1691 a librarian was appointed, superior to the 
maitre and gardes and responsible not to the Surintendaat but to the 
King himself. The post was held by the young son of the late Minister, 
Camille Letellier, Abbe de Louvois. Under him were Nicolas Clement 
and Melchisedec Thevenot, the Orientalist, whose library of 290 
Eastern MSS. was bought at his death. Clement died in 1712, broken 
in spirit by the deplorable thefts from the Library successfully perpetra- 
ted in 1707 by Jean Aymont, a priest. 

The last great collection acquired before the organisation of the 
Library into separate departments was the gift by Roger de Gaigneres 
in 1711-16 of his vast collection of MSS., printed books, and engravings 
illustrating the history of France. At the death of Louis XIV the 
Royal Library contained over 70,000 volumes, of which but a small 
part represented the fruits of the unpopular dp&t legal, and the average 
value of which, therefore, was high. 

Louvois died in 1718, and was succeeded by the greatest of the long 
line of librarians of the family of Bignon, the first of whom (Jerome I) 
was appointed in 1642, while the last did not disappear till the 

The Abbe* Jerome Bignon, who reigned till 1741, was a man of 
profound learning, and imbued not only with that passionate love for 
the Library which it has so constantly inspired in its servants, but with 
liberal ideas as to increasing its utility. Convinced of the impossibility 
of managing a collection so large and so rapidly swelling without 
subdivision of responsibility and work, Bignon brought about in 


1720-26 the organisation of the institution by departments, setting up 
those of Printed Books, MSS., Prints, and also that known as the 
Cabinet des Titres et des Genealogies, which lapsed at the Revolution 
into a subsection of the Manuscripts. At the same time he purchased 
from the holders the offices of Curator of the library of the Louvre, in 
which Henri IV's own collection had remained, and that of the library 
of Fontainebleau; and he absorbed these two collections into the 
Royal Library. 

Having thus reorganised and unified the national collections, Bignon 
proceeded to make them available to scholars. In 1692 Louvois had 
obtained authority to admit the public to the Library on two days a 
week, but this was soon discontinued. Bignon, however, obtained a 
Royal edict in 1735, which became effective in the following year, 
opening the Library on two mornings a week (Thursday and Friday) 
to students, without the necessity for influence which had attended 
admission previously. The number of books to be issued to a reader 
was strictly limited; but in practice the Library was open on other days 
to a more deserving class of reader than those entering on the public 
mornings; and to them there were no such restrictions. 

The Library, now organised and accessible, still lacked up-to-date 
catalogues, and Bignon provided these also, the earliest still in use: 
(i) of the printed books, in certain large classes, published in 6 voL, 
I739"53 9 a-ftd (2) of the MSS., published in 4 vol., 1739-44. 

Bignon retired in 1741, aged eighty, during the publication of the 
general catalogue; he was succeeded by his nephew, Bignon de Blanzy, 
who held office for only two years, and was succeeded in his turn by 
his brother, Armand Jerome Bignon. 

Under the new regime the flood of accessions continued; for 
Louis XV was anxious to carry on the tradition of Louis XIV, and 
supported the Library as liberally when purchases of whole collections 
were to be made. In 1756 the chapter of Notre Dame, anxious to find 
funds for the repair of the church, offered to sell their splendid 
collection of 301 ancient MSS., and the King bought it. 

In 1764 the Jesuits were expelled from Paris and their three great 
libraries were added to the Royal Library. That given the Fathers by 
the learned and book-loving Bishop Huet of Avranches a century 
earlier on condition that it should not be alienated was successfully 
reclaimed by representatives of his family, and was handed over 
eventually to the Crown. Other celebrated collections which were 
received in this period were the charters of the President de Meini&res 
and the books and MSS. of de Fontanieu (both 1765); the last before 
the Revolution was a large selection, 700 printed books, many from 


early presses, and 255 MSS., bought at the sale of the library of the 
Due de la Valliere in 1784 for 117,577 livres; Louis XVI, in spite of the 
. economic troubles of his reign, supported the Library generously. 

In 1772 Armand Jean Bignon was succeeded by his son Jean Frederic, 
who, after taking steps to strengthen the working of the depot legal, 
retired in 1781, thus bringing to an end a dynasty which had lasted 
with gaps for all but a century and a half. 

When the Revolution broke out, the Royal Library was declared 
National. The edict of 1789 which made the change set up a college or 
directoire of eight of the senior officials, who were to elect a director 
from their number. The edict is eloquent on the evils of the previous 
hereditary system, but its condemnation is based less on fact than on the 
necessity to find tyranny and abuse in every part of the ancient regime. 

Before the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, there had been 
appointed a remarkably energetic Conservateur des Imprimes, Joseph 
Van Praet, who is perhaps best known to bibliographers by his 
catalogue of books printed on vellum, but who served the Library 
nobly at a vital time. For, after a short set-back, the inflowing tide of 
acquisitions for the Library began again. Not only did the successful 
armies of France, most of all Napoleon's, bring back spoils of conquest 
some of which, it is true, were given up after Waterloo but all the 
libraries of the suppressed monasteries, and also of the emigres who had 
not been able to get them out of the country and sell them to such 
collectors as Lord Spencer or Cracherode. These vast accumulations 
were heaped together in Paris, and were known as les depots litteraires. 
Van Praet secured the first pick, and working with incredible energy, 
and being endowed with a retentive memory, he gathered into the 
National Library no less than 300,000 books lacking in the collections, 
or as many as had been there altogether in I789. 1 By 1818 the Library 
was reckoned to contain 800,000 books. 

It was under Van Praet that, at the MacCarthy sale in 1817, the 
Library secured a copy of the very rare first printed book to bear a 
date, the 1457 Psalter of Fust and Schoeffer. Van Praet died in 1838, 
and was followed (not directly) by Naudet (1840-58), after whom the 
directoire was abolished, giving way to the present system of an 
Administrator-General appointed by the Minister of National 

The history of the nineteenth century in the Library is largely the 
history of the catalogues, which are dealt with below. During the first 

1 The dp&t$ litteraires were subsequently picked over for the Arsenal Library, and the 
residue distributed among provincial libraries, forming the link between them and the 


half of the century, the financial resources of the Library were constantly 
inadequate, and constant difficulties in the day-to-day administration 
resulted. Much was done to improve matters under Taschereau 
(1852-74), but more by far, including the inception of the author- 
catalogue, under Leopold Delisle (1874-1907)- Delisle was a palaeo- 
grapher, and was Conservator of the Manuscripts from 1871-74 before 
he was placed in charge of the whole Library. To the end of his life 
he devoted himself to mediaeval, and more particularly to palaso- 
graphical, studies, and it is the more remarkable that as head of the 
institution he did more to modernise it than any since the Abbe 
Jerome Bignon, a century and a half earlier. He was a man of great 
width of outlook, but also of much obstinacy. It is recorded that under 
the Commune he was summarily dismissed by the politicians, clothed 
in their little brief authority, and (folding his arms, one supposes, in 
the attitude of the best-known photograph of him) merely did not go, 
but continued to appear at his place every morning as if nothing had 
happened. His constancy was not put to a very long test; it was the 
Commune that went first. 

The First World War brought to the Library a poverty which was 
new to it, and from which it has never fully recovered. With the 
fallen value of the franc, and the general economic uncertainty and 
difficulty of the time, the credit voted for the Library became 
inadequate for most purposes, and derisory for the supply of foreign, 
and still more of rare, books. Arrears of binding developed which still 
persist. The Library has never lacked friends, however, and among 
the numerous gifts received each year, there is always one from the 
Soci&e des Amis des Grandes Bibliotheques de France. A new source 
of revenue was found as a result of the closing during the War of the 
Galerie Mazarine* The permanent exhibition held there previously 
was not restored after the return of peace, on the ground that the pages 
of books and MSS. exhibited were suffering from the light; instead, 
periodical special exhibitions were introduced, of items from the 
Library's own collections and others received on loan. The charge for 
admission to these produced an appreciable sum towards purchases of 
rare books and MSS., while gifts from exhibitors members of the 
Societe des Peintres-graveurs fran^ais and the Salon national de la 
photographic, and foreign publishing houses form another important 
class of accessions. 

Of the two latest administrators, M. Roland Marcel, appointed in 
1924, died in 1939; his successor, M. Julien Cain, was appointed in 
1930, and still holds office. Though neither was a trained HbrariaB, the 
appointments were very successful: not that before them the 


administration was backward or inefficient, but it was hardly abreast 
of the modern technical developments of librarianship, however high 
the ancient tradition of scholarship in the Library still stood. In the 
years preceding the Second World War, the consortium of the great 
Parisian libraries, the Reunion des bibliotheques nationales de Paris, was 
formed (see below, pp. 69-70) ; union catalogues of their periodicals 
published or undertaken; the rate of production of the author-catalogue 
greatly accelerated; the current accessions lists regularly published; the 
building of the Bibliotheque Nationale largely reconstructed or re- 
equipped; the service of books to the Salle de Travail facilitated by 
mechanical devices, whereas it had inevitably been retarded by the 
employment of mutiUs de guerre; the photographic and information 
services reorganised and extended; and the Library converted into the 
central focus of the bibliographical activities of the country. Fresh 
funds, even if still inadequate, were extracted from the Government, 
especially for the purchase of foreign books ; and the intake of books 
from the depot legal was much increased. All this modernisation and 
rationalisation of the old Library is in the true spirit of the Abbe 
Bignon and of Leopold Delisle, and has no more lowered the standard 
of learning in the staff than it did with them. 

In 1938, a list was drawn up of works to be evacuated if war should 
break out. Certain strongrooms had been reserved for the use of the 
Library since 1928 in the vaults of the Bank of France. Further shelter 
was arranged in the cellars of the Library itself, and at the Versailles 
annexe, and more again at the Chateau d'Usse*, thirty-seven kilometres 
from Tours and 271 kilometres from Paris. Evacuation was completed 
within a week of the outbreak of war; among the material moved were 
items from the Mazarine, Arsenal, Conservatoire and Opera Libraries. 
In February 1940 further material from the Department of MSS. was 
sent to the Chateau de Beaumesnil (Eure), only to be transferred on 
June r, in the face of the enemy, to Castelnau (Lot), The Library was 
closed between June 10 and 24, 1940, after which the normal routine 
was observed as far as possible. Collections of photographs and other 
material relating to the War were made; production of the general 
catalogue and special catalogues proceeded, but slowly, and amid many 
difficulties. The Administrator-General, M. Cain, was removed 
from his post in July 1940 by the Vichy Government, subsequently 
arrested by the Gestapo > and did not return to office until October 1945- 
In 1941 the German authorities wished all the collections to be 
returned to Paris, but this was not done, and it proved possible to 
conceal the valuable Furstenberg collection of German literature of the 
eighteenth century which had been brought to France a few years 


previously by the collector, a German Jew, and acquired by the 
Library. In January 1944. the material at Castelnau was transferred to 
Usse to prevent its falling into the hands of the Resistance Movement, 
and on the arrival of the Allies in the same year the collections at Usse 
narrowly escaped destruction by bombing. 

The libraries of the military academies at Saint-Cyr, Fontainebleau, 
and Saumur and the archives of the Department of War were recovered 
from the neglected state in which they had been left at the fall of 
France and remained in the care of the Bibliotheque Nationale until 
the Liberation. The library of the Paris Staff College and the archives 
of the Ministry of Marine, taken into custody at the same period, have 
been retained by the Bibliotheque Nationale. Employment for 
journalists and others whose work had been interrupted was found on 
the staff of the Library. Acquisition of foreign books, at first completely 
interrupted, was later resumed from Germany and the other occupied 
countries. Much time had to be devoted in the years following the 
war to the acquisition of works to make good arrears. The Library 
received from abroad large gifts of books and distributed them to 
other libraries in France to assist in postwar reconstruction. 

Important collections received during these years include the 
Blumenthal (fine bindings, first editions of Victor Hugo, autographs; 
1936), Seymour de Ricci (2,000 letters of Voltaire and his correspon- 
dants, 1935; autographs and other MSS., fine printing, library and 
sale catalogues, 1939), and the Masonic Archives (1945). The Henri de 
Rothschild bequest of early and valuable MSS. and printed books and 
fine bindings was received in 1949. The Chandon de Briailles bequest 
of an outstanding coEection of rare coins (largely from the Middle 
East) and fine books was received in 1953. The series of exhibitions 
which had become a tradition of the Library between 1924 and 1940 
was resumed in 1944. 

France was the first country to have a system of legally enforced 
deposit of new books. As early as December 28, 1537, by the 
Ordonnance de Montpellier, Francois I ordered that one copy of every 
book printed in France should be deposited in his library at Blois, and 
that a copy of every book printed abroad and sold in France should be 
offered to the Library for purchase. 

In 1617 an edict ordered the deposit of two copies, as a condition of 
privilege, whereas the element of trade privilege, like that of censorship, 
was entirely lacking from the ordinance of 1537. 

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there were 
constant complaints by the Royal Librarians, and constant and 
unsuccessful attempts to enforce the statutory delivery of copies. In 


1672, it is worth noticing, engravings were claimed by an Arret du 
Conseil d'Etat of May 17, with a retrospective clause indicating that 
they had been legally claimable at least twenty years earlier. 

The connection of legal deposit with literary property, which has 
existed in Great Britain since the Act of Queen Anne, was more 
clearly defined by a decree of July 19-24, 1793 ; of any books for which 
copyright was desired, two copies might be voluntarily deposited, and 
it was only as an afterthought that the fruits of this arrangement were 
attached to the Bibliotheque Nationale. 

Napoleon I made deposit compulsory again in 1810, by a law 
clearly intended to assist surveillance of the Press by the police. The 
Ministry of Police was made responsible, and five copies were deposited. 
By an ordinance of 1828, the Ministry of the Interior, which had in 
1817 absorbed the powers of Napoleon's Ministry of Police, received 
only two copies, retaining one; but these second copies soon began to 
be allotted to other libraries. 

In 1925 a new law required the deposit of one copy by the printer 
at the Ministry of the Interior, and a second by the publisher at the 
Bibliotheque Nationale. A decree of the following year transferred 
the responsibility for both copies to the printer; both copies were now 
to be sent to the Bibliotheque Nationale, one for retention and the 
second for onward transmission to a specified library. Almost all the 
libraries concerned are in Paris, but works concerned with a particular 
neighbourhood may be sent to a specified municipal library or to the 
Departmental Archives in that region. Literary texts go to the Arsenal; 
works on local history to the Mazarine; those on law, history, 
philosophy, religion, literary criticism, exact sciences, medicine, and 
agriculture to the Ste. Genevieve; those on education to the Musee 
Pedagogique; applied sciences to the library of the Conservatoire 
Nationale des Arts et Metiers; and those on art and archaeology to the 
Library of Art and Archaeology of the University of Paris. In January 
1942 a depot was opened at Clermont-Ferrand to receive publications 
from unoccupied France, and in the following year the number of 
copies required was increased to seven, six going to the Bibliothque 
Nationale and one to the Ministry of the Interior. The deposit applies 
to all editions of a newspaper as well as of a book, but of reprints 
without alteration one copy only is required; owing to the original 
police motive of the nineteenth century, the time for deposit is that of 
publication. Engravings, coins, and medals are required to be de- 
posited, but privately printed books are not. 

The stocks of the Library now include some 6,000,000 volumes of 
printed books, 5,000,000 prints and 175,000 MSS. 



The earliest information we have of the housing of the Royal 
Library is that the choice books of Charles V, under the care of 
Gilles Mallet, were placed in three rooms in a tower of the Louvre, and 
that the windows were wired against the incursions of birds and 
beasts. Under Louis XII the re-formed collection was kept at Blois, 
while a second library was formed at Fontainebleau by Franois I. The 
library at Blois was brought to Paris under Charles IX and established 
by Henri IV first in the College de Clermont, then in the monastery of 
the Cordeliers, and a little later in a house in the Rue de la Harpe 
belonging to the same community. Such frequent removals, at first no 
doubt inspired by fear of the religious troubles of the time, must 
inevitably have damaged the books. 

At this time a third collection came into being, called "le Cabinet du 
Roi"; it was a more personal appanage of the sovereigns, and was kept 
in the Louvre. The three were only amalgamated under a single 
control by the Abbe Bignon in 1720-26. 

In 1666 Colbert, then Surintendant des Bailments du Roi, and an 
enthusiastic supporter of the Library, moved it to a small house in the 
Rue Vivienne, at the end of the garden of his own town house. From 
there it had but a step to move to its first foothold on the site it now 
occupies. Louvois, who succeeded Colbert as Surintendant, and who 
followed him in his care for the Library, intended to move it to a 
building to be erected on the site of the hotel Vendome, then newly 
acquired by the Crown, but at his death in 1691 the project was 
abandoned. In 1720, at the moment when the Abbe Bignon was 
reorganising the Library, opening it to students, securing its charter 
from the King, and arranging the publication of catalogues, the 
opportunity presented itself of moving it into a more commodious 
home close by that it then occupied. The financier Law, 

"qui mit la France a Fh6pital, 9> 

after the collapse of his bubble, had to vacate the hotel de Nevers in the 
Rue de Richelieu, which was confiscated. The hotel de Nevers was 
really a combination of the old hotel de Tubeuf, on the Rue des 
Petits Champs, built in 1634 (now containing the private quarters of 
the Administrator-General and the Secretary), with additions by 
Mazarin of a wing, designed by Mansart, at the back of the garden on 
the Rue Vivienne, built to house his art collections, and of his private 
chapel and library on the Rue de Richelieu, which ran on the north 
past the present opening of the Rue Colbert. But only parts of the 


complex were used for the Library and its departments; other parts 
were put to different uses, the Galerie Mazarine, for example, being 
given to the Bourse, and yet other parts to the Treasury; they evacuated 
the site only in 1825 and 1826 respectively. 

In the second quarter of the nineteenth century, the period in which 
the flood of books produced by the steam press and the paper machine 
drove all the great libraries to expansion, the architect Visconti 
proposed to destroy the hotel de Tubeuf and the hotel de Nevers, and 
to erect on their sites a lofty new building, and at the same time to take 
in some private houses adjoining the Library in the Rue Vivienne. In 
1854 Visconti was succeeded as Government architect by Henri 
Labrouste, whose name will always be associated with the building. 
The hotel de Tubeuf and the Galerie Mazarine, the beautiful painted 
ceiling of which was in a precarious condition, were restored and 
adapted by Labrouste on being taken over for use by the Library in 
1856. On the two meeting lines of the Rue des Petits Champs and the 
Rue de Richelieu, however, his work was entirely new. He removed 
the buildings at this angle and built new wings to hold the library, with 
interior metal stacks (the magasin) and the great metal-built and 
columned Salle de Travail, opened in 1868 and approached from the 
Cour d'Entree or the Cour d'Honneur to the north, which opens on 
to the Rue de Richelieu and the Place Louvois. 

Though Labrouste imitated the use at the British Museum of the 
new engineering methods in building the stacks and reading room, he 
did not follow the plans in detail. The round room, so difficult to fit 
into a rectangular frame without waste of space, he rejected in favour 
of a very large oblong room, the roof of which, as he had renounced 
the advantages of a dome, he supported by slender iron columns. At 
the farther (southern) end a large apsidal recess gives space for the 
administration of the room and communication with the stacks. The 
only drawback to this plan is that the administration is separated by the 
whole length of the room from the control at the entrance. Separate 
tables were allotted to readers using books from the reserve; rather 
curiously in a library where the collection of rare books is so large and 
important, a special room was only found for this purpose in 1934. 

In the Department of Printed Books there are, in addition to the 
great Salle de Travail, two other rooms: (i) the Salle des Catalogues; 
(2) the Salle de la Reserve des Imprimes; with these two may be 
grouped (3) the Salle Ovale, the reading room of the Department of 
Periodicals. The comparative scarcity half a century ago in Paris of 
readily accessible minor libraries for reference to common books 
brought a "Salle Publique" into existence, and it had at one time a 


separate stock of some 40,000 books. Later, however, its use declined 
rapidly as the smaller public libraries of Paris were improved and more 
widely used, and it was closed in 1934. In the north-east angle of the 
building formed by the Rue Colbert and the Rue Vivienne is enclosed, 
rather after the fashion of the British Museum Reading Room, a very 
large and lofty oval hall, the Salle Ovale, opened to the public in 1936. 
In this room current periodicals are available, 4,500 immediately upon 
request and a further 16,000 within a few minutes of application. 
Bound volumes of newspapers, yearbooks, directories, and other 
reference books are also consulted there. The building of the Salle 
Ovale and the wings enclosing it on the street sides on the sites of 
private houses acquired in 1878 was the last step in the completion of 
the island site which had been entered on in 1720. In 1888 the main 
entrance in the Place de Louvois was opened. 

By 1930 the problem of congestion was acute. No appreciable 
extensions had been made since the work of Taschereau and Labrouste; 
the stock of printed books had increased from 3,000,000 in 1900 to 
over 4,000,000, and space needed for the services of the Department, 
accessions, cataloguing, binding, etc., had had to be devoted to 
storage, while there was a serious risk of damage to books from 
humidity, dirt, and fire. The nature of the site of the Library, 
surrounded on all sides by streets, prevented any horizontal expansion; 
the alternative course, constructing underground stacks and heightening 
existing ones, was therefore adopted, special financial grants for the 
work being made between 1932 and 1936. The rooms of the 
Department of Medals were the most recent and satisfactory, and it was 
therefore decided to concentrate on those of MSS., Prints, and, above 
all, Printed Books. No change in the external appearance of the 
building was to be allowed. Work was begun in 1932, and proceeded 
with little interruption in the services of the Library. In the Department 
of MSS. the upper part of the wing facing the Cour d'Honneur was 
reconstructed in 1932-38 to provide a stack with five tiers, fireproof, 
and with safety boxes for valuable material. The main part of the 
Print Collection was removed temporarily to the house formerly 
belonging to Salomon de Rothschild; then, commencing in 1937, the 
group of buildings housing the Department was demolished, with the 
exception of its facade, and reconstructed in the form of a stack of 
eight tiers, three of them underground and the whole surmounted by 
a students' room with sixty places, and staff offices adjoining it. The 
work was almost completed when it was interrupted in 1940 by the 
German occupation. It was resumed soon after the war, and the new 
buildings were opened to the public in June 1946. The Galerie Mansart, 


restored in 1926, which had provided for over a century room for 
students and storage space for the Department, was rearranged as an 
exhibition gallery. 

For the printed books, about twenty kilometres of additional 
shelving was provided in 1934 by the construction of two extra tiers 
below the four already existing in the main stack, and along the sides 
of the building facing the Rue de Richelieu and the Rue des Petits- 
Champs. New foundations were constructed for the main stack in 
order to allow it to be further heightened. In 1953 special financial 
grants were allotted and the construction work began in September 
1954 and is to be completed in 1958: it will provide five new tiers of 
stack, giving about forty kilometres of new shelving. It was impossible 
to enlarge the main Reading Room, and three new reading rooms were 
therefore provided, for catalogues and bibliographies, rare books 
(reserve), and periodicals and newspapers (Salle Ovale). There is also 
a reading room for geography. The new catalogue and bibliography 
room is situated in the space formerly occupied by the heating plant, 
immediately below the main Reading Room, and is reached directly 
from it. It contains printed, MS., and card catalogues of the printed 
books, bibliographies of all kinds, and the printed catalogue cards of 
the Library of Congress, numbering some 2,500,000, and arranged in 
classified order. The rare book reading room is between the main 
Reading Room and the stack of the reserve ; it is designed for use by 
research workers, and contains a collection of reference works dealing 
with the history of printing, illustration, bookbinding, and kindred 
subjects. The Galerie Mazarine, used until 1924 to house a permanent 
exhibition of books, was restored after the end of the Second World 
War and is now used for temporary exhibitions, while a special room 
has been arranged to hold the Rothschild collection. 

The maps, formerly housed on the first floor of the h6tel de Tubeuf, 
were displaced by the reconstruction of the rooms of the print collec- 
tion, and were removed, being housed in part temporarily by the 
Institut de Geographic of the University, Reconstruction of the entire 
building followed, beginning in 1941 but halted the next year on the 
instructions of the German occupation authorities, then resumed in 
1946 and finally completed in 1954. A new concrete frame was 
constructed within the old walls, and in its completed form the building 
provides workrooms for public and staff and stacks to ensure the best 
possible conditions of storage. 

New premises for the Dfyot legal Office and Photographic Section, 
together with staff cloakrooms and refectories, and an electrical 
transformer station were provided during the reconstruction of the 


buildings in the Cour d'Honneur. During the work the building was 
made fireproof, air-conditioning plant installed, pneumatic tubes, 
electric book-conveyors, and lifts introduced to provide a more rapid 
service to readers, and the installation of electric light completed. 
After a period of twenty-five years of reconstruction work aimed almost 
entirely at the provision of additional storage space, the reconstruction 
of staff workrooms was an urgent necessity. Lofty rooms in the 
Department of Periodicals and in the north wing were accordingly 
divided by the insertion of mezzanine floors. 

For provincial newspapers, duplicates, and little-used material, an 
annexe was planned at Versailles, the first section of which was 
completed in 1934, and the second, of similar capacity, in 1954. The 
building is of eight storeys, severely functional in design, and provides 
twenty kilometres of shelving and a reading room; usually, however, 
works required are sent to Paris to be read, as there is a regular motor 
service between the annexe and the Bibliotheque Nationale, 
Government approval was granted on April 7, 1945, for the 
construction of annexes facing the Library in the Rue de Richelieu. 
Buildings on the site have already been acquired, and are in use for 
administrative offices, classrooms for instruction in librarianship and 
the storage of books and stocks of publications. 


A. General and of Printed Books 

The catalogues, themselves a library by now, began to be made 
early. The short general list of 1622, compiled by Nicolas Rigault 
with Saumaise (perhaps better known as Salmasius) and Hautin, was 
based on an older MS. inventory which is preserved and bears the 
numbers MSS. fr. 5665-5685. Only twenty-one years later came 
another, made by the brothers Dupuy, whose own fine library was to 
be bequeathed to the King by Jacques, the survivor of the pair; in the 
last part there are 1,329 printed books. In 1684, after reclassifying the 
Library in 1675-84, Nicolas Clement made yet another in fourteen 
volumes, containing the classes, with twenty-one volumes of index; 
the number of printed books had now risen to 43,000. Clement's 
catalogue remained imprinted, but it was supplemented finally in 1714, 
and in 1736 Dom Jacques Loyau, a Benedictine of St. Maur, added a 
subject-index in fifteen volumes, which is still used. Clement's 
catalogue and its supplements followed the shelf arrangement of the 
books, and acted as an inventory. 

The Abbe Bignon's plan for separate catalogues of printed books 


and of MSS. to follow his reorganisation of the collections into 
departments began to take effect in 1739. The classes covered by the 
six volumes of the class-catalogue of printed books are: (i) Theology, 
2 vol., 1739, 42; (2) Canon, Natural, and Public Law, I vol., 1753; 
(3) Belles Lettres, 2 vol., 1750; and (4) Civil Law, unfinished. 

In 1840 the main classification and catalogue remained unchanged, 
but supplements had multiplied, and there was an author-index in 
eighty-nine volumes. Naudet, who came into office in that year, 
undertook a large scheme of ^classification, which was, however, 
limited by exigencies of staff, and was not completed. He made the 
distinction between the finds porte and the finds non porte. The former 
consisted of the books which had been catalogued, arranged by 
subject, and given fixed press-marks; the latter of the vast accumula- 
tions gathered in during the Revolution and the Empire. The problem 
lay, of course, with the finds nonportL This was roughly analysed into 
subjects, then each subject into three size divisions; the books thus 
divided were then arranged alphabetically on the shelves without numer- 
ation, so that new accessions could be easily intercalated among them. 

In 1852 Taschereau succeeded Naudet and governed for the next 
twenty-two years. Arrears were made up, and it was possible to unify 
and organise certain classes of special importance, and to publish 
catalogues of them. Of these, L (History of France), Catalogue, 12 vol., 
and suppl., 1855-95; and T (Medicine), Catalogue, 3 vol., 1857-89, 
were undertaken in Taschereau's time. But several more were dealt 
with (as well as those two being completed) under his successor, the 
famous Leopold Delisle. N (Great Britain), O (Spain and Portugal), 
O 2 (Asia), O 3 (Africa), P (America), and P 2 (Oceania) were arranged; 
catalogues were not printed but reproduced from handwriting, N in 
1875-78, O in 1883, O 2 in 1892, O 3 in 1895, P in 1903-11, and P 2 in 
1912. The principle of arrangement of the finds non porte was a size 
division, followed by a class letter, and then by a running number. 
Delisle started two printed bulletins of accessions, that of foreign 
books, duplicated, 1874-77 and printed from 1877, and that of French 
books, 1882-1920. These were printed on one side of the leaf, and 
copies were cut up and mounted in sheaf form. 

When the finds anden or porte and the finds non porte had been 
surveyed, in so far as they were not covered by the class catalogues, 
and had been inventoried, all was ready for Delisle's goal, the great 
General Catalogue. The first and chief section, the catalogue of books 
by known authors, began to appear in 1897. Financial difficulties 
which had threatened to hinder its publication were overcome for 
ten years with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation, and by an 


arrangement concluded in 1927 whereby a group of American libraries 
supported the undertaking. The slow progress of the catalogue was 
responsible for a curious device adopted about 1927, that of the 
Photographic Catalogue. MS. titles of books in the latter letters of the 
alphabet, which had been entered in the catalogue before 1882, were 
assembled in batches of thirty-two on a frame, and photostat copies 
made on large sheets. These sheets, bound together, supplemented the 
author-catalogue. Completion of the General Catalogue was delayed 
by the Second World War. It has now reached TENDIL with volume 
CLXXXIII, and under present conditions is expected to be finished 
by 1970, but there are hopes of speeding up the work. 

The result of Delisle's survey showed 2,048,893 press-marks, many 
of them covering a series of editions of the same book, or a number of 
allied pieces. The remaining sections of the catalogue, as planned by 
Delisle in conjunction with a committee of the Ministry of Public 
Instruction appointed in 1893, are (2) Anonyma and books of collective 
authorship; and (3) certain special classes. Of one special section, the 
Acts of the Kings of France, five volumes have appeared since 1910. 
Delisle dreamed of a further stage, a union catalogue of the greater 
Parisian libraries which should facilitate lending where there was more 
than one copy of a book in Paris, but not otherwise. The Bulletin des 
acquisitions etrangeres de la Bibliotheque Nationale, 1877-1942, indicated 
the accessions of the other libraries represented on the purchasing 
commission for the principal libraries of Paris, but the Liste mensuelk 
des outrages entrls [a la Bibliotheque Nationale] par achats, dons ou 
echanges, 1945-51, did not continue this. 

The press-mark of the united libraries appeared in the bulletin of 
French accessions received through the dep&t legal until its publication 
ceased in 1920, and those of the Conservatoire and the Opera subse- 
quently in the weekly Bibliographic de la France, which is compiled at 
the Bibliotheque Nationale and published by the Cercle de la Libraire. 

Reforms to reduce the number and complexity of the catalogues 
carried out between 1930 and 1940 had, as their main results* the 
consolidation of three separate series of entries for authors and 
anonymous works into a single alphabetical sequence, and the revision 
of, and provision of systematic indexes for, the alphabetical subject- 
catalogue. From 1936 all catalogue entries were made on cards of 
standard size. A supplement to the Bibliographie de la France, compiled 
by the Library on behalf of the Library of the University of Paris, lists 
theses submitted in French universities* 

Napoleon, it may be mentioned here, had conceived in 1805 a 
drastic scheme whereby the Bibliotheque Nationale should make a 


compulsory exchange wherever another French library possessed a 
book not represented in its own collections, giving in exchange a 
duplicate. An exchange of duplicates among the greater libraries of 
Paris did take place under Taschereau, in 1860, while the General 
Catalogue of Incunabula in the public libraries of France (Pellechet- 
Polain, vol. 1-3, A-Gregorius, 1897-1909) is an example of the central- 
isation which comes so much more easily to Frenchmen than to us. 

Printed catalogues of the reference works in the reading room (1910) 
and of periodicals (1907), having become obsolete, have been replaced 
by card catalogues which are kept regularly up to date. There are 
class catalogues, in MS., of French history (23 vol.), Italian history 
(5 vol.) and general history (7 vol.), and other mimeographed catalogues 
of works on medicine, Great Britain, Spain and Portugal, Asia, Africa, 
and America and Oceania. There is a card catalogue of works on 
French history from 1950. 

Other special catalogues are: 

Van Praet's, of books printed on vellum, 10 vol., 1822-28, with 
supplement by Delisle, 1877; Early Music, by J. Ecorcheville, vol. i-S, 
1910-14; Facta and other judicial documents anterior to 1790, 6 vol., 
1890-1937; the French Revolution, 5 vol., 1936-55; the "Enfer," by 
Guillaume Apollinaire and others, 1913; and Montaigne, Voltaire, 
Hugo, Shakespeare, and other authors. A catalogue of Keepsakes, by 
F. Lachevre, was published in 1929. 

The Department of Maps and Plans has no published catalogue, but 
some special lists have appeared. There is a card catalogue of the 
Music collections, much of which had not been catalogued at all until 
the reforms instituted between 1930 and 1940. Periodicals, music, 
maps, and illustrations received in the Library are recorded in 
supplements to the Bibliographic de la France and the Liste mensuelle des 
outrages entres. 

B. Manuscripts 

The basic catalogue of manuscripts is, as of printed books, that of 
1739. The department is broadly divided into the folio wing fonds: 
Greek, Latin, French, and other Western tongues, Charters and 
Oriental; and in all these great numbers of catalogues have appeared, 
mostly by language. The following are the chief, but here too, as 
in the Printed Books, some catalogues have been published outside 
the Library by their compilers, a peculiar feature of the Bibliothque 
Nationale, and evidence of the interest taken in its collections by the * 
lettered public, and perhaps also of the inadequacy of its grant for 




Cartularies (French), 1907. 
French, etc. (Les manuscrits francais de la Bibliotheque du Roi: leur 

histoire, et celle des textes allemands, anglois, hollandais, italiens, espagnols, 

de la meme collection.) 1838-48. 
Greek. Inventaire sommaire. 1886-98. 

Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum grsecorum. 1896. 

Le Fonds Coislin. 1944. 

Catalogue. 1945- - , 

Latin. Inventaire (no. 8823-18613, suppl. to the catalogue of I739-44J- 


Nouvelles acquisitions. 1871-74. 

Catalogus codicum hagiographicorum latinorum. 1889-90* 

Catalogue g&ieral. 1939- . 

Latin and French. Acquisitions, 1 8 75-9 1 . 1891. 

1891-1910. 1912. 

1891-1940 annually. 


1946-50. 1955- 

French. Inventaire (I. Theology: II. Law, sciences, and arts). 1876-78. 

Catalogue: ancien fonds. 1868-1902. 

Catalogue general. (Suppl. to preceding.) 1895-1902. 

Table generale alphabetique. 1931, 48- 

American. 1925. 

Celtic and Basque. 1890. 

Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish. 1887. 

English. 1884. 

German. 1895. 

Italian. 1886-88. 

Mexican. 1899. 

Netherlandish. 1886. 

Rumanian. 1925. 

Russian, etc. 1908. 

Spanish and Portuguese. 1881-92. 

Venetian. 1888. 


Arabic. 1925, 53. 
Armenian and Georgian. 1908. 
Burmese and Cambodian. 1879. 
Chinese, Korean and Japanese. 1900-12. 
Coptic. Inventaire. 1906. 

Catalogue. 1912. 

Ethiopian. 1877. 

(Collection Griaule.) 1954. 

Hebrew and Samaritan, 1866, 
Klimer. 1953. 


Persian. 1905-35. 

Sanscrit, Bengali, and Tibetan. (Collection Palmyr Cordier.) 1934. 

Sanscrit and Pali. 1907, 08. 

(Collection Senart.) 1936. 

Sanscrit. 1941- . 

Indian, Indo-Chinese, and Polynesian. 1912. 

Siamese. 1887. 

Syriac and Sabsean. 1874. 

Tibetan, (torn. 2, 3.) 1909,15. 

(Touen-houang.) 1939, 

Turkish. 1932-34. 

Besides these and the older and superseded general catalogues of 
MSS., 1 there is a library of catalogues of particular collections, given, 
bequeathed, and purchased. Such are those of the MSS. from St. 
Germain des Pres (1868), Colbert (1908), Libri and Barrois (1888). Of 
special classes may be mentioned the catalogues of the MS. sources of 
the history of Paris (1915,16), of Paris under the Revolution (1890- 
1914), and of many of the French provinces. 

The collection of reference books, and notably of catalogues of 
MSS., in the Students* Room of the Department, has a celebrity of its 
own. A special catalogue was published, the last edition in 1933. A 
third edition of the Liste des recueils de facsimiles et des reproductions de 
manuscrits conserves a la Bibliotheque Nationals by Henri Omont and 
Philippe Lauer, was published in 1936. 


The Royal Library was undivided, under the care of its gardes and 
mattres, till 1720, when the MSS. and Prints (Estampes) were separated, 
and also a department of "Titres et Genealogies/* which, as might be 
expected, did not survive the Revolution, subsiding in 1790 into a 
subsection of the Manuscrits. The bulk of the Library, the Imprimes, 
received a Conservateur in 1726. 

Orientalia are not divided formally from the Imprimes and 
Manuscrits. In 1829-39 the Maps formed a separate department; then 
they were (logically enough) attached to the Prints, to be transferred 
in 1858 to the Printed Books. A separate Department of Maps and 
Plans was re-established in 1943, and at the same time the Societe de 
Geographic deposited its collections with the Bibliotheque Nationale, 
where they are made available in the Students* Room of the 

1 An account of these is to be found in: Concordance des mw'--' -/if . Jes nunvros 
actuels des manuscrits latins de la Biblfotlwqtte Nationale, fttfa' ' <f /ie notice sur les widens 
catalogues. 1903. 


Department of Maps and Plans. At the same rime the musical 
collections of the Imprinies were co-ordinated with the music libraries 
of the Opera and the Conservatoire National de Musique, which had 
entered the Reunion in 1935. Between 1943 and 1945 changes in the 
organisation of the Imprimes gave a greater measure of independence 
to the Accessions and Periodicals, each of which now has a Conservateur 
en chef. 
There are now ten departments in the Reunion, as follows: 

1. Secretariat general, et services techniques communs. 

2. Imprimes. 

3. Periodiques. 

4. Entrees. 

5. Manuscrits. 

6. Estampes. 

7. Medailles et antiques. 

8. Cartes et collections g6ographiques. 

9. Musique. 
10. Arsenal. 

In 1930 the Mazarine Library, which has a long independent history, 
was incorporated into the Nationale. Founded in 1643 by Cardinal 
Mazarin for public use, and at first presided over by Naude, at the fall 
of Mazarin in 1649 it was all but dispersed; part was sold with the rest 
of his goods, but Christina of Sweden bought all the MSS. and 
restored them to him. On his return to power in 1653, Mazarin 
restored his library, and he eventually bequeathed it to the College des 
Quatre Nations. It now contains a quarter of a million printed books, 
including 1,900 incunabula; also 5,800 MSS. It was here that the 
forty-two-line Bible was first identified; hence that Bible's older name 
of "the Mazarine/' The Mazarine ceased to form part of the Nationale 
in 1945, and was attached to the Institut de France. 

The building of the Arsenal, which had served as an armoury for the 
city of Paris, was appropriated in part by Francois I in 1533. After 
being put to various uses, it became in 1767 the residence of the 
Marquis de Paulmy, who was for a time Minister of War and ended 
his official career as governor of the Arsenal. An ardent bibliophile, he 
conceived the idea of a library encompassing all the literatures of the 
world and strove to form such a collection. Scholars were admitted to 
the library, and in 1785, when it numbered some 80,000 volumes, 
Paulmy sold it to the Comte d* Artois, the future Charles X, to prevent 
its dispersal. He remained in occupation of the library for the rest of 
his life, however, continuing to pay the staff and purchase collections, 
among them that of the Due de la Valttere. Other collections added 


6 9 

included that of the Prince de Soubise and, in the following century, 
those of the palaces of Saint-Cloud and Meudon and the chateau of 
Compiegne. After being confiscated in 1 792 and becoming temporarily 
the property of the Institut National, it regained its independence in 
1797, retaining it until being annexed to the Bibliotheque Nationale 
in 1934. The library now possesses over 1,000,000 printed books. It 
was formerly entitled to the legal deposit of all French publications, 
but has since 1926 received only those relating to French literature. 

The accessions to the Bibliotheque Nationale during 1955 were as 

Printed books (for all depart- 


Periodicals (parts) 
Newspapers (nos.) . . 
Maps and plans 
Music (items) 


Prints and photographs 
Arsenal: Printed books 






Purchase Gift Exchange Total 

f 8,998 6,275 





















Assistance to students outside the walls of the Library by the aid of 
photography dates from 1877; in 1925 a second studio was installed for 
rotography by artificial light, and a microphotographic service was 
begun in 1937, with financial assistance from the Rockefeller 
Foundation. Only in 1943, however, did the photographic service pass 
from the control of commercial firms to the direction of the Library. 
In addition to the studios previously mentioned, photography is 
permitted in the rooms of the Department of Manuscripts, and in the 
stacks of the Department of Printed Books. There are also small 
studios in the Print Department and the Arsenal. 

In 1926 an Office of Documentation was established, as an addition 
to, and independent of, the Library service. This is conducted by the 
Societe des Amis des Grandes Bibliotheques de France, and undertakes 
research (for fees), thus taking a considerable burden off the shoulders 
of the Library staff. 

In 1926-27, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Arsenal, the Mazarine, 
and the Ste, Genevifcve, with the Bibliotheque du Mus6e de la Guerre, 


were brought together in order to form the "Reunion des bibliothques 
nationales de Paris" public institutions having "civil personality" and 
their own budget. This group had hardly been formed when the 
Bibliotheque Ste. Genevieve was detached in order to be attached to 
the University. Later additions to the group were, in 1935, the 
musical libraries, and in 1938 the Centre de Documentation, which 
was finally and definitely detached in 1945. The economic and tech- 
nological services and collections of this Centre were also detached at 
the same date in order to be connected with the Ministry of National 
Economy. Then the Bibliotheque Mazarine was attached to the five 
Academies forming the Institut de France. Hence the group of national 
libraries of Paris is now formed by the Bibliotheque Nationale itself, 
the Arsenal, and the music libraries of the Conservatoire Nationale de 
Musique and the Opera, all of which are supervised by the central 
state organisation, the Direction des Bibliotheques de France. 

In 1938, of a grant of 20,000,000 francs made to the Bibliotheque 
Nationale, 14,500,000 francs were earmarked to purchase books for the 
libraries of the Reunion and for public libraries. This was intended to 
form the beginning of a new service of centralised purchasing, and at 
tb.e outset 150 public libraries were included in the scheme; it was 
interrupted in 1940, and in 1945 transferred to the Direction des 
Bibliotheques de France. 

The accessions of the Bibliotheque Nationale by legal deposit are 
now the basis of the national current register of French publications, 
La Bibliographic de la France, and its other accessions from 1946 to 1951, 
with those of the Opera and the Conservatoire, were listed in the 
Liste mensuelle des outrages entres par achats, dons, on Changes. From 
1926-36 the Bulletin des acquisitions etrangeres de la Billiotheque Nationale 
listed acquisitions of foreign books approved by a purchasing 
committee of the librarians of the principal libraries in Paris. Their 
combined stocks of scientific periodicals were catalogued (by Lacroix 
and Bultingaire) in 1924-25, with supplements 1929 and 1939, and 
those in other fields by Caron and Jaryc, 1935, with supplements 1937 
and 1939; while a union catalogue, Catalogue collect!/ des pModiqms 
conserves dans les bibliotheques de Paris et les bibliotheque$ tmivcmtaires de 
France, commenced with the holdings of the Sorbonne and continued 
with those of the Bibliotheque Nationale. A provisional duplicated 
edition is in course of publication. The catalogue, Periodiqties slaves m 
caracteres cyrilliques was published in two volumes in 1956. 

In co-operation with the National Centre for Scientific Research the 
Inventaire des p&iodiques etr angers regus en France par te$ bibliothlqucs ft ks 
otganismes de documentation en 1955, recording the holdings of some 


1,700 libraries, was published in 1956, and the Catalogue des periodiques 
dandestins, ig^g-ig^ in 1954. The Catalogue collectif national des 
acquisitions etrangeres, commenced on cards in 1952 under the auspices 
of the Direction des bibliotheques de France, records the foreign 
accessions of some 280 libraries. 

Loans of manuscripts and rare books between libraries, both within 
France and between French and foreign libraries, are controlled by 
a lending service housed in the Bibliotheque Nationale. Loans of 
printed material of no great value may be effected directly; nevertheless 
most of them are carried out through the service, which is able to 
direct inquiries to the appropriate library. The Foreign Exchange 
Service of the Ministry of Education, attached to the Bibliotheque 
Nationale in 1938, became an integral part of the Library in 1942. 

A union catalogue of special collections in French provincial 
libraries was begun in 1927. The Inspectorate of Libraries carried out 
a thorough examination of the holdings of libraries and the information 
collected was published in 1933 as Les Richesses des Bibliotheques 
provinciates fran$aises. Supplementary information received through the 
cataloguing and bibliographical information services of the Bibliotheque 
Nationale was published in the Bulletin de documentation bibliographique 
(1934-55), united in 1956 with the Bulletin d' informations de la Direction 
des bibliotheques (1952-55) to form the Bulletin des bibliotheques de France 
(1956- ). Since the opening of the Salle des catalogues et des biblio- 
graphies in 1934 and its enlargement in 1938, the service has played 
an ever-increasing part as a national centre of bibliographical informa- 
tion, thanks to its catalogues of French publishers, its current national 
bibliographies, and its printed catalogues of the Bibliotheque Nationale 
and of foreign libraries. From 1946 a card index of special institutions 
libraries, documentation centres and services has been developed, 
and in 1953 the Guide des services franfais de photocopie et de microcopie 
was published. A code of cataloguing rules intended to standardise 
practice in French libraries is being compiled in conjunction with the 
Association fransaise de normalisation (AFNOR). A guide prepared 
by the Library, under the auspices of Unesco and the Direction des 
Bibliotheques, is the Repertoire des bibliotheques de France, vol. I, 
Bibliotheques de Paris, 1950. vol. 2, Bibliotheques des Dfyartements, 1951. 
vol. 3, Centres et Services de documentation, 1951. The Library is par- 
ticipating in the investigations of Unesco into the training of librarians. 
It contributed officially to the revised edition (1932) of the bibliography 
of periodical and other current bibliographies, Index bibliographicus, by 
M. Godet and J. Vorstius, and contributes to the bibliographical 
undertakings of Unesco, such as the Imfev tran^lationm* 


The Department of Prints is principally occupied in maintaining its 
collections, arranged by artist and subject, and in publishing the 
catalogue: Inventaire dufondsfrangais. Graveurs, of which twenty-two 
volumes have appeared since 1932. It also publishes photographic 
reproductions of its more important possessions and is the seat of the 
"Comite de coordination de la documentation par 1'image." It has 
published a Repertoire des collections franfaisesde documents photographiques. 

Various bibliographical and other learned societies are accommodated 
in the Library. 

The staff consists of: 

i Administrator-General. 
i General Secretary. 

9 Chief Conservators: of Printed Books, Periodicals, Manuscripts, Maps 
and Plans, Music, Prints, Medals, Accessions, and the Arsenal Library. 

119 Conservators and Librarians. 

56 Sub-Librarians (formerly Aides techniques). 

i Chief Accountant. 

1 Chef du Service du Materiel. 
3 Senior Clerks. 

15 Accountant's Clerks. 

13 Shorthand Typists. 

29 Clerks (typists and clerical assistants). 

2 Telephone Operators. 

i Bindery Superintendent. 

39 Binders (men and women). 

1 Moulder. 

2 Printers. 

10 Housemen. 
2 Drivers. 

10 Firemen. 

1 Principal Stack Superintendent. 

2 Stack Superintendents. 

40 Stack Assistants. 
166 Police Warders. 
15 Cleaners. 

That allotted to the Departments of Prints and Medals is small in 
proportion. These figures include also the staff of the Arsenal and the 
Opera and Conservatoire Libraries, but comprise only established 
personnel; there are also temporary staff and employees of contractors 
(librarians, sub-librarians, and photographers), numbering 
as many as the established staff. 


The professional staff is recruited in accordance with a decree of 
1952. Candidates must have the following qualifications: 

Higher certificate for librarians (formerly Technical certificate) together 
with one of the following: 
(a) Licence in Letters or Science. 

f&) Licence and diploma in Higher Legal Studies. 
c) Other licences, or diploma of the lacole des Langues orientales vivantes, 
the Jscole du Louvre, or the Higher Studies of Art and Archaeology. 

(d) Doctor in Medicine. 

(e) Doctor in Chemistry. 

Diploma of the ficole pratique des Hautes Etudes. 

Diploma of Engineering. 
The candidates can also be either qualified archivist-palaeographers, or have 
been employed as a sub-librarian for five years. 

The intermediate grade of Sub-Librarian is recruited from candidates 
possessing either the Baccalaureat or Brevet superieur. Candidates are 
selected by an examination including the elements of bibliography, and 
the making and use of catalogues. Warders are recruited without 
competition, but must pass a professional examination before promotion 
to Stack Assistant. 

Women are eligible for, and figure in, both the professional and 
intermediate grades. 

The reforms of 1942 brought an adequate staff to the Library for the 
first time for many years : the total of 1939 was almost doubled. At the 
end of the German occupation these numbers were allowed to remain, 
and likewise the chomeurs intellectuels allocated to the Library by the 
Ministry of Labour in 1942; many temporary employees were taken 
on after the War as part of the efforts of the Government to check 
unemployment, but their rates of pay were very low. A law of 
October 19, 1946, prescribed new conditions for the status of Civil 
Servants, including members of the staffs of State libraries. Under the 
1952 reforms, the rules governing promotion and the qualifications 
required for entry to the higher grades in the staff were much more 
clearly defined than previously. 


Under Louis XV the budget of the establishment was about 
68,000 livres; in 1778 it rose to 83,000, in 1788 to 169,000, while special 
grants were made for considerable purchases. The economic distress 
which brought on the Revolution is reflected in a fall in 1790 to 110,000 
livres; but the claims of the Library were understood by some at least 


of the revolutionary leaders, and in the year IV the grant stood at 
192,000 Hvres, its highest point till then. 

In 1805 Napoleon conceived the idea that the National Library 
should contain all significant works, an ideal perhaps at that date still 
not quite beyond the ability of a victorious world Power, if time and 
the printing press have now reduced it to the level of a dream. He gave 
the Library an annual special grant of 132,000 francs, to enable it to fill 
gaps and purchase new books. In the next half-century the Library 
prospered; under the Restoration extra grants amounted to 300,000 
francs; in 1838, in addition to the regular budget of 272,000 francs, 
there was a special grant of 100,000 francs, and binding and purchase 
absorbed 174,000 francs. But at one point under the Second Empire 
the total fell to 73,202 francs. It was curiously enough the year of the 
Commune that saw it rise to 3 01 ,000 francs. Under the Tliird Republic 
the Library was fairly well supported until the First World War. 

The purchase grant, which fell to derisory levels in the years 
immediately after the War, was gradually raised, year by year; and in 
1926-27 the organisation and financial position of the Library was 
completely overhauled. The Reunion des Bibliotheques Nationalcs, 
then founded, was granted financial independence and "civil 
personality"; a block grant was thenceforth made to meet all material 
expenditure (administration, purchases, binding, and catalogues), and 
it formed the principal item of revenue in a budget administered by 
the Administrator-General, aided by an Administration Council* 
Other revenue was derived from the sale of catalogues, photographic 
services, and exhibitions. Another benefit conferred by the new 
arrangement was the ability of the Library to carry forward any 
unexpended portion of its annual revenue to the following year, 
Further financial assistance granted from 1932 as part of the plans for 
national financial reform and the relief of unemployment helped 
temporarily to reduce arrears of binding and purchases of books, but 
rising prices soon outstripped the grants made. A grant received in 
1930 from the Rockefeller Foundation helped matters for a while, but 
by 1938 binding had ceased almost completely. At the end of die 
Second World War, many books were in such a state of disrepair that 
they could not be issued fof use, and special allocations from the 
budget of the library were made annually in an effort to wipe out 
arrears of binding. In the years immediately preceding the Second 
World War, the congestion of the book storage had caused financial 
priority to be given to alterations and improvements in the buildings. 

A special grant of 1,000,000 francs was made in 1935 to enable the 
library to buy a particularly important coition of 3x9 letters of 


Napoleon to Marie Louise. Another special grant made in 1939 to 
commemorate the i5Oth anniversary of the French Revolution was 
used to produce the Catalogue de theatre du la Revolution, and part of the 
Catalogue de I'histoire de la Revolution frangaise, and to purchase the 
MS. of the Esprit des lois of Montesquieu. Special grants, again, have 
been made to assist in the reconstruction of the buildings. 
The principal items of expenditure in 1955 were: 


Salaries 364,854,000 

Lighting, heating, etc. . . 76,388,000 

Purchases and binding . . 66,500,000 

Printing catalogues . . 25,025,000 

Photography . . . . 13,280,000 

Sundries 30,827,000 



Guide du lecteur a la Bibliotheque Nationale, a la Mazarine, et a 1' Arsenal. 

2nd edition. 1930. 
La Bibliotheque Nationale pendant les annees 1930-32 [etc.]. Rapport a M. le 

Ministre de 1'Education Nationale. 1935- . [Issued as supplement to the 

Journal offidel de la Repulliquefran$aise.] 

La Bibliotheque Nationale. 1952. (La Documentation fran^aise illustree.) 
Annuaire des bibliotheques et des archives. Nouvelle edition par A. Vidier. 

Cain, J. Les Transformations de la Bibliotheque Nationale et le dep6t annexe 

de Versailles. 1936. pp. 51. (Bulletin des bibliotheques. Special Number.) 
La Bibliotheque Nationale. (Extrait de Medecine de France, no. 52.) 

pp. 16. 1954- 
Chabrier, M. The Bibliotheque Nationale, 1940-44. 1945. In: Journal of 

Documentation, vol. i. pp. 136-47- 
Couderc, C. Notice sur la Bibliotheque Nationale. (Extrait de la Grande 

Encyclopedic.) 1888* pp* 51. 
Delisle, L. V. Bibliotheque Nationale. Rapport sur les collections du Departe- 

ment des Imprimes. 1885. 

Notes sur le Departement des Imprime's. 1891. pp. 61. 

Introduction, pp. IxxxiL In: Catalogue general des livres imprimis de la 

Bibliotheque Nationale: Auteurs. vol. i. 1897. 

Le Cabinet des Manuscrits. 3 vol. i868-8j. 

Dupuy, Suzanne. L'Activit6 bibliographique et documentaire a la Bibliotheque 

Nationale (etUstegea&ale des catalogues). 1932. In: Revue des bibliotheques. 

trimestres i, z. 


Franklin, A. L. A. Precis de I'histoire de la Bibliotheque du Roi, aujourd'hui 

Bibliotheque Nationale. Deuxieme Edition, corrigee et tres-augmentee. 

1875. pp. vii, 341. 
Histoire de la Bibliotheque Mazarine et du Palais de 1'Institut. Deuxieme 

edition. 1901. pp. xxxii, 401. 
Gaston-Cherau, F. Le Departement des Imprimes et le dep6t legal a la 

Bibliotheque Nationale. 1953. In: Cahiers fran9ais d'information. no. 234. 

Pp. 1-5- 
Labrouste, L. La Bibliotheque Nationale, ses bailments et ses constructions. 

1885. pp. 94. 
Ledos, E. G. Histoire des catalogues des livres imprimes de la Bibliotheque 

Nationale. 1936. pp. xx, 272. 

Lemaitre, HL Histoire du dep6t legal, ire partie (France). 1910. pp. Iviii. 130. 
Marcel, H., Bouchot, H., and Babelon, E. La Bibliotheque Nationale. 1907. 

pp. 134. (Les grandes institutions de France.) [Lays special stress on the 

Medals and Prints and on the buildings.] 
Meyer, J. The Bibliotheque Nationale in the last decade. 1942. In: Library 

Quarterly, vol. 12. pp. 805-26. 
Mortreuil, T. La Bibliotheque Nationale, son origine et ses accroissements 

jusqu' nos jours. Notice historique. 1878. pp. 174. 
Vallee, L, La Bibliotheque Nationale: choix de documents pour servir a 

Thistoire de Tetablissement et de ses collections. 1894. pp. xii, 525. 
Les Catalogues imprimes de la Bibliotheque Nationale. 1953. pp. 204, xxvii, 
Le Livre. Les plus beaux exemplaires de la Bibliotheque Nationale. 1949. 

(La Tradition fran^aise.) 




The National Library of Vienna has a long history, and the tide of 
Hofbibliothek, which it held down to 1920, denotes its intimate 
connection with the Imperial House of Hapsburg. The Hapsburgs, 
as rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and afterwards as Emperors of 
Austria, had reigned at various times over territories as wide apart as 
Naples and the Low Countries; further, most of the Emperors were 
ardent book collectors themselves, took a personal interest in the 
Library, and did their best to enforce the law of legal deposit throughout 
their dominions. The Library, therefore, had more facilities than any 
other for acquiring literature of all languages, and its librarians, drawn 
from all parts of the Empire, and having connections with all the 
leading scholars of Europe, not only directed buying to scholarly 
ends, but were early advised of any important collection of books or 
manuscripts that was coming on the market. 

The University of Vienna was founded in 1364 and gradually built 
up a valuable library, while the town of Vienna had one from 1466, 
though in neither case was the existence of the library uninterrupted; 
both were incorporated in the Hofbibliothek in die eighteenth century. 
The origins of the Hofbibliothek are obscure, but must lie well before 
1526, the date of the first reference to it. The present account of its 
early history is based on the Commentarii of Peter Lambeck, Librarian 
from 1663 to 1680, but research still in progress may ultimately show 
events in a different light. Its foundation has been attributed to Maxi- 
milian I; his father, Frederick (third Emperor of that name) had been a 
famous collector and patron of learning, and had a valuable collection 
of manuscripts, but these book treasures, together with others in the 
Royal Library, were still kept in the Imperial Castle at Innsbruck, 
and did not find their way into the Hofbibliothek till later. The Hof- 
bibliothek, as a matter of fact, owed few of its treasures to its founder; 
its first benefactor was Ferdinand I (1519-64), who is often, referred 
to as the founder of the Library (in 1526). Frederick III had built 



up a very fine library by his own collecting, and by engrossing libraries 
of members of the Royal House. Maximilian enlarged these and 
formed one collection of them at Innsbruck. In the next century 
the collection of Sigismund von Tyrol came to the Royal Library, and 
it was not until 1665 that the Emperor Leopold (1657-1705) gave the 
greater part of this valuable collection to the Hof bibliothek, while 
Lambeck was Librarian. Under Maria Theresa another private collec- 
tion of the Hapsburgs at Graz was given to the Hof bibliothek. 

It may be noted here that the nineteenth-century historian of the 
Library, Ignaz Mosel, who published a history of the Hof bibliothek in 
1835, and was in the service of the Emperor as chief librarian at the 
time of writing, emphasises the part played by the Emperors in the 
development of the Library; all were patrons of learning, and en- 
couraged the buying of valuable collections to the utmost of their 
power. The periods of expansion in the history of the Hof bibliothek are 
associated, more perhaps than in sister institutions, with the importance 
of the librarians' personalities, in that they were allowed considerable 
freedom of action. 

The Library was fortunate in its early librarians, who were scholars 
of repute; the first Librarian (though that title was not employed till 
nearly a century later) was Conrad Celtis, who held office from 
1497-1508, and was followed by Johann Cuspinian (1508-29), 
described by Mosel as "one of the most noble and learned men of his 
time/* Through the care and industry of these men the Library 
enjoyed important accessions of MSS.: to Cuspinian's zeal as a private 
collector the Library is indebted for its works from the celebrated 
collection of Matthias Corvinus. During his diplomatic service at the 
Hungarian Court between 1510 and 1526, Cuspinian succeeded in 
borrowing from the Bibliotheca Corvina various precious MSS. In 
1526 the Corvina fell into the hands of the Turks on the surrender of 
Buda, but the MSS. which Cuspinian had secured were sold after his 
death to Johann Faber, Bishop of Vienna, passing subsequently to the 
University library which was in 1756 incorporated into the Hof- 
bibliothek. Sixty-three codices, together with ninety-two incunabula 
and nine other printed books from Cuspinian's library, still survive in 
the Nationalbibliothek. 

The foundations of the collection of Greek MSS. were kid by 
Busbeck, who collected MSS. from Asia and Greece while he was 
ambassador at the court of Solyman II, and left them to the 
Hofbibliothek at his death in 1592; and Sambucus, who at his death in 
1584 left a library of about 3,000 volumes. Other important collections 
which came to the Library in this century were: that of Dr. Wolfgang 


Lazius, who during an interregnum in the Library between 1557 and 
1575 unofficially kept an eye on the place till bis death in 1565; in the 
collection were MSS. from the monasteries of Austria, Swabia, and 
Switzerland which he had rescued from neglect and possible 
destruction; also that of Hans Dernschwamm, a great traveller, who 
had collected diligently on his journeyings, notably the famous MS. 
Chronicon Joannis Zonarce in two volumes, bought at Constantinople. 
The library of Bishop Johann Faber, who died in 1541, and left a 
considerable number of MSS. and printed books, passed first to the 
University library and thence to the Hofbibliothek. 

In 1575, MaximiHan II appointed Hugo Blotius as Librarian, the 
first to hold this title. Blotius was born at Delft, and had won a 
European reputation as a man of learning before he took up the post of 
Librarian. Under Rudolph II, 1576-1612, who was a patron of 
learning, and a librarian with energy and organising ability, the Library- 
took on new life. Not only did Blotius see to the increase of the 
stock of the Library, but he devoted himself to the equally important 
side of organisation and rendering the treasures of the Library accessible 
to scholars. The seriousness with which he viewed his duties may be 
seen from the proposals which Blotius drew up and sent to the Emperor 
in 1579, for the "enlarging, beautifying and better ordering of the 
Imperial book collection," and his dictum that a librarian should give 
up all other business showed how important the Hofbibliothek had 
already become. Under him the number of volumes rose to 9,000, 
and MSS. to 1,600. The law of legal deposit was brought in at the 
beginning of his term of office. 

Blotius was succeeded by Sebastian Tengnagel (1608-36), who had 
acted as assistant since 1601, and had started on an alphabetical 
author-index to Blotius's catalogues. Apart from his work in 
cataloguing and rearrangements of the Library, which will be dealt 
with in another section, Tengnagel, through Hs relations with scholars 
all over the world, was able to acquire rare works from many countries. 
In 1619 Ferdinand became Emperor Ferdinand II, and the first thing he 
did for the Library was to consider moving it from the unfavourable 
site of the Minorite monastery to the Hof burg. This was carried out 
in 1623. He also tightened up the law of legal deposit by a decree 
which made it compulsory for all German publishers to deposit four 
copies at the Hofbibliothek. 

Lending books outside the Library was at all times allowed to 
accredited scholars, but the loss through non-return was always 
considerable; to see that books were returned by borrowers was one 
of the points in Blotius's proposals for improving the Library, while it 


is related that it took Tengnagel thirteen years to get back a priceless 
MS. that he had generously lent to the historical writer, de Thou, at 

Apart from his work as Librarian, Tengnagel will always be 
remembered for his library of rare MSS. and printed works, which he 
left at his death to the Hofbibliothek, since has 'Oriental and Hebrew 
MSS. laid the foundations of the present valuable collection of 

The next acquisition of importance was the famous and very valuable 
Fugger Library, acquired in 1655 under Tengnagel's successor, 
"Wilhelm Rechberger; it contained 15,000 volumes including all 
departments of knowledge, and was bought by Ferdinand III for 
15,000 gulden. The library of the famous astronomer, Tycho Brahe, 
was acquired under the next Librarian, Mathias Mauchter (1651-63). 

In 1662, the Emperor appointed the learned and much travelled 
scholar, Peter Lambeck ("Lambecius"), to be his Historiographer and 
Librarian. His description of the Library when he took office throws 
light on the neglect of his predecessors, after Tengnagel, who had 
died in 1636, and on the work he accomplished: "Ich fand den Schatz 
uber meinen Hofihungen und Wiinschen, aber so sehr im Staub 
begraben, so durch Schmutz und Verwirrung entstellt, dass es vdllig 
das Ansehen hatte, als sei er schon durch viele Jahre als verlassen 
betrachtet worden." He was no better pleased with the building, 
which he found dark and damp, and not even rainproof Lambeck's 
great achievements were his catalogues, which will be referred to in 
another section, his work in restoring the Library by having it cleaned 
and repaired, and generally encouraging its use by the public, and 
thirdly the wealth of accessions to the Library during his term of 
office (1663-80) ; these included his own library for which he sent from 
Hamburg, parts of the library formed by the Archduke Ferdinand II 
at Ambras, a collection of Greek MSS. bought in Venice, and the noted 
library of the Marquis Cabrega from Spain. The greater part of the 
Archducal Library at Innsbruck, with which had been amalgamated the 
library of Sigismund von Tyrol, was returned under David Nesscl, 
Librarian 1680-1700. 

For the first half of the eighteenth century the office was held by no 
one of special merit, the only noteworthy administrative event being 
the appointment of the first Prefects, Riccardi and Garelli, in 1725. 
Besides the two Prefects the staff consisted of two Custoden, four 
Scriptoren, and three Bibliotheksdiener. The two Prefects were appointed 
by the Emperor, the others by the Prefects. 

The chief acquisitions of importance in this period were the valuable 


collection of Baron von Hohendorff, General-Adjutant of Prince 
Eugene of Savoy, rich in Grolier bindings, the library of the 
Archbishop of Valencia, and many valuable Greek MSS. acquired from 
Venice and Naples, and in 1738 the library of Prince Eugene himself, 
rich in works of all lands (15,000 volumes) and containing many MSS. : 
it also contained prints which formed the basis for the present collec- 
tion of the Albertina Museum, formerly included in the library. 

The new building, a description of which will be given in another 
section, was erected in the reign of the Emperor Charles VI, from 
1723-26. The books were counted at the time of the removal and 
numbered 90,000 volumes. 

The second half of the eighteenth century was covered by the 
General Prefectures of the two van Swietens, father and son, Gerard, 
1745-72, and Gottfried, 1777-1803, They had the good fortune to 
have a series of very good men under them, especially Adam Kollar, 
who entered the service of the Library as first Scriptor in 1746, and who 
was made the first Director of the Library in 1774, which post he held 
till 1777; his special work lay with the catalogues. Under the van 
Swietens' regime the Library acquired many valuable accessions both 
by purchase and by gift; in 1756, as mentioned above, the University 
Library was incorporated, with its wealth of ancient MSS., and in 
1780 the town library, new collections being established in each 
institution however, to replace those removed. Also in 1756, the 
private library of the Emperor Charles VI, father of Maria Theresa, 
from the Imperial castle at Graz was added. 

The richest collections acquired in the eighteenth century were, 
however, from the Jesuits and from the monasteries. The Order of 
Jesuits was dissolved in 1775, and by an Imperial decree lists of the 
Jesuit college libraries were examined, and all books not duplicated in 
the Hofbibliothek were moved there, the rest being distributed among 
other institutions; the Jesuit colleges at Vienna and Wiener Neustadt 
had the richest libraries. The Chorherrenstift St. Dorothea, the 
Augustinian monasteries of St. Sebastian and St. Roche at Vienna, and 
a few other monasteries had their MS. collections taken for the 
Hofbibliothek, but Smital, in his history of the Hofbibliothek, deplores 
the fact that the monastic collections were not worked over more 
thoroughly, as they were in France and Bavaria; the greater part of the 
monastic libraries remained undisturbed, and the treasures of some, 
such as the forty-two-line Bible from Melk, appeared in the market 
after the First "World War. The Jesuit libraries contributed by far the 
larger share. 

Other valuable acquisitions during this period were books from the 

7 NLW 


sale of the library of Prince Charles of Lorrain from Brussels, and from 
the sale of the Due de la Valliere's library in Paris. 

The acquisitions and improvements in the Library noted by van 
Swieten as made between 1765 and 1785, included: 

(1) increases of books, MSS. 9 and prints, including 1,000 printed books, more 
than 1,000 incunabula, and 472 MSS. of special value; 

(2) developments in organisation and administration, this chiefly in the 
revision of old catalogues, in the preparation of the new printed catalogue, 
and in the opening of a special department for Prints, as well as a special 
room for incunabula, which must be the first provision made anywhere 
for the study of early printing. 

During the Revolutionary Wars, Vienna was constantly under 
threat of capture by the French; in 1797 the most valuable books and 
museum pieces were prepared for evacuation; in 1805 they were 
repacked and sent away to Hungary on the approach of the French; in 
1809 the same was done, and this time Vienna was occupied, and the 
French, following Napoleon's usual policy, took all the objects of 
special value that were left, to enrich the Paris libraries and museums. 
In 1813, the books were brought back from Hungary, and after the 
Treaty of Vienna, the Hof bibliothek received back most of its treasures 
from Paris. During these troubled years the holders of the office of 
Prefect were Baron Bernhard von Jenisch (1803-07), Baron von 
Steffaneo-Carnea (1807-09), and Count Ossolinsky (1809-26). 

The chief need of the Library at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century was an adequate catalogue. The details of this work will be 
dealt with in another section, and it is sufficient to say here that by 
1824 the new alphabetical catalogue was finished, and a subject- 
catalogue put in hand. This work was carried out under Moritz 
Dietrichstein, Prefect from 1826 to 1845, followed by Baron Eligius 
von Miinch-Bellinghausen (1845-71) and Ernst von Birk (1871-91). 
To Dietrichstein also the Library owes the foundation of the modern 
collections of music and autographs. 

The other pressing need of the Library was room for expansion, 
which had really been a problem ever since the new building had been 
occupied in 1726-28. Various palliative devices will be described in 
another section, but the work of the librarians was greatly hampered 
by the constant lack of room, not only for storage of books but for 
administrative work, especially the task of compiling and preparing 
the catalogues. 

The chief accessions in this century were the collection of the famous 
Orientalist, Joseph von Hammer-PurgstaU; the autograph collections 
of the librarian of the Marciana an4 literary historian, Bartolomeo 


Gamba, and that of the French palaeographer, Antoine Sylvestre de 
Sacy (1840 and 1855); and the collection of Oriental MSS. of Eduard 
Gkser. In the present century the chief MSS. acquisitions have been 
the papyrus collection added under the Prefectship of Josef Karabacek 
(1899-1917), who was also a Professor of Oriental Languages. The 
basis of the collection was formed by papyri acquired by the Archduke 
Rainier through Theodor Graf, an Austrian merchant living in 
Egypt, and presented to the Library in 1899. 

At the end of the nineteenth century the growth of the Library was 
not commensurate with its importance; it was indeed in danger of 
losing its position in the front rank of libraries. Birk, who held office 
from 1871-91, had devoted his energies primarily to the work of 
arranging the Library and the preparation of the catalogues, but the 
difficulties under which he worked made it impossible to maintain 
the flow of accessions at its former level. 

In 1891, William von Hartel was appointed Director, and he 
instituted reforms which saved die Library from becoming merely a 
museum and a "Fachbibliothek for history and Austriaca." He enforced 
the law of legal deposit, and by vigorous buying did his best to fill 
the gaps of the last twenty years; he set in hand a subject-catalogue 
and organised the arrangement of numerous small, almost forgotten, 
collections such as Sinica and Japonica, Rarissima and Erotica, and 
a large collection of pamphlets. He also improved conditions for 
the use of the reading room, though not much could be done until the 
building was enlarged. 

His successor, Heinrich von Zeissberg, was only in office for three 
years (1896-99), but he carried on the cataloguing and reforming work 
of Hartel, and as an economy in shelf-space introduced the use of the 
numerus amens consecutive numbers used as shelf marks, without 
regard to the subject-matter of books. 

Karabacek's term of office, 1899-1917, covered the period of highest 
prosperity, and also, with the First World War, a time of great trial. 
The rebuilding so long needed was at last carried out, and the urgently 
required special and general reading rooms and book stacks provided. 
Following on this, since now there was room for the separate housing 
of all the special collections, came the proper definition of the 
departments and reorganisation of the staff. But perhaps his greatest 
achievement for the Library lay in his publicity work; Karabacek made 
the Library known to Vienna and the world at large, chiefly by an 
excellent series of exhibitions arranged in the magnificent "Prunksaal." 
The celebration of the 5OOth anniversary of the birth of Gutenberg was 
followed the next year by an exhibition 8 of miniatures, and again by 


other exhibitions, while for 1914 was planned a great exhibition of the 
history of the book. 

The War caused a suspension of most of the activities of the Library; 
the reading room was closed, except to special readers, a great many of 
the treasures stored away, and a very much restricted service provided. 
The only positive accomplishments of these years were the starting of 
the War Collection, subsequently merged in the general collection of 
printed books, and the final opening in 1916 of what had been planned 
for 1914, an exhibition of the history of the book. 

Karabacek retired in 1917, and died in 1918, just before the break-up 
of the Empire. Under his successor, Josef Donabaum (1917-22), the 
future of the former Hofbibliothek had to be resolved. In 1919 it 
passed to the ownership of the new Austrian Republic, and to the 
control of the Ministry of Education, its name being altered to 
Nationalbibliothek (from 1945, Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek). 
Immediately after the First World War, claims were made by the 
States of the former Empire and by Italy for the restitution of many 
important items among the collections. Despite certain losses, however, 
the bulk of the former Imperial collections were incorporated in the 
Library. The collection of engravings, however, including those of 
Prince Eugene, was transferred to the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung 
Albertina with the exception of the portraits, retained for the portrait 
collection of the Library, and the topographical engravings and 
maps, retained for the map collection. The greater part of the books 
on art in the collections of the Nationalbibliothek are deposited 
on loan in the Albertina. The Imperial Fideikommissbibliothek, en 
the other hand, which included a collection of portraits, was 
incorporated into the Nationalbibliothek. 

During the period between the First and Second World Wars, 
despite considerable material difficulties the Library aimed at preserving 
and widening the comprehensive nature of its collections and 
catalogues, and relinquishing the exclusive character of a Court 
Library, so that the collections might be available to as wide a circle of 
readers as possible. This conception is due particularly to Josef Bick, 
from 1923 Director, and from 1926 Director General of the Library, 
During his tenure of office the hours of opening of the reading room 
were extended and a periodicals reading room arranged, new stacks 
constructed under the Prunksaal, examinations for the senior grades of 
staff introduced, and modern card catalogues compiled In 1938 he 
was removed from office by the German authorities, but returned in 
1945, until his retirement in 1949, when he was succeeded by Dr. Josef 
Stummvoll. Bick died in 1952; bis achievements at the Library, 


together with such tasks as his work in bringing about the establishment 
of a government inspectorate of libraries, and introducing a generally 
accepted code of cataloguing rules, render him a unique figure in 
Austrian librarianship. 

Apart from damage to the Friedrich Palace, the building housing the 
music and papyri, the Library and its collections suffered no serious 
injury during the Second World War. The most valuable material was 
evacuated or removed to underground shelters, while many books were 
added to the Library from the stocks of booksellers which had been 
confiscated by the Germans. The partial destruction of the University 
Library caused unusually heavy demands on the services of the 

The stocks of the Library on December 31, 1955, were as follows: 

Printed Books 

Printed books (including the reference collections of other depart- 
ments) (volumes) 1,521,488 

Incunabula (administered with the MS. collection) . . (volumes) 7,778 

Current periodicals. Austrian 2,704 

Foreign 1,362 

newspapers. Viennese 26 

Provincial 124 

Foreign 30 

Leaflets approx. 25,000 

Bookplates 7,789 


Manuscripts (volumes) 35,076 

Autographs 103,906 

Lantern slides 1,809 


Manuscript music (volumes) 30,393 

Printed (volumes) 63,842 

Gramophone records 390 


Sheet maps 127,531 

Geographical and topographical illustrations 118,274 

Globes 69 

Papyri and contemporary writings approx. 100,000 


Prints and Portraits 

Portraits 336,165 

Miscellanea 13,45^ 

Negatives 294,641 

Theatre Collection 

Single sheets (Theatre rickets, newspaper cuttings, etc.) . . . . 374>4i<5 

Textbooks of plays, etc. 124,894 

Autographs 52,057 

Illustrations (Drawings, engravings, photographs) 240,995 

Lantern slides *455 

Stage models 702 

Cinema "stills" 92,513 

Films H3 

Gramophone records 7 

Other items *oo 

A form of legal deposit was introduced in 1579 but it was not clearly 
defined until confirmed by Ferdinand II in 1624. Legal deposit is at 
present secured under a law of 1922 controlling the press, which is now 
undergoing revision. The Library is entitled to two copies of every 
book printed or published in Austria and four copies of every number 
of periodicals and newspapers. Where the retail price of any individual 
volume exceeds 200 schillings, the Library must pay one-half. Books 
must be deposited within eight days of printing or publication. 

The Library is administered by the State through the Ministry of 


About the early buildings in which the Hof bibliothek was housed, 
we know little. In a decree of June 15, 1575, appointing the first 
Librarian, it was ordered that the connection between the Minorite 
monastery, in which the collection then was, and the adjoining 
"Hofhospitale," was to cease from then on. This is important, as 
Mosel points out, because it indicates the first site of the Hof bibliothek, 
as to which, before the finding of this document, complete uncertainty 

That the Minorite monastery did not provide an ideal building for 
the Library is seen from the complaints made (the General of the 
Minorite Order also complained of the occupation of the Monastery 
by the Library!), and when Ferdinand II became Emperor, the first 
thing he did was to consider the moving of the Library from this 
unfavourable site. In 1623 it was transferred to the Hofburg. 


We have a description of the building in 1663, when Lambeck took 
up office. The rooms, eight in number, were dark and damp, with no 
free passage of air, and designed neither for the safety of the books nor 
for their convenient use; the windows opened directly on the street so 
that only noise and dirt came through them, and the building was not 
even rainproof. Lambeck had the place cleaned and repaired and the 
books made available to the public, but the building was not adequate 
for the expanding needs of the Library, and finally under Charles VI a 
new building in the baroque style was erected in 1723-26, after a plan 
by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. The main feature of the new 
building is a magnificent hall, 241 feet in length, forty-five feet in 
breadth, and varying between forty-eight and eighty-two feet in 
height, decorated with marble Corinthian pillars, and with a statue of 
Charles VI in the middle, and other statues of princes of the Empire 
round the hall. In the middle of the ceiling is an oval cupola, and round 
the cupola and on the ceilings on each side are frescoes painted by 
Daniel Gran between 1726 and 1730. Opening out of the hall are 
various small rooms used for special rarities and for administrative 

In 1766 cracks appeared, which necessitated strengthening the 
foundations, and at the same time an additional room was built on the 
left of the building, forming a left wing, in the place of the old entrance 
steps; it was used as a reading room (the Alte Lesezimmer] till 1905; 
until 1769 the main hall (the Prunksaal) had been the reading room. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the question of space 
became more and more acute; accommodation for the staff, the public 
and the books was entirely inadequate, and the Emperor was unwilling 
to find money for a new building, which would have been the only 
adequate solution of the problem. Instead of this, a number of palliative 
devices were applied from time to time. 

Temporary solutions of the book storage problem included: the 
addition in 1830 of the Library hall of the Augustinians; this was used 
as a book depot but was soon filled. In 1828 the lack of shelf room was 
temporarily remedied by erecting in the great hall sixty-four extra 
bookcases, which were filled with the special collections, MSS., 
music, etc. In 1856 the most pressing kck of room was overcome by 
the erection of special book stacks, which enabled the bookcases in the 
main hall to be removed. These stacks remained till the rebuilding of 
1903-06, when new and more convenient stacks were erected. 

Another problem was that of reading-room space; the old reading 
room, which was used from 1766 to 1905, was not big enough even at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century. It occupied a long narrow 


rectangle, lit by windows only at each of the narrow ends. In the 
middle was one long table at which about forty people could find a 
place. In window recesses and against the wall were writing tables for 
the staff, who had to do all their work there, with the public who were 
unable to find seats crowding round them. In alterations to the 
building during 1903-06, the Library hall of the Augustinians was 
reconstructed to provide a new reading room seating 130 persons, and 
additional reading rooms were built for some of the special collections, 
notably those of MSS. and Music, providing in all 280 places. In 1921 
the print collection was removed to the Friedrich Palace, and with it 
the music and papyri. The MSS. were then moved to where the prints 
had been, while the removal of the papyri gave more room to the 
theatrical and map collections. In 1923 a newspaper reading room was 
arranged over the reading room. In 1926 the front of the Library was 
restored, and in 1928-30 two large book stacks were erected under the 
Prunksaal; they were extended in 1950-51, and the Pntnksaal itself and 
the exterior of the building were completely renovated in 1954-56. 
The lack of space still presents a serious problem, however. As early as 
1933 a central building was proposed, to contain the collections of the 
National Library, and of the Libraries of Vienna University and 
the Technische Hochschule at Vienna, but financial difficulties led to 
the abandonment of the scheme. The present annual increase of some 
30,000 volumes and the destruction of the Friedrich Palace in 1945 
have made additional accommodation an urgent necessity. It is there- 
fore proposed, in a plan approved by the Ministry of Education in 
December 1956, to provide space by using a part of the Ncue Hofburg, 
which lies in the immediate vicinity of the Library, to house the 
collection of printed books and to provide new reading rooms and 
new accommodation for catalogues and staff. 


A. General and of Printed Books 

The first Librarian, Blotius (1575-1608), was responsible for the first 
catalogues; he produced an alphabetical catalogue of the contents of the 
Library in fourteen MS. volumes and also a catalogue of the historical 
boob. 1 Tengnagel, who was appointed as assistant to Blotius in 1600, 
started an alphabetical author-index and finished it in 1605 ; he also 
made special indexes to the MSS., arranged according to their 

1 For a detailed description of Hugo Blotius and his cataloguing work, see "Miszellen 
zur Geschichte der Wiener Palatina." (In: Festschrift der Nationalbibliothek in Wien, 
1926. pp. 77I-94-) 


differences of language and contents. Between 1651 and 1663 Mauchter 
produced a two-volume catalogue of the contents of the Library, with 
a third volume as an alphabetical index, which was the first 
comprehensive index of the separate collections. 

Lambeck (1663-80), among his other activities, planned a complete 
catalogue, which would embrace a subject-catalogue, an alphabetical 
catalogue of authors' names, and a shelf list, but time was lacking to 
carry out all his schemes, and he only produced vols. 1-8 of his 
Commentaries, i.e. Catalogues of MSS. This work was carried on by 
Gentilotti (1704-23). Kollar, who was in the service of the Library 
from 1746 to 1783, was first set to work by the Prefect, van Swieten, 
to finish the "Commentaries" of Lambeck, and the first volume of 
these revised "Commentaries" appeared in 1766 under the title Petr. 
Lambecii Hamburgensis Commentariorum de augustissima Bibliotheca 
ccesarea Vindobonensi, liber primus [etc.]. Editio alter a opera et studio 
Adami Frandsd Kollarii. In 1793 appeared another catalogue of MSS. 
produced by Denis, making a second section of the revised Lambecius. 

In 1780 the Prefect, van Swieten the younger, set in hand the 
production of a new general catalogue of printed books, and additional 
staff was provided for the task. In 1816 proposals were made for a new 
printed catalogue, and in 1824 the new alphabetical printed catalogue 
was finished, and bound up in twenty-eight folio volumes; it grew in 
the course of the nineteenth century to sixty-one volumes, and was 
carried on till 1906. There has been a complete card catalogue since 

Dietrichstein, who was faced with special difficulty through lack of 
room for his work, was instrumental in starting a subject-catalogue, 
taking the alphabetical catalogue, after correction, as the basis of the 
new catalogue. His work was carried on by Munch (1845-71), who 
started a card catalogue, and finished under Birk (1871-91). Parallel 
with this work went on the revision and improvement of the catalogue 
of incunabula, the arrangement of the autographs, and the preparation 
of a general index of Latin MSS. 

In 1901 appeared the instructions for the cataloguing work of the 
Library, entitled Vorschrift fur die Verfassung des dphabetischen Nominal- 
Zettelkatalogs der Druckwerke der k.k. Hofbibliothek. 

Modern printed catalogues are: 

Generalkatalog der laufenden periodischen Druckschriften. (Anhang. 

Periodica der Lk. Hofbibliothek in Wien.) 1898. 
Verzeichnis der Handbibliothek des Druckschriften-Lesesaales der National- 

Bibliotbek in Wien. 1923. Nachtrage 1-4. 1924-27. 
Zuwachsverzeichnis der Druckscliriften der Nationalbibliothek. (Anhang. 


Zuwachs der Spezialsammlungen.) 1923-30; from 1931 continued as 
Osterreichischen Gesamtzuwachsverzeichnis ("Oe. Z.") unter Mitarbeit 
von 32 Bibliotheken, 

Koch, Franz. Schlagwortkataloge iiber die Bestande der Nationalbibliothek 
auf dem Gebiete der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturgeschichte. 1928. 

From 1930 the Vienna tides, so far as they duplicated the German, 
were incorporated, in the Deutscher Gesamtkcitalog, in the Berlin 
accessions, Berliner Titeldrucke, from 1931, and in the Gesamtkatalog der 
Wiegendrucke, until their publication was suspended during the Second 
World War. In conjunction with the Austrian Booksellers' Association 
the Library has published a national bibliography, Osterreichische 
Bibliographic, since 1946, and from 1949 to 1953 a bibliography of 
music, Osterreichische Mt4sikbibliographie. Printed catalogue cards are 
available for purchase by other libraries. 

Catalogues in use in the Library are: 

An author catalogue on large cards, commenced in 1848, and including all 
works published between 1501 and 1929. 

Two author catalogues on cards of international size, compiled according 
to the Prussian Instructions, of publications issued since 1930. One of these 
is available to the public. 

Two subject catalogues on cards of international size, one including all 
accessions from 1923, die odaer, for public use, of books published since 1930. 

Registers of accessions. 

B. Manuscripts 
The chief printed catalogues of MSS. are: 

Lambeck, Peter. Petri Lambecii Commentariorum de bibliotheca Caesarea 

Vindobonensi liber I (-VIII). 1665-79. 2nd ed. prepared by Adam KoIIar. 

9 vol. 1776-90. 
Nessel, Daniel de. Catalogus sive recensio specialis omnium codicum 

manuscriptorum graecorum, nee non linguarum orientalium bibliotheczE 

cassareae Vindobonensis. 1690. 
Denis, Michael Codices manuscript! theoiogici Bibliothccae palatiruc 

Vindobonensis latini aliarumque occidentis linguarum. 2 vol. 1793* 1800. 
Endlicher, Stephan. Catalogus codicum philologicorum latinorum. 1836. 
Chmel, Joseph. Die Handschriften der k.L Hof bibliothek Wien im Intcrcsse 

der Geschichte, besonders der Osterreichischen vcrzeichnet. 2 vol. 1840,41. 
Tabulae codicum manuscriptorum praeter Graecos et Oricntales in 

bibliotheca palatina Vindobonensi asscrvatorum. n vol. 1864-1912. 
Fliigel, Gustav L. Die arabischen, persischen und turkischerx 

Handschriften der k.k. Hof bibliothek zu Wien. 3 vol. 1 865-67. 
Hermann, J. H. Die illuminierten Handschriften und Inkuaabefct der 

Nationalbibliothek in Wien. Leipzig, 1923- . 


The collections of Greek and Arabic MSS. and the Greek, Latin, and 
Coptic papyri are in process of being catalogued. The incunabula 
form a section of the MSS. Department, and there is a separate card 
catalogue for them, arranged by printers and places of printing. The 
Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke (1925- ) will serve as the published 
catalogue of the collection. A printed catalogue of the Theatre 
Collection has been in course of publication since 1928. 


The Hof bibliothek was under the Emperor's direct supervision until 
the break-up of the Empire, and particularly down to the end of the 
eighteenth century, but even in the nineteenth century it was a 
Hofbibliothek in more than name. The Librarians, who from 1725 
onwards had the name of Prefects, were appointed directly by the 
Emperor, and the rest of the staff by the Prefects. Blotius was the first 
who had the title of Librarian (1575-1608), and he received a salary of 
200 gulden; it was he who wrote on the duties and qualifications of a 
librarian (that he should be learned in languages, diligent, quiet, and if 
not of noble blood should be given a title to enhance the dignity of his 
office), and emphasised the full-time nature of such a post. He was also 
the first to have an official assistant, Tengnagel, who later succeeded 
him in office. 

The organisation of the Library remained the same throughout the 
seventeenth century, but in the eighteenth century, with the growth 
of the collections, departmental organisation became necessary. In 
1725, as we have said, the office of Prefect was instituted, with a salary 
of 3,000 gulden; under the Prefects were two Custoden, who received 
1,500 and 1,200 gulden respectively; then came four Scriptoren, with 
salaries from 300 to 600 gulden, also Bibliotheksdiener and Hausknechte. 
In 1774, Adam Kollar was appointed as first Director with a salary of 
4,000 gulden, the equivalent of a Deputy Chief Librarian. 

In 1792 the personnel consisted of: Prefect, Director, four Custoden, 
four Scriptoren, three Bibliotheksdiener, and two Hausknechte. Under 
the van Swietens the separate organisation of departments began. The 
MSS. had always been the most important part, from the point of view 
of value, of the Library, and the special catalogue of them begun by 
Lambeck and carried on by Kollar and Denis had practically constituted 
them as a separate department from the seventeenth century. Owing 
to lack of space they had no permanent home in the building till the 
alterations of 1903-06 were made, when they were provided with 
storage space and a spacious and light reading room. Finally in 1921, 


when the Print and Portrait collection was separated from the Library 
and moved to the Albertina Museum, the MSS. collection was moved 
to the rooms formerly occupied by the Prints, gaining for a second 
time improved storage and working space. 

The Albertina, the collections of which are now independent of the 
Library, had as its foundations the prints which formed part of Prince 
Eugenes library acquired in 1738. It was developed under the van 
Swietens by Adam Bartsch, and by careful purchases and generous 
gifts became second to none in Europe. 

The collections of the Department of Printed Books numbered on 
December 31, 1956, 1,576,704 volumes; and among its special collec- 
tions are, the reference library of the Print collection (since 1921 
transferred to the Albertina), the library of the Portrait collection, and 
the private library of the Imperial House. 

The Music collection, instituted by Dietrichstein, is very rich, as 
befits the traditions of the country, and includes the collection of the 
Hapsburg Emperors, and that of the Fugger family. Gaps in the 
collection of MS. music are filled whenever possible by photographic 
facsimiles, and extensive use of microfilm is planned; sound recordings, 
both disc and film, are collected. In March 1945, one-third of the 
accommodation occupied by the Music Department was destroyed, 
with the loss of the reading room; the Department was reopened in 
1947, but complete service was not restored until the following year. 
Restoration, of the building was completed in 1954- 

The Geography and Map collection was organised when the new 
building of 1903-06 allowed room for it, with a reading room of its 
own. Views and panoramas from the print and portrait collection were 
added in 1932-34. 

The special Papyrus collection acquired by Karabacek in 1899 
numbers 43,000 Greek and 70,000 Oriental papyri. Eleven languages 
in all are represented, and there are also ostraka and painted panels. 
The papyri suffered when the building housing them was destroyed 
in 1945; its restoration was completed in 1954. Many photographic 
reproductions from items in this collection are made for scholars in 
other countries. 

There is also the Theatre collection, based on that of Hugo Thimig, 
which was acquired in 1920. It includes the archives of some of the 
most important theatres of Austria, and comprises, as well as some 
125,000 printed volumes, scene paintings and models of stages. 

The Society of Friends of the National Library, established in 1921, 
has given financial assistance to enable important items to be acquired 
for the collections, examples being the drawings made by Julius von 


Payer in the course of the Austro-Hungarian Arctic expedition, and 

letters and other MSS. of Albert von Teschen, son-in-law of Maria 
Theresa. It tries through its publications to make the collections and 
work of the Library more widely known. 
Accessions during 1955 were as follows: 


Legal uncatalogued 

Purchase Exchange Deposit Gift stocks Total 

Printed books .. .. 15,214 2,258 5,123 2,631 2,869 28,095 

Incunabula .... i - i 2 


MSS 9 8 18 35 

Autographs .. .. 2,700 139 2,839 

Lantern slides. . .. 4 4 


MSS 79 67 146 

Printed music . . 1,830 6 1,893 "0 3,849 

Gramophone records 147 33 180 


Sheet maps . . . . 2,204 885 329 645 4,063 

Topographical views 422 31 453 

Globes .... 5 i 6 

Prints and Portraits: 
Portraits (engravings 

and photographs) 2,172 656 11,782 14,610 

Miscellanea . . . . 68 517 221 806 

Negatives .. .. 8,007 2,314 1,025 **34<5 

Theatre Collection 

Single sheets .. .. 13,008 66 5,401 4,312 22,787 

Textbooks, MSS., etc. - i i 

Autographs .... 16 27 i 44 

Illustrations .. .. 5,320 3,380 119 8,819 

Stage models . . 3 3 

Lantern slides 10 16 26 

Gramophone records 3 3 

Other exhibits .. 99 99 


One leaf of papyrus was received during the year. 


Statistics for the use of the Library during 1955 were as follows: 
Readers (all departments except periodicals reading room) . . 62,371 

Volumes issued 93 ,021 

Local borrowers (including institutions) . . . * . . . . 1,388 

Volumes lent 40,529 

Inter-library loan: 

Volumes lent 5,i?7 to 267 libraries 

borrowed 1*185 from 154 

Periodicals Reading Room: 


Issues 52,274 

International Exchange 

The Library has exchange agreements with 75 countries. 57*^94 kg. of 
packages of books were despatched during 1955. 


The staff of the Library is as follows : 

Library service: Graduate grade . . . . 30 

Middle , 32 

Clerical .. -.15 

Attendants 28 

Printing and duplication . . 2 

Binders 5 

Repairers 6 

Administration 12 

Photographers 4 

Cleaners 7 

Night watchmen 2 

The staff of the Library are Civil Servants, Karabacek instituted a 
probationary year for candidates, and laid down a scale of qualifications, 
and in 1929 a fresh regulation was made dealing with practical 
instruction in libraries for the purpose of taking the examinations for 
learned libraries. All Austrian librarians during the course of their 
professional training spend six months working at the National- 


The Library has always lent books in the tradition of the German 
libraries, both for home reading and to other libraries, at home and 
abroad. In 1920 was founded, on the model of the Berlin Auskunfts- 
bureau, an office for locating books and arranging loans between 


libraries, known as the Buchernachweisstelle, itself in close co-operation 
with the Auskunftsbureau. The Second World War led to the suspen- 
sion of the activities of the Biichemachweisstelle, however. With 
the return of peace, a national and international system of inter-library 
lending was instituted, loans to and from the university and other 
learned libraries of Austria being made through the Nationalbibliothek. 
A union catalogue of foreign works acquired by Austrian libraries 
since 1945 is being compiled. The Library supplies photostats and 
microfilms of material in its collections: a new microfilm laboratory, 
opened in 1950, was the gift of Unesco. 

The International Exchange Office originated as a branch of the 
Smithsonian Institution in the Statistical Offices of the Austrian 
Government, and after transfer in 1928 to the Chancellery, became in 
February 1933, an integral part of the Nationalbibliothek. At this 
time the Library became one of those functioning as branches of the 
Smithsonian Institution. In 1941 the International Exchange Office, 
acting under instructions from Berlin, discontinued its activities, which 
were taken over by the Reichstauschstelle. Between 1945 and 1948 
there was no international exchange of books in Austria. At the 
beginning of 1948, however, the International Exchange Centre of the 
National Library (Osterr. Nationalbibliotheks Internationale Austausch- 
stelle) came into operation. 


The Imperial grant for the Library at the time of Blotius (1575-1608) 
was 300 gulden, and his salary was 200; while at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century the grant was 15,000 gulden a year and the 
Prefect received 3,000. The grant was never a large one in view of the 
size and importance of the Library, and of the fact that it was the central 
library for a whole Empire and not for Austria only; but the smallness 
of the grant was largely made up for by the generous special purchases 
made. Indeed there were very few libraries which came on the market 
from the sixteenth century onwards from which the Hofbibliothek did 
not make purchases. For bibliographical treasures the Imperial 
interest could nearly- always be stimulated so as to result in a special 
grant. It was not always so easy to get money from the Imperial 
exchequer for the necessary building, and through the nineteenth 
century all administrative work was hampered by lack of room. The 
difficulties of the Library were augmented during the years immediately 
following the Second World War by the general increase in costs, 
particularly in respect of staff salaries and book prices; but since 1955 
its financial situation has much improved. 


Expenditure for the year 1955 was as follows: 

Austrian schilling 

Purchase of books and periodicals 1,983,296.9 

Purchase of other items for the collections 681,449.1 

Binding 200,400.7; 

Materials and equipment (including the renovation of the 

Prunksaal) 2,894,323.6 

Other repairs 582,468.9 

Salaries 3,184,110.81 



Bohatta, JL, and Holzmann, M. Addressbuch der Bibliotheken des osterreich 

ungarischen Monarchic. Wien, 1900. (K.K. Hofbibliothek, pp. 289-93.) 
Petzholdt, Julius. Addressbuch der Bibliotheken Deutschlands mit Einschlus: 

von Osterreich-Ungarn und der Schweiz. Dresden, 1875. (K.K, 

Hofbibliothek, pp. 423-29.) 

Verzeichnis osterreichischer Bibliotheken, 1953. xvi, 192 pp. [Biblos- 
^ Sdiriften. no. i] 
Osterreichische Bibliotheken. Statistik und Personalverzeichnis. [Biblos- 

Schriften. no. 14,] 


Mosel, I. F. E. von. Geschichte der K.K. Hof-bibliothek zu Wien. 1835 

viii, 398 pp. 
Smital, O. Die Hofbibliothek. 1920. In: Die beiden Hofmuseen u. dk 

Hofbibliothek . . . von Heinrich Zimmerman, A. Handlirsch, u. O. Smital 

pp. 49-92. 
Teichl, R. Das osterreidhische BibKothekswesen der Gegenwart. 1926. /; 

Zentralblatt fiir Bibliodiekswesen. vol. 43. pp. 429-38. 
Trenkler, E. History of the Austrian Nationalbibliothek, 1947. ^ n: Library 

Quarterly, vol. 17. pp. 224-31. 
Festschrift der Nationalbibliothek in Wien, herausgegeben zur Feier des 

200-jahrigen Bestehens des Gebaudes. 870 pp. 1926. 
Die Nationalbibliothek und ihre Sammlungen. 1928. In: 10 Jahre Wied- 

Die Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek. Geschichte Bestande Aufgaben. 

Mit^S Abb. u 2 Planen. 63 pp. 1954. [Biblos-Schriften no. 6.] 
Die Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Festschrift herausgegeben zum 

25-jahrigen Dienstjubilaum des Generaldirektors . . . Dr. Josef Bick. 1948, 

xii, 683 pp. 


Festschrift fur Josef Stummvoll, Alois Kisser, Ernst Trenkler zum 50. 

Geburtstag . . . Zusammengestellt von M. Stickler und B. Zimmel in 

Zusammenarbeit mit W. Krieg. 1952. In: Das Antiquariat. vol. 8. nos. 13, 

Klos, Herbert. Die Papyrussammlung der Osterreichischen Nationalbibliothek. 

Mit einer Katalog der standigen Ausstellung. 1955. ix, 31 pp., xvi pi. 

[Biblos-Schriften. no. 9.] 
Buchowiecki, W. Der Barockbau der ehemaligen Hof bibliothek in Wien, ein 

Werk J. B. Fischers von Ehrlach. 1957. xi, 247 pp. [Museion, Veroffent- 

lichungen der Osterreichischen Nationalbibliothek. Neue Folge. Reihe 

2. vol. i.] 

8 NLW 




The activities of the State Library at Berlin, under its successive tides of 
Konigliche Bibliothek and Preussische Staatsbibliothek, date from 
1661 and continued without serious interruption until the Second 
World War brought damage or dispersal to much of its collections. 
Those that survived, with other material, now form the Deutsche 
Staatsbibliothek (from 1946 to 1954 OfFentliche Wissenschaftliche 
Bibliothek) which has succeeded the earlier foundation and occupies 
its restored building. The Library had owed its origin to a royal decree, 
and it remained under the close personal supervision of the royal house 
till towards the end of the eighteenth century, when the supervision 
passed into the hands of a department of the Ministry of the Interior, 
so that its history and fortune follow those of the State very closely, 
and it owes less perhaps than other libraries to individuals. 

On April 20, 1659, Frederick William, the Great Elector, gave 
instructions to his Privy Councillor at Berlin for the founding of a 
library, and in i<56i the Library was opened with the title of 
"Kurfurstliche Bibhothek zu Colin an der Spree" with Johann Raue as 
its first Librarian. Very litde is known of the private library of the 
Great Elector which was now handed over for public use; we know 
that it was housed in the top room of the casde, and we know the name 
of one predecessor of Raue, Joachim Hiibner, who was historiographer 
and private Librarian to the Elector, and who probably helped at the 
time of the transference and with advice over purchases. Its chief 
treasures were: a forty-two-line Gutenberg Bible; two German MSS.: 
der Trojanische Krieg and Flor und Blanchflor; and MSS. of Luther. 
That it was not a large library is shown by a remark made by a later 
Librarian, Christoph Hendreich, in a letter in i<58y that Frederick 
William had inherited so few books from his ancestors that they would 
be reckoned as hardly sufficient for a private gentleman's library. 

The new Public Library was placed in the top storey of the 
Schlossapotheke which formed the east wing of the electoral castle, and 



remained there for 120 years till 1780, when the new Royal Library 
was built by Frederick the Great, though the Great Elector planned to 
make a separate building for the Library (see below), and had begun on 
it when death interrupted his work. The Library, when public, 
remained under the close supervision of the Elector; when the work of 
the Librarians, Raue, joined in 1663 by Johann Vorstius and Christian 
von Hiembach, ceased to please him, he called in Christoph Hendreich, 
a Professor at Frankfurt am Oder to reorganise the administration of the 
Library, and Hendreich, assisted by his brother, carried out his work 
so expeditiously, including a rearrangement of the Library, and the 
compilation of a subject-catalogue, that the Elector conferred upon 
him the office of Librarian. Raue remained Librarian till his death 
in 1679, but after the arrival of Hendreich, Raue was pushed into the 
background, and Hendreich is remembered as the first important 
organiser of the Library; his classification and shelf arrangement 
remained in force until the end of the eighteenth century. But none of 
these early Librarians had any say in the spending of the income of the 
Library, which remained entirely in the hands of the Elector, and no 
purchase of books could be made without his consent. The allowance 
for the Library was derived rather curiously from dues paid for 
dispensation from having the banns called, for permission to marry 
one's cousin, and for the right to have more than the customary 
number of godparents these dues and some other legal fines provided 
the income of the Library until the end of the eighteenth century. The 
amount brought in varied, but for the seventeenth century averaged 
about 1,000 thaler a year; in the eighteenth century it rose considerably. 
The Elector not only used the regular income for book purchases, but 
bought special collections; he also added books to the Royal library 
from monastic libraries in Brandenburg and Westphalia, with others 
acquired as booty during his military campaigns, and encouraged other 
people to make gifts to the Library. The result of all this was that, at 
the death of its founder in 1688, the collections numbered 20,000 
volumes and about 1,600 MSS. In addition to providing a new 
building, the Great Elector had planned to have all the books in the 
Library rebound in red leather, but this also he (fortunately) did not 
live to see carried out, and after his death only a small number were 
completely rebound; these, however, survive, being distinguished by 
a gold-stamped monogram. 

Under Frederick III (1701 Frederick I, King of Prussia) the royal 
interest in the Library was continued, and it made good progress. Its 
use was regulated, hours of opening laid down, and borrowing 
restricted to Privy Councillors, members of learned societies, and other 


privileged persons. At Hendreich's suggestion, the post of Overseer 
(Oberaufseher) was instituted, the first to hold it being Graf von Warten- 
berg, who took upon himself the entire direction of the Library; one 
of his assistants in this office was the learned Ezechiel von Spanheim, 
whose library was acquired by Frederick for what was now called the 
"Konigliche Bibliothek zu Berlin." In 1699 the system of legal deposit 
was instituted. 

The accession of Frederick William I (1713) brought a check in the 
development of the Library which lasted through his reign and the 
earlier part of that of Frederick the Great. Frederick William was 
reluctant to spend anything on the Library, and most of its income was - 
diverted to provide a pension of 1,000 thaler to General von Glasenapp. 
The Library was thus left almost devoid of any income, and the only 
accessions were those received by legal deposit, which was not fully 
effective until the passing of a decree to confirm it in 1824. Until then 
only a small number of publishers had in fact sent their books to the 
Library. The exigencies of war kept Frederick the Great so fully 
occupied for the first thirty years of his reign that the Library was 
litde better off, except that General von Glasenapp's pension was 
stopped. By 1770, however, Frederick was able to devote attention to 
his Library, and this took the form not only of extensive book-buying 
but plans for a new Library building. The new Library was begun in 
1775, and opened by the King in 1780. It comprised five separate 
collections: the old Royal Library, the Spanheim Library for which 
space had been found in the Library only through the removal of the 
medical and mathematical books by Frederick William I for the use of 
the Akademie der Wissenschaften (1735); the library of Quintus 
Icilius, bought in 1780 by Frederick the Great and consisting of 
5,300 volumes with some MSS. and maps; and the library of the 
Berlin preacher, Friedrich Roloff, consisting of 5,100 volumes and 
rich in classical works. At the accession of Frederick the Great in 1740, 
the Library numbered 72,000 volumes, while at his death in 1786 the 
figure had risen to 150,000 volumes. Frederick's literary taste and 
passion for French will be remembered; it is likely that Voltaire during 
his sojourn at his Court advised him on the choice of books. 

Under Frederick the Great new arrangements were made for the 
wider use of the Library by the public, but at the same time Frederick 
forbade the lending of books from the new Library. All purchases 
of books were still made by the King in person, and the Librarians 
had no say in the disposal of die money. A paid Librarian of subordinate 
rank (Diener) was not appointed until 1848. 

At the time of Frederick's death in 1786 a reorganisation of the staff 


and more precise definition of duties had become urgently necessary, 
while the catalogues had grown out of date. These defects were 
rectified for the most part during the revolutionary period, a time 
when Prussia's leaders, realising the importance of organising the 
nation's intellectual as .well as her material assets, ' strengthened the 
universities and libraries as part of the national movement. Wilhelm 
von Humboldt as head of the Department of Culture (Kultusdeparte- 
ment im Ministmum des Innern), under which the libraries were placed 
in 1 8 10, threw himself with fervour into the development of libraries, 
and at the lowest ebb of Prussia's fortunes in 1810 insisted that the 
yearly grant of the Library should be doubled. He also brought 
about the separation of the Library from , the Akademie der 
Wissenschaften in 1809, and at the same time the medical and 
mathematical books removed from the Library in 1735 by Frederick 
William were returned. From this time also the direct participation of 
the sovereigns in the business of the Library ceased, its affairs becoming 
increasingly the subject of negotiation between the Librarian and the 

The duties of the staff were defined by a series of Reglemente, the 
first one being Wollner's of 1796. In the same year the additional post 
of Secretary to the Library was created, the first to hold it being 
Philipp Buttmann. Friedrich Schleiermacher, the learned theologian, 
took a leading part in the task of reorganisation, being responsible, as a 
member of the section for Public Education (Sektion des offentl 
Unterrichts), for the issue of a Reglement on April 30, 1813, which 
dealt with the allocation of duties among the staff (arranging the staff on 
a collegiate basis) and the use of the Library by the public, and became 
the basis for the regulations of all Prussian libraries. The chief work in 
connection with the new catalogues lies to the credit of the chief 
Librarian, Johann Biester, aided by the Secretary, Buttmann. Biester 
rearranged the five libraries mentioned above into one whole, and 
reclassified the Library on a similar plan to that used at the Konigliche 
Bibliothefc at Dresden; and, with the help of Buttmann, a new alphabe- 
tical catalogue was begun in 18 n. 

The establishment of the University of Berlin, one of Humboldt's 
achievements, was beneficial in every way to the progress of the 
Library, which served until 1831 as the University Library. The yearly 
grant was raised steadily; in the middle of the nineteenth century the 
grant was 15,000 marks, while at the end of the century it was over 
150,000 marks. The growth of the stocks kept pace with the increase 
in income; standing at 150,000 volumes at Frederick the Great's death, 
they had more than doubled by 1840; by 1890 they were 800,000, by 


1909, when Harnack became Director, the number stood at 1,250,000, 
and in 1939 it had passed 3,000,000. 

In 1817 Friedrich Wilken became Head Librarian (Oberbibliothekar), 
and held this post till his death in 1840. During his tenure of office the 
complete responsibility for the affairs of the Library, at first exercised 
by the sovereign and then by the Ministry of Public Instruction, was 
entrusted to the Head Librarian, and the Library became an independent 
department. The role of the Ministry from now on was solely one of 
general supervision. Wilken was not only a well-known historian but 
he had also, as a librarian, carried out the reorganisation of the University 
Library at Heidelberg, and had taken an important share in the 
handling at Paris of the treasures taken by France during the 
revolutionary wars, and returned at the peace. During his term of 
office, the Library had to handle large accessions of books coining from 
the newly-acquired Prussian territory, especially West Prussia and the 
Rhineland. Increased financial provision was made for the Library, 
and the building enlarged; in 1819 a periodicals reading room was 
opened though admission to it was restricted to professors and teachers, 
students being excluded. Wilken is also honoured as the historian 
of the Library (Geschichte der Koniglichen BiUiothek zu Berlin. 1828). 

The chief purchase of importance was that of the library of Graf 
Mejan of 14,000 volumes, bought by Frederick William III, of great 
value for its magnificent collection of Aldine editions; and the library 
of Baron Meusebach (36,000 volumes), noted for its fine examples of 
German printing and literature of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 
The Mainz Psalter of 1457 was bought by the King from the Royal 
Library at Stuttgart, and MSS. of J. S. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven 
acquired. The reforms begun under Wilken were continued under 
his successor, Georg Heinrich Pertz the historian (1842-73), while 
August Wilmanns, Director from 1886-1905, introduced changes to 
make the Library more representative of the whole German nation, 
though difficulties, such as that of obtaining legal deposit of all German 
publications, still remained. The move of the State Library from 
Frederick the Great's building to its present home took place in 1909 
and details of the building are discussed below. At this time the 
Director-General was Adolf von Harnack, who held the office from 
1905-20. In addition to the move he had to carry out two other great 
tasks: reconstruction after the First World War, and the development 
of the State Library, as it came to be called, as a central library. The 
State Library, apart from its function as a national library and store- 
house of German literature (an unofficial function, since it had received 
books by legal deposit since 1824 from Prussian publishers only), 


always devoted itself specially to the collecting of foreign books. This 
side, therefore, suffered badly during the First World War, and the 
inflation which followed made the purchase of foreign books and 
periodicals almost impossible; in 1919-23 the lowest depths were 
reached, but after that recovery began, and a start was made with 
purchasing material to fill the gaps in foreign publications, especially 
periodicals. Recovery was helped by the Notgemeinschafi der deutschen 
Wissenschaft founded in 1920, and devoted specially to acquiring 
foreign literature, by purchase and exchange. Later, however, under 
the National Socialist regime, ideological and racial doctrines hampered 
the work of the Library. The funds available for acquisitions were 
reduced so that the number of accessions fell to one-half its former 
level, while there was a great diminution in the number of persons 
using the Library. 

The development of the Library as a Central Library is dealt with 

During the period 1905-14 many valuable accessions were received, 
both MSS. and early printed books, which made the Royal Library 
second in Germany only to the Munich Hof bibliothek for its collections 
of MSS. and incunabula. The first large collection of incunabula 
acquired under Harnack's directorship was purchased on the advice of 
Professor Voulli&ne, the bibliographer of Cologne incunabula; it had 
been at the gymnasium at Heiligenstadt and had come from the 
Jesuit College there at its dissolution in 1773. The next came from the 
Cathedral School at Magdeburg and comprised the remains of the old 
cathedral library. Under an arrangement made with the municipal 
authorities of Erfurt, the town gave up most of its MSS. and incunabula 
to the Royal Library in return for help in establishing a local library* 
The next purchase was that of the Kirchenministerialbibliothek at 
Celle (formerly the Library of the Welfisch Counts). This collection, 
formed at the time of the Reformation, was rich in religious works and 
broadsheets, and German literature. Another collection, containing 
mostly seventeenth- and eighteenth-century material, was that of the 
Counts of Gortz-Wrisberg from Wrisbergholtzen near Hildesheim. 
Among noteworthy gifts of this period were that made by Georg 
August Freund of works on dietetics, including a collection of MS. 
cookery books, and the Lessing Collection, bequeathed by Gotthold 
Lessing. In 1914 the Society of Friends of the Royal Library (Verein 
der Freunde der Kbniglichen Bibliothek) was founded, and from then 
until 1939, when it ceased to function, many works were acquired with 
its help and through its direction. 

The yearly income, 150,000 marks in 1890, remained at this figure 


until 1907 when Harnack succeeded in getting it increased by 40,000 
marks; two further increases were obtained before the outbreak of war 
in 1914, while in 1906-07 a special grant of 350*000 marks was made 
for filling gaps in the collections. 

Harnack was followed by Dr. Fritz Milkau, who, however, had only 
a short reign. Under his successor, Dr. Hugo Andres Kriiss, the great 
work of printing the Gesamtkatalog the Union Catalogue of German 
Libraries began. Kriiss committed suicide in 1945, during the last days 
of the siege of Berlin, and was succeeded by Dr. Rudolf Hoecker, who 
had been Director of the Library of Berlin University until removed 
from his post under the National Socialist regime. Since 1950 the 
Director has been Dr. Horst Kunze, formerly Director of the University 
library at Halle/Saale. 

The damage caused to the buildings of the Library during the 
Second World War is described in another section. In 1939 the 
stocks included 3,000,000 volumes and about 3,000,000 other printed 
works. Evacuation of the most valuable items from the collections 
and of some of the catalogues was undertaken during 1942, while 
other books were moved into the cellars of the building. Between 
the autumn of 1943 and the spring of 1944* the whole of the remaining 
material was evacuated to some thirty pkces throughout Germany. 
The use of unskilled labour in removing the books increased the 
difficulty of the operation and caused unnecessary damage. It had 
been proposed to remove the subject-catalogue and its staff to Gottingen 
but the Director of GSttingen University Library objected that the 
risk of air-raid damage there was too great, and finally the Accessions, 
Deutsche Gesamtkatalog, Subject Catalogue and Binding sections 
were removed in 1944 to Hirschberg in the Riesengebirge, where the 
Sudeten Museum and part of the town archive building were made 
available for them. Part of the newspaper collection, some twenty- 
one wagon, loads, was brought from Berlin to the Schloss Fischbadh, 
near Hirschberg. When the Allies drew near, orders were given 
on January 25, 1945 to evacuate the town. The accessions records 
were returned to Berlin: the volumes of the subject-catalogue, after 
having been lost in transit, were 'almost all recovered and returned to 

After the cessation of hostilities the work of restoring the Library 
and recovering its collections was vigorously pressed forward by the 
Soviet authorities, in whose sector of Berlin the Library lay, as part of 
the programme of restoring the cultural life of the capital. The 
Library was brought into joint use with that of the University, and 
on October i, 1946, was reopened under the designation of Offentliche 


Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek, to be changed in November 1954, to 
Deutsche Staatsbibliothek. The Director of the Library is responsible 
to the State Secretariate for Higher Education. Negotiations for the 
return of the evacuated books were conducted with the occupying 
powers during 1947 ; those in the Soviet zone and a few in the American 
zone were returned, while the remainder of those recovered were 
gathered in the Westdeutsche (formerly Hessische) Bibliothek at 
Marburg until they could be returned to Berlin. These number about 
1,700,000 volumes, and include the reference collection of the Oriental 
Reading Room, 23,000 MSS. and 217,000 volumes of the Darmstadter 
collection of documents, 175,000 volumes of instrumental music, and 
250,000 maps. About 750,000 volumes are arranged and available, but 
the catalogues of these collections, except natural sciences, are at Berlin. 
Apart from this, the only collections of the former State Library in 
Western Germany are about 22,000 MSS. at the University Library, 
Tubingen, where they are available for use. The Westdeutsche Biblio- 
thek has been charged by the Federal Government with the care of the 
collections of the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, and it is expressly laid 
down that they shall ultimately be reunited. In the meantime there is 
co-operation, including lending facilities, between the two libraries. 
Of books and MSS. evacuated to Pomerania and to Silesia, no informa- 
tion has been received. The MSS. and incunabula were widely dis- 
persed throughout Germany, and only a few were later recovered. 
A general examination of the stocks of libraries in Eastern Germany 
was ordered by the Russian authorities in September 1945. About 
150,000 volumes of works dealing with National Socialism and 
militarism were segregated from the collections of the State Library 
to form a closed collection (Sperrbibliothek). This is available for 
purposes of research, after permission has been obtained from the 
Director of the Library. 

Throughout the reconstruction, the principle adopted was not to 
depart unnecessarily from former practice; all available materials and 
records were to be used, but where these were lacking, every possible 
means was to,be used to expedite the availability of the books. Book 
stocks were built up by purchase and legal deposit, while very many 
were received from the libraries of the Auslandswissenschaftliches 
Institut and other institutions closed after the war. After 1945, extensive 
gifts were received from abroad, particularly from the Smithsonian 
Institution, the American Library Association, the Germanistic 
Society, and the Rockefeller Foundation. Through the Education 
Branch of the British Military Government, Britishscientificpublications 
were received, and those of France, particularly periodicals, through 


the French Cultural Attache. Generous gifts came from the Svenska 
Akademiens Nobelbibliotek and the Schweizer Bucherhilfe. The 
Academy in Leningrad sent part of its publications. The exchange 
of dissertations with most foreign countries continued despite the 
difficulty caused by delays in printing those of the German Universities. 
During the years 1950-54, replacements of destroyed or lost works 
numbered 95,000 volumes, while a further 100,000 volumes were 
distributed to other German libraries. The publications of Unesco 
are received by the Library. 

To fill the gaps caused by the dispersal of the stocks of the Library, 
in addition to the material received from the sources enumerated above, 
some 200,000 volumes, many of them originally duplicates, which had 
been stored in the cellars of the building, have been added to the 
stocks, after scrutiny as to their suitability. This task, which took two 
years, was carried out by the Exchange Department When the State 
Library at Neustrelitz was closed in 1950, part of its stocks were 
transferred to the Offentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek. By 1954 
the stocks of the Library had risen to 1,417,000 volumes. The 
acquisition of foreign literature, which before 1939 was restricted for 
the most part to works on the humanities, has now been extended to 
cover all fields, and the collection of modern foreign works is the most 
comprehensive in any German library. The Prussian State Library, 
unlike most other large national libraries, had, except for a brief 
period under Frederick the Great, allowed its books to be lent out, 
with the exception of a few reference books and certain rare books. 
This service was suspended in 1945, but restored in the following year. 

By an order of December 24, 1946, the Library receives a copy of 
all publications from the German Democratic Republic, and by an 
arrangement originating in a decree of the Allied Control Commission 
of March 19, 1947, of most of those of the Federal Republic. The 
remaining German publications are purchased so that in practice 
copies of all books published since 1945 in Germany are available in 
the Library. During the Allied occupation of Berlin, all accessions and 
books returned from evacuation were examined in accordance with a 
decree of the Control Commission, and National Socialist and military 
literature shelved apart in a closed collection. 


The MSS. collections of the State Library were never comparable 
with those of the Bibliotheque Nationale or the British Museum, or 
even those of the State Library of Munich, which became the 


repository of so many monastic libraries. This was partly because 
of the very few large monastic foundations in Prussia. Their collections 
mostly went elsewhere, though some were acquired during the 
years preceding the First World War by the State Library, as related 
above. The number of MSS. at the death of thd founder was 1,600; 
he was particularly interested in acquiring Indian, Arabic, Turkish, 
Coptic, and Chinese MSS., and the Orientalia were the richest part of 
the Department of MSS. Unfortunately they were dispersed widely 
over Germany in 1942-45, and only a small part has since been re- 
covered. In 1932 the holdings of the Department were: Western 
MSS., 13*492; Orientalia, 18,846; East Asiatic, 1,874: in 1955 the 
figures were: Western MSS., 3,829; Orientalia, 901; East Asiatic, 

Other special collections are: 

Music: In 1824 a special music collection was founded, and was given 
a yearly income of 2,000 marks. In 1906 the Deutsche Musiksammlung 
was started, following an agreement with the music publishers, 
who agreed to furnish the Staatsbibliothek with a copy of each 
new publication; and numerous firms gave the Library a complete 
set of their publications then in print. In 1914 the two collections of 
music were amalgamated to form a single Music Department. This 
collection, including the originals of most of the important works of 
Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and other masters, could 
claim to be a really national collection. Almost the whole collection 
of German printed music has been recovered, after having been 
evacuated from 1942-45. The Reading Room collection was 
restored to use in 1952. Purchases of music, both MS. and printed, 
are being made to restore and extend the collection, while photocopies, 
portraits, and sound recordings are also acquired. The collection now 
includes 3 70,000 items of printed music, 3,335 MSS., 55,674 autographs 
and portraits, films and sound recordings. 

Maps: An important collection (including part of the material of the 
former Prussian General Staff) of about half a million maps and 
geographical pictures. It was dispersed during the Second World War 
and only partly recovered. 

The First World War: The Royal Library already possessed a large 
special collection dealing with the War of 1870, and the literature of 
tie First World War was similarly treated. The greater part of the 
collection was lost during the Second World War; the remainder is 
available for use in the Library. 



The Library of the Great Elector, when given to the public, was 
housed in the top storey of the Apotheke or east wing of the castle. 
In addition to the main room where the books were shelved, there were 
also a vaulted room for the MSS. and a reading room. The main room, 
which measured 150 feet long and forty feet wide, was furnished with 
galleries and decorated with pictures. 

The Great Elector, ambitious for his library, cherished a plan for a 
new building as part of a scheme comprising pleasure gardens 
surrounded by buildings; it was to join on to the Apotheke ', occupying 
the east side of the pleasure garden, and was to consist of a two- 
storeyed gallery, 443 feet long and forty-six feet broad. Only the 
ground floor of this building was completed; the work was suspended 
a year after his death (1688) 'and never resumed. 

Under Frederick William I, the Library became so full that there was 
no room for the Spanheim Library, which was not housed there until 
the removal of the medical and mathematical books to the Akademie 
der Wissenschaften in 1735. As soon, therefore, as Frederick the Great 
turned his attention to the improvement of the Royal Library, he 
initiated a plan, for a new building,, taking as a model a copy of Fischer 
von Erlach's plan for the Hofburg at Vienna. The Library, erected in 
the Opernplatz, and finally opened by the King in 1780, was a square 
building with two curved wings from each side, terminating in two 
unequal corner pavilions. The strong four-square ground floor with 
its small windows served only as a support for the richly decorated 
upper half, and was in fact not at the disposal of the Library, being used 
partly by the garrison as a warehouse, and partly by the opera house. 
Over the middle bow window was the motto "Nutrimentum spiritus." 
The first storey, which was the Library proper, comprised a square 
centre room and the two bow-shaped wings with their pavilions. The 
books were shelved against the wall so that no projections might spoil 
the unbroken view of the room. A reading room was provided in the 
neighbouring house. The new building was essentially a state room in 
the grand style of the eighteenth century, not constructed with 
sufficient thought for the requirements of a growing library, and 
already by 1789-90, when the five separate libraries were united, there 
was not enough room, and galleries had to be erected in both wings. 
At the same time a workroom for the librarians was arranged in the 
corner pavilion near the reading room and the MSS. were moved into 
the other pavilion. From this time until the move to the present 
building, constant additions to the interior were made, until finally 


the structure had lost all its original form. In 1817 fresh galleries 
were added, and in 1830 the architect, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, was 
commissioned to design a new building. This project was abandoned, 
which was fortunate as the building planned would have been far 
too small for modern needs. Instead, in 1840, the whole of the ground 
floor was divided into two storeys and given over to the Library, 
and extra floors were introduced elsewhere. By 1879 lack of space 
had again become acute; and in 1883-84 other adjoining buildings 
were acquired and used as for the lending department and as a store for 
music, maps, and other material. 

In 1890 the question of a building for the Library was again opened, 
and a long discussion ensued as to whether or not to move the Library 
to a site near the Zoological Garden Station, where its growth would 
be unrestricted and its external architecture unhindered by regard for 
other buildings. This proposal was rejected, it being considered 
desirable that the Library should remain part of the group of cultural 
buildings formed by the University and the Museums. A further 
reconstruction of the building was begun and at the beginning of 1909 
was so far advanced that the books could be transferred; the move was 
accomplished in fourteen days. The formal opening, however, took 
place only just before war broke out in 1914, and was the last great 
royal ceremony Berlin saw. 

The structure occupies a long rectangular site, the Library sharing 
the block with the Akademie der Wissenschaften and the University 
Library. The University Library occupies the northern wing, its big 
reading room and the lending department being on the ground floor* 
The State Library occupies the middle and southern part of the 
building, the domed reading room, at first-floor level, being placed in 
the centre on the lines of that of the British Museum. The ground 
floor was originally occupied for the most part by the lending 
department, with the Gesamtkatalog and AuskunftsbUro der deutschen 
Bibliotheken, placed directly below the catalogue rooms of the Library. 
The main reading room had seats for 360 readers; there was also a 
periodicals room with 150 seats, while the special collections of Music, 
Maps, and MSS. on the second floor each had a reading room, and 
these escaped destruction and have been reopened. There were also a 
small reading room for Oriental studies and rooms for special research 
workers. The books were arranged in the third and fourth storeys, 
subdivided into six to eight stack floors. 

The building, which had already suffered during the 1918 revolution, 
sustained very serious damage during the Second World War. Slight 
damage occurred during air raids in 1941, while others in December 


1943 and February 1944 completely destroyed the central part including 
the reading room, fci March 1944, the General Directorate of the 
Library left, and S.S. troops were quartered in the empty building. The 
restoration of the building was soon begun, however, after the end of 
the war. As a first step, a temporary reading room was opened in the 
room formerly occupied by the subject-catalogue, and later replaced by 
the conversion of the former exhibition hall, which provided 1 10 places 
for readers, A reading room for students of the University, with 100 
seats, was opened in the former Manuscript Reading Room after its 
repair. Apart from the residence of the Director, the west wing, 
containing the administrative offices, was in use by 1950, with the 
adjoining catalogue rooms; in the east wing the rooms of the oriental 
section and that of the former Amerikainstitut (now the Englisch- 
Amerikanisches Seminar of the University) were serviceable, and the 
latter was used to accommodate the Exchange Department. Almost all 
the books pkced in the main reading rooms at the reopening were 
drawn from the stocks of the University Library, since the books of the 
State Library had been returned in part only. The main reading room 
of the University Library remained unusable; it had a small reading 
room for natural sciences, while the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek catered 
for students of the arts. There are about 20,000 volumes on open 
shelves in the reading rooms and in parts of the stacks near at hand; 
and the latest German publications, with books and periodicals of all 
zones are displayed, together with the most recent accessions in foreign 

A special reading room for newspapers and periodicals, seating 
thirty-eight readers, was opened in 1947. The Photographic 
Office attached to the reading room, which is conducted by a com- 
mercial undertaking on behalf of the Library, is much used, over 
10,000 photographic facsimiles being ordered monthly. The rooms 
formerly used for the compilation of the Monumenta Germanice 
Historica were taken over by the Library; the large hall being used to 
house the Accessions Department, while in the rooms to the south an 
inter-allied lending library of music was organised by the Control 
Commission. In the western half of the main front of the building on 
the Unter den Linden a room for meetings, exhibitions and similar 
activities was provided, capable of seating two hundred persons. The 
reconstruction of the main front was completed in November 1949, 
and that of the reading room dome in September 1951. In the 
reconstruction of the Reading Room, pneumatic tubes and mechanical 
book conveyors are to be installed. It is hoped to complete the 
restoration of the reading room before the tercentenary of the Library 


in 1961. The rebuilt Music Room was opened in 1952. Three new 
institutes were housed in the Library at their establishment in 1950: 
the Zentralstelle fur wissenschaftliche Literatur, the Zentralinstitut fur 
Bibliothekswesen and the Padagogische Zentralbibliothek. 


When the Kurfiirstliche Bibliothek was opened in 1661, Johann 
Raue had already begun compiling an alphabetical catalogue, of which 
one copy survived until recent times. But as the cataloguing did not 
progress with the speed desired by the Elector, Christoph Hendreich, 
as related above, was called in to expedite the work. Hendreich's shelf" 
catalogue, the Catalogus situs, remained in use after Biester's 
rearrangement of the Library in 1789-90, though his alphabetical 
catalogue, which had become outdated with the large additions to the 
collections under Frederick the Great, was superseded from 1811 
onwards by the new catalogue of Biester and Buttmann. The catalogue 
of the library of Gottingen University formed a model for the new 
catalogue, which was finished in 1827, and occupied 162 folio volumes, 
later increasing to over 3,000 volumes. 

The first subject-catalogue was the work of Wilken, who succeeded 
Biester. The books were entered in broad main divisions, such as 
Roman Law, Zoology, etc., and further divided into three formats, 
but the catalogue was from the first thought of only as a makeshift and 
not permanent. By 1827 it comprised 181 volumes. 

On August 21, 1842, the Kustos, Julius Schrader, issued a report 
on the production of a new subject-catalogue which contained 
detailed proposals for carrying out the task. Subsequently he devoted 
himself enthusiastically to the task, and the work was finished in 1881 
except for music and maps. The catalogue, which also formed a shelf 
list of the Library, was praised by Hortzschansky: "die grosste wissen- 
schaftliche Leistung des Bibliothekspersonals ist ein Arbeitswerkzeug 
ersten Ranges, dem keine der anderen grossen Staatsbibliotheken zu 
Paris, London usw. etwas gleichartiges gegeniiber zustellen vermag," 
Publication of catalogues of the MS. collections, commenced in 1853, 
was continued until 1919. 

The first card catalogue was made on thin writing paper (10 by 
11-5 centimetres) by members of the staff, who were engaged in 
making the so-called Inventarien, the early subject-catalogue, and 
used it as an aid in their work. It was kept up after the catalogues were 
finished, and in 1867 numbered 700,000-800,000 entries. Then 
Schrader suggested making the card catalogue into a separate 


alphabetical catalogue which would supplement the volume catalogue; 
the suggestion met with opposition, but the Minister supported the 
scheme, and Schrader won the day. In 1879, Eduard Ippel was made 
head of the card catalogue department, and in 1886, Wilmanns, who 
had already begun an alphabetical catalogue in Gottingen, became 
Director of the Library; further, in 1886, Dziatzko's Instruktionen 
fur die Ordnung der Titel im alphabetischen Zettelkatalog were published, 
a fortunate conjunction of affairs for the establishment of this new 
library instrument. The entries were made on cards of 15 by 19-5 
centimetres in accordance with Dziatzko's Instruktionen as modified 
by Ippel, and the work of revising old entries and entering new 
proceeded steadily. Titles of University publications, and of school 
publications, have been printed in yearly fists (see below, p. 118). In 
1892 the Berliner Titeldrucke appeared for the first time. All these 
printed lists considerably lightened the task of cataloguing, as only 
the tides of antiquarian publications remained to be copied by hand. 
By 1912 all publications were included in the card catalogue except 
Oriental literature, so that in cases of doubt or where the volume 
catalogue failed (it excluded music, university publications, newspapers, 
etc.), the card catalogue was a reliable guide. In 1909 cards of the 
international size were adopted. 

There were three main catalogues in use, the alphabetical volume- 
catalogue, the alphabetical card-catalogue, and the subject-catalogue. 
The great need of the subject-catalogue was an index. In 1907-19 
128 new volumes were made, and kept up to date in the form of 
a ScUagwortregister, i.e., an index to the many thousand headings of 
divisions and subdivisions of the system and the historical and 
geographical names. 

During the Second World War the alphabetical volume-catalogue 
was kept in the vicinity of Berlin, and was burned in the last days of 
hostilities. The alphabetical card-catalogue was undamaged and 
restored to the building after the War. The greater part of the subject- 
catalogue, which had been evacuated, was returned; of about 2,100 
volumes, 218 were lost, but the entries from them relating to books 
still in the Library have been restored in card form. The photographic 
copy of the subject-catalogue made during the War was also destroyed. 
The shelf lists of the collections dealing with the two World Wars 
were lost. New subject-catalogues are being compiled in card form. 
The index to the subject-catalogue survived almost complete. There 
is a special catalogue of the closed collection of National Socialist and 
military works. 

The subject-catalogue as a shelf list has now been closed; all new 

Plate III. 

[Crown Copyright 

The National Library of Scotland: The Reading Room 

Plate IV. The National Library of Wales 


accessions with no appropriate heading in the subject-catalogues are 
entered in a separate shelf list in loose-leaf form. There are separate 
catalogues for complete works, periodicals, and newspapers, and 
author- and subject-catalogues of the reference books in the reading 
rooms. The intention is to group complete works in twenty groups 
according to the scheme of die subject-catalogue. To repkce the lost 
author-catalogue, a catalogue of a new type was devised for use by 
readers, giving a selection of new accessions, but omitting less im- 
portant literature, schoolbooks, music and maps. This catalogue has 
separate sections for authors, subjects of biographies, and anonymous 
works. A list of the periodicals held by the Westdeutsche BibHothek 
at Marburg is available in the Information Section of the Department 
of Printed Books, which has also lists of part of the books held there. 

The catalogues of the incunabula in the Library are being compiled 
afresh from the MS. of the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke> which 
is mentioned below. An earlier printed catalogue of incunabula is: 

Die Inktuiabeln der Koniglichen Bibliothek und der anderen Bibliothek 
Berliner Sammlungen (Kunstgewerbemuseum, Kupferstichkabinett usw.). 
Ein Inventar von Ernst Voullieme. Leipzig, 1906. (Beiheft zum Zentralblatt 
fur Bibliothekswesen.) Supplements in 1914, 1922, 1927. 


Till the end of the eighteenth century the Library was, under the 
King, governed by the Overseer (Oberaufseher), usually a Privy 
Councillor and a scholar. Under him, until the middle of the century, 
were two librarians, and one, later two clerks (Diener), to whom, in 
1787, were added an additional librarian and another clerk. In 1827 
four Kustoden were added to the administrative staff, as well as three 
to four assistant librarians. Wilken, as we have said, was the first chief 
Librarian in the modern sense, and his title of Oberbibliothekar was 
changed by decree of 1885 to Generaldirektor. Under him there were 
departmental directors, at first only of the Department of Printed 
Books and the Department of MSS., but later their number was much 
increased. In 1906, a First Director (Erster Direktor) was appointed. 
Then came the creation of a lower grade of staff (mittleres Personal). 

The organisation of the reconstituted OfFentliche Wissenschaftliche 
Bibliothek was based on experience gained in the former State Library, 
and changes introduced with effect from January i, 1947, were 
approved by a committee appointed by the German Economic 
Commission. The principal innovation was the establishment of the 
Social Sciences section, reflecting the emphasis laid on social studies in 

9 NLW 


the German Democratic Republic. It includes in its scope the classics 
of Marxism and Leninism, the history of the labour movement, 
philosophy, history and political economy, and is concerned with the 
promotion of understanding and friendship between the German 
people and the Soviet Union and People's Democracies, organizing 
exhibitions, lectures and meetings to this end. 
The departments of the Library are now as follows: 

Direction and associated sections 
Social Sciences section. Press section. 

Closed collection. ("Sperrbibliothek.") Juvenile books. 
Exhibitions section. 

Printed Books 

Accessions Service. 

Cataloguing. Information. 

Special Departments 

Music. Orientalia. 

Manuscripts. Maps. 

"Sonderaktion." (A department responsible for the disposal of the 

stocks of libraries which have been closed.) 

A department of sound recordings formerly existed in the State 
Accessions during 1955 were as follows: 


Origin Purchase Exchange Gift Deposit 

German. Democratic Republic 6,955 2,773 7*553 

German Federal Republic 4, 715 701 10,262 

U.S.S.R. 2,775 3,975 

People's Democracies 2,145 3,856 

Other countries 13,995 7,559 270 

30,585 16,091 13,305 7,553 

Total: ^ 67,534 
Orientalia: 2,770 
Music: 6,584 


In addition, 16,222 current periodicals, 7,548 German and 8,674 
foreign, were received. 1,411 current periodicals were available in the 
periodicals reading room. 


The hours of opening are: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sundays i p.m. to 
8 p.m.). 
Figures for the use of the Library during 1955 were as follows: 


Main reading room . . . . 36,923 
Students' reading room . . 42,390 
General research reading room 11,548 

Periodicals 15,026 

Music 8,217 

MSS 1,179 

Incunabula 190 

Oriental 7,375 

Maps 8,284 

Juvenile 1,438 

"Sonderaktion" .. .. 316 

Items issued included 192,370 volumes, 1,269 portraits 

and 11,943 pieces of music. 

During the year 14,967 volumes were bound in the Library, and 
18,613 by outside contractors. 

In 1955 expenditure on purchases of books and binding amounted 
to 919,981 DM. 


There are two grades of librarians in German learned libraries, the 
hohere Bibliotheksdienst and the mittlere Bibliotheksdienst. For the first, 
a university degree is necessary, and for the second, secondary education 
including Latin, with a qualifying certificate. Technical training includes 
practical work in a library, and attendance at a school of librarianship, 
and new regulations for staff training and qualifying examinations have 
been worked out for Berlin aad the German Democratic Republic, to 
conform as far as possible with practice in Western Germany: there 
has been little departure from prewar practice. 

The staff of the Library is as follows: 

I Chief Director 

I First Director. 

9 Heads of Departments (two of them women). 

27 Librarians (7 of them women). Higher grade staff. 

107 Library Assistants (88 of them women). Middle grade staff. 

101 Stack assistants and clerks. (Bibliothebtechnisches Hilfspersonal) Lower 

grade staff Secretarial staff and typists. (63 of them women). 
12 Administrative staff. 
47 Technical staff. 
42 Housemen, porters, cleaners, etc. 



For historical reasons, Germany had no one city naturally providing 
the location for a national library, as Paris or London. In the years 
preceding the Second World War, the Preussische Staatsbibliothek, 
though supported only by the State of Prussia, and entitled by law only 
to the legal deposit of works published in the old Prussian State (before 
1 864) and Pomerania, built up such a collection of books and such a wide 
scheme of service as to claimjustly to be the national library of Germany. 
With 4,000,000 books it was by far the largest library in the country 
and had moreover the largest collection of purely German literature. 
Its chief claim to be a national library, however, rested on its union 
catalogues and information bureaux, the services of which were 
available throughout Germany, and, in some part, to the whole 

1895 saw the commencement of the Union Catalogue of the 
Prussian Libraries (Gesamtkatalog der Preussischen Bibliotheken), later 
known as the German Union Catalogue (Deutscher Gesamtkatalog}. 
When printing commenced in 1931, the entries numbered 2,500,000, 
and between then and 1939 fourteen volumes were issued, covering 
the entries A-Beethordnung. This records the holdings of the Munich 
and Vienna State Libraries, so far as they duplicate the rest. In 1898 
the Berliner Titeldrucke, which had appeared since 1892, included 
also the ten Prussian University Libraries, so that it became a union 
list; in 1928 the four Prussian Technische Hochschulen, in 1931 the 
Vienna State Library and in 1934 the Bavarian State Library at Munich 
were included. In 1935 the number of co-operating libraries was 
raised to 103, and the name altered to Deutscher Gesamtkatalog. From 
1937, only foreign books received by the other libraries were listed in 
the Berliner Titeldrucke, A new series of the Berliner Titeldrucke, 
commenced in 1955, records publications issued in the Soviet Union 
and the People's Democracies of Europe. The MS. of the Deutscher 
Gesamtkatalog with entries for 2,800,000 titles was evacuated to 
Pomerania during the Second World War, and was subsequently 
destroyed. The supplementary catalogue having entries for all 
books published after 1905 escaped damage. From the union catalogues 
arose the necessity of uniformity of entry, and in 1899 were published 
the Instruktionenfur die alphabetischen Kataloge derpreussischenBibliotheken 
undfur den Gesamtkatalog, a second edition of which was published in 
1909. In 1905, in order to facilitate the compilation of the Gesamtkatalog, 
the Auskunftsburo der Deutschen Bibliotheken was founded, to 
deal with all inquiries for books or bibliographical inquiries whether 


from Germany or abroad, and if the Library had itself no copy of any 
book, to locate one in another German library. The Leihverkehr, an 
association of libraries prepared to take part in inter-library lending, 
was inaugurated in 1924, and the Auskunftsbiiro serves this institution 
by acting in effect as a central library for it. In 1950 it published a 
directory of German libraries, listing 1,759 institutions. Inter-library 
lending, suspended in 1939-45, had been resumed with ninety-seven 
foreign libraries, and many German libraries by 1955; the figures for 
loans to and from the Library during 1955 were: 


a. German Democratic Republic . . 1,404 

6. German Federal Republic . . . . 3,687 

c. Abroad 184 

5,275 14,177 

Many calls are made on the resources of the Auskunftsburo from all 
parts of the world, particularly in connection with its important 
sources of information such as the surviving part of the Deutscher 
Gesamtkatalog and the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendmcke, of which 
the MS. was returned undamaged to the Library after the war. All 
four occupying powers have shown a lively interest in the work of the 
Library as centre of the national system. Since 1955 the Library has 
published the Nachrichten aus dem Bibliothekswesen der Deutschen 
Demokratischen Republik. The Exchange Department gradually 
concluded agreements with the libraries of foreign countries to 
resume exchanges, at first with the Bibliotheque Nationale, later 
with the British Museum, the Swiss National Library, and others. The 
distribution to other libraries of publications received from the 
American Library Association, the Smithsonian Institution, and other 
bodies is carried out by the Exchange Department. Exchange is not 
limited to the publications of learned societies, dissertations, and 
official publications, but includes also monographs and periodicals 
issued normally through trade channels. 

Further union lists published by the State Library are: 

Gesamt-Zeitschriften-Verzeichnis, 1914. It includes 17,000 periodicals in 

350 German libraries. 
Gesamtverzeichnis der auslandischen Zeitschriften. 1929. 15,000 foreign 

periodicals in 800 libraries. 
Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke. The Commission for this was founded 

in 1904 and the work of listing all Western incunabula portioned out, a 


work that even the First World War did not interrupt, so that by April i, 
1921, investigations were complete and the work of printing could be 
started; seven volumes and part of an eighth appeared between 1925 and 

Current bibliographies commenced during the post-war reconstruc- 
tion of the Library are: 

Bibliographic deutscher Ubersetzungen aus den Sprachen der Volker der 
Sowjetunion und der Lander des Volksdemokratie. 
(a] Naturwissenschaftlich-technische Literatur. 1952- . 
(6) Gesellschaftswissenschafdiche Literatur: Auswahlliste. 1954- 
Neuerwerbungen der Offentlichen Wissenschaftlichen Bibliothek (der 
Deutschen Straatsbibliothek) und der am Zentralkatalog der Austandsliter- 
atur mitarbeitenden Bibliotheken. 
(a) Naturwissenschaftlich-technische Literatur. 1952- - 
(t) Gesellschaftswissenschafdiche Literature. 1954- 
Medizinischer Literaturnachweis. [A monthly index of periodicals and 
important monographs.] 1952- . 

The Library has also published the following lists of academic 

Jahresverzeichnis der an den deutschen Universitaten und Hochschulen 
erschienenen Schriften. 1 8 87-193 6. [From 193 7 published by the Deutsche 
Biicherei, Leipzig.] 

Jahresverzeichnis der an den deutschen Schulanstalten erschienenen 
Abhandlungen. 1889-1930. 

Courses in librarianship held since 1950 for the staffs of learned 
libraries consist of nine months' practical experience in an approved 
library, followed by one year's training, both theoretical and practical, 
at the State Library. The photographic service of the Library in 1955 
handled 6,8 u requests for photocopies and microfilms. 


Abb, G. Schleiermachers Reglement fur die Konigliche Bibliotheken zu 

Berlin vomjahre 1813 und seine Vorgeschichte. 1926. 
Vom deutschen Leihverkehr. 1927. In: Zentralblatt fiir Bibliothekswesen* 

vol. 44 pp. 449-61, 
Balcke, Curt. Bibliographic zur Geschichte der Preussischen Staatsbibliothek. 

Blum, Rudolf. Der Sondergeschaftsgang der Offentlichen Wissenschaftlichen 

Bibliothek Berlin. 1950. In: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 64, 

pp. 363-366, 
Both, "W. Die grosse deutsche Bibliotheken, 1932/35, 1935/38. 1937, 39. In: 

Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 54, pp. 34-44. vol 56, pp. 188-98. 


Crous, Ernst. Co-operation among German libraries by mutual loans and the 

information bureau. 1914. In: The Library. 3rd ser., vol 5, pp. 113-39; 

Fleischhack, Curt. Bibliographische Arbeiten der wissenschaftlichen Biblio- 

theken. 1954. In: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 68. pp. 97-109. 
Fuchs, Hermann. Le bureau des renseignements des bibliotheques allemandes 

(Auskunftsbureau der deutschen Bibliotheken). 1928. In: Revue des 

bibliotheques. vol. 38. pp. 422-37. 
Fiinfzehn Jahre Konigliche und Staatsbibliothek. Dem scheidenden General- 

Direktor Adolf v. Harnack . . . iiberreicht von den wissenschaftlichen 

Beamten den Preussischen Staatsbibliothek. 1921. 
Harnack, Adolf. Die Beniitzung der Konigliche Bibliothek und die deutsche 

Nationalbibliothek, mit einem Nachwort. 1916. In: Aus der Friedens- und 

Kriegsarbeit. pp. 229-61. 
Der Konigliche Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1911. In: Aus Wissenschaft und 

Leben. Bd. i. pp. 129-38. 
Haenisch, W. Die Offentliche Wissenschafdiche Bibliothek, Berlin. 1949. 

In: Nachrichten fur Wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken. Bd. 2. pp. 151-54. 
Hortzschansky, Adalbert. Die Konigliche Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1908. 
Kriiss, Hugo A. Zur Geschichte der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin in den letzten 

dreissigjahren. 1929. In: Essays offered to Herbert Putnam, pp. 263-74. 
Die Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin als Zentralbibliothek. 1928. 

Fiinfundzwanzig Jahre Preussischer Belrat fur Bibliotheks-Angelegen- 

heiten. 1933. In: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 50. 

Kulinert, Ernst. Zur Entstehung und Gestaltung des Gesamtkatalogs. 1932. 

In: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 49. pp. 1117-30. 
Kunze, Horst. Die Offentliche Wissenschafdiche Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1953. 

In: Der Bibliothekar. July 1953. pp. 144-55. _ 

Die Deutsche Staatsbibliothek (bisher Offentliche Wissenschaftliche 

Bibliothek zu Berlin). 1955. In: Aus der Arbeit der wissenschaftlichen 
Bibliotheken in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik. pp. 112-30. 

Leyh, Georg. Die deutschen wissenschaftlichen Bibliotheken nach dem 

Krieg. Tubingen, 1947. 
Lulfing, Hans. Bibliographische Veroffentlichungen aus der Offentlichen 

Wissenschaftlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1954. In: Zentralblatt fur Biblio- 
thekswesen. vol. 68. pp. 408-26. 
Malcles, L.-N. L'GEuvre des catalogues collectifs imprimes a la 'Preussische 

Staatsbibliodiek' de Berlin. 1936. In: Archives et bibliotheques. ^ pp. 35-65. 
Paunel, Eugen. Die Ausbildung fur den gehobenen Dienst an der Offentlichen 

Wissenschaftlichen Bibliothek in Berlin seit 1945- *947- fa Zentralblatt fiir 

Bibliothekswesen. vol. 61. pp. 128-32. 
Die Leihverkehr irn Rahmen des Zweijahreplanes. 1949. In: Zentralblatt 

fiir Bibliothekswesen. vol. 66. pp. 188-92. ^ 
Der Wiederauf bau des Gebaudes der Offentlichen Wissenschaftlichen 

Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1952, In: Zentralblatt fiir Bibliothekswesen. vol. 66. 

pp. 1-9. 


Pertz, G. H. Die KSnigliche Bibliothefc zu Berlin, 1842-67. 1867. 

Pick, Hermann. Der unvollendet gebliebene Bibliotheksbau des Grossen 

Kurfursten. 1913. In: Beitrage zum Bibliothek und Bucliwesens. Paul 

Schwenke . . . gewidmet. pp. 211-15. 
Rolofif, Heinrich. Sedis Jahre Auskunftsabteilung der Offentlichen Wissen- 

schaftlichen Bibliothek. 1951. In: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 

65. pp. 415-32. 
Fiinrzig Jahre zentrale Auskunftserteilung. 1955. In: Zentralblatt fur 

Bibliothekswesen. vol. 69. pp. 167-88. 
Schnacke, MaHon. Deutsche und amerikanische Bibliotheken. 1928. In: 

Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 45. pp. 544-51- (A comparison 

between the Prussian State Library and the New York Public Library.) 
Schwenke, Paul Der Neubau der Koniglichen Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1928. 

In: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 25. pp. 1-18. 
Tautz, Kurt. Die Bibliothekare der Churfurstliche Bibliothek zu Colin an der 

Spree; ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Preussischen Staatsbibliothek im 

Siebzehnten Jahrhundert. 1925. (Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. 

Beiheft 53-) 

Die Raume der churfurstliche Bibliothek zu Colin an der Spree. 1924. 

Die Preussische Staatsbibliothek in Hirschberg irn Riesengebirge zur 

Zeit des Zweiten Grossen Krieges, 1944-1945. [1950.] 
Wilken, Friedrich. Geschichte der koniglichen Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1828. 
Die Deutsche Staatsbibliothek: Wiederaufbau und gegenwartiger Stand der 

Arbeit. 1954. 

Jahresbericht der Preussischen Staatsbibliothek. 
Verein Deutscher Bibliothekare. Jahrbuch der deutschen Bibliotheken. 

1902- . 




The Swiss National Library, opened in 1895, is a young institution, 
whereas those of some of the Swiss towns, and among others that of 
Berne itself, are ancient. St. Gall was famous in the early Middle Ages. 
But, as a former Librarian, M. Marcel Godet, has pointed out, the 
Swiss Confederacy itself, founded in 1848, is a parvenu compared with 
the Cantons and cities. 

As far back as 1800 a proposal for such a library for the Helvetic 
Republic was made by Philippe Albert Stapfer, then Minister for 
Sciences and Arts; his plan, inspired by logic and Napoleon, was to 
stock the new library by confiscating whatever was best in all the 
others. The library was established at Lucerne, the capital of the 
Republic, but was closed in 1803 when a new Federal constitution was 
granted by Napoleon, and nearly a century passed before a more 
fruitful scheme was put forward. 

In 1891, Friedrich Staub of Zurich, the authority on the German- 
Swiss dialects who had himself a large library of works printed in 
Switzerland, petitioned the Federal Council to take steps to found a 
national collection of Helvetica. The time was ripe. A national 
museum had just been founded, and so had the Central Commission 
for Swiss Bibliography. In the course of compiling a comprehensive 
and retrospective national bibliography, gaps remained even after the 
collections of the largest Swiss libraries had been examined. The need 
for a national collection of Helvetica was thus amply demonstrated, 
and the project was strongly supported by many Swiss librarians. On 
June 28, 1894, an Act of the Council was passed, creating the Library. 
Its function was defined as the collection of Helvetica of later date than 
the founding of the Confederation in 1848, thus avoiding controversy 
or jealousy on the part of the town library of Lucerne, which was given 
an annual grant for the purchase of earlier Helvetica. In 1950, however, 
the grant was commuted by a single payment of 200,000 francs, and 


die task of collecting Helvetica of all periods undertaken from 1951 
by the National Library, which received increased funds for the 
purpose. Staub's collection, bought for 25,000 francs in 1 898 , contained, 
as was inevitable, much older matter, and so did other collections. The 
scope of the collections covers all publications relating to Switzerland 
or the Swiss, by Swiss authors, or printed in Switzerland, and the 
work of Swiss authors, editors, and translators; not only printed books 
and periodicals, but maps, plans, prints, drawings, photographs, and 
posters are collected. In acquiring older Helvetica, the Library works 
in close co-operation with local Swiss libraries, which claim priority 
on items of regional interest: thus the MSS. of Gottfried Keller are to 
be found at Zurich, the correspondence of Amerbach at Basle, and the 
first editions of Calvin at Geneva. The collection of MSS. has been 
much enlarged in recent years, and in addition to some 4,000 individual 
documents, contains about twenty sets of the writings of prominent 
poets, novelists, scientists, musicians, and others. Some of these are 
of considerable extent; that of Carl Spitteler contains 44,000 pages. 
Over 400 letters of Rainer Maria Rilke with important MSS. and 
other material relating to him were received in 1950 from Mme N. 

Among the collections of printed material received, mention must 
be made of the fine collection of Bibles presented by Dr. Karl J. Liithi, 
a member of the staff of the Library, at the opening of the new building, 
and of his subsequent gifts, the Liebeskind collection of music, the Rossat 
collection of Swiss popular songs, the Pochon collection of paintings of 
Swiss uniforms of all periods, and the collections of the Schweizerisches 
Gutenbergmuseum deposited in 1931. A special catalogue of the 
Liithi Bible collection has been published. (La Bible en Suisse ct dans le 
monde. 1931.) 

The first Librarian (and the only one to bear that title) was Jean 
Bernoulli, who retired in 1908; and three years later the new law, 
already mentioned and still in operation, was passed, setting up a 
national committee to control the Library, in place of the local 
Bernese Committee established under the original law. The new 
Librarian, M, Marcel Godet, was given the title of Director; he was 
succeeded in 1946 by Dr. Pierre Bourgeois. 

The present stock is over 800,000 volumes; 2,500 current periodicals 
are received. There are also nearly 100,000 prints and engravings, 
16,000 maps, 10,000 posters, 5,000 photographs, and about 1,000 
volumes of music. There has never been a Federal law of deposit. 
M. Godet in 1916 induced the Swiss publishers and printers to accept 
in its place a voluntary arrangement by which they deposit their books 


and receive in return a free insertion in the bulletin of new Swiss books, 
the monthly Le livre suisse (Das schweizer Buck II libro svizzero). In 
this arrangement 350 of the chief Swiss publishers have joined. The 
Library lends to individuals, but loans of recreative literature were 
suspended in 1948, owing to the inability of the staff to deal with the 
greatly increased volume of work, and they are now the responsibility 
of the Berner Volksbiicherei, opened in 1947, to which many duplicates 
were transferred from the National Library. 


The Library was first established in part of a house in the city of 
Berne, no. 7 Christoffelgasse; in 1899 it was moved to the new 
Kirchenfeld quarter across the river gorge, near its present location, 
and was accommodated in a house in the ^Egertenstrasse, in company 
with the Archives. There it remained till 1931, when renewed 
overcrowding compelled the Government to provide an adequate 
building. The Archives remain in the house in the JEgertenstrasse. 

The new site was acquired in 1926, and the design was put out to 
competition among Swiss architects. Three were chosen, the first two 
by Messrs. Oeschger and Kaufmann, of Zurich, the third by M. 
Hostettler, of Berne. These three architects were then requested to 
collaborate in a fourth plan, uniting the good qualities of the other 
three. Their problem was complicated by the close proximity of the 
large and very modern building of the high school opposite which the 
Library now stands, symmetrically facing it so as to enclose a large 
grass square. The final plans were approved in 1928, and the building 
was formally opened on October 31, 1931. The cost was 4,570,000 
francs, not including 450,000 francs for the site. Per cubic metre of 
stack building (without the four and a half miles of shelving) the cost 
was 48 francs, and of other parts of the structure 71 francs, or an 
average of 64.50 francs. 

The style is courageously modern, in strong contrast to the fanciful 
archaism of the Historical Museum close by. It is in fact a salient 
example of the use of concrete, without imitation of the traditions of 
stone or brick. It may be urged in criticism that the wings do not 
harmonise in proportions with the main block, but give the impression 
of having been manufactured independently and stuck on to its ends; 
otherwise, once the eye has had time to appreciate the style, the effect 
is good. 

The plan is before all things practical. The entrance corridors and 
offices face the high school across the quadrangle of grass; the stack, 


eight storeys in height, is at the back; between the two, protected from 
the noises of the schoolboys and of the town, are the reading rooms, 
catalogue rooms, and so forth. The side wings are at present occupied 
by the Government offices of Statistics and Intellectual Property. 

The reader, on entering, crosses the wide corridor and enters the 
waiting and book-delivery room; to his right are the catalogue room, 
the exhibition room, and the map and print room, to the left the 
reading room, the periodicals reading room, and reading terraces 
overlooking the garden, each of these (except the last) being separately 
accessible from the corridor, and divided from the rest by glass 
screens, which add to the sense of space. The book-delivery station is 
furnished with mechanical carriers for requisitions for books and for 
the books themselves. 

The reading room seats forty-eight, the periodicals room twenty- 
four. The tables do not allow the readers to sit facing each other. 
The bookcases for reference books are recessed into the wall, the space 
above being faced with sound-deadening cream-coloured Celotex; the 
floor has a rubber covering. The series of public rooms is lit by 
skylights, which can be protected by blinds against the noon sunlight. 

In the print and map room large portfolios are kept lying on 
notably practical rolling shelves. The whole building is remarkably 
easy to keep clean. 


In the catalogue room separate author-catalogues of works published 
until 1900, from 1901-50, and from 1948 are maintained on cards, 
together with a subject-catalogue arranged according to the decimal 
system, and numerous special catalogues of illustrators, translators, 
publications of societies and institutions, places, works by Swiss 
women, etc. In the reading room are catalogues of reference works, 
and in the periodicals room, title and subject catalogues of the periodicals 
displayed there. Cards are now reproduced by the multigraph process, 
this having proved more economical than the method formerly 
employed of mounting on cards entries cut from Le Livre suisse. 

Le Livre suisse, which has been published since 1901, originally 
under the tide Bulletin bibliographique de la Bibliotheque Nationale Suisse, 
records almost all publications appearing in Switzerland. It is published 
in two series, one fortnightly listing all titles of works received in the 
Library through the normal book-trade channels and the other, 
published at intervals of two months, recording Government publica- 
tions, those of learned societies, etc. Since the National Library's 
shelf-mark appears in the entry for each book, the bibliography forms 


in effect a catalogue of the Library for readers unable to visit it 

Besides Le Livre suisse, specialised bibliographies are issued, some in 
single volumes, others annually. The latter include: 

Repertoire methodique des publications suisses ou relatives a la Suisse. 
(Systematisches Verzeichnis der schweizerischen oder die Schweiz 
betreffenden Veroffentlichungen.) 4 vol. 1901-47. Superseded by 
Repertoire du livre Suisse. (Schweizer Biicherverzeichnis. Elenco del libro 
svizzero.) 1948- . [Comprising: i. List by authors and by titles of anony- 
mous works. 2. Index by catchwords. 3. List by subjects. 4. From 1956: 
list of current periodicals published in Switzerland.] 

Bibliographia scientise naturalis Helvetica. 1925- . 

Bibliographic des publications officielles suisses. (Bibliographic der 
schweizerischen Amtsdruckschriften.) 1946- . 

Bibliographic de 1'histoire suisse. Redigee a la Bibliodieque Nationale et 
pubfiee par la Societe suisse d'histoire. Zurich, 1913- . 

Bibliographia medica helvetica. PubHee par PAcademie suisse des sciences 
medicales en collaboration avec la Bibliotheque universitaire de Bale et la 
Bibliotheque nationale. Bale, 1943- . 

Catalogue des ecrits academiques suisses. 1954- . [Published 1897-1953 by 
Basle University Library.] 

The Catalogue des periodiques suisses re$us par la BiUiotheaue Nationale 
(Verzeichnis der laufenden schweizerischen Zeitschriften) was published 
from 1917 until 1930, after which current periodicals were listed in 
Le Livre suisse. 

A special catalogue published in addition to the above is: 

Catalogue de la Division: Histoire et Geographic (publications parues 
jusqu'en 1900). 2 vol. Berne, 1910. 


The Library is organised in the following departments: 

1. Acquisitions. 

2. Cataloguing and bibliographies. 

3. Ancient collections and historical researches. Print and map collection. 

4. Lending and Union Catalogue. 

5. Special divisions: 


6. Secretariate. 

The total number of staff is forty-seven, of whom twelve are in the 
highest or professional grade. In the middle grade, which includes the 
heads of sub-divisions and library assistants, twenty persons are 


employed, while there are three additional assistants for reading room 
and stack duties. Technical staffis made up of a photographer and two 
binders; and there are also two administrative officials, one attendant, 
and two "external collaborators." A university degree or the diploma 
of a technical high school is required of those entering posts in the 
highest grade. For some the posts of the middle grade, higher middle 
school education or qualification as a middle school teacher is required, 
and for the remainder, the booksellers' professional diploma, or the 
diploma of a commercial school. In each case, additional qualifications 
inlibrarianship are required, either the diploma of the Swiss Association 
of Librarians, or of the Geneva Library School, or adequate experience 
in a learned library. In the years following the Second World War 
the Library, in common with other Federal Government offices, 
experienced difficulties in obtaining trained staff. 
Figures for the use of the Library in 1955 were: 

Readers .............. 25,420 

Books issued in the reading room ...... 13*878 

for home reading ........ 55*547 

Postal loans, Switzerland ........ *9259 

abroad ........ ' . . 1,128 

Books borrowed from other Swiss libraries . . . . 3*217 

, foreign libraries . . . . 614 

Accessions during 1955 were as follows: 

Gifts (including 
deposit by 

Purchase Total 

Books ...... 4,360 1,160 5,520 

Pamphlets .. .. 4,515 490 5,005 

Serials ...... 144 212 356 

Theses .. .. 1,173 M73 

Views ...... 676 54 730 

Photographs . . . . 90 405 495 

Maps ...... 377 13 390 

MSS ....... 1,104 45 M49 

Music ...... 329 49 378 

Films ...... 40 32 72 

Official Publications .. 3,980 3,980 

Offprints .... 998 998 

Periodicals .. .. 2,918 701 3,619 

20,704 3,161 23,865 



As will be seen from the size of the reading rooms, the Library is 
designed largely to serve a lending system. The Information Bureau 
deals with applications from abroad in addition to those from 
Switzerland, while the Union Catalogue, which was commenced in 
1928, and into which are incorporated the titles of foreign books 
received in 311 Swiss libraries, and also those of Swiss publications 
which are rare or difficult to locate, serves a very free interlending 
system. At the end of 1955, the Union Catalogue contained 1,904,452 
cards in classified order. The Library has also published since 1923 a 
list of foreign works acquired by Swiss libraries: Sammelliste von 
Erwerbungender schweizerischen Bibliotheken (Bulletin collectifd* acquisitions 
des bibliotheques suisses). The Library acts as an agent for the exchange 
of books between Swiss libraries and those abroad, and an increasing 
number of microfilms is similarly being exchanged. Reconstruction 
of the Photographic Department, delayed by the Second World War, 
became an urgent necessity, and was completed in 1949. In 1955, 
5,039 photocopies, 1,360 photographs, and 19,441 frames of microfilm 
were made. 


Funds for the Library, including salaries, are voted annually by the 
Federal Government. In 1955 the grant for salaries amounted to 
514,000 francs; for the increase of the collections, 55,000 francs; and 
for binding, 42,000 francs. Maintenance of the building, cleaning, etc., 
is the responsibility of the Federal Building Administration, and is not 
charged to Library funds. Little money is available from the official 
grant to buy antiquarian books, but help has been given by the 
Society of Friends of the National Library since its establishment in 


Rapport annuel. 1895- . 

Bourgeois, P. The Swiss National Library. In: Stechert-Hafiier Book News. 

vol. 7., no. 3. November, 1952. pp. 29-31. 
Godet, M. La Bibliothfcque Nationale Suisse, son histoire, ses collections, son 

nouvel edifice. Avec 35 illustrations. 1932. 
Lemaitre, H. The Swiss National Library. In: Library Association Record. 

3rd ser., vol. 2. 1932. pp. 17-21. illus. [Deals with die building.] 

ionaleSuisse. Undemi-sicled'activite, 1895-1945- [Edited by M. Godet.] 1945- 
Hill, F. J. The Swiss National Library and its collection of Helvetica. In: 

Library Association Record. 4th ser., vol. 21. 1954. pp. 43~46, 
Whittick, A. Some noteworthy library buildings. In: Parthenon. April, 

May, July, 1951. pp. 90-96, 127-132. 




The National Library of Ireland developed out of the Library of the 
Royal Dublin Society, which in 1815 acquired Leinster House, the 
town residence of the Duke of Leinster. This Society which still 
flourishes, was in the nineteenth century a centre of intellectual and 
cultural interest for Ireland and (being truly national) of sporting 
interests also. As such it had both a library and a natural history 
collection, and was recognised as a semi-public institution, being in 
receipt of an annual grant from Parliament; and from the early years 
of the century it gradually widened its hospitality to visiting students. 
In 1877 the Library was taken over by the Government and became 
the National Library of Ireland. A new building was opened in 1890 
and the books transferred in July of that year under the direction of 
William Archer, F.R.S., who had been appointed Librarian of the 
Royal Dublin Society in 1876 and from 1877 to 1895 was Librarian of 
the National Library of Ireland. Archer was succeeded by T. W. 
Lyster, who had been Assistant Librarian. In 1920 Lyster was succeeded 
by Dr. R. Lloyd Praeger. In 1924 Dr. R. I. Best became Librarian, a 
title changed in 1934 to Director, and in 1940 Dr. R. J. Hayes was 
appointed Director. 

The National Library of Ireland was the first library in the British 
Isles to adopt the Dewey system of classification. It is under the 
superintendence of twelve trustees, four appointed by the Government 
and eight elected annually by the Royal Dublin Society; the Trustees 
are responsible to the Department of Education. 

The Library is rich in works relating to Ireland, and every effort is 
made to make its collections as complete as possible. The chief 
collections are as follows. 

Printed Books 

(i) The Joly collection, formed by Dr. Jasper Joly of Rathmines, 
Dublin (1819-92), and amounting to about 23,000 printed volumes, 


besides an extensive collection of music and engravings. It contains a 
good collection of Napoleonic literature, but its chief value lies in. its 
Irish interest. The collection, which was made over by Dr. Joly to the 
Royal Dublin Society in 1863, is kept separately. 

(2) The Thorn collection. This is a valuable collection of books 
bequeathed in 1903 by the widow of the late Alexander Thorn, 
numbering upwards of 3,900 volumes, many of them in fine bindings. 
It is strong in works of Irish interest, and is kept separately. 

(3) The Dix collection of books printed in Ireland, presented by 
E. R. McC. Dix, and arranged according to place and date of printing. 

(4) The Holloway collection of books, periodicals, prints, and 
theatre programmes, and MS. diaries relating to the theatre in Ireland 
from about 1890 to 1940, 

The number of printed books and pamphlets in the Library is over 
550,000. Legal deposit of books published in Ireland (but not in Great 
Britain, which is enjoyed by the Library of Trinity College) was 
given by the Industrial and Commercial Property (Protection) Act of 


(1) The Ormonde archives, formerly preserved in Kilkenny Castle, 
which form the most important collection of historical papers. They 
cover a period of 600 years, from the end of the twelfth century to the 
beginning of the nineteenth, and were purchased for the Library 
in 1952. 

(2) Archbishop King's Collectanea for the ecclesiastical history of 
Ireland. They were used by the editor of Ware's works, Walter Harris, 
who made considerable additions. 

(3) The collection of Irish MSS., numbering over 600, which include 
178 from the Phillipps collection. 

(4) The Fitzgerald-Lennox correspondence, a collection of over 
1,700 letters written to Lady Amelia Lennox, first Duchess of Leinster 
(1731-1814), by various members of the ducal families of Richmond 
and Leinster. 

(5) The Smith O'Brien correspondence, a very large collection of 
the letters and papers of William Smith O'Brien, M.P. (1803-64). 

(6) The Lismore Castle papers deposited in 1952-53 by the Duke of 
Devonshire, the records of the Munster estates of the Boyle and 
Cavendish families from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. 

The MSS. collections relate almost entirely to subjects of Irish 
interest, and it is the policy of the Library to try to acquire everything 
relating to Ireland or to Irishmen which comes on the market. The 
10 NLW 


bound MSS. now number over 9,500, and there are in addition over 
100,000 documents. 

In addition to these original documents, a project was begun in 1945 
to copy on microfilm all the MSS. and documents of Irish interest in 
foreign libraries and archives. Several thousand MSS. and documents 
have been microfilmed in the Spanish National Archives in Simancas, 
in the Bibliotheque Nationale and the Archives Nationales, Paris, and 
in the British Museum and the Public Record Office, London. Many 
mediaeval Latin MSS. of Irish interest have been copied in London, 
Oxford, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Berlin, and other European cities. 

The work of inspecting and reporting on MS. collections in private 
custody in Ireland was taken over by the Library from the Irish 
Manuscripts Commission in 1950. 


Leinster House, the original home of the Library, was erected in 
1745 by James Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, afterwards Duke of Leinster, 
as a private residence. In 1815 it passed into the hands of the Royal 
Dublin Society, and remained the headquarters of the Society until 
1925, when it was purchased by the Government of the Irish Free 
State for .6,800, and now the Senate assembles in the stately 
apartment which was the former drawing-room of Leinster House. 

In 1869 a Commission appointed by the Council of Education 
stressed the need for more commodious premises for the Library, and 
when in 1877 the Library was taken over by the Government, the 
accommodation in Leinster House was quite inadequate; there were 
the usual delays, however, and it was not till 1884 that the plans of 
Messrs. Deane and Co. of Dublin were accepted, and not till 1890 that 
the new buildings were opened to the public. The completed block 
forms an important and imposing group of buildings with Leinster 
House and the two modern wings extending to Kildare Street; die left 
wing comprises the National Library and the Metropolitan School of 
Art, while the opposite wing is the National Museum. The wings 
harmonise to a certain extent with the original eighteenth-century 
house; the fa$ade of each is about 200 feet in length, and consists of two 
rotundas with colonnades and pavilions at the sides* On entering the 
National Library one finds a semicircular vestibule leading by a 
handsome double staircase to a reading room of horseshoe shape, 
measuring seventy-two by sixty-three feet, with a domed glass roof, 
and having seats for 100 readers. The main entrance hall is used to 
accommodate exhibitions. 


Congestion in the Library has now become very serious, and as 
there is no room for expansion on the present site, a new building will 
have to be provided. 


There is a general Author-Catalogue of Printed Books, consisting of 
printed slips laid down in folio volumes as in the British Museum 
Library, and a subject-index in the same form. "Supplemental 
Catalogues" were printed in 1881-96, and lists of "Books added" in 
1906-15, covering accessions between 1902 and 1913, while a subject- 
index of books added during the years 1894-1915, including those in 
the general collection prior to 1894, was published in two volumes, 
1911 and 1926. A card catalogue of the MSS. and microfilms of MSS. 
is in course of preparation, but shortage of staff and of storage space 
has hindered the work considerably. 

There are also: 

Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed Irish Literature. 1913. 

(Supplemental volume published by the Dublin Institute for Advanced 

Studies, 1942.) 

List of Scientific and Technical Periodicals in Dublin Libraries. 1929. 
Bibliography of Irish History, 1870-1911. 1940. 

1912-1921. 1936. 

Catalogue of Engraved Irish Portraits. [1937.] 

Catalogue of Irish Topographical Prints and Original Drawings. 1943. 

A national bibliography of Irish literature and material relating to 
Ireland has been under compilation in the Library since 1954. Starting 
from the catalogues of the Library's own collections, it is being built up 
by the addition of entries for items in all the important collections of 
MSS. relating to Ireland which exist, and for all relevant printed 
material which can be traced. The bibliography, which is in card form, 
is to be made available to subscribers on microfilm. 


The Department of Printed Books and the Department of 
Manuscripts are each in charge of a Keeper, and the Department of 
Maps, Prints, Drawings, Photographs, and Cinema Films is in charge 
of the Assistant Keeper of Printed Books. The Keeper of the Depart- 
ment of Manuscripts is also Chief Herald of Ireland, and in charge of 
the Genealogical Office. This Office, formerly the Ulster Office of 
Arms, was taken over by the Library in 1943 with all its MSS. and 
archives; it is housed in Dublin Castle, and contains an heraldic 


The Library is open to the public from io^a.m. to 10 p.m. on 
weekdays (Saturdays 10 a.m. to I p.m.) ; a reader's ticket is required. 

The number of visits by readers to the Library during the year 
1954-55 was 38,570. 

Accessions during the year 1954-55 amounted to 16,115. 

Legal Purchase 

Deposit and Gift 

Annuals 106 149 

Periodicals 213 640 

Weekly 24 72 

Publications of Government and Inter- 
national Organisations .. .. .. 10,561 

Parliamentary Publications .. .. 1,020 

Newspapers 75 *3i 

Books and Pamphlets 235 1,700 

Music (Sheet) '9 

Maps 124 1,056 

1,806 14,309 


The National Library of Ireland is the repository for all purely Irish 
publications, and has the copyright privilege for them. It is the 
bibliographical centre for all studies connected with Ireland and the 
headquarters of the Irish Association for Documentation, and exchanges 
publications with institutions abroad. 

A photographic section, with several microfilm and photostat 
cameras, enlargers, photographic plate printers, etc., is engaged in 
supplying reproductions for scholars, and also in copying for the 
Department of Manuscripts archives and records of historical interest 
belonging to libraries, public archives, and private individuals all over 


The Staff is as follows: 

Director ^1,100-1,375 

Keeper of Printed Books ^965-1,100 

Keeper of Manuscripts .965-1,100 

Assistant Keeper of Printed Books .. .. 635-965 

Assistant Keeper of Manuscripts ^63 5-965 

7 Assistant Librarians (2 for the Dept. of MSS.) . . 3 80-800 
10 Library Assistants, i Cataloguer, 2 Typists, 17 Attendants. 


The figures for salaries do not include cost-of-living bonus, which in 
1956 amounted to approximately 10 per cent. The need for 
improvement in salary scales and conditions of service has been 
emphasised by the Director in recent years, and the lack of staff has 
given rise to serious arrears of cataloguing. 

The Annual Grant-in-Aid for the purchase of books and MSS. is 
; 5,000. There is also a Grant-in- Aid of 5,000 for the discovery and 
copying on microfilm of material relating to Ireland in foreign 
libraries and archives. 

The costs of the upkeep of the buildings, printing, binding, etc., are 
borne on the votes of other Government Departments. 


National Library of Ireland. Reports. 1877 to date. 

Vine, Guthrie. The National Library of Ireland: a short account of the building 

and its contents. 1902. In: Library Association Record, vol. 4. pp. 95-109. 
The National Library: Extension and reform. (Irish Times. Supplement. 

January 1933, p. 92.) 
Peter, A. Sketches of Old Dublin. 1907. (The four great libraries of Dublin. 

iv. The National Library of Ireland, pp. 24-33.) 
Thorn's Directory of Dublin. The National Library. 
Berry, Henry F. A History of the Royal Dublin Society. 1915. (Chapter X. 

The Library.) 
Savage, E. A. The Friendliest Library in the World. In: Library Review. 

Summer, 1952. pp. 360-67. 




On June 19, 1837, a Royal Decree was issued establishing, under the 
name of the "Bibliotheque Royale," a National Library for Belgium. 
But though this Library was the creation of the modern Belgian 
Kingdom (of 1830), it has its roots back in the historic past of a country, 
which from the early days of the Counts of Flanders, Hainault, etc., has 
been pre-eminent in the arts, and, in the craft of printing, was the 
instructor of our own Caxton. 

The Royal Library was formed mainly out of three older libraries; 
first, the celebrated collection of Charles Van Hulthem of Ghent, 
which was bought in 1836 by the Belgian Government, and which, by 
reason of its Belgian bias, was a fitting foundation for the new national 
library; second, the historic "Bibliotheque elite de Bourgogne," a 
sad remnant of its former glory, but still containing treasures which 
make it the most prized part of the Royal Library, which was joined 
to the Royal Library in 1838; and third, the Public Library of the 
City of Brussels, the history of which was closely involved with that 
of the Burgundy Library; finally in 1843 this, too, was absorbed into 
the National Library. 

The real creator of the Burgundian Library was Duke Philip, 
surnamed the Good (1419-67), under whom the House of Burgundy 
was raised to the rank of one of the first powers of Europe. The first 
Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold, married Margaret, only daughter 
and heir of Louis, Count of Flanders (died 1383), and thus became 
the possessor of the private library of the Counts of Flanders. He 
was a lover of literature, and preserved this collection of books with 
care, and, in spite of the troubled times, even added works. C. A. de la 
Serna Santander, writing in 1809, mentions four MSS. on vellum 
which were then still in the Library, and which were without doubt 
from this Prince's library, but writing in 1840 M. Namur says there 
was then only one of the four mentioned to be found, this being Les 
dialogues de S. Gregoire, Pape. 



It was tinder Philip the Good that the Library first took the name of 
"Bibliotheque de Bourgogne" ; he enlarged and enriched it to such an 
extent that in 1443 it was known, according to a contemporary writer, 
David Aubert, as the richest and largest in the world, and certainly the 
only others that could be compared to it at this period were those of 
Charles V of France and of Jean Due de Berry. David Aubert was 
entrusted by Philip the Good with the task of making and buying MSS., 
and a scriptorium was established in the town of Brussels. At Philip's 
death inventories were made of his libraries at Bruges, Antwerp, 
Ghent, and Brussels, and the total number of MSS. amounted to 3,211. 
Some of these, dedicated to Philip the Good, or copied or translated by 
his orders, are still to be found in the Library; a considerable number of 
others, lost in the religious wars of the sixteenth century, were found 
in the eighteenth century by Count Cobenzl scattered among the 
German libraries. Belgium was early in its history the "cockpit of 
Europe," and suffered accordingly; the only miracle is that so much 

The glories of the House of Burgundy were brought to an abrupt 
end by the death of Charles le Temeraire in 1477 on the field of Nancy. 
In the few periods he had for peaceful pursuits he showed his interest 
in books and letters, and it, was during his reign that printing was 
introduced into Belgium. It is related of him that on the model of 
Alexander the Great, who carried everywhere with him the works of 
Homer to excite his ambition, Charles was never parted from a MS. 
translation made for him from the Latin by Vasque de Lucena, La 
Cyropedie or VHistoire du premier roi Cyrus. It was with him at the 
Battle of Nancy and believed to be lost, but was acquired in a public 
sale at Paris and given by the Queen of the Belgians to the Bibliotheque 
de Bourgogne in 1833. 

Under Maximilian of Austria, who by his marriage with the only 
surviving heir to the Dukedom, Mary of Burgundy, became ruler of 
the Low Countries, the Library was remembered only as a source of 
ready cash, and precious bindings as well as MSS. were sold to 
money-lenders to meet the expenses of a Prince surnamed "le 
Necessiteux." Under Margaret of Austria, aunt of the Emperor 
Charles V, and after her his sister, Mary, Queen of Hungary, who 
acted as Regents for Charles in the Low Countries, the Library 
received rich additions, and at Margaret's death in 1530 her own 
library. The Library still has her books of music, which contain a few 
songs of her own composition. The two most precious gifts from 
Mary were two works from the celebrated library of Matthias 
Corvinus, one, containing the four Gospels in Latin, was given by her 


to Philip II, and was placed by him in the Escorial; the other, still in the 
Bibliotheque de Bourgogne, was a missal of superb execution, done in 
Italy for Matthias Corvinus, and used after this in the ceremonies 
attached to the "Joyeuses-Entrees," the sovereigns taking their solemn 
oath on this missal to observe the privileges and laws of the country. 
Philip n always showed himself as a friend of letters and the arts, and 
before leaving the Low Countries for Spain in 1559, he gave orders that 
all the books belonging to the different Royal libraries, Margaret of 
Austria's and Mary's (who died in 1558) and his own, scattered in the 
Royal palaces, should be gathered into one library at Brussels. He also 
appointed Viglius ab Ayta, a noted savant of the time, as "tresorier et 
garde." There is no mention made of the place destined for the 
assembling of these books, but there seems little doubt that they were 
placed in the Royal Palace of the Court at Brussels. An inventory made 
by Viglius (still preserved in the Library) gives the numbers as 958 
volumes of MSS. and 683 printed works. 

During the troubled period which succeeded this, the Library lost 
many precious MSS., and it was not till the end of the sixteenth 
century that the Governors-General of the Low Countries interested 
themselves again in its care, and enlarged and enriched it. One 
method instituted by Archduke Ernest, Governor-General of the 
Low Countries, was to order printers to deposit one copy (the next 
year, two) of everything printed, at the Royal Library. But like so 
many Government decrees in that country, it was a dead letter, for the 
Secretaries of the Council of Brabant refused for many years to put it 
into execution, or used it later for their own profit, "se faire livrer a 
leur prouffit quatre, cinq, ou six exemplaires." At the death of Viglius, 
the charge of the Library was given to his nephew, Fran$ois Damant, 
with the tide of Garde-joyaux. Damant was succeeded in his turn by 
Philippe Borlut. In 1598 the Archduke Albert and his wife Isabel 
became rulers of the Low Countries; their intentions towards the 
Library were excellent, though owing to troubles in the State and lack 
of money, not much material benefit accrued. Adrien de Riebeke was 
appointed in place of Borlut, who had died that year, and he had an 
inventory made which listed 802 volumes of MSS. and 750 printed 
books. But seeing the need for a learned man to be placed at the head 
of the Library, they appointed in place of de Riebeke Aubert le Mire, 
"protonotaire apostofique, Licencie en la saincte thologie, Chanoine 
de 1'figlise cathedrale d'Anvers," etc., who received the tide of 
"bibliothecaire et garde de la librarie de la Cour." After this brief 
revival of interest the Library entered into a period of neglect and, 
finally, total oblivion, from which it was rescued only by the zeal and 


energy of Count Cobend, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Empress 
Maria Theresa from 1753 onwards. 

From the death of Aubert le Mire, in 1640, the Library was put in 
charge of Officers ("Greffiers") of the Council of Finances, but they 
seem to have done nothing for the Library, which was practically 
abandoned. In February 1731, a disastrous fire occurred; the Royal 
Palace, where the Library was housed, was reduced to ashes and the 
greater part of its contents, including many works of art, was 
destroyed. The books and MSS. which survived were later placed in 
the crypt of the Chapel of the Palace, a masterpiece ot Gothic 
architecture. The crypt had cellars beneath it, so that it was fortunately 
dry; otherwise what had been saved from the flames would have 
assuredly rotted away, for after making a rough list of the contents, the 
Officer locked them up and allowed no one to have access to them; 
after a time very few people even remembered their existence. But if 
the people of Brussels had forgotten their Library, Marshal Saxe, 
commanding the French army of Louis XV, which took Brussels 
after a few days* siege in 1746, did not overlook it. French Commis- 
sioners, "tres habiles pour cette sorte d'operations," as the Belgian 
historian remarks, discovered the secret store, and took away 180 
of the most valuable MSS. It was not until 1770 that France agreed to 
their restitution; about eighty volumes were returned, being the 
ones deposited at the Bibliotheque Royale (Paris); the others had 
been disposed of privately and could not be got back. The returned 
books were rebound magnificently in red morocco leather, with the 
arms of the King stamped upon them. 

Count Cobend, already mentioned, whose interest in the 
Bibliotheque de Bourgogne had been roused by seeing MSS. from the 
Library of the old Dukes of Burgundy in German libraries, arrived in 
Brussels in 1753 as Minister Plenipotentiary of the Empress; and, 
hastening to make inquiries about the Library, he was extremely 
surprised to find that no one knew anything about it. After months of 
research, he found out the official keeper of the Library, the Baron de 
Lados, and finally the store of books and MSS. in the crypt, and having 
satisfied himself of their value, he had them moved in 1754 to a large 
hall between the Rue Isabelle and the Park, and arranged there on 
shelves. On the recommendation of the "Greffier," Count Cobenzl 
had appointed Pierre Wouters, a canon of Lierre, as Librarian that 
same year, and expressly charged him with compiling an inventory of 
the Library. But during the thirteen years he occupied the post he did 
not even compile a list of the existing works in the Library; he bought 
books which were of litde or no value, and he allowed no admission of 


the public. In 1761 Charles of Lorraine and Count Cobenzl visited the 
Royal Library. They found everything in confusion; the volumes 
were torn, the bindings loose, some were attacked by vermin, and 
many volumes were just piled on the floor. Wouters was immediately 
enjoined to put the Library in a better state of order and see to the 
repair of the books. Under this pressure he had some of the books 
repaired, but the neglect and disorder continued, and at length the 
Council of Finances put in an official, Jouen, and ordered Wouters to 
relinquish his post, which he finally did in 1768. Jouen drew up a 
catalogue and made a report to the Council, in which he said that the 
Library contained some 9,000 volumes, but many of these were 
duplicates (of some books there were even thirty copies), many books 
were unworthy of a Royal Library, and, further, it was not possible 
to put further shelving in the hall as at present constituted without 
spoiling its architectural beauty. 

The Council were uncertain how to act, and even considered a plan 
of dividing up the Library and making several official libraries out of 
it At this juncture, however, a scheme was inaugurated by Count 
Cobenzl for founding a Literary Society in the City of Brussels. He 
obtained the support of Charles of Lorraine for this project, which 
received the sanction of the Empress in 1769, Cobenzl himself being 
appointed President and M. Gerard Secretary. It soon became 
apparent, however, that without a good library the Society could do 
little to encourage a taste for belles-lettres, and gradually the idea of 
making a public library out of the old Royal Library took shape. 
Count Cobenzl died soon after the foundation of the Society, but his 
successor, Prince Starhemberg, was equally zealous for the scheme, 
and by a royal pronouncement of June 26, 1772,, the Literary Society 
was raised to the position of a Royal Academy, and the Royal Library 
was made a public institution. 

Worthless books in the old collection were sold (7,000 out of 9,000 
printed books), the library of Count Cobenzl was purchased, the 
Imperial Government contributed 1,000 ducats, and both individuals 
and corporate bodies were generous in gifts, noteworthy among these 
being a selection of works from the Verdussen Library (Antwerp). 
M. Gerard, having arranged the books and made a catalogue of the 
printed works, asked to be relieved from his duties and for a librarian 
to be appointed. Finally the Abbe Chevalier, a member of the Literary 
Society, was appointed, at a salary of 600 florins. From this time on 
the Library was known as the Bibliotheque Royale or the Public 
Library of Brussels, holding the latter name during the time of the 
Revolution and until it was finally joined to the BibliothSque Royale 


founded in 1837. The old name of Bibliotheque de Bourgogne was 
usually applied to the MSS. collection, which, in spite of further losses 
during the revolutionary period, still retained some of the original 
Burgundian MSS. 

The most important acquisitions of the newly-made public library 
were the spoils from the libraries of the Jesuits, whose order was 
suppressed in 1773 ; a particularly rich haul was made in Belgium, 
where the number of volumes in their libraries was reckoned at 
800,000. Through the influence of the Academic Imperiale et Royale 
de Bruxelles (formerly the Literary Society), permission was obtained 
from the Empress to select from the sequestered books all the MSS. and 
two copies of all works relating to Belgian history, and of the rarest 
works; and this was done by M. Gerard. The MSS. were placed 
in the Library, and the books for which there was no room were put 
temporarily in the former Jesuit church in Brussels: the plan suggested 
by Prince Starhemberg was to utilise this building for a permanent 
library. But with the death of Maria Theresa in 1780, support for 
library schemes was no longer forthcoming, and, a further loss to the 
Library, Prince Starhemberg resigned his post. After many disputes 
and some losses, the books stored in the Jesuit church were finally 
moved in 1792 to the Library. 

The revolutionary period opened disastrously for the Library; in 
1794 Belgium was occupied by the revolutionary armies of France, and 
the Representative of the People, Laurent, removed from the Library 
seven wagon-loads of MSS. and books, which was followed by 
another pillaging, and later in the year the Commissioners of Science 
and Arts removed the rest of the MSS. and placed their seals on the 
small remnant still left. The Abbe Chevalier was dismissed from his 
post and forced to leave the country. However, the administration 
which was shortly afterwards set up interested itself in cultural matters, 
and Gerard and C. A. de la Serna Santander (the historian of the 
Library) were charged with retrieving all the material they could find 
which had been taken from the Library, arranging it, and making an 
inventory of it. The two men worked hard at the task of the 
re-establishment of the Library, for as La Serna Santander said in his 
history, the number of books retrieved in the first year was so small 
that "one could say with truth that at this epoch we began the 
establishment of a new Library, which, owing to the sequence of events, 
has become much larger than the old one was, with the exception, 
however, of the collection of precious MSS. which it possessed." 
Gerard resigned at the end of 1795, finding it "repugnant after forty 


years of service given to the Sovereigns of Belgium, to take an oath of 
hatred to royally." La Serna Santander was then given complete 
charge of the Library, and held office until 1811, when, as the result of 
political imprudence on his part, proceedings were taken against him 
by the police, and he was forced to leave. 

The work of putting the Library in order and making an inventory 
of what remained was done in forty days, and it was opened again to 
the public on June 5, 1795, for eight hours a day. By the decree of 
1796 suppressing religious orders in Belgium, large stores of books 
became available for building up the impoverished Library once more; 
La Serna Santander collected, listed, and arranged them with the 
greatest zeal and energy, so that at the end of his history he was able 
to say that the Library could be "counted today among the finest and 
richest departmental libraries of the French Empire." Other 
collections of books which came to the Library at this time besides 
those from the suppressed religious houses were those from the 
Province of Brabant and the Abbey of Gembloux and some of the 
books belonging to the Grand Council of Malines. 

In 1803 the Library was handed over to the municipality of Brussels, 
which from this time appointed the Librarians and fixed and paid their 
salaries. In 1815 the French Government restored the greater part of 
the volumes removed by the revolutionaries of 1794, amounting to 
929 printed works and 621 MSS. From 1815 the Library was divided 
into two sections, printed works and MSS., the printed works 
remaining with the town library, and the MSS. forming again the 
"Bibliotheque dite de Bourgogne" belonging to the State. Charles 
van Hulthem, who succeeded La Serna Santander as Librarian of the 
city library, was also appointed "conservateur des MSS. de 
Bourgogne." He was joined later by the Baron de Reiffenberg, to 
whom the care of the printed books was entrusted, and who published 
in the Memoires de I 9 Academic and in his Archives philologi ques interesting 
notices on many of the MSS. in this Library. Very little interest, 
however, was taken either by the State or the Municipality in these 
libraries; the MSS. were not accessible to the public till in 1827 
they were handed over to the town. An inventory of the collection 
which had been made before the transfer, gave the following 

996 MSS. which had not been carried off to France. 
288 MSS. from the Abbey of Gembloux. 
892 MSS. from different religious foundations. 


which, with the MSS. brought back from Paris after 1815, brought up 
the number to 2,800 volumes of MSS. 

Towards the end of 1827 the Government acquired the MSS. from 
the Library of the ancient Abbey of Tongerloo, which included the 
Bollandist Library, to the number of 392. This library had been 
dispersed and hidden (not without great loss and destruction) during 
the revolutionary period; in more peaceful times the remnant of the 
Library was collected and the printed works sold to the Royal Library 
at The Hague; the MSS. nearly followed, but were procured for the 
Brussels Library through the action of an official in the Ministry of the 
Interior. In 1826, a fire almost completely destroyed the Library- 
building ; Van Hulthem was away at Ghent and had taken the keys with 
him, and it was necessary to break in the doors and throw the MSS. 
and incunabula out of the window to save them from destruction. 
After this Van Hulthem resigned. 

In 1827 the Minister van Gobbelschroy, who was of Belgian origin, 
had an inventory of the manuscripts made by Gachard. Sylvain van de 
Weyer was appointed Librarian of the city library and of the MSS. 
(Bibliotheque de Bourgogne); under him the Library acquired, in 
addition to the Bollandist Library, part of the MSS. of the ancient 
Abbey of Pare. 

At the beginning of 1830 van de Weyer was relieved of his office of 
"Conservateur de la Bibliotheque de Bourgogne" for political 

The Burgundian Library was to have been attached to the State 
Archives, but the amalgamation was interrupted by the revolution of 
1830. Ten months later the Burgundian Library was reorganised 
(February 22, 1831). M. Marchal was appointed "conservateur des 
manuscrits de la Bibliotheque de Bourgogne," which was opened to 
the public on July 21, 1831. Marchal considerably enlarged the 
collection up to 1837, when the "Bibliotheque Royale" was created; 
it was united with the Bibliotheque de Bourgogne in the following 

The printed works (the City Library), after being administered by 
van de Weyer, were entrusted to M. Goethals (January 22, 1832), and 
were handed over to the State in 1 843 . After 1831 and the establishment 
of a separate Kingdom of Belgium, public interest in the Library grew 
rapidly; extra grants were allotted, and no important sale was allowed 
to pass without purchases being made. Finally the national feeling 
found expression in the purchase of the Van Hulthem collection and 
the establishment of the Bibliotheque Royale in 1837. The City Library 
at the time of the amalgamation numbered about 100,000 volumes; the 


Van Hulthem collection 64,000 volumes including MSS. The MSS. 
numbered in 1827 2,800 volumes, excluding the Bollandist collection 
and the Van Hulthem MSS. added later. 


Charles van Hulthem, Curator of the University of Ghent and 
member of the Academy of Brussels, devoted fifty years of his life to 
the formation of his library; he was indeed in the true succession of 
famous bibliophiles who live only for their books, spending all his 
salary and private fortune on books and carrying his devotion so far 
that he would never in the severest winter have any heating, for fear 
of injuring them by fire or dust. He bought with a special bias towards 
the history and literature of his country, though his library included 
much beside; indeed he bpught anything rare or finely bound, and all 
his books were in perfect condition, for he spent 7,000 to 8,000 francs 
a year on binding and repairing. He never had time to arrange his 
books, and at his death they were found piled in heaps or still in cases. 
Among his special treasures were: 

(1) "Works on the arts, sciences, literature, and history of Belgium. 

(2) Belles-lettres, especially the Greek authors, in Aldine, Elzevir, and 
similar editions. 

(3) Plantins, the most complete collection. 

(4) Incunabula; he possessed nearly all the first editions of books printed in 
the Low Countries. 


We have already given the history of this, which is too closely 
involved with the BibHotheque de Bourgogne to be separated. Among 
its rarities may be noted: 

1) Earliest fragments of printing. 

2) First printed works from the towns of Belgium. 

3) First editions of classical (Greek and Latin) writers. 

(4) A magnificent collection of French, German, and Spanish romances and 
poems printed in the fifteenth, century. 

(5) Two special "rarissimes": (i) a letter of Amerigo Vespucci which 
announces the discovery of America, printed at Antwerp; (2) a letter of 
Christopher Columbus in which he makes known his discovery; 
apparently printed at Rome. 

(6) Aldine editions. 

(7) Spanish literature; in this collection alone are preserved copies of most of 
the Spanish books which were printed in such large numbers in the 
Low Countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 



The organisation of the new Royal Library was put in the hands of 
Baron de Reiffenberg, who up till then had been a professor at the 
University of Liege. P. Namur, who had been attached to the 
University of Louvain, was put at the head of the first section (printed 
books, etc.), and as his assistant Edouard Fetis, who had special charge 
of the arrangement of the prints, maps, plans, and medals. At the head 
of the second section (the manuscripts) was Marchal, the former 
"Conservateur de la Bibliotheque de Bourgogne," who received the 
tide of "Conservateur-adjoint." 

De Reiffenberg left all the work of administration to his assistants. 
It was Namur who organised the section of printed books; he arranged 
the newly-acquired works systematically on a plan of his own. 

De Reiffenberg died in 1850. He was replaced by Louis Alvin, who 
at the time of his appointment was Director of the Department of 
Public Instruction in the Ministry of the Interior. Alvin was a born 
organiser, and under his direction the Library developed greatly; he 
improved the building, created two new sections (those of prints and 
numismatics), organised a special periodicals room, stopped the 
dosing of the Library which had always taken place from August 15 
to the first Monday of October, and opened the Library to the public 
in the evening. Also, thanks to the influence which he had with the 
Government, he was able to acquire the necessary subsidies to make 
large purchases. It was through his initiative that the present reading 
room was built. Alvin died in 1887. 

Edouard Fetis succeeded him, and continued the work of his 
predecessor. Conditions of employment and categories of staff 
were drastically revised under him, by a Royal Decree of 1897. He 
retired in 1904, and was replaced by Henri Hymans, who was Head 
of the Department of Prints; and in 1909 Pere Joseph van den 
Gheyn, S.J., Head of the Manuscripts Department, succeeded M. 

By a decree of July 2, 1909, the Conservateur en chef was assisted 
by an Administrator-Inspector, to which office M. Louis Stainier was 
appointed. An important reform was effected under his administration 
when a second copy of the card catalogue was made for the use of the 

Pere van den Gheyn resigned at the end of 1912, and was followed 
in office by Dom Ursmer Berliere, O.S.B., who retired on July 27, 

Then once again the Low Countries became a battlefield, and 


Brussels passed for the period of the First World War under the rule 
of the Germans. To the late Fritz Milkau we owe a study of the 
Belgian libraries at that time, for early in 1915 he was sent to Belgium 
to report on them and consult with the military authorities as to the 
best means of preserving their valuable possessions. 

The Library was at first shut and turned into an ambulance station, 
then it was opened by order of the Germans, whose intention was to 
transform it into an institute of the Flemish language. On December 
25, 1917, M. Willem de Vreese, professor and former librarian of 
Ghent University, was appointed Director. 

During this period, as during the Second World War, the Library 
suffered no material damage in loss of books or destruction of buildings ; 
its difficulties were simply those arising from the lack of staff and of 

A reorganisation of the Library took place in 1919, when M. Paris 
was appointed "Conservateur en chef," the post of Administrator- 
Inspector was abolished and an Administrator-Treasurer was appointed 
as assistant to the * 'Conservateur en chef." 

In 1929 M. Paris retired, and was succeeded by M. Victor Tourneur, 
who held office until 1943, and effected the complete reorganisation of 
the Library, both as regards the work of the staff and the arrangement 
of the sections. An important addition to the collections was received 
on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the new 
building in 1954, when Count de Launoit presented his Voltairean 
collection, including about three hundred autographs of Voltaire. 

There is no legal deposit under Belgian law; an ordinance was 
passed in 1594 providing for the deposit in the Library of one copy of 
each work printed, and in the following year the number was raised 
to two, but neither was ever effectively exercised. 

Figures for the stock of the Library at the end of 1955 were: 

Printed works 1475,851 

Incunabula and rare books 31,201 

Maps 34,020 

MSS 32,970 

Prints 502,680 


The early library or libraries of the Dukes of Burgundy were 
naturally housed in the Royal Palaces; thus at the death of Philip the 
Good inventories of his libraries were made at Bruges, Antwerp, 
Ghent, and Brussels. Philip II was the first to decree the collecting 


together in one place of all the royal libraries for the use of the King 
and his successors "pour y prendre passetems a lire estui livres," and 
though no place is mentioned, it appears certain that it was placed in 
the Royal Palace of the Court of Brussels. 

In 173 1 the Royal Palace was burnt down, with the exception of the 
Chapel; this had very spacious and dry underground chambers (with 
cellars beneath them), and it was here that the remnant of the 
Bibliotheque de Bourgogne remained almost forgotten till rescued by 
Count Cobenzl. He had the books removed to a hall situated between 
the Rue Isabelle and the Park ; this hall, forty feet square and forty-seven 
feet high, was pleasing architecturally; one entered it under a white 
marble gallery which rested on six columns and on the opposite wall 
were two large chimney-pieces of marble. The Count had it fitted 
up with shelves, and the books and MSS. transported and arranged 
there in 1754. But when the plan for making a public library was 
considered, it was found that the shelving was quite inadequate, and it 
was necessary to increase the shelf room without spoiling the 
architectural features of the room. The solution finally reached lay in 
removing the gallery and the chimney-pieces, and constructing extra 
shelves in the space left. With these additions the hall served its 
purpose of housing the Library till the large accessions consequent on 
the suppression of the Jesuit libraries. Gerard had had the manuscripts 
from the Jesuit collection put in the Library and as many printed works 
as the hall would contain; the remainder of the books had to be housed 
temporarily in the former church of the Jesuits in Brussels. To enlarge 
the hall was impossible; Prince Starhemberg therefore planned to 
appropriate the church as a permanent building for the Library, and 
asked the architect Montoyer to draw up a plan for converting it and 
then submit the plan to the Imperial Government; but the proposal 
was rejected. The Library remained where it was, and the Jesuit 
collection was moved about, losing much in the process, until finally 
the remnant was moved to the public library in 1792. In 1795 it was 
decided by the Central Administration to move the Library from its 
position in the Rue Isabelle to the house' formerly occupied by the 
Chancellor of Brabant, and as more collections of books kept coming 
in from the libraries of suppressed religious houses and emigres, the 
former Palace of the Court was selected as being spacious enough for 
all the new accessions. This building had been stripped bare during the 
revolutionary disorders; the books were brought to it and a room 
opened for the use of the public. In 1826 the building was almost 
completely destroyed by fire, and the MSS. and rare works only saved 
by being thrown out of the windows. This "palais de rancienne cour" 

11 NLW 


continued to house the Public Library of the City and the old Library 
of Burgundy tiU the founding of the National Library, and still 
remains part of the present large block of the library buildings. In 1830 
it consisted of two large halls for the MSS., furnished all round with 
oak cupboards in which the MSS. were locked up; the first hall was 
called after Queen Louise and the second after Maria Theresa. 

The present building forms three sides of a pleasant square with a 
stone balustrading to close it. Facing it, one has on the right the 
building of the andenne cour, an eighteenth-century building forming 
part of the Hotel de Nassau, and transformed into a royal palace under 
Charles of Lorraine about 1750. The central block, with a decorated 
front, was built in 1825 to house an industrial exhibition, and it was to 
this building that the Van Hulthem library was moved in 1838, and 
finally opened here to the public in 1839. The left wing of the building 
dates from the end of the nineteenth century. The whole block, 
though built at different periods, has been designed in a uniform style 
and forms a homogeneous whole. During the reorganisations of the 
Library between the two World Wars, the building was modernised 
as much as possible, improved office and storage accommodation being 
arranged, and neighbouring buildings being taken into use. Lack of 
shelf room however, remains a serious problem. On the ground floor 
is a reading room with a good reference library and an exhibition 
hall; in recent years the Library has organised a series of exhibitions 
dealing with periods in the history of Belgium, and exhibits for these 
have been drawn from all departments. 

After the death of Albert I in 1934, various proposals were made for 
a memorial and it was eventually decided that it should take the form 
of a new building for the Royal Library, the need for which had 
already become urgent. An architectural competition was held in 1938 
and work proceeded on the development of the design throughout the 
Second World War. The plans later underwent much modification 
but building work finally began on a site adjoining the present 
building in 1953, and the foundation stone was laid by King Baudouin 
in 1954. The new building is to have ninety-nine kilometres of 
shelving in book stacks on sixteen floors in the centre and rear, with 
exhibition rooms and periodical rooms in the front. The principal 
public rooms, the reading rooms and catalogue room are to be at the 
main floor level, and other public rooms for MSS., maps, and lectures 
in the basement. The administrative offices will be on two floors 
surrounding an enclosed garden. The stacks are to be completed by 
the end of 1957 and the first stage of the office space and public rooms 
in 1958. 



The earliest surviving inventories are those of the libraries of the 
predecessors of Philip the Good, published by M. Gabriel Peignot, of 
Philip the Bold's library with fifty-nine MSS., that of his widow, 
Margaret of Flanders (died 1405), with 121 MSS., and that of Margaret 
of Bavaria, widow of John (died 1423), with twenty-nine MSS. The 
eighty-two MSS. of Charles the Bold, of which an inventory was made 
by the order of Louis XI, were lost to Belgium because Lotus was so 
overjoyed when he heard of the death of his enemy that he gave all the 
furniture and appointments of the Duke, which were at Dijon, to the 
Governor-General of Burgundy, Georges de la Tremoille. 

The first inventory of the Bibliothique de Bourgogne collected at 
Brussels in the Royal Palace was made by Viglius from 1577-79, and 
is still in the Library, though in a much decayed state. In it are listed 
958 volumes of MSS. and 683 printed books. The next was made at 
the order of the reigning sovereigns Albert and Isabel, by Philippe 
Sterck and Paul de Croonendaele from 1614-17. The volumes are 
described simply by their binding and cover title; 611 volumes of 
MSS. on vellum, 190 on paper, and 750 printed books are enumerated. 
Ant. Sanderus, a contemporary of Le Mire, has left us, in his 
BiUiotheca Belgica Manuscript^ Lille, 1641, 44, 2 vol., a list of MSS. 
of the Royal Library, which is nothing but an extract from a catalogue 
then existing. After the fire of 1731 the then "Greffier" made a list 
or catalogue of the remnant saved from the flames but it was very 
incomplete and badly drawn up. In 1768, when the scheme for a 
literary society and a public library was inaugurated, the first need was 
for a proper catalogue of the contents of the old Bibliotheque de 
Bourgogne. When Canon Wouters was appointed "treasurer, 
librarian, and guardian" of the Royal Library in 1754, the task of 
preparing a list of the books was enjoined on him, but he made not the 
slightest effort to carry out this task; in 1755 he published a list of 
acquisitions, but it was the only one Vhich appeared. In 1761 Charles 
of Loraine and Count Cobenzl began their investigations into the 
Library, and the advocate Jouen was ordered to draw up a report on 
the present state and needs of the Library. This he did, and his report 
concluded with the recommendation that a new catalogue should be 
drawn up at once. The authorities agreed, and Jouen was commissioned 
to draw up two new catalogues, one of MSS. and one of printed books; 
and instructions were formulated to help him in his task. For the 
MSS. he was instructed to give not only format, but number of pages, 
and to enumerate the miniatures with particulars of their subject and 


style of illumination. For printed books he was to give the year and 
place of publication and the name of the printer of each work. It was 
indeed a great advance on the summary manner of drawing up 
previous catalogues. Jouen worked nine months on these two 
catalogues, and presented them to the Council of Finances on 
November 29, 1767, with a further report, and he was directed to draw 
up a list of books to be sold with the aid of the catalogue he had made. 
But misfortune overtook" these catalogues as it did so many other 
catalogues of the Royal Library; while Jouen was starting on the work 
of sorting out the books, Count Cobenzl asked to have the two 
catalogues that Jouen had drawn up sent to him, as he wished to show 
them to scholars and other interested people, to have their opinion as 
to the value of the Library. Unfortunately, however, Cobenzl died 
soon after, and the two catalogues were never recovered. Later a 
catalogue was made by Gerard of all the printed works in the Library, 
leaving to the newly appointed Librarian, the Abbe Chevalier, the 
task of making one for the MSS., which, however, was not done. 

The first task entrusted to Gerard and La Serna Santander by the 
revolutionary administration of 1794 was to make an inventory of all 
the books of the Bibliotheque de Bourgogne that remained, which 
was done by them in forty days. 

M. Marchal, appointed "Conservateur" of the Burgundian Library 
in 1831, began a catalogue of the MSS., which he continued after the 
amalgamation with the Royal Library in 1837 and his appointment as 
Head of the Department of MSS. 

Of present-day catalogues, there is an alphabetical author and subject 
catalogue for the whole Library available to the public, and an author 
and subject catalogue for most of the special collections. Both are in 
card form. 

The printed general catalogues of printed works are: 

Liste des ouvrages acquis de 1905 a 1920. 

Section des periodiques. Catalogue des ouvrages periodiques mis a la 

disposition des lecteurs. 1902. 

(3) Section des periodiques. Catalogue des ouvrages periodiques en cours de 
publication. 1914. 

(4) Catalogue des ouvrages mis a la libre disposition de lecteurs dans la saJle 
de lecture des imprimis. 1923. 

Of printed catalogues of special collections there are: 

(i The Van Hulthem collection, compiled by Voisin in 6 vol. 1836, 37. 
(2 The Muller collection. 1858. 
(3 The Fe"tis collection. 1877. 
(4) The Goethals collection. 1876. 


Printed lists of accessions are not issued, but the Library has published 
since 1912 the Bibliographic de Belgique, recording all the publications 
appealing in the country. 

There is a printed catalogue of MSS. divided by subjects: 

Van den Gheyn, J, Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliotheque royale 
de Belgique. (i) ficriture sainte et liturgie. (2) Patrologie. (3) Theologie. 
(4) Jurisprudence et philosophic. (5) Histoire, hagiographie. (6) Histoire 
des ordres religieux et des eglises particulieres. (7) Histoire des pays: 
Allemagne, Angleterre, Autriche, Belgique (histoire generale). (8 with 
E. Bacha) Histoire de Belgique (histoire particuliere), 1901-09, 9 vol. 
(10 with E. Bacha and E. Wagemans) Histoire d'Espagne, Histoire de 
France, Histoire d'ltalie. 1919. (n by F. Lyna.) Histoire de Hollande. 
Melanges d'histoire. Voyages, etc. 1927. (12 by F. Lyna.) Heraldique. 
Armouries. 1936. (13 by F. Lyna.) Heraldique. Genealogie. 1948. 


The old library of the Dukes of Burgundy has always constituted a 
separate department of the Library, with the. designation Bibliotheque 
de Bourgogne, though this designation was often applied to the whole 
collection of books, printed and MSS. In 1 875 the Library was offitiaHy 
divided into two sections, the printed works remaining under the care 
of the city and the MSS* put under the care of the State. When all the 
collections were amalgamated in the Bibliotheque Royale in 1836-43, 
the division into two departments was maintained. The printed works 
department is now divided into printed books, maps and plans, prints, 
and medals and coins. 

A characteristic of the Library is the number of old libraries absorbed 
by the Bibliotheque Royale which have retained their original 
arrangement according to their old catalogue. The collections thus 
kept separate include the Van Hulthem, the City Library of Brussels, 
the Midler, the Fetis, the Lalaing, the Goethals, the Faber, etc. 

Louis Alvin (1850-86) created two new sections, that of prints and 
that of numismatics, 1 and from his time dates the title of "Conservateur 
en chef" for the Chief Librarian, with the title of "Conservateur" for 
the other heads of departments. 

The present-day arrangement of the Library by sections is as follows : 

(1) An administrative section, at the head of which is an Administrator- 
Secretary, not numbered among the technical staff. Attached to this 
section is the Service of International Exchange. The section also 
comprises the clerical staff and accountants. 

(2) The acquisitions section, which has for its object the finding and 

1 As in the case of other libraries, these departments are not noticed here. 


acquisition of all works printed in Belgium, a selection of the best works 
printed in all foreign countries, and the completion of the old collections 
in the Library. 

(3) The catalogue section (printed works), which has in hand an alphabetical 
catalogue of authors' names and anonymous works, and a subject- 

(4) The publications section, which deals with the publication of the current 
Bibliographic de Belgique and of works relating to national bibliography. 

(5) Book stacks and reading-room section, responsible for the preservation of 
the collections and the delivery of books and the furnishing of 
bibliographical information to the public. 

6) The MSS. section, comprising the old "Bibliotheque de Bourgogne." 

7) Prints. 

8) Chalcography. 

9) Coins. 

The Library possesses: 

1 i) A public reading room. 

(2) A public periodicals reading room, where the current numbers of 4,000 
periodicals are placed. 

(3) A research reading room for scholars, who are provided with a special 
card for admission. 

4) A room for Byzantine studies. 

5) An exhibition room. 

6) A lecture room. 

The Library does not possess its own bindery, but about 10,000 
volumes are bound annually by private contractors. 
In 1955 the figures for the use of the Library were: 

Readers .. .. 97M* 
Books issued . . 169,673 

Accessions during 1955 were: 

Gift Purchase 1 Total 

Printed books .. .. 6,025 29,393 35>4*8 

Incunabula and rare books .. 246 119 365 

Maps 167 276 443 

MSS 17 i? 34 

Prints 1,846 828 2,674 


The Royal Library is under the Ministry of Public Instruction. The 
service for international exchange is also under the same Ministry, and 
the head of that service is counted as one of the staff of the Royal 
1 Includes a small number of items received by exchange. 


Library, though the actual office is separate. Books are lent to all 
Belgian libraries recognised by the State, but not to individuals; the 
Royal Library is the centre for all international lending by or to 
Belgian libraries, as well as for loans between Belgian libraries. 
Bibliographical information is given the Library has a special section 
which deals with publications relating to national bibliography and 
photographs, photostats, microfilms, and casts of coins and medals 
are supplied. Maintenance of the Belgian Union Catalogue, interrupted 
by the Second World War, has not been resumed, owing to shortage 
of staff. The Library receives the publications of the United Nations 
Organisation and the Depositary Catalogues of the Library of Congress. 

The staff consists of: 

(a) Technical: 

Conservateur en chef i 

Conservateurs 7 

Conservateurs-adjoints n 

Bibliothecaires 9 

(b) Administrative: 

(1) Permanent 

Secretaire-administrateur I 

Assistants-bibliothecaires 7 

Clerks 27 

Typists 9 

Photographers 2 

Mounter (of prints) i 

Moulder i 

Printer (engravings) 2 

Carpenter, electricians, etc 4 

Attendants 3* 

Attendant-messenger i 

Cleaners 3 

Night watchman . . . . . . . . , . . . i 

Cloakroom attendants 2 


(2) Temporary, mainly domestic .. .. .. .. II 

Candidates for entry to the technical posts must have a "Licentiate's 
diploma"; the preliminary service necessary is of one year, to be spent 
at the Bibliotheque Royale. There is a professional examination. 



Before the establishment of the Royal Library, the Library had a 
very uncertain income. During the period of its neglect in the 
eighteenth century, the only money expended by the Government was 
the payment of "Greffiers" or officers charged with the care of the 
Bibliotheque de Bourgogne. In order to start the new public library, 
funds were raised by the sale of unwanted books, by a gift of 1,000 
ducats by the Empress, and by many gifts of books. The librarian 
appointed in 1772 for the new public library received a salary of 
600 florins. 

After 1802, when the Library was handed over by the French to the 
Municipality, the grant was only 4,000 francs, of which the greater 
part went to the salary of the librarian. 

The Belgian Government purchased the celebrated Van Hulthem 
collection in 1836 for 279,400 francs, and the "conservateur" for the 
new Royal Library was appointed at a salary of 7,000 francs. 

Income is now derived solely from a Government grant; in 1955 the 
main items of expenditure were as follows: 


Salaries 13,170,200 

Purchase of books and related material . . . . 4,500,000 

Binding 760,000 

Photography 100,000 

Maintenance of the buildings 400,000 



General Works 

Collard, Auguste. La biblioth&onomie en Belgique, 1901-25. 1927. (The 

greater part of this is a detailed bibliography.) 
LofHer, Klemens. Von belgischen Bibliotheken. In: Zentralblatt fur 

Bibliothekswesen. vol. 44 (1927), pp. 237-45 J vol. 45 (1928), pp. 408-16. 
Milkau, Fritz. Das Kriegsschicksal der belgischen Bibliotheken; eine 

Reisebericht. I: Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 3 3 (191 6), pp. 1-27. 
Oehler, R. Drei Jahre bibliothekarische Kriegsarbeit in Belgien. In: 

Zentralblatt fur Bibliothebwesea. vol. 35 (1918), pp. 154-63. 
Bruxelles. Bibliotheque Royale. Le catalogue de la Bibliotheque Royale. 

In: Revue des BibUothfcques et Archives de Belgique. 1908, pp. 241-45; 

330-35; 491-95- 
La Sema Santander, C. A. de. Memoire historique sur la Bibliotheque, dite de 

Bourgogne. 1809. 


Namur, P. Histoire des bibliotheques publiques de Bruxelles (vol. I of his 

Histoire des bibliotheques publiques de Belgique. 1840.) 
Voisin, Auguste. Documents pour servir a 1'histoire des bibliotheques en 

Belgique. 1840. (Bruxelles. Bibliotheque Royale.) pp. 119-59. 
Bibliotheque Royale de Belgique. Centenaire de Fouverture au public. 1939. 

[The catalogue of an exhibition.] 
Remy, Fernand. La Bibliotheque Royale de Belgique. Son organisation, ses 

services, ses collections. 1939. 
Tourneur, Victor. La Bibliotheque Royale; le cent cinquantieme anniversaire 

de son ouverture au public. 1922. 
Vanderheyden, Jan F. De Koninklijke Bibliotheek; haar geschiedenis, haar 

verzamlingen, haar rol en betekenis. 1939. 
Zo groeide de Albertina. [With illustrations.] 1954. [Bibliotheekgids. 

no. 26.] 
Van Hove, Julien. De Koninklijke BibHotheek van Belgie honderdjarig. 

Groei en waarde van haar verzamelingen. In: Wetenschap in Vlaanderen, 

jaarg. 4 (1939), col. 195-204, 230-35. 




After the departure of the last "Stadhouder," William V, in 1795, his 
library was in danger of being sold, but fortunately the Government of 
the Batavian Republic eventually decided to retain it, amalgamate it 
with some other official libraries, and make the joint collection, which 
amounted to some 5,000 volumes, into a National Library at The 
Hague. This was the beginning of the Royal Library, the official 
foundation of which took place in 1798. The newly formed Library, 
which at first was for official use only, was organised by a French 
emigre, the Abbe Charles Sulpice Flament (1758-1835). Under King 
Louis Napoleon the Library, now named the Royal Library, grew 
rapidly; in 1810 Holland was annexed to France, and by an imperial 
decree of 1811 the collection was presented to the Municipality of The 
Hague, with the stipulation that all books and prints not duplicated in 
the Imperial Library should be removed to France, together with the 
catalogue of the Library. This was not strictly enforced in the case of 
the books, however, and most of those removed were returned in 1816 
after the fall of Napoleon. The collection then numbered 22,114 titles 
in over 40,000 volumes, and the Municipality, with no money to spare 
either for its upkeep or enlargement, was not enthusiastic over the gift, 
and when William I was restored petitioned that the burden should be 
removed. Happily for the Library, it was taken over by William I, the 
first King of the Netherlands, as a State Library; to it was added in 1819 
part of the library of the Castle of Dillenburg, and the whole was 
moved between 1819 and 1821 to its present building in the Lange 
Voorhout, since when the history of the Library has been on the whole 
uneventful, with the exception of the period of the Second World War 
during which it became necessary to remove a considerable number 
of books and MSS. to safe storage, there being considerable risk 
from fire in the eighteenth-century building of the Library. At 
first they were removed to specially constructed shelters in the sand 
dunes at Zandvoort, near Haarlem. When the evacuation of the 



shelters was ordered by the German occupation authorities in 1941, the 
collections were removed and after undergoing several further moves 
and being dispersed in improvised accommodation in The Hague, 
Leyden, and Gelderland, were finally returned in 1944, with books from 
many other libraries, to the shelters in the sand dunes where they 
remained until the end of the war. The Library building was closed for 
some months towards the end of the war, but collections and buildings 
alike escaped damage. The return of the evacuated books was completed 
by the end of 1945 &&(! inter-library and personal loans recommenced 
in the autumn of that year. Difficulties in obtaining books, particularly 
from abroad, during the war were to some extent offset by gifts from 
England, the U.S.A., and other countries, and the Royal Library acted 
as a centre for distributing books given from abroad for the 
reconstruction of war-damaged libraries. 

Under the stimulus of royal patronage the Library grew rapidly. 
The chief collections of importance acquired in the nineteenth century 
were: the library of Joost Romswinckel (1807); the important MSS. 
and incunabula of J. Visser (1809) ; part of the library of the Abbey of 
Tongerloo, the seat of the Bollandists (1827); the MSS. of the Belgian 
collector Joseph Desire Lupus (1823); of another Belgian scholar, 
G. J. Gerard (1832), of G. Cuperus (1854); also the library of Prof. 
J. de Wai (1877), part of the library of A. Bogaers (1870), the Spinoza 
collection belonging to Dr. A. van der Linde (1871), and the collection 
of works on chess of the same (1876). In the twentieth century the 
following collections deserve mention: that of D. F. Scheurleer 
(songbooks, 1933); of F. G. Waller (popular literature, 1937); of 
L. J. Koopman (modern French literature, 1940) ; of A. E. H. Swaen 
(falconry, 1948} ; of J. van Kan (Saint Joan of Arc, 1947) ; of M. 
Niemeyer (chess, 1948) ; of H. A. van Baafc (Dutch literature of the 
fifteenth-eighteenth centuries, 1951) ; and M. R. Radermacher Schorer 
(fine printing, 1956). 

All acquisitions, however, were surpassed by the collection of 
Baron W. H. J. van Westreenen van Tiellandt, (including a small part 
of that of Johan Meerman) bequeathed to the State in 1848. The 
former stipulated in his will that the collection should be named 
"Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum" and should be placed under 
the supervision of the Librarian of the Royal Library. The Museum, 
shortly to be reorganised as a "Museum of the Book," is renowned for 
its magnificent collection of MSS. (about 300) and incunabula (more 
than 1,250), which formed a very welcome addition to the collections 
already in the Library, and it is through this benefaction that the Library 
excels in the field of illuminated manuscripts and incunabula. Moreover 


the 30,000 volumes of printed- works contained in the Museum 
were of great historical importance, while it added over 2,000 items 
dealing with Dutch history to the famous collection of 40,000 pamphlets 
already in the Royal Library. 

The first Librarian, mentioned above, was the Abbe Flament, who 
, formed the first catalogue ; two other librarians of note in the nineteenth 
century were J. W. Holtrop, Librarian from 1838-68, who did much 
to improve the catalogues, and was the author of Monuments typo- 
graphiques des Pays-Bas au i$iemesiecle, 1868, andM. F. A. G. Campbell, 
the author ofAnnales de la typographic neerlandaise au XVe siecle, 1874, 
Librarian from 1869-90. These two were among the first scientific 
students of early printing, and their works are classics of the 
study. From 1895-1921, Dr. W. G. C. Bijvanck, a celebrated scholar 
in the fields of literature and history, was Director, while his 
successor, Dr. P. C. Molhuysen (1921-37), did much to make the 
resources of the Library more fully available by improving the 

The law of legal deposit is not now enforced in Holland, though it 
was known in various forms from the eighteenth century to 1912. 
In 1 88 1 fresh regulations were made, by which no copy thus acquired 
might be lent out of the Library for fifty years, which made the provision 
of little use for a library which always lent freely to individuals in The 
Hague as well as to other institutions throughout the country, and in 
1912 it was dropped, after Holland had subscribed to the Berne 
Convention on the question of authors' rights. At the present time it 
is still felt that the Royal Library, which does not aim at forming an 
exhaustive collection of Dutch MSS. or printed books but limits its 
acquisitions of modern works to those on the humanities, has no need 
of legal deposit, particularly in view of the highly developed system 
of inter-library lending in which it participates. 

The stock of the Library amounted in 1956 to some 750,000 volumes, 
excluding about 6,600 volumes and portfolios of MSS., some containing 
over one hundred individual items. There was in addition a small 
number of microfilms. 


The collection of books formed by the Batavian Republic, 
amounting to about 5,000 volumes, was housed in the present building 
of the Second Chamber of the States-General, and remained there until 
1806, when the books were removed to storage. In 1807 the Library 
was moved to the "Mauritshuis," now famous as an art gallery; when 
this proved too small, the Library was transferred between 1819 and 


1821 to the building where it still is. The central portion of the 
building was erected in 1734-37, for a wealthy lady, Adriana 
Margaretha Huguetan van Vrijhoeven, who had it built to the plans of 
the French architect, Daniel Marot. She was married to Hendrifc 
Karel, Count of Nassau la Lecq, and died on May 15, 1752. After her 
death the house was sold to Jan Maximiliaan, Baron van Tuyll van 
Serooskerken, who acquired the adjacent houses and extended the 
facade, and after some years the central and western houses came into 
possession of the Bentinck family. On several occasions during the 
eighteenth century it housed the British Legation, and in 1795 it 
became the seat of the French Legation. It was purchased by the 
State in 1802. After his return in 1813, the Prince of Orange (from 1815 
King William I) took up his residence there provisionally until the 
palace in the Noordeinde should be ready to receive him. Till 1817 the 
house was the palace of the Crown Prince (later William II), and in 
1819 the Royal Library was installed there. 

By 1870, with the addition of so many large collections, there was 
already great overcrowding, and in 1877 the eastern house, which had 
remained separate, was bought and incorporated into the Library; but 
this addition was not enough, since not only the books but also the 
public using them needed more room. Finally in 1908 a new building 
was erected in the garden, containing a reading room to seat eighty and 
a new book stack; near the reading room is the lending department, in 
which are also housed the alphabetical and subject catalogues. The 
offices of the Director and administrative staff, together with most of 
the MSS. and treasures of the Library, remain in the old building. The 
building has once more become far too small for its contents, and many 
periodicals, newspapers, and little-used books, together with the offices 
of the exchange service have been removed to a nearby building. A 
new book stack was completed in 1956, with space for 200,000 
volumes, much of which was at once occupied to relieve the congestion 
in the old building. The new stack also provides for the first time safe 
storage for the MSS. and early printed books, with controlled 
temperature and humidity. 


C. S. Flameat, the first Librarian, produced a catalogue by 1800, to 
which a supplement appeared four years later. J. W. Holtrop, Librarian 
from 1838-68, produced a catalogue of the incunabula: Catalogus 
librorum scecula XV impressorum, quotquot in Bibliotheca Regia Hagana 
asservantur. 1865. 


Among other printed catalogues are: 

Knuttel, W. P. C. Catalogus van de pamfletten-verzameling. 1889-1920. 

9 vol. 

Catalogus van schoone kunsten en kunstnijverheid. 1905. 
Catalogus der Goethe-verzameling. 1918. 
Catalogus der Fransche taal- en letterkunde. 1918-22. 5 vol. 
Catalogus van folklore. 1919-22. 3 vol. 
Beknopte catalogus van de geschiedenis der Nederlanden (Noord en Zuid). 


Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum. 1922- . 
Aanwinsten op het gebied van de beeldende kunsten gedurende het rijdvak 

1940-48. 1949- 
Pennink, R. Catalogus der niet-Nederlandse drukken 1500-1540 in de 

Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 1955. 
Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana. A catalogue of the chess 

collection in the Royal Library, The Hague. 1955. 

There are a classified catalogue and a shelf list on cards, an author- 
catalogue in sheaf form and handlists of current periodicals and 
reference books. 


The figures for the use of the Library in 1955 were: 

Number of persons using the reading room . . . . 76,004 

volumes used in the reading room . . 74,144 

borrowed 73,227 

lent to foreign libraries . . . . 228 

borrowed from foreign libraries 185 

persons visiting the Manuscript Department 403 

MSS. issued 91* 


Though the Library contains many valuable special collections, there 
is no formal division of its collections and activities by departments, 
although the creation of a separate department responsible for union 
catalogues is to take place in the near future. The following collections, 
however, merit particular attention: the collection of MSS. (illuminated 
MSS., alba amicorum, and many MSS. and letters of an historical and 
literary character) ; the collection of Dutch incunabula and post- 
incunabula; and the collections of pamphlets, ex-libris, popular 
literature, books on chess, song books, and modern French literature. 
Other sections of the Library include the reading room, with the 
principal reference books, and 900 current periodicals immediately 


available, and the international exchange bureau, which will be 
mentioned in a later section. Exhibitions were formerly held in the 
old reading room, but are in future to be held in one of the rooms of 
the MSS. section, since the old reading room and the adjoining rooms 
will be required for the Department of Union Catalogues. 

In 1955, 11,630 volumes of printed books and forty-three volumes 
of MSS. were added to the Library. 


The Royal Library comes within the administrative province of the 
Ministry of Education. The Librarian is chairman of the Royal 
Advisory Commision on the library system, established in 1922, which 
concerns itself with library problems in general, and advises the 
Government on them. 

The Netherlands were one of the first European countries to 
formulate plans for facilitating exchanges between the libraries of 
different countries. Alexandre Vattemare was the first to preach the 
idea of an international organisation for exchange, and between 1852 
and 1860 his plans received some support in Holland and France. In 
1872 the "Bureau scientifique central neerlandais" was established, on 
the model of the Smithsonian Institution, to dispatch abroad books and 
publications sent for the purpose, and distribute those that came from 
abroad. This was not an official body and received no Government 
grant; it was supported by the learned societies and libraries which 
made use of it. 

Finally, in 1928, the Dutch Government established at the Royal 
Library a "Netherlands International Exchange Bureau." This was 
independent of the international Convention, which in 1886 (and 
without results in 1924 at Geneva) had tried to lay down regulations for 
international exchanges which would be binding on all countries. This 
Bureau replaced the former "Bureau scientifique," and took over 
its activities, with the additional one of arranging the exchange of 
Government publications. Its aim is to exchange and receive, not 
complete sets of official publications, but only those particular ones 
wanted, and as an aid to selection it has published since 1930 a 
bibliographical list of official Dutch publications under the title of 
Nederlandse overheidsuitgaven (Bibliografie van in Nederland verschenen 
offidele en semi-offidele uitgaven). 

The exchange service also has at its disposal a certain number of 
scholarly publications, published or subsidised by the Government, 
which it exchanges for literary or scientific works of foreign countries. 


It also acts as an intermediary between scientific and learned societies 
in Holland and those abroad desiring to exchange their publications. 
Statistics for the exchange service in 1955 were: 

Received from abroad 1 8,3*6 packages 

Sent abroad 12,594 

There is also a very extensive lending service within the Netherlands 
between the Royal Library, the University libraries, and several other 
libraries, all of which also send books to individual borrowers 
throughout the country. Moreover, these libraries lend books to any 
public library which applies. In this system the Royal Library plays a 
prominent part, and the Netherlands Union Catalogue has been 
housed there since its establishment in 1922. The number of 
participating libraries was in 1955 fifty-eight including all the 
University libraries, and the number of works recorded about 
2,000,000. In 1942 a separate union catalogue of periodicals was set up, 
in which about 190 libraries of every description now participate, with 
about 250,000 entries, making the catalogue almost exhaustive for 
holdings of Dutch periodicals. A union catalogue of periodicals in 
Government libraries is being incorporated into the general union 
catalogue of periodicals. A union catalogue of musical scores is in 
process of compilation. The total number of inquiries handled by the 
union catalogues in 1955 was 95,234- 

A photographic studio is established in the Library, and supplies 
photostats and photographs at cost price. Microfilms and microcards 
cannot be made on the premises, but the Library will accept orders for 
execution elsewhere, and facilities for work in the Library can be given 
to recognised photographers. 


The staff consists of: 
The Librarian 
The Deputy Librarian 

Professional staff (Graduates) 14 

(Non-graduates) 17 

Administrative and clerical staff 16* 

Technical staff 7 

Stack attendants, etc. 25 


The yearly grant for the Library received steady increases throughout 
the latter half of the nineteenth century; in 1869, 5,235 florins were 
granted for purchases, binding, etc.; in 1878, 20,000 florins; in 1900, 


27,000 florins; in 1938, 34,000 florins. The grant for the financial year 
1955 was as follows: 


Salaries 390,000 

Maintenance, fuel, light, rents, etc. (excluding general 

maintenance of the building) 5*650 

Books, periodicals, and MSS. 130,000 

Binding 18,000 

Other charges 68,650 

Photography 1,200 


The Society of Friends of the Royal Library, founded in 1938, 
tries to provide the means for the purchase of valuable books or 
MSS. for which the ordinary budget is inadequate. Sometimes it gives 
special grants for the printing of a catalogue, the purchase of 
photographic apparatus, or similar uses. At the meetings of the 
Society, lectures -are delivered, in conjunction with special exhibitions 
arranged in the Library. 


Brummel, L. Geschiedenis der Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Leiden, 1939. 

Tien jaren Koninklijke Bibliotheek (1938-1947). In: Koninklijke 

Bibliotheek, Gedenkboek 1798-1948. 's-Gravenhage, 1948. pp. 1-34. 
The Libraries of the Netherlands during and after the War. 1947. ^ n: The 

Library Quarterly, vol. 17. pp. 112-25. 
Menn, Walter. Die wissenschafdiche Bibliotheken Hollands. 1930. In: 

Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen. vol. 47. pp. 12-29; 168-83. 
Verslag van de aanwinsten der Koninklijke BibKotheek. (Verskg omtrent de 

Koninklijke Bibliotheek.) 1871- . 


Biema, V. van. Les Huguetan de Mercier et de Vrijhoeven. 1918. 


Campbell, M. F. A. G. Levensbericht van J. W. Holtrop. 1870. In: 

Levensberichten . . . van de Maatschappij der Nederlandsche Letterkunde. 

pp. 633-80. 
Knuttel, W, P. C. Levensbericht van M. F. A. G. Campbell. 1890. In: 

Levensberichten . . . van de Maatschappij der Nederlandsche Letterkunde. 

pp. 256-303. 
Drion, F. J. W. Levensbericht van Dr. W. G. C. Bijvanck. 1927. In: 

12 NLW 


Handelingen van de Maatschappij der Nederlandsche Letterkunde. 1926-27. 

Levensberichten. pp. 62-85. 
Roos, A. G. Herdenking van Philipp Christiaan Molhuysen. 1946. In: 

Jaarboek der Koninklijke Nederlandsche Akademie van Wettenschappen. 

1944-45. pp. 161-75. 
Mare, A. J. de. Van Flament tot Holtrop. [1943.] 

Lijst der geschriften van Dr. M. F. A. G. Campbell. 1941. 

Lijst der geschriften van Dr. "W. G. C. Bijvanck. 1926. 

Herinneringen aan Dr. P. C. Molhuysen. 1948. 


Brummel, L. Nederland en de Internationale uitwisseling van geschriften. 

Molhuysen, P. C. Service des echanges internationaux a la Haye. 1930. 

In: Revue des bibliotheques. vol. 40. pp. 59-63. 


Molhuysen, P. C. De Nederlandsche centrale catalogus. 1919-30. In: 

Bibliotheekleven. vol. 4. pp. 261-66; vol. 7. pp. 138-49; vol. 15. pp. 

Brummel, L. De Nederlandsche centrale catalogus. 1938. In: Handelingen 

van het Vijfde Wetenschappelijk Vlaamsch Congres voor Boek- en 

Bibliotheekwezen. pp. 159-72. 
De Centrale catalogus van periodieken. 1943. In: Bibliotheekleven. 

vol. 28. pp. 126-29. 

The General Union Catalogues in the Netherlands. 1951. In: Libri. 

International Library Review, vol. i. pp. 201-09. 




After the occupation of the ancient Duchy of Luxemburg, the French 
Republican authorities established in 1798 in the new "Departement 
des ForSts'* a college or "cole Centrale," and with it a library. As a 
nucleus for the library 9,273 printed volumes and 244 MSS. were 
acquired from the libraries of the former Estates of the country and the 
Provincial Council, together with those formerly belonging to the 
Jesuit order, which had been suppressed in 1773, and those of the abbeys 
of Echternach, Orval, Munster, and St. Hubert. The most valuable 
MSS. of the Luxemburg monasteries, however, had either been 
carried off to France in 1795 or sold by the monks who had t#ken 
refuge in Germany; most celebrated of those surviving is the Codex 
Aureus Epternacensis, now in the collection of the Duke of Saxe- 
Coburg-Gotha, and of those in the National Library, an eleventh- 
century Pliny written by a monk of Orval. In 1803 the coles 
Centrales were placed under the supervision of municipal authorities 
and the Library became the property of the Municipality of 
Luxemburg and was separated from the college. When in 1815 after 
the Congress of Vienna Luxemburg became a Grand Duchy, the 
Library was attached to the Athenaeum, a newly-established grammar 
school, and J.-B. Halle was appointed Librarian in the following year. 
In 1818 Professor Clasen, Librarian of the City of Luxemburg, began 
to compile an inventory of the collections and to form a catalogue, and 
in 1848 the historical collections of the city, comprising printed books 
on Luxemburg, some MSS., and a collection of the older Luxemburg 
newspapers, were added to the Library. In 1897, after the establishment 
of other grammar schools in the Grand Duchy, the Library received 
the tide of Bibliotheque Nationale; it is now a Department of the 
Ministry of National Education. Successive Librarians to hold office 
were Ch. Clasen, J. Schoetter, Ant. Namur, Jos. Paquet, Nic. van 
Werveke, Martin d'Huart, P. Frieden, and since 1948, Alphonse 



The collections of the Library deal with all branches of science, 
literature, and culture. Its most important special collection is the 
"Luxemburgensia" ; all works dealing with Luxemburg or written by 
Luxemburgers were separated from the main collection in 1930, and 
are now preserved in classified order in a room set apart for the 
purpose. Further accessions are added as they are received, and the 
collection now contains 13,000 items. There are in the Library special 
shelving and safes for the storage of MSS., incunabula, maps, and 
other valuable material; in the main collection, books are arranged 
according to size, and in order of receipt. The Library lends freely to 
all Luxemburgers and foreigners resident in the Grand Duchy; 
periodicals are lent only in bound volumes, while incunabula and other 
material not available for lending may be consulted in the reading 

The Library escaped serious damage during the Second World War; 
in 1943 the books of the two State libraries, the Bibliotheque Pedago- 
gique and the Bibliotheque Professionelle, which had been closed, were 
added to the Library by the German occupation forces. The Library 
now possesses about 340,000 volumes of printed books excluding 
13,000 volumes of Luxemburgensia, 32,000 volumes of periodicals, 
467 incunabula, and 269 MSS. There is no legal deposit in Luxemburg ; 
book selection is carried out by the Librarian, assisted by senior 
members of the staff and a committee appointed by the Ministry of 
National Education. Accessions during 1955 were as follows: 

Gift and 

Purchase exchange Total 

Printed books .. .. 2,428 135 2,563 

Periodicals (titles) .. .. 523 128 651 

Luxemburgensia . . . . 240 126 366 


The Library was housed in the building of a former Jesuit college 
from the establishment of its independence in 1803 until 1942, when it 
was transferred to that of the former Banque Alsacienne, rented for the 
purpose by the Government. This building is still occupied; on the 
ground floor is the main hall where the catalogues and lending 
department are situated, together with a reading and reference 
room with places for sixty readers, and three stack rooms. Further 
shelving, offices for the administrative and financial sections, and 
a room for readers wishing to type or take photographs are provided 


on the first floor, and strong-rooms for MSS. and incunabula, 
together with a special room for the Luxemburgensia collection, in 
the basement. 


Printed catalogues were published in 184.6, 1855, and 1875, and 
supplements to die last in 1903 and 1918. Descriptive catalogues of 
incunabula and MSS., by N. van Werveke, were published in 1893 and 
1894, and the Library has also issued special lists of educational, 
philosophical, and historical works. The existing card catalogues were 
abandoned under the German occupation and a new catalogue, and 
with it a new system of shelving, introduced, rendering necessary a 
complete revision of the catalogues when war ended in 1945. There 
are alphabetical card catalogues of authors and subjects in the main 
hall; entries are made in the subject-catalogue, on cards of a distinctive 
colour, for material of local interest not in the Library, but existing in 
the collections of Government departments. An analytical index of 
articles appearing in periodicals, both Luxemburger and foreign, is 
maintained. Lists of new accessions are duplicated twice yearly, and 
since 1945 a bibliography of Luxemburgensia has been published for 
circulation to libraries in the Grand Duchy and abroad. 


The Library lends to all the other learned libraries in the Grand 
Duchy, and to libraries abroad. It is represented by the Librarian in the 
Luxemburg Committee of Unesco, and maintains a regular exchange 
of publications with libraries in other European countries; the service 
is to be developed further as conditions permit. A union catalogue of 
all Luxemburgensia in the libraries of the Grand Duchy is in process of 
compilation. Special bibliographies on widely varying subjects are 
constantly being prepared, and in addition to the organisation of 
exhibitions in its own building, the Library assists in the arrangement 
of others, both at home and abroad. 


The staff of the Library in 1956 was as follows: 

2 Assistant Librarians 

1 Probationer 

3 Library Assistants 

2 Stack Attendants 

i Assistant Stack Attendant 



Salaries and the cost of building maintenance, heating, and % 
are paid directly by the Government, not from Library funds. To 
meet other expenses, an annual Government grant is made to the 
Library; in 1955 the amount received was 500,000 Luxemburg francs. 


Sprunck, A. Les Origines de la Bibliodieque Nationale du Grand-Duche de 
Luxembourg. [1954.] 




Florence is a city rich in libraries, and the National Central Library is 
neither the oldest nor the richest in rarities and historical interest, but 
it is perhaps fitting that the Library which has become the National 
Central Library of Italy was the one founded by a man of the people 
rather than one of princely foundation. Magliabechi, the great 
bibliophile, who carried his passion for books so far that he worked, 
ate and slept in the midst of them, was possessed at his death of a 
library of 30,000 volumes and some 3,000 MSS. He died on May 26, 
1714, and left his books to the people of Florence. Anton Francesco 
Marmi, one of the executors of the will, became the first Librarian, 
and at his death in 1716 he left his own large library to be joined to 
that of Magliabechi for the benefit of the public. In 1737 "il Principe," 
Gian Gastone, the last of the House of Medici, took possession of the 
Magliabechi bequest in the name of the people of Florence. In 1747 
the Library was formally opened to the public with the name Biblioteca 
Magliabechiana. In 1861, under the Kingdom of Italy, it became the 
National Library (Biblioteca Nazionale), and in 1885 the National 
Central Library (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale). 

During the eighteenth century the Maglkbechi Library acquired 
many valuable bequests: in 1755 the "libreria Gaddi," in 1756 that of 
Anton Maria Biscioni, in 1775 that of Giovanni Lami and in 1786 the 
Strozzi collection of MSS. ; but the most valuable acquisitions were the 
ancient library of the Palatina (Biblioteca Palatina Antica) and the Lota- 
ringia, united by Pietro Leopoldo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and 
given to the Library by him, amounting in all to 12,000 volumes and 
about 700 MSS., and the books that came to the Library after the 
suppression of the monasteries in Tuscany by the Grand Duke from 
1775-89. During the French occupation, there was a second suppression 
of the monasteries in 1810, which enriched the Library with some 
thousands of printed works and 2,373 MSS, In 1867 there was a third 



suppression which produced 304 more MSS., the printed books going 
to the Marucelliana at Florence. 

Ferdinand III, the second son of Leopold, who had been in exile from 
Tuscany during the Revolutionary wars and the French occupation, 
returned as Grand Duke after the Treaty of Vienna and formed in his 
own kingdom a new library, the Palatina (Nuova Palatina), in the 
formation of which he spared no expense or trouble, so that at his 
death it numbered 40,000 volumes and over 1,000 MSS. including the 
MSS. of Galileo in eighty-six volumes, with others by his students and 
contemporaries, which had been purchased in 1818. Leopold II, his 
successor, added many rare books and MSS., which included books 
from the Rinuccini library (1850), and from the bookseller Targioni, 
(1851-57), the MSS. of Bandinelli and Count Graber di Hemso (1853), 
the printed books of Baldovinetti, the rich collections of autographs 
of Gonnelli (about 18,000), the De Sinner collection, famous for the 
writings of Leopardi, and that of Francesco del Furia of the Pancia- 
tichi MSS. By 1859 there were 90,000 volumes of printed works and 
3,165 MSS. 

In 1859 the Grand Duke was turned out of Tuscany, and in 1861 the 
Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed; by royal decree of December 21 of 
that year, the Palatina Library was united with the Magliabechiana. 
The joint collection, numbering 280,000 volumes and over 15,000 
MSS., was given the title of National Library. 

Following this the Library received several important additions: 
MSS. of Gino Capponi in 1876, the Guicciardini collection (over 
8,000 volumes) of works relating to the religious reformation in Italy 
during the sixteenth century, which Count Piero Guicciardini gave to 
the City of Florence in 1877; the library of rare works of Giovanni 
Nencini, numbering over 13,000 volumes; histories and genealogies of 
Count Passerini; the Foscolo MSS.; and the Savonarola collection 
of Count Lorenzo Capponi. After the Library had received the 
additional tide of Central in 1885, it acquired the library of the Count 
Angdo de Gubernatis (1886); the numerous "Miscellanea Capretta" 
(about 50,000 small printed works) in 1890; the "Pistoiese" collection 
of MSS. of Rossi-Cassigoli (1891); the theatrical collection of Luigi 
Suiier (1892); the MSS., letters, and printed books of Niccol6 
Tommaseo (1899) ; the correspondence of Lambruschini, le Monnier, 
and Cambray-Digny, the maps of Ubaldino and Emilia Peruzzi, 
papers and MSS. of Eugenio CameriirL and, in 1921, the bio-biblio- 
graphical collection of Diomede Bonamici, with a printed catalogue 
of 1893. The MSS., about 500 in number, of Domenico Tordi dealing 
with the history of Florence were received in 1933, and the valuable 


Landau-Finaly bequest of 305 MSS., eighty-seven, incunabula, and 
more than 1,500 other printed books of great rarity, and the library of 
the philosopher and philologist W. Benn (7,500 volumes) both in 
1949. The library of the Galganetti family, presented in 1951, comprised 
MSS., engravings and printed books numbering in all 1,275 items. The 
library of the former Scuola Germanica of Florence containing 2,400 
works on German art, literature, and history was acquired in 1952 and 
supplemented by the Franchetri collection of 270 volumes of rare 
works on German history and philosophy, including notable bindings, 
presented in 1954. 

Among the more distinguished men who have served the Library since 
the days of Magliabechi and Marmi may be mentioned the following: 

Ferdinando Fossi, Librarian 1783-1801, author of Relazione del 
V opera delV Accademia Fiorentina (Le., della Crusca), 1785-89, and of the 
Catalogo degli incunaboli della Magliabechiana (Florence, 1793-95). 

Giuseppe Molini (1772-1856), knight, bibliographer, bookseller, and 
publisher, owned the printing press "AlTinsegna di Dante" (1820-36). 
He had previously succeeded F. Tassi as librarian of the Palatina, and 
was the author ofCodici manoscritti italiani delV LR. Biblioteca Palatina di 
Firenze, 1833; and Notizie di manoscritti italiani, o eke si riferiscono 
all 9 Italia, esistenti nella Libreria dell 9 Arsenale in Parigi, 1836. 

Count Luigi Passerini (1816-77), genealogist, Prefect of the National 
Library from 1871 to about 1874, was author or part-author of 
Genealogia e storia di famiglie toscane; Bibliograjia di M. A. Buonarroti, 
1875; and Cenni storico-bibliografid della R. Biblioteca Nazionale t 1872. 

Desiderio Chilovi (1835-1905), "scrittore" in the Library in 1861, 
Librarian of the Marucelliana, 1879-85, and then of the National Central 
Library, 1885-1905, was responsible for considerable growth in the 
collection of printed books, and for the planning of the builJ 
erected for the Library at the close of the century. He had stud 
Hbrarianship in Germany. 

Salomone Morpurgo (1860-1942), an authority on Italian literature 
of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, was librarian of the 
Riccardiana at Florence, where he was responsible for the description 
of the Italian MSS., and of the Marciana at Venice, where he effected 
the arrangement of the Library in its new building. From 1905 to 
1923, as Director of the National Central Library, he brought about 
important increases in the MSS., letters, and printed books, introduced 
modern methods, and made preliminary plans for the new building 
which the Library has since occupied. 

Domenico Fava (1873-1956) served previously in the Braidense at 
Milan and as librarian of the Estense at Modena. He was an authority 


on MSS. and early printing, and was responsible for the removal of 
the Library to its present building. 

The collections suffered no serious damage during the Second 
World War, At the outbreak of hostilities valuable MSS. and printed 
books were evacuated to Passignano (Chianti), but this location, while 
lessening the risk of damage from air-raids, would have been hazardous 
during the land fighting in Italy, and in 1943 the material was brought 
back to Florence and stored in the basement of the Library, which had 
been suitably strengthened. 

The Library has had the benefit of legal deposit from Tuscany since 
1848, and from the whole of Italy since 1869, a privilege which it now 
shares with the National Central Library (die Vittorio Emanuele) at 
Rome. Legal deposit is at present regulated by a law of 1945, whereby 
obligatory copies are received from the printer by each Prefecture and 
transmitted to the libraries and officials entitled to receive them. Since 
1886, the National Central Library has published the Bollettino delle 
pubblicazione italiane ricevute per diritto di stampa. 
The Library today contains: 

Printed books: volumes 1,269,201 

Pamphlets and small works 1,964,482 

Pieces of music (printed): sheets 74,753 

volumes . 5.025 

Periodicals 52,536 

Current periodicals: 

Italian n,459 

Foreign 703 

Maps 9,029 

Atlases 444 

Incunabula 3,666 

MSS.: volumes 24,438 

Letters and documents 7*4,390 

Engravings 12,041 

Photographs 4,607 

Among the specially noteworthy collections of the Library are: 

(1) The Dante Collection, which was started in 1888 and is stated to 
contain all the editions of all the works of Dante and the books, foreign 
and Italian, relating to him. 

(2) The Guicciardini collection of works relating to the religious 
reformation in Italy during the sixteenth century. (Printed catalogue, 

(3) The Savonarola collection. This was collected from the original 
Magliabechi library and the Palatina library, and added to the 
Savonarola collection of Count Lorenzo Cappoui, 


(4) The Aldine collection. 1,087 Aldine editions were included in 
the Nendni library, without taking into account those found in other 
collections in the Library. 


The Library's first home was in the Antica Dogana, in the east wing 
of the Uffizi, where the first Florentine theatre was also located. In the 
main hall of the building the Accademie della Crusca and del Cimento 
were wont to meet. In the nineteenth century the Caserma dei Veliti 
and the Palazzo dei Giudici were taken in. The Palatina remained in 
the Pitti Palace until 1866, when Florence became the capital and the 
Palace was required as a royal residence. Its removal, and the increase 
in accessions when legal deposit was extended in 1869 to the whole of 
Italy, resulted in great congestion in the Library. 

At the end of 1885 the municipality of Florence presented to the 
Government a site in the centre of the city for a new building to house 
the Library; plans were prepared in 1892, and a three-storey building 
erected with its entrance on the Porta Rossa. It provided three 
principal reading rooms for the general public and students, as well as 
others for periodicals, and valuable books, and storage for 1,894,200 
books, excluding reference books. In time, however, this also proved 
inadequate, and proposals for another new building were laid before 
Parliament between 1902 and 1906. It was to be constructed to the 
plans of G. Bazzani, on the right bank of the Arno, near the church 
of Santa Croce, and was to include within its limits a cloister, designed 
by Brunelleschi, and one of the finest of its kind. The construction 
of the building took fifteen years, and it was finally occupied by the 
Library in 1935. The main block has two principal floors and a 
basement, and terminates in a magnificent double "tribuna," where 
the Dante and Galileo collections are kept. At the rear, surrounding 
the cloister, are five stacks of five or six floors. The appearance 
of the building, originally planned some forty years ago and occupy- 
ing a somewhat constricted site, is rather different from that of the 
conventional library building, but functional requirements have 
been combined with a sumptuousness of ornament reflecting the 
richness of the collections. The rooms are spacious and well lit, and 
the greater part of the stacks is conveniently near service points. The 
equipment is of modern design; the shelving, forty-five kilometres in 
extent, is almost all of metal, and there are pneumatic tubes for the 
conveyance of request slips, and electric book conveyors. There is an 
air-conditioning plant. The building covers an area of 7,000 square 
metres, and provides seats for 300 readers, in eight reading rooms; of 


these one is for the use of the general public, and five are reserved for 
students in various prescribed subject-fields. The remaining two are 
for periodicals and for rare books and MSS. There are in addition a 
catalogue hall and an exhibition room at the entrance to the building, 
while further space for exhibitions is provided in the rooms on the 
upper floor. Some damage to the building and equipment of the 
Library occurred during the Second World War, when the bridges 
over the Arno were blown up by the retreating German armies. 


Magliabechi himself relied on his memory alone for the contents of 
his Library, and left no catalogue. The earliest which the Library still 
has is that compiled by his friend and executor, Anton Francesco 
Marmi, entitled: Catalogo del libri di Antonio Magliabechi, and arranged 
by subjects. Marmi also compiled a catalogue of his own collection of 

The first general catalogue, entitled Catalogus librorum omnium typis 
impressorum Bibliothecce Magliabechiance; inchoatus die 9 maii a. 1740, 
absolutus die 14 septembris a. 1743, was compiled by Giovanni Targioni 
Tozzetti and is in MS. in twelve folio volumes. The first catalogue of 
the MSS. of the Magliabechi Library, entitled Catalogus codicum 
omnium manuscriptorum Bibliothecce Magtiabechiana, in MS. in four folio 
volumes, is arranged by subjects in forty classes. 

A large number of the libraries and special collections acquired by 
the Library have their own catalogues. It has not yet been possible to 
form a single catalogue of the printed books, but the Union Catalogue 
of Italian Libraries, in compilation since 1951, will provide this. 
Among the catalogues of MSS. are: 

Magliabechi collection, with the added material of the Marmi, Gaddi, 
Biscioni, Cocchi, Lami, and Strozzi collections, the Biblioteca Medicea 
Lotaringia Palatina, and the MSS. from Santa Maria Nuova and from the 
Accademia della Crusca. The catalogue of these collections, compiled by 
G. Targioni Tozzetti with a supplement for the eighteenth and nineteenth 
centuries by F. Fossi in MS. in sixteen volumes, remains. A printed cata- 
logue of part of the same material, by A. Bartoli, was published in 1879-85. 
A printed catalogue of part of the MSS. of the Magliabechi and National 
collections is contained in G. Mazzatinti and F. Pintor: Inventari dei 
manoscritti delle biblioteche d* Italia, vol. 7-13 (Forli, 1897-1906). 

There are a general catalogue of the Palatina collection, and special catalogues 
of the Galileo collection and the Gonelli autographs, all in MS. Printed 
catalogues of some sections were prepared by G. Molini (1833) and 
Fr. Palermo (1853-68), and the Palatine and Panciatichi MSS. are being 


included in the series Indict e Cataloghi in course of publication since 1887 

by the Ministry of Public Instruction. 
MSS. from the religious houses suppressed during the revolutionary period. 

(Indice dei manoscritti scelti mile biblioteche monastiche del Dipartirnento dell* 

Arno, arranged alphabetically, and comprising entries for 2,227 MSS.) 
Accessions to the MSS. since 1905. 
Card catalogue of autographs, containing 50,000 entries. 

In addition, the following printed catalogues of MSS. have been 
issued: MSS. of Gino Capponi (1845) ; Arabic (1883) ; Greek (1884-97) > 
Foscolo MSS. (1885); MSS. of R Pacini (1889); Sanscrit (1892); 
Latin (1902-07); Hebrew (1902; 1908-09); Indian (1907). 

The general catalogue in use, having entries for all printed works 
received in the Library since 1886, is an alphabetical card catalogue; it 
includes periodicals, music, and maps and now contains some 1,900,000 
entries. There is also a subject-catalogue, on cards, of accessions since 
1925. A general catalogue of printed books to 1886 is in preparation. 
Among the catalogues of special sections of the printed books are those 
of the Magliabechi, Palatina, Nencini, and Targioni Tozzetti collections, 
all in MS. and that of the Guicciardini collection published in 1877-87. 
There are, in addition, catalogues of the Savonarola collection, of old 
music, maps, books printed on vellum, reference books, etc. 

A full fist of the catalogues is given in Annuario delk biblioteche 
italiam, 2 ed., 1956, pp. 256-58. 


There are no departments in the strict sense of the word, but the 
Library is divided into sections; the MSS. section contains about 
24,000 items, and although few of them are ancient, there are many of 
the later Middle Ages and Renaissance period; the section of 
autographs and documents, which includes works in MS. written by 
the author, autographs proper, and books containing autographs of 
famous persons, letters, etc., now possesses about 715,000 pieces; the 
section of incunabula ("Edizioni quattrocentine"), contains 3,666 
volumes; and there are also a section of maps, one of periodicals and 
newspapers, and various others. Binding is carried out by contractors 
for the Library. Photography, formerly also carried out by contractors, 
has since 1956 been effected by the photographic service of the Library. 
Temporary exhibitions are arranged periodically, while there are 
permanent exhibitions on Galileo and Dante, and of bibliographical 
treasures from the Landau-Finaly collection. 

The number of readers during 1955 was 88,537, tta number of works 


lent 23,392, while works issued for reference numbered 700,460 printed 
books and 22,316 MSS. 

The accessions in 1955 were as follows: 


Deposit Purchase Gift Exchange Total 
Printed books (volumes) . . . 10,145 942 4,229 1,325 
Periodical publications: 

New titles 771 

Current parts . . . . 8,594 

Music (items) 647 

Maps, etc. 578 

Minor publications . . . . 35,328 

MSS 7 

Incunabula 3 

56,063 952 4,229 1,325 62,569 

The Library is a State Library under the Ministry of Public 
Instruction. It is the principal bibliographical centre of Italy, and its 
claim to the title of National Central Library, which it shares with the 
Vittorio Emanuele at Rome, rests on the number of works in the 
Library (now about 4,000,000 items, counting pamphlets, letters, etc.), 
the importance of its literary collections, and the fact that it is the 
repository for all national publications. In return for this privilege it 
publishes every month the Bollettino delle pubblicazioni italiane ricevute 
per diritto di stampa, and distributes it freely at home and abroad. A 
statistical report of the bibliographical output of the country is pub- 
lished annually. Photographic work executed by the Library amounted 
in 1954-55 to the reproduction of fifty-six complete manuscripts and 
214 extracts and sixteen printed books and twenty-six extracts. Two 
microfilm reading machines are in use in the Library. 

The Office of the Superintendent of the Libraries in Tuscany is 
located in the National Central Library-. 


The staff in 1957 was composed as follows: 
I Director. 
8 Librarians. 
5 Assistant Librarians. 
I Accountant. 
14 Assistants. 
32 Attendants and "Warders. 


In addition, one student-librarian and eight voluntary helpers were 
working at the Library. 


The present yearly income of the Library is 18,000,000 lire, to which 
each year special grants of 10,000,000-15,000,000 lire are added by the 
Ministry. Expenditure in 1955-56 was as follows: 


Purchase of books 6,630,000 

periodicals 1,800,000 

Binding 4,365,000 

Publication of the "Bollettino" 4,000,000 

Maintenance 16,560,000 



Dziatzko, Karl. Eine Reise durch die grosseren Bibliotheken Italiens. (In: 
Sammlung bibliothekswissenschaftlicher Arbeiten. Heft 6. 1894. pp. 

Mioistero della Pubblica Istruzione. Le Accademie e le Biblioteche d'ltalia nel 
sessennio 1926-27-1931-32: relazione a S.E. il Ministro. 1933. 

Le Biblioteche d'ltalia dal 1932 al 1940. 1942. 

Annuario delle biblioteche italiane. 1949- . 


Passerini, L. Cenni storico-bibliograci della R. Biblioteca Nazionale di 

Firenze. 1872. 
Chilovi, D., and Papini, A. fl nuovo palazzo per la Biblioteca Centrale di 

Firenze. 1892. 
Biagi, G. Le Biblioteche governative italiane nel 1898. 1900. (pp. 1-26: 

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze.) 
Morpurgo, S., and Goggiola, G. Giubileo di cultura. (In: Occasione della posa 

della prima pietra del nuovo edificio.) 1911. 
Fava, D. La Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze e le sue insigne raccolte. 

1939. [Le Grande biblioteche storiche italiane. no. i.] 
Mondolfo, A. La Biblioteca Landau Finaly. Roma, 1949. 
Fava, D. Il trasporto e la sistemazione della Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di 

Firenze nella nuova sede. 2a ed. 1937. 



Italy has not only the National Central Library of Florence, but also a 
network of other libraries, some of them of great age and wealth, with 
the tide of national, each of which is situated in a provincial capital and 
forms the seat of the soprintendenza or governmental control over local 
libraries, public and private, under the law of the Republic as it did 
under Fascist law. While Florence receives and records all new Italian 
books, the Vittorio Emanuele at Rome, which also enjoys the title of 
"Central," is the chief centre for foreign books, and publishes a 
periodical list of accessions. Brief notes on these libraries follow. 


The "Vittorio Emanuele" was founded in 1875 from the libraries 
taken from the religious houses of Rome and the Papal States, 
suppressed in 1873. It was opened to the public on March 14, 1876, 
withabout 120,000 volumes, being named "BibliotecaNazionale Vittorio 
Emanuele II," to which the title of "Centrale" was added in 1885. 

The building of the Library is the former Palace of the Jesuit College, 
a splendid edifice of imposing size designed by the Florentine architect, 
Bartolommeo Ammannati, in 1582. The rich library of the Jesuits, 
containing some 80,000 volumes, was already housed there, and it was 
joined in 1873 by the collections from the other religious houses, 
some fifty-nine in number, many of which contained noteworthy 
collections of manuscripts. These collections were not received in their 
entirety, but the greater part passed into the safe keeping of a great 
library. There are special reading rooms for research workers and 
for the consultation of rare books, one for university students and 
others needing less specialised material, a fourth for periodicals, and a 

176 ' 


semi-independent service, with a select stock, for the general reader, 
"Sezione di cultura generale." This has its own reading room, in 
which the most recent accessions are displayed. 


The manuscript collection is divided into (i) MSS. acquired since 
the foundation (the "Vittorio Emanuele" collection), and (2) MSS. 
coming from the suppressed religious houses, which are again divided 
according to their house of origin. The oldest of these came from the 
basilica of S. Croce in Gerusalemme, of which two items date from the 
sixth century, three from the seventh, and two from the eighth. One 
of the eighth, of the same provenance (Eugyppius: Excerpta ex operibus 
S. Augustini), is among the very large number of important acquisitions, 
MS. and printed. 

The most important of the collections of MSS. acquired from the 
religious houses was that from the Jesuit College in Rome, comprising 
1,668 items. There is a manuscript catalogue of the collection and 
printed catalogues have been issued of some sections of this and other 
collections of MSS. in the Library. 

In section (i) the most valuable are a MS. of the thirteenth century 
containing a version in the Sicilian dialect of the Dialogue of St. 
Gregory, and a collection of 135 portraits of Princes of the House of 
Este in miniatures dating from the fifteenth century. The former 
"Risorgimento" collection of MSS. acquired since the foundation of 
the Library was transferred, with kindred printed works, to the 
Biblioteca Centrale del Risorgimento, later the Biblioteca di Storia 
Moderna e Contemporanea, at its foundation in 1937. 


Topographical collection of the city of Rome. 
Palaeographical collection. 

Bibliographical collection. 

Theatrical collection, enriched by the acquisition of the "Gabrielli" 


5) Reproductions of MSS. 

6) Maps. 

7) Arabic books. 

(8 Books of the Far East. (One of the richest collections in Europe.) 
(9 Books printed by Antonio Blado and his successors. 
10 Works on the history of the Society of Jesus, 
n) Works on duelling. 
12) Valuable bindings. 

13 NLW 


The Library enjoys the privilege of legal deposit, under the terms of 
a law of 1945, modified in 1949. Many works from abroad, mainly 
Government publications and those of learned societies, are obtained 
by exchange. 

The present figures (1950) for the number of volumes are: 

Printed works 730,000 

Pamphlets, etc 700,000 

Periodicals 11,000 

Incunabula 1,878 

MSS 5,679 

Autographs, letters, etc. 27,154 

Accessions during 1950 were as follows: 

Legal Grand 

Purchase Donation deposit total 
Books .. .. 947 1,565 12,000 
Pamphlets .. 536 1,240 25,000 

1,483 2,805 37,ooo 41,288 

Reviews (volumes) . . 2,700 

Newspapers (volumes) 1,500 

Music (items) . . 2,400 

Maps 250 

The staff of the Library, 98 in all, is divided into four categories. 
Group A (graduates) includes the Director and three heads of 
departments in a total of fourteen persons. Groups B and C are 
composed respectively of fifteen persons with higher secondary 
education and twenty-three with lower secondary education, and 
there are, in addition, forty-six cleaners, messengers, etc. 


The annual grant made to the Library by the Ministry of Public 
Instruction is at present 7,000,000 lire; in addition, supplementary 
grants are made when possible in view of the needs of the Library. 
These sums include the purchase of books, binding, stationery, 
heating, lighting, and maintenance, but not salaries. 


The Library has published since 1886 the Bollettino delle opere moderne 
straniere acquistate dalle Biblioteche Pubbliche Governative Italiane, and is 
the chief centre in Italy for foreign books. 


The National Centre for Bibliographic Information, located in the 
Library, supplies information upon request on the special collections of 
the libraries of Rome and other Italian cities, obtains photographs, 
microfilms, or other copies of extracts or articles, and compiles snort 
bibliographies on special subjects. It is responsible also for the 
maintenance of the Library of Congress card catalogue deposited with 
the Library, and for the National Union Catalogue commenced in 
1951, and is compiling a catalogue of incunabula in Italian libraries, of 
which two volumes have been published. The Director of the Library- 
is also Director of the Centre, and responsible for the superintendence 
of bibliographical work and libraries in the provinces of Lazio and 


Santovito Vichi, M. La R. Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II 
in Roma. [1939,] 19 pp. 


This Library owes its institution to Maria Theresa. The library of 
Count Carlo Pertusati, President of the Senate, was at his death 
purchased, in 1763, by the "Congregazione di Stato," and at the 
instance of Maria Theresa was put at the disposal of the public. A 
home for the library was found in the Brera (erected by the Jesuits in 
1591), which the Jesuits were forced to vacate after the Papal decree of 
1773 suppressing the Order, and the two libraries of Pertusati and the 
Jesuits were joined to form the foundation collection of a State library, 
which was given the name of Braidense, and was formally opened to 
the public in 1786. 

In 1778 it was further enriched by the library of Albrecht von Haller, 
the gift of Maria Theresa, which contained the MSS. of this famous 
doctor, together with 13,000 printed volumes of works on medicine 
and natural science. The greater part of the MSS. were presented by 
the Italian Government in 1925 to the city library of Berne. Subse- 
quently, other important collections from private ownership and from 
the suppressed religious houses were received. Important among 
accessions in recent years have been the Gerli collection of liturgical 
works, formerly in the library of the Dukes of Bourbon-Parma at 
Schwarzau, and presented to the Braidense in 1938, and the Castiglioni 
collection of romances of chivalry, rare incunabula, and MSS. 


The Library is rich in older works on theology and the humanities, 
medicine and geography, and in modern works on literature, philo- 
sophy, and history, especially the history of Lombardy. The collections 
were for the most part evacuated during the Second World War, and 
remained undamaged; the building suffered some damage from air 
raids in 1943. 

Special collections are: 

Works of and about Alessandro Manzoni ("Raccolta Manaoniana"). 
Dramatic works of Italian writers from the sixteenth to the nineteenth 

(3) Collection of Aldine editions. 

(4) Collection of works from the press of Bodoni. 

The Library has a photographic department and facilities for 
reading microfilm. Fifty-one microfilms and eighty-five photocopies 
were made in the Library during 1955. 

Figures for the stock of the Library in 1955 were: 

Printed works 402,215 

Pamphlets 256,316 

Periodicals 11,217 

Incunabula 2,344 

MSS. (volumes) 1,636 

Letters, documents, etc. .. 21,618 

Atlases 56 

Maps 2,033 

Accessions during 1955 included the following receipts of printed 
books and pamphlets: legal deposit, 3,823; purchase, 1,598; gift and 
exchange 1,122; new periodicals received, 268. The total number of 
readers was 42,414: 52,501 printed books and 405 MSS. were issued 
for use in the Library and 12,928 printed books and 34 MSS. lent. 
627 printed books and 8 MSS. were borrowed from other libraries. 

The staff consists of: 

I Chief Librarian. 
7 Permanent Assistants. 
7 Temporary Assistants. 
12 Clerks* 

The Library is entitled to a copy of every work printed in the 
province of Milan. Items of music received in this way are passed to 
the Conservatorio G. Verdi, also in Milan, the Braidense having no 
music collection. An annual grant, amounting in 1955 to 9,980,000 


lire, is received from the Ministry of Public Instruction but does not 
include staff salaries which are charged to State funds. During the 
same year, 3,616,070 lire were spent on the purchase of books and 
1,500,000 lire on binding. 


Founded by Charles III in 1734, it was opened to the public in 1804, 
with the title of Royal Library of Naples; from 1816 to 1860 it was 
known as "Borbonica." The Library was originally housed in the 
Palazzo degli Studi (now the Museum), but was removed in 1922 to 
the Royal Palace, with the Brancacciana, the Provinciale, and certain 
other smaller Neapolitan libraries. The present building, situated near 
the port of Naples, suffered considerable damage during the Second 
World War. Repairs were complete by 1949, improved lighting and 
heating installations, additional stack rooms, and a reading room for 
periodicals having been provided. The majority of the books, which 
had been evacuated at the outbreak of war, escaped injury. 

The most remarkable possession of the Library is a collection of 
papyri from Herculaneum. Many incunabula and other early printed 
books, together with Greek and Latin MSS., were received at the 
foundation of the Library in the collections of the Farnese family, and 
important collections formerly belonging to the Jesuits at the expulsion 
of the Order in 1873, and to other religious orders, notably the 
Augustinians of Carbonara. The Library is entitled to a copy of every 
book printed in the province of Naples. 

In 1956 the stocks numbered: 

Printed works 1,379,242 

Incunabula 4,538 

MSS 10,923 

Letters, autographs, etc. . . . . . . . . 16,338 

Papyri 1,814 

The annual increase of the collection of printed books amounts to 
about 4,000 volumes. 



It was founded in 1778 by an ordinance of the King of the Two 
Sicilies, Ferdinand I, and opened in 1782. It retained the title Royal 
Library till 1860. The Library was given, and still occupies, the 
building of the former Jesuit College, whose library of 10,000 volumes 
constituted the foundation collection of the Royal Library, and the 
former church of S. Maria della Grotta. The building was almost 
completely destroyed by air raids during 1943, but was reconstructed 
during 1948 with enlarged premises. Improved services to the public 
introduced since then include new reading rooms for adults and 

The Library possesses the largest existing collection of Sicilian 
publications; the early printed books, with the MSS., are particularly 
important. At the outbreak of war in 1939, the most valuable items 
were evacuated, and the greater part of the stock was saved: of the 
10,000 volumes destroyed, many were duplicates. 

The present stock numbers: 

Printed works 450,000 

Pamphlets, etc 40,000 

Incunabula 1,041 

Ratebooks 2,833 

MSS., letters and autographs 13.236 

Periodicals (tides) Italian 3,953 

Foreign 770 

Newspapers: Italian 673 

Foreign 3 2 

There are author, subject and periodical catalogues, a dictionary 
catalogue of reference books and a shelf-list, all on cards. 

The number of readers annually is about 50,000. Annual issues of 
books are about 100,000, and of MSS., 500. Approximately 10,000 
volumes are lent to individuals annually, and 300 volumes to institutions 

The financial grant for 1956 was 5,500,000 lire, with an additional 
5,000,000 lire for shelving, furnishings and maintenance. 

The staff consists of the Director, three librarians, six assistants, and 
fifteen warders, etc. 



It was founded in 1720, by Victor Amadeus II, King of Sardinia, 
through the union of the library of the Dukes of Savoy and that of the 
University. Some of its MSS. came from the monastic collections at 
Bobbio. It is housed in the second storey of the University building, 
and, despite the evacuation or removal to shelters of much material, 
suffered severe damage during the Second World War. The author 
and subject catalogues and part of the collections (150,000 vols.) were 
destroyed. It was possible to reopen the Library in September 1945, 
however, and by the end of that year repairs to the building had 
almost been completed. 

Among the special collections of the Library are: 

(1) Valperga (624 Hebrew books). 

(2) Napoleonic collection, bought from Baron Lumbroso (about 20,000 
volumes and 10,000 pamphlets). 

The stock in 1956 was as follows : 

Printed books 542,800 

Pamphlets 120,453 

Incunabula 1,6*01 

Periodicals 6,078 

Printed music, pieces 724 

MS. music, pieces 397 

MSS (volumes) 3,599 

Prints (volumes) 10,000 

Prints (single sheets) 3,800 

Accessions during 1955 included the following receipts of printed 
books and pamphlets: legal deposit, 2,773; purchase 1,536; gift and 
exchange, 1,411; new periodicals received, 335. 

The yearly financial grant is not fixed. Of the amount allocated 
(apart from salaries), 65 per cent, is used for the purchase of books and 
binding, and the remainder for maintenance and administrative 
expenses. Additional grants were made after the War for the 
reconstruction of the Library, 

The staff consists of: 

1 Director. 2 Clerks. 

2 Librarians. 2 Assistants. 

2 Assistant Librarians. 12 Domestic Staff. 



The origins of the Marciana date from the bequest by Cardinal 
Bessarion, in 1468, of his collection of about 800 volumes to Venice as 
the nucleus for a library, though it was not till a century later, in 1553, 
that the books were housed and cared for in a special building one of 
the magnificent palazzi designed by Jacopo Sansovino. In 1812 the 
Library was transferred to the Palace of the Doges, and in 1904 to the 
Palazzo della Zecca, also by Sansovino, which it still occupies together 
with the original Library building. 

Besides its MSS., which are of particular importance, the Library has 
several other noteworthy collections : 

(1) Works dealing with the music and drama of Italy, including an important 
collection of opera libretti. 

(2) Works on the humanities with special reference to Byzantine culture, 
used in connection with the important Byzantine MSS. in the Library. 

(3) Works on the history and culture of Venice. 

The present stock numbers: 

Printed books and pamphlets 593 ,008 

Incunabula 2,863 

Periodicals . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,253 

MSS. and documents 16,692 

Engravings 3,175 

Maps and globes . . . . . . . . . . 712 

Music, MS. and printed (pieces) 5,469 

Accessions during 1955 included the following receipts of printed 
books and pamphlets: legal deposit, 173; purchase, 1,020; gift, 1,017; 
exchange, 48; new periodicals received, 38. 

The total number of persons employed in the Library is twenty-two, 
of whom seven are professional librarians. 

The total income of the Library for the year 1955 was 6,354,000 lire, 
and the principal items of expenditure as follows: purchase of books, 
2,428,948 Ike; binding, 826,658 lire; maintenance and services, 
1,744,394 Hre. 


Morelli, J. Delia pubblica Libreria di S. Marco. 1820. 
Luxoro, M. La Biblioteca di S. Marco nella sua storia. 1954. 
La Biblioteca Marciana nella sua nuova sede. 1906. 




The foundation of the National Library of Greece dates from the 
period immediately following the liberation of the country, and the 
proclamation of its independence in 1828. It was then that John 
Capodistrias, first Prime Minister of the country, established the 
Library at Aegina, first seat of the Government, under its first Director, 
George Gennadios, formerly a doctor and Professor of Greek at 
Bucharest, and a friend and supporter of Capodistrias. Until May 15, 
1832, the Library was an integral part of the newly-founded National 
Museum. At its foundation it contained 1,844 volumes, for the most 
part given by Greeks or philhellenes who had taken part in the struggle 
for independence; among them were some editions of the Greek 
classics, bought at the instructions of Capodistrias. Thanks to the 
efforts of Gennadios, the growth of the Library was rapid, and when 
Athens became the capital and the Library was transferred there in 
September 1834, it contained 8,000 volumes. Generous gifts continued 
to be received, and growth was accelerated by the introduction of 
legal deposit in the same year, and by a Royal decree ordering the 
transfer to the Library of all valuable manuscripts and books found in 
monasteries, churches, public libraries, or other institutions. 

In 1842 the Library was placed, with that of the University, under 
the direction of George Cozakis Typaldos, who was to remain in 
office for the next twenty years. Like Gennadios, he was a doctor, and 
had practised in Wallachia before the Revolution. The University 
Library had been founded in 1838, with fifty-two geographical and 
historical works in English, the gift of Robert Charles Winthrop, of 
Boston, Massachusetts, and a fervent admirer of Greece, as its nucleus. 
It was enriched by purchases and gifts, and by 1842 comprised almost 
18,000 volumes, among them gifts from Otto, King of Greece, the 
King of Sardinia, the Grand Duke Constantine of Russia, the printing 
house of Firmin Didot, the British Museum, and Cambridge 
University Library. Gifts flowed into the National Library during \ 



directorship of Typaldos, and at his retirement the total had reached 
80,000 volumes; gifts received during his tenure of office included 
donations from the King of the Two Sicilies, the King of France, the 
Emperor of Austria, and the King of Prussia. Most noteworthy 
among subsequent Directors were Emmanuel D. Roides (1880-1903), 
founder of the MSS. collection, who was excommunicated for his 
satirical novel, Pope Joan, George C. Constantinides, philologist and 
historian, and Demetrios Cambouroglous, historian and man of 
letters. The present Director-General, M. Demetrios Cokkinos, 
author of several literary and historical works, assumed office in 1935. 

The University Library and the National Library, which had 
been housed together and administered jointly since 1842, were 
combined in 1866 by a royal decree into a single library, with the 
title "National Library of Greece." This constitution remained in 
force until 1920 when an entirely new one was established by law, 
providing for. a reorganisation of the Library and an increase in the 
staff, which was to include qualified librarians, and placing the Library 
under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. 

Most important among the gifts to the Library are those of the 
brothers Christopher and Constantine Sakellarios (5,400 volumes, 1833); 
that of the Macedonian, Constantine Bellios (1,886 volumes, 1837) ; the 
very important collections of Demetrios Postolakas, 1,995 volumes of 
rare works, MSS., incunabula, first editions of Greek authors, in fine 
condition and richly bound, and numbers of early Greek newspapers, 
received in exchange for a grant of land made by the Government in 
1889; and the gift of Th. Epites. Another source from which the 
collections have been enriched is the purchase of private libraries, the 
most important being those of Constantine Sathas, of Philemon, the 
private library of King George I of Greece, and finally the very large 
and rich Mavrocordatos-Baltatzis library bought in 1930. Among the 
incunabula and rare editions in the last-named was a copy of the 
Grammar of Lascaris, printed at Milan in 1476, the first book to be 
printed in Greek type. Facsimiles of early MSS. of the Greek classics 
are collected. The periodicals form an important part of the collection 
'of printed books, those in the fields of art and archaeology being 
particularly well represented. There are also rich geographical and 
topographical collections, and a collection of prints and drawings. 

The Library also benefits by legal deposit, two copies of every book 
published in Greece being required, though not always received. One 
is added to the University Library and the other to the public 
collection. The National Library now contains about 650,000 printed 
books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, and theses. Included in this 


total are 130 incunabula, and about 2,500 other early printed books. 
The special collections received are not shelved apart, but all books are 
entered in one catalogue and shelved in a single series, though each 
bears a label indicating whether it belongs to the public or to the 
University collection: but the two are administered as a single unit, 
under one Director, and with a single staff. 

The collection of MSS. of the National Library was formed in 1861 
into a separate section, and at that time contained about 600 items. 
Today the total exceeds 3,000 of which the majority came from 
monastic libraries, and the collection is one of the most noteworthy of 
Greek MSS., especially for the study of theology, history, and 
Byzantine Greek literature. Some of the MSS. are of great importance 
as a source of biographical and historical material, while particular 
attention has been devoted by scholars in recent years to those contain- 
ing lives of the Saints, or dealing with Byzantine music. There are a 
krge number of MSS. dealing with mediaeval and modern Greek 
literature, and important examples of illumination. The Manuscript 
Section contains also certain archives, including some 200,000 items 
referring to the Revolution of 1821 and the events of the years im- 
mediately following, records of some of the most illustrious Greek 
families, dating from the same period, and finally the very important 
archives of the London Philhellenic Committee presented in 1931 by 
V. Hansburg, grandson of the Secretary of the Committee, Sir John 
Bowring. There are, in addition, Byzantine and Venetian documents, 
diplomas, and seals. 


The first building permanently allotted to the Library after its 
removal to Athens was the old Byzantine church of Saint Eleuthera, 
situated alongside the present Cathedral. This soon proved inadequate, 
particularly after the receipt of the Sakellarios collection in 1833; 
nevertheless, the Library continued there until its union in 1842 with 
the University Library, when it was placed in part of the upper floor 
of the newly erected University building. A new building, commenced 
in 1888, was finally occupied by the Library in 1903, and is still in use. 
It is constructed entirely in marble, and was made possible by a gift of 
2,600,000 drachmae, received from the brothers Marinos, Panagis, and 
Andreas Vallianos, of Cephallonia. The plans were the work of 
Theophilus Hansen, a Dane, under the supervision of the German 
architect Ernst Ziller. The original plan remains unaltered, since 
although extensions and a rearrangement of the interior layout have 
become necessary, sufficient funds have not been available. 


The building consists of a central block, with two side wings which 
contain the stacks. The main reading room with offices and 
administrative rooms are situated on the ground floor of the central 
block, and there is an upper floor at the rear, in which the MSS. 
Section is housed. There are three reading rooms: the main reading 
room, with eighty-four seats, and a reference collection on open shelves ; 
a reading room for current periodicals; and the MSS. reading room. 
The lending section is accommodated in the Secretary's office. 
Incunabula and other valuable material are stored in the office of the 


Between 1883 and 1891, printed catalogues were issued of the 
following sections of the printed books: Theology, Classical Greek 
literature, Latin literature, Linguistics, and Archaeology. New card 
catalogues were commenced at the removal to the present building in 
1903, and the three card catalogues now in use are: an alphabetical 
author-catalogue, a classified subject-catalogue, and an alphabetical 
subject-catalogue still in process of compilation. The system adopted 
for the classified catalogue is that of the Library of Halle University, as 
published in Beihefte zum Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen, Bd. I. 
Hft. 1-4. Leipzig, 1888, 89. 

The following are the published catalogues of MSS.: 

Catalogue by G. P. Kremos. vol. i. Theology. 1876. (No more published.) 
General Catalogue by J. and A. I. Sakkelion. 1892. 


The Library is organised in the following sections: 

1. Secretariat. (Including accounts, and the lending service.) 

2. Accessions. (Purchase, gift, legal deposit, exchange, and the registration 

of copyright.) 

3. Catalogues. (Cards, classification, editing catalogues, duplicates, and 

4. Reading Rooms. 

5. MSS. 

The administration of the Library, as reconstituted in 1920, is the 
responsibility of the Director, assisted by a Council, appointed by the 
Minister of Education. The Library is under the supervision and 
control of the Minister. 

The Library has its own bindery. 


The staff of the Library is fixed by law, and is divided into three 
grades, administrative, auxiliary, andservice. Thenumbersareasfollows : 

Administrative personnel: 

i Director-General. 

i Director of the Manuscript and Facsimile Section, who is also a Professor 
of the University. 

4 Librarians. (Heads of Sections.) 

i Keeper of Manuscripts. 

i Inspector of Reading Rooms. 

9 Librarians. 
Auxiliary personnel: 

ii Assistant Librarians. 

i Translator of Oriental Languages. 

i Typist. 

i Chief Warder. 
Service personnel: 

7 "Warders. 

7 Cleaners, etc. 

In 1951, however, there were seventeen vacancies on the staff. 
Librarians are university graduates; assistant librarians must have had 
secondary-school education. There is at present no school of 
librarianship in Greece, though the necessary legislation for the 
establishment of one exists, and it is hoped to carry this out in the near 
future. Meanwhile short courses of instruction for the staffs of the 
smaller public libraries and institutional libraries are conducted by the 
National Library. 

The Library was used by approximately 800 readers daily during 
1949, and 6,156 books were lent during the year. Accessions totalled 
3,172, of which 1,120 were received by legal deposit, 2,023 by 
donation, and 29 by purchase. 190 periodicals were received, for the 
most part by legal deposit. 


The task of the Library, to form and preserve a collection as complete 
as possible of the works of Greek writers of all ages, was defined by 
Gennadios in 1839. In continuation of this policy, the Library 
commenced in 1934 the publication of a bulletin of Greek books and 
periodicals (other than newspapers) received. The first volume, for the 
year 1931, appeared in 1934, with the tide "Hellenic Bibliography." 
The task of publication was then taken over by the General Library 
Council of Greece, and volumes for 1930 and 1932-39 issued, when the 


work was interrupted by the outbreak of war. It has not been 

Certain duplicates are transferred from the National Library, with 
the approval of the Ministry of Education, to provincial libraries. 


The annual income of the Library is very inadequate, amounting in 
1951 to 20,000,000 drachmae. Expenditure during that year was: 


Purchase of books 3,000,000 

Binding 3,000,000 

Maintenance of building .. .. .. .. 2,500,000 

Heating, lighting, office supplies, etc 11,500,000 


The Library has a very small income from endowment. Salaries of the 
staff are paid from State funds. 


Giannakopoulos, Th. D. [The National Library.] Greek. 1954. In: O 

Bibliophiles, year 8. no. 4. pp. 144-47. October-December 1954. 
Margaris, D. [The National Library and its Treasures.] Greek. 1938. In: Nea 

Hestia. vol. 23. pp. 311-17. 
Histoire de la Bibliotheque Nationale. [An abridged translation of the 

preceding.] 1951. In: L'Hellenisme contemporaine. ser. 2. anne'e 5. fasc. 

4-5. pp. 318-26. juillet-octobre 1951. 

Constantinides, G. [Reports on the Library for 1890/91 and 1895/96.] Greek. 
Buberl, P. Die Mrn iaturenhan dschriften der Nationalbibliothek in Athen. 

Wien, 1917. (Denkschriften der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften. 

PhiL-hist. Klasse. Bd. 60. Abh. 2.) 
Delatte, A. Les Manuscrits a miniatures et a. ornements des bibliotheques 

d'Athenes. Liege, Paris, 1926. (Bibliotheque de la Faculte* de Philosophic 

et Lettres de TUniversite de Liege, fasc. 34.) 




On December 29, 1711, King Philip V (1700-46) gave his assent to a 
scheme put forward by Father Pedro Robinet, of the Society of Jesus, 
for establishing a library in Madrid; -whereupon the collection of 
books for the new institution began at once, and on March i, 1712, the 
Library was opened. It remained royal in name and government till 
1836, when it passed to the control of the State and took the name 
National Library which it still bears. 

Towards the foundation of the Library the King gave some 8,000 
volumes, MSS., and prints; some were brought from France, others 
came from the Library which in 1637 had been brought together in 
the tower of the Alcazar, and was known as the Libreria de la Reina 
Madre. With these books came also mathematical instruments, a 
large number of coins and medals, and antiquities. 

The King nominated Fr. Robinet as Director of the new Library, 
and Gabriel Alvarez de Toledo as Head Librarian. Fr. Robinet was 
soon succeeded by Fr, Esteban Lecompasseur and Fr. Guillermo 
Daubenton, both of the Society of Jesus and Confessors of the King. 
(The Jesuits had taken a leading part in the project for a Royal Library, 
since Madrid at the beginning of the eighteenth century had no public 
library available for scholars.) Alvarez having died, his place was 
filled in September 1715, by Juan Ferreras, the historian. In addition, 
in 1716, four librarians were appointed, one head of the administration, 
two clerks, and two porters, and at the same time the King approved 
the Statutes for the government of the Library which were in force 
till 1761, when fresh ones were made by Charles III, at the reform of 
the Library under the direction of Juan de Santander (1751-83). In 
1836 the Library came under the State and was put under the general 
supervision of the Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts, with a 
Director as the chief executive officer of the Library. On July 17, 1858, 
the "Cuerpo facultativo de los Archivos, Bibliotecarios y Arqueologos" 
was constituted by royal decree, and assumed the supervision of all 



archives, libraries, and antiquities in the country. It is directed by a 
committee, whose decisions are promulgated by the Ministry and are 
binding on all State libraries. The Vice-President of the Cuerpo is the 
Director of the National Library, and the Secretary of the Library is 
also a member. 

The law of legal deposit has been in operation since October 15, 
1716, when Philip V decreed that one copy of every work printed in 
Spain was to be deposited in the Royal Library. The present law 
dates from 1938, and provides that two copies of all works published 
in Madrid and one of those published in the provinces shall be deposited 
in the Library; copyright protection is automatically secured thereby. 
In practice the earlier legislation did not work satisfactorily, owing to 
the difficulty of supervising provincial printers, and the Library 
received only a part of the publications to which it was entitled, and 
those in some cases only after great delay. 

The Library owes its great riches largely to gifts from public bodies 
and private individuals. The library of the Cortes and that of the Infante 
Don Sebastian were acquired during the early years of the nineteenth 
century, while at the same time, through the suppression of the 
monasteries, i,ooo volumes from those in the province of Madrid 
came into the National Library through the agency of the Minister 
of Public Instruction. From the same source came 3 12 works, mainly 
incunabula, from the cathedral of Avila, sixty volumes of MSS. 
comprising works and studies of the childhood of Philip V, some in 
his own handwriting, which were in the possession of the Ministry of 
State, and more than 1,200 engravings. Of gifts from private 
individuals may be mentioned those of Melchior de Macanaz, who 
gave 200 volumes, and of Luis de Usoz y del Rio, a distinguished 
bibliophile, whose collection of 11,357 volumes was given to the 
National Library by his widow; it contains a large collection of 
Bibles and many rare works of Spanish literature printed in the 
sixteenth century. 

Amongst important purchases of the eighteenth century was the 
library which Cardinal Arquinto had formed in Rome and to which 
the Library owes the majority of its early Italian books. In the 
nineteenth century: that of Juan Nicolas Bohl de Faber in 1849, 
containing a number of old and rare Spanish works; that of Augustine 
Duran (1863) of some 3,700 volumes and parcels, rich in dramatic 
works by Spanish writers; that of Jose Carlos Mejia (1864) of about 
8,000 historical works, pamphlets, periodicals, etc., published in 
Mexico since its independence; Turkish, Arabian, and Armenian 
works from the library which Antonio Lopez de Cordoba collected 


in Constantinople (1869); that of Cayetano Alberto de la Barrera 
(1873), some 2,500 volumes, mostly Spanish works; that of the 
Marquis de la Romana, 19,630 select and rare works of all kinds, 
with some rare MSS. Most important among later accessions is the 
Cervantes collection of Jose Maria Asensio y Toledo (1949). 

It was considered from the time of its foundation that one of the 
functions of the Library should be the publication of interesting and 
useful works. Between 1735 and 1738 60,235 reales were spent on the 
publication of the Btblioteca universal de la polygraphia espanola by 
Cristobal Rodriguez, which was followed by the Memorial of Paez de 
Castro and in 1747 the PoUacion general de Espana of J. A. Estrada. 
Other works were published at intervals during the remainder of the 

Thirty years after the Library had opened, the number of volumes 
was estimated at 30,000; and by 1874 the total was: 300,000 printed 
books, including 1,700 incunabula, some 200,000 pamphlets, about 
120,000 prints, and above 30,000 MSS. contained in 10,000 books and 
parcels. Today the figures are: 1,500,000 printed volumes, 2,625 
incunabula, 21,500 MSS., 125,000 prints. The books are not classified 
by subject on the shelves, but there are rooms dedicated to special 
subjects such as the theatre, fine arts, Latin America. The collection in 
the Lending Department is classified according to the decimal system. 

The Library has numbered among its librarians and among those 
who have lent their services many distinguished scholars and men of 
letters, but it did not develop on modern Enes to the same extent as the 
other great national libraries of Europe, so that while its resources were 
second to few, it was very much behind other big libraries in making 
them accessible to scholars. The movement for reform has been going 
on since the early days of the nineteenth century and is ventilated in the 
book by S. A. Paz y Melia: La Question de las Bittiotecas Nadonales y 
la diffusion de la cultura, 1911 ; it finally took shape in the founding by 
royal decree countersigned by the Minister of Public Instruction of the 
"Patronato" of the National Library on May 15, 1930. The objects of 
this body were laid down as being: to use the resources earmarked for 
the acquisitions to obtain books which ought to be in the National 
Library; to inspect the internal organisation of the Library; to promote 
co-operation with other libraries both at home and abroad; to stimulate 
gifts and legacies from individuals and corporations; to organise 
exhibitions and conferences related to the stock and activities of the 
Library; and to prepare catalogues for publication. After a year's 
delay caused by resignations and similar difficulties, the Committee 
and a new Director of the Library began work and in the next two 

14 NLW 


years carried out a large programme of reform which included 
increased hours of opening, separation of students and scholars from 
the general public, readers' tickets, box for suggestions, printing 
of lists and catalogues, acquisition of books, and exchange of publica- 
tions and of duplicate stocks. Some of these reforms will be mentioned 
in more detail in later sections. The arrangement in its present form 
springs from a decree of August 1939, creating the Directorate of 
Archives and Libraries, under which Spanish libraries are gathered 
into eight main groups. 

In 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, damage was caused to the 
Library. The most valuable items among the collections were 
evacuated to Valencia; others were stored in cellars. 

Loans of books are controlled by a Government decree of 1947, 
which forbids the removal from the Library of MSS., incunabula, 
valuable maps, prints, and bindings, reference works, and certain 
other categories of material. Of other works, only duplicates may 
be lent. 


The Library was housed at its foundation in the Royal Palace, and 
remained there till the French occupation a century later, when in the 
course of the rebuilding schemes of Joseph Bonaparte, the Library was 
among the buildings demolished in 1809 to make the large square in 
front of the Royal Palace, which today is called the Plaza de Oriente. 
The collections were moved to the Monastery of the Trinity, but when 
the French occupation was over, the Fathers of the Trinity claimed 
their building and the Library was transferred in 1817 to the house 
occupied later by the Ministry of the Navy, and then again to the 
building in the Calle Arrieta (formerly Calle de la Biblioteca), which 
was opened to the public on June n, 1826. Before long this building 
was found to be too small, despite the addition in 1874 of an annexe to 
hold 100,000 volumes, and a plan for a library worthy of the capital 
of Spain was drawn up. A fine position in the Paseo de Recoletos was 
chosen and work was begun in 1866 on a building in neo-classical 
style to house not only the National Library, but also the Museum of 
Archaeology and the Museum of Fine Arts. It was not completed till 
1894 and, after the transfer of the books from the old building, was 
opened to the public in March 1896; the Library occupies the first 
floor and part of the ground floor. At the present time the building 
also accommodates the OfEce for the Registration of Intellectual 
Property, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Society of the 
Friends of Art, the National Historical Archives and the Museum of 


Art of the Nineteenth Century. The presence of these organisations 
makes it difficult to introduce reforms and extensions in the services of 
the Library. 

The main reading room is on the first floor near the Rare Books 
section, and provides accommodation for over 300 research workers. 
The Salon de Estudio, situated between the catalogue room and the 
main stack, is primarily for university students. Reading rooms which 
formerly existed in the Rare Books, Miscellaneous, and Fine Arts 
sections have been closed. The Library has also a periodicals room 
where over 2,400 current periodicals, Spanish and foreign, are available. 

The Department of MSS. occupies four rooms, including a reading 
room, and two rooms devoted to exhibitions. On the ground floor, 
below these rooms, are a separate popular reading room ("Sala 
General") with seats for 276 readers and a collection of 15,000 volumes 
of miscellaneous works, a lending department, and a series of exhibition 
rooms of the Society of the Friends of Art. The main stack, of cast- 
iron construction, has seven floors with a total capacity of more than 
1,750,000 volumes, while the Section of Rare Books and Incunabula 
has a special fire-proof stack. 

The need for further accommodation resulted in proposals put 
forward in 1956 for the reconstruction of much of the interior of the 
building without altering its external appearance. By replacing the 
three principal floors by six new ones, it would be possible to increase 
the number of places for readers from 544 to 1,855, ami the storage 
space from 1,750,000 to 6,000,000 volumes. The main reading room 
would be retained, with the addition of carrels for private study, while 
new special reading rooms for science, technology, medicine, 
agriculture, commerce, and microfilms and an auditorium for meetings 
would be provided. A new security stack would be constructed and 
rooms for a school of librarianship and a restaurant built. Mechanical 
book conveyors and new heating and ventilation plants would be 

The average number of readers using the Library daily in 1956 was 


The old catalogue consisted of a loose-leaf book catalogue of the 
printed works and two of MSS. Having been compiled by different 
hands at different periods, it was characterised by a complete lack of 
uniformity of entry. Up till 1902 there existed no code of cataloguing 
rules, so that, for instance, works of Thomas Aquinas might be found 
tinder Aquino (Tomas de), Tomas de Aquino, or Aquinatis. 


Recataloguing of the entire collection was then undertaken, in 
accordance with a code of rules issued in the previous year by the 
Directorate of Public Libraries, and to avoid unnecessary disturbance of 
the work of the Library, it was done not alphabetically but by sections, 
the older books being arranged more or less chronologically on the 
various floors. The catalogues compiled were : an alphabetical catalogue 
of authors and anonymous works, a classified subject-catalogue, a tide- 
catalogue and a shelf list. More recently the compilation of a single 
dictionary catalogue has been commenced, using cards of international 
size which since 1951 have been printed to meet the requirements of 
the Biblioteca National and for distribution to other libraries, including 
all public libraries in Spain. A copy of the new catalogue is placed for 
the use of the public in the centre of the Reading Room. The Library 
hopes ultimately to print its catalogue; in the meantime, besides the 
general card catalogue, there are various special and sectional catalogues 
at the service of the public, including sheaf catalogues by author and 
subject of the 12,000 books in the general reading room. There are 
also a printed list of periodicals in tie Library (Publicaciones periodicas 
existentes en la Biblioteca NadonaL Catalogo per F. Zamora Lucas y 
M. Casado Jorge, 1952), and card catalogues of the lending section, 
and of prints and photographs in the Fine Arts section. Other printed 
catalogues of the latter section have been issued, or are in preparation. 
Published catalogues of MSS. and special classes of printed books 

Domfnguez Bordona, J. Catalogo de los manuscritos catalanes de la 

Biblioteca Nacional. 1931. 
Guillen Robles, F. Catalogo de los manuscritos arabes existentes en la 

Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid. 1889. 
[Paz y Melia, Antonio.] Catalogo de las piezas de teatro que se conservan en 

el departamento de manuscritos de la Biblioteca Nacional. 1899. 
La Torre, M. de, and Longa"s, P. Catalogo de codices latinos, torn. I. 1935. 
Angles, H., and Subira, J. Catalogo musical de la Biblioteca Nacional. 

[MS. and printed music.] 1946- . (Catalogos de la mdsica antigua 

conservada en Espana.) 
Garcia Rojo, D., and Ortiz de Montalvan, G. Catalogo de incunables de la 

Biblioteca Nacional. 1945. 
Catalogo de las ediciones del "Quijote" existentes en la Biblioteca Nacional. 

Rio y Rico, G. M. del. Catalogo bibliogrdfico de la section de Cervantes de 

la Biblioteca Nacional. 1930. 
Roca, Pedro. Catalogo de los manuscritos que pertenetieron a D. Pascual de 

Gayangos. 1904. 
Catalogo de los libros de la sola general. 1931. 


There are also special catalogues and a large number of bibliographies, 
which are the result of the literary and bibliographical competitions 
organised by the National Library. A complete list of these has been 
published by the Library. 


Besides the administrative section, the Library is divided into three 
main departments for processing bibliographical materials, providing 
service to the public, and for the maintenance and handling of its 
stocks. In the first, the department of modern works, are grouped the 
sections dealing with accessions, binding, legal deposit, cataloguing and 
classification, the general catalogue of printed books, public catalogues, 
reading rooms (research, general, and popular), and lending to the 
public. The departments of conservation and fine arts are concerned 
primarily with the stocks of the Library, and include the sections 
responsible for the general book stock, dramatic collection, Spanish- 
America collection, Cervantes collection, reviews, maps and plans, 
"varios" a miscellany, mainly of pamphlets and papers referring to 
political events music, fine arts, rare books and incunabula, and MSS. 
The music collection, organised as a section in 1874, consists largely of 
works by modern composers; the fine arts section, formerly the print 
room, was established when the Government acquired for the Library 
in 1867 the magnificent collection of D. Vallentin Cardera, celebrated 
particularly for its wealth of engraved portraits. The section contains 
also a large number of photographs of historical and artistic value and, 
since 1945, a collection of gramophone records now numbering 7,000 
and acquired mainly through legal deposit. The lending department, 
established in 1941, is largely autonomous. Its collections, containing 
textbooks and literary works rather than recreational literature, were 
established with some 6,000 duplicates withdrawn from the general 
collection, and now number approximately 50,000 volumes. 

The MSS. are the richest collection in Spain. There are three special 
sub-divisions in this department: the Hebrew, the Arab, and the Greek. 
There are also masses of archival material, some originals and some 
copies, MSS. of Spanish writers, autographs, etc. Abundant material 
for exhibitions is to be found in the collections of MS. and printed 
material. A permanent exhibition of MSS. has long been arranged; 
other exhibitions commemorate notable individuals or events, such as 
those held in 1947 and 1948 for the fourth centenary of the birth of 
Cervantes, in 1952 on Holy Week and in 1954 on military science and 
history in Spain. 

Admission, other than to the popular reading room and lending 


department, is restricted to students and research workers. The Library 
is open from 9.30 a.m. to n p.m. 
The, daily figure of readers using the reading rooms are: 

General Reading Room 1,100 

Popular Reading Room 35 

MSS 35 

Lending Department 100 

The number of volumes issued annually is approximately 500,000. 
The annual total of accessions through legal deposit in 1956 was 
approximately 6,000 volumes and 1,000 gramophone records, and 
through exchange 5,000 volumes and parts of periodicals. 


Dr. Hoecker, writing in 1927 of the "Spanische Bibliothekswesen," 
said of the National Library that it represented the old original character 
of a national library, a "biblioteca omnibus," an institute which was for 
the use and enjoyment of the whole nation. As well as an archive and 
repository library, it had also to be a popular library. This discord, he 
went on to say, had long been clear, in spite of which those responsible 
could not decide to adopt one character or the other. 

The reformers of the "Patronato" were well aware of this problem 
and of the criticisms levelled against the Library that it was "not 
responding, or responding badly, to the needs of culture." They 
decided, however, in the end to continue the dual character of the 
Library, for they considered that in a town like Madrid with few 
public libraries it would be a great deprivation to the ordinary citizen 
to be refused admission to his National Library; and in order to satisfy 
both popular and learned needs, they established a new general 
reading room for the public, temporarily in the former catalogue hall, 
and later in the large hall formerly part of the Museum of Modern Art; 
to this no card of admission is necessary, while for students there are 
separate reading rooms well provided with reference books, catalogues, 
and other tools of the scholar. For admission to these a card is 


L T1 

The "Patronato" also extended their activities to book selection, for 
they desired the National Library to be not only a repository of 
national literature but an active centre of culture in all branches of 
knowledge; since the professional librarians in Spain are all drawn from 
the faculties of philosophy and letters, it was necessary to call upon 
outside specialists for help, and by this and other means to endeavour 
to fill the gaps in foreign literature. 


The National Library helped to foster bibliographical studies by 
instituting in the nineteenth century annual prizes for bibliographical 
work on Spanish writers. The works of Perez Pastor, el Galhrdo, and 
many other monographs have originated from these competitions. 
The "Patronato" has not only followed this tradition, but has doubled 
the number of annual prizes and considerably augmented their value. 

Loans from the collections of the Library other than that of the 
Lending Department are made only to other State libraries in Spain 
and to libraries abroad. The inability to lend more freely is to some 
extent offset by the photographic services provided by the Library, 
microfilms and photocopies from items in the collections being supplied 
on request. In addition, the Library participates in a national programme 
for microfilming rare books and MSS. 

The Servicio Nacional de Information Bibliografica, which is 
conducted by the Library, is responsible for replying to all inquiries 
received relating to the collections of the Biblioteca Nacional or those 
of other Spanish libraries. It also compiles a union catalogue of 
Spanish libraries and produces the Lista de ohras ingresadas en las 
bibliotecas espanolas. 


The staff consists of: 
I Director, 
i Sub-Director, 
i Secretary. 
40 Librarians. 
20 Assistant Librarians. 
50 Second grade Assistants. 

An applicant for the higher grade of Librarian has to be licenciate in 
philosophy or letters. The instruction of the librarians, archivists and 
museum officials was formerly the responsibility of the Faculty of 
Philosophy at the University of Madrid, which had a chair of 
"Bibliology." The course was later modernised, and divided into three 
sections providing advanced instruction in the work of libraries, 
archives, and museums; New courses of instruction for archivists and 
librarians, conducted by the Library under the auspices of the State 
Directorate of Archives and Libraries, were commenced in 1954. 


By a decree of Philip V of January 2, 1716, the Library was endowed 
with an annual income of 8,000 pesos derived from the duties on 
tobacco and playing cards; 4,300 pesos were earmarked for salaries, the 
remaining 3,700 to be spent on books and other expenses. 


The grant varied little for die first century, but was gradually 
augmented in the nineteenth century, and in 1876 the allocation for 

enioyeG uy tnc juiujj.ui.tvei i>eu*.jx.jLaj. uj.u. v/u.u.v... j^.^****.*. *** j-..-. ..-.** J .^ 3 
the years preceding the Civil War by the reduction of the armed forces 
and the allocation of the funds thus saved to the Ministry of Public 
Instruction. The grant for the purchase of books in the Library was 
increased from 60,000 to 200,000 pesetas. Expenditure on the purchase 
of books and periodicals and on binding, which amounted in 1949 to 
431,286 pesetas, is met by the Junta de Adquisicion y Distribucion de 
Publications. A special allowance is set aside, in addition, by the 
Ministry of Education, for the acquisition of works of exceptional 
value and importance. The maintenance of the building is charged 
against general Government funds, and in 1949 cost 438 *9 pesetas, 
while a grant of 1,000,000 pesetas for light, heating, supplies, etc., was 
made from the Ministry of Education to the Patronato. Expenditure 
on salaries was 780,998 pesetas. 


Ernst, Konrad. Eine Studienreise dutch die Bibliotheken Spaniens und 

Portugals im Auftrag der Inkunabelkommission. 1911. In: Zentralblatt fur 

Bibliothekswesen. vol. 28. pp. 215-28. 
Hoecker, Rudolf. Das Spanische Bibliothekswesen, 1927. In: Zentralblatt fur 

Bibliothekswesen. vol. 44. pp. 20-38; 160-73. 
Seris, H. Les Bibliotheques espagnoles depuis la Republique. 1933. In: 

International Federation of Library Associations. Actes. vol. 5. pp. 170-75- 


Biblioteca Nacional. Breve notitia de la Biblioteca Nacional. 1876. 

Bombes sur la Biblioth^que Nationale de Madrid. 1937. 

Publicaciones de la Biblioteca Nacional. 1941. 

Patronato de la Biblioteca Nacional. Memoria, 1930-32. 

Foster, Mary Louise. Three Great Spanish Libraries. 1931. In: Library 

Journal, vol. 56. pp. 9-12. illus. 
Paz y Melia, A. La cuestion de las Bibliotecas Nacionales y la diffusion de la. 

cultura. 1911. 

Ponce de Leon Freyre, E. Guia del lector en la Biblioteca Nacional. 1949. 
Direcci6n General de Archives y Bibliotecas. Bolerfn. ano 4. no. 27. 

marzo-abril, 1955. [A special number dealing with the Biblioteca Nacional.] 
La Biblioteca NacionaL 1956. In : Direcci6n General de Archives y Bibliotecas. 

Boletfn. ano 5. no. 36. enero-marzo, 1956. pp. 168-75. 




Though, the Biblioteca Nacional in its present form dates from 
February 29, 1796, when it was founded by Royal Charter with the 
title of Real Biblioteca Publica da Corte, it has its origin in the Mesa 
Censoria, constituted in 1768 to examine works intended for publica- 
tion and form an opinion as to their suitability or otherwise. A copy 
of each work published had also to be deposited with the Mesa, and 
these books, together with those formerly belonging to the Jesuit 
Order, the colleges and religious houses of which had been suppressed 
in 1755, formed its library. Its President, Manuel do Cen&culo, Bishop 
of Beja, was both scholarly and liberal-minded and conceived the idea 
of forming a library freely available to the public, and the books of the 
Jesuits thus gathered together formed the nucleus of the Public Library. 
The title was altered in 1836 to National Library of Lisbon. The 
Library first opened its doors to the public on May 13, 1797, Antonio 
Ribeiro dos Santos, Professor of the Faculty of Canon Law and a 
celebrated scholar and man of letters, having been appointed Director 
in March of the previous year, with a staff of eighteen. 

The foundation collections were the library of the Mesa Cens6ria, 
already mentioned, that of the defunct Academia Real da Historia, 
books and MSS. presented by Manuel do Cenaculo and by the regular 
clergy of the Teatine Order, the collection of works printed by 
Bodoni, which had belonged to Francisco Vieira, the Fontenelli 
collection of coins, and rare books, MSS., and medals purchased by 
D. Tomas Caetano de Bern. The collections were classified and 
arranged in twelve subject-divisions by Ribeiro dos Santos, and were 
augmented by works received by legal deposit, which was introduced 
in May 1798. 

Under a decree of May 28, 1834, the religious orders were suppressed, 
and their property confiscated. Books and MSS. to the number of 
176,699 volumes were transferred in 1841 from the commission 
carrying out the work of suppression to the Library, greatly increasing 


its stocks. Foremost among the collections so received is the Alcoba^a, 
consisting of MS. codices dating from the eleventh to the seventeenth 
centuries ; some of them are of the greatest historical value, and they 
originated in the Cistercian convent of Santa Maria de Alcoba^a, the 
richest and most important convent in the country. Political upheavals 
during the years 1834-50 interfered greatly with the development of 
the Library. No less than seven directors held office, one for two 
periods, and when the collections were removed to the present 
building in 1836, many books proved to be missing. Later the libraries 
of the authors Julio Cesar Machado, Barbosa Cohen, and Brito 
Aranha were purchased, and that of Fialho de Almeida bequeathed to 
the Library. A. Costa Lobo, the historian, bequeathed his library and 
the manuscripts of his works; but the most important of all the 
collections received was that of Francisco Manuel de Melo da Camara 
mainly of theological works, which was purchased in 1852, and retained 
intact until 1888 when its books were dispersed amid the general 
collection. The Archives of the Ministerio da Marinha e Ultramar, 
deposited in the Library in 1889 with subsequent additions, are of great 
importance as source material for the history of the Portuguese colonies 
and Brazil. They were transferred to the Arquivo Historico Ultra- 
marino at its foundation in 1931. 

All publications issued in Portugal and its colonies are subject to 
legal deposit, which is regulated bylaws of 1931, 1934, 1936, and 1952, 
and is the responsibility of the printer. Twelve copies of each work 
must be delivered at the Library, and the Library distributes copies to 
eight other Portuguese libraries named in the law, and sends one each 
to the library of the Gabinete Portuges de Leitura at Rio de Janeiro 
and to the National Libraries at Goa and Macao. 

The Library contains at present about 1,030,000 printed books and 
pamphlets, and 44,000 bound volumes of newspapers. It has 1,250 
incunabula and 12,589 other rare printed books, 10,681 volumes and 
17,000 separate items of MSS., and in addition, 759 codices of MSS. in 
the Pombalina collection and 456 in the Alcoba^a. Other special 
collections of printed material include the Bodoni (214 volumes), the 
Elzevir (342 volumes), and the Camoneana (1,373 volumes). The 
Da Gunara ecclesiastical collection contains 6,350 items, and that of 
maps and atlases over 2,000 items. 

The collections were originally arranged by the classification of 
Gamier and Martin, later followed by Brunet Certain modifications 
were introduced in 1863, but in 1887 the Library was reorganised in 
four main divisions with subsections. (See below: Departments,) 

Booksjare not lent from the Library to individuals or other institutions. 



The Library was originally housed in the building in the Pra^a do 
Comercio which had earlier contained the library of the Mesa Censoria. 
It is now located in the former Convent of St. Francis, confiscated 
by the State in 1834, and occupied since 1836 by the Library. The 
building is of two storeys, with 113 rooms and fourteen corridors. 
The accommodation is quite unsuited to the needs of the Library. The 
books have been imperfectly protected against dirt, damp, insects 
and fire, while the furnishings were for long unsuitable and the shelving 
insufficient. Some improvements have lately been carried out, but the 
space available for staff, readers and collectors remains inadequate. 
No rooms are available for exhibitions, meetings, or for the instruction 
of the staff in librarianship. 

The general reading room is situated on the ground floor, and with 
it the stack rooms and catalogue room. There is a second reading room, 
reserved for the consultation of MSS., rare books, prints, maps and 
plans, and coins and medals on the upper floor. Also on this floor are 
further stack rooms, administrative offices, and the departments of 
legal deposit, international exchange, and cataloguing, together with 
the collection of rare books and MSS. 

In 1934 the Government decided that a new building or a consider- 
able extension of the existing one was necessary if the Library was to 
continue its work. A report issued by experts in 1936 was in favour 
of reconstructing the present building, and constructing a new stack 
on an adjoining site. The building was to be adapted with fireproof, 
air-conditioned stacks to hold 1,500,000 volumes, 100,000 bound 
volumes of newspapers, rare books, and sound recordings, map and 
print rooms, and improved offices, workrooms, and reading-rooms 
both general and special, with rooms for bibliographical and photo- 
graphic work, and offices for the Inspeccao Superior das Bibliotecas e 
Arquivos. This plan was ultimately abandoned, but an alternative 
scheme, subsequently put forward and finally adopted in 1951, has 
provided a site adjoining the University City of Lisbon, where work 
on a building to have an initial capacity of 2,000,000 volumes was 
commenced in 1956 and was expected to be complete by 1960. 


The Catalogues are in manuscript, as follows: 

Printed Books. Author, subject, shelf list, and periodical and newspaper 


"Reserve" Collection. Incunabula, rare printed books, Elzevir, Bodoni, and 

Camoneana Collections. 
General catalogue of MSS. 
Da Clmara and Alcobac.a collections, and miscellaneous,, MSS. 

A new subject-catalogue of Portuguese publications, arranged 
according to the Universal Decimal Classification, was begun in 1952. 
There are also the following printed catalogues of the Library: 

Fialho de Almeida Collection, i vol. 

Inventories of various Sections. 9 vol. (Incomplete.) 

Inventories of the Numismatic Collection. 2 vol. 

Inventory of the general collection of MSS. i vol. 

Inventory of the Pombalina Collection. I vol. 

Inventory of the Alcoba^a Collection, i vol. 

Inventories of the Foreign Section. 4 vol. 

Catalogues of various exhibitions (Cervantes, Horace, Vergil, etc.). 9 vol. 

Catalogue of Bibliography of Local History, i vol. 

Catalogue of MSS. relating to Lisbon, i vol. 

Catalogues of Prints, Illuminated MSS., Liturgies, by Gabriel Pereira. 5 pt. 

A bibliography of the works of the playwright Gil Vicente, Biblio- 
grafia vicentina, was published by the Library in 1942. 

The Boletim de UUiografia portuguesa, published by the Library since 
1935, at first annually, but since 1955 monthly, provides a record in 
classified order of the national literary output. 


The division of the Library into sections was the result of the 
reorganisation of December 29, 1887, which, with certain modifications, 
is still in force. The services of the Library are grouped as follows : 

Central Services, including in one section the secretariate and 
finance branches, and in another the accessions branches (legal deposit, 
purchases, donations and exchanges, international exchanges, and 
registration of periodicals). 

Cataloguing and classification. 

Reading and Bibliographical Information, comprising the public 
catalogue and reading room, the stacks, bibliographical information, 
and exMbitions. 

Reserved Books, responsible for the cataloguing, storage and issue 
of books in reserved categories. 

Workshops and Laboratories, responsible for binding and repairs, 
photography, duplication, and disinfestation. 


Accessions during 1955 were as follows: 

Purchases, gifts, and exchanges 2,696 items 

Legal deposit 5,627 

International exchange 1 5,734 


During the same year, 32,555 readers used the Library, and 75,579 
volumes were issued. 


The Biblioteca Nacional lends to other libraries, but takes no part in 
the general organisation of inter-library loans, and has no current 
union catalogues. For international exchange, ministerial authority is 

A union catalogue, Catdlogo das revistas estrangeiras recebidas nas 
principals bibliotecas de Lisbon, was published by the Library in 1929. 


The staff is as follows: 
3 First Librarians. (Heads of Divisions.) 

3 Second Librarians. 
5 Third Librarians. 

Second-class Official. 

2 Third-class Officials. 
5 Second-class Clerks. 

4 Office Assistants. 

5 Supervisors. 

4 Assistant Supervisors. 
10 General duty Assistants. 

3 Binders. 
3 Sewers. 

3 Messengers* 
I Porter. 
34 Cleaners, 

Technical staff must have completed the course in librarianship and 


archives which is restricted to graduates. Admission to the technical 
grade is by written examination; of the remaining grades, some are 
recruited by public tests of a general nature, others are engaged by the 
Director, the appointment being subject to confirmation by 
the Minister. Recruiting has in recent years been made difficult 
by the low salaries paid to the staff. 


The total annual income of the Library in 1956 was $2,288,700, of 
which $1,046,400 was used on staff salaries, and $250,000 on books 
and equipment. All income is derived from Government grant, and 
the Library has no other source of income whatever; all profits from 
the sales of its publications, etc., have to be surrendered to the State. 


Castilho, Jose Feliciano de. Relatorio acerca da Biblioteca Nacional de 

Lisboa. 4 vol. 1844, 45. 
A Biblioteca Nacional. Breves nocoes historicas e descritivas. In: Publica^oes 

da Biblioteca Nacional. vol. i. 1918. 
Figuerido, Fidelino de. Como dirigi a Biblioteca Nacional. 1919. In: 

Proenc.a, Raid, Guia de Portugal, vol. i. pp. 226-30. 1924. [Publica^oes 

da Biblioteca Nacional.] 
O Programa das novas instalacoes da Biblioteca Nacional. 1936. In: Anais das 

bibliotecas e arquivos. vol. 12. pp. 33-40. 




Little is known of the libraries of the Danish kings before Christian III 
(1534-59), but he is known to have been a collector of books, and 
there is no doubt that the greater part of the 2,000 books given to the 
University of Copenhagen by his grandson Christian IV in 1605 had 
been in his collection. The founder of the present Royal Library, 
however, was Frederick in (1648-70), a man deeply interested in 
literature and science, "who during the years 1661-64 acquired the 
valuable libraries formerly belonging to three Danish noblemen, 
Joachim Gersdorff, Laurids Ulfeldt and Peder Scavenius; these 
collections were rich in foreign literature, principally French, Italian, 
and Spanish. In the purchases made in the years following, literature 
in the Romance languages and English and the ancient classics -were 
prominently represented. The number of Danish books in King 
Frederick's library was very small, but amongst them was a priceless 
collection of ancient Icelandic literature, -which included the two 
Eddie poems and the Flatoe Book (containing among other things the 
account of the discovery of America 500 years before Christopher 
Columbus) ; these had been sent to the King by the Bishop of Skalholt 
in Iceland. The King succeeded in buying another treasure from 
Kepler's son, the original observations of Tycho Brahe written in his 
own hand, while he made further important purchases through agents 
in foreign countries. Frederick was also responsible for the planning of 
a special building for the Library, which, however, was not finished 
till after his death. In 1670, at the King's death, the Library numbered 
20,000 volumes. Christian V and Frederick IV, the next two Kings, 
had not the same literary interests; nevertheless, at the death of the 
latter in 1730 the number of volumes had risen to 40,000, chiefly 
because of the acquisition of the libraries of two savants, Esaias Pufendorff 
and Chr. Reitzer. 

The first Librarian was Peder Schumacher Griffenfeld, a man who 
rose to high office in the State (becoming Chancellor of the King, 



Count, etc.), but who fell into disgrace under Christian V and died in 
prison. In 1730, on the accession of Christian VI, the learned historian 
Hans Gram was made Librarian; he had the contents of the Library 
catalogued, and took advantage of every opportunity of enriching the 
collections, with such good effect that the number of volumes at his 
death had risen to 70,000. During his term of office the Library 
received a large part of the library of Count Chr. Danneskiold-Sams0e, 
which was particularly rich in MSS. and incunabula. In 1749, King 
Frederick V incorporated in the Royal Library the library of the 
Castle of Gottorp in Schleswig which had been acquired as war booty; 
it had been founded in 1606 and contained about 12,000 printed books 
and 331 MSS., the latter taken for the most part from the religious 
foundations of Cismar, Bordesholm, and L0gum. Twenty years 
later the Library acquired 150 MSS. (Hebrew, Arabian, Persian), 
bought during an expedition of Carsten Niebuhr to Arabia. . 

By 1778 the Library numbered 100,000 volumes, but it had been 
allowed to fall into great neglect; the Librarian, Bernhard M011mann, 
who succeeded Gram, had not only neglected opportunities of 
purchasing rare works at sales, but had ceased to look after the internal 
arrangements of the Library, so that the new books as they came in 
were left unbound and in disorderly heaps. No fixed allocation of 
funds for purchases was made until 1772 when an annual grant of 
700 Rigsdaler (100) was introduced, to be increased in 1784 to 
3,000 Rigsdaler. It fell to the successors of M011mann, J. H. Schlegel, a 
German, and above all Jon Erichsen, an Icelander, to restore order and 
make good the gaps. Erichsen, who was able to carry out in part a 
reorganisation planned by Schlegel, undertook the arrangement of the 
MSS. and published the first catalogue in 1786, while he separated 
publications of Denmark, Norway, and the Dukedoms of Schleswig- 
Holstein, Lauenburg, etc., from the remaining printed material, 
forming the Danish collection. 

The latter part of the eighteenth century, during the reign of 
Christian VII, was indeed the great period of the Royal Library, 
for it was then, under D. G. Moldenhawer as Librarian, that it acquired 
the greater part of those collections through which, at the end of the 
century, it ranked as one of the richest libraries in Europe, in the 
sciences as well as in the arts, and which still make it the largest library 
in Scandinavia. Some of the most important of these collections were: 
that of Count Otto Thott, the greatest bibliophile of Denmark, which 
contained more than 4,000 MSS. and more than 6,000 books printed 
before 1530, received in 1786-87; those of the scholars Luxdorph, 
Kofod Ancher, and the minister, J. H. E. Bernstorff; 2,000 original 

Plate V. Paris. La Bibliotheque Nationale: Cotir d'honneur 

[Leconte, Paris 


Plate VI. Paris. La Bibliotheque Nationale: The Versailles Annexe 


editions of Luther and his contemporaries belonging to Count J. L. 
Holstein-Ledreborg; the rich collection of prints of F. A. Miiller; 
MSS. of Peter Uldall and Abraham Kail; the library of the historian 
P. F. Suhm (d. 1798) containing 100,000 volumes; and the library 
of old Danish literature belonging to Henrik Hielmstierne (d. 
1780) numbering about 10,000 volumes. At the end of the 
century the Royal Library numbered 250,000 volumes* In 1849 
the Library ceased to be the private collection of the Sovereign, 
and became a State institution under the direction of the Ministry of 

During the nineteenth century it became increasingly difficult to 
make the annual allocation of funds for purchases keep pace with the 
growing output of literature, and the Library gradually limited its 
purchases to works on the humanities. A Commission was appointed 
in 1924 by the Ministry of Education to examine and regulate the work 
of Danish State libraries, and, as a result of its findings, a decree passed 
in 1926 ordained that the Royal Library was to limit its scope to the 
humanities, while the University Library was to specialise in the 
sciences and medicine. 

Meanwhile the Library continued to be enriched with many 
donations. Amongst others may be mentioned: the gift of the 
philologist, Rasmus Rask, of 150 Pah, Sanskrit, and Sinhalese MSS.; 
the papers of the historian, Jakob Langebek, on Danish history and the 
collection of Svend Grundtvig, dealing with Danish folk-music and 
folklore. About 30,000 duplicates, largely resulting from the receipt of 
the Suhm collection, were transferred in 1811 to the newly established 
University of Oslo. 

Under H. O. Lange, who became Librarian in 1901, the incunabula 
and other special collections were considerably increased, while in 1904 
the Dansk Folkemindesamling, a collection of Danish folklore, was 
established, working in co-operation with the Library, but with its own 
board of directors and financially independent. The collection of 
Svend Grundtvig is incorporated in "it. In the following year, the 
Collin collection of MSS. and letters from Danish and Norwegian 
scholars and poets, among them Hans Christian Andersen and Ibsen, 
was received; it contains valuable source material for Danish history. 
Further material in the same field was received in the collection of 
L. E. Winding, containing about 25,000 pamphlets, prints, etc., and 
that of MSS. of Danish authors formed by Hugo Marx-Nielsen and 
presented by him in 1921. The earlier part of the records of the book- 
selling firm of Gyldendal was presented to the Library in 1920 on the 
occasion of the I50th anniversary of the foundation of the firm. 

15 NLW 


Under Carl S. Petersen, Librarian from 1924-43, the MSS. collection 
was further developed. 

Dr. Petersen retired in 1943, and was succeeded by Dr. Svend Dahl; 
at the same time the responsibilities of the post of Librarian were 
extended to include the direction of the University Library and the 
Exchange Institute. He received the title "Rigsbibliotekar." Better lend- 
ing services for individuals and institutions, and new regulations for the 
Royal and University Libraries were introduced in 1945, and improve- 
ments made in the organisation of the Royal Library and its relations 
with the public. The system of classification drawn up in 1816-30 by 
Moldenhawer has as a model that of the University Library at Gottingen; 
a new system was introduced for accessions from 1950, whereby works 
are shelved in order of accession within about forty subject-groups. 

Many difficulties in obtaining books resulted from the depreciation 
of Danish currency following the World Wars. The Library became 
an important centre for Hebrew and Judaic studies, however, with the 
receipt in 1932 of the library of a former Chief Rabbi of Denmark, 
David Simonsen, some 20,000 volumes in all, while in 1949 the 
collections of the late Dr. Lazarus Goldschmidt of London were 
acquired; they numbered 2,500 volumes, among them forty Hebrew 
incunabula, and a complete set of the books printed in Ethiopic from 
1513 to the twentieth century. Important accessions in other fields 
include an outstanding collection of material by, or related to, Hans 
Andersen, bequeathed by H. Laage Petersen, and an extremely valuable 
collection of Tibetan MSS. brought together during one of the Danish 
Central Asiatic Expeditions. The Mongolian collection, now one of 
the best in Europe, has been enriched by a wood-engraved copy of the 
Tibetan Kandjur. Papers relating to the history of the Library and its 
collections and to kindred topics appear in a year-book issued since 1954 
by the Library under the title Fund og Forskning i Det Kongelige Biblio- 
teks Samlinger. 

Dr. Dahl retired in 1952 and was succeeded as Librarian by Dr. 
Palle Birkelund. 

The present book stock of the Library numbers about 1,250,000 
volumes of printed books, 47,000 volumes of MSS., 4,300 incunabula, 
about 250,000 items of music, printed and MS., together with letters, 
maps, portraits, prints, and other material. The legal deposit of books 
in the Royal Library was first prescribed in 1697, but it was very 
imperfectly observed for many years. At present, under a law of 1902, 
modified in 1927, the Royal Library and the State Library at Aarhus 
each receive a copy of every Danish publication, and the University 
Library at Copenhagen may claim works which it desires. 



At its foundation the Library was installed (as being the Royal 
Library) in the Castle of Copenhagen, but in 1667 a special building to 
contain the royal collections was commenced, and completed in 1673, 
three years after the death of its promoter, King Frederick IIL At first 
the Library occupied the great hall, with a gallery; its rapid growth led 
to the occupation in 1824 of the upper storey, and finally in 1862 of the 
lower storey, thus completing the occupation of the building which 
remained in use until 1906* The need for more accommodation had 
been pointed out forty years before this, but the construction of new 
premises was not authorised until 1897. 

The present building provides for the public a reading room 
accommodating 100 readers, and a reference library of 11,000 volumes 
and 600 current periodicals, a lending department, and a catalogue 
room. It is now seriously overcrowded, however, and plans have 
been prepared for extensive reconstruction to increase its capacity. 


There are available for the public alphabetical and subject catalogues 
of all books, MSS., music, maps, and drawings. New subject and 
author catalogues, on cards, have been commenced for all books 
printed after 1949. Since 1902 a list of foreign accessions of the 
Royal Library and other learned libraries of Denmark has been pub- 
lished: Katalog over erhvervelser af nyere udenlandsk litter atur ved statens 
offentlige biblioteker. Accessionskatalog. Fcelleskatalog over danske viden- 
skabelige og fagliger bibliotekers erhvervelser af udenlandsk litteratur. 
Other published lists include a bibliography of current Danish works 
published every five years, in the preparation of which the Danish 
Department of the Library takes part and a bibliography of old Danish 
works, Bibliotheca Danica. Fortegnelse over den danske Litteratur jra . 
1482 til 1830 (1840), 1877-1902, with supplements 1914, 1931, 1948. 

Numerous printed catalogues of the MSS. and incunabula exist; 
among them may be mentioned: 

Madsen, V. Katalog over Det kongelige Biblioteks Inkunabler [Catalogue 

of the Incunabula in The Royal Library], 2 vol. 1931, 38. 
Westergaard, N, L., Olshausen, J., and Mehren, A. F. Codices Orientales 

Bibliothecae Regiae Hauniensis. 3 pt. 1846-57. 
Graux, Ch. Notices sommaires des manuscrits grecs de la Grande 

BibHothfcque Royale de Copeniague. Paris, 1879. [Supplement by Ada 

Adler ^Copenhagen, 1916.] 


J0rgensen, E. Catalogus codicum Latinorum medii aevi Bibliothec 
Regiae Hafhiensis. 1926. 

Abrahams, N. C. L. Description des manuscrits francais du moyen ge de la 
Bibliotheque Royale de Copenhague. Copenhague, 1844. 

Kalund, Kr, Katalog over de oldnorsk-islandske handskrifter i det store 
kongelige Bibliotek. [Catalogue of the Old Norse and Icelandic MSS. of 
the Great Royal Library.] 1900. 

Gigas, E. Katalog over Det kongelige Biblioteks Haandskrifier vedr0rende 
Norden, sserlig Danmark. [Catalogue of the MSS. of the Royal Library 
concerning Scandinavia, especially Denmark.] 3 vol. 1903-15. 

Behrend, C. Katalog over Det kongelige Biblioteks Haandskrifter 
vedr0rende dansk Personalhistorie. [Catalogue of the MSS. of the Royal 
Library concerning Danish biography and memoirs.] 2 vol. 1925, 27. 

Nielsen, L. Katalog over danske og norske Digteres Originalmanuskripter i 
det kongelige Bibliotek. [Catalogue of original MSS. of Danish and 
Norwegian poets in the Royal Library.] 1941-43. 

Krarup, A. Katalog overUniversitetsbibliotekets Haandskrifter i Samlingerne 
E donatione variorum, Additamenta, Rostgaards, Schionnings og 0rsteds 
Samling. [Catalogue of the MSS. of the University Library in the 
Collections E donatione variorum, Additamenta, Rostgaard's, Schi0n- 
ning's, and 0rsted's Collection. Now transferred to the Royal Library.] 
2 vol. 1929, 35. 


1. The Danish Department. The Danish Department receives 
material acquired by legal deposit. It is also responsible for literature 
from the whole of the ancient Danish kingdom, including Norway, 
Iceland, and Schleswig-Holstein, as well as foreign literature about 
Denmark and foreign translations of the works of Danish authors. 
Sections of this Department are: 

(a) Books printed before 1550. 

(6) The Hielmstierne-Rosencrone Collection of Danish literature, mainly of 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (8,360 items). 

(c) Pamphlets, including reports, accounts, some documents and statutes, 

(d) A fairly complete collection of Copenhagen newspapers. Other Danish 
newspapers were transferred in 1938 to the University library. 

2. The Foreign Department. Since the Royal Library is now the 
principal Danish library for the humanities, books on the medical and 
natural sciences have been transferred to the University library. The 
collection of incunabula is included in this Department and there are, 
in addition, some 3,000 volumes of foreign newspapers. 

3. The Department of Manuscripts. This contains the Western MSS. 



only and is sub-divided into the Old and New Royal Collections and 
various special collections. 

Oriental MSS. and printed books, maps, prints and drawings, and 
music form the other principal sections. The Library has its own 

Figures for the year 1955-56 were: 

The Reading Room 

Readers 31,564 

Issues 39,096 

The Lending Department 

Danish 8,598 

Foreign 22,542 

Music 14,341 

MSS 697 


Accessions for 1955-56 were: 

Legal deposit (Danish Department) : 

Volumes 3,500 

Periodicals and Newspapers 2,000 

Pamphlets and small works 36,000 

Foreign Department: 

Books and Pamphlets purchased 7,600 

acquired by gift or exchange 2,300 

Periodicals purchased 2,100 

acquired by gift or exchange . . . . 900 

Music (Danish and foreign) 7,600 

Maps and Atlases 725 


The Library was royal in origin, and at first permission to use it was 
restricted to members of the Court. Gram, however, liberally admitted 
scholars, but general admission to the public was only granted by a 
royal decree of November 15, 1793. Since then it has been in every 
way the National Library of Denmark, not only because it is the 
repository of Danish literature, but because it is (with the other two 
State libraries) the centre of the library organisation and bibliographical 
work of the country. As mentioned above, the Rigsbibliotekar 
publishes the lists of foreign acquisitions in the chief learned libraries of 
Denmark, and the Royal Library has published a bibliography of the 


Danish books in its own collections, and issues a bibliography of 
current Danish works. 

The Library has a photographic department. 

Exchanges with foreign libraries are effected by an Institute of 
Book Exchange established in 1945, and independent of the Library. 


The staff consists of: 

i Chief Librarian. (Rigsbibliotekar: i.e., Director of State libraries.) 

i Sub-Librarian. (Head of the Danish Department.) 

30 Assistant Librarians. 

72 Assistants. 

I Bookbinder. 

13 Bindery Assistants. 

5 Photographers. 

ii Porters. 

The Chief Librarian is also Librarian of Copenhagen University 


The Library is supported by Government funds, and has also a small 
income derived from endowment, which amounted in 1955-56 to 
15,750 kroner. Since 1945, increased grants have made possible the 
employment of additional staff and greater expenditure on the 
purchase and binding of books. Expenditure during the financial year 
1955-56 was as follows: 

Office of the 
Director of State 

Libraries Royal 

(Rigsbibliotekar) Library 

kroner kroner 

Salaries for public servants 51,992 532,615 
Salaries for other employees 48 ,73 9 493 , 1 3 7 
Fuel, lighting, office ex- 
penses 7,200 180,650 

Purchase of books.. .. 281,058 

Binding 223,378 

Publications .. .. 157,000 10,000 

Maintenance of buildings 20,274 

Taxes and fees .. .. 12,300 

264,931 1,753,412 



Aarsberetninger. [Annual Reports.] 1870-1943. 

Beretning om Rigsbibliotekarembedet, Det kongelige Bibliotek og 

Universitetsbiblioteket. 1943/44 [etc.]. 

The Royal Library, Copenhagen. A brief introduction. 1951. 31 pp. 
Dahl, Svend. Bibliotekshandbok; oversatt, bearbetad och med bidrag av 

svenska fackman utgiven av Samuel E. Bring. Bd. 2. Bibliotekshistoria; 

bibliografi. 193 1 . 
Fabritius, A. Det kongelige Biblioteks Embedsmaend og Funktionaerer, 

1653-1943- 1943- 216 pp. 
Hansen, Valdemar. Les Bibliotheques du Danernark, 1931. (In: Revue des 

bibliotheques. vol. 41. pp. 5-12.) 
J0rgensen, Ellen. Les Bibliotheques danoises au moyen age. 1915. (In: 

Nordisk Tidskrift for Bok- och Biblioteksvasen. vol. 2. pp. 332-50.) 
Madsen, Victor. Sur 1'etat des bibliotheques du Danernark. 1926., (In: 

Congres international des bibliothecaires ... a Prague, vol. 2. pp. 338-46.) 
Walde, O. Studier i aldre Dansk bibliotekshistoria. 1932. (In: Nordisk 

Tidskrift for Bok- och Biblioteksvasen. vol. 19. pp. 1-66.) 
WerlaufF, E. C. Historiske Efterretninger om det store kongelige Bibliothek i 

K0benhavn. Anden for0gede og fortsatte. Udgave med tvende stylo- 

grapherede Tegninger. 1844. 

Petersen, Carl S. Det kongelige Bibliotekets HaandskriftsamHng. 1943. 56pp. 
Dahl, Svend. Det kongelige Biblioteks orientalske Haandskriftsamling. 1945. 

(In: 0st og Vest. Afhandlinger tilegnede Arthur Christensen. pp. 21-43.) 
Fund og Forskning: Det kongelige Biblioteks samlinger. [Discoveries and 

research in the collections of the Royal Library.] 1954- . 




During the long union "with Denmark, Norway was without a royal 
court and consequently without any royal collection of books which 
might have formed the nucleus of a national library. It was natural, 
therefore, for the functions of such an institution to devolve upon the 
library of the Royal Frederik University in Oslo at its foundation. 
This, by far the greatest learned library in the State, forms a repository 
for Norwegian literature as well as a central lending and research 
library for the whole country and its national character is recognised 
by its additional title "Norges Riksbibliotek." 

The Library was founded together with the University in 1811 by 
a Royal Decree of King Frederik VI of Norway and Denmark, but 
was not yet organised when the two countries were separated in 1814. 
It is administered by a director ("Overbibliotekar"), who is responsible 
to the Senate of the University. The latter is under the direction of the 
Royal Ministry for Church and Education. Its budget is voted by 
Parliament, the Library having its own heading in the estimates. 

The first Chief Librarian, a pupil of the famous Chr. Heyne of 
Gottingen University Library, was Professor Georg Sverdrup 
(1813-45), renowned in Norwegian history for his participation in the 
Constituent Assembly of 1814. He was followed by F. W. Keyser 
(1845-63), the literary editor P. Botten Hansen (1863-69), and the 
learned historian L. Daae (1869-76), later professor at the University. 
But the great . reformer was A. C. Drolsum (1876-1922), who 
transformed the exclusive, old-fashioned, learned university institution 
into a great, modern, active library. He reintroduced the deposit law, 
enlarged the staff, and planned new catalogues and the present building. 
He was followed by Wilhelm Munthe (1922-53), who continued the 
expansion and was responsible for two extensions to the building. 
Munthe was succeeded in 1953 as Director by Harald L. Tveteraas. 



Heads of the National Department have been the famous bibliographers 
J. B. Halvorsen (1884-98), editor of Norsk Forfatterlexikon, 1814-80, 
Hj, Pettersen (1898-1926), compiler of Bibliotheca Norvegica, and 
W. P. Sommerfeldt (1926-51), editor of several bibliographical works. 
The linguist A. Kjaer, editor of sagas and of a voluminous work on 
Norwegian place names, was Vice^Director in 1882-1922. 

The nucleus of the collections was a stock of 29,000 duplicates from 
the Royal Library in Copenhagen together with the smaller collections 
of two Norwegian officials, the Chief Justice}. E. Colbj0rnsen and the 
Kancelliraad H. Andersen, and some others. On moving into its first 
building in 1817, the Library possessed in all 63,000 volumes. It had 
then the universal polyhistoric character of the eighteenth century, 
with emphasis on the humanities. A number of special libraries having 
afterwards come into existence, the University Library has developed 
into the great centre for university learning, and for other branches of 
knowledge not represented in other libraries, at the same time being 
the repository for Norwegian literature in the widest sense of the 

After the separation from Denmark in 1814, Norwegian law 
provided for the legal deposit of three copies of all publications, one 
each to the King, the Ministry of Justice, and the University Library. 
In 1839, however, the liberal trade legislation abolished the copy tax, 
and for forty-four years Norway was without legal deposit. At last, 
in 1883, the Director, A. C. Drolsum, succeeded in obtaining a 
reintroduction of the deposit of one copy of every published piece 
emanating from Norwegian presses and publishing houses. The 
present law, which dates from 1939, requires that works shall be 
delivered to the Library twice a year. 

Since the revival of legal deposit, which is controlled by the 
Norwegian Department of the Library, the Department has appUed 
itself with success to the collecting of older Norwegian books and 
pamphlets, and now the collection of the national literature is practically 
complete; only in the newspaper files are there still some gaps. 
In recent years the growth of the collections and the development 
of the services of the Library have become much accelerated, and 
special collections of music, rare books, papyri and Orientalia have 
been formed. A survey of the more important gifts and bequests 
will be found in DahTs Haandbog i BiUiotekskundskab, vol. 2, p. 171 
seq. But the constant accumulations to the collections are mostly 
due to the regular purchases from the annual governmental grant. 
About 1,500 foreign learned institutions exchange publications with 



The Library acquired the first building of its own in 1817, a fine old 
patrician house, where it remained until 1851, when it moved to the 
new university campus and occupied the western building, an edifice 
designed in the classical style. The interior originally contained five 
principal halls with three ranges of wall galleries holding in all some 
250,000 volumes, but the rapid growth of the collections made it 
necessary to adapt the halls for use as stacks, while a large reading 
room was constructed in an inner courtyard. At last, however, the 
overcrowding was irremediable, and, as the University needed the 
building for other institutions, it was resolved to build a new library in 
the Observatory Park, about a mile to the west. 

This building, opened in 1914, is the result of the thorough 
co-operation between the late Director, A. C. Drolsum, and the 
architect, Mr, Holger Sinding-Larsen, and represents an original 
solution of the structural problem, which in some features inspired 
the Swiss National Library built at Berne in 1931. The site is on a 
corner, sloping to the rear into the Observatory Park, thus securing 
good possibilities of expansion. The building forms a horseshoe, of 
which the right wing is the original book stack, consisting of eight 
low tiers constructed on the Lipman stack system. The main building, 
facing the main western avenue of the city, stands on a small ridge, 
and the sloping of the ground has made it possible to build tiers of 
stacks below the main entrance level and to put public halls under 
skylights half-way between basement and roof. 

An expansion was begun in 1932. The stack wing was made 
broader by adding a series of new offices in six storeys on the south 
side, and in 1938 die construction of a parallel wing was commenced. 
Its completion was delayed by the Second World War and it was 
finally taken into use while still lacking some fittings and equipment; 
it forms a stack of seven floors, with shelving for 600,000 books, and, 
on the underground floors, for 21,000 bound volumes of newspapers. 
The main reading room occupies the whole of the top (fourth) floor of 
the wing, with the study stack, having some 70,000 volumes on its 
shelves, carrels, and larger studies immediately below it. The original 
reading room has been converted into a public catalogue hall. 
Adjoining the ground-floor vestibule is a lecture room, and the 
bindery and independent institutes mentioned below are accommodated 
on this floor. The upper vestibule, on the principal or reading room 
floor, opens into a gallery for temporary exhibitions ; while on the same 
level are the exhibition hall, and entrances to the music collection, rare 


book room, library seminar, and administrative offices. In the centre 
of the building is the delivery desk, connected with the stacks by four 
lifts and a book conveyor. A medical stack, with desks for privileged 
workers, is situated below the study stack, while above the level of the 
main reading room are the periodical room, where the latest issues of 
some 1,500 periodicals are displayed, the acquisition department, and 
photostat and printing rooms. There are various special reading 
rooms (see below), and a Bj0rnson memorial room, as well as 
workshops, offices, and cafeterias for staff and readers, with a roof 
terrace. There is space for further extension in the rear of the building. 
On December 19, 1943,, a German munition ship in the harbour 
about half a mile away from the Library blew up in a series of 
explosions. In the Library very many windows were broken, shells 
exploded in the rooms, and windows, doors, and partitions were 
thrown across the floors. The Library was closed at the time, and 
there was no loss of life; fortunately the building did not catch fire. 


The Library has published printed catalogues of its accessions 
annually since 1858. From the revival of legal deposit in 1883 they were 
converted into an Arbok (Yearbook) containing (i) Arsberetning (annual 
report, also issued separately), (2) Norsk Bokfortegnelse (Norwegian 
bibliography), and (3) foreign acquisitions. From 1921, the Norsk 
Bokfortegnelse was issued independently in co-operation with the 
Norwegian Booksellers' Association as a quinquennial bibliography, 
and sent as an. exchange to foreign national libraries. As the result of a 
further reorganisation in 1952, the Library became entirely responsible 
for the Norsk Bokfortegnelse, together with a weekly list, Norsk Bok- 
handlertidende. Since 1932 the printed cards of foreign acquisitions 
have been seat monthly to various special libraries, and complete sets 
are deposited in research libraries in Bergen and Trondheim. With 
the great growth of the collections in recent years, new alphabetical 
author and subject catalogues have been introduced. 

Among printed catalogues a few of special interest may be mentioned 

Norske aviser> 1763-1920. (Norwegian newspapers.) 1924. 

Katalog over UniversitetsblbUotekets paleotypsamlmg. (271 incunabula. By L. 

Amundsen.) 1926. 
Skrevne og trykte nyhetsbkd. (Old Norwegian MS. and printed broadsides.) 

Norske tidsskrifter. Bibliografi inntil 1920. (Norwegian periodicals.) 1940. 


Norske og danske dikteres originalmanuskripter. Katalog. (MSS. of Norwegian 

and Danish authors.) 1941-43. 
Current Norwegian periodical and serial publications. A selected bibliography. 

(Ibsen, Henrik.) Minneutstilling. 23. mat 1956- Katalog. 1956. 


The Library is composed of the following departments and 

1. Norske avdeling (the Norwegian Department) contains boob 
received by legal deposit, and other books, both Norwegian and 
foreign, referring to Norway and Norsemen. It was established in 
1883, when the privilege of legal deposit was revived, and is kept as a 
separate collection and, with the exception of some serious gaps in the 
newspaper files, is now almost complete as far as Norwegian literature 
is concerned. This section is responsible for preparing the Norwegian 
national bibliography, Norsk Bokfortegnelse. 

2. Utenlandske avdeling (the Foreign Department), with its collections 
arranged systematically in main classes A-U. 

3. Haandskriftavdelingen (the Manuscript Department) contains 
6,000 MSS., most of them modern, including great collections of 
papers from Ibsen, and other Norwegian authors, scholars, and leaders. 
There is also a collection of letters incorporating three hundred private 
archives, some two hundred Oriental MSS. and about 2,000 papyri. 
The Department has its own study room with fourteen seats. 

4. 0stasiati$k samling (the Far East collection, with Tibetan and 
Mongolian), containing some 550 Chinese and 70 Japanese MSS. and 
block prints, complete sets of the Narthang Kangyur and the Derge 
Tangyur, the S0rensen collection of Tibetan texts (204 items), with 
about 170 other Tibetan MSS. and block prints, some 150 Mongolian 
and Manchu works, and palm-leaf MSS. in Indian and Indonesian 

5. Kartsamlingen (the Map Collection), containing about 40,000 maps 
and atlases. 

6. Billedsamlingen (the Collection of Prints and Drawings), mostly 
topographical drawings and portraits and portfolios. 

7. Norsk Musiksamling (the Norwegian Music Collection), founded 
by private gifts in 1927, contains about 85,000 musical works and 
5,000 MSS. It has a reading room with fifteen seats. 

8. Bj0rnson-samUng (the Bj0rnson Collection), founded by private 
gifts in 1933, occupies a special room, where about 4,506 volumes are 
shelved, representing editions and translations of the works of 


Bj0rnstjeme Bj0rnson, and books on him and his work. His MSS. 
and 22,000 letters and articles in MS. or facsimile are preserved in 

9. Teaterrommet (the Theatre Room) is a small room in the gallery 
of the main reading room. It is hoped to dedicate a room similar to that 
holding the Bj0rnson collection to the work of Ibsen. 

10. Krigstrykksamlingen (the War Collection). This forms a per- 
manent memorial to the activities of the Norwegian resistance move- 
ment during the Second World War. It contains clandestine newspapers, 
pamphlets, posters, and books on the War. 

In addition to these, the following independent institutes and 
archives are housed in the Library: 

Norsk Folkeminnesamling. (Norwegian Folklore Collection,) 

Norsk Folkelivsgransking. (Norwegian Ethnological Survey.) 

Norsk Stadnamnarkiv. (Archives of Norwegian Place-Names.) 

Norsk Malf0rearkiv. (Archives of Norwegian Dialects.) 

Norr0n Ordbok. (Old Norse Dictionary.) 

Norsk Ordbok. (Modern Norwegian Dictionary.) 

Littercer Ordbok. (Norwegian Literary Dictionary.) 

These Institutes occupy a series of rooms on the ground floor. 

The administration is composed of the Secretariat, the Accession 
Bureaux for books and periodicals, the Exchange Office, the Bindery, 
the Printing Shop, and the Photographic Studio. Service to the 
public is provided by three divisions, Delivery, Reading Rooms, and 
Public Information Service (in the Catalogue Hall). The Delivery 
Division issues books for use in the reading rooms and for home use, 
and is also responsible for loans to other institutions. The main reading 
room has 188 seats and a reference collection of 8,000 volumes, while 
connected with it are the periodicals reading room (forty seats), the 
study stack, with 70,000 volumes on open shelves, thirty-one carrels 
and ten closed studies, and film proj ection rooms. A special study room 
with twenty-four places is provided in the Library Seminar, having 
about 5,000 volumes on bibliography and libraries available to staff 
and public. There is accommodation in the whole building for 330 
readers. Admittance is free, but portfolios must be left in the cloak- 
room. During the year 1954-55, 65,080 readers used the Library and 
78,214 books were issued. 

Acquisitions during the financial year 1954-55 were as follows: 
deposit copies (books) 2,887, (periodicals and year-books) 6,200, 
purchases 5,468, gifts 5,932, exchanges 5,649 volumes. The whole 
library stock amounted on July i, 1955, to about 1,300,000 printed 


units, occupying 42,000 metres (twenty-six miles) of shelving. This 
figure includes about 33,500 bound volumes of newspapers and 389 
incunabula. There are, in addition, large collections of Press cuttings 
on biographical subjects and of pamphlets and tracts. 


The Library lends for research purposes to institutions and individuals 
throughout the country books not available in any nearer local library, 
and on condition of reciprocity directly to every foreign library. It 
serves as a national information centre for bibliographical questions, 
having a central union catalogue of books and periodicals in all important 
libraries in Norway. It is also responsible for the preparation of the 
national bibliography. 

The photographic studio is equipped with photostat and microfilm 
apparatus, and supplies prints at cost price. 


The staff is as follows: 

1 Director ("Overbibliotekar"). 

4 Heads of Departments ("F0rstebibliotekarer"). 

24. Librarians ("UniversitetsbibEothekarer"). 

20 Library assistants. 

8 Clerical assistants. 

12 Student assistants. (Mainly apprentices doing part-time work.) 

2 Photographers. 

8 Janitors and attendants. 

2 Printers. 

3 Bookbinders. 

6 Cloakroom attendants, etc. 
Total staff, 90 persons. 

The academic staff is recruited from graduates of the various 
faculties of the University, who commence as part-time apprentices, 
while they continue their studies for academic degrees. After a short 
introduction to the organisation of the Library, they serve for three 
and a half hours daily during periods of six months in each of the 
following sections: book fetching, cataloguing, legal deposit, lending 
and reading room reference. When they have taken their university 
degrees and qualified in a few subjects at the State Library School, they 
can apply for positions as librarians as vacancies arise. The library 
assistants, who need no academic degree, serve as full-time apprentices 
for two years and then take a one-year course in librarianship at the 
State School. 


The Director is appointed by the King at the recommendation of 
the Academic Senate; the librarians and some ordinary employees are 
proposed by the Director and appointed by the Senate, but if the 
candidate is not recommended by the Director, the right of appointment 
goes to the Minister. 


The Director is responsible for the finances and administration of 
the Library, while the maintenance of the building is under the control 
of the State Architect. 

The main source of revenue is an annual grant by the Storting made, 
in recognition of the role of the Library as a national institution, direct 
to it, rather than by way of the University. 

The principal items of expenditure during the year 1954-55 were: 
salaries, Kr. 849,300; purchase of books and binding, Kr. 340,000. 


The University Library, Oslo. A brief survey of its history, collections, and 

building. Oslo, 1947. 
Drolsum, A. C. Universitetsbibliotekets festskrift til 100 aars jubilaet. 1911. 

2 vol. 

Norwegian Bibliography. A brief survey. Oslo, 1947. 
Contributions may also be found in issues ofBoken om b0ker, I-III, Oslo, 1926-32, 

and in two memorial volumes: Norvegica: Minneskrift til 50 arsdagen for 

oppretelsen av Universitetsbibliotekets Norske avdeling, Oslo, 1933; and Til 

Overbibliotekar Wilhelm Munthe pa 50 Arsdagen 20. oktober, 1933. 
For further information see Sv. Dahl, Haandbog i Bibliotekskundskab, II, pp, 

166-74, Copenhagen, 1927, and Haandbok over norske biblioteker, pp. 24-3 3 , 

Oslo, 1924. 




The collection of books brought together by Gustavus Vasa (1523-60) 
in the old Fransciscan monastery on the Riddarholmen in Stockholm 
may be regarded as the beginning of the Royal Library. It consisted 
of books sequestrated from the monasteries at the time of their 
dissolution, which in Sweden, as in England, was accompanied by 
much wanton destruction, so that comparatively few of their 
manuscript treasures reached the natural successors of the monasteries, 
the public libraries. The Royal Library has retained very few of 
those collected by Gustavus Vasa, the first Protestant King, as the 
greater part of the royal collection, enlarged by succeeding kings, 
was given by Gustavus Adolphus to the University of Uppsala. A 
small remnant, however, from the famous monastic library at Vadstena 
Is now to be found in the Royal Library. 

The Library received some of the war spoils of Gustavus Adolphus, 
though the institution which benefited most from these was the 
University Library of Uppsala. Under Queen Christina the Library 
was enriched with valuable books and MSS., some purchased (e.g., the 
French collections of the brothers Petau and President Claude Fauchet), 
some war booty from Austria and Germany; but this particularly 
prosperous epoch in the history of the Library was of short duration, 
since the Queen on her abdication in 1654 took with her, when she left 
the country, the greatest and most valuable part of the collection, which 
on her death was acquired by the Vatican Library and still goes by the 
name of Bibliotheca Reginse. Further, what was left of the Royal 
Library was in part seized by her creditors, especially the Queen's 
learned librarian Isak Vossius ; consequently a great part of the Austrian 
war booty is now preserved -with his books at Leyden. 

Under Charles X (1654-60) the spoils of war again provided the 
chief accessions of the Royal Library, in this period chiefly from 
Denmark and Poland, but these again were not to be a permanent 
possession, since in 1697, the Royal Palace, where the Library was 


Plate VII. Vienna. Die Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek : Prunksaal 

Plate VIIL Berne, La Bibliotheque Nationale Suisse 


housed, was burnt down, and of some 25,000 volumes of printed 
books and nearly 1,400 MSS., only 6,826 books and 283 MSS. were 
saved. After this the Library was moved from place to place and only 
found a permanent home in 1768 in the Royal Palace. 

In 1661 the law of legal deposit (one of the earliest in Europe) was 
passed, by which one copy of every Swedish publication was to be 
deposited in the Royal Library. For the first half of the eighteenth 
century, apart from the copyright privilege, accessions were small, but 
in the latter half of the century, many extensive and valuable collections 
were acquired, notably the library of the Antikvitetskollegium, the 
receipt of which gave the Library the largest collection in existence of 
MSS. in Swedish from the Middle Ages, and the great collection of 
old Icelandic MSS., second only to the Arnamagnaeana in the University 
Library in Copenhagen; the personal library of Gustavus III (1771-92) 
of 15,000 volumes, and noteworthy as including the precious collection 
of Count C. G. Tessin; and the private library of Gustavus IV, of 
7,500 volumes. By 1800 the Library numbered 30,000 volumes, 'and 
was already outgrowing its new home. In the nineteenth century the 
chief accessions of importance were the royal libraries of Drottning- 
holm (1867) of 3,000 volumes, among which was the outstanding 
collection of French Uvres a figures brought together by Queen Louisa 
Ulrika, mother of Gustavus III, and that at Gripsholm of 1,600 volumes, 
including the collection of Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Swedish and 
German prayer books bound in velvet; there was also the private 
library of Charles XV (1873), which included that of Charles XIII of 
30,000 volumes, at Rosersberg, especially rich in French illustrated 
books from the eighteenth century; the Engestrom cdllection of 
15,000 volumes in 1864, rich in English literature of the eighteenth 
century, and broadsides, collected by its founders, the Secretary of 
State, M. Benzelstierna, and his nephew Count L. von Engestrom, 
Swedish ambassador to several capitals; the collection of French 
eighteenth-century plays, bequeathed in 1861 by King Oscar I and 
later enriched from the C. G. Tessin collection; three special collections 
of old Swedish literature: in 1856, 10,000 volumes from G. E. 
Klemming, later Director of the Library, and in the same year as a 
deposit from the Royal Academy of Science, 2,000 volumes 
bequeathed to the Academy in 1780 by C. A. Rosenadler; in 1878, 
1,630 choice volumes collected by G. Ralamb (1675-1750); the 
collection of Japonica (1,046 items) formed by A. E. Nordenskiold in 
1878-80; and the purchase in 1868 of the library of the celebrated 
Horn family. 

During the present century, important accessions have been the 

16 NLW 


gift of 351 incunabula, collected by Baron Per Hierta and presented by 
Otto Smith of Karlshamn (1911, 1916), and M. Sonden's collection of 
30,000 Swedish portraits and prints. Together with these have been 
received certain special collections which are described below with the 
other foreign collections. 

The Library owes much to the generosity and interest of the kings, 
who were themselves mostly private collectors of discernment, even 
or more particularly the warlike ones. They have indeed rather 
overshadowed the librarians of the first two centuries. In 1634 Lars 
Fornelius was appointed as Royal Librarian, and he had under his care 
part of the Wurzburg library (war booty of 163 1) and later part of the 
library from Olmiitz (1642), Nikolsburg and Prague (1649), collections 
which were later taken out of the country by Queen Christina. 
During the whole of the seventeenth century there appears to have 
been a single post of librarian, with no assistants; from 1715 onwards 
there were three Library officials, Librarian, Vice-Librarian, and 
Amanuensis. In 1751 the Librarian Magnus O. Celsius wrote the 
history of the Library in Latin entitled Bmioihecce regies Stockholmensis 
historia brevis et succincta, which is still the best authority for its early 

In modern times outstanding librarians were: G. E. Klemming 
.(1865-90), who was responsible for the development of the collection 
of early Swedish printed books, while the removal of the Library to 
its new building and its reorganisation were the work of his assistant 
Elof Tegner; and E. "W. Dahlgren (1902-16), who modernised 
cataloguing procedure and administration. Dr. Isak Collijn, Librarian 
from 1916 to 1940, was well known for his writings on the history and 
economy of libraries, and as a palaeographer and bibliographer; he was 
the first President of the International Federation of Library 
Associations and of the World Congress of Librarians of 1929. 
Dr. O. Wieselgren succeeded him in 1940 being followed in office, 
since 1952, by Dr. Uno Willers. 

Among the special treasures of the Library may be mentioned: 

(i) Codex aureus, a Gospel book written at Canterbury near the end of the 
eighth century, in a version more ancient than that of the Vulgate; 
written in silver on red and white vellum; 

2) Gigas librorum, a colossal Bohemian MS. of the twelfth century; 

'3) A copy in French of the Voyages of Marco Polo dating from die 
fourteenth century; 

(4) The first and second will of Francois Villon (a copy of the fifteenth 

(5) An almost complete collection of books from the Elzevir Press; 


(6) The largest collection of MSS. in ancient Swedish in existence, and 
early Scandinavian printing; the series of original works relating to 
Sweden's patron saint, St. Bridget (Birgitta) is notably rich. 

(7) Collection of ancient Chinese MSS. dating from 2-300 A.D. acquired by 
Dr. Sven Hedin. 

(8) An important collection of Japanese works acquired by the Swedish 
explorer, A. E. Nordenskiold, 

(9) Fine bindings, especially French specimens of the eighteenth century. 

Today the stock numbers approximately: 

Printed volumes 800,000 . 

Pamphlets and small printed works 1,500,000 

MSS 13,000 

Portraits 125,000 

Prints 35,ooo 

Maps 35,ooo 

Atlases 2,400 

At the end of 1955 there were 27,571 metres of shelving in the 
Library, with an additional 4,050 metres for newspapers. 

The Library is under the direction of the Ministry of Education. By 
the copyright law it is supplied with all Swedish publications, but in 
foreign literature it now limits itself to the humanities, social sciences, 
law, and theology, leaving the natural sciences to special libraries. It 
acts as the central library for the University of Stockholm. 


The Library was housed in the old Royal Palace till the disastrous 
fire of 1697; after that what was left of the Library was moved several 
times until it found a permanent home in the new Royal Palace, where 
it remained till 1878. It was then established in the present building, 
specially erected to house it, and admirably situated, well removed 
from other buildings in a public park, HumlegSrden. The architect 
G. Dahl was responsible for the plan. 

The ground floor is occupied by the main entrance and vestibule, 
with the Lending Department adjoining, the main reading room, 
having sixty-nine seats and a reference collection of 12,000 books and 
1,038 current periodicals, an exhibition room, and the Department of 
Manuscripts, with certain rooms for staff use. Further staff rooms 
are on the first floor, and the remainder of the four upper floors 
are occupied by book stacks. The basement is used for the storage 
of newspapers, and also provides space for the bindery and the 
photographic services. 


In 1926-27 the building was enlarged by the addition of two wings, 
providing a second reading room with fifty-one seats for research 
readers and new quarters for the Department of Maps and Prints. 
Plans for further extension were finally approved in March 1956. The 
first stage, comprising the installation of new lifts and stacks on the top 
floor, was completed in April 1957, and subsequently the reading 
rooms were to be rebuilt and enlarged, and further office space and 
a new bindery provided. Immediate relief from congestion has 
been secured by the introduction of compact shelving and the use 
of a very large air-raid shelter to house Swedish provincial newspapers. 
Plans for a deposit library for little-used material to serve the needs of 
libraries in Stockholm and Uppsala are under consideration. 


The main catalogue of the Library is a loose-leaf manuscript catalogue, 
author and subject, but a card catalogue, on cards of international size, 
which is rapidly nearing completion, will replace the old system. There 
are also author and classified catalogues of music and of maps. 

Among the printed catalogues of the Department of Printed Books 
may be mentioned: 

(1) Swedish section: 

Wargentin, P. V. Forteckning pi en saml. af tryckta svenska bocker. [The 

Rosenadler collection.] 1780. 
Klemming, G. E. Kongl. bibKotekets saml. af samtida berattelser om 

Sveriges krig. 1888-91. SuppL, 1892, 1902. 
Samtida skrifter rorande Sveriges forhallanden till frammande magter. 

1881-83. SuppL, 1892, 1901. 

(2) Foreign section: 

Li^eblad, G. Peringer. Ecloga sive catalogus librorum ms.~orum turn 
impressorum, Hispanici praesertim idiomatis, quibus regiam bibliothecam 
Stockholmensem adauxit vir illustris. Joh. Gabriel Sparfwenfeldt. 1706. 

Berghman, G. Catalogue raisonn6 des impressions elzeviriennes. 1911. 

ColKjn, I. Katalog der Inkunabeln. 1914-16. Supplement. 1940. 

There are numerous printed catalogues of special collections of 
MSS., besides the loose-leaf catalogue which Hsts them all under 
subjects. Amongst them may be mentioned: 

Forteckning ofver HandskriftssamL uti . . . L. v. Engestrom's bibl. 1824. 
Stephens, G. Forteckning ofver de fornamsta brittiska och fransyska 

handskrifterna uti kongl, bibl. i Stockholm. 1847. 
Godel, V. Kat. ofver Kongl. bibKotekets fornislandska och fornnorska 

handskrifter. 1897-1900. 


The Library is organised into the following departments: , 

(1) The Swedish Department, responsible for the receipt of publications by 
legal deposit. 

(2) The Acquisition Department, which handles all material acquired by 
purchase, exchange, or gift. 

3) The Cataloguing Department. 

4) The Manuscripts Department. 

5) The Department of Maps and Prints. 

6) The Reference Department, also responsible for lending. 

7) The Swedish Bibliographical Institute. 

Special collections of Swedish printed works include: 

(a) Books printed before 1700 (the most complete collection in Sweden) 
with the Ralamb, Rosenadler, and Rosenhane collections. 

(b) The Swedish Saint-Bridget collection, enriched in 1950 by the Isak 
Collijn collection. 

c ) The Isak Collijn collection of Olaus Magnus literature. 

d) The Swedenborg collection. 

e) Choice bindings (c. 4,000 volumes from the earlier royal libraries). 
(/) Music (c. 50,000 items). 

The foreign printed books include old works on many subjects, 
especially sixteenth-century medicine, emblem books, and feast books, 
and eighteenth-century French literature and plays ; modern accessions 
are made only in the humanities, social sciences, law, and theology. 

Special collections: 

(a) Incunabula (c. 1,450; printed catalogue by Collijn, 1914-16. Supplement. 

(b) The Berghman Elzevir collection (c. 2,400; printed catalogue, 1911.) 

(c) The Nordenskiold collection of Japanese books (catalogue by Rosny, 
1883) with special additions by C. Benedicks-Bruce (1935) and the 
Martin collection of Chinese and Japanese books (catalogue, 1947). 

(d) The Vult von Steijern collection of Goethe and "Wagner literature 
(3*805 volumes and 774 pamphlets) received in 1929. 

(e) The Thesleff collection of gipsy literature (632 volumes) received in 1914. 
(/) The Sohm collection of type specimens, with c. 200 from the famous 

Breitkopf collection (printed catalogue 1812, 1815). 
(g) A comprehensive collection of early newspapers and pamphlets from the 

Thirty Years War (the newspapers described by F. Dahl in Lychnos, 193 8, 

pp. 53-94). 
(h) The Hamilton collection of English plays (catalogue by Collijn in 

Nordisk tidskriftfor bok- cch biblioteksvasen, 1927, pp. 147-67). 


In the MSS. collections, Swedish medieval MSS. and Swedish 
letters (catalogue by E. Tegner, 1880), history and literature are most 
strongly represented. The British and French MSS. were catalogued 
by G. Stephens, '1847; the Latin and French by M. A. Geoffrey in 
Notices et extratis, 1885; Old Icelandic by V. Godel, 1897-1900; 
Low German by C. Borchling in Nachrichten v. d. K. Gesellschaft d. 
Wiss. zu Gottingen, Phil-Hist. Kl, 1900, Beiheft ; Spanish by P. Hogberg 
in Revue hispanique, t. 36, 1916; Italian by P. Hogberg in Rivista delle 
biblioteche, vol. 25, 1914, and by O. Wieselgren in Nordisk tidskriftfor 
bok- och biblioteksvasen, 1929, Oriental by W. Riedel, 1923. 

Special collections: 

(a) The Engestrom collection. 

(b) The Ralamb collection. 

(c) Tie Viktor Rydberg collection. 

(d) Tie Strindberg collection. 

(e) Tie Selma Lagerlof collection. 

The Department of Maps and Prints has the finest existing collection 
of old Swedish prints. 

Special collections: 

(a) Tie Delagardie collection of old views. Catalogue by Collijn, 1915. 

(6) The Delagardie collection of ornament-engravings. Catalogue by 
Collijn, 1933. 

There is a reading room with a reference collection, as mentioned 
above, a room for research students, and a lending department. 

The Library has its own bindery, but its work is restricted mainly to 
the repair and labelling of books. 

Figures for the use of the Library in 1955 were: 

Readers: 62,880, Works issued: 80,051 (including 2,927 MSS.). 

The accessions during 1955 numbered 35,344 printed works, MSS., 
maps, prints, etc. Current Swedish periodicals numbered 2,967 titles 
and foreign 2,629. 


The Royal Library co-operates with other Swedish libraries in 
inter-lending, and also handles loans of books from abroad for all 
Swedish libraries. The figures for inter-library loans for 1955 were: 

Lent Borrowed 

Swedish loans .. 5,040 vols. 273 MSS. 1,536 vols. 273 MSS. 
Foreign loans .. 646 22 613 n 

Total.. ..5,686 295 2,149 284 


The Royal Library is the centre of Swedish bibliographical work. 
Since 1886 the Library has published the Accessions Catalogue (Sveriges 
offentliga bibliotek. Accessionskatalog)> an annual union catalogue of the 
foreign accessions in Swedish research libraries. The Bibliographical 
Institute (Bibliografiska Institute?), established in 1953 as a department of 
the Royal Library, is now responsible for the compilation and publica- 
tion of the accessions catalogue as well as the Swedish National 
Bibliography (Svensk bokforteckning). From 1958 the Institute will 
distribute catalogue cards for all Swedish publications to other libraries. 

An elementary course in librarianship is conducted annually for the 
training of assistants in special libraries. 

In addition to the Bibliographies mentioned above, the Library 
publishes an annual report (Arsberattelse) and a series of exhibition 
catalogues (Kungl. Bibliotekets utstallningskataloger). 

There is a special Exhibition Room in the Library where exhibitions 
of current interest are displayed. 

The Library possesses photostat and microfilm equipment, and 
supplies photographic copies of its materials. Microfilms have been 
made of the Codex Aureus and other MSS. 


In January 1957 the staff was composed as follows: 

i Royal Librarian, 
5 First Librarians. 

16 Assistant Librarians. 

1 Accountant. 

2 Library Assistants, first grade. 
7 Library Assistants. 

14 Clerks. 

2 Reading Room Supervisors. 

i Photographer. 

i Foreman. 

i Caretaker-Mechanic. 

1 Bookbinder. 

17 Messengers. 

2 Cloakroom Attendants. 

To be accepted for the administrative grade of Assistant Librarian, 
it is necessary to have passed the "filosofie licentiatexamen" (about the 
equivalent of a doctor's degree, but no printed thesis). No special 
library training is needed. 



The provision for purchases in the seventeenth century was 
negligible, the Library depending almost entirely on gifts and the 
spoils of war. A small yearly grant was begun at the beginning of the 
eighteenth century, and already in the seventeenth century the 
Librarian was a paid employee of the State rather than of the King. 
In 1776 the yearly grant was 125 riksdaler, in 1790, 500, in 1805, 
1,000, and the nineteenth century saw a steady rise; in 1910 it stood at 

Now, the income of the Library, apart from small sums for the 
maintenance of special collections derived from investments, is 
obtained from annual Government grants, with supplementary grants 
when necessary. In the financial year 1956-57 the total income of the 
Library amounted to 2,120,400 kroner. Expenditure was as follows: 


Salaries 1,300,000 

Maintenance, supplies, etc 310,400 

Purchase of books 385,000 

Binding 125,000 


Carlander, C. M. Svenska bibliotek och ex libris. 2 ed. 1902, 03. 
Ottervik, G., Mohlenbrock, S., and Andersson, I. Libraries and archives in 

Sweden. 1954. 

Walde, O. Storhetstidens litterara krigsbyten, etc. 1916, 20. 2 vol. 
De svenska bibliotekens historia. 1931. J:Dahl, Svend. Bibliotekshand- 

bok. bd. 2. pp. 37-252. [French translation, 1950.] 
Bidrag till Kungliga Bibliotekets historia. 1926- . In: K. BibHotekets 

Handlingar. no. 46, etc. 


Celsius, Magnus O. Bibliothecae regiae stockholmensis historia brevis et 
succincta. 1751. 




Officially, Finland has no institution bearing the name of National 
Library, but in fact the Library of the University of Helsinki acts in 
this capacity. It is the largest library in the country as well as the 
central learned library of Finland, and it possesses a collection as 
complete as possible of the national literature of Finland. It is therefore 
recognised as the National Library, though wanting the appropriate 
name and the official position. 

The Library was founded in Turku (Abo) in 1640, at the same time 
that the Academy (later to become the University) was founded there. 
In 1827, after the great fire of Abo, in which the Library was largely 
destroyed, the University was removed to Helsinki, and the University 
Library was refounded there at the same time. 

The Library is administered by the Chief Librarian, who is responsible 
to the Senate (Consistorium) of the University. The University 
enjoys extensive autonomy, but the final authority is the Ministry of 
Education. The budget is voted by Parliament in connection with 
the budget of the University. 

Among the chief librarians, Henrik Gabriel Porthan (i77 2 -77) and 
his pupil, Fredrik Wilhelm Pipping (i 8 14-45) should first be mentioned. 
The former who, even after having resigned his librarianship for a 
University chair, was in fact the head of the Library until his death 
(1804), made it a real centre for research by encouraging donations, 
making purchases of literature, and rendering it in every way accessible 
to students. He is, moreover, especially noteworthy as being the first 
propagator in Finland of the idea of a National Library; and he tried 
to collect for the Abo Library as complete a collection of national 
literature as possible. The principal achievements of Pipping, too, are 
concerned particularly with the National Department of the Library. 
During his librarianship the Library had to be created anew after the 



catastrophe of 1827; and in a comparatively short time its collections 
exceeded in bulk those which had been destroyed. 

The collection which formed the basis for the reconstruction of the 
Library was that of the celebrated lawyer Mathias Calonius. It was 
rich in works on history and literature, and had been purchased after 
his death in 1817 by the government to form the nucleus of a public 
library in Helsinki. Gifts of books were received from the Imperial 
Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg and from Moscow University. 

Pipping devoted particular attention to the literature of, and relating 
to, Finland, and under him a separate National Department was first 
constituted. Among chief librarians of more recent times have been 
the philosopher Andreas Wilhelm Bolin (1873-1912) and Georg Carl 
August Schauman (1914-30), under whose direction the Library was 
developed into a modern research library. He was followed by Lauri 
Oskar Theodor Tudeer (1933-54). 

At its foundation the Abo Library possessed only twenty-one 
volumes, but during the first century of its activity, it acquired several 
considerable gifts, inter alia, in 1646, 900 volumes from the widow of 
General Torsten Stalhandske, brought as war spoils from abroad. But 
later its growth was very slow, as it had not, until 1693, any regular 
income, and the sum then granted was very modest. When the Library 
was destroyed by fire in 1827 it numbered about 40,000 volumes. 

After the removal to Helsinki, the growth of the Library was rapid. 
Numerous gifts reached it, the most considerable among them being: 
a gift from England, where John Bowring brought together a collection 
of books; a collection of about 24,000 volumes presented in 1833 by 
the aide-de-camp, Cavalry-Captain Paul AlexandrofF, who had 
inherited it from his father, the Grand Duke Constantin Pavlovitch; 
and a collection of University dissertations from different countries 
(about 30,000), formerly belonging to the Russian Ambassador in 
Stockholm, Count J. P. van Suchtelen, and given in 1836 by the 
Emperor Nicholas I. Among notable donations of a more recent date 
are to be mentioned the medical collection of Professor O. Engstrom 
(about 6,000 volumes), the judicial library of Baron S. A. KorfF, the 
library collected by Baron L. H. Nicolay of Monrepos near Viipuri 
(about 9,000 volumes, chiefly literature from the Age of "Enlighten- 
ment"), and the collection presented in 1948 by the widow of Maurice 
de Coppet, formerly French Minister in Finland. 

In 1902, the Library purchased the collection of the renowned 
explorer and geographer, Professor A. E. Nordenskiold (about 5,000 
volumes), containing a great many rare publications; a catalogue of 
this collection is being compiled and will be published. 


The Library was undamaged during the Second World War. 
Notable gifts of American publications have been received since 1945 
from the American Library Association, and gifts of funds for the 
purchase of new books since 1950 from the American Government. 

The regular growth of the Library is from bequests, gifts, exchange, 
and, as regards the National Department, from legal deposit. Deposit 
copies have been granted to the Library since 1707 of all printed 
material, excluding only letter forms and other stationery, and this 
privilege has been maintained throughout all the changes of the press 
laws. From 1820 the Library was also entitled to a deposit copy of 
every publication issued in Russia. This right was transferred to the 
Russian Library of the University when it was, in 1845, separated from 
the general University Library to form a separate institution: and when 
Finland became an independent country (1917), the right ceased. 

The whole stock amounts to about 750,000 volumes, to which are to 
be added about 200,000 foreign doctoral dissertations, mostly German, 
and a stock of miscellaneous printed works in the National Department 
estimated at about 300,000 items. There are also collections of manu- 
scripts, maps, and music. 


While at Turku, the Library was housed in very small unsatisfactory 
rooms, but in 1815 it was removed to spacious accommodation 
reserved for it in the new University building. After the fire, it 
was located in the eastern wing of the building of the then Imperial 
Senate in Helsinki. In 1836, the construction was begun of a special 
Library building according to the designs of C. L. Engel, the creator 
of the monumental architecture of the Centre of Helsinki. In 1845 
it was ready for use. The Library, considered to be one of the most 
beautiful buildings in Helsinki, comprises a series of halls in a style 
typical of the period, with the bookshelves ranged along the walls. 
There are three large halls, with bookshelves in three storeys of wall 
galleries, as well as a few smaller collections and workrooms. As time 
went on, this accommodation became too small, and in 1893 the 
northern hall was turned into a reading room, with fifty-two seats. It 
has proved possible to increase their number to sixty, and in an 
adjoining room twelve additional seats have been provided for 
readers. The growing collections necessitated expansion, and in 1906 a 
semicircular book stack of six storeys was erected, having 8,500 metres 
of shelving, and estimated to hold 250,000 volumes. Later on, it was 
found possible to add, between the radially placed bookshelves still 
shorter rays, and so procure an additional 2,000 metres of shelving. 


An underground book stack adjacent to the main library building 
was completed in 1954, and provides some 3,300 metres of shelving. 
A further 24,000 metres were made available in the following year, in 
the basement of a new building constructed for the University. In the 
main building of the Library, extensive repairs and alterations were 
carried out during 1954-56. The southern hall was adapted to form 
the main reading room, with the northern hall as a reading room for 
newspapers and other special material. The central hall accommodates 
the catalogues. The lending office and staff rooms were moved to the 
semicircular book stack, the majority of the books now being housed 
in the new underground stacks or in a new deposit library at Uraj 2rvi, 
ninety miles north-east of Helsinki. The first stage of the Urajarvi 
repository, containing 10,000 metres of "Cornpactus" mobile shelving, 
was completed in 1955, and the second, with 14,000 metres of shelving, 
is to be ready in 1957. It will be used by the University Library in 
conjunction with other Helsinki libraries. 


Each department of the Library has its own catalogues, author and 
classified, in card or volume form. Each has its own classification 
scheme: since 1950 the national department has used the Universal 
Decimal Classification. The classified catalogues are still incomplete. 

The Library published printed accessions catalogues of foreign 
literature from 1866. Later, the General Accession Catalogue of the 
Learned Libraries of Finland (Finlands Vetenskapliga Bibliotekens 
Accessions-Katalog) provided a substitute for them; its first volume 
comprised the year 1929, while subsequent volumes cover three-year, 
or, later, six-year periods. In addition, the Library has issued duplicated 
lists of foreign accessions since 1948. Printed catalogues of the 
National Department are provided by the Finnish national biblio- 
graphy, Suomalainen Kirjallisuus, for the years 1544 to 1938 and Suomen 
kirjallisuus for works published from 1939. These bibliographies, up 
to the volume for 1943, were published by the Suomalaisen Kirjalli- 
suuden Seura (Finnish Literary Society), but are now the responsibility 
of the University Library. Swedish works published in Finland are 
listed in Katalog over den svenska litteraturen i Finland (Catalogue of the 
Swedish Literature in Finland), published by the Svenska Littera- 
tursallskapet i Finland (Swedish Literature Association in Finland). 
A catalogue of the Calonius-Naumann collection of Swedish political 
pamphlets of the eighteenth century was published in 1936. 

In addition, the Library has published since 1918 a series called 


Helsingin Yliopiston Kirjastonjulkaisuja Helsingfors Universitetsbiblioteks 
Skrifter Publications of the University Library at Helsinki, of which 
twenty-five volumes have been issued, and which contains special 
catalogues and bibliographical researches and studies. 


The Library is made up of the following departments: 

1. National Department. Besides national publications delivered as 
deposit copies, the department brings together Finnish works issued 
abroad, works published by Finnish authors or in the Finnish language, 
translations of Finnish literature into foreign languages, and works 
concerning Finland and the Finns, the Finnish language, and the 
Swedish language in Finland. Many gaps in the collections of the 
Department, mostly of books of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, 
are being filled by photostat or microfilm reproductions of books in 
Swedish libraries. The classification of these collections, having about 
200 subdivisions, is based on that of the Royal Library at Stockholm. 
The other departments each have their own classification system. 

2. Foreign Department. Works printed abroad in non-Slavonic 

3. Slavonic Department. The Russian Library of the University, 
being one of the largest collections of Russian literature outside Russia, 
was reunited with the University Library and organised as a special 
department of it in 1925. The collections have been kept in a separate 
building, outside the University Library, but are now to be moved 
into the main building. 

4. Manuscript Department. It contains, inter alia, parts of the old 
archives of the University rescued from the fire, large collections of 
letters and a collection of mediaeval manuscripts, chiefly consisting of 
leaves of ecclesiastical works from the churches, which, during the Age 
of Reformation, were employed as covers of State documents. 

5. Music collection. 

6. Collection of maps, prints and drawings. 

Besides the staff of assistants needed for the administration of the 
Library, there is a special Deposit Copy Office, where the deposit 
copies have to be delivered twice yearly by the printers, and where 
they are checked and forwarded to those libraries which, in addition 
to the University Library, are entitled to receive copies. 

The public service is divided into (i) the lending office, which lends 
books for home use, and (2) the reading room, which together with an 
adjoining room has 72 seats. It may be added that the Russian 


Department has a lending office and a reading room of its own. The 
reading room has free admittance. For home lending some 
qualifications are required from readers outside the University. All 
literature belonging to the National Department is excluded from 
home lending. 

A bindery was established to repair damage caused to valuable books 
evacuated during the Second World War. It has a staff of two, and its 
work is limited to repairs; new books, periodicals, and newspapers are 
bound by private contractors at a rate of about 6*,ooo volumes annually. 

The figures for the use of the Library in 1955 were: 

Reading Room 

Visitors 27,934 

Issues 31,874 

Lending Department 

Registered Borrowers 2,488 

Issues (including loans to other libraries) . . . . 18,457 

Accessions during 1955 were: 

Books 12,600 volumes 

Periodicals 4,300 

Newspapers 120 


The Library lends, for research only, directly to individuals in the 
town of Helsinki, and occasionally, in certain circumstances, elsewhere; 
it lends directly to libraries, public institutions, etc., throughout the 
whole country. On conditions of reciprocity it lends to foreign 
libraries. It acts as a national information centre for bibliographical and 
allied questions. Photographic facilities are available through the 
University photographic laboratory, with the exception of micro- 
filming which is done by private commercial firms. 

In 1951 the Finnish Government introduced a special grant to the 
Library of approximately ^4,600 yearly for ten years, for the micro- 
filming of all Finnish newspapers from about 1770 to the present day, 
the originals of which are being destroyed by constant use and the 
poor quality of the paper used in the present century. 


The staff is as follows: 

I Chief Librarian. 

3 Librarians. (Heads of the National, Slavonic, and Foreign Departments.) 

7 Senior Under-Librarians. 


12 Junior Under-Librarians. 

ii Assistants. 

Apprentices, typists, binders, janitors, etc., in all about 60 persons. 

The qualifications required for being admitted as an ordinary 
member of the staff are a university degree (Magister Philosophise 
Master of Arts) and a period of apprenticeship in the University 
Library. For the Director and heads of Departments, a Doctor's 
degree and active research work are required. Undergraduates are 
admitted as apprentices, to the extent needed by the Library. 

The Director is appointed by the President of the Republic on the 
recommendation of the Chancellor of the University. The Librarians 
are appointed by the University Chancellor on the recommendation of 
the Humanistic Faculty, the Director having previously given his 
opinion. Other assistants are appointed by the University Consistorium 
(Senate) on the advice of the Director. 


The income of the Library is derived almost exclusively from a 
grant made by the Government. Expenditure during 1955 was as 

Purchase of books and periodicals 4,600 

Binding 3,100 

Printing catalogues, etc. Office expenses . . . . 770 

Salaries 23,100 


The upkeep of the building of the Library is in the care of the 
University architect, and the expenses for the maintenance of the 
buildings, for lighting, heating, etc., are included in the general budget 
of the University. 


The principal sources for the history of the Library are: 
Porthan, H. G. Historia Bibliothecas R.. Academic Aboensis. Aboae, 1771-95. 
Nohrstrom, H. Helsingfors Universitetsbiblioteks Fennica-Samling. 

Helsingfors, 1918. 
Jorgensen, A. Universitetsbiblioteket i Helsingfors, 1827-1848. Helsingfors, 

VallinkoskiJ. The History of the University Library at Turku. I. 1640-1722. 

Helsinki, 1948. 




Although the great increase in its size and influence dates from the 
Revolution, the Lenin Library originated almost a century earlier 
in the collections of Count N. P. Rumyantsev, one of the most 
enlightened men of his day, whose house in St. Petersburg became a 
meeting place for scholars. At his death in 1826 he left his library of 
100,000 printed books, including 104 incunabula, and 1,000 MSS., 
mainly historical, for public use, and they were accepted by the 
Government of the day, but little was done to make them available 
until, after making other unsuccessful efforts to improve matters, the 
writer V. F. Odoyevsky proposed their transfer to Moscow, which 
was carried out in 1861. Other books were added, among them 
40,000 duplicates from the Imperial Library, 1,600 volumes from the 
collection of A. Norov, a former Minister of Education, and others 
from various private collections including those of the Empress 
Alexandra Fyodrovna, wife of Nicholas II, and the bibliophile S. D. 
Poltoratsky; and the institution received the tide of Moscow Public 
and Rumyantsev Museum, opening its doors to the public on July i, 
1862. Subsequently, however, development did not keep pace with 
the demands made on the Library, and by 1900 its resources were 
quite inadequate: its sole source of income lay in donations from 
private benefactors. 

The Revolution, however, ushered in a period of tremendous 
growth, very many books and entire libraries being received between 
1918 and 1923. Most notable among the collections added to the 
Library were those of the Russian Medical Society (50,000 volumes), 
the Moscow bookseller Chibanov (100,000 volumes), and the Counts 
Cherernetiev (40,000 volumes). Subsequently, on the closing of any 
institution, its library was transferred to the Lenin State Library, while 
books surplus to the requirements of other departments of State were 
likewise handed over. Lenin and other Soviet leaders took a personal 
interest in the progress of the Library; in addition to the constant 



additions of books, increased funds were granted, and wlien the 
Library was reorganised it was renamed on February 6, 1925, Vladimir 
Lenin State Public Library. New readers came in great numbers, and 
with them a greatly increased demand for books, especially in the 
fields of science and technology. This development was maintained 
until the Second World War; even then the Library was able to 
maintain its services despite imminent threats of attack, and met new 
demands from industry and the armed forces. At the outbreak of war 
between Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941, 4,000,000 volumes 
were removed from the old building to safer storage in the new, 
while 700,000 of the most valuable books and MSS. were sent from 
Moscow to the Urals; in a further evacuation in December of the same 
year, one copy of every Russian publication was removed to safety. 
During air raids in 1941, the building was constantly struck by 
incendiary bombs, but without receiving any serious damage. The 
eightieth anniversary of the opening of the Library in 1942 was the 
occasion for celebrations, while the end of hostilities, coinciding with 
the twentieth anniversary of the refounding of the Library, was 
marked by the allocation of increased financial grants and an increase 
in the number of copies of works received by legal deposit. Its 
distinguished record of service to the State was recognised by the 
award of the Order of Lenin to the Library. 

The original collections of the Library were of less importance than 
those in the former Imperial Library, but with its growth in recent 
years this has ceased to be the case, and the stocks of printed books now 
number above 13,000,000, all the ninety languages of the Soviet Union 
and upwards of seventy foreign languages being represented. The 
Russian national collection includes works from the commencement of 
printing in the country; and among the other collections of printed 
books are incunabula and other early and rare works, including first 
editions of the works of Rabelais, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, 
Spinoza, Machiavelli, and other works relating to the French Revolu- 
tion, together with a collection of early editions of the works of Giordano 
Bruno, and many rare works dating from 1860 which deal with the 
Revolutionary movement in Russia and had been suppressed by the 
Tsarist Government. Special attention is devoted to rare and valuable 
editions of Czech, Hungarian, Bulgarian, and Polish books, illustrating 
the culture of those countries. The MSS. collections include 2,500,000 
sheets of MSS., among them autograph works of such distinguished 
men as Gogol, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky, Peter the Great and the 
celebrated generals Suvorov and Kutuzov, Voltaire, Bacon, and 
Napoleon. Certain works which do not conform with Communist 

17 NLW 


doctrine are segregated and made available only to a limited number of 
authorised persons. 

The Library preserves one copy of a large proportion of works 
received by legal deposit in the * 'archive collection" as a permanent 
record. These, with some periodicals, maps, music, and microfilms 
form the basic collections. Other collections of printed material 
include the supplementary library of the main reading room, books in 
constant demand which are kept near the reading room to enable a 
rapid service to be provided, and the stocks of the lending department 
and of two branch libraries mentioned below. The reference collections 
are those of the military section, the central and branch reference 
libraries, the juvenile departments, and the librarianship collection for 
staff use, Reserve stocks include books not yet completely catalogued, 
books and periodicals numbering about 1,500,000 available for 
exchange with other Russian libraries, and a special stock provided by 
the third copy of deposited works, for exchange with other libraries 
in Russia and abroad. There are over 60,000 microfilms in the 

The lending of books to individuals is permitted on a very restricted 
scale; in 1948 this privilege was accorded to 266 persons, members of 
the Government, academicians, military officials, authors, artists, etc. 
Members of the staff of the Library also are permitted to borrow books ; 
certain rare and important books are not permitted to leave the 
Library, and where microfilm is available, it is supplied in place of the 

The Library was originally granted the privilege of legal deposit in 
1 862, but the present law dates from 1945 , three copies of each important 
work being received. Two copies of specialised works and those in 
non-Russian languages of the U.S.S.R. are received, and one copy of 
works of interest only to a very limited class of reader, and of local 
newspapers and leaflets. The Library is empowered to refuse reprints 
and matter of purely local interest. The third copy of books received 
is used for purposes of exchange, the others for die general stock and 
the "archive" or preserved stock of the Library. Microfilms are 
collected, but cinematograph films and sound recordings are not. 

Tlae stocks of the Library in 1953 numbered: 

Printed books, including parts of periodicals . . 14,300,000 

Yearly volumes of newspapers - 265,000 

Maps, music, prints, etc. (pieces) 2,300,000 

MSS. (pieces) 270,000 

Microfilms , . . . . * . * * 60,036 



When the collections of Rumyantsev were brought to Moscow in 
1861, accommodation was provided for them in the Pashkov Palace, 
situated opposite the Kremlin, which was built in 1784, and is considered 
one of the finest buildings in the city. This sufficed until the rapid 
growth of the Library in the years following the Revolution made the 
provision of further space an urgent necessity and, at the reorganisation 
of 1925, a second building in ferro-concrete was commenced; when 
completed it will be the largest library building in the world. 
Construction was to be in successive stages, and the first, completed in 
*939> provided space for 11,000,000 volumes, 180 kilometres of 
shelving being provided on 18 floors. A new section opened in 
January 1954, contains among other accommodation a reading room 
with 300 places. The building encloses two courtyards, in the larger 
of which is a central book stack with the principal reading room, 
accommodating 700 readers, above it. The main structure is to be 
completed in 1956-57, but it is planned to erect in succeeding years 
accommodation to house several million volumes. The main front of 
the new building is ornamented with sculptured portraits of great 
Russian writers of all periods, while in the upper part of the portico 
are placed busts of Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo, and other great 
men of science. When completed, the building will have cost over 
50,000,000 roubles. The older part will still be used, to provide 
storage for 2,000,000 books, including rare books, MSS., maps, music, 
and books for the blind, and also space for the organisation of "mass" 
libraries. The main staircase to the first floor (the principal floor) is 
flanked with galleries devoted to exhibitions: among the exhibits of 
new books are bookstalls of the leading publishing houses. 

Great emphasis is laid on the provision of abundant reading room 
space for every type of reader. At present the main reading room provides 
700 places, and there are, in addition, three reading rooms for students 
of science and the humanities, and others for periodicals, reference 
books, the librarianship collection, microfilms, manuscripts, and for 
children, as well as others : carrels for individual study are also provided. 
The total number of places for readers is now over 2,000, to be 
increased to 2,500. The new building is to contain, in addition, a hall for 
meetings and lectures, and it is to be air-conditioned throughout, 
temperature and humidity being maintained from a central control 
point at a degree most suited to books and readers. There is a store for 
little-used material at Zamoskvorechie, and until adequate premises 
have been constructed, temporary accommodation in other buildings 


will continue to be used; in 1950 a total of fourteen buildings were in 
use. Even in the completed Library, the dispersed locations of the 
various reading rooms, ultimately numbering forty, will call for special 
equipment to ensure rapid delivery of books; and with the aim of 
achieving delivery within ten minutes of the request of any book in any 
part of the building, a special system of pneumatic tubes for conveying 
books has been designed, while underground conveyors will link the 
old and new buildings. 


The catalogues of the Library are all in card form and include 
general catalogues and others of special categories of material. In the 
reading room in the old building are an alphabetical catalogue of 
books not on open shelves, and classified and alphabetical catalogues of 
all serious material received by legal deposit since 1944, together with 
much earlier material, including foreign and some pre-revolutionary 
Russian material. The classified catalogues in the Library are arranged 
according to the Marx-Lenin scientific classification, which was drawn 
up by the staff of the Library and is in general use in large libraries in 
Russia. Also in this room are catalogues of literature and belles-lettres, 
textbooks, and literary works in non-Russian languages of the 

In the new building, which has a catalogue hall adjoining the 
entrance vestibule, are an author-catalogue of Russian books received 
from 1927 and foreign books from 1929, into which material from the 
catalogue compiled between 1861 and 1926 is being incorporated as 
the entries are revised, a catalogue of periodicals, Russian and foreign, 
and second copies of the alphabetical and classified subject-catalogues. 
Catalogues of dissertations are maintained in the general reference and 
scientific reading rooms. New catalogues commenced in 1953 for the 
newly-opened reading rooms include ones of Russian periodicals and 
serials, Ukrainian and Byelorussian newspapers and foreign periodicals. 
The printed cards used in the catalogues are those which have been 
issued since 1927 by the Library in co-operation with the All-Union 
Book Chamber, the central agency in the U.S.S.R. for legal deposit 
and national bibliography. In 1953 cards were printed for 46,000 
titles, and over 1,000,000 new cards were added to the catalogues of 
the Library. Older entries in the catalogues are being revised to 
conform with the practices used for this cataloguing service, which are 
those of the code in general use in all Russian libraries. This work is 
combined with the issue of printed cards and the formation of a 


national union catalogue; the task of cataloguing, formerly shared with 
the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library, is now the sole responsibility of the 
Lenin Library. The cataloguing of works in non-Russian languages 
and of anonymous works is allocated to special sections of the staff, as 
it is considered that this enables a greater output per person to be 


The size of the Library and the wide variety of its collections and 
activities render necessary a very complex organisation of departments 
within the institution. Among the most important are the following: 


Reading-Rooms. General, open to all persons over eighteen years of 
age, and three "scientific" reading rooms, available to a limited 
number of teachers, students, and research workers in science, 
mathematics, political economy and education, and literature and the 
arts. There is a reading room for current periodicals and official 
publications, with eighty places: it contains a small collection of 
general reference books, while in it are held exhibitions having a 
bearing on current affairs. 119 such exhibitions were held in 1948. A 
microfilm reading room was opened in 1947, with three reading 
machines, and was visited by 920 readers in 1948. The Library is open 
to readers daily from 9 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. 

The Reference, Bibliography, and Information Service, in addition to 
issuing bibliographical information to readers, institutions, Government 
departments, and other departments of the Library, is responsible for 
the maintenance of the collections of reference books in the principal 
reading rooms, totalling some 46,500 volumes and a similar number of 
parts of periodicals. A special information post for assisting readers is 
maintained in the main reading room, while printed guides to the use 
of the catalogues are published. Particular attention is devoted to readers 
engaged in self-education or in the study of the doctrines of Marx and 
Lenin, and an "exhibition platform" in the main reading room is 
devoted to exhibitions of material in the latter field. Information on 
foreign literature is available, and a quarterly bulletin entitled "Foreign 
literature" is prepared for circulation to Soviet libraries, universities, 
and other institutions. 

The Military Section was established in 1928, and is the most 
important collection of its kind in the U.S.S.R. It compiles 
bibliographies of military subjects, and publishes an annual, "New 
military literature." It also maintains a card catalogue of works 


dealing with the Second World War. Its stocks on January i, 1949, 
were: 147,600 books, 127,100 parts of periodicals, 450 volumes of 
newspapers, and 13,760 maps. 

The Juvenile Department was established in 1947 and makes provision 
for readers between nine and seventeen years of age. It has two 
reading rooms in the old building, and is organised in three sections 
dealing with readers in three age groups. The greater number of 
readers are in the higher age category; each section organises lectures, 
exhibitions, and meetings, and carries out considerable educational 
work independently of the activities of the schools of Moscow. 
During 1949, 721,416 books were issued. The Department has its own 
selection of periodicals, and compiles reading lists and a bulletin of 
reviews of books for young people. Members of the staff are enabled 
to visit local schools and also to address parents with a view to 
encouraging the use of the Library by children. 

The Inter-Library and Personal Lending Department. As already 
mentioned, the Library lends books to a limited number of individuals. 
It lends more widely to other libraries, and has separate sections for 
carrying out loans to Moscow libraries, and those in the provinces, as 
well as to individuals. 763 libraries in Moscow and over 1,400 
provincial libraries are entitled to receive such loans, mainly those of 
Government departments, learned societies, universities, municipalities 
and regions, and industrial concerns. Loans made to other libraries 
during 1947 totalled 58,000, 

The Bibliographical Section, established in 1948, has sections for 
research and for the compilation of bibliographies; the subjects most 
frequently in demand are politics, literature, science, and technology. 

Department of Care and Restoration of Books. The vast size of the 
collections, and the importance attached to the permanent preservation 
of one copy of each Russian work in the " Archive Collection," have 
led to the establishment of this section, which has a research laboratory 
with chemical, mycological, and entomological sections. Daily tests of 
temperature and humidity are carried out at numerous points 
throughout the buildings, while books are examined systematically 
and receive attention when necessary. There is special equipment for the 
removal of dust and bacteria from books. The sections of the laboratory, 
in addition to this routine work, are each allocated annually a special 
research task having a bearing on the preservation of bibliographical 
material, and its protection from damage by organic or inorganic 
agents. Advice on these topics is given to other libraries upon 

The Library has its own bindery. In 1953, 192,351 volumes of 


books, periodicals and newspapers were bound, and 319,149 signatures 
of books were repaired. 

In the Accessions Department, the principal section is that for the 
acquisition of Soviet books, which relies mainly on legal deposit. 
Other books are purchased, about one-third through the central 
purchasing organisation for learned libraries, and the remainder 
through normal trade channels. The section has the additional 
functions of allocating books received to the appropriate department, 
and of transferring Soviet books where necessary from other 
departments of the Library to the "Archive Stocks." 

Accessions of Russian publications during 1953 included: 


deposit Purchase 

Printed Books, Music, Maps . . . . 139,792 108,049 

Parts of Periodicals 40,763 63,247 

Newspapers 1,003,592 245,813 


In the acquisition of foreign literature, particular attention is devoted 
to that of countries within the Russian sphere of influence. Books are 
acquired mainly by purchase through a central Government agency, or 
by exchange. 

Accessions of foreign publications during 1953 were as follows: 

Books, etc 45,702 

Parts of Periodicals . . . . 116,135 

Newspapers . . . . 85,470 


Section for Uncatalogued Books and Internal Exchange. The enormous 
size of the original stocks of the Library and the nature of their 
acquisition called for some means of administering them while awaiting 
cataloguing; and the section is responsible for this. It selects material 
for cataloguing and handles the accessions of Russian books received 
by legal deposit and stocks available for exchange. The former 
newspaper repository, which held 3,000,000 newspapers, and the 
repository for foreign books at Klementovsky have been closed and 
the material in them moved into the main bidding. The section is 
responsible also for receiving the stocks of other libraries which have 
been closed, and adding them to the Lenin Library, or using them for 
exchange purposes. 


Section for International Exchange. The Library effects exchanges of 
books with numerous institutions in other countries. Especial emphasis 
is laid on its relations with those in the Soviet sphere of influence, and 
from these countries practically all important publications are received, 
through the agency of national and university libraries and learned 
societies. Material for exchange is provided from the third copy 
received by legal deposit, supplemented where necessary by purchases, 
and although the majority of the books received are retained for the 
Lenin Library, a small number are distributed to other libraries. In 
1953, items received by international exchange numbered in all 
138,319, including 29,047 books. 90,560 items were retained and the 
remainder distributed to other libraries. 1 1 3,000 items including 40,976 
books were sent out in exchange, 

Department for Literature in the Languages of the Non-Soviet East. The 
special qualifications necessary for handling books in Oriental languages 
have led to the establishment of this department, which is self-contained, 
carrying out its own ordering, cataloguing, classification, and service 
to readers. Thirty-two languages are represented among the collections 
of the department, which provides bibliographical information and 
microfilm services. 

Department of Rare Books. The aim in the organisation of this 
department, which has its own building, has been to break with the 
traditional conception of a collection of rarities, merely of historical 
value, and of interest to a very limited circle of readers. In addition to 
early printed material, it is responsible for the stock of ore-Revolution- 
ary and anti-Soviet works, which has been considerably augmented in 
recent years. A start has been made on microfilming the collections, and 
microfilms are being obtained from other libraries to fill gaps. The 
preparation of special catalogues, such as that of books in Cyrillic 
characters printed in Moscow between 1500 and 1800, is the 
responsibility of the department, and it also carries out research projects 
in historical bibliography, particularly that relating to Russia. In 
addition to a permanent exhibition showing the development of 
literature and publishing in Russia from their inception, temporary 
displays of material of topical interest are constantly being arranged. 
The stocks of the Department in 1953 included 182,203 printed books, 
31,654 parts of periodicals and 392,236 prints and illustrations. 4,252 
books and periodical parts were added during the year. 

Department of Manuscripts. Owing to the wide variety of manuscript 
material in the collections, the work of this department in cataloguing 
items and preparing them for publication is very complex. 

Microfilm Department. This department, opened in 1947, was the 


first of its size in the U.S.S.R.; and with the rapid increase in the use 
of microfilm in the country, the calls made upon it have been heavy. 
The use of modern equipment enables all processing of film to be 
carried out mechanically. It is intended to form a photographic record 
of all rare books in the Library and those borrowed from other 
institutions, and readers are required to use microfilm where the value 
or condition of books makes it inadvisable to send the originals into 
the reading room. Particular attention is being given to the 
microfilming of publications issued on poor paper in the years 
immediately following the Revolution. 

Library Seminar and Research Department. This department performs 
research not only on behalf of the Lenin Library, but also for the 
benefit of libraries throughout the country, as for example in the 
compilation of the Marx-Lenin library classification system and the 
examination of forms of union catalogue to select the type most 
suitable for use in the Library. Its annual report and bulletin on the 
work of the Library, and various textbooks and bibliographies of 
librarianship prepared by the staff, serve to disseminate information 
throughout the national library system. Staff conferences and 
public lectures are arranged, and measures taken to attract suitable 
recruits into the library profession. The seminar has its own library 
of 12,000 books and 9,600 parts of periodicals. Thirty-five official 
visits were made by members of the staff during 1953 to various 
parts of the country to conduct short courses in librarianship or to 
advise in library work. 

The Cataloguing Department. There are separate sections in the 
Department for processing and entering books in the author and subject 
catalogues. The former, one of the largest sections in the Library, 
deals with all books except a few which are the responsibility of the 
Rare Book Department. Printed catalogue cards are prepared for use 
in the Library and for distribution to other Russian libraries; in 1953, 
cards were printed for 46,000 titles, and over 1,000,000 new cards 
were added to the catalogues in the Library. The revision of the 
earlier general catalogue of the Library to conform with present-day 
practice, and the publication of the printed cards, is the task of another 

Branch Libraries. The Library possesses two branches in Moscow, 
one in the Stalin Automobile Works, and the other in the Sokolniki 
Park of Culture and Rest. The former has a staff of eight, and combines 
the functions of a works technical library and a public reference library 
for the neighbourhood; its reading room has 175 seats, and a mobile 
library service to departments of the factory is provided. 



Statistics for 1953 were: 

Total stock 
Visits by readers 
Books issued 
Exhibitions held 
Lectures, etc., held 

(volumes) 92,833 





The branch in the Sokolniki Park is open during the summer 
months only, and is used largely by young students preparing for 
examinations. Its collections are strong in literature, with some 
textbooks, but few technical and scientific publications. Literary 
surveys are published and exhibitions held, and at a conference held 
annually before the branch closes for the winter, readers have an 
opportunity of making suggestions for improving the services provided. 

In 1953 accessions numbered 3,000; 74,055 readers visited the 
branch, and 150,577 books were issued. More than fifty exhibitions 
were held. 

There is a further branch of the Library in the Chekhov Museum at 
Yalta, which was in 1953 still under the direction of the writer's sister. 

Statistics relating to the use of the Library during 1953 : 

Reading Room 
Scientific: no. i 

no. 2 

no. 3 


Current periodicals .. 
Children and young people 
Central reference 
Library seminar 


Motor factory 
Sokolniki Park 

Rare books and other depts. 153,433 


Registered borrowers: Institutional .. .. 2,288 

Private 1,131 

Books issued to borrowers: Institutional .. .. 157,604 

Private . . . . 107,006 

Number of bibliographical replies given . . . . 124,096 

Exhibitions held 456 



































Read in 





Lectures given 147 

Organised tours of the Library (over 5,000 people 

including 112 delegations from abroad) . . 400 

Accessions: Books . . . . . . . . . . 339,863 

Periodicals . . 253,171 

Newspapers 1,361,096 

Items microfilmed . . . . . . . . . . 13*623 

Microfilm negatives produced (frames) . . . . 2,943,095 

positives 576,112 

Books processed 291,597 

Periodicals 202,904 

Newspapers (Annual sets) 8,964 

Publications issued 84 

The annual budget of the Library is over 30,000,000 roubles. 


The union catalogues of the Library, its bibliographical information 
services, and its position as a centre for exchanges between libraries 
make it the centre of the Soviet library system. Plans for a union 
catalogue of Russian books published between 1917 and 1947 were 
approved in April 1947, by the Soviet Council of Ministers; it was in 
the first place based on the catalogues of the Lenin Library, the 
Saltykov-Shchedrin Library and the Library of the Academy of 
Sciences in Leningrad, together with the archives of the AU-Union 
Book Chamber, in each of which a copy of the union catalogue was 
to be maintained. By 1953 the union catalogue contained entries for 
445,000 titles, in author and subject sequences. When complete it is to 
be printed. Full use is made of the printed cards issued by the Lenin and 
Saltykov-Shchedrin Libraries and the All-Union Book Chamber; the 
first two issue cards for pre-Revolutionary material in connection 
with their own cataloguing work, while the All-Union Book Chamber 
deals with current publications, issuing a series of national biblio- 
graphies. As the cards are issued, they are distributed to 150 libraries 
throughout the Soviet Union which report their holdings to the Lenin 
Library. Where provincial libraries hold numerous unique items, 
cataloguers are sent from the Lenin Library to examine them and 
ensure their accurate description. The Library also maintains union 
catalogues of foreign literature and foreign periodicals in Moscow 

Bibliographical reports prepared by the Library are issued to students 
throughout the Soviet Union. The Central Bibliographical Registra- 
tion and Co-ordination Bureau, set up in 1942, records the more 


important bibliographical works in Soviet libraries. The preparation 
of the new Marx-Lenin library classification for use in libraries 
throughout the Soviet Union was carried out in the Lenin Library and 
completed in 1953, and a code of cataloguing rules, first published in 
1949, is being amended in the light of suggestions received from other 
libraries. The Library has made donations of books from its duplicate 
stocks to assist in the reconstruction of libraries destroyed during the 
Second World War. It also lends widely to other libraries from its 
own stocks of books and periodicals, directs inter-library lending 
generally, and provides microfilms of material not otherwise available. 
In I953> 874 Moscow institutions and 1,114 in the provinces took part 
in inter-library lending with the Lending Library. 

Two bulletins are published by the Library, Nauchnye biblioteki 
(Learned Libraries) and Biblioteka V* L Lenina (Lenin Library). 


Great emphasis is laid on the possession by members of the staff of 
high qualifications both in general education and librarianship. In 
1930 the first school of librarianship in Russia was opened as a 
department of the Lenin Library, under the direction of an American 
librarian, while at the present time members of the staff are given 
opportunities for continuing their general education, and encouraged 
to acquire detailed knowledge in one of some thirty recognised subject 
fields. Classes in foreign languages are organised by the Library, and 
specialised training in librarianship is provided by the Library Seminar 
and in the classes of the Moscow State Library Institute. For these 
activities a special grant from State funds is made to the Library. The 
Library Seminar also admits members of the staffs of other libraries to 
its classes, and conducts correspondence courses. The possession of a 
university degree and long service in the Library are each rewarded by 
increases in salary. In order to provide an uninterrupted supply of 
trained staff to fill higher posts in the Library, persons having secondary 
education are recruited by all departments and receive part-time 
instruction in librarianship during a course of eleven months, at the end 
of which the State examination for the Diploma in Library Science is 
taken; those obtaining the Diploma are given established posts on the 
staff of the Library. Members of the staff who show merit form a 
"workers' reserve*' or cadre for promotion to higher posts, and 
opportunities are provided for them to obtain suitable experience. 

New members of the staff in many cases already possess qualifications 
in librarianship. The total number of persons employed in the Library 


in 1956 was 1,950. Of these, approximately one-quarter had received 
education beyond secondary school standard. About one-fifth were 
employed on administrative duties and the remainder on library duties. 


Karklin, M. An Outpost of Culture. The V. I. Lenin State Public Library - 
In: Library Association Record, ser. 4. vol. n. July 1944. pp. 117-19. 

Les Bibliothfcques en LLR.S.S. 1948. (Notes documentaires et etudes, no. 

The State Lenin Library in the year 1947 [etc.] [In Russian.] 

Vasalchenko, . Twenty Years of the Lenin State Library. In: Pedagogics. 
no. 2. February 1945. [In Russian.] 

Treasure House of our Culture. In: Oktyabr. no. 1-2. 1946. [In Russian.] 



By the time of the foundation of St. Petersburg, that deliberate 
creation of a westernising Emperor, the conception of a public library 
as part of the programme of westernising Russia had taken form; but 
practical results were not to come before the close of the eighteenth 
century, until which time the needs of the cultured classes were met by 
private libraries, and by that of the Academy of Sciences. A scheme 
proposed in 1766 by Count Stroganov and others for a public library 
bore no fruit, but the interest of the Government continued, and the 
nucleus for a future library began to grow. 

Its founder was Catherine the Great, and the foundation collection 
the famous library of the brothers Zaluski, Andrzej, Bishop of Cracow, 
(1695-1758) and Jozef (1702-74), Bishop of Kiev. Both brothers, 
particularly the younger, were ardent collectors; most of the books and 
MSS. came from western Europe, but in addition Jozef tried to collect 
copies of everything printed in Poland, and also took what he could 
get from the monastic libraries, though after his death some of these 
spoils were claimed and returned. In 1740 he made over his collection 
to the Polish nation, and in 1748 the Library was formally opened by 
King August III. But the collections were depleted through pilfering 
and carelessness; finally at the capture of Warsaw by Suvarov on 
October 29, 1794, the Library was declared the property of the 


Russian Government, but on its arrival at St. Petersburg there remained 
only 250,000 volumes and about 10,000 MSS. of an estimated total 
of 400,000 volumes. 

The books were given into the care of B. S. Popov, a Councillor of 
State, by the Empress Catherine, who planned to establish a national 
library, using as a basis the Zaluski Library with the addition of all 
Russian books published since 1764; the collections formed by the 
Government, such as the Voltaire and the Diderot libraries, were also 
placed at the disposal of the new institution. It was unfortunate for 
the Library that the Empress died in 1796, for many of her projects 
were never carried out, and the development of the Library was 
thereby retarded. The Emperor Paul appointed as Director Count 
Choiseul Goufiier, a French emigre", who took little interest in the 
Library, the very existence of which was threatened until he was 
dismissed in 1800, and Count Alexander Stroganov appointed to 
succeed him. Stroganov was a man of position and culture, with a 
very good private library and art collection of his own, and he proved 
of immense benefit to the new and struggling institution. He at once 
set about moving the books into the new building assigned to it by the 
Cabinet, and saw that the work of cataloguing and classification was 
taken in hand. Under Stroganov the valuable collection of MSS. of 
Dubrovsky was acquired in 1805. Dubrovsky had occupied an 
official position at the Russian Embassy in Paris; when the Revolution 
made it dangerous to stay on in Paris, he was instructed to remove the 
papers of the Embassy from the country. This he did, and brought 
with them "400 really magnificent and noteworthy manuscripts and 
about 8,000 autographs of famous Frenchmen" which he had acquired 
from the Abbey of St. Germain, destroyed by fire in August 1794* he 
had also, it appears, "made considerable collections at the taking of the 
Bastille, and probably on other occasions." Dubrovsky received in 
return 15,000 roubles and a yearly income, together with an 
appointment as curator of the Department of MSS. at an annual salary 
of 1,200 roubles. 

In 1808 d'Augard, assistant director under Stroganov, died; Alexei 
Nikolaevich Olenin succeeded him, and when Stroganov died in 1811, 
became Director holding the post till 1843. His efforts for the improve- 
ment of the Library were incessant, and he succeeded in adding to his 
staff men of scholarship and learning. His first task was the improve- 
ment of the general order and arrangement, during which he had 
made an exact count of the contents of the Zaluski collection, for 
which his figures were: 238,632 volumes of printed works, including 
753 incunabula, 12,000 MSS., and 24,574 prints. He improved the 


building, provided new shelving, and attempted to introduce a new 
classification scheme. He also drew up rules for the organisation of the 
Library, including the duties of the staff, which received the approval 
of the Emperor on October 14, 1810; the Library was placed under the 
Ministry of Education, and provision made for one Director, seven 
librarians, seven assistant librarians, one Curator of the Department of 
MSS., one assistant to the Curator, two secretaries, and one watchman. 
The librarians and the Curator received salaries of 1,200 roubles. The 
general budget was fixed at 24,500 roubles, with 2,500 from the 
Library's own resources (rents of shops, etc.) ; no specific sum was 
earmarked for the purchase of new books, though part of the 2,500 
roubles was used for this, and other new books were acquired by the 
exchange of duplicates and through legal deposit, a privilege given to 
the Library at this time. Olenin's great aim was to form a National 
Library, and thus carry out its founder's expressed wish. The Zaluski 
collection contained only eight books in Russian, so that Olenin had 
to depend on the enforcement of the law of legal deposit, together with 
gifts and purchases, for building up a national collection, and he found 
it very difficult to enforce the law outside St. Petersburg. However, in 
181 1 Russian books began to be received in small numbers, and in 18 13 
there were 800, of which the majority were in Russian. 

On January 2, 1812, the Emperor paid a personal visit to the Library 
and displayed great interest in all that had been done, but the public 
opening of the Library was delayed by the Napoleonic invasion; the 
occupation of Moscow endangered St. Petersburg, and all the MSS. 
and most valuable books to the number of 150,000 were packed in 
boxes and sent north by water. They were returned at the end of the 
year, and finally the formal opening of the Library took place on 
January 2, 1814. 

Olenin was succeeded by Dmitri Petrowitz Buturlin (1843-49), who 
interested himself particularly in the Department of MSS., and issued 
precise rules to prevent any loss or abuse of MSS. The growth of 
the Library was small under Buturlin, only 1,600 volumes being 
added in the six years, but these included two valuable collections of 
books in Slavonic languages. 

The turning point in the history of the Library came with the 
administration of Count Modest Andreevich Korf, 1849-62, whose 
work may be compared with that of Panizzi for the British Museum. 
What he accomplished may be considered under the following 

(i) Control of the Library. In the interests of more direct control by 
the Director himself, he obtained leave from the Emperor for the 


Library to be transferred from the Ministry of Education to the 
Ministry of the Imperial Court. 

(2) The raising of both yearly and special grants (treated below in 
the section on finance). 

(3) Interior organisation, especially of the catalogues. When Korf 
took office, the arrangement of the books was chaotic, and very rarely 
could a book be found in any department except the Russian, which 
alone possessed any semblance of order. Consequently the Library 
was hardly ever used. Korf made one of the staff responsible for the 
accessioning, and in 1850 issued instructions for the staff for the 
performance of their duties, including rules for the cataloguing and 
shelving of the books, which remained in force to the end of the 
Imperial regime. 

(4) Increase in accessions. When Korf assumed charge of the 
Library, it contained 640,000 volumes, 18,000 MSS. and 15,000 prints. 
In twelve years he increased the size of the Library by a third, making 
it second only to the Bibliotheque Nationale. The increase of 
accessions was secured by strict enforcement of the law of legal deposit, 
by securing copies of all official publications, and also secret and 
censored books, and all books held up at the frontier, by purchases 
made possible by extra Imperial grants and by gifts, which were 
stimulated by KorFs methods of publicity. 1852 was marked by the 
largest number of accessions, when over 28,000 volumes were added. 
Most noteworthy of the acquisitions were the Tischendorf MSS.; in 
1856 the celebrated Biblical scholar Constantin Tischendorf, of 
Leipzig, offered to sell to the Russian Government his collection of 
forty-one MSS. dating from the fifth to the ninth centuries, which was 
accepted, and he further petitioned for means to travel to the East to 
collect more MSS., whichhe promised to hand over to the Government. 
The result of this -expedition was the finding of the famous Codex 
Sinaiticus, later bought by the British Museum, which with over a 
hundred other MSS. was added to the Imperial Library in 1859. 

In the twelve years of Korf 's administration, accessions amounted to 
343,421 printed volumes, 11,485 MSS. and autographs, 29,362 prints 
and photographs, 7,016 musical compositions, and 1,755 maps and 
plans. Korf himself organised the book selection and took great 
personal interest in it. 

(5) Beautifying the building both inside and out. Korf found the 
Library in a state of dilapidation, with its furniture and fittings broken 
and worn, and a total absence of interior decoration. As part of his 
general scheme for attracting the public, he had everything renovated; 
his actual building scheme is dealt with in a later section. 


(6) Publicity through the Press and in every possible way so as to 
make the resources of the Library known and used. Hitherto, the 
Library had been a public library in name only. Korf made it so in 
fact, and by 1856 he was able to say that hardly any extensive learned 
work could be done in Russia without the aid of the Library. 

(7) Organisation of special departments and sections. This also is 
dealt with in. another section. 

Korf was succeeded in 1862 by Delianov, who held other offices 
outside his library work, and finally in 1882 gave up his directorship of 
the Library and became Minister of Education, in which position, 
however, he continued to help it, since at the beginning of his 
administration it had again come under the Ministry. Delianov 
carried on the work of Korf, and under him steady progress was made. 
He gave the Library a more precise organisation, and held weekly staff 
meetings in which the undertakings of the Library were discussed and 
problems settled. Delianov also had to deal with the problem of lack 
of room caused by the rapid growth of the collections. During his 
directorship the valuable Palestinian collection of the Orientalist 
Tobler was acquired. Athanasy Andreevich Bychkov, who was 
appointed in 1882, was the first Director to be promoted from the staff; 
he had entered the service in 1844 as Keeper of the MSS., and had 
afterwards taken charge of the Russian section, and also several 
times deputised for Korf 

Bychkov's successor was the Russian historian Schilder, who held 
office for only three years (1899-1902); under him the new building 
begun under Bychkov was finished. Kobeko, who followed him, 
held office till the Revolution (1917); formerly an official in the 
Treasury Department, he took in hand the finances of the Library, 
which was in debt, while increases in the salaries of the staff were 
urgently needed. On July i, 1911, new appropriations came into 
force, amounting to more than three times the amount received 
forty years before. In 1914 the centenary of the opening to the public 
of the Library was celebrated; among the events marking the 
occasion was the issue of a finely illustrated centenary volume edited 
by Kobeko. 

Under the last two Emperors many rare works and valuable 
collections were added: one of the most famous is the sixth-century 
MS. of part of the Gospels given by Nicholas II in 1896, and known to 
scholars as Codex N. Amongst notable collections of MSS. are the 
Greek, Russian, and Oriental MSS. bought in 1883 from the famous 
Russian traveller and scholar Bishop Porfirij, which made the Imperial 
Library one of the richest in MSS. from the Near East. 

18 NLW 


At the close of 1913, the contents of the Library were counted, the 
figures being as follow: 

Printed, books and pamphlets, 2,808,819. 
MSS,, 45,328. 
Autographs, 152,800. 
Documents, 8,575. 
Maps and plans, 1,113. 

In 1917, a few days after the proclamation of Soviet power, Lenin 
drew up a document entitled "On the Tasks of the Petrograd Public 
Library," mapping out in detail the reforms necessary. Since then the 
growth of the Library has been very rapid as the result of the 
tremendous growth of publishing in the Soviet Union, and the printed 
books now number over 10,000,000. The Library was renamed in 1932 
after the famous Russian writer Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov- 
Shchedrin, and is now second only in size and importance to the 
Lenin Library. It has been decorated with the Order of the Red 
Banner of Labour in recognition of its services to the State. 

In 1941, when the front approached Leningrad, more than 2,000 
cases of MSS. and valuable books were evacuated across the Volga. 
The Library remained open throughout the Second World War 
despite great difficulties; in the end, readers were able to work only in 
the office of the Director, The majority of the books and catalogues 
remaining in the building were removed into underground shelters. 

The Russian collection of the Library is of very great value and 
importance. Among the MSS,, which form the largest existing 
collection of their kind, are such monuments of Russian writing and 
literature as the Ostromir Gospel of 1056, the Lavrentyev Annals, a 
Russian chronicle of the fourteenth century, and the first Russian code 
of laws, drawn up under Yaroslav the Wise (1019-54). The Russian 
MSS. are also rich in ancient herbals and books of cures, early descrip- 
tions of foreign travel by Russians and the earliest Russian dictionaries 
and textbooks. The collection includes 11,000 documents of the 
thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, dealing with the status of peasants 
and craftsmen in Russia and their relations with the landowning classes. 
Nearly all Russian writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries 
are well represented by MS. material, while the Library is exceptionally 
rich in holograph documents and letters of Russian statesmen, authors, 
scientists and artists. It also possesses the personal music archives of 
Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Scriabin and other notable 

The foreign MSS. include important versions of the writings of 
classical authors, particularly Cicero, many codices of the seventh to 


ninth centuries from the monastery of Corbie in France and numerous 
mediaeval administrative documents. MSS. from the Bastille archives 
and documents from the State archives of Westphalia are of great 
historical importance. The Dubrovsky, Vaxel and Sukhtelen collections 
of autographs include letters from the hands of sovereigns of England 
and France, Voltaire, Goethe, Dickens and Gibbon. Other English 
MSS. include two of the eighth century, Bede's History of the Anglo- 
Saxon Church and an Anglo-Saxon text of the Gospels. A MS. copy 
of the Htstoria Troiana of Guido della Colonne was formerly the 
property of James I, Charles I, and Oliver Cromwell. 

The printed books include 4,500 volumes of works printed in 
Cyrillic characters before 1800, many of them in Moscow, and fairly 
complete collections of works printed at Kiev and those produced by 
Skorina at Prague and Vilna. The Library possesses rare South- 
Slavonic books of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the most 
complete collection extant of works in Glagolitic characters. Russian 
works printed in modern characters include the largest collection of 
those issued during the reign of Peter the Great; many works by other 
Russian authors of the eighteenth century, Russian classics, including 
all editions (more than 2,500) of the works of Pushkin, and a collection 
of revolutionary literature published illegally in Russia, or abroad, 
before 1917, and including the works of Lenin, Marx, Engels, and 
Stalin, with the personal library of the revolutionary leader G. V. 
Plekhanov. After the Revolution, this was supplemented with works 
on Communist doctrine published in the ninety languages of the 
U.S.S.R. and foreign languages. The Library possesses also the fullest 
collection of the publications of the regional governments of the 
U.S.S.R., and 500,000 volumes of works in non-Russian languages of 
the U.S.S.R. The collections of Russian periodicals are the most 
complete in the world, with over 400,000 volumes, and there is an 
extensive collection of anti-Soviet literature, access to which is strictly 
controlled. There are 20,000 works on bibliography, and 60,000 in the 
central reference collection. 

Among the foreign collections are the 4,500 incunabula, the largest 
collection of fifteenth-century books in the Soviet Union, and many 
other early printed books. The private library of Voltaire, purchased 
by Catherine the Great in 1778, consists of 7,000 volumes, many 
containing MS. notes by Voltaire: a catalogue of them is being prepared 
for publication. The Library has also the largest collection of printed 
material issued during the Paris Commune. The "Rossika" collection 
of foreign printed books dealing with Russia and its history, science, 
culture, life, etc., contains 250,000 volumes. The print collection 


contains about 400,000 engravings and 100,000 portraits, including a 
series of portraits of Peter the Great, popular prints, posters of the 
Revolution (1918-21), picture postcards, and book wrappers. The 
collection of maps, which includes items dating from the sixteenth 
century, is the largest in the U.S.S.R. and contains a complete set of 
the maps issued under the Soviet regime. The Library has the most 
complete collection of Russian music. It possesses the privilege of 
legal deposit, two copies of each work published in the U.S.S.R. being 

The Library has been enriched since the Revolution by the 
confiscated collections of the Imperial Family, emigres, religious 
houses, etc. ; among the MSS. collections may be mentioned those of 
St. Sophia of Novgorod, of Kirillov-Bieloversk, of the Theological 
Academy, etc. It was, on the other hand, obliged to restore to Poland, 
by the Treaty of Riga (1921), 11,334 out of the 13,300 MSS. taken by 
Russia from Poland, forming the main part of the Zaluski MSS. 
In 1956 the stocks of the Library were as follows : 

Books and pamphlets . . . . . . . . 7,100,000 

Periodicals (numbers) 2,500,000 

Newspapers (yearly files) . . . . . . . . 200,000 

Maps 100,000 

Music (works) 200,000 

Illustrations <5oo,ooo 

MSS 300,000 

Collections for "extension" work 1,000,000 


On arrival at St. Petersburg the Zaluski Library was placed 
temporarily in the Garden of the Anichkov Palace, and the Court 
architect, Sokolov, was instructed by the Empress to draw up plans for 
an extensive building to house not only the Library, but also museums 
and an observatory. But this, owing to the death of Catherine in 1796, 
remained only a project, and finally a building for the Library alone 
was erected at the angle of the Nevsky and Sadova Streets. Later, 
during the reign of the Emperor Nicholas I (1828), the wing occupying 
the side of the square of the Alexandra Theatre was added, with an 
imposing fa$ade designed by the architect Rossi. The money for this 
extension was provided in part from a sum left to the Government by 
a merchant, Larine, after whom one of the large rooms on the first 
floor was named. 

An integral part of Korf *s schemes for making the Library of service 
to the public was the construction of a modern reading room; but the 


foundation stone was not laid till 1860, and the room was not opened 
till 1862, just after Korf had retired from the directorship. It was built 
on the model of the British Museum Reading Room, though it was 
not so large, there being seats for 250 persons. Korf also provided a 
reading room for newspapers and periodicals, the first of its kind in 

From the time of the rapid increase of accessions under Korf, the 
storing of books became an increasingly difficult problem. The 
building had not been enlarged since the erection of the new wing in 
1828-30; bookcases had to be placed in the middle of rooms, and from 
1888 it became necessary to pile books on the floor of the Russian 
department. In 1886 a grant of 250,000 roubles for a fresh site and a 
new building was made by the Government. In 1896 the foundation 
stone was laid of the new building for which Bychkov had struggled 
for so many years and which he did not live to see completed. The 
new building included a large arched reading room of forty by 
seventeen metres, and also storage room for a great number of the 
special collections. It was completed in 1901. The sections devoted to 
mathematics, law, philosophy, and polygraphy were transferred to the 
new building and the space thus freed in the old made available for the 
MSS. Department and the Russian section. By 1938 congestion was 
once more a serious problem; temporary premises scattered throughout 
the city were in use, and reconstruction was planned, but delayed by 
the War; in 1951, however, an annexe was opened, adapted from the 
premises formerly occupied by the Catherine II Institute for Girls. 
This added a further ten to the existing sixteen reading-rooms, and 
provided seating for a total of 2,100 readers, newspapers, music and 
literature in the languages of the U.S.S.R. and of the non-Soviet East 
being moved to the annexe. There is a children's reading room 
with 250 places ; a further four reading-rooms are to be opened shortly. 
There are also a catalogue hall and exhibition rooms. The temporary 
premises have been given up, and the library is now housed in two 
buildings and the annexe, with a third for archives. 


To Olenin, Director 1811-43, the Library owes its first catalogues. 
His first task was the classification of the Library, and when this 
was under way, he turned his attention to rules and directions for 
cataloguing. Finally, in 1817, after consultations with his staff, he 
ordered author and classified catalogues to be compiled. In 1819 the 
final printed rules were issued for the compilation of the catalogue, and 


by the end of 1820, twenty-three volumes of the subject-catalogue were 
finished, containing about 70,000 titles; but as the press-marks of the 
books were not given, the catalogue was of very little use to either 
staffer readers. 

The catalogue of MSS. was next undertaken, and was completed in 
twenty-eight MS. volumes. It was particularly valuable in view of the 
full description of the contents of the MSS., and was kept up to date 
by the insertion of newly acquired material. 

Under Korf the work of cataloguing was given first place in 
importance. The order of April 14, 1850, gave instructions for the 
compilation of three catalogues in each of the seventeen sections: 
(i\ a short shelf list; (2) a brief alphabetical catalogue for staff use; and 
(3) a subject-catalogue for the reader. 

Soboltschikov, who was one of the librarians, published in French 
Principespour I' organisation des grandes billiotheques (Paris, 1859), and his 
system of fixed shelf-marks was adopted. 

Under Delianov (1862-82) detailed rules for cataloguing were drawn 
up, and the catalogue systematised on a more scientific basis. Catalogues 
of several special collections were published, that of the "Rossika" in 


Under Bychkov a special grant was made in 1896 for the preparation 
of a proper subject-catalogue, and steady progress was made from this 
time. A new subject-catalogue was commenced in 1931; a class- 
catalogue of foreign books had existed since 1928. There are also a 
general alphabetical catalogue, for staff use, and alphabetical and 
classified catalogues for public use. Printed cards are now produced 
in the Library for the catalogues, about 50,000 being printed annually, 
and the catalogues are being amalgamated to form a single general 


The Saltykov-Shchedrin Library ranks as one of the foremost in the 
world, mainly because of its manuscript collections, which are second 
only to those of the Bibliotheque Nationale in numbers and richness, 
and naturally first for Slavonic and Near Eastern material. The 
foundation collections were, however, mainly Western, the Zaluski, 
since restored to Poland, and the Dubrovsky from the Abbey of 
St. Germain. But the big collections acquired by purchase or bequest 
in the nineteenth century were almost entirely Slavonic or from the 
Near East, such as the MSS. and incunabula of Count Viazmitinov 
(1820), the MSS. acquired in the wars against Persia (1828), and against 
Turkey (1829), and the library of the academician Pogodin, long 


celebrated in Russia for its national importance, and bought in 1852 by 
the Government for 150,000 roubles. 

The MS S . were constituted as a separate department when Dubrovsky 
handed over the French MSS. to the Government in 1805 in return for 
a sum of money, and was appointed at the same time curator of the 
department, subordinate only to the Director. 

A feature of KorFs administration was his arrangement of the 
Library primarily as an exhibition, and the success of the scheme in 
attracting public interest is shown by the fact that while in 1850, before 
the scheme was started, the Library was visited by only eighty-nine 
persons, after the Library was rearranged, the number of visitors rose 
to 3,012. This must have been the first library in Europe to adopt 
such methods. 

The arrangement of the Library under Korf was as follows: 

Rooms I and II at the far end of the block contained MSS. and 
incunabula, those of special interest being displayed in showcases. 
Room III was the waiting-room into which one came from the 
entrance. Room IV was the original reading room-, remodelled in 
1860-62. Room V contained the natural sciences and mathematics. 
In the wing added in 1828-30 were two large rooms (VI and VII) and 
smaller ones (VIII and IX). Room VI held the Russian section; in 1860 
it contained 40,000 volumes. In showcases were examples of Russian 
printing of all periods. Room VII contained philology, classics, 
Oriental and Hebrew literature, with exhibition cases containing books 
of the Bible printed in all languages, including copies of the Gutenberg 
Bible, the Mainz Psalter, and Fust and Schoeffer's Bible of 1462. Room 
VIII held the Aldine and Elzevir collections, while Room IX, an exact 
replica of a fifteenth-century room, held the incunabula. On the first 
floor, Room XII, which was above the state entrance between Rooms 
VI and VII, contained the Rossika section. Korf spent more time and 
money on this section than on any other in the Library, and had 
booksellers all over Europe collecting for it; in ten years he had 
amassed 30,000 volumes. Rooms XII and XTV contained history and 
the auxiliary sciences, and Room XII bore the name "Larine" Hall, 
after the patriotic merchant whose money helped to build this wing; 
it was used for the consultation of rare books, or such as could not be 
conveniently transported to the reading room. In showcases were 
displayed specially rare works fragments of early printing, first 
editions, rare prints and pamphlets on Russia, etc. Rooms X and XI 
contained jurisprudence and political science, and Room XV fine arts 
and technology, with a collection of portraits of Peter the Great. 
Room XVI had belles-lettres. Room XVII was the round room 


containing typographical curiosities and literary history and exhibitions 
of books formerly belonging to famous people, bindings from the 
fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries, and the rarest productions of the 
earliest days of printing moved here because of the poor light in the 
incunabula room. Room XVin contained bibliography, palaeography, 
and miscellaneous, and Room XIX philosophy and pedagogy. The 
rooms on the second floor were used for the storage of books only. 
The present division of the Library into departments is as follows: 



Stocks and service. 

Rare books. 




Information and bibliographical work. 

"Extension" work. 


11 ) Printed bibliographical works. 

12) Publishing. 
(13) Cartography. 



Literature in languages of the U.S.S.R. 
Literature in languages of die non-Soviet East. 

17) Children's and young people's literature. 

1 8) Care and restoration of books. 

During 1955 the Library had 100,493 readers, who made 1,480,000 
visits to it. 6,000,000 items of literature were issued, including 66,000 
items onloan to other libraries and institutions. Accessions wereasfollows : 

Books and pamphlets 174,000 

Periodicals (parts) 110,000 

Newspapers (numbers) 814,000 

Maps, music, illustrations, etc 69,000 


There are very full facilities for the advice of readers. The Biblio- 
graphical Department has developed from a small inquiry desk 
introduced in 1918; it now has its own reference collection of 20,000 
volumes, and answers 250,000 oral or written inquiries annually. The 
Library is open from 9 a.m. until midnight, and is available to all 
Soviet citizens. 

The staff of the Library numbers 1,158, of whom 895 are actual 


library staff (librarians, bibliographers, assistant librarians), and 463 
administrative and service staff. The staff includes seventy-five persons 
holding the degree of Doctor or Candidate of Science or the title of 
Senior Scientific Worker. 


Korf was the first to make the Library a significant factor in the 
national life, which he did by opening it to scholars, and by his policy, 
described above, of turning a large part of the Library into an 
exhibition. Bibliographical work was also steadily carried on from the 
time of Korf by the issue of catalogues of the special collections. 

The Revolution naturally brought great changes to the Library. In 
1920 courses in librarianship were started, at first half-yearly, then 
yearly, then for two years; those attending are university graduates, 
and the majority later join the staff of the Library. 

Since July 1918, the Library has had an Information Bureau which 
issues a Bibliographical Bulletin aimed at bringing the culture of the 
ages to the masses and introducing them to good literature; to 
encourage "the good book," it issues critical guides. Bibliographies 
are prepared for such projects as the great Government constructional 
schemes engineering works, canals, hydro-electric power plants and 
the like. The Information Bureau also undertakes a part of the Union 
Catalogue of new accessions (in foreign languages) compiled by 
learned libraries in Leningrad. 

The Library provides a lending system for libraries throughout the 
country; in 1950 loans were made to 1,245 libraries. 


The Library depended at first on a series of appropriations made by 
the Emperor either for general expenses or for some particular purpose. 
In the winter of 1802 an appropriation of 16,141 roubles was made for 
the Library, and 150 pinewood cases were constructed. 

Olenin arranged in his budget, approved by the Emperor in 1810, 
for an annual grant of 24,500 roubles, to which would be added 
2,500 roubles from the Library's own resources, i.e., rents of shops. 
This was for administrative expenses, and no specific allowance was 
made for the purchase of new books. In 1849 the yearly grant stood at 
20,355 roubles, which in the course of the years 1850-56 rose gradually 
to 38,355 roubles. In spite of the absence of any book fund, books 
were constantly being bought, and during the first twenty-five years 
214,300 roubles were so spent. 


Korf managed to obtain many special appropriations, about 200,000 
roubles from the Emperor and trie Government (of which. 150,000 was 
for the building of the new reading room), and about 105,000 roubles 
from the sale of duplicates, bequests of private persons, etc., which 
averaged about 25,000 roubles extra a year. 

Kobeko (1902-18) reorganised the finances once more, and by 1911 
had succeeded in getting a new scale of appropriations, the total 
amounting to 246,760 roubles, of which 59,980 was for administrative 
Expenditure in 1955 was as follows: 

Purchase of books, periodicals, etc. . . . . 1,000,000 

Salaries 9,000,000 

Binding 457,000 

Exhibitions and "extension" work . . . . 104,000 

Publications 71,000 

Dispatch of literature 132,000 

Technical equipment, repairs, etc. . . . . 5,236,000 



[Publications of the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library.] Russian. 1945-. 

[Library Survey.] Russian. [Published by the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library.] 
1925- . 

Article "Biblioteka" in BoVshaya Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya. 2 ed. vol. 5. 1950. 

Golubeva, Olga. The Saltykov-Shchedrin. Library, Leningrad. In: Book 
Collector, vol. 4. no. 2. pp. 99-109. Summer, 1955. [From which much 
of the information regarding the collections in this chapter has been drawn.] 




The National Library of Bulgaria was founded in Sofia in 1878 by the 
provisional Government, immediately after the liberation of the country 
from the Turks, and was placed under the control of the Ministry of 
National Education. Money and collections of books for its establish- 
ment came, for the most part, in the form of gifts from Bulgarian 
patriots and from Russian friends of Bulgaria. The Bulgarians, Ivan 
N. Denkoglu and Luben Karavelov, presented their own libraries, and 
the commander of the Russian troops in Sofia, General Peter Vladi- 
rnirovich Alabin, appealed to all his friends in Russia to send whatever 
they could to add to the collections. Professor Ivan Vasilevich Platonev, 
of Kharkov, gave his entire library, and also started a public appeal for 
books through the columns of the Kharkov newspaper Veaomosti, 
while the library of the Braila Book Society in Roumania, founded 
by Bulgarian political exiles before the liberation, was attached to the 
newly established National Library. 

The enthusiasm which attended the opening of the Library gradually 
diminished, and it has had to overcome many difficulties throughout 
its history, owing to the constant lack of adequate funds, staff, and 
accommodation alike. After the liberation of the country and the 
establishment of the Fatherland Front Government on September 9, 
1944, great importance was attached to the work of the Library and it 
was then transferred, together with all other cultural and scientific 
bodies, to the control of the Ministry of Culture. Steps were im- 
mediately planned to remedy the conditions which were crippling 
the Library; under the new regime the scope of its collections is to be as 
wide as possible, catering equally for readers of scientific and popular 
works, and at the same time preserving permanently one copy of all 
Bulgarian publications, and of works by Bulgarians, or concerning 
Bulgaria, issued abroad. The Library was renamed "Vassil Kolarov 
State Library" in 1954, in memory of the late Prime Minister of 



Legal deposit in the Library dates from 1897, when a law was 
passed obliging all printing establishments throughout the country to 
send to the National Library at first two, and later six, copies of all 
books and other works printed by them. Of these copies, two were 
allocated to the National Library, one to the library of the University 
of Sofia, and one each to the National Libraries in Plovdiv, Tirnovo, 
and Shumen (Kolarovgrad). 

Since September 9, 1945, twenty copies of every Bulgarian 
publication have had to be deposited at the National Library, and are 
allocated as follows: 

One copy of every publication to the National Libraries at Plovdiv, Bourgas, 

Varna, Kolarovgrad, Tirnovo, and Svishtov. 
One copy of every publication, except provincial newspapers, to the 

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the University Library, Sofia, the 

Direction of Press, the Institute of International Book Exchange, and the 

Ministry of Culture. 
One copy of all books to the Sofia Public Library, and to the Medical 

Academy at Plovdiv; one copy of all periodicals to the Journalists' Library, 

and to the Kousse Town Library. 
One copy of works in their subject-field to the University Library at Varna, 

the Library of the Economic-Agricultural Institute at Plovdiv, the 

University Library at Svishtov, the Medical Academy, Sofia, the Music 

Academy, Sofia, the Music School, Sofia, the Economic-Agricultural 

Academy, Sofia, and the Sofia Polytechnic. 

The collections of the Library on December 3 1, 1954 amounted to the 

Printed books (volumes) 661,605 

Periodicals (volumes) 88,540 

Early printed books and periodicals . . . . 10,202 

Music (volumes) . . . . . . . . . . 8,463 


MSS. (items) 4,448 

Archive material (documents) 485,365 

Prints and drawings 17,675 


A building erected for the Library and extended in 1938 was 
destroyed during the Second World War; those items which it was 
possible to save from the collections were temporarily housed in the 
basement of the Law Courts. A special Building Committee was 


appointed by law in 1946, and the construction of a new building, as 
part of the first Two-Year Plan of the new Government, was pressed 
forward as rapidly as possible. Part was occupied in 1947, and a 
temporary structure erected to provide accommodation for readers. 
Meanwhile the main building is still being completed; it is on a 
monumental scale, and planned according to all the requirements both 
of modern building practice and library technique* Large, well-lit 
rooms are being constructed for readers, for staff use, exhibitions, etc., 
while there are to be, in addition, a photographic studio, bindery, 
printing shop, etc. There will finally be nine reading rooms; three 
general, two for research workers, and one each for periodicals, maps 
and portraits, music, and Orientalia, MSS., and rare books. 

Special premises are being planned for the International Exchange 
Institute, and for a State Library Institute. 


All the catalogues of the Library were destroyed during the Second 
World War, and after the armistice all the books had to be listed and 
classified anew. In the course of a year a temporary catalogue was 
compiled, which enabled the collections to be used once more. A new 
general catalogue was then commenced, and is now almost complete; 
a printed catalogue of periodicals has already been issued. Permanent 
catalogues and shelf lists of the entire stock are being compiled, while 
the different departments of the Library are preparing catalogues of 
their own (Filing Department, Oriental, Ancient Publications, MSS., 
and Information). 

Printed catalogues issued include: 

List of Bulgarian Periodicals in the Library from 1844-1900. 1903. 

List of Ancient MSS. and Books of the National Library. Compiled by 

Prof. B. Tsonev. vol. I, II. 1910-23. 
List of Ancient Printed Bulgarian Books. 1802-77. Compiled by Prof. V. 

Pogorelov. 1923. 
Catalogue of the "Marin C. Drinov" Library. 1914. 


The Library is organised in the following departments: 

General Departments. Accessions, Legal Deposit, Classification, 
Lending and Stack Department, Printing, and Binding. 

Special Departments. Filing, Oriental, Ancient Books and MSS., 
Maps and Graphs, Music, and Bibliographical Information. 

The Accessions Department is responsible for the supply of books to 


the Library, by purchase, exchange, donation, and legal deposit. 
Current Bulgarian publications are transferred to this department 
from the Legal Deposit Department. The maintenance of an accessions 
register and the stamping of accessions is the task of this department. 

The Legal Deposit Department. Here publications are received from 
the publishers, and the copies assigned to other libraries are despatched. 
From the information thus received, a Bulgarian national bibliography 
is prepared and issued monthly. This department also has the task of 
inspecting printing houses throughout the country, and of supervising 
the regular deposit of publications, for which purpose it maintains a 
complete register of printing and publishing establishments. 

In the Classification Department books are fully classified, listed, 
and then indexed by accession number and subject, and sent for 
binding or direct to die shelves. In the same department the general 
catalogues are prepared, according to author, subject, accession number, 
and shelf location, and the registration and classification of periodicals 
is carried out. 

The Lending and Stack Department includes the reading rooms 
which are as follows: 

1. General reading room, open without restriction. 

2. Room for students of political and social science and research workers 


3. G. Dimitrov reading room for Marxism-Leninism and social science. 
4- MSS., early and rare books, prints, portraits and albums. 

5. Bulgarian historical archives. 

6. Oriental Department 

7. Music. 

8. Librarianship Seminar. 

This department is responsible for the care of books, and their 
shelving and binding. It also compiles statistics of the use of the 

The Printing Department. This possesses a multigraph machine, and 
prints labels, forms, notices, etc., as they are required for the catalogues. 

The Bindery. Responsible for the repair and binding of all books, 
and also the manufacture of box files, containers, and similar material. 


The Filing Department, This has the task of collecting, preserving, 
and classifying private and public archives of historic, economic, and 
cultural importance dating from the national struggles of the Bulgarian 
people against the Turks to the present day. As there is no State 
archive repository in Bulgaria, the department keeps, in addition, a 


certain number of Government archives, mainly correspondence, and 
also MSS. and other documents. The documents date for the most 
part from the second quarter of the nineteenth century to the present 
day. They are connected with the struggle for an independent Church, 
the cultural movement, the liberation struggles (included among them 
are numerous documents concerning Rakovsky, Levsky, Botev, 
Karavelov, Benkovsky, and other outstanding Bulgarian figures), the 
National April Rising against the Turks, and the Russo-Turkish War 
of 1878-79. The manuscripts of many famous Bulgarian poets and 
writers, too, are preserved in the department, as, for example, those of 
Vazov, Slaveikov, Elin-Pelin, K. Vehchkov, P. Todorov, and G. Milev; 
and there are papers of statesmen from the time of the achievement of 
Bulgarian independence in 1879. The archives are classified according 
to language. This department is at present being reorganised. It has 
only one alphabetical index for all archives and books, with separate 
indices for the more important collections of archives, because the 
catalogues were destroyed during the Second World War. 

The Department of Early Books and Manuscripts. The function of 
this department is to collect ten copies of every early Bulgarian 
publication, that is, of Bulgarian books and periodicals printed before 
the liberation from the Turks, as well as Bulgarian MSS. Some of the 
MSS, are of great antiquity, many relate to the period of Turkish rule, 
and all the collections of the department are of great importance for the 
study of Bulgarian history. Author, subject, and chronological 
catalogues, and a shelf list of early books are maintained and, in 
addition lists of printers and publishers represented in the collections. 
A reference guide to early Bulgarian publications has been compiled by 
the department. 

The Oriental Department collects valuable works of authors of 
every period, and of all peoples and countries of the Orient, to assist in 
the scientific study of the Orient in Bulgaria. Ottoman Turkish 
archives dating from before the liberation of Bulgaria are also collected, 
as source material for the study of Bulgarian history. The department 
has three collections: Oriental printed works, mainly Turkish and 
Arabic, from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: MSS. 
collections, mainly of Arabian MSS. of a theological-philosophical and 
historical character; and Turkish archives containing official Turkish 
documents, mainly dealing with Bulgaria before the liberation. There 
is an alphabetical catalogue for the printed material, and a temporary 
index with a brief description for the MSS. The documents are only 
pardy classified. 

The Maps and Graphs Department collects maps, graphs, albums, 


portraits of Bulgarian historical personages, and pictures of historical 
events. There are indices for all the collections of this department. 

The Music Department has as its first task the collection of the works 
of Bulgarian composers, and also compiles a reference list of all 
compositions published in Bulgaria or by Bulgarians abroad. 

The Bibliographical Information Department supplies biblio- 
graphical information to readers and institutions in Bulgaria and 
abroad; it also carries out research on special subjects, and provides 
information and literature about them. The information thus acquired 
is indexed, and a central record of libraries maintained. Lists of 
recommended literature are prepared in connection with, and on the 
occasion of, important events and celebrations. A number of auxiliary 
indices are being prepared to facilitate research, and provide a guide for 
the extension of the collections of the Library. It is planned to extend 
still further the services offered by the department to readers. The 
department functions in close co-operation with the Bulgarian 
Bibliographical Institute. 

The Library has taken over the house of Ivan Vazov, the great 
writer and poet of the Bulgarian Renaissance, which was formerly used 
as a museum, but is now an institute for the study of Vazov and his 
works. A similar institute is to be created in memory of the poet 
Christo Smirnensky. 

The Bulgarian Bibliographical Institute was established in 1944 as an 
independent organisation, but was later attached to the National 
Library. It provides an information service concerning Bulgarian 
books and periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, 
maintains finding lists for the location of copies when required, issues 
current bibliographical information, and conducts courses in 

Accessions during 1950 were as follows: 

Books and periodicals (volumes) 23,465 

Early books . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,340 

Early MSS. 25 

Maps, graphs, albums, and portraits 2,000 

Archives (items) 40,393 


The "Vassil Kolarov" State Library is the centre of the library 
system of Bulgaria, and is in constant touch with, and co-operates with, 
libraries throughout the country. Since 1949 it has organised inter- 
library loans, while a system of exchange and mutual supply of books 


with institutions in other countries has been in operation since 1947. 
One copy of publications received by legal deposit, together with 
"Bulgarian Books," the publication of the Library, is used as material 
for exchange. A photographic and microfilm service is provided by 
the Library. Inter-library lending is at present being studied, with a 
view to its extension, by a Library Section of the Ministry of Culture, 
which is making a survey of the whole library system of the country. 


The size of the staffof the Library has been increased since September 
9, 1944, to a figure several times as large as the total number before 
that date. Since then, too, measures have been taken for the first time 
to ensure the systematic recruiting and training of staff; salaries have 
been increased and courses in librarianship open to the staffs of other 
libraries, introduced at the State Library; the courses last one year for 
graduates and six months for non-graduates. There is a further course 
lasting one year at the "Kliment Ochretsky" University in Sofia, 
while in 1950 an independent State Librarians' Institute was established, 
to provide a two-year course for the staff of public libraries. A weekly 
refresher course has been introduced at the Institute, at the initiative of 
the State Library, where theoretical and practical problems are 
discussed, and recent literature on libraries and bibliography discussed. 
The qualifications required for specialist librarians in the Library are 
university education and training in librarianship, and for technical 
assistants, secondary education and training in librarianship. Training 
in h'brarianship is received at the courses held in the State Library and 
at the State Librarians' Institute. 


The finances of the Library, which are derived solely from State 
funds, have been greatly increased since the establishment of the 
Fatherland Front Government. Salaries and funds available for the 
purchase of books have been augmented. About one-sixth of the total 
stocks of the Library has been supplied since 1944, and books are now 
bound regularly and promptly. 

[Vassil Kolarov State Library, Sofia. Guide.] Bulgarian. 1956. 

19 NLW 




The Public and University Library of Prague came into existence in 
the University of Prague, which was founded in the year 1348 by the 
Czech King Charles I (the Emperor Charles IV). The first recorded 
mention of it dates from the year 1366, when the King, who must be 
reckoned as its founder, bestowed upon it forty-eight volumes, while 
somewhat later, by his influence, a further 114 volumes were received 
from the estate of Dean Vilem z Hasenburku. In 1370, according to 
the earliest catalogue, which still survives, there were already 204 
volumes in the Library. 

With the University were connected in some loose manner, and 
afterwards incorporated into it, certain of the university colleges, one 
of which, the College of the Czech Nation, is known from its catalogue 
to have possessed a collection of 2,000 books at the commencement of 
the fifteenth century. During the Hussite troubles, both the Caroline 
College and the Library were damaged in 1420, but the damage was 
made good by numerous gifts. The Council of the Old Town gave a 
fine collected edition of the works of the elder and the younger 
Plinies, and John Ondrejuv gave 200 books. It is estimated that there 
were in the various college libraries, which were about ten in number, 
at the end of the fifteenth century about 4,500 Latin MSS., of which 
the greater part, according to Sigismund Winter, were sold to 
bookbinders in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 

Besides the University Library, there was founded in 1556 at 
Prague a library belonging to the Jesuits there, the nucleus of which 
was the rich collection of books from the Oybinian convent. In the 
seventeenth century this Jesuit library was abundantly endowed with 
gifts of books, notably with the libraries of Pavel Pistorius and 
Sigismund Kapr of Kaprstein. The Jesuits were expelled in 1618, and 
their library was to have been moved to the Carolinum, the University 
building, and added to the library there, but the removal was 



postponed, and on their return in 1622 they found the library still 
intact. In that year, after the suppression of the Czech revolution, the 
Emperor Ferdinand II handed over the entire Caroline University, with 
its colleges and libraries, to the Jesuits, and the University libraries were 
transferred to the Clementinum, the Jesuit convent, and their use 
restricted to members of the Order. 

In the year 1638 the faculties of law and medicine of the University 
were withdrawn from the control of the Jesuits, and there came into 
existence in these faculties an independent library, distinct from 
the older University Library. It was placed in the Carolinum, and 
called the Bibliotheca Carolina Minor. It grew rapidly, and in 1740 
contained 7,000 volumes. In 1701 it acquired by bequest the collection 
formed by Count Josef Sternberg, in 1726 a further large collection 
of books, mainly on law and medicine, formed by the Counts Stern- 
berg, and in 1749 Maria Theresa presented 4,000 duplicates from the 
Court Library at Vienna. By 1769 this Library was accessible to the 

The abolition of the Jesuit Order in Austria, which took place in 
1773, was the occasion for the amalgamation of the three libraries; 
from twelve suppressed Jesuit colleges over 100,000 books were 
received. In 1777 a gift of 10,000 volumes, mainly on military subjects, 
was received from the family of the Counts Kinsky, while by the good 
offices of Count Fr. Kinsky in later years, the Library obtained the 
gift of a complete collection of the printed works of Mozart, the library 
of Professor Krombholz, and a gift of 4,115 books from the private 
collection of the Emperor Ferdinand I. In 1782 the Library received 
the tide of "Public and University Library." 

The Revolution of October 28, 1918, and the proclamation of 
independence of the Czechoslovak Republic, brought a new age of 
expansion to the Library. Between 1918 and 1939 many complete 
libraries were acquired; foremost among them was the Prague library 
of the Lobkowicz family, numbering 52,631 volumes, among them 
valuable MSS., early editions, and works of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries dealing with Bohemia: others worth mentioning 
are the Bolzano, the Lizicky Seminary, the Smaha, the Mitrovic, the 
Ostojic, select works from the collections of the Moravian Brethren at 
Pirna in Saxony and that of the Czech Academy, while many works 
dealing with the Czech Nationalist Movement abroad during the 
Second World War were received subsequently. In 1925 the task of the 
Library was defined as the preservation of Czechoslovak material 
received by legal deposit, and the acquisition and preservation of all 
foreign literature concerning the country. 


In 1851 the Library contained 117,542 volumes, and in 1882 it had 
reached 183,000, while by 1950 the total contents were as follows: 

Books (volumes) 1,275,487 

(uncatalogued) 107,825 

Maps 8,519 

(not filed) 12,796 

Music (items) 41,631 

(not filed) 22,995 

Manuscripts (not filed) 3,898 

Incunabula 1,892 

(not filed) 300 

First among the noteworthy Librarians was Raphael Charles Ungar 
(Librarian 1780-1807), who may be called the second founder of the 
Library; he incorporated into it many books from the monasteries 
in Bohemia and Moravia dissolved by Joseph II in 1781, and obtained 
the privilege of legal deposit for the Library. Many books and 
MSS. were received through his influence, and the systems of classi- 
fication for printed books and MSS. still in use in the Library were 
drawn up by him. In 1786 he commenced the formation of the 
Bibliotheca Nationalis all works concerning Bohemia and Moravia, 
whether in the Czech or other languages. Under the librarianship 
of Fr. Posselt (1810-25), the system of catalogues was established. 
Pavel Josef Safank (1841-60), a famous scholar, carried out wide 
research into library organisation; under him emphasis was laid on the 
importance of systematic purchasing, and improvements in the book 
fund and in the number and working conditions of the staff were 
made. Further increases in the financial grant made to the Library, 
together with the acquisition of many important collections, came 
about under Dr. Jaromir Borecky (1910-30), the first Director under 
the Republic. 

The right of legal deposit was first obtained in 1782 by Ungar for 
books printed in Prague, and this was extended to include the whole 
of Bohemia in 1807. Legal deposit for the whole of modern 
Czechoslovakia dates from 1925. 


The original University Library was housed until 1381 in the old 
College of St. Nicholas; it was then moved to the Carolinum or 
University building. It was again moved in 1622, to the Clementinum, 
a large braiding constructed between 1528 and 1727 by the Jesuits, and 


one of the outstanding examples of Renaissance baroque architecture 
in Prague; and there it still remains. Since 1918 the building has been 
occupied exclusively by the Library; extensive adaptations of the 
structure were undertaken between 1924 and 1929, and work 
commenced on the final stage of adaptation in 1948. Care has been 
taken throughout to preserve the original character of the building, 
and ample space has been provided for reading rooms, staff workrooms, 
and for book storage. There are four reading rooms on the ground 
floor, general, specialist (with a public reference library), current 
periodicals, and a room for University professors. On the first floor is 
a reading room for the study of MSS. and rare books, while a special 
room on the second floor contains the Mozart Collection. The 
principal reading room was formerly the refectory of the Jesuits ; it is 
a fine room, of the height of two storeys with a vaulted ceiling and 
frescoed walls; the former Mirror Chapel, built in 1723 and one of the 
most beautiful baroque interiors in Prague, was restored in 1936, and 
is now used as an exhibition hall. 


There are author-catalogues, partly in volume form and partly on 
cards, for staff and for public use, and a subject-catalogue on cards. 
There are also special catalogues of bibliographies, music, maps, MSS., 
and incunabula. Printed catalogues of manuscripts have been issued: 
Walther Dolch's Katalog der deutschen Handschriften der K.K. oeffentlichen 
und Universitatsbibliothek zu Prag. Part I, to 1550, 1909. A catalogue 
by Joseph Trular of Czech manuscripts in the Library was published 
in 1906 and the same author's Catalogus codicum manu scriptomm 
latinorum qui in C.R. Bibliotheca publica atque Universitatis Pragensis 
asservantur. 2 vol. in 1905, 06. 


The Library is divided into six departments, Directorate, Economic 
Administration, Acquisition of Books, Author-Catalogue, Subject- 
Catalogue, Service to Readers. There is a bindery which merely 
repairs books; all rebinding is carried out by bookbinders outside the 
building. In 1950 23,672 volumes were bound. There is also a 
photographic department; in 1950 19,071 negatives, 15,815 enlarge- 
ments, and 2,700 photostat copies were made. 

Volumes issued in 1950 for consultation in the reading rooms 
numbered 82,119, an d those lent from the Library 78,504. 


Accessions were as follows: 


Legal deposit 7,612 

Purchase 3,072 

Donation 4*314 

Exchange . . . . . . . . . . . . 4*569 

The staff of the Library numbers 130. 


In accordance with Law No. 58 of 1950, and with an ordinance of 
the Ministry of Education, Sciences and Arts passed in September of the 
same year, the Library is now under the control of the Government, 
acting through the Ministry. The Library arranges loans of books from 
Czechoslovak or foreign libraries, making them available to country 
readers through their own local libraries. A national bibliography, in 
weekly and annual parts, is published in co-operation with the Union 
of Czech Publishers. Work has begun on a union catalogue of Czech 
libraries. The Library has exchange agreements with about 150 
libraries abroad, and receives the publications of the United Nations 


Since 1920 the Library has published, partly by the help of the 
Bibliographical Institute, which was established in the Library in 1919, 
the Bibliographical Catalogue of the Periodicals of the Czech Republic 
(Prague, 1920), and the Bibliographical Catalogue of Czech 
Publications, series I, 1922-28, weekly with annual author and subject 
index, and series II, a complete annual cumulation. The learned 
libraries of Czechoslovakia also co-operate in the compilation of a joint 
accessions list, which is published by the National Library. 

Other publications of the Library are: 

Bibliothecae Clementinas Analecta. Editor, J. Emler. vol. I, Prague, 1931. 
Manuals for Scientific Libraries, vol. I, Prague, 1932. 


Spirfc, Ant. Geschichte und Beschreibung der k. u. k. Universitatsbibliothek 

zu Prag. Wien, 1844. 
Hanzlfe Jos. A. Geschichte u. Beschreibung der Prager Universitats-Bibliothek. 

Prag, 18,51. 


Truhldr, Josef. Dejiny biblioteky Klementinske". (History of tie Clementinum 
Library.) In Osveta, 1882, pp. 656-63, 696-708, 813-25. 

Zibrt, V. t. C. Bibliografie ceske historic. Praha, 1900. voL i, p. 198 sq., no. 

The National and University Library of Prague. A short guide to the library 
and the Clementinum. Prague, 1948. 

For other literature on the Library, especially the informative articles by 
Dr. Emler, a former Director, in the Prager Presse, see L. J. 2ivnf , Bibliografie 
csl. knihovedy. Praha, 1929, etc. vol. I-VT. 




In 1747 the public library in which the origins of the Polish National 
Library lie was founded in Warsaw by Jozef Andrzej Zaluski, Bishop 
of Kiev, and Andrzej Stanislaw, his brother, Bishop of Cracow. 
They offered it to the nation; its development was rapid, and by 1774 
it possessed 10,000 MSS., 30,000 printed books, and about 24,000 
drawings, and was one of the largest libraries then existing. In 1774 it 
passed under the direction of the Commission for National Education 
which at that time was forming a plan for the control of all the 
libraries in the country. In 1780 the library received the privilege of 
legal deposit. 

After the defeat of the Kosciuszko insurrections, and within a year of 
the third partition of Poland in 1795, the contents of the Zaluski 
Library were removed to St. Petersburg, suffering much damage and 
many losses in the process. The libraries of Poland gradually recovered, 
but in the prevailing conditions the establishment of a national 
institution was impossible, and at the defeat of the Poles by Russia in 
1830, the libraries of the country were once more ravaged, and many 
of their valuable possessions carried off by the conquerors. The work 
of a national library, meanwhile, was continued by the Jagiellonian 
Library at Cracow and the Ossolinski Library at Lwow. 

The constant failure of the Poles to re-establish their independence in 
the face of Russian mastery led to the establishment by Count W. 
Plater in 1863 of the Polish National Museum in Rapperswyl Castle, 
Switzerland, which still remains under the control of the Polish 
Government. It contained collections of MSS., government archives 
from 1863, military records, photographs, and letters, together with 
relics of those who had taken part in the insurrection and in the great 
Polish emigration of 1830. Other important collections were 
maintained in Paris; they comprised the Polish Library there, together 
with those of the Polish School at Batignolles, and the Polish 
Democratic Society at Versailles. 



The Rapperswyl Collections were taken, in 1927 to Warsaw, and 
housed provisionally in the Central Military Library, for because of 
their value as source material for the history of the country, they were 
in constant demand by scholars. In the air raids of September 1939, 
they were almost completely destroyed. 

After the end of hostilities with Russia in 1918, a commission of 
Polish librarians and scientists was appointed to visit Leningrad and 
Moscow in an effort to trace as much as possible of the material 
removed from the Polish libraries after the third partition and the 1830 
insurrection: eventually 13,000 MSS. and about 50,000 volumes from 
the Zaluski Library, together with material from other libraries were 
returned by the Soviet Government under the terms of the Treaty of 
Riga. Meanwhile the formation of a national library was discussed; 
alternative suggestions put forward were the adaptation of the Jagiello- 
nian Library and the creation of a new foundation in Warsaw. The 
latter plan was adopted, and in 1928 the formation of the Library 
commenced under the direction of Stefan Demby, and in May 1935, 
at the death of Jozef Pilsudski, it received the title Jozef Pilsudski 
National Library. As plans matured and practical experience was 
gained, in 1937 a National Library Statute was enacted, defining its 
aims as follows : 

1. To assemble and make available to readers the whole body of Polish 
literature, with particular attention to that of the period beginning 1801. 
All material published in Poland, together with that published abroad and 
concerning Poland, was to be collected. 

2. To collect the most important literature in foreign languages. 

The foundation collections were those of Rapperswyl, and those 
portions of the Zaluski which had been recovered. Books collected by 
Polish political exiles of the nineteenth century were received from the 
Kornik Library near Poznari, and the Polish Library in Paris. Many 
gifts were received, among them the Wilanow Library, from Count 
Adam Branicki, and the collections of the Princes Poninski of Horyniec. 
The theatres of Warsaw deposited their rich collections of dramatic 
works, dating from the end of the eighteenth century, and the musical 
library of the Warsaw Opera was also received, the latter shortly 
before the outbreak of war in 1939- The chief glory of the Library 
was its collection of MSS., which included the earliest remains of the 
ancient Polish language, the so-called Holy Cross Sermons of the 
thirteenth century, and the Florianski Psalter, dating from the end of 
the fourteenth century. There were unique examples of early Polish 
printed material. The music collection developed rapidly in the years 
preceding 1939, including among its collections numerous autograph 


MSS. of Chopin, while it was engaged in making sound recordings of 
Polish folk-songs. 

The collections benefited in the years before 1939 from the exchange 
of duplicates organised throughout Polish libraries and with libraries 
abroad by the Ministry of Religion and Education, more than 1,000 
volumes monthly being received from this source. From August 1927, 
one copy at first, and later two copies of every work printed in the 
country were received by legal deposit, a regulation which remains in 
Before the outbreak of war in 1939, the stocks of the Library were: 

Printed Books (before 1801) (volumes) 85,000 

Modern Printed Books and Periodicals . . over 500,000 

MSS 52,850 

Maps over 10,000 

Prints and Drawings 80,000 

Music (items) 38,000 

After the occupation of Warsaw by the Germans in 1939, the Nazi 
forces set out systematically to destroy all monuments of Polish culture, 
among them the collections of the National Library. The Rapperswyl 
collection, as already mentioned, was destroyed in air raids during 
September 1939, In 1941, all books in foreign languages remaining in 
the National Library were transferred to the University Library, and 
the Polish books and periodicals of the University Library to the 
National Library. The special collections of the National Library, 
incunabula, MSS., engravings, maps, and music, were moved to the 
Krasinsfci Library; the inevitable result of all this movement was 
damage to the collections. The staff did what they could to impede 
the work. Finally the building was occupied by German troops. In 
October 1944, the Krasinski Library with its contents was set on fire; 
thus irreplaceable records of the culture and history of the country 
were destroyed, apart from some 20,000 MSS. and 50,000 antiquarian 
books of minor importance, and 172,000 volumes which had been 
removed from the Library, and some of which had previously been 
taken to Germany. 

After the expulsion of the Nazi forces from Poland by the Soviet 
Army, a new phase commenced in the existence of the Library. Parts 
of the collections which had been removed to places in Poland, 
Germany, and Austria, were discovered and sent back to Warsaw by a 
section of the Ministry of Education set up to recover works dispersed 
from libraries and other institutions; part, however, had been removed 
to western Germany, and has not been recovered. Many private 
collections were acquired by the nation and added to the National 


Library, thus becoming for the first time accessible to the public. 
Further items, deposited in Canada before the outbreak of war, have 
still to be returned; they include some MSS. of the greatest importance 
for Polish literature, including the Holy Cross Sermons and Florianski 
Psalter. The total losses of the Library amounted to about 20 per cent, of 
the pre-war stock, but included a high proportion of foreign scientific 
publications, biographies, bibliographies, encyclopaedias, and other 
reference works, as well as classical literature and some periodicals. 

The People's Government of Poland was anxious from the first to 
promote the development of the National Library, which was placed 
under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Art, although at 
first, owing to the complete destruction of the building, the process of 
reconstruction was slow and difficult in the extreme. It became 
possible to reopen the reading room on April i, 1946. Within the few 
years which have elapsed since the liberation of Poland, however, the 
activities of the National Library have far exceeded the level of 
pre-war years, 

A council which exists to advise the Director on matters relating to 
the general organisation and activities of the Library is composed of 
a maximum of twenty-five members drawn from the staffs of the 
National Library and other libraries and from the world of scholarship 
in general. In the re-formed collections, works on the humanities 
preponderate, with Polish literature of the nineteenth century strongly 
represented. There are important special collections of works on the 
history of the Polish emigration 1831-1870, and on bibliography, and 
of PoHsh engravings. The main aim of the Library was defined when 
its new constitution received official approbation in 1954 as the 
collection and preservation of all records of Polish culture, manuscript 
or printed, and it attempts to acquire copies of all works published in 
Poland and of those published abroad in the Polish language or dealing 
in any way with Poland. In 1955 its stocks were as follows: 

Modern printed books . . . . (volumes) 1,000,000 

Old books (printed before 1800) , 103,582 

Periodicals and newspapers 214,275 

Pamphlets and leaflets 149,398 

MSS (volumes) 7,398 

Maps 13,000 

Atlases 986 

Prints 20,665 

Original drawings 1*650 

Photographs 3>399 

Reproductions of scientific materials. . .. ... 2,785 


Albums and illustrated art books 2,192 

Music (items) 20,281 

Microfilms 11,409 

The Library also possesses about 500,000 volumes of printed books 
which have not yet been catalogued. 


At its foundation, the Library possessed no building of its own, and 
its collections and offices were scattered throughout Warsaw in 
buildings hired or lent for temporary use. A site for a new building on 
the former Warsaw racecourse was given to the Library, and the 
foundation stone was to have been laid in 1940, but this was prevented 
by the war. At present the Library is housed in temporary premises in 
different parts of the city, but the collections are to be brought together, 
provisionally, in the building of the former Krasiriski Library, which 
was burnt by the Nazis in 1944 but is to be restored and adapted. It is 
to have a nine-storeyed stack, to contain 3,000,000 volumes, and the 
work of restoration is to begin in 1957. Later, it is hoped to construct 
an entirely new building for the Library, with storage for 10,000,000 


Three volumes of a catalogue of MSS. were published between 1929 
and 1938, and publication has been resumed since the war. Lists of 
purchases made by the Library were also published in pre-war days, and 
special catalogues of old books, graphic arts, and cartography; and a 
code of cataloguing rules compiled by Dr. Jozef Grycz was published 
in 1934. A catalogue of the principal illuminated and illustrated MSS. 
was published in 1938 by the Societe francais de reproductions de 
manuscrits a peintures. 

All the catalogues of the Library were destroyed during the Second 
World War with the fortunate exception of a duplicate set of cards of 
the main catalogue. After this had been used to assess the losses of the 
Library, it was rearranged as an author-catalogue, and at present 
contains 379,000 cards. Since 1950 work has been proceeding on a 
classified catalogue, the first section of which, covering Polish publica- 
tions since 1945, has been completed. An alphabetical subject-catalogue 
is also being compiled. Printed catalogue cards are prepared for the 
more important works received by legal deposit, and are distributed 
through the Bibliographical Institute of the Library to more than 4,000 
libraries and scientific institutions. Catalogues of microfilms added to 
the Library have been published annually since 1951. 



The Library is organised in three main sections: the collections, the 
Bibliographical Institute and the Institute of the Book and Reading. 
Two departments additional to these are the Microfilm Service and 
the Bureau for the International Exchange of Publications, and the 
Library also has its own printing office and bindery. 

The collections are subdivided as follows: 

(1) New Books. 

(2) Newspapers and Periodicals. Includes a central indexing service for 
Polish periodicals and newspapers. 

(3) Old Books. Carries out research into the history of printing, and records 
early printed books in other Polish libraries. 

(4) Manuscripts. Much developed during the years preceding the Second 
World War, and became a centre of research into Polish literature of the 
nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Graphic Arts. 


New Acquisitions. 


Department of Library Magazines. 


Reading Room. 

Lending Library. 

(12) Information and Liaison. 

(13) Union Catalogues. 

(14) Conservation Workroom. 

The accessions of printed books in 1955 amounted to 45,414 volumes : 
24,535 by legal deposit, 2,339 by purchase, 9,317 by exchange, and 
9,223 by gift. 

The staff of the Library is divided into three categories: professional 
workers who hold university degrees or diplomas in librarianship; 
workers with professional and technical qualifications, such as those 
engaged on conservation work or in the Microfilm Service; and 
administrative workers, including domestic staff and those engaged 
in fetching books, filing, etc. The numbers of staff in the three 
categories are respectively 290, 45, 43 : total staff, 378. Immediately 
responsible to the Director of the Library are three Assistant Directors 
responsible for the collections, the Bibliographical Institute and the 
Institute of the Book. 


The Library is the focal point for all library activities in the country, 
collaborating with all special libraries and co-ordinating their work, 
supervising scientific research in fields connected with librarianship, 


keeping a general watch over all collections of manuscripts and early 
printed books, and conducting general bibliographical research, while 
it is in close contact with institutions engaged in specialised biblio- 
graphical work. It offers bibliographical information and advice on 
routine administration to public and school libraries, prepares, in 
collaboration with smaller libraries, catalogues of existing collections, 
and has at its disposal a film survey of old books, MSS., and national 
treasures. It is responsible for the exchange of Polish publications with 
libraries abroad, especially those in Communist countries. The 
Bibliographic Institute, established since the end of hostilities in 1945, 
serves as the central office for all bibliographic work in Poland, and 
publishes Przewodnik Bibliograficzny, 1946- , a weekly current national 
bibliography, Bibliografia zawartosti czasopism, 1951- , a subject- 
index to periodicals, Bibliografia bibliografii i nauki o ksiazce, 1945- , a 
bibliography of Polish bibliographies and the science of the book, 
select reading lists, and, for public libraries, an annual bibliography 
of fiction, poetry and plays published in Poland. A new publication 
in preparation since 1947 is a retrospective Polish bibliography, 
listing works published between 1901 and 1950. Bibliographies of 
books published in Poland, 1929-39, periodicals published in Poland, 
193 1-3 5> and of works in Polish or concerning Poland published 
abroad, 1929-38, have already been issued. The Bibliographic Institute 
also publishes its own bulletin and handbooks of library technique, 
organises instruction in bibliography, and holds meetings which are 
attended by authors, readers and critics. 

The Institute of the Book and Reading, set up in 1955, conducts 
research into reading habits and methods of work in libraries, with 
special attention to public libraries. It collaborates closely with Polish 
libraries and publishing organisations, assisting the former and sending 
to the publishers information concerning the reception of their 

The Microfilm Service, established in 1950, deals with requests made 
by users of the Library, and is also forming a systematic collection of 
films of rare and early printed books and MSS. The Library also 
conducts an information service in the humanistic sciences, replying to 
inquiries received from institutions throughout the country and abroad. 
It co-ordinates the work of general and special reference centres 
throughout the country, issuing monthly a list of the more important 
bibliographical references supplied by co-operating institutions. 
Instruction in reference work is given to librarians as part of the work 
of the service. 

A conference held in 1951 between representatives of the Library 


and of the Ministries responsible for general and technical education 
strongly recommended the formation of union catalogues. Among 
those now maintained by the Library are catalogues of works published 
before 1800, and of manuscript notes and marks of ownership in old 
books, and of periodicals in Polish libraries. 

All costs connected with the management and upkeep of the library- 
are met from State funds. The annual income of the Library in 1956 
was 8,500,000 zlotys, of which 20 per cent, was devoted to the 
purchase of books, photography and microfilming, and binding, 
7-6 per cent, on the maintenance of the building, 67 per cent, on 
salaries, and 5*4 per cent, on special research work. 


Danilewicz, M. The Libraries of Poland. St. Andrews, 1943. 

Wieckowska, H. The Rebirth of the National Library, Warsaw. In: Library 

Association Record. October 1946. pp. 245-48. 
Bienkowski, W. Problemy Bibliotek Narodowej. 1954. 




Though the United States until very recent times did not possess an 
actual national library, and even today do not possess one which is so 
called, they are honoured by a library which ranks among the foremost 
of such institutions: the Library of Congress, at Washington, District 
of Columbia. 

The Continental Congress from its inauguration in 1774 used the 
Library Company of Philadelphia for necessary reference; but in 1783 
a committee recommended the purchase of books on law and inter- 
national relations, and urged, in addition, the acquisition of all books on 
the antiquities of America and on the affairs of the United States. The 
proposal was rejected on economic grounds, however, as were like 
proposals made by a committee of the First Congress of the United 
States seven years later. However, the two houses of Congress casually 
acquired small libraries during the next few years. 

In 1800 Congress was transferred to the new city of Washington, and 
thus lost its access to the libraries of New York and Philadelphia. 
Provision was therefore made in the Act removing the Government 
for a library, to be controlled by a joint committee of the two Houses, 
at an initial cost of $5,000. A further Act, passed on January 26, 1802, 
ordered the unification of the separate libraries of the Houses, and the 
appointment by the President of the United States of a librarian, to be 
paid not more than $2 for each day of attendance. This marked the 
real foundation of the Library of Congress; three days later, President 
Jefferson, an ardent friend of the Library, appointed as the first 
Librarian, John Beckley, the Clerk of the House of Representatives. 
Beckley held office until his death on April 8, 1807, and was followed 
in both appointments by Patrick Magruder. 

A list of desiderata drawn up by the President in 1806 excluded 
recreational literature and all but a few books in foreign languages; 
public law, parliamentary procedure and the like were very fully 
represented, however; and his recommendations were followed, 



though modern literature soon bulked large. The books meanwhile 
were moved from the office of the Clerk of the Senate in the Capitol 
to the first room of the House of Representatives, newly vacated by 
that body, and again in 1805 to a Committee Room. These quarters 
had not been solidly rebuilt, and were internally of wood with a shingle 
roof. In 1812 the Anglo-American War broke out, and in 1814 the 
British troops fired the Capitol and totally destroyed the Library, or 
all that was left in situ. It had numbered about 3,000 volumes. 

For the work of reconstruction, various offers of help were made, 
far the most important being that of Jefferson's fine private library, 
which he offered for purchase on the Congress's own terms. After a 
debate, in which the presence in the collection of the works of the 
Philosophes and their disciples led to acrimonious comment, the 
purchase was authorised, and the library valued and bought for 
$23,950, a moderate price for over six thousand volumes. The library 
was rich in literature, while the collections on contemporary political 
history and certain phases of local law were unique. But newspaper 
controversy on party lines ran high, and much ink was shed. The book $ 
were moved in 1815, Jefferson hoping with good reason that they 
"might not be without some general effect on the literature of our 

Magruder had been away unwell at the time of the burning of the 
Library, his assistant, J. T. Frost, being in charge. Censured for his 
failure to secure the removal of the books, he resigned his posts of 
Clerk and (by inference) of Librarian. The offices were now divided, 
and the new Librarian was George Watterston, who had made a name 
as a journalist and author. The use of the Library, hitherto restricted 
to members of Congress, was in 1816 extended to include the 
Attorney-General, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and in fact, by 
liberal interpretation of the regulations, scholars in general. 

The second Library, after various abortive proposals, was established 
in the north wing of the new Capitol in 1818; then in 1824 it was 
moved to much better quarters at the back of the centre building, 
occupying a hall in the style of library building of the time, ninety feet 
long, thirty feet wide, and thirty-five feet high, divided into twelve 
arched alcoves. In the following year, this buHding narrowly escaped 
being burned in its turn, but the fire was seen in time and little damage 
was done. 

Annual appropriations for purchases at this time averaged $1,800, 
but were extraordinarily erratic, varying from nearly $4,000 to $53. 
Very few foreign books were purchased, and the day for large things 
had yet to come; Obadiah Rich's collection of Americana vetustissima 
20 NLW 


was allowed to go to Lenox. But there were members of Congress 
who had the vision of a national library, and a few important 
documents were secured, though the proposal of an active promoter 
of the Library, Mr. Everett, in 1822, that copies of all papers in the 
archives of Great Britain bearing on the history of the American 
colonies be secured, failed to find acceptance; the project had to wait 
a century for the photostat and Mr. Rockefeller. Accessions consisted 
largely of law books; and the Library of Congress ranked fourth 
among the libraries of the United States, being inferior only to those 
at Harvard, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Already the collection of 
public documents was reaching great proportions. By an Act of 1828 
the Library Committee was empowered to remove imperfect and 
duplicate copies. 

In 1829, during the recess, Watterston was removed from office, by 
an act ultra vires of President Andrew Jackson, to whose party his 
Whig journalism was obnoxious. A battle of newspapers, conducted 
on orthodox party lines, ensued, and Watterston fought in vain 
for reinstatement till his death in 1854. He was succeeded by John 
Silva Meehan, who had been alternately a printer and a sailor. Meehan 
took his duties seriously, and visited other libraries to study 
method, though the Committee allowed little scope for his initiative 
and zeal. Like his predecessor, he lost his post illegally, and from the 
same party rage, being removed fay Lincoln in 1861 on the 
ground that he sympathised with the Southern States. Meehan died 
in 1863. 

In Meehan's time the Library continued to expand and to outgrow 
its space, reaching by 1851 the total of 55,000 volumes, though two 
fine Italian libraries, the Buturlin from Florence and the Durazzo from 
Genoa, were offered in vain in 1836 and 1844. A law of July 14, 1832, 
led to the establishment of a law library as part of the Library of 
Congress for the use of Justices of the Supreme Court, attorneys, and 
counsellors. It was housed in a room north of the main Library until 
1843, then moved to a room in the north wing of the Capitol, near the 
chambers of the Court; and in 1860 Court and Law Library were 
transferred to the east side of the principal storey* Meanwhile, thanks 
to the suggestion of Alexandre Vattemare, a new source of books was 
provided by inter-governmental exchanges. Purchases of books 
remained haphazard, however, and many important foreign works 
were lacking. In 1 8 5 1 the total stock was reduced to some 20,000 by the 
Library's -third fire. Plans were already in existence for more spacious 
accommodation in the extended Capitol, to hold a quarter of a million 
books; but after the fire the work was placed in the hands of the 


architect of the Capitol, Thomas U. Walter, who designed a room, 
stone floored and with cast-iron shelving not unlike the later stack 
two years before Panizzi's plan for the British Museum. 

The restoration of the Library roused much instructed public 
interest; and in 1852 Congress voted first $10,000 for immediately 
needed books, and then $75,000. But many opportunities of profitable 
purchases had been missed, including Benjamin Franklin's original MS. 
map of the States, referred to in the Treaty with Great Britain in 1783 ; 
Jefferson's and Hamilton's papers, however, had been bought in 1848, 
after fierce debates in the Houses, and were, with other similar collec- 
tions (such as those of President Washington and President Madison) 
confided to the custody of the Department of State where they were to 
rest until the beginning of the next century, when the Library of 
Congress, equipped with a building of its own, could receive them into 
its Manuscripts Division. 

Meehan had been followed by John G. Stephenson, who held office 
for three years only, Ainsworth R. Spofford, who had been Chief 
Assistant since 1861, was appointed in 1864 to succeed Stephenson and 
his regime lasted till 1897. 

In 1864, according to a former Chief Assistant Librarian, Mr. 
Frederick W. Ashley, 1 "the Library of Congress was nothing more 
than the name implied a legislative collection, numbering about 
82,000 volumes. ... It was national in no sense but ownership." But 
this was the turning point. Spofford was young and energetic; and the 
Library by now was considerable enough to have influential friends. 
Copyright deposit, which had existed since 1846, was much strengthened 
by the Acts of 1865 and 1870. In 1866 the Smithsonian Institution's 
collection of proceedings and publications of learned societies, 
amounting to 40,000 volumes, was transferred to the Library; the 
Smithsonian's policy of exchanging its publications for those of 
learned bodies throughout the world continued after the transfer at a 
rate of about 5,000 pieces a year and provided a valuable .source of 
accessions to the Library of Congress. The Smithsonian Deposit now 
contains nearly 1,000,000 volumes. In 1867 Congress bought for 
$100,000 the Peter Force Collection of 60,000 volumes of Americana 
books, early newspapers, maps, MSS., and other material besides, 
including incunabula. A separate building soon became patendy 
necessary, though it did not come into existence for another quarter 
of a century, and the necessity was emphasised by the receipt of Joseph 
Meredith Toner's collection of Americana and works on medicine, 
numbering over 24,000 volumes. In 1886 a new library building, on 

1 Three Eras in the Library of Congress in Essays offered to Herbert Putnam, 1929, p. 57. 


the square immediately east of the Capitol, was authorised, and in 
1897 it was completed. 

In the Appropriation Act of 1897, Congress provided for the 
reorganisation of its Library, on a far ampler scale; and it created 
the office of Register of Copyrights, under the Librarian, whose 
position it defined and amply secured, the power of the President to 
appoint the Librarian being now made subject to the approval of the 

Spofford had served thirty-two years, and gave up his post to a new 
Librarian, John Russell Young, but he continued for a time as Chief 
Assistant. Young died after two years, and after the defeat (by the aid 
of the American Library Association) of efforts by various journalists 
and other unqualified persons to obtain the post, it was given in 1899 by 
President McKinley to a young man, then Librarian of the Boston 
Public Library, a member of a leading publishing family, Herbert 
Putnam, who was to remain in office until 1939, and during the forty 
years which followed his appointment transform it, and with it the 
conception of the functions of such a library, as Panizzi had done half 
a century and more before in the British Museum. 

Under Putnam the collections of the Library increased tenfold both 
in size and diversity, and there were corresponding increases in the 
staff and appropriations. Again, less than twenty years after the 
completion of the building which Spofford expected to serve the needs 
of a century, Putnam added a new book stack, larger than any of those 
which had formed part of the original equipment. It was followed by 
still another book stack as large as the first, additional storeys for study 
rooms, an extension of the east front, the Coolidge Auditorium and 
Whittall Pavilion, and finally a modern annexe, even more capacious 
than the main building with which he had commenced. For the 
operation of the Library he evolved a highly complex organisation, 
surrounding himself with outstandingly capable coadjutors, and 
providing them with the encouragement, freedom of action, and 
support essential for success. Every aim of the early years of his 
administration was achieved. He ended the twenty-five-year quest of 
the American Library Association for a source of central cataloguing 
information, and in so doing created the basis for all the subsequent 
developments which the printed catalogue card service makes possible. 
He not only recatalogued and reclassified the accessions of the previous 
century, but thereby established standards which were to continue 
without important demand for review during the next half century. A 
whole series of the collections of the Library became, under his 
development, outstanding in the Western hemisphere, and often, 


indeed, in the world Government documents, American history and 
manuscripts and transcripts relating to American history, Chinese 
books, Slavica, music, maps, law, incunabula, etc. He made provision 
whereby the Library might receive endowments, and whereby, in its 
search for especially qualified staff, it might not always be held to the 
limits of governmental salaries. A separate branch of the organisation 
was created to fulfil needs arising from the legislative duties of Congress. 
But Putman's most signal achievement was the position which he 
created for the Library in the American library system. Fundamentally, 
this position rested upon the card distribution and all that the card 
distribution represents in terms of collections, cataloguing, and 
classification, but it was reinforced by numerous bibliographic services, 
the national union catalogue, inter-library loan, and co-operative 
cataloguing. Such a position was then unique for a national library; 
Putnam was always anxious and alert to deprecate any administrative 
relationship, no matter how slight, with the other libraries of the 
country, and content to permit the status of the Library to rest, not 
upon any authoritarian basis, but wholly upon the services which it 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed as Putnam's successor 
Archibald MacLeish, a distinguished scholar and poet, who took 
office on October 2, 1939. War had broken out in Europe a month 
earlier, and the years of MacLeish's administration saw many changes 
in the activities, services, and collections of the Library consequent upon 
the world crises and the increasing international importance of the 
Library. Its administration was thoroughly reorganised. MacLeish 
established the six departments that exist today and delegated 
considerable authority to their directors, who alone became directly 
responsible to him instead of the forty officers previously so: thus, 
while the number of persons responsible directly to the Librarian was 
reduced to a minimum, every member of the staff received not only 
responsibilities but a certain voice in the conduct of the Library. A 
concise, comprehensive statement of Library policy was issued, which 
still applies. Staff and collections alike were brought to bear in new 
ways on the work of Government departments, including that of 
Congress itself and of the agencies brought into being by the Second 
World War; assistance was provided for the establishment of new 
Government libraries; the "Farmington Plan," a project for 
co-operation on a national scale in the acquisition of foreign 
publications, was formulated in a meeting of MacLeish's advisory 
council; and the acquisition and cataloguing processes were renovated 


to make the increasing volume of current publications as fully and as 
promptly available as possible, 

On December 19, 1944, MacLeish resigned to become Assistant 
Secretary of State. President Truman nominated as his successor 
Dr. Luther Harris Evans, a political scientist, educator, and administrator 
of historical projects, who, first as Director of the Legislative Reference 
Service and later as Chief Assistant Librarian, had contributed largely 
to the developments under the MacLeish regime. Dr. Evans remained 
in office from June 30, 1945 to July 3, 1953, when he left to become 
Director General of Unesco, and was succeeded by Mr. Lawrence 
Quincy Mumford, the eleventh Librarian of Congress and the first 
graduate of a professional library school to hold the post. 

In recent years, the Library continued to develop in the scope of its 
activities and services, in its collections, and in its relations with other 
institutions. Its administration has been based upon a continuous 
adaptation to needs, scrutiny and questioning of methods and 
procedure, and an effort to relate the activities of the Library of 
Congress to those of other institutions, both in the United States and 
abroad, in a common effort towards a common goal. 

To summarise, then, the chief reforms and new activities since 1897, 
of which some are treated more fully under the various special headings 

(1) In the collections, increased budgets allowed large acquisitions in 
many fields, while the copyright privilege was thoroughly exploited, 
and the Library was enablea to acquire a legal entity and to hold trust 
funds; so that at the present day it contains over 10,000,000 books. 
Chairs in such fields as music and history, and consultantships, most of 
them honorary, have been established, tenable by distinguished scholars 
and writers* A vast collection of photostat and microfilm copies of 
historical documents on America from foreign archives has been 

(2) The fine building completed and occupied in 1897 has been 
extended, first by an enlargement of the stacks, then by an addition at 
the back, and lastly by the acquisition of land and the construction of a 
large annexe across the street. 

(3) The administration has been thoroughly and logically depart- 

(4) The card catalogue has been perfected, and has become a 
cataloguing service in respect of new books for over 10,000 subscribers, 
as well as being a bibliographical tool of great value, both in card form, 
wherever it has been deposited as a whole, and in. its more recent 


book form. The printed catalogue card, as a vehicle for cataloguing 
information and for classification information in both the Dewey 
Decimal and Library of Congress systems, through its adaptability to 
many bibliographic uses, and through its ability to absorb within a 
unified system the co-operative work of a number of libraries more 
than 100 American libraries contribute "copy" to the Library of 
Congress cards is indubitably the most important contribution to 
bibliography made by the Library of Congress. On January i, 1956, 
the Library of Congress Catalog: Books Authors was expanded to 
reproduce in book form not only the cards printed by the Library of 
Congress, but information on works in other North American libraries, 
and its title was changed to The National Union Catalog. 

(5) A great series of special catalogues and studies has been published; 
in 1899 no funds for this service existed. 

(6) The classification has been continued and almost completed. It is 
unequalled for large general collections of books, being based upon the 
actual contents of one, and is kept continuously up to date by the 
publication from time to time of revised schedules. 

(7) Ample provision has been made for readers pursuing serious 
investigations to work in close contact with the collections on their 
subject. In addition, provision is made for continuous investigation 
through the assignment of 225 "study rooms" and several hundred 
"study tables." 

(8) Extra-mural services (beyond those of the catalogue and the 
classification) have been inaugurated in the form of union catalogues 
of important books in other North American libraries and of loans to 
other libraries. 


The constitution of the Library is unique. It dates from the Appro- 
priation Act of 1897. 

Though executive in its functions and general in its relations and 
service, the Library is not a bureau or dependency of any executive 
department. It is legally an agency of Congress, that is to say, of the 
Legislative branch. The estimates for its maintenance and develop- 
ment, though communicated to the Budget Bureau, are not subject to 
revision there, but in effect reach Congress direct from the Librarian. 
The Librarian does not report to the President or head of any executive 
department; his annual report is addressed directly to the President of 
die Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, though his 
relations with Congress are usually conducted through the Joint 


Committee of Congress on the Library, or less frequently, through the 
Committee on House Administration of the House of Representatives 
or the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate. This 
joint Congressional committee is by law composed of a number of 
members of the two last named committees. The all-important matter 
of financing the work of the Library is, however, a subject for the 
consideration and recommendation of the appropriation committees 
of both Houses of Congress. Although the Librarian is appointed by 
the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate, he is actually an 
officer of Congress. He appoints (and may dismiss) his subordinates, 
and even has power to "mate rules and regulations for the government 
of the Library." Within the narrow limits of the appropriations 
granted, the funds of the Library are applied at his discretion. The 
supervisory authority of the Library is, therefore, Congress itself, with 
the Library Committee available for the consideration of any sub- 
stantive legislation affecting it, or for any investigation of its affairs that 
may be desired. 

Appointment of staff, including most of those concerned with the 
building, does not lie within the general competitive provisions of the 
civil service. Their selection rests completely with the Librarian, with 
only the provision (also in the Act) that he shall consider "solely fitness 
for the particular duties" required in the position. 


General administration is controlled by the Librarian, Chief Assistant 
Librarian, and Deputy Chief Assistant Librarian. 

There are six main sections of the Library, viz., Administrative 
Department, Copyright Office, Law Library, Reference Department, 
Legislative Reference Service, and Processing Department. Included 
in die Administrative Department is the Photoduplication Service. The 
Reference Department includes the Research Divisions General 
Reference and Bibliography, Air Information, Air Research, Science, 
Technical Information, Music, Map, Manuscripts, Orientalia, Aero- 
nautics, Slavic and East European, Rare Books, Prints and Photographs, 
Serials, and the Hispanic Foundation; also the Division for the Blind, 
Loan, and Stack and Reader Divisions. The Processing Department 
controls acquisitions, cataloguing and classification, binding, the 
catalogue card service and the union catalogues. 

During the fiscal year 1954-55 the Library was visited by a total of 
795,684 persons. 


Accessions during 1954-55 were 5,340,592 items, of which 1,206,342 
items were added to the collection of the Library: 

Purchased 538,7^7 

Legal deposit Public Printer, Smithsonian Institu- 
tion, Books for the Blind 903,789 

Official donations (including newspapers) . . . . 2,315,518 

Exchange in U.S.A 20,990 

Exchange abroad 397,88 1 

Private donations 1,163,687 



Until 1897 the Library occupied an inconveniently increasing part of 
the Capitol, where all the sittings and business of Congress had to be 
carried on. Its great growth under Spofford, particularly as a result of 
the systematic application of the Copyright Act of 1870, had caused it 
to outgrow its accommodation, despite extensions, until finally only 
the bare essentials of routine could be carried out. In 1886 the 
necessary Act was passed for the erection of a separate library building, 
and $4,000,000 were appropriated for the purpose. 

Ten acres immediately to the east were cleared of houses, and 
General Thomas Lincoln Casey, Chief of Engineers of the Army, put 
plans in hand; they were completed and the erection supervised by 
Bernard R. Green. 

The plans were drawn on the amplest scale, to the then almost 
Utopian number of 4,500,000 volumes, which total Spofford estimated 
would be reached after a further century and a half. Work commenced 
at once, and the structure with its extension now forms the largest 
building in the world devoted solely to library purposes: in its original 
form, it had floor space of 326,195 square feet, or nearly eight acres. 
The style is Italian Renaissance, the main facing material being New 
Hampshire granite, with a lavish use of marbles. The interior is richly 
decorated with sculpture and paintings, fifty American artists having 
been employed. The purely decorative frescoes in the vaultings are 
subdued and often beautiful; but the more ambitious works are no 
addition to the architecture. The outer wings measure 470 feet north 
to south by 340 feet east to west. In the centre of the parallelogram so 
formed is placed, clearly on the model of the British Museum, the 
octagonal, domed main reading room. From this, four arms, dividing 
the space into four smaller courts, join up with the main entrance in 
front and with the working wing of the library behind, and hold stacks 
to left and right. Two of the courts have since been filled with 


additional stacks. The reading room is 165 feet in height, to the top of 
the dome, and is surrounded with alcoves. The centre is occupied by a 
large raised structure, consisting of the central desk, from which call- 
slips are dispatched through pneumatic tubes to the stacks in both 
buildings and where books are received from the mechanical conveyors. 
Both these devices for quickening the delivery of books were invented 
here, and both have been largely imitated elsewhere. The main reading 
room is very handsome, but perhaps rather too ornate, and in this less 
successful than its prototype. Admission is free without formalities; 
but admission to the stacks is only granted to "mature investigators," 
The reading room seats some 260 readers; much space is occupied by 
the card-catalogue cabinets. Additional space for scholars to work is 
provided in the fifty-seven study rooms, as well as in the special reading 
rooms of Hispanica, Rare Books, Prints and Photographs, Law 
Library, Music, Periodicals (including current newspapers), and 
Government Publications and in the Congressional Reading Room 
for members of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The 
total reader capacity is about 1,500. 

The stacks represented an advance on earlier patterns, and remain 
very satisfactory; it had not, of course, been realised at the time of 
their construction that daylight is not a consideration in book storage. 
The shelves are of cold rolled sheet steel, on cast-iron supports. 

Between 1929 and 1933 the central member of the eastern (rear) 
wing was thrown forward, forming a spacious extension. It provides 
further office and storage space and study rooms, together with space 
for a Rare Book Room and the National Union Catalogue. 

In addition to this, in 1933, $1,000,000 were appropriated, and 
$8,226,000 subsequently allocated, for the erection of an annexe for 
which ground had already been acquired on the farther side of the 
street facing the extension and adjoining the Folger Shakespeare 
Library. The annexe was opened in 1939 and provided relief for the 
congestion in the old building, particularly in the case of the 
administrative rooms. The building, which is of severe design, and 
faced with white Georgia marble, covers two acres, and consists of a 
central stack, with a capacity of 10,000,000 volumes, and surrounding 
rooms which house various divisions of the Reference and Processing 
Departments, the Photoduplication Service, the Copyright Office, 
and the printing and binding branch of the Government Printing 
Office. On the third floor are the offices of the Card Division, with 
storage for 325,000,000 cards. On the top floor, set back to cover the 
area of the stack below, and surrounded by 225 rooms for individual 
study and again by a roof terrace, are the North and the Thomas 


Jefferson Reading Rooms, the Slavic Room, and the Local History 
and Genealogy Sections, having together places for 245 readers, and 
also a card catalogue. The reading rooms are completely enclosed, all 
light and ventilation being supplied artificially. In the sub-basement is 
parking space for motor vehicles. Congressmen have their own 
delivery station for books in the Capitol; both Capitol and annexe are 
linked with the older building by tunnels through which pass pneumatic 
and electric conveyors. 

The two buildings provide the Library with a total of approximately 
36 acres of floor space and 250 miles of shelves. There are, in addition, 
vaults of the Library in Maryland for the storage of cinematograph 


A. Copyright 

After the fire of 1851 the Library contained only 20,000 volumes, 
including survivors from Jefferson's collection. Spofford, appointed 
Librarian in 1864, was a man of far higher type than his predecessors, 
a librarian endowed with the traditional qualities of phenomenal 
memory (and a corresponding disregard for bibliographical apparatus), 
long-ranging views and prodigious energy; though without adequate 
staff, he increased the collections in his thirty-two years of office to 
nearly a million. An Act of 1846 had originally granted the right of 
legal deposit to the Library, but it was ineffectively framed, and of 
little effect, and was repealed in 1859. In 1870 the copyright works 
previously deposited in other governmental offices were placed at the 
disposal of the Library, which has, however, under the Act of 1909, 
the right to select and reject, the rejected books being distributed 
among other governmental libraries, used for purposes of exchange, or 
otherwise distributed. In 1955, 216,445 of the works deposited for 
copyright were retained for the collections of the Library. Registration 
is an essential part of the process of obtaining copyright, and the 
Register is placed, by the Appropriation Act of 1897, under the 
Librarian of Congress. Fees are charged. 

The total number of copyright entries since the organisation of the 
Copyright Office in 1897 was, in 1955, 8,296,428. Books and other 
material registered for copyright are listed in a series of half-yearly 
publications issued under the tide Catalog of copyright entries. 

B. Exchanges, etc. 

Through the Smithsonian Institution are now received the 
transactions and other publications of learned societies all over the 


world The basic collection of the Institution was handed over in 1866 
at Dr. Spofford's suggestion. At the same time, the exchange of 
governmental publications with foreign nations, obviously important 
to a parliamentary library, was stimulated; and today about 400,000 
publications issued by foreign governments and scientific and learned 
institutions throughout the world are annually received by the Library 
of Congress. The Smithsonian Institution continues to serve as the 
official agency of the United States Government for the receipt and 
transmission of publications exchanged between the Governments of 
the United States and foreign countries and other publications 
exchanged between American and foreign libraries. In all, the Library 
receives by exchange, by deposit, by virtue of law, by gifts, by 
transfer from other Federal agencies, and by purchase more than 
5,000,000 pieces annually. 

C. Purchases^ Bequests, etc. 

Appropriations for purchase, ample if never adequate for all chances, 
are made annually; that for the fiscal year 1955 amounted to $260,000 
excluding $90,000 for the law library and $ 1,000,000 for books for the 
blind. In 1930-31 a special appropriation of $1,500,000 was made by 
Congress for the purchase of the Vollbehr incunabula. In the earlier 
period of the Library, special grants of this kind, though much smaller 
in amount, and debated by Congressmen with equal ignorance and 
vigour, were the main source of accessions. Spofford was responsible 
for a number 'of important acquisitions, beginning with the Peter 
Force collection of 60,000 volumes of Americana, bought in 1867, and 
the Toner collection of medicine and American local history, given in 
1882. There comes a time in the development of every great library 
when the receipt of whole collections brings a burden of many 
duplicates, unless power is taken to resell or exchange, and acceptance 
of them is profitable only in special fields. Accordingly in more 
recent times most of the great acquisitions have been specialised in 
character, among them the historical library of John Boyd Thacher 
(bequeathed by his widow in 1927) ; the Yudin collection of 80,000 
volumes of Slavic literature, bought in 1907; the Scbiffgift of Judaica; 
collections of Scandinavian, Japanese, and Chinese books; the Vollbehr 
collection of 3,000 incunabula, including a perfect copy on vellum of 
the forty-two-line Bible; and the Rosenwald collection, containing 
many early and rare books, presented in 1943 aad supplemented since 
that time. The papers of most of the Presidents of the United States 
are now preserved in the Library of Congress. 

Remarkable and novel benefactions are an auditorium in the North- 


West court for music, and an endowment for chamber concerts given 
by Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1928), and the further important 
endowment for chamber music concerts in the Library established by 
Mrs. Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who also provided funds for the 
Whittall Pavilion for small gatherings, a Poetry Room, and the 
sponsorship of literary readings by prominent artists. The Whittall 
endowments and the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation makes it possible 
for new compositions to be commissioned from American composers. 
In many fields, gifts or purchases have turned weakness into strength; 
for example, in 1900 the Librarian reported an almost complete 
absence of Oriental literature, the collection of which has now grown 
to more than 800,000 items, believed to be the largest outside the 
Orient itself. The Library has a large collection of cinematograph 
films, of which the nucleus was formed by early films deposited to 
secure copyright. It is now augmented by selection from the current 
output of the film industry and Government agencies and other 
non-commercial film producers; in addition, many films of German, 
Italian, and Japanese origin were received during the Second World 
War. Many sound recordings, among them recordings of folk songs 
and of the voices of eminent writers, are held. 

The Library had for many years no independent legal existence, and 
could not hold trust or other property. This hampering disability was 
removed in 1925 by a special Act, creating the Library of Congress 
Trust Fund Board, a quasi-corporation empowered to receive and 
administer personal property, the income from which was to be 
applied "for the benefit of, or in connection with, the Library, its 
collections, or its service." The Board in 1955 had in possession or 
assurance, $2,739,965. 

Among the endowments have been six for the maintenance of 
"Chairs*' of American History, Geography, Fine Arts, Music, 
Aeronautics, and Poetry of the English Language. The holder of each 
such chair receives an honorarium (about $3,200 per annum) in addition 
to his Government stipend, thus ensuring a competent specialist in the 
position. Additional specialists are the "Consultants" in specific subject 
fields, who, without administrative responsibilities, advise the Librarian 
concerning the development of the collections, and inquirers in the 
effective use of the collections and bibliographic resources available. 
The Consultants are paid from gifts and from appropriated funds. 

The Act of 1802 provided that books should be lent only to the 
President, Vice-President, Congressmen, heads of Government 
departments, and members of the Supreme Court. This restriction 
was gradually relaxed, and in 1952 seven categories of eligible 


borrowers were identified: (a) members and committees of Congress; 
(fc) other statutory borrowers, especially Government officers (c) 
Government agencies, for official use; (d) members of the diplomatic 
corps; (e) individuals in the Washington area engaged in private 
research with a view to publication, when the materials are not elsewhere 
available; (/) other libraries and institutions ; (g) members of the Library 
of Congress staff. 

The contents of the Library in 1955, exclusive of unbound 
newspapers and serial parts, were as follows: 

Volumes and pamphlets 10,513,048 

Bound volumes of newspapers 151,62$ 

MSS 14,578,313 

Maps and views 2,362,581 

Microcards 12,735 

Microprint cards 64,799 

Microfilms (rolls and strips) 108,911 

Motion pictures (reels) 112,150 

Music (volumes and. pieces) 1,883,405 

Gramophone records 458,759 

Photographs (negatives, prints and slides) . . 2,619,773 

Fine Prints 582,888 

Broadsides, posters, etc 752,429 



The catalogues began to appear soon after the foundation of the 
Library. The first, of 1802, gave the money values of the books. 
Editions followed in 1808, 1812, and 1815, the last containingJefFerson's 
books and being the work of Jefferson himself, revised but not improved 
i by Watterston. These early catalogues and their successors are now of 
ittle actuality. Under Spofford, however, a printed author-catalogue 
was issued in 1864; a principal attempt at a more ambitious author- 
catalogue commenced in 1878 but was abandoned, unfinished, two 
years later, like that of the British Museum in the 18405. The Subject- 
Catalogue of 1869 is still of value, however. 

Like Panizzi after 1841, Spofford turned from printed volumes to 
s omething more flexible. A beginning was made of a catalogue on cards, 
which never being published should always be up to date, and unlike the 
laid-down sheaf-volume form of catalogue, should require the mini- 
mum of labour in upkeep. The cards were in manuscript, and were 
inconveniently large; and in 1897 the stafffor all processes fitting books 


for use cataloguing, shelf listing, classification, etc. was unpro- 
vided with proper apparatus, and numbered but twenty-seven, while 
the books flowed in from the copyright deposit at a formidable rate. 

A new catalogue, to be printed on cards of the size now accepted as 
standard, and based on sound bibliographical principles, was decided 
on. The main dictionary card catalogue now covers, with 8,000,000 
author and subject entries, the accessions since 1897 and practically all 
the library as it existed at that date. 

This catalogue is supplemented by a card shelf list, including 
reference entries for books containing material contributions in classes 
other than that in which the work mainly falls; by card finding-lists on 
the different stack floors ; and by a number of special lists, too numerous 
to mention, kept on cards and exclusive of the published special 

Since 1901 the catalogue cards have been made available to other 
libraries, at a current average price of four cents each, the service of 
distribution paying for itself, but preparation and printing not being 
reckoned in the account; over 10,000 subscribers now make use of this 
service. Though the greater university libraries find that the percentage 
of their accessions represented in them is only about 50 per cent., the 
service to the smaller libraries is enormous, practically saving their 
staffs the labour (and the education) of cataloguing and classification. 
The stock is now about 150,000,000 cards, representing over 2,600,000 
titles but is gradually being reduced to more manageable proportions; 
in 1955, 109,841 titles were printed, and 50,609 reprinted, and the total 
number of cards distributed was 27,598,460. Whole sets have been 
deposited in 105 important centres in the United States, and others 
abroad. The bulk of these catalogues, however, led to the discontinua- 
tion of the distribution of cards to them; instead, a catalogue in 167 
volumes was prepared by photography from a set of the printed cards 
in 1942-46; a supplement to 1947 was issued in 1948, and further 
monthly, quarterly, and annual supplements are provided in the Author 
and Subject Catalogs. The cards are printed in the Printing Office, 
which, like the Bindery, is a branch in the Library of the Government 
Printing Office, and are stored, sold, and distributed by the Card 

Experiments are constantly being made with cheap methods for 
reproducing cards. 

Special catalogues of outstanding importance are: 

Author Catalog. 1947- . 

Army Medical Library Catalog. Supplement to the Library of Congress 
Author Catalog. 1948-. 


Catalog of Chinese Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 1942. 
Catalog of Press Braille Books provided by the Library of Congress. 1950. 
Catalog of Talking Books for the Blind, I934~48. 1949- 

, Supplement, 1948-51. 1951. 

Catalog of the National Exhibition of Prints held at the Library of Congress. 

1943- - 

Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson. 1952-5 5- 
Checklist of American Eighteenth Century Newspapers in the Library of 

Congress. 1936. 

Checklist of Foreign Newspapers in the Library of Congress. 1929. 
Collection of John Boyd Thacher in the Library of Congress, vol. 1-3. 

Folk Music of the United States and Latin America; combined Catalog of 

Phonograph Records. 1948. 
Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell Collection of Whistleriana; Catalogue 

compiled by Joseph and Elizabeth Robins Pennell. 1921. 
Rosenwald Collection. A catalogue of the gift of Lessing J. Rosenwald to the 

Library of Congress. 1954. 
Twentieth Century Poetry in English; Contemporary Recordings of the 

Poets reading their own poems; Catalog of Phonograph Records. 1951. 
Monthly Checklist of State Publications. 1910- . 
Serial Titles newly received. 1951- . 
Digest of Public General Bills. 1936- - 
Subject Catalog. 1950- . 

Long series of lists of books and articles on subjects mainly political 
and of books on foreign countries have also been published. In recent 
years, the Library has begun the publication of periodical accessions 
lists to make known promptly its acquisitions from areas of current 
political significance. These include the Monthly list of Russian accessions 
(1948- ), the East European accessions list (1951- )> 2 nd Southern Asia: 
publications in Western languages (1952- ). 

Between 1952 and 1955 the Library published four volumes of a 
definitive catalogue of the library of Thomas Jefferson. More than 
2,400 of the books from Jefferson's original library are housed in the 
steel and concrete vaults of the Library's Rare Books Division, and the 
Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson as far as possible reconstructs 
Jefferson's library as it was at the rime of its sale to the United States 
in 1815. Annotations to the entries include information, obtained from 
Jefferson's personal papers, of his opinions and remarks concerning 
the books. 

Another important publication of the Library is a series of catalogues 
entitled Motion pictures, (1894-1912, 1912-1939, I940-i949) listing 
more than 76,000 motion pictures registered for copyright during the 


period covered. These volumes and the subsequent half-yearly issues 
of the Motion pictures and jilmstrips section of the Catalog of copyright 
entries constitute a comprehensive record of United States motion 
pictures from the origin of the cinematograph. 


The first classification of the library was by size, followed by 
subject; but this order was reversed in the early years. An advance was 
marked by the classification on Baconian lines devised by Jefferson for 
his books before they came into the Library; and in 1815 that, in its 
turn was modified by Watterston. Jefferson himself had confessed that 
it was "something analytical, something chronological, and sometimes 
a combination of both." The remainder of the century showed little 
advance in this matter; the influx of books and the inadequacy of space 
and staff alike rendered it impossible. 

In 1897, therefore, a modern classification was wanting. Large as the 
Library already was, it had not yet reached the bulk which makes a 
scheme of shelf reclassification too laborious to be contemplated; and 
as the catalogue was to be remade, one great obstacle was removed. 
Here, too, as in cataloguing, the new regime imposed a new and 
improved method, which has since been recognised as the best for a 
large library. The classification was by degrees drawn up, and published 
by class schedules, and is undergoing constant revision and 
amplification. The complete collection of class schedules now numbers 
thirty-three volumes. It had two recent predecessors of American 
origin, as well as the old system of Brunet which had oudived its day: 
they were Dewey's Decimal and Cutter's Expansive. Both had good 
points, and were drawn on, but the new scheme was essentially 
pragmatic, and based on an actual large collection of books, which 
cannot be said of the others. Dewey's chief contribution, the device of 
the decimal notation, was not at first employed; but it has been 
subsequently introduced in intercalating new subjects. The main 
classes are distinguished by letters. 


This division was established in 1897. Its collections consist 
principally of the papers of men and women who have in some way 
exerted an enduring influence upon the lives of the American people 
Presidents of the United States, other outstanding statesmen, justices 
of the Federal courts, Army and Navy officers, explorers, writers, 

21 KLW 


economists and sociologists, bankers and industrialists, scientists and 
technicians, artists, educators, and other public personages. The primary 
aim of the division is to provide scholars with the source materials 
necessary for the study of national history. To this end, the Library has 
sought for more than a century to acquire copies, transcribed or 
photographic, of documents in foreign archives that relate to American 
history. The work has been markedly accelerated in recent years by a 
five-year grant from Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and a permanent 
endowment provided by the late James Benjamin Wilbur. 

Among the most important special catalogues and publications of 
MSS. are: 

A Calendar of John Paul Jones Manuscripts in the Library of Congress. 1903 . 
Calendar of the Papers of Franklin Pierce, prepared from the original 

Manuscripts in the Library of Congress. 1917. 
Calendar ot the Papers of Martin Van Buren, prepared from the original 

Manuscripts in die Library of Congress. 1910. 
A Guide to Manuscripts relating to American History in British Depositories. 


The Harkness Collection in the Library of Congress. 2 vol. 1932, 1936. 
Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 33 vol. 1904-1936. 
List of the Washington Manuscripts from the year 1592 to 1775. Prepared 

from the original manuscripts in the Library of Congress. 1919. 
Naval Records of the American Revolution, 1775-1788. Prepared from the 

originals in die Library of Congress. 1906. 
Papers of James Monroe. Listed in chronological order from the original 

manuscripts in the Library of Congress. 1904. 
Records of die Virginia Company of London. 4 vol., 1906-1935. 
Washington Papers, prepared from die original manuscripts in the Library of 

Congress. 5 vol., 1906-1915. 


The main reading room has seats for 260 readers. Much space on 
the floor under the dome and in alcoves is occupied by the card 
cabinets, despite the removal of some into the adjoining extension; it 
must be noted that very many readers are accommodated in special 
rooms and in the fifty-seven study rooms, while the two reading rooms 
of the annexe have seats for 245 readers, and its study rooms 
accommodation for a further 225. In 1955 special facilities were granted 
to over 1,200 research workers. These need special admission; the main 
reading room is open without formalities. But it must be remembered 
that Washington is not to be compared as a centre of population with 
New York, London, or Paris. 



The service of printed catalogue cards provided by the Library has 
already been described. The introduction of a loan collection of books, 
and the organisation by the Library of an inter-library lending system, 
first proposed in 1897, was received at the outset with disapproval by 
the Librarian, John Russell Young. Though Young subsequently 
modified his views, it remained for Putnam, with his conception of the 
Library as the centre of the national library system, to introduce 
inter-library lending in 1901. In 1902, no volumes were so lent; now, 
about 1,700 libraries take part in the national inter-library lending 
system. The National Union Catalogue grew from the exchange of 
printed catalogue cards between the New York Public Library and the 
Library of Congress which started in 1901. By 1909, there were nine 
contributing libraries. Following a request sponsored by the American 
Library Association, $250,000 to assist the project was given in 1927 
by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and by 1932 there were more than 
8,400,000 author entries. The National Union Catalogue, which now 
contains over 13,000,000 cards, is placed in a specially constructed 
room in the eastern extension of the main building. In 1955, 575,000 
cards were added. Lists of desiderata not traced through the Union 
Catalogue are circulated by the Union Catalogue Division to seventy 
other libraries. Auxiliary union catalogues are the Cyrillic Union 
Catalogue (296,000 cards), the Hebraic (55,789 cards), the Japanese 
(92,869 cards), and the Chinese (32,944 cards). All except the first are 
author-catalogues only. 

The collection of Braille books commenced in 1897 has developed 
into the Division for the Blind. Material is distributed to twenty-eight 
regional centres, which in their turn issue "talking books" to about 
40,000 blind persons, and books in Braille to about 10,000. 


The Legislative Reference Service, founded in 1915 to deal specially 
with inquiries by Congressmen, now has a staff of 166, and in 1955 
dealt with some 57,000 requests from Congress, while a further 19,000 
were handled by other departments of the Library. Heavy calls were 
made on the resources of the Library during the Second World "War 
by Service and other Government departments, and the Korean 
conflict and other international economic and political developments 
since the end of the "War have been reflected in the requests the 
Legislative Reference Service receives from Members of Congress. 


Comprehensive reports are frequently prepared by the Legislative 
Reference Service staff for Members or committees of Congress. 
Many of these reports are later published officially. The Library also 
compiles and publishes a monthly digest of all important legisktion 
proposed during each session of Congress. 


In 1955 a gross total of $14,491,751 was available to the Library for 
obligation during the fiscal year. Of this sum, $9,560,936 was 
appropriated directly to the Library, and $51,772 was available for 
obligation from the previous year; $3,077,583 was transferred from 
appropriations of other Government agencies; $143,425 was available 
from transfers from previous years; and $1,658,035 derived from 
gifts and grants received. 

Obligations incurred during the year were as follows : 

Salaries and personal services $10,619,165 

Travel 31,463 

Transportation 7,063 

Communication services .. .. .. .. 136,677 

Rent and utility services 35,187 

Printing and binding 1,075,874 

Other contractual services 350,192 

Supplies and materials 233,437 

Equipment 200,721 

Books, records, periodicals, etc 962,163 

Grants 29,594 

Refunds, awards, etc. 795O 


In addition to these funds, the Library receives copyright fees, 
moneys from the sales of cards, and other miscellaneous money, which 
are not available for expenditure but are deposited directly to 
"Miscellaneous Receipts" in the U.S. Treasury Department. This 
amounted to $2,049,378 in 1955. 

The staff in June 1955 consisted of 2,459 trained persons, excluding 
domestic and manual staff. The numbers are swelled, by comparison 
with other libraries, by the elaboration of the services, as described 
above. The distribution of the staff, was as follows: 


Office of the Librarian 5 

Office of the Chief Assistant Librarian 12 

Administrative Department 365 

Reference Department 322 

Law Library 37 

Legislative Reference Service . . . . . . . . 166 

Processing Department 301 

Copyright Office 247 

Card Division 198 

Division for the Blind 21 

Staff employed on transferred, gift and trust funds . . 785 



The Library of Congress. A selected list of references. Reference Department, 

General Reference and Bibliography Division, The Library of Congress, 


Library of Congress Publications in Print. 1957. 
A Guide to Manuscript Materials relating to the History of the Library of 

Congress. 1949. 

Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress. 1868- . 
Departmental and Divisional Manuals. 1950- . 
Handbook of Card Distribution. 1952. 
Johnston, William D. History of the Library of Congress, vol. I, 1800-1864. 


Information for Readers in the Library of Congress. 1952. 
The Library of Congress and its Work; a selection of pictures and descriptive 

text. 1950. 

Library of Congress: Sesquicentennial Exhibit, April 24, 1950. Catalog, 1950. 
The Library of Congress Trust Fund Board. 1951. 
Outline of the Library of Congress Classification. Revised and enlarged 

edition of "Outline Scheme of Classes." 1942, reprinted 1948. 
Special Facilities for Research in the Library of Congress. 1950. 
Mearns, David C. The Story up to now; The Library of Congress, 1800-1946. 

Lacy, Dan. The Library of Congress. A sesquicentennial review. 1950. 

In: Library Quarterly, vol. 20. pp. 157-79. 235-58. 
Shores, Louis. The National Union Catalog of the United States. 1953. In: 

Library Association Record, vol. 55. pp. 178-84. 




Though Canada remained until 1953 without a national library to 
meet the needs of scholars and of the central government and its 
agencies, it did not lack official collections of books, some 2,000,000 
volumes having been accumulated in nearly forty libraries and 
collections belonging to Government departments and agencies in 
Ottawa, Of these the largest by far was the Library of Parliament, 
which contained about 600,000 volumes, including many rare and 
valuable works. The Library had its origins in the first session of the 
legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada held after the passing of the 
Constitutional Act in 1791, though its collections were completely 
destroyed by fire in 1849, and the re-formed library seriously damaged 
in a second fire a few years later. The Library of Parliament possessed 
the privilege of legal deposit, all Canadian works sent for registration of 
copyright being added to its collections, in which, however, law and 
history were more fully represented than other subjects. In more 
recent years, however, the Library began to purchase important new 
books in fields not well represented in other Canadian collections, to 
hold them in readiness for a future national library. For the research 
worker the value of the Library of Parliament was limited by the 
exclusion of the public from the reading room when ParEament was 
sitting, and the restriction of lending facilities to Members and Govern- 
ment officials. By the early years of the present century, inadequacy of 
storage space had begun to hamper the activities of the Library, and 
when the Parliament buildings were destroyed by fire on February 3, 
1916, it suffered considerable loss. After the reconstruction of the 
building, it became possible to shelve material which had for thirty 
years been stored in cellars for want of more suitable accommodation. 
The problem of congestion soon reappeared, however, and temporary 
and improvised storage accommodation had to be taken into use. In 
1943 a Joint Committee of both Houses resolved that, as soon as cir- 
cumstances permitted, the Government should consider the desirability 



of creating a national library and restricting the use of the Library of 
Parliament to Senators and Members of Parliament. Meanwhile the 
risk of fire had become very great, and, despite repeated warnings from 
the Librarians and the installation of new fire-fighting equipment, fire 
broke out in the Library on August 4, 1952. Much damage was caused 
to the building and collections, the books suffering particularly from 
water, while those designated for the National Library had to be placed 
in store and remained unusable until a building for the National 
Library became available. 

The second Canadian library of particular interest in relation to the 
National Library, that of the Public Archives, was probably the best 
collectipn in the country relating to the history of Canada, containing 
material on virtually every aspect of the development of the nation. 
Further, the Public Archives, in addition to collecting public documents 
of the kind usually associated with a national repository of records, had 
in the absence of a national library been responsible also for maps and 
private papers. Now, the national collection of manuscripts, maps and 
illustrations is in the custody of the Public Archives, while the National 
Library is responsible for printed works. In this way unneccessary 
duplication is avoided and unique material brought together, while 
the housing of the two collections in a single building will enable them 
to be used in conjunction. 

The need for the National Library was widely discussed and 
emphasised during the years which preceded its foundation, and the 
Canadian Library Association, established in 1946, immediately took 
up the cause. A memorandum submitted to the Government in 1947 
by the Association and other interested bodies defined the principal 
functions appropriate to a national library as the provision of collections 
for research and bibliographical service to libraries, research institutions, 
and scholars throughout the world. There was no need, the 
memorandum concluded, to wait for the construction of a new building 
before establishing a national library. 

Canada is a country relatively poor in books, and all her research and 
university libraries combined had in 1953 fewer volumes than the 
New York Public Library or Harvard University Library. Good 
collections of Canadiana were rare, the best being located in Toronto, 
Montreal and Ottawa. Scholars were therefore obliged comparatively 
often to seek books in libraries other than those immediately available to 
them, and the great distances lying between Canadian libraries made 
efficient inter-library lending facilities an essential part of the duties of the 
National Library from its inception. In the preparations which preceded 
its establishment, particular care was taken to work out the way in 


which the National Library could be most advantageously linked with, 
the Public Archives and the other Government libraries, co-ordinating 
stocks and services to reduce duplication to a minimum. 

The first move towards the establishment of the Library was taken 
when a National Library Advisory Committee, later known as the 
National Library Advisory Council, was appointed by the Dominion 
Cabinet in 1948, consisting of a representative of each of the various 
provinces, with the Librarian of Parliament as Secretary, the Dominion 
Archivist as Chairman, and the General Librarian of Parliament as a 
member. Dr. William Kaye Lamb was appointed Dominion Archivist 
in the same year, with the special assignment of preparing for the 
establishment of the National Library. In 1950, as the result of 
recommendations by the Joint Committee on the Library of 
Parliament to the Secretary of State, a Bibliographic Centre was set 
up having the tasks of compiling a national union catalogue, 
publishing periodical guides to Canadian books, periodicals, and 
Government publications, and acquiring reference books and other 
important works, Canadian and foreign, until the National Library 
should come into being. 

An Order in Council of April 8, 1949 had established the Royal 
Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and 
Sciences, the report of which, publishedin 1951 (the "Massey Report"), 
included a survey of the existing library facilities in Canada. The 
Royal Commission recommended that the surplus works from the 
Library of Parliament, some 300,000 volumes, should be transferred 
to a new repository and form the nucleus of the National Library, that 
the Bibliographic Centre should continue its activities and add to them 
the task of collecting rare Canadiana, and that a microfilm service 
should be established as soon as possible to make available at reasonable 
cost to other libraries and individuals the resources of the National 
Library, and to other libraries also those of all collections of Canadiana, 
wherever situated. A department of information on library practice 
should be established. A small working library, with speedy access to 
the reserves of the National Library, should be retained for Parliament, 
and Government departments should be relieved of many volumes of 
great importance but not in frequent use. The disposal of the Archives 
presented a problem which was solved by the decision to house 
Archives and National Library in a single building together with the 
development of a Records Centre, under Archives Control but housed 
in another building. The functions of each institution were to be 
defined precisely. 

Evidence was offered to the Commission by numerous interested 


bodies and included suggestions as to the nature of material to be 
included in the collections, such as sound recordings and cinematograph 
films. Numerous pleas were received for the decentralisation of the 
collections, books of regional interest being deposited in provincial 
libraries which should be regarded as branches of the National Library. 
The Royal Commission felt, however, that microfilm copies would 
provide almost the same facilities to provincial libraries without 
dispersing the national collections. The National Library Advisory 
Committee devoted close attention to the findings of the Royal 
Commission and reported in 1951, recommending that the National 
Library should be established in accordance with the proposals of the 
Royal Commission, and that in the meantime the work of the Biblio- 
graphic Centre should be expanded, to include the cataloguing of 
material already in hand and of other works acquired for the National 

The National Library Act received the Royal Assent on June 18, 
1952, and became effective on January i, 1953. The National Library 
Advisory Council continued to function as before, while the Secretary 
of State was designated as the Minister responsible for the Library. 
Acquisitions during the earliest years of the Library's existence were on 
a small scale, limited to reference books, current works of Canadian 
origin or relating in some significant way to Canada, and older works 
not readily available in Canada but required for reference. As further 
shelf room became available, the number of acquisitions was increased 
accordingly, while it became possible to make available the works 
acquired on behalf of the National Library by the Library of Parliament, 
and placed in store. The lack of scientific periodicals and transactions of 
learned societies had been a problem in many Canadian research and 
university libraries, which were expected to benefit greatly from 
systematic purchasing in these fields by the National Library, coupled 
with the use of microfilm. Microfilm is used principally to form a 
representative collection of foreign newspapers and in acquiring works 
published in Canada before 1800. The collection of over 4,000 
volumes, principally of classical literature, bequeathed to the Library of 
Parliament in 1921 by Edward Bates, is to be transferred for the most 
part to the National Library. Representative collections of Australian 
publications are received from the Commonwealth National Library 
at Canberra, and corresponding collections of Canadian works dis- 
patched in exchange under the terms of an agreement concluded in 
1954 between the two institutions. The printed books in the Library 
are arranged by the Library of Congress classification. 

Legal deposit in Canada depends on the Copyright Act of 1868 as 


amended in 1931. Under the National Library Act the deposit is 
required -within one month of publication of two copies of books, 
periodicals, pamphlets, and music published in Canada and of works 
by Canadians or dealing substantially with Canada and imported for 
sale; and in 1953 the task of receiving works deposited passed from the 
Library of Parliament to the National Library. The Secretary of State 
has powers to make regulations prescribing classes of books which 
shall be exempt from deposit, or of which only one copy need be 
deposited. Some works, not all of them subject to deposit at the 
National Library, are claimed by the Library of Parliament under the 
Copyright Act. In cases where an item would have been subject to 
deposit at the National Library, the deposit at the Library of Parliament 
is deemed to have met the requirements of the National Library Act 
as well. For convenience, both sets of registers are kept in the National 
Library and both deposits are received and acknowledged there. 
The total number of books deposited in 1955-56 was 1,849. 


The present building of the Library of Parliament, which long served 
as the central reference collection of the country, was completed in 
1876, and is in the Gothic style, with a circular reading room 132 feet 
in height, surrounded by bookshelves and galleries. The building 
proved too small almost from the first and has been seriously 
overcrowded throughout the present century, during which period the 
Library has twice been damaged by fire, in 1916 and again, more 
seriously, in 1952. After the second fire the building was completely 
renovated and although remaining -unaltered in appearance, it received 
a two-tier book stack in the basement, giving a total capacity of 
250,000 volumes, while the upper part was completely rebuilt. From 
the time of the first proposals for a National Library, however, it was 
realised that a new building for it would be essential At first, 
temporary accommodation for the National Library was provided 
in the Public Archives building; in 1956 a move was made to the 
Public Archives Records Centre, where the Library is provisionally 
housed, occupying the second floor. The Records Centre has 
200,000 square feet of floor space, and is ultimately to contain 62 miles 
of shelving. 

For a new building, to house both the National Library and the main 
part of the Public Archives, a fine site has been made available 
in Wellington Street, the main thoroughfare of the capital, extend- 
ing to the Ottawa River, so that the main reading rooms will face 


north with an uninterrupted view across the river to the Gatineau Hills 
beyond. In the design, care has been taken to conform to the require- 
ments of the general plan for the development of the city as a national 

The building, the exterior of which is to be faced with granite, will 
measure overall 300 feet by 210 feet, and is to be of four storeys with 
a large superstructure containing four tiers of stacks. A further three 
tiers will be contained in the basement, providing, with the stacks in 
the main body of the structure, fifteen tiers in all. The building will 
have a nominal capacity of 2,000,000 volumes, but in practice the 
total is likely to be well in excess of this figure. Careful consideration 
has been given to the question of moving books within the Library, 
and it is intended to use dual electric book-lifts located immediately 
behind the main issue desk and reaching all stack levels in such a 
manner that almost any amount of stack space can be made conveniently 
available to any department or division of the Library. The 
administrative offices, newspaper reading room and staff workrooms 
are to be on the ground floor and the main service departments, 
including the general reading room, and cataloguing and reference 
divisions, on the first floor. The general reading room is to have 
144 seats, to be increased ultimately to 200, and there are to be, in 
addition, fifty private studies available to both National Library and 
Public Archives. The Archives will be housed on the second floor 
where provision is made for the manuscript, map, and picture divisions 
and another reading room overlooking the river. The two institutions 
will share such services as a bindery, a photographic division, meeting 
rooms, and an auditorium seating 360 persons and forming a small 
separate wing to the west of the main block. "Contingency space," to 
house special collections acquired or special services developed in the 
future, is to be available on the third floor. The interior of the building 
is to be highly functional in design, but promises also to be most 
comfortable and attractive. Arrangements have been made to enable 
the numerous tourists who come to Ottawa to visit the building and 
see its chief features without disturbing staffer readers. The National 
Library Advisory Committee advocated that the building should be 
capable of accommodating little-used material from the congested 
departmental libraries of Ottawa, but it has not been planned as the 
first stage in a larger scheme: it is proposed, when the available 
storage space in the Library is full, to erect repositories on the outskirts 
of the city for little-used material. 

Construction of the building is expected to begin in 1958, and to be 
completed by 1960 or 1961, 



A complete author-catalogue of the Library of Parliament was 
publishedin 1879-80, with yearly supplements to 1951. The cataloguing 
of the main collections of the National Library was begun in 1956. 
Two catalogues are being formed, one alphabetical of authors and 
titles, and another of subjects, arranged according to the Library of 
Congress classification. 

The national bibliography, Canadiana, which has been published by 
the Library fortnightly, with annual cumulations, since 1950, has 
replaced the Canadian catalogue, published from 1923 until 1949 
successively by Toronto Public Library and by the Ontario Department 
of Education. It is intended to furnish as complete a record as possible 
of new publications relating to Canada, special attention being devoted 
to books and pamphlets written by Canadians or published in Canada. 
Each issue is in three parts, the first containing entries for new books 
and pamphlets in general, the second for Canadian Government 
publications, and the third for publications of the provincial 
governments. The Canadian index to periodicals and documentary films 
is published by the National Library in co-operation with the Canadian 
Library Association, and catalogues of early works printed in Canada 
and of Canadian theses have already been published. 


In the initial stages of its operation the National Library was 
organised in two divisions the Cataloguing Division, responsible for 
Canadiana and for the cataloguing of books in general, and the 
Reference Division, responsible for the national union catalogue and 
for service to other libraries. Service to the public was in 1956 still on 
a very restricted scale. 

The establishment of the Library for the year 1956-57 consisted of 
thirty-one positions, not including those of the National Librarian and 
Assistant National Librarian. Fifteen of the thirty-one posts were for 
librarians with technical qualifications. Additional staff were urgently 
needed to catalogue the large numbers of books which had already 
come into the Library. 


Conceived from the beginning as the centre of bibliographical 
activity in Canada, the National Library and its forerunner the 
Bibliographic Centre quickly took an important part in the library 


system of the country through the preparation of the national union 
catalogue and national bibliographies and through microfilm work. 
The national union catalogue is intended ultimately to list under authors 
the holdings of all significant Canadian collections. The stocks of 
libraries are checked by microfilming their card catalogues, and the 
participating libraries have undertaken to report later acquisitions. As a 
first step the stocks of Government libraries in Ottawa and a few other 
outstanding reference collections were incorporated: by 1956 the 
national union catalogue contained over 3,000,000 cards representing 
6,500,000 volumes in 115 Government, academic, and public libraries, 
and the bulk of the work of compilation was expected to be complete 
by 1958. During the year 1955-56, 429,000 cards were microfilmed. 
The national union catalogue serves as a clearing house for inter-library 
loans and when space for the expansion of its work is available, the 
exchange of publications will be carried out on a wider scale than at 
present. The number of titles which the National Library was asked 
to locate in 1954-55 was 2,189, of which 62 per cent, were traced, 
while for 1955-56 the figures had risen to 3,675 and 74 per cent. 

The first microfilming undertaken by the Bibliographic Centre was 
the copying of rare items of Canadiana in Canadian and foreign 
libraries. The cost of this work was borne by an anonymous Canadian 
publishing firm. Later the range of material covered was extended to 
include all Canadian imprints earlier than 1800, and all but a very few 
of the known titles had been filmed by 1956. Other projects to be 
undertaken in the near future include the microfilming of rare and 
early periodicals to supplement the newspaper microfilming 
programme of the Canadian Library Association. 

The National Library has co-operated with the Queen's Printer in 
establishing a list of exchange libraries in Canada and abroad, in the 
distribution of free copies of official Canadian publications, and in 
ensuring that lists of official Canadian publications are brought regularly 
to the attention of interested libraries in Canada and abroad. 


Report of the Librarian. 1953-. 

National Library Advisory Committee. Progress Report and Recommenda- 
tions. November 1951. 

The National Library of Canada. In: Ontario Library Review. August 1949. 
pp. 228-30. 

Lunn, Jean. Bibliographical Services in Canada. In: Review of Documenta- 
tion. December 1950. pp. 193-99- 


Shephard, Martha. The Cataloguer and the Canadian Bibliographic Centre. 

In: Ontario Library Review. February 1951. pp. 89, 90- 
Lamb, W. K. Towards a National Library. In: Canadian Library Association 

Bulletin. November 1951* pp. 68-71. 
The National Library. In: Canadian Library Association Bulletin. July 1952. 

pp. 6, 7. 
Wilson, J. O. No National Library? In: New Zealand Libraries. 17 (3)- 

April 1954. pp. 67-71. 




"From the revolutionary period (1800-20) till 1884 the history of 
Mexico is one of almost continuous warfare, in which Maximilian's 
Empire is a mere episode." 

Such conditions do not sound favourable for either the inception or 
the development of a library, and in fact a National Library did not 
come into existence till 1857, despite several earlier attempts to 
establish one, notably that in 1833 promoted by the dramatist Manuel 
Eduardo de Gorostiza. These show the public support which awaited 
such an institution. 

In 1856 the President of the Republic, Ignacio Comonfort, issued a 
decree proposing once more the foundation of a National Library, and 
the following year another decree ordered the suppression of the 
University of Mexico, and the consigning of the building and books 
to the National Library. The University had been founded by 
Charles V in 1551 and its collections had, during the three centuries 
which followed, reached a high degree of wealth. The second source of 
books for the new Library lay in the libraries of the suppressed religious 
orders. The third source was the law of legal deposit, passed in 1857. 
Nothing, however, was done for three years because of the civil war, 
which raged with violence from 1858 to 1861. With the temporary 
triumph of the Liberal Government and the occupation of the capital, 
the task of collecting together the books from the religious houses was 
commenced by Ramon Alcaraz, and continued by Fernando Ramirez, 
who had been nominated Director of the National Library in 1857. 
Soon after this, it became possible to open the Library to the public. 
The number of volumes was 90,964 in all, 80,312 from the religious 
houses and 10,652 from the University Library. 

The Emperor Maximilian, realising the deficiency of works on 
subjects other than theology in the Library, purchased for the new 
institution the private library of Jose Maria Andrade, an eminent 
bookseller, publisher, and bibliophile. It comprised 4,484 works, 



including a rich collection of Mexicana, but on the fall of the Empire 
these books were dispatched to Europe, and sold in Leipzig in 1869. 

During Maximilian's brief rule, the Library suffered the indignity of 
being removed from its building and stored away in the Museum, but it 
was restored again in 1867, when the Republic was re-established, 
though not in its original building. An old church was adapted for use, 
and the formal opening took place on April 2, 1884. Jose Maria 
Lafragua was appointed Director, but the initial reorganisation was the 
work of the Librarian Jose Maria Benitez. The Director from 1880- 
1909 was Jos Maria Vigil, and he undertook the organisation of the 
whole Library in its new quarters, getting the books out of store, and 
classifying and cataloguing them. Vigil also founded the Boletin 
which served, as the official organ of the Library, and contained 
statistical and other information. At his death the number of volumes 
had reached 200,000; since so many had originally come from religious 
houses, there was still a great preponderance of theological works and a 
great many duplicates; after theology, the subjects best represented 
were history, especially American, law, and belles-lettres. A 
Department of Newspapers and Periodicals was established in 1912. 

For some years after the death of Vigil, political upheavals caused 
frequent changes of Director; during his second period in that office, 
in 1915, Luis Manuel Rojas succeeded in obtaining increased financial 
support for the Library. An increase in staff rendered possible the 
reclassification of the collections, the commencement of a new 
catalogue, and longer hours of service, while in the following year the 
National School of Librarians and Archivists was opened as a 
department of the Library. Growth continued under Joaquin Mendez 
Rivaz; a children's department (later closed) and other sections were 
established. In 1929 the Federal Government granted autonomy to the 
University of Mexico, and control of the Biblioteca Nacional passed 
from the Department of Public Instruction to the University. Enrique 
Fernandez Ledesma, Director from 1929 to 1936, administered the 
Library with energy, reorganising its departments and improving the 
catalogues. He inaugurated broadcast programmes on literary 
subjects, to be given under the auspices of die Library, and concluded 
an agreement with the Spanish Government procuring for the Library 
a copy of all works published in Spain in return for the provision by 
the Library of facilities for broadcast and other propaganda. He also 
organised a Press Department in the Library, for purposes of publicity, 
and was instrumental in obtaining for the Library its own printing 
establishment; meanwhile considerable progress was made in binding, 
previously much in arrears, until in 1936 the bindery was removed to 

Plate IX. Florence. La Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale: Tribuna Galileiana 

[Society for Cultural Relations with U.S.S.R. 

Plate X, Moscow. The Lenin State Library 


the University Library, and binding for the Biblioteca Nacional left to 
commercial firms. Very little was done, so that by 1942 stocks, 
particularly those of newspapers, were in a bad condition. A fresh 
start was made subsequently; 30,225 bound volumes of newspapers 
and periodicals were transferred in 1944 to the newly opened 
"Hemeroteca," and large quantities of similar unbound material are 
gradually receiving attention. An iconographic museum, or 
depository for pictures and paintings representing every aspect of life, 
with special emphasis on Mexico, has been established in the 
Hemeroteca, and a union catalogue of such material in other libraries 
is being formed. 

A report on the Library made in 1951 stated that legal deposit 
remained unsatisfactory as a source of Mexican publications, as no 
penalty was prescribed for failure by publishers to deposit works. 
Legislation to permit satisfactory international exchange of publications 
and increased funds for purchases were urgently required. 
I* 1 1 957> the holdings of the Library were: 

Printed books 400,000 

Pamphlets 125,000 

Periodicals 46,111 

MSS in,953 

Incunabula 173 

Maps and Charts 1,152 

177,230 readers used the Library during the year 1951, the last year 
in which normal service was available. Readers have no open access to 
any part of the collections. 


The collection of MSS., though not large, contains some important 
items, such as (i) the volume of old songs in the Nahuatl language, 4 a 
unique native collection from the pre-Spanish period; (2) a compilation 
of Mexican sermons which provides a source for the Nahuatl language; 
(3) a series of documents on the expulsion of the members of the 
Society of Jesus from the kingdom of New Spain; (4) complete 
archives of the suppressed University of Mexico, which form a rich 
storehouse of facts and dates for biographical history from the 
sixteenth century. 


(1) 2,000 volumes of Mexicana bequeathed in 1876 by Jos6 Marfa Lafragua, 
a former Director of the Library. 

(2) 7,526 volumes bequeathed in 1900 by Antonio de Mier y Celis; a general 
22 NLW 


library comprising literature, history, canon law, and natural sciences, 
with notable bindings. 

(3) 5o j 4 volumes on Mexican history, and political and economic science, 
bequeathed by the poet Guillermo Prieto in 1900. 

(4) 5,880 volumes dealing with chess, the most complete collection of its 

(5) 1,170 volumes collected by the author and diplomat Angel NiSnez 
Ortega, consisting of works on Mexican affairs written by foreigners in 
various European languages, most of them dealing with the unfortunate 
Emperor Maximilian. 

(6) 3 ,794 volumes collected by the Cuban author Andres Clemente Vazquez, 
including important works on chess. 


The Library was first housed in the former University building, 
from which it was removed by the Emperor Maximilian. The 
church of St. Augustine, which was bought by the Government for the 
purpose of conversion into a library, is a Doric-Roman building 
with Renaissance details built in 1689. Its only merit from a library 
point of view seems to have been its size (the middle aisle of the nave is 
sixty-four by twelve metres and twenty-four metres in height, while 
there are twelve chapels surrounding nave and choir) ; it was extremely 
dilapidated, lacked good light and ventilation, and was very cold in 
winter, and the work of repair and adaptation, begun in 1868, took 
more than fifteen years to carry out. 

On the completion of the repairs to the main building, a reading 
room for women and children was opened in an adjoining edifice, 
the former chapel of the Third Order of St. Augustine, renamed 
La Pequena Biblioteca, to which all the duplicates from the main 
Library had been removed. It was used, from 1893-1915, to provide 
facilities for readers during the evening when the main building was 

In the early part of the present century various repairs and 
improvements were made: restoring the facade of the Pequena 
Biblioteca; repairing the roof of the old chapels in the main Library; 
installation of metal stacks in them to contain 98,000 volumes; the 
provision of new furniture of modern design in the reading room, and 
various other minor alterations and improvements. Shortage of space, 
however, proved a lasting difficulty, and from 1925 until 1942 no 
shelving whatever was available for newspapers, and the wear and 
tear to stocks resulting from the prevailing conditions became very 
serious indeed. In 1942, therefore, the Trustees of the University 


authorised the repair of the former church of St. Peter and St. Paul, to 
which was transferred the collection of periodicals previously housed 
in the choir of the church of St. Augustine, and it was opened 
to students in 1944 as a newspaper library (Hemeroteca), and also 
serves to accommodate meetings and exhibitions. The Library was 
closed from June 1952 to December 1956 for urgent repairs to the 

A new library building designed by the architect Juan O'Gorman 
forms part of the University City of Mexico. The building, which 
occupies a prominent position on the University campus, is extremely 
striking in appearance, having on the exterior walls of the stack 
mosaics thirty-five metres in height representing the two cultures of 
Mexico, aboriginal and Spanish, and their fusion in the University. In 
addition to the main reading room and workrooms, there are rooms for 
individual study, conferences, classes in librarianship, exhibitions, 
binding, and photography, and an area for open-air reading in the 
garden surrounding the building. The stack has two floors below 
ground, for the storage of valuable material, and a further ten floors 
above ground, holding in all 1,500,000 volumes. A service point is 
located in the centre of each stack floor, where stairs, lifts, book 
conveyors, pneumatic tubes, and telephones are sited, and the maximum 
distance of any book from a service point is eighteen metres. This 
building is at present occupied only by the University Library, but it 
is hoped ultimately to transfer the National Library to it as well. 


Among his improvements, Vigil started the work of cataloguing, 
and he left eleven printed folio volumes, which contained the class 
catalogues and their supplements (Catdlogos de la Biblioteca National de 
Mexico, formados lajo la direction de J. M. Vigil. 1889- .) The cata- 
loguing of the rich monastic collections has never been completed; 
at first religious controversy made it unwise to render them available 
to readers, while, more recently, lack of funds has hindered the work. 
Now, however, the recataloguing and reclassification of the whole 
stock has been undertaken, and card catalogues are replacing the older 
printed ones for use in the Library. There are two general catalogues, 
an author-catalogue, and a dictionary catalogue in process of 
compilation, while sectional catalogues include those for incunabula 
(of which a printed catalogue is in hand), rare and curious books, 
manuscripts, periodicals, iconography, maps, technology, and 



The Library is organised into the following departments: 

Director and secretariat. 

Assistant Director. 

Newspaper library. 

Technical department. 




Acquisitions and conservation. 

Microfilms and photography. 

Public service. 


The number of readers using the Library started with 8,238 in 1882; 
by 1896 this had grown to 71,503, but by 1909 it had fallen to 36,824. 
In 1940, the number was 168,188, and in 1951, I77> 2 3O. 


The staff, appointed by decree in 1861, consisted of: 

I Inspector without salary. 

i Librarian-Director with a salary of $1,500. 

i Sub-Librarian with a salary of $1,200. 

i Assistant Librarian, $360. 

Others, $240. 

Porter, boy. 

At the end of Vigil's directorship the staff numbered twenty-four, 
while the evening library annexed to the Nacional had six, with nine 
lower-grade staff. The staff grew until under Rojas it numbered 100, 
and the present figure is 101. 


Expenditure in 1908 totalled $3,839,800, of which $500,000 was for 
the purchase of books, and $200,000 for upkeep and repairs. Financial 
allocations from the national budget have constantly fluctuated in 
recent years; in 1940 the only funds allotted to the Library (other than 
salaries) were $900 for office expenses. There was no money at all for 
purchases of books or for binding, though grants for binding were 
later resumed. The total sum allocated in 1957 was $1,365,250. 



Inauguraci6n de la Biblioteca Nacioaal de Mexico. 1884. 

Gonzalez Obregon, L. La Biblioteca Nacional de Mexico. Resena historica. 

1833-1910. 1910. 
The National Library of Mexico. 1833-1910. Translated by Alberto M. 

Carreno. [1910.] 

Carrasco Puente, R. History of the National Library of Mexico. 1948. 
Boletfn de la Biblioteca Nacional. 1904-29. 2 a epoca. 1950- . 
Igufniz, J. B. La Biblioteca Nacional de Mexico. In: Boletfn de k Biblioteca 

Nacional. 2 a epoca. torn. i. no. i. enero-marzo, 1950. pp. 5-28. 
El Nuevo edificio de la Biblioteca Nacional. In: Boletin de la Biblioteca 

Nacional. 2 a epoca. torn. 2. no. 2. abril-julio, 1951. pp. 3-15. 
Downs, R. B. Mission in Mexico. In: A. L. A. Bulletin. November 1952. 

pp. 328, 329, 349, 350. 




Though, not formally acknowledged by Spain until 1842, the 
independence of the Argentine Republic dates virtually from the 
Revolution of 1810; and tradition ascribed to the central figure of the 
Revolution, Mariano Moreno, the foundation of the National Library 
of Argentina. In 1937, however, its Director, Dr. G. Martinez 
Zuviria, stated that there was no contemporary evidence for this, and 
that the part played by Moreno in the establishment of the Library 
was in fact slight; the mistake had arisen through an erroneous 
interpretation of the facts by Moreno's brother, Manuel, in his 
Vida y memorias del Dr. D. Mariano Moreno, published in 1811. The 
original conception of the Library dates from 1796, when the Bishop 
of Buenos Aires, Don Manuel Azamor y Ramirez, bequeathed 
his "famous and costly library to the favour of Holy Church, and for 
public education and instruction." Jose Luis Chorroarin, the Rector 
of the College of San Carlos, hoped for its establishment in the College, 
but political unrest prevented this, the library of Azamor y Ramirez 
being partially dispersed and books sold from it, and it was not until 
1810 that the Revolutionary Government decided to establish a 
Library in the capital. A fund was opened, and Saturnino Segurola and 
Cayetano Rodriguez were appointed Librarians, while Moreno was 
to be the "Protector" of the institution. The books remaining of those 
collected by Azamor y Ramirez were incorporated into the new 
foundation, and the library of the college of San Carlos added to it by 
Government decree. Many books from his own library were presented 
by Chorroarin and an important collection of rare works on medicine 
given by Michael Gorman, an Irish doctor residing in Buenos Aires. 
Meanwhile, Moreno had ceased to hold public office, and on January 
21, 1811, left the country on the voyage during which he was to meet 
his death. Segurola and Rodriguez paid little attention to their 
duties, and on December 31, 1810, Chorroarin was appointed Director 
in recognition of his munificence towards the Library. Straightway 



he proceeded to reorganise it, arranging the books, investing the 
funds available and soliciting further subscriptions; new shelving 
was constructed, and on March 16, 1812, the Library was inaugurated 
under the title of "Biblioteca Publica," amid much ceremony and 
rejoicing. Ill health led to Chorroann's resignation in 1821, and he 
died in 1823. Segurola, appointed to succeed him, held office for 
only one year and was himself succeeded by Manuel Moreno. During 
this period of clerical control, individual churchmen gave generously 
to the Library, while all public records, including those of the Spanish 
Viceroys, were transferred to the Library by a Government decree of 

The progress of the first few years was not long maintained, 
however; for many years there was continual civil war, followed by 
the Rosas dictatorship, which lasted from 1835 to 1852. The 
Government gave little or no attention or support, while private 
interest died down, so that in 1854, when the period of reform began, 
the number of books was given as only 15,397, less than the figure of 
1822. In 1853 Carlos Tejedor was appointed Director, and with him it 
may be said that the twilight period came to an end. His investigations 
and the annual reports which were now published showed the 
stagnation prevailing in the Library both as to use and the supply of 
books. Reforms began; old and valuable books were restored (though 
many" were damaged beyond repair), new books were acquired, a 
start was made in cataloguing, annual reports were required from the 
different departments, though this was not enforced until 1866; as a 
consequence, readers increased in two years from 2,000 to 8,000. 
Tejedor was succeeded in 1858 by Jose Marmel, who remained as 
Director until 1871 ; owing to the troubled state of the country during 
this period, no special innovations were introduced, but his successor, 
Vicente Quesada (1871-79), did much, including the building of a new 
reading room; the Library was enriched with 9,716 volumes, exchange 
relations were established with Europe and the United States, and the 
number of readers rose from 2,504 in 1872 to 6,192 in 1876. It may be 
said that from Quesada's term of office (perhaps from his visit to Europe 
in 1874) the modern period of the Library dates. He was succeeded by 
Manuel Ricardo TreUes, who remained Director till the establishment 
of the National Government in 1884; he was primarily an archivist and 
historian and applied himself to the publication of historical documents 
in the Library; meanwhile he continued the useful reforms of his 
predecessor, inaugurating the new reading room and classifying the 
works of reference placed there. In 1 882 the volumes numbered 32,000, 
and the number of readers was 6,000 to 7,000 yearly. 


fci 1884 Buenos Aires was declared the capital of the Republic, and 
the three establishments, the Museum, the Library, and the Archives, 
were incorporated in the new jurisdiction and placed under the 
Ministry of Justice and Public Instruction; the name of the Library 
was changed from the Public Library to the National Library. In 1885, 
Paul Groussac became Director, holding office until 1929 ; among the 
many services he did for the Library was to write its history. When he 
took office there were 32,000 volumes; at his death there were 230,000. 
He may be said to be the second founder of the Library, and he is already 
a classic in Argentine literature. The Library, however, suffered 
somewhat in the last years of Groussac's term of office owing to his 
long final illness, and little was done to ensure the systematic 
development of its resources. Carlos Melo, however, who followed 
Groussac, drew up a plan of reform and publicity to render the 
Library worthy of its position as a national institution. This plan, 
which met with the approval of the Government, had as its first stage 
a careful stock-taking, which established the following figures 
(December 1932) : 

Printed works 197,642 

Pamphlets 60,945 

Maps 2,179 

Prints 872 


MSS 8,839 

Copies of archives 6,000 


Melo died a few months after assuming office, but the work was 
continued by his successor, Dr. G. Martinez Zuviria, the present 
Director. One result of these reforms was an immediate increase in the 
number of books presented to the Library; accessions during the period 
1932-46 totalled 308,834. Most notable among gifts to the Library are 
the collections of the distinguished bibliographer Pedro Denegri, 
received in 1933 from his heirs and containing many rare and valuable 
works, fine bindings, and autographs of Flaubert, Victor Hugo, 
Georges Sand, and other celebrated French authors. In the same year 
the organisers of the Exposici6n del Libro Espanol at Buenos Aires 
gave over 4,000 volumes; 3,000 volumes of works representative of 
Spanish literature, history, art, and science were received in 1935 from 
the Spanish Government and 4,000 in 1936 from the French 


Government, and gifts of books and MSS. have also been received 
from the British, Chilean, German, and Italian Governments. A series 
of gifts received from Dr. Ezequiel Leguina included a copy of the 
second edition of Don Quixote, incunabula and MSS. Although 
serious arrears of cataloguing have not arisen, difficulty is experienced 
in the classification of books owing to the absence from the staff of 
persons with technical knowledge in some fields, and requests have 
been made to the Government that suitably qualified people may be 
recruited to the staff. 

The collections of MSS., established as a separate department in 1821, 
have been increased by important donations, particularly of unpublished 
family papers. Those of the Lynch-Gorostiaga family, over 5,000 
pieces extending over a period of fifty years, were presented in 1936, 
and the same family made a second gift in 1944 of over 1,800 pieces. 
500 items were received from Dr. Norberto Pinero, and 1,300 from 
Lieutenant-General Juan Andres Gelly y Obes. Important records of 
early Argentine history, among them papers referring to Felix Frias, 
letters of Generals Lavalle and Paz, and other important men, together 
with much material referring to the question of the Argentine-Chile 
frontier, were among papers presented to the Library in 1936 by 
Romulo Ayerza. Documents in the collections of the Library of 
interest and importance to students are published in the Revista de la 
Bittioteca National. A close ministerial control over the Library is 
maintained, and decisions on such matters as reserving material from 
public use are made by the responsible minister. A Government 
decree of December 23, 1943, had instructed all bodies to surrender to 
the Archivo de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto original instruments of 
treaties, conventions and similar documents in their possession, on 
the grounds that historical research into them might stir up inter- 
national controversy. The Library authorities opposed the transfer of 
material from their collections. In recent years, shortage of staff 
and lack of shelf room have obliged the Library to refuse gifts of 

In 1947, the Librarian reported that considerable damage to books in 
the Library had been caused by vermin, and by the climate of the 
capital. Energetic steps were immediately taken, special financial 
provision being made and staff receiving special training for the 
purpose. Furthermore, to minimise the wear and tear to periodicals 
and newspapers resulting from constant use, the Director de Cultura 
Jhtdectual issued instruction limiting access to those published before 
1900 to research workers* The Library does not lend, though the 
introduction of lending was considered advisable as long ago as 1937. 


Under Argentine law, three copies of each publication are required to 
be deposited at the Registro Nacional de Propriedad Intelectual; in the 
past compliance with this was very haphazard, but now lists of items 
not deposited are prepared and forwarded to the Registro for action. 
Twenty-five copies of all official publications, local as well as national, 
are required, to provide material for exchange, and in addition 
many periodicals are received gratuitously, as on this condition 
their publishers may obtain reduced rates of postage for their 
The total stock of the Library in 1956 was as follows: 

Books and periodicals 485,320 

Pamphlets 108,386 

Copies of archives 6,000 

Maps .. 4>586 

Prints and illustrations 8,343 

Music 36,112 

Photographs 353 

Microfilms . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 



The Library was originally established in an old building in the 
street called after Moreno, the reputed founder of die Library, and 
adjoining the House of Representatives. In 1822 an additional house 
next door was added, but the whole building, according to the 
historian of the Library, Groussac, had little architecturally to 
commend it, though he hastens to add that "if it was more indigent 
in appearance than today, it was equally hospitable/' 

The great reform of Quesada's directorship was the building and 
fitting up of a completely new reading room, which was carried out in 
1877-78 on unoccupied land adjoining the old buildings. With its four 
galleries, communicating by stairs, and its well-appointed furniture, it 
was a pleasant and comfortable room. 

Finally, during the directorship of Groussac a new building, originally 
intended as offices for the National Lottery, was allocated to the 
Library; its inauguration took place on December 27, 1901. It is a 
handsome stone building in the classical style with a series of large 
well-proportioned rooms and a lofty reading room with three galleries 
and a decorated ceiling, but the growth of the Library has made it 
necessary in recent years to put shelving everywhere, up to the ceilings 
and down to the cellars. One of these fine rooms has, however, been 


transformed into a reading room for research students, holding about 
sixty persons, and has appropriately been named after the former 
Director, Paul Groussac. A second room has been devoted to the 
library of Dr. Amancio Alcorta, a valuable bequest containing nearly 
17,000 items (books, pamphlets, and manuscripts). The main reading 
room has 160 places, while space for exhibitions is available in the 
Sala Melo and the main vestibule, both on the ground floor. An 
additional reading room has been fitted up in the basement for the 
consultation of very large volumes. The building was by 1946 
completely full, and a neighbouring building hired as a temporary 
annexe quickly became so full that deliberate restriction of accessions 
has been necessary for some years. The present building, furthermore, 
offers totally inadequate protection from insect pests, which flourish in 
the climate of Buenos Aires, and from fire; the installation of new 

try of Public Works, 
Proposals made in 
1937 for the erection of a new building on part of the University site 
had no result. 


The general author-catalogue of the Library was until 1933 available 
only to the staff, and readers had to use the printed volumes of the 
subject-catalogue, of which Volume I, with a preface by Groussac, had 
been issued in 1893, and Volume VII in 1932. In 1933, an author- 
catalogue and a supplementary subject-catalogue, both on cards, were 
placed in the reading room. Subsequently, card catalogues were 
commenced of music, translations 01 Argentine books, League of 
Nations publications, works on the Falkland Islands and Patagonia* 
early Argentine imprints and other special subjects and collections, 
while there are separate catalogues in the periodicals and research 
reading rooms, bibliographical section, and juvenile department. 
Printed catalogues of maps and other topographical material (1941- ) 
and of manuscripts (1937- ) are " m course of publication. The Library 
now possesses in all twenty-four card catalogues, with a total of over 
2,000,000 cards. 


Accounts Department. 
Legal Deposit. 

Accessions, Cataloguing and Classification. 

Bibliographical Section* 
Rare Boob Section. 


Official Documents Section. (Publications of the Government and local 


Manuscripts and Paul Groussac Room. 
Newspaper and Periodicals Room. 
Reviews Room. 

Carlos F. Melo Room (for children). 
Reading Room. 
Map Collection. 
Printing Department. 

The staff of the Library are divided into four groups: 

Technical staff: (a) Librarians 1 

(6) Persons with other special duties. . . I . 

Administrative staff. [ 7 

Service staff. J 

Manual workers 35 


The technical staff are chosen by examination, and specialise in various 
aspects of the work of the Library. Between 1917 and 1937, the salaries 
paid were inadequate, and members of the staff constantly left in search 
of more lucrative posts; subsequently, however, improved scales of 
pay with increments for length of service were introduced, but 
shortage of trained staff remains a problem, and the proposed 
introduction of a lending service depends on its solution. The reading 
rooms are open from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., nevertheless, with extensions 
to these hours for research workers. 
Accessions in 1956 were as follows: 


Purchase 380 

Donation 1,064 

Legal Deposit 7,914 

Exchange 4,706 


Newspapers 730 

Periodicals 26 

Reviews 980 



The number of different newspapers, periodicals (popular), and 
reviews (scholarly) received was as follows: 

In the Newspaper and Periodicals Room: 

Argentine newspapers 328 

periodicals 1*192 

Foreign newspapers 21 

periodicals 33 


In the Reviews Room: 

Argentine reviews 1,589 

Foreign 472 


Use of the Library in 1948 was as follows: 

Readers consulted 

General Reading Room 90,014 149,810 

Research Room 3,074 23,703 

Periodicals and Newspaper Room .. 3,590 6,540 
Children 7,609 10,627 

104,287 190,680 


Although the Library is not permitted to lend material from its own 
stocks to individuals or other institutions, it is the centre of inter- 
library lending in the Argentine, receiving requests from other 
libraries, and circulating them. It exchanges material with over 200 
libraries in all parts of the world, and distributes publications received to 
various libraries. It also maintains a service for the collection of 
duplicate and other unwanted textbooks for distribution to the poorer 
schools of the inland provinces. A bibliographical information service 
for other libraries is provided, and the Boletm de la Biblioteca National 
published, with articles on the activities of the Library and biblio- 
graphical topics in general Publications of the United Nations 
Organisation are received. 


Only since 1937 has the revenue of the Library been adequate to 
meet its needs; in that year the sum available annually for the purchase 
of books was raised from 6,000 pesos to 30,000 pesos, and other 


financial changes on a similar scale were made. In addition to a 
Government grant, the Library depends for its income on the fees 
payable by publishers on the legal deposit of their publications at the 


Groussac, Paul. Noticia historica sobre la Biblioteca de Buenos Aires (1810- 

1901). 1901. 

La Biblioteca Nacional en 1932, etc. 
Martinez Zuvirfa, A. Para que la Biblioteca Nacional tenga un mil!6n de 

volumenes v sea una biblioteca de investigadores. 1933. 




The National Library of Brazil was founded in the same year as the 
National Library at Buenos Aires, in 1810. Its origins lie in two 
disasters in Portugal the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, and the 
Napoleonic invasion of 1807. Following the earthquake, which caused 
the destruction of the Royal Library, Joseph I (1750-77) created 
another library, the "Real Biblioteca da Ajuda," to which were 
added, between 1770 and 1773, the library collected by the celebrated 
bibliographer, Diogo Barbosa Machado, Abbot of St. Adrian de Sever, 
and, later, books from the Jesuit colleges of Portugal and the Azores, 
which had been closed by order of the Marquis de Pombal. When in 
1807 Junot entered the country with his forces, the Prince Regent, 
later John VI, hastily gathered some of the books from the Ajuda 
Palace library, the books and manuscripts from the Casa do Infantado, 
and the series of documents known as the Mamiscritos da Coroa, 
amounting in all to some 60,000 items, and removed these with himself, 
his queen, and his entire court to his colony of Brazil. 

The inauguration of the Library took place in 1810, and those 
scholars who succeeded in obtaining the permission of the Regent 
were first admitted to it in the following year, but it was not opened 
to all students until 1814, by which time, "thanks to the munificence of 
His Royal Highness, and to the zealous administration of its librarians," 
the Royal Library comprised over 60,000 volumes "on all the sciences 
and arts, printed in ancient and modern languages" together with a 
"precious collection of prints, maps, and manuscripts," according to a 
contemporary writer, and it was then considered the most important 
in the New World. A steady stream of purchases and gifts followed, 
and copies of all works printed in, Portugal were sent to be added to 
the Library. When, in i8zi, John VI returned to Portugal, the Royal 
Library remained in Rio, only the Manuscritos da Coroa, which had 
never been part of die Royal Library, or accessible to the public, being 



The Library became national property after the proclamation of 
Brazilian independence in 1822 and the additional convention between 
the Brazilian and Portuguese Governments of 1825, and compensation 
for it was included in the payment of a sum equivalent to ^500,000 
sterling made by Brazil to Portugal in respect of Portuguese property 
remaining there. 

Notable among the collections presented to the Library was that of 
Jos6 Bonifdcio de Andrada e Silva, given in 1838 by his heirs; it was 
rich in scientific material and contained autograph letters from 
prominent statesmen of many countries. The most important purchase 
made by the Government was that in 1853 of the library of the noted 
Argentine bibliophile, Don Pedro de Angelis, containing 2,700 volumes 
of printed books and 1,300 MSS. of great interest for the history of 
Rio de la Plata. The purchase was not achieved without strong 
protests from scholars in the Argentine. The collection contained some 
very rare works, and all were in a perfect state of preservation; 
publication of items in it was commenced in 1951. 

The early librarians, as might be expected, were all clerics; Brother 
Viegas (a Franciscan) and Father Damaso (an Oratorian of Lisbon) 
were the first entrusted with the arrangement and care of the then 
Royal Library. They accompanied the royal family to their new home, 
but returned to Portugal when the independence of Brazil was 
proclaimed, Viegas in 1821, and Damaso in the following year. There 
followed a succession of clerical librarians till the middle of the century. 
The improvement of the Library, which had hitherto suffered from 
neglect, began with the appointment of Camillo de Monserrate as 
Librarian in 1853, while the most noteworthy administration was 
that of his successor Dr. Ramiz Galvao, 1870-82; he gave new life 
to the National Library, and, indeed, almost everything of worth 
in the organisation of the Library was originated by him. During 
his period of office were held two exhibitions of which the catalogues 
survive, and a new library was built. He was succeeded by Dn J. de 
Gama, who had, since the reform of the Library in 1876, been head 
of the Section of Printed Works, and who held office till 1889, when 
he was dismissed by the Government of the newly established Republic. 
He carried on Ramiz Galvao's work; the "Permanent exhibition of 
treasures" was organised by him and a catalogue made for it, and he 
introduced several material improvements into the Library. In 1895, 
the number of printed volumes had risen to 231,132, MSS. to 115,513, 
and documents to 46,675. 

Further neglect during the first half of the present century led to 
the failure to catalogue some 600,000 volumes received in the Library. 

Plate XL Washington, The Library of Congress, with the Annexe (reai. 

XII. Ottawa. The National Library of Canada: model of the new buildin 


The situation was reported in the Press in 1946, and the affairs of the 
Library were subjected to an official inquiry. A law of January 18, 
1946, reorganised the Library and defined its functions as the main- 
tenance, preservation and enrichment of its collections, and the accep- 
tance, preservation and recording of material received by legal deposit. 
The courses of instruction in librarianship, begun under a decree of 
191 1, were to be continued. The National Library is under the direction 
of the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Librarian is appointed 
by the President of the Republic. Control of its finances is in the 
hands of the Tribuna de Contas of the Union, and the funds are 
allocated in the national budget. An exhibition held in 1953 reviewed 
the work of the Library during the century since the appointment of 
Monserrate as Librarian. Three copies of Brazilian works are received 
by legal deposit, which was introduced in 1876 as one of the reforms 
of Ramiz Galvao, two being deposited by the author to secure 
copyright, and one by the publisher. 

In addition to works received by legal deposit, the collections have 
been augmented by the systematic purchase of foreign books, 
particularly in recent years. There are now about 1,500,000 printed 
books in the Library, together with 300,000 bound volumes of 
periodicals, 600,000 MSS., and 250,000 engravings, prints, and 
miscellaneous illustrations. Books are not lent from the Library, 
except on rare occasions to Government departments for official use. 
Until 1946 books were shelved solely according to size, but since 
then the rearrangement of the stocks according to the Dewey 
Decimal System has been in progress. 


Among the treasures of the Library are a collection of incunabula, 
about 150 in number, and other early printed books, Brazilian and 
foreign, also numerous works of Bodoni, Aldus, the Elzevirs, Plantin, 
and other celebrated European printers, some 12,000 items in alL The 
collection of prints is one of the most extensive in the American 
continent, and includes among its treasures an almost complete set of 
the works of Diirer. 

Most of the special collections acquired have been described in the 
Anais; the Argentine collection of de Angelis has already been 
mentioned. The library of Barbosa Machado comprised 5,764 
volumes mainly dealing with theology, history and literature, rare 
works on the history of Portugal and Brazil, and a collection of 
portraits of Kings, Queens and eminent men of Portugal now housed 

23 KtW 


in the Print Room of the Library. The most important acquisition 
after the transfer of the Library to Rio de Janeiro was the collection of 
original drawings purchased from the Portuguese architect Jose da 
Costa e Silva in 1818, amounting to over 500 pieces, mainly of Italian 
masters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The largest 
collection received was the private library of the ex-Emperor Pedro II, 
which was taken over by the Government on the establishment of the 
Republic in 1889, and in 1891 at the ex-Emperor's desire was divided 
between the Biblioteca National, the Geographic and Historical 
Institute of Brazil, and the National Museum. The library numbered 
48,236 volumes and contained also innumerable pamphlets, foreign 
periodicals, maps, etc., together with rich collections of music and 
prints. It occupies an entire gallery in the National Library, and is 
known by the name of the ex-Empress, as the "Tereza Cristina Maria 
Collection." The National Library also possesses the personal library 
of the ex-Empress. More recently some works from the Imperial 
collections were allocated at its foundation to the Imperial Museum at 

A collection of works dealing with Brazil, numbering 15,161 
volumes and formed by the journalist Jose Carlos Rodrigues, 
was purchased by Julio Benedito Otoni and presented to the 
National Library in 1911. It includes many prints and manuscripts 
and about 1,000 maps. A collection of North American books was 
presented by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 

In a series entitled Documentos historicos, published by the Library since 
1945, the contents of some of the more valuable material have been 
rendered generally available to scholars. 


The Library was first housed in Rio de Janeiro in the "Hospital of 
The Third Order of the Carmelites," which was originally intended as a 
temporary building, but became permanent when plans for a new 
building were abandoned as being too ambitious. At first only the 
upper floor of the Hospital was occupied but, after the arrival of the 
books from Lisbon, more space was required, and by an Order of 
November 3, 1812, the Library was given the ground floor as well. 
In 1858 during the administration of Monserrate it was moved to the 
Casa do Largo de Lala; adaptation of the interior took three years in 
preparation, and for the first time a reading room was provided. This 
was later enlarged by die addition of two wings. Another move was 


made in 1896 to a larger building which was adapted for the purpose, 
but it was not until 1905-10 that a building was specially constructed 
for the Library; it was built to celebrate the centenary, and is still 
occupied by the Library. In it, the main reading room, reference room, 
and periodicals room are on the ground floor, together with an 
exhibition hall and the rooms of the Section of Iconography; the 
first floor is occupied by the MSS. and Rare Book Collections, and the 
Cataloguing, Classification, and Ordering Sections, while there are 
administrative offices and stacks on the second floor. The Music 
Collection and offices of the Institute Nacional do Livro are on the 
third floor, together with further stacks. The stack rooms have glass 
floors and steel shelving. In the basement are the School of Library 
Science, a school reference library, further rooms of the Institute 
Nacional do Livro, stacks for periodicals, and a photographic laboratory. 
Extensions have been carried out at various times, to accommodate 
the collections acquired by the Library, but the building, 
originally planned to contain 400,000 volumes is now occupied 
by some 1,500,000 volumes of printed books alone, while its design, 
the work of a military engineer, leaves much to be desired, and 
new premises are required if the Library is to be able to function 

Some consideration has been given to the possibility of erecting a 
modern building on the site of the present one, and to the requirements 
of such a building. Meanwhile the existing building was re-equipped 
and refurnished between 1948 and 1950. 

Grants for the maintenance of the building are made by the 
Government as occasion arises. 


As late as 1873, nothing more than a summary and incomplete 
inventory had been made of the contents of the Library; a list of the 
MSS. had been made in 1822-31, arranged in alphabetical order by 
titles, and a second list, 1839-46, arranged in alphabetical order by the 
names of authors. This last was in three large folio volumes, and a 
copy served the public in the reading room. The modern catalogue of 
MSS. was begun by Ramiz Galvao, who published four volumes of 
the section relating to Brazil: five volumes in all were published 
between 1878 and 1901. 

There are two catalogues of printed books: 

(1) Alphabetical loose leaf, in the reading room. 

(2) A subject-catalogue, begun by Ramiz Galvao, 


Numerous catalogues of special collections and classes of material 
in the Library, of exhibitions held, and of works on Brazilian history, 
topography, etc., in some Portuguese libraries and archives have been 
published in the Anais da Biblioteca National Among those dealing 
with the collections of the Biblioteca Nacional, the following may be 
mentioned individually: 

(1) Catalogo da Cole9ao Camoneana. Por B. F. Ramiz Galvao. 1876-78 
(Anais. vol. 1-3.) 

(2) Diogo Barbosa Machado. Catalogo de suas cole^oes por B. F. Ramiz 
Galvao. 1876-81. (Anais. vol. 1-3, 8.) 

(3) Catalogo daExposicao de historia do Brasil. 1881, 82. (Anais. vol. 9.) 

(4) Catalogo dos Manuscritos da Biblioteca Nacional. 1877-1901. (Anais. 
vol. 4, 5, 10, 15, 18, 23-) 

(5) Catalogo da Exposi^ao permanente de cimelios, 1883-84. (Anais. vol. n.) 

(6) Catalogo dos Retratos coligidos por Diogo Barbosa Machado. 1889- 
1904. (Anais. vol. 16-18, 20, 21, 26.) 

(7) Catalogo da Coleao Salvador de Mendonga. 1905. (Anais. vol. 27.) 

(8) Ruy Barbosa* Catalogo e documentos. 1950. (Anais. vol. 70.) 

(9) Lista dos Manuscritos de Ant6nio Vieira existentes na Biblioteca Nacional 
(Suplemento.). 1953. (Anais. vol. 73.) 


Since 1946, the Library has been organised as follows: 

(1) Acquisitions Division. Purchasing, copyright, international exchange, 
and bindery sections. 

(2) Cataloguing Division. Cataloguing, classification, catalogue maintenance 
sections. Also responsible for assistance to readers. 

(3) Circulation Division. Organisation of reading rooms and service to 
readers; periodicals, official publications, general and reference collections, 
and the care and preservation of books. 

(4) Rare Books and Publications Division. Rare books, iconography, MSS., 
microfilms; and the preparation and distribution of publications of the 

(5) School of Librarianship of the Ministry of Education, affiliated to the 

(6) Auxiliary Services. Administration and non-professional staff. 

The collection of music is being arranged to form a separate 

In the reorganisation the Librarian was advised by a committee of 
experts from American libraries under the auspices of the American 
Library Association and the Inter-Departmental Committee of 
Scientific and Cultural Cooperation of the Department of State* The 
collection of the Department for Blind Readers, which was abolished 


under the new constitution of the Library, was handed over to the 
Institute Benjamin Constant. 

The Director is ultimately responsible for all activities of the Library, 
including the preparation of the budget, for the curriculum of the 
School of Librarianship, and for liaison with other Government 

In 1956, 96,993 visits were made to the library by readers. Eleven 
exhibitions were held. The number of volumes bound was 5,826. 

Accessions were as follows : 

Legal deposit 5,589 volumes 

Copyright 361 

Purchase 650 

Gift 1,393 

International exchange 2,107 > 

1,396 items of music were received, and twenty-four MS. items, 
524 prints, the majority by purchase, sixty-one maps, and twelve 


An important part in the development of the Library has been 
played by the yearly publication since 1876-77 of Anals da Biblioteca 
National; its compilation was commenced by Ramiz Galvao. In it 
are published bibliographies of special sections or descriptions of rare 
works, in short, anything relating to bibliography in general and 
Brazilian bibliography in particular. In addition, the Library has 
published a Bibliographical Bulletin since 1918. 

Courses have been organised periodically since 1914 in librarianship. 

After the Brussels Convention the Government set up, in 1886, an 
office for international exchange, and in. 1890 transferred this service to 
the National Library, where it continues to function* The Library 
carries out exchanges of material with some 500 libraries in Brazil and 
a further 200 in foreign countries. 

The National Library carries out microfilm and photostat work. A 
central cataloguing service, distributing printed catalogue cards to 
libraries throughout the country, is at present conducted by the 
Servi9O de Intercambio de Cataloga^ao (SJ.C.) of the Institute 
Brasileiro de Bibliografia e Documentafao. 

The Library also provides facilities for such collective research 
undertakings as the compilation of the Brazilian encyclopaedia. 

The Institute Nacional do Livro, which is housed in the Library 


building, and co-operates with it, obtains books for public libraries in 
all parts of the country, their own book funds being quite inadequate 
for their needs. 


Changes in the staff of the Library were introduced with the new 
constitution: there is now a Director-General responsible directly to 
the Minister, while the divisions, school of librarianship, and auxiliary 
services have directors. There is a head in charge of each section, and 
foremen under the control of the Director of Auxiliary Services are in 
charge of the house staff. 

The Director-General has a secretary chosen from the staff of the 
Ministry. He is responsible for the appointment of the directors of the 
divisions, school of librarianship and auxiliary services, and any 
supernumerary staff. Within each division staff appointments are the 
responsibility of the director of that division. Administrative 
arrangements, annual leave, discipline, and the transfer of staff from 
one department to another are his responsibility, in accordance with a 
clearly defined list of duties. Provision is made for staff conferences at 
intervals to allow suggestions to be made, methods discussed, and 
grievances ventilated. Supernumerary and part-time employment is 
permitted at the discretion of the Director-General Staff appointments 
are made on the results of competitive examinations by the 
Departamento Administrative do Servi9o Publico. 

Special courses of instruction in librarianship are held in the Library 
for graduates and for non-graduates. There are three main categories 
of staff: librarians, assistant librarians, and clerks and administrative 


Anais da Bibliotheca Nacional. 1876- . (Catalogo da exposi9ao permanente dos 

cimelios de la Bibliotheca Nacional. 1885. In: Anais. vol. n. pp. 3:5-35. 

Resumo historico. 1897. In: Anais. vol. 19. pp. 221-42.) 
Relatorio. [Annual report.] 1896- . 
Boletim bibliograco. 1918-. 
Cardozo, M. S. The National Library of Brazil* 1946, In: Hispanic American 

Historical Review, vol. 26. pp. 618-24. 
Reinltardt, A. Entwicklung und Aufgaben der brasilianischen Bibliotheken. 

In: Nachrichten fur wiss. Bibliotheken. vol. 6. no. i. February 1953. 

pp. 26-28. 
Rodrigues, O. C. A Glimpse of some Special Collections in the National 

Library, Brazil. 1941. In: Special Libraries, vol. 32. no. 10, December 

1941. pp. 370-74- 




The National Library of Chile was founded on August 19, 1813, 
having as a nucleus the old colonial library of the Jesuits, and the 
library of Mariano Egana. Later, other libraries of importance were 
received, including in recent times the valuable collections of the 
historian, Diego Barros Arana, and the celebrated writer and 
bibliographer, Jose Toribio Medina, that of the latter being especially 
rich in Americana, 

Among the eminent Chileans who have held the post of 
Director of the Library are Manuel de Salas y Corvalan and 
Friar Camilo Hennquez, whose names are linked with the winning 
of independence for Chile; Ramon Briseno, the first Chilean biblio- 
grapher, and Luis Montt, another celebrated bibliographer: and in 
more recent years, Carlos Silva Cruz, writer and historian, Tomas 
Thayer Ojeda, the historian, and Alejandro Vicuna, priest and 

The growth of the collections depends on the purchase of books and 
periodicals, for which the necessary funds are provided from the 
National Budget, on the compulsory legal deposit of all material 
printed in Chile, and on the exchange of publications with institutions 
abroad. The collections of the Library are arranged in three principal 
sections, on a geographical basis. The Chilean Section includes all 
current books printed in Chile, whether by Chilean or foreign authors. 
In the American Section are works by authors of other American 
countries, while the General Section comprises works by non- American 
authors. There are two other sections with collections of books 
appropriate to the special requirements of each: the Home Reading 
Section and the Children's and Juvenile Section. The Library has no 
collection of manuscripts or of microfilms. 

The stock of the Library now amounts to about 1,500,000 
bibliographic units, in some 650,000 volumes, including 25,000 bound 
volumes of periodicals. 




The Library was originally established in an old building very 
unsuited to the purpose. The present structure, built for the Library, 
was first used an 1925, but is now inadequate; an annexe is planned, to 
contain, with other accommodation, a new general reading room to 
supersede the four now in use. These four reading rooms correspond 
to the four sections of the Library General, American, Chilean, and 
Juvenile. There are also rooms allocated to the special collections in 
each of which service to readers is provided; they are the Medina and 
Barros Arana Room and the Italian, French, North American, and 
British Rooms. Newspapers and periodicals are consulted in the 
reading room of the Chilean Section. Incunabula are kept in the 
"Bibliographic Museum" of the Library. The reading rooms provide 
a total of 600 seats for readers. 

Readers have no direct access to the stack. This is of sixteen floors 
each measuring 35 by 9 metres, and 2-10 metres in height and was 
originally estimated to provide for the growth of the Library for sixty 
to eighty years; practical experience has shown, however, that it is 
likely to be filled by 1970. 


Each of the five sections possesses its own catalogues, both author 
and subject. A general catalogue, including all entries made in the 
section catalogues, was commenced in 1925, and is now to be resumed, 
after having fallen into abeyance for some years. Published catalogues 
of the sections are: 

Catalogo de la seccion Americana. America en general. 1902. 
Ensayo de una bibliografia de k historia de Francia. (Obras existentes en la 
Biblioteca NacionaL) [1940?] 

A bibliography, Revista de bibliografia chilena y estrangera, was published 
by the. Library during the period 1913-29, and lists of accessions 
appeared in theBoletin de k Biblioteca Nacional, published 1903-11 and 


The Library is divided into the following departments: 



General Section. 

Chilean Section. 

American Section. 


Newspapers and Periodicals. 

Home Reading Section. 

Juvenile Section. 

Accessions and Cataloguing, 

International Exchange. 

Inspectorate of Printing Works and Libraries. 

Medina and Barros Arana Rooms. 

Bibliographic Museum. 

French, Italian, British, and North American Rooms. 


The staff is as follows: 

5 Heads of Sections. 
13 Librarians. 
27 Cataloguers. 
24 Service Staff. 

Training for the professional grades is provided by a school of 
librarianship conducted jointly by the Library and the University of 

Accessions during 1955 amounted to 12,038 volumes, of which 
5,058 were purchased, 4,347 received by legal deposit, 2,002 by 
exchange, and 631 by gift. 375,813 readers used the Library during 
the same year. 


The Director-General of the Library is also the State Director-- 
General of Libraries, Archives* and Museums. The Library is the 
centre for inter-library lending in Chile, and also exchanges publications 
with more than 100 libraries and learned institutions abroad. No 
photographic service is provided by the Library. 


In the National Budget for 1955 the sum of $30,000,000 was 
allotted for the maintenance of the Library, the main items being: 


Salaries 19,000,000 

Purchase of books 4,000,000 

Binding 2,000,000 

Maintenance of the building .. ,. 1,000,000 




The National Library of Peru dates from the very beginning of the 
Peruvian State, since it owes its foundation to an ordinance of the 
"Protector" or governor, Jose de San Martin, dated August 28, 1821, 
thirty days after the proclamation of independence. The inauguration 
of the Library followed on September 7, 1822, and it had as its 
foundation collections some 11,000 volumes presented by San Martin 
himself and his ministers, by the City Council, University, and 
religious institutions of Lima, and by such distinguished individuals 
as the scholar Hipolito Unanue and the poet Jose Joaquin de Olmedo. 
Most important among subsequent donations was that of Miguel 
Fuentes Pacheco, consisting of 7,777 volumes, and by 1879 the Library 
contained 50,000 volumes. Among the eminent men to hold the 
post of Director during this period were Mariano Jose de Arce, 
Joaquin Paredes, Jos6 Davila Condemarin, Bartolome Herrera, 
Francisco de Paula Gonzalez Vigil, and Manuel de Odriozola. 

The progress which had been made thus far, however, was brought 
to a complete standstill by the outbreak of war between Peru and 
Chile in 1879. In 1881 Lima was occupied by the Chilean Army and 
the Library was plundered, all but 700 of the books being lost. The 
Government of Peru entrusted the restoration of the Library 
to Ricardo Palma, celebrated as the author of Tradiciones 
Peruanas, and under his direction it was reopened in 1884 with 27,894 

As a result of disagreement with the Government, Palma resigned 
from the post of Director in 1912. The collection of printed books 
then numbered 43,665 volumes, "with 1,678 volumes of periodicals and 
449 MSS. Under the succeeding Directors, Manuel Gonzalez Prada, 
Luis Ulloa, Alejandro CX Deustua, and Carlos A. Romero, 
development was maintained, until the Library possessed 104,000 
printed books and 40,000 MSS. Then, on May 10, 1943, it suffered 
destruction for the second time, by fire, and all but a very small portion 



of the collections were destroyed. Steps for its replacement were 
immediately planned, a new Director, Jorge Basadre, appointed, and 
the Government drew up a system of organisation in accordance with 
the most modern practice ; the building was to be entirely reconstructed, 
fresh stock acquired, and a National School of Librarianship set up, 
independent of any existing educational establishment, to provide 
uniform technical training for the staff. To assist in the replacement of 
the destroyed stocks, gifts of books, periodicals, and photographic 
reproductions of MSS. were made by libraries in many American and 
European countries. Noteworthy among acquisitions were the library 
of General Agustfn P. Justo, a former President of Argentina, very 
rich in printed books and MSS. relating to Peru and other American 
countries, which was purchased in 1945, and the collections of books 
presented by several foreign governments. 

These collections are arranged according to their subject, principally 
by a modified form of the Dewey Decimal Classification. Maps and 
music receive appropriate treatment. The aim of the Library is to 
maintain a general collection of important works on all subjects, 
irrespective of their country of origin, to make die collection of 
Peruvian books as complete as possible, and to acquire as many MSS. 
of historical importance as possible, the basis of the present MS. 
collection being the Paz Soldan archives, which with some others 
escaped destruction in 1943, and to which have since been added the 
collection of Marshal Caceres and other purchased MSS. 

The print collection of the Library is still very small. 

The total stock in 1956 was as follows: 

Printed books and pamphlets .. ., .. .. 319,809 

MSS. 135*230 

Microcards 10,415 

Maps 3,070 

Music, pieces 4*47 

Photographs 4,983 

Single sheets 4,967 

Miscellaneous items 6,554 

The Library is subordinate to the Ministry of Education, but retains 
complete independence in its organisation and services and in the 
administration of its funds and collections. The copyright privilege 
was not possessed by the Library until 1945, when it was enacted that 
printers and publishers in Peru should deliver to the Library two copies 


of all works published, as a condition of obtaining copyright protection. 
The only material lent from the Library is from a specially provided 
collection in the Juvenile Department. 


At its inauguration the Library was established in an eighteenth- 
century building erected originally to house the "Colegio de Caciques 
del Principe," established by a former Viceroy to provide an education 
for young Indians of the noble Inca families. It was this building, 
substantially unaltered, which was destroyed in the fire of 1943. All 
that remained were the offices of the Archive National, and in these 
cramped and unsuitable quarters the restoration of the Library 
commenced; in March 1944, however, it was removed to a section of 
the Escuela de Bellas Artes, pending the construction of a new building. 
The first stone had already been laid on January 18, 1944, and work 
on the first stage was completed in 1948. The new building is of brick 
and reinforced concrete construction, and occupies an entire block, 
5,538 square metres in area, with the main front on the Avenida 
Abancay. The total cost of the building was nearly 5.5,000,000, and it 
was planned to be constructed in two stages. In the administrative and 
public sections of the Library, the building has in part two, and in part 
three floors, while the stack has eight floors. The first part to be 
constructed contains reading rooms for the Peruvian collection, 
the humanities, science, reference works, bibliographical research, 
periodicals, and the children's reading room, as well as a general store 
and administrative rooms. There are also two large halls and a court- 
yard which are used for exhibitions, and two lecture theatres, one large* 
and a smaller one for children. A room on the second floor is set apart 
for the public catalogue* The second section of the building will 
contain workrooms and further reading rooms. 


Catalogues for public use are maintained in the Reference and 
Reading, Bibliographic Research, Reviews and Periodicals, Official 
Publications, and Juvenile Departments, and there is also a general 
catalogue of books in the stack. Each of these departments, and with 
them the Accessions and Cataloguing and Classification Departments, 
have catalogues for staff use. The Reference and Reading Department 
has four public catalogues corresponding to the collections in its four 
public rooms: Peruviana, Science, Humanities, and Encyclopaedias. 


The catalogues of the public departments are in dictionary form, with 
additional indexes of analytical references to periodicals for the 
Peruviana and Humanities collections; in the Encyclopaedia room 
catalogues of "events" relating to persons, subjects, or institutions and 
of laws, decrees, resolutions, etc., extracted from the official Peruvian 
gazette are maintained. 

In addition to a general dictionary catalogue, the Bibliographic 
Research Department has catalogues of MSS., maps, photographs, 
engravings and periodicals, and a catalogue of broadsheets, 
proclamations, etc,, is being compiled. A public catalogue with entries 
under tide, subject, and institution is maintained in the Department of 
Reviews and Periodicals. The official catalogue of the Library, by 
authors, and the shelf list recording the arrangement of the books 
made according to a modified form of the Dewey Decimal 
Classification, are kept in the Cataloguing and Classification 
Department, together with a card index of cataloguing rules and 

The Anuario Bibliografico Pentano, compiled and published by the 
Library, provides a national bibliography, in classified order. 


The organisation of the Library is defined by Government decrees of 
June 23, 1943, May 5, 1947, and May 4, 1948* Its arrangement by 
departments is as follows: 

(1) Accessions, Responsible for the purchase of books (other than periodicals), 
the receipt of donations, exchange of publications, and binding. The 
Library nas exchange agreements with 485 Peruvian and foreign 
institutions, but lack of staff prevents the exchange of many books; 
it is hoped, however, to extend die work. Books are sent out to private 
contractors for binding. 

(2) Cataloguing and Classification. Responsible for the cataloguing and 
classification of books and pamphlets received, and the maintenance of 
the catalogues in the Reference and Reading Rooms. 

(3) Reference and Reading Rooms. Responsible for the reading rooms and 
stacks, and for answering requests for information received by the 

(4) Bibliographic Research, MSS., and Rare Books. Responsible for the care 
and protection and service to the public of the special collections of the 
Library: rare and old books, old periodicals, MSS., photographs, maps, 
etc. This Department has its own reading room, and carries out the work 
of editing and issuing publications of the Library, the review Pfnix 
(1944- }, the Amtario Bibtiografico Peruano (1945- ), and the Boletin de la 
Biblioteca National (1943- ). 


(5) Reviews and Periodicals. Carries out the acquisition of reviews and 
periodicals and the maintenance of subscriptions for them, the 
registration and cataloguing of periodical publications other than official 
publications, and the distribution of the publications issued ~by the 
Library. Many reviews and periodicals are received by exchange. The 
Department has its own reading room and in the general stack a large 
section for storing its holdings. 

(6) Official Publications. Receives and catalogues official publications. This 
Department has not yet its own reading room though one will be provided 
in the enlargement of the building. Meanwhile official publications are 
read in the periodicals reading room. 

(?) Juvenile Department. This department, an unusual feature in a national 
library, provides separate collections for children between six and 
fourteen years of age and those between fifteen and eighteen. The 
collection for the second category includes numbers of textbooks and 
other educational works. 

(8) National School ofLibrarianship. Trains students for posts in the National 
Library and other institutions. The school is not connected with any 
university. Its course is of two years' duration and the staff, which 
numbers twenty-five in all, includes many members of the National 
Library Staff. The post of Director of the School is combined with that 
of Director of the National Library. 

(9) Administrative Services. These include the Secretariat, Administration, 
Finance and Accounting Sections. 

The Library has no photographic department, but photo-copying 
facilities exist in the Bibliographical Research Department, 
fo *955> 481,817 readers used the Library. 
Accessions during the year 1955 were as follows: 

Legal Copyright 

Purchase deposit registration 

Books .. .. 1,408 191 32 

Pamphlets .. 636 167 37 

MSS 695 

Maps .... 

Music: Printed . . 479 10 

MS. ..30 56 

Photographs . . 7 

Leaflets .... 128 12 

Albums .... 29 

Microcards .. 5,452 

1 Including 10,167 transferred from the National Historical Museum. 



In 1956 the staff employed was as follows: 

Administrative and professional 53 

Sub-professional 6 

Auxiliary 69 

Service staff, etc 50 



The Library does not lend material to other institutions, conduct 
inter-library lending in Peru, or maintain union catalogues. 
Bibliographical information services are provided through the 
Reference and Reading Room Department and the Department of 
Bibliographical Research, 


The Library is a State institution and its financial grant, made from 
the national exchequer, is based on estimates submitted by the Director. 
Annual income from this source in 1956 amounted to 5.3,131,875.25, 
and the principal items of expenditure were as follows: 


Staff salaries 2,048,898.12 

Purchase of books and MSS. and subscriptions to 

periodicals 345,400.00 

Binding 42,870.00 

Insurance 154,271,00 

Printing 108,000*00 

Equipment and niaintenance of building . . 432,436.13 



Boletib de la Biblioteca Nacional. 1943- . [Particularly ano, 5. no. n. 1948, 

where an account of the organisation of tae Library is given.] 
Basadre, Jorge. La Biblioteca Nacional de Lima. 1945. [Ediciones de la 

Biblioteca Nacional. no. 3.] 
Kilgour, R. L. The Library School of the National Library of Peru. 1945. 

(! : library Quarterly, vol. 15. no. j. pp. 32-48.) 
Memorias que el Director de la Biblioteca Nacional presenta al Sr, Ministro de 

Educaci&i Publica. 1948/50 [etc.], [Ediciones de la Biblioteca National] 




The South African Public Library, which has the longest history of any 
library in the Union, owes its origin to a Government proclamation of 
March 20, 1818, ordaining that the proceeds of a tax on wine should 
be used for the formation of a public library. As its nucleus, the 
Library received a collection of 4,565 volumes left by Joachim Nicolaas 
von Dessin, Secretary to the Orphan Chamber, together with a sum of 
.75 for its gradual increase "to serve as a foundation of a public 
library for the advantage of the community." A catalogue was 
published in 1821; in May of the same year two honorary librarians 
and two sub-librarians were appointed, while in ,the following 
January the Library was opened to the public. In 1823 one of the 
rooms was fitted up as a law library, and the library of a Mr. Rowles 
was purchased. A further addition to the stocks was made in 1828 on 
the removal of the Library to the Commercial Exchange, the books of 
the latter institution being taken over. Meanwhile in 1824 the 
Government had decided to allow the Library to import books free of 
all customs duties, and in 1825 it was allotted a regular grant from 
public funds; two years later, however, this was withdrawn. At a 
public meeting held on March 31, 1829, it was decided that the 
Library should be reogranised as a subscription and circulating library, 
and a committee of six was elected for its control. It was to be opc& 
to the general public, but only subscribers were to be allowed to 
borrow books. Subsequent ordinances improved the details of the 
government of the Library, but its constitution remained unaltered 
until 1893, when an Act of Parliament replaced the Committee of 
Management by a Board of Trustees. 

In 1853 "philosophical apparatus" which had been presented to the 
Library at its foundation was lent to the South African College, later 
Cape Town University, where it formed the nucleus of die Department 



of Chemistry. In this year the Library contained 5 3,000 volumes. The 
Governor, Sir George Grey, presented a large part of his own library 
in 1 86 1, thereby immediately raising the importance and value of the 
collections far above those of any other South African library. 
Dr. W. H. I. Bleek, a philologist, was appointed custodian of the 
Grey Collection. The important botanical collection of Dr. Carl 
Ludwig Pappe (1803-62), Colonial Botanist and Professor at the 
South African College, was purchased, and following the advent of 
the Grey Collection, numerous other important donations were 
received. After the South African War, the financial depression which 
followed caused a very serious diminution in the income of the 
Library; the special grant for the purchase of standard works was 
withdrawn, and the ordinary grant reduced from ^1,300 to ^840. 
Important collections of South African newspapers and books were 
bequeathed at this time by the Hon. J. H. Hofmeyr ("Onze Jan") and 
M. L. Wessels, the former leaving his political papers, and the latter 
his collection of 1,600 books in foreign languages. 

The Fairbridge CoEection, formerly the private library of Charles 
Aken Fairbridge, lawyer and member of the first Cape Parliament, 
was purchased and presented to the Library, together with some of his 
own books, by Sir Abe Bailey in 1926. In 1934 Sir Thomas Muir 
bequeathed his mathematical library consisting of 4,036 volumes, 
largely of mathematical journals, and this is being kept uj> to date. 
Subsequent important acquisitions include the private and political 
papers of the Hon. J. X. Merriman, Sir James Rose-Imies, and the 
Hon. W. P. Schreiner, the Churchill (genealogy) and Solomon 
Collections, the Jackson Mountaineering Collection, the Alain White 
collection of books on chess, the C. L. Leipoldt Cookery Collection, 
and, in 1945, the Springbok Collection, formed in England as a tribute 
to South African hospitality to British troops and to South Africans 
serving with the British and Allied Forces during the Second World 
War; this collection includes many fine bindings. The Springbok 
Library is intended to present a picture of British life and thought; the 
books number approximately 1,000 and were contributed by 
individuals, universities, learned societies, and many other organisations, 
and among them are specimens of the work of the Kelmscott, Golden 
Cockerel and other celebrated presses, and numerous books bearing 
the autographs of their authors. 

The Library contains more than 325,000 volumes, representing most 
branches of knowledge; it is strong in literature and history, especially 
in its collection of serials. The selection of books is carried out by the 
Librarian and senior members of the staff, with the aid of outside experts 

24 NLW 


when necessary. The total number of accessions received in 195 5 by 
purchase, legal deposit, and gift was 6,232, together with 22,735 parts 
of periodical publications. 

Displays and exhibitions of printed and MS. material are held 
regularly, and in connection with an exhibition held in 1940 to 
commemorate the 50Oth anniversary of the invention of printing, the 
Library made a colour film, Story of the recorded word. 

The Africana Collections (including the relevant sections of the Grey, 
Fairbridge, and Hofmeyr Collections) constitute one of the most 
complete collections of literature in existence dealing with Southern 
Africa. They include the earliest piece of South African printing in 
existence (a fragment from an almanac of 1796), the only known copy 
of the earliest surviving book printed in the country (Borcherd's De 
Maan, 1802), and many travel books, early Cape imprints, pamphlets, 
and South African Blue Books. There are copies of practically all the 
earliest Afrikaans books, and many periodicals of the nineteenth 
century issued in South Africa, with over 8,000 bound volumes of 
South African newspapers. The books and pamphlets in die Africana 
collections, including all copyright material, have almost all been 
brought together from the general stocks and re-classified and 
re-catalogued; they number approximately 40,000 items, and are 
increasing at the rate of several thousand a year. 

The Dessinian Collection contains nearly 5,000 volumes, chiefly on 
law, theology, and the classics, with several MSS. In the Grey Collection 
there are many important MSS., first and second folios of Shakespeare, 
two Caxtons, and a unique collection of South African native literature. 
The Fairbridge, of 8,000 volumes, includes Africana and fine editions 
of English and other classics and travel works; in the Hofmeyr there 
are important periodicals, and rare material relating to the 
Afritanerbond. The Library has a growing number of South African 
literary MSS. and family papers, including an important collection of 
letters written by Lady Anne Barnard. The Jurgens collection of 
postal Africana illustrates the development of postal communication in 
South Africa from its inception. 

The first two Librarians held the post as joint honorary officers 
from 1821-28. They were the Rev. George Hough and the Rev. 
F. Kaufmann. A. J. Jardine held the post from 1828-45, Frederick 
Maskew, 1845-89, and following them, three librarians from England* 
F. S. Lewis from the Bodleian, 1889-1908, A, C G. Lloyd from Cam- 
bridge University Library, 1908-38, and the present Librarian, Mr* 
D. H. Varley from the Royal Empire Society. The Library has been 
the birthplace of several institutions and societies, including the South 


African Association of Arts, the South African Literary and Scientific 
Institution, and the Van Riebeeck Society. 

The Library ranks as a State-aided institution and falls under the 
care of the Department of Education, Arts and Science (until 1948 
under the Department of the Interior), while maintenance and repair 
of the building is the responsibility of the Department of Public 
Works. There are twelve Trustees, of whom eight are nominated by 
the Minister of Education, Arts and Science, four elected by subscribers, 
one eachnominated by the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch, 
and two elected by the Cape Town City Council. The South African 
Public Library Act of 1893, which had established the Board of Trustees, 
was repealed in 1954 and the Library became subject to the State-Aided 
Institutions Act of 1931, which already applied to the State Library at 
Pretoria. The composition of the Board remains substantially unaltered, 
but the creation of posts and appointment of staff by the Trustees is 
now subject to Government approval. The Library acted as a 
Copyright Deposit Library for Cape Colony from 1873, and has done 
so for the Union since 1916. All copyright books are added to the 
Africana Collection, catalogued, bound, and permanently preserved. 
All periodical publications and the publications of corporate bodies and 
societies are catalogued and bound, together with copies of every 
newspaper published in the Union. The Library also acts as one of the 
two depository libraries in the Union for the official publications of 
the United Nations and Unesco. Since 1948 the Library has housed 
the stock of the United Kingdom Information Library in Cape Town, 
which is administered as part of the Reference Department; the stocks 
include a full range of British Government publications. 


At the foundation, part of the new Government offices in the 
grounds of the present Houses of Parliament were appropriated to the 
Library* In 1828, however, the Government informed the Trustees 
that the accommodation was required for other purposes, and the 
Library was removed to certain rooms in the new Commercial 
Exchange. As the collections continued to expand, increased space 
- became urgently necessary and additional rooms in the Exchange were 

In 1857 the present site of the Library was transferred to a trust for 
the erection of a building to contain both the South African Public 
Library aad the South African Museum. A building, for which the 
Committee provided ,2,000 and Parliament the, remaining ^13,000, 


was opened by H.R.H. Prince Alfred, later Duke of Edinburgh, in 
1860, and in 1954 it was transferred to Government ownership and 

In 1897 the Museum was transferred to another building, and its 
large exhibition hall converted into a reading room accommodating 
160 readers. A new central hall to contain 100,000 books was built 
in 1922, funds being provided almost equally by the Trustees and 
the Government. A new wing with three floors to contain the Fair- 
bridge Collection was erected in 1926 at the expense of Sir Abe 

The inflammability of the building is now a matter of great concern; 
representation was made to the Government in 1947, with the support 
of twenty-five leading cultural and scientific societies and institutions 
representing both Afrikaans and English-speaking interests in the 
Union, calling for the immediate reconstruction of the Library on a 
scale commensurate with its national and international importance; 
and in 1951 the Trustees submitted, at the request of the Government, 
details of a proposed fireproof wing to be added to the building. It is 
hoped that this wing will form the first part of an entirely re-planned 
building on the same site. Construction work was due to begin in 
August 1956. 


The first catalogue, A Catalogue of the collection of books in the English 
language in the South African Public Library, compiled by Thomas 
Pringle, was published in 1825. Subsequent printed catalogues 
appeared in 1829, 1834 (with a supplement, 1837), 1842, and 1862. In 
1 88 1 an entirely new edition of the catalogue was published, a special 
Parliamentary grant having been awarded for the purpose. Catalogues 
of the special collections published include those of von Manger and 
Kaufmann of the Dessinian Collection (1821), and of F. G. Stokes of 
the Fairbridge Collection (1904), A list of books added to the Africana 
Collection including material received under the Copyright Act has 
been published since 1946 in the Quarterly bulletin of the South African 
Public Library, while a handlist of current South African periodicals in 
the Library and a union list of South African newspapers have been 

T 1 t .1 X-* T.fT. 1 , 11. If *_- ** 

Union is being prepared for publication. 

The public catalogues of die Library comprise author and subject 
catalogues, on cards, the latter arranged in dictionary form. Separate 
card catalogues for Africana are being compiled. 



In addition to the administrative and financial departments, the 
Library comprises the following: 

Order and Processing Department. 

Reference Department. 

Africana Collections (also dealing with publications of the Library). 

Copyright and Periodicals Department. 


An average of 3,200 volumes is bound annually. Bindings in the 
Rare Book Collection are restored as opportunity and funds avail- 
able permit. The Library has no photographic department, but 
makes use of the facilities available at the University: microfilms 
of a number of sets of important South African newspapers have been 
made and a microfilm reader purchased. Accessions in 1955 were as 


deposit Donation Purchase 

Books and pamphlets . . 2,063 1*014 3*55 

Periodicals (parts) .. .. 1 1,994 6,028 4,713 

In addition, newspapers estimated to number over 20,000 parts are 
received annually by legal deposit. 


As early as 1846, arrangements were made to supply the Swellendam 
Library with books, but a request from the Natal Library at 
Pietermaritzburg to be allowed to subscribe was refused owing 
to the great distance (nearly x,ooo miles) separating it from Cape 
Town. The Library now takes part in a scheme for inter-library 

Since 1939 the Library has taken a leading part in the development 
of library services for rural readers and the less privileged members of 
the community in the Cape Province. The book stocks and 
administration of the Society for Book Distribution were housed at 
the Library from the inception of the Society in 1939 until its absorption 
by the Provincial Administration in 1946. The book stocks and 
administration of the Cape Libraries Extension Association were 
housed at the Library from 1941 until 1952, when its activities within 
the municipal area of Cape Town were taken over by the City 
Libraries Development Officer. This service chiefly reached 


non-European readers in the Western Cape. From 1940-45 the Trustees 
also provided accommodation for books and staff of the Books for 
Troops and Ships Organisation, and for the Royal Naval War 
Library. The Library also provided accommodation and assistance 
in the establishment of hospital library services as part of the first 
stage of the City Library Commission's Municipal Scheme. 

The course which it is hoped will be taken by future developments 
was outlined in the Report of the Interdepartmental Committee on 
Libraries of the Union (1937). Its recommendations include: 

(i) The compilation of a Union Catalogue, the catalogue of the Library 

forming a nucleus. 

>) The publication of special catalogues and bibliographies. 
'3) Co-ordination of the various special collections, between them possessing 

a great wealth of literature, which have grown, up in Cape Town and the 

(4) The Library should be pre-eminently the Reference Library of South 

Africa, and the recognised repository of its literary treasures, the 

complementary task of finding and disseminating through inter-library 

loan the records of current knowledge having been assumed by the 

State Library at Pretoria. 

This development depends on greatly increased financial resources, the 
lack of which has prevented the Trustees from initiating bibliographical 
work on a national scale, and on the provision of a new and adequate 
building. The duties and functions of a municipal lending library were 
taken over by the City Council of Cape Town in 1954, as part of the 
Cape Town City Libraries reorganisation. The central lending unit 
remains, for the time being, in the former Lending Room of the South 
African Public Library. 

Union lists of scientific periodicals in a number of libraries in the 
Cape Province were published in 1912 and 1917 and others, including 
the holdings of other libraries in the Union, in 1921 and 1927. These 
have been replaced by the Catalogue of Union periodicals published by the 
South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research since 
1943. In 1950 a union list of South African newspapers in public and 
private collections was compiled and published, to form the basis of a 
proposed scheme for microfilming these newspapers. (Union list of 
South African newspapers 1800-1949. [Grey bibliography, no. 3.]) 

In 1955 the number of books lent to other libraries and institutions 
was 9,93 3 , of which 9, 145 were lent on request through the Cape Town 
City Library Service. 124 works were borrowed for use in the 



In 1956 the staff numbered 36, in the following grades: 

Professional and Clerical: 

Secretary and Chief Librarian I 

Assistant Chief Librarian I 

Librarians 8 

Library Assistants 7 

Cashier, Typists 4 

Technical and Building Staff: 

European 4 

Coloured II 


The income of the Library is derived mainly from grants made by 
the Union Government and the Cape Town City Council. To meet 
rising costs and the increased activities of the Library, the Government 
grant was increased from 3,000 in 1938 to 12,340 in 1951, and the 
grant from the City Council from 2,400 to 3,000 in the same 
period. There is a small income from endowments, and special 
benefactions include the De Korte bequest of 8,624, the Muir 
mathematical bequest of 4,550, and the Hiddingh bequest of 1,000. 
The income is still far from sufficient, however, to enable the Library 
to achieve its declared aims. The total income of the Library for 1955 
was 21,921, of which the principal source was a Government 
grant-in-aid (16,730). Cape Town Corporation contributed 1,100 
by way of a grant and 1,920 as rent for accommodation used by the 
municipal lending service. The principal items of expenditure, which 
exceeded income by 713, were: salaries, 14,072, purchase of books, 
periodicals and binding materials, 3,820, 


South African Public Library. Reports of the Committee of Management 

(Board of Trustees). 1828-. 

Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Public Library. 1946- . 
Union of South Africa. Interdepartmental Committee on the Libraries of the 

Union. Report. 1937. 

Official Year Book of the Union of South Africa. 1918- . 
Kritringer, S. J. Historical Survey of the South African Public Library. 1946. 

In: South African Libraries, vol. 13. no* 4. 
Lloyd, A, C G. The Library, Cape Town. 1913. 


Annals of the SJL Public Library, 1818-1918. (In : Report of the Trustees 

for the year ending sist December, 1917.) 
Varley,D.H. Adventures in Africana. 1949- [Includes many references to the 

history of the Library.] 
The South African Public Library. What it is, and how to use it. 1941. 


The State Library was founded by President Paul Kruger in 1887, 
with the title "Staatsbibliotheek der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek" ; it 
had the dual function of lending and reference library. A few years 
later a committee was appointed by the President to administer the 
Library in accordance with the constitution approved for it by the 
Government of the Republic; among the provisions made were that 
the Government should supply and maintain premises for the Library 
and, in addition, contribute from the Treasury a sum to be fixed annually 
towards current expenditure. After the establishment of the Union of 
South Africa, the Transvaal State Library, as it was now called, was 
taken over with these inherent obligations by the Union Government 
under the terms of the Financial Relations Act. Its collections during 
the early years of its existence consisted almost entirely of works in 
Dutch, and the present collection of Dutch literature is probably the 
largest in Africa. With the passage of time, however, policy broadened, 
and now the Netherlands collection, large though it is, forms only a 
small part of the stock of over 320,000 works. Shortage of staff, 
however, has constantly interfered with the work of the Library, and 
large sections of the stock, including the valuable Africana collection, 
still remain uncatalogued. Arrears are now being dealt with, slowly, 
and with interruptions. 

Under the South African Copyright Act of 1916, the Library receives 
by legal deposit a copy of all books, periodicals, newspapers, and other 
documents published in the Union. In the early days of the Library, 
books could be borrowed by burgers of the South African Republic 
upon payment of an annual subscription of /r; now, the Library acts 
as a free municipal lending library under the terms of an agreement 
concluded in 1933 with the City Council of Pretoria, when the 
Council agreed to increase the annual grant-in-aid to compensate for 
the loss of the subscriptions of the Pretoria borrowers, la the same 
year, under an agreement between the Union Government and the 
Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Library was brought within 
the scope of the State-Aided Institutions Act of 1931; the original 


governing committee was replaced by a board of twelve Trustees 
responsible at first to the Minister of the Interior, and from 1948 to the 
Minister of Education. Six Trustees are appointed by the Minister, 
three by the Carnegie Development Fund Trustees, and three by the 
Pretoria City Council. 

The principal benefactors of the Library have included the Carnegie 
Corporation of New York, Field-Marshal Smuts and Mrs* Smuts, 
the Rt. Hon. Sir Patrick Duncan, Governor-General of the Union, and 
Lady Duncan, Dr. F. V. Engelenburg, Mr. E. F. Bourke, the Hon. 
Hugh Crawford, and certain anonymous donors. 

The special collections of the Library, apart from the Africana, 
Copyright, and Blue Book collections, are as follows: 

(1) The Smuts Collection. Mainly of general literature, with many 
specimens of the works of private presses, and some unique items of 
historical interest. 

(2) The Smithsonian Collection. This is the largest collection in Africa of 
official publications of the United States. 

(3) The Engelenburg Collection, composed mainly of works on. art and 
history, and including a copy of the rare Blaeu atlas of the world 
(Amsterdam, 1667). 

(4) The Duncan Collection. Chiefly classical literature and political history. 

(5) The Middleton Bequest Collection of works on economics. Has its own 

(6) Wallis Collection of English literature. 

The first Librarian to hold office was Dr, A. J. Begemann, from 1887 
to 1893. Subsequent holders of the post have been Jan F. E. Celliers 
(1893-99), the Rev. James Grey (1900-02), R.. W. Heaton (1902-31), 
and M. M. Stirling (1931- ). 
The stocks of the Library are (approximately): 

Bound volumes 

Books 175,280 

Newspapers and periodicals 17,230 

Government publications 2,210 


Unbound material 

Books, pamphlets, etc. 97,200 

Newspapers and periodical files . . . * 10,300 

Government publications 24,690 

Maps 2,500 


Total book stock 329,410 



The Library is prohibited by the terms of its constitution from 
acquiring or renting any fixed property, and all buildings are provided 
by the Government of the Union. The existing buildings consist of an 
old Masonic temple, and a disused church, both entirely unsuited to 
library purposes. In 1934 plans for a new building on the existing site 
were approved by the Government. Part of one wing, to contain the 
Reference and Children's Departments, was erected in 1936, but owing 
to the War and other causes, no further progress was made until 1947, 
when three tiers of the projected book stack were constructed. Tem- 
porary additional premises were first hired in 1941, and at present 
accommodation in an old synagogue about a mile from the Library is 
rented to provide additional storage space; but the congestion in the 
Library buildings remains extremely serious. The Union Government 
estimates for the year 1953-54 provided .75,000 for a further extension, 
to contain additional stack space, staff workrooms, and space for special 
collections. Work on this is to be completed by the middle of 1957. 
To complete the whole building will require a further expenditure of 

In its completed form the building is to be of four storeys. The 
ground floor will be occupied by the municipal activities of the Library, 
and above these, on the first floor, will be housed the administrative 
offices and Reference Department of the Library. The second floor 
will contain the special collections, including the Smithsonian and 
Copyright, and the National Lending Department; and the third floor 
a bindery and printing press, a lecture hall, a professional library, filing 
rooms, and the board room. The book stack, which when completed 
will be of eight tiers, will occupy the rear of the building. 


A printed catalogue, Catalogue van de Staatsbibliotheek der Suid- 
Afrikaansche Republiek was published in 1894. Complete catalogues, 
author-tide and classified, of all copyright accessions are in preparation, 
but staff is insufficient, and the work proceeds very slowly. Monthly 
accessions lists have been issued since 1933, and are distributed to 
libraries in the Union and abroad. 


The following are the departments of the Library, 
(i) The Reference and Information Library, including at present the 
Africana and Blue Book Sections, This is used by over 100 persons 


daily, and receives in addition many telephone and postal inquiries, 
but its activities are much hampered by the lack of adequate 
photographic facilities. When financial circumstances permit, the 
Africana and Blue Book sections will be placed in the charge of 
trained specialists. In 1954 over 70,000 works were consulted in the 

(2) The National Lending Department and Inter-Library Loan 
System. This arranges loans of books to State Departments, institutions, 
students, and research workers throughout Southern Africa. 16,725 
books were lent in 1954. The total number of books applied for was 
18,961; 12,659 were lent from the Library's own stocks, 4,066 were 
borrowed from other libraries, and 2,236 could not be traced in any 
library in the Union. There are now 414 libraries and institutions 
affiliated to the State Library. 

(3) Union Catalogue of non-fiction in all libraries in the Union. It 
now contains over 300,000 entries. 

(4) Copyright Section. Compiles lists of copyright accessions. 

(5) Smithsonian Collection. This consists of the collection of 
official publications of the United States, and receives regular additions 
from the Smithsonian Institution. It forms the largest collection in 
Africa of official publications of the United States, covering a wide 
range of subjects and extends over many years, going back to the 
early days of the South African Republic. Lists of accessions are 
compiled and circulated. During 1953 the number of new publications 
received was 4,500. 

(6) Municipal Lending Department. The adult section of the lending 
library. A burden is thrown on this department by the complete 
absence of suburban branch libraries in Pretoria. The number of 
registered borrowers in 1954 was 24,174, and 510,412 books were 

(7) Children's Library. Since 1939 deposit libraries have been 
maintained in outlying schools, and classes organised to instruct 
children in the use of the Library. The annual circulation of books in 
1954 was 101,813. 

(8) Prison Library Service. The circulation of State Library books 
among the inmates of the Central Prison amounted in 1954 to 

Projected departments are Africana, Blue Books, Music, Fine Arts, 
Maps and Prints, all in charge of specialists, a permanent exhibition of 
the Printer's Art, and a bindery. 

Copyright accessions apart from newspapers and periodicals during 


1954 numbered 1,821, and their composition by languages was as 

English 637 

Afrikaans 557 

Bantu 69 

Other languages 4 

Government and other bilingual publications . . . . 554 



In 193 3 an agreement was concluded between the Unioti Government 
and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, whereby the Library was 
to function as a national central library with the following objects: 

(1) To act as the centre of the South African library system. 
Vacation schools have been held each year since 1931 for members 
of library staffs from all parts of the Union. They are organised on 
behalf of the Library by the South African Library Association. 

(2) To act as the national lending library, lending to other libraries, 
and in exceptional circumstances to individuals, books which are not 
conveniently or economically to be obtained by any other means. 

(3) To encourage co-operation between libraries, and to provide 
machinery for inter-library loans. 

(4) To achieve a united national library system, and to provide the 
services of a travelling organiser to assist library authorities to solve 
their difficulties and to improve their library service. 

(5) To assist in the establishment of rural library services throughout 
the Union. 

(6) In the terms of the Copyright Act of 1916 to act as a repository 
for all works published in the Union of South Africa, and to furnish 
information concerning these publications by means of monthly lists 
of accessions and other means. 

(7) To act as a centre of bibliographical information. 

The Library lends books to students and research workers throughout 
Southern Africa, as far as possible through local libraries and kindred 
institutions but, where this is not possible, directly. A Union Catalogue 
being formed is intended to become a complete catalogue of all non- 
fiction books in all public, institutional and governmentallibraries in the 
Union of South Africa. Progress hitherto has been slow, owing to 
lack of staff and funds: the number of entries is over 300,000. The 
Library receives the publications of the United Nations Organisation 
and Unesco, and the Cumulative Catalogs of the Library of Congress. 


Lack of staff and of space have hitherto prevented the satisfactory 
cataloguing and arrangement of United Nations publications on the 
lines of the Smithsonian Collection. 

In 1937 an Interdepartmental Committee recommended that 
provincial library services should be operated as independent units 
co-ordinated by the State Library. In June 1942, the Carnegie 
Corporation voted $35,000 to the Library to assist in the establishment 
of free rural library services throughout the Union, and thereby 
accelerated the development of rural libraries, which had hitherto been 
very slow. Rural library services have been commenced in the Cape 
Province, Orange Free State, and the Transvaal, and are starting in 


The staff of the Library, despite recent increases, is still too small to 
enable it to fulfil its functions adequately. Numbers are as follows: 

State Librarian I 

Sub-Librarian i 

Senior Librarians 2 

Librarians 4 

Assistants (European) 36 

(Non-European) 1 1 


The additional staff required, but not yet financially possible, comprises 
a librarian for the Africana Collection, a readers* consultant, six qualified 
cataloguers, a typist, and a periodicals clerk. 


The Library is supported by a Government grant, Carnegie and 
municipal funds, and sundry other revenues. Since 193 1, however, its 
income has failed to keep pace with the rising cost of books and services 
and the growth in the activities of the Library; and the Interdepart- 
mental Committee, in its report of 1937, recommended that the 
amount should be determined by the requirements of the Institution. 
The present amount allocated annually is 15,000 (i954-)> but it is 
estimated that to enable the library to discharge its national duties 
adequately, at least ,23,000 would be needed. Purchases of books 
required by students all over the Union and unobtainable in South 
Africa have been in arrears for years, while there are large and increasing 


arrears of binding. To improve its financial position, the Library aims 
at building up an endowment fund of .200,000. There is an excellent 
prospect of the Government's subsidy being substantially increased in 
the near future. 
Income and expenditure for 1954: 



Municipal grant .......... 11,500 

Carnegie fund ............ 1,255 

Sundry receipts ............ 6,722 

Government subsidy (without Cost of Living grant of 

2,060) ............ 15,865 



Salaries .............. 17,890 

Superannuation .......... 1,129 

Wages .............. 830 

Books .............. 7*665 

Periodicals ............ 424 

Stationery ............ 93& 

Municipal charges .......... 409 

Furniture and fittings .......... 185 

Vacation School for Librarians ...... 200 

Travelling expenses (including two Union Cata- 

loguers) ............ 27 

Janitor .............. 112 

Cost-of-living allowances ........ 2,615 

Unemployment insurance ........ 104 

Rent of external premises ........ 402 

Other expenditure .......... 1,407 



The State Library. Report of the Trustees. 1913-. 

Kritzinger, S. J. Historical Survey of the State Library. 1946. In: South 

African Libraries, vol. 14. no. i. 
Union of South Africa. Interdepartmental Committee on the Libraries of the 

Union. Report. 1937. 





The first proposals for the establishment of a library in Jerusalem for the 
Jewish people were made in 1872, by Rabbi Joshua Levine, of 
Wolozhin; but nothing carne of them. In 1884, however, a group 
of intellectuals and scholars in Jerusalem brought together a collection of 
books with the intention of establishing a public library, and it received 
the name of Beth Sepharim le-Bnai Yisrael. In 1892 the Bnai Brith 
Lodge of Jerusalem founded a library in which this earlier collection 
was incorporated; the new library was called Beth ha-Sefarim Midrash 
Abarbanel. Meanwhile in 1890 Dr. Joseph Chasanowitz, a Jewish 
physician and bibliophile of Bialystock (1844-1919), visited Jerusalem 
and conceived the idea of a Jewish national library, and to this project 
he devoted the rest of his life. In the autumn of 1895 he sent the first 
consignment of some 8,800 books to Jerusalem, and by 1908 the 
holdings of the Library had reached the total of 22,000 volumes. 
Meanwhile three young men, Zeev Yawkz, David Yellita, and Joseph 
Meyuhas, who supported him enthusiastically, had appealed in 1892 on 
behalf of the Bnai Brith Lodge of Jerusalem for the establishment of a 
public library. The collections were increased with the help of the 
Zionist Organisation, Bnai Brith lodges in various countries, and the 
Hilfsverein der deutschen Juden. Progress was interrupted by the 
First World War, during which a part of the collections was lost. 
From 1918-20 the Library was conducted as an independent 

Steps for the foundation of a University at Jerusalem commenced in 
1913, and just as war broke out in the following year, a committee 
completed negotiations for the purchase of the house built by Sir John 
Gray Hill on Mount Scopus, Progress was checked by the War, and 
the next step was taken by the Zionist Organisation, when in July 1918 
the foundation stone was laid in the presence of General Allenby and 



representatives of learned and religious bodies. The house has gardens 
of six acres, and a further forty acres of land adjoining were purchased 
from the executors of Sir John G. Hill. 

In the spring of 1920 the Zionist executive decided to proceed with 
the reorganisation of the Library. The Zionist Commission had 
previously entered into an agreement with the Jerusalem Lodge of the 
Bnai Brith under which the latter handed over its books to the 
Commission, retaining only duplicates, which were to be used for 
the establishment of a public library in the present building when 
new premises had been provided for the National Library. The 
Zionist Commission undertook the maintenance of the Library, and on 
June i, 1920, the Zionist Organisation took over the entire 
administration of the Library and appointed Dr. Hugo Bergmann 
(formerly of the University Library, Prague) as Librarian. Many 
problems had to be faced; the existing collections had to be catalogued, 
a working library for the future University formed, and the collecting 
of Jewish literature which had appeared since the War and of periodicals 
had to be resumed. Many gifts began to reach the Library; among 
them were several hundreds of volumes from the Government of 
Prance, and large collections from the Italian and Czechoslovak 
governments. Gifts towards equipping the Library were received from 
the British Museum and the New York Public Library, while the 
library of the Jewish community in Berlin sent its duplicates. Many 
gifts were received from individuals, among them Sir Herbert (later 
Lord) Samuel; Joseph P. Lynkeus, the Jewish philosopher of Vienna, 
and Dr. Jacob Benenson of London both bequeathed their valuable 
libraries. Gifts were received from the League of Nations, its 
publications and later those of the United Nations Organisation being 
received. The medical section received special attention from the 
American Jewish Physicians' Committee, which established a special 
medical department, opened in 1923 and provisionally housed in the 
Pasteur Institute. 

In 1926 the Library became an integral part of the Hebrew 
University, and was renamed Jewish National and University Library 
(Beth ha-Sefarim ha-Leumi we-ha-Universitai). When, Bergmann toofc 
up office, he found an inadequate budget and a small, untrained staff. 
There were 22,000 volumes in the Library, with author and subject 
catalogues. The Library was then opened to the general public, in the 
hope that it would become the centre of intellectual Hfe in Palestine: in 
1924 the publication was commenced of a bibliographical quarterly, 
Kirjath Sepher. Bergmann was succeeded in 1935 by Professor G. 
Weil, formerly Director of the Oriental Department of the Preussische 


Staatsbibliothek, who overhauled the collections, reorganised the 
lending department, and thus gaining space established an accessions 
department. Weil was in turn succeeded in 1947 by Dr. C. Wormann, 
who had been until 1933 Director of the Berlin-Kreuzberg Public 
Library, and from 1937 to 1947 head of the foreign language section in 
the Municipal library at Tel-Aviv. 

On December 31, 1941, the Library contained 366,282 volumes. 
The largest section is formed by the Hebraica and Judaica, and there 
are also many books in Yiddish and Jewish dialects. Though the scope 
of the Library comprises the whole of Hebrew literature, and all works 
on Jewish subjects, it cannot hope to achieve completeness, since most 
of the important MSS. and many rare printed works are in the 
permanent possession of libraries and institutions elsewhere. Efforts 
are made to obtain copies of all important new publications printed in 
Hebrew and Yiddish, and of Judaica in all languages, and the collection 
of Palestinian publications is almost complete. With this have to be 
combined the functions of a general university library. 

Among the many donations received, the following are of particular 
interest. Sixty-four Hebrew incunabula were received from Salman 
Schocken, causing the Library to rank high among the collections of 
this material. The nucleus of the Oriental section is the library of 
Professor Ignaz Goldziher of Budapest (1850-1921), received in 1925, 
and containing many works on Islam and Arabic literature; many rare 
and ancient Oriental books were purchased by Goldziher while 
studying in Egypt. The Julius Jarcho Medical Library, comprising the 
medical section of the National and University Library, together with 
twenty-one branch medical libraries in other parts of Israel, was 
assembled in the main from books presented or obtained by Dr. Julius 
Jarcho of New York. It is particularly strong in medical periodicals. 
Important among the other special collections in the Library are the 
Chasanowitz collection, the Jacob Sassoon collection of liturgical works 
and Orientalia, the Samuel Poznanski collection of printed Karaite 
literature, the S. Marcus Fechheimer collection of rare Hebrew works, 
the Johanan Dawud collection of old Yiddish literature, and the Moritz 
Chamizer collection of rare Hebraica and Syriac literature. Among 
those of importance received since 1936 are the collection of medical 
books and periodicals of Prof. Robert Barany, that of Prof. Otto 
Warburg of botanical works, that of Dr. Ignacio Bauer, rich in 
Spanish literature and art, and that of Elisha Friedmann on economics 
and general literature. Dr. Harry Friedenwald of Baltimore gave 
3,000 volumes on the history of medicine, especially on Jews in 
medicine, and including MSS., incunabula, and other early printed 

25 NLW 


books. Law, Judaica, and classics were represented among the library 
of 6,000 volumes collected by Prof. Radin of Washington, and 
presented by his daughter. Important standard works on zoology were 
received from Prof. Israel Aharoni, and a collection of English and 
German works on anthropology, geology, and sociology were 
bequeathed by Franz Bermann-Steiner. Rare Hebrew books and 
archival materials on the history of the Jews were received from 
Dr. Renzo Bonfiglioli, and the Borsenverein Deutscher Verleger- und 
Buchhandlerverbande of Frankfurt am Main presented a large collec- 
tion of important German books in the fields of arts, literature, 
natural science and applied art, which had been published after the 
Second World War. 

Until 1935, books were arranged in the order of the classified 
catalogue, but thereafter accessions were shelved in the order of their 
receipt in the Library, within the four classes Hebraica, Judaica, 
Humanities, and Science. Judaica are subdivided according to a 
classification based on that of Dewey; during the past thirty years 
some 150,000 books have been so classified. In 1942 the stocks 
of the Library included over 1,400 rare printed books and 1,700 

The collection of Jewish Autographs and Portraits has been formed 
around the Abraham Schwadron Collection. It was commenced by 
him in 1896 and presented to the Library in 1926, since when Dn 
Schwadron has acted as curator. In 1952 it contained about 11,000 
autographs and over 6,000 portraits; the oldest specimens date from 
the fifteenth century, and all fields of Jewish culture as well as the part 
played by Jews in the advancement of civilisation in general are 
represented. Among the treasures of this collection are the MS. of the 
first movement of Gustav Mahler's second symphony, and that of 
Die Gmndlagen der allgemeinen Relativitaets-Theorie of Albert Einstein. 
As there were no central Jewish archives in Palestine when the Library 
was founded, it was made the repository for a number of archives; 
those containing records of historical value concerning the Jewish 
National Movement and Zionism have been transferred in recent years 
to the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem. 

Books are obtained by purchase, exchange, and donation, English 
now being the principal foreign language spoken in Israel, the number 
of accessions received from Great Britain and the United States has 
increased while that of receipts from Continental Europe has declined 
correspondingly. For political reasons, books from the Arab countries 
have to be purchased through agents in London or Paris rather than 
directly. Books are being obtained in increasing numbers through the 


exchange of duplicates, particularly with institutions abroad; many 
periodicals are secured by exchanging Kirjath Sepher, the quarterly 
issued by the Library, and publications of various departments of the 
University. The largest source of accessions, however, is donation of 
publications and occasionally of sums of money; the largest monetary 
gift received prior to 193 1 was one of 100,000 kronen from the Bnai 
Brith Lodge, Prague. A fund for the purchase of Yiddish books was 
established by D. Schapiro; later, over 1^500 were contributed for the 
purchase of books on psychology as a memorial to Dr. David Eder. 
i, 600 volumes of science and literature were received from the French 
Government, and others from the United States Government, the 
British Council and from Scandinavian publishers and institutions. The 
Library possesses also collections of maps, photographs (largely views 
of Palestine), and over 25,000 posters relating to the history of Palestine 
from 1914 to the present. 

Before 1953, all Jewish authors and publishers in Israel and many 
abroad sent copies of their works to the Library, as the results of 
efforts made over a long period to ensure the completeness of its 
collection of Judaica. The Israeli Government regularly sent all its 
publications, and copies of most of the publications required by law to 
be deposited with it, i.e., all matter printed in the country. In most 
countries there is a Society of Friends of the Hebrew University, who 
collect books for the Library. In 1953 a law was passed requiring the 
deposit by publishers in Israel of six copies of each work published, 
two with the National and University Library and one each with the 
State Archives, the Ministry of the Interior, the library of Parliament 
and the Ministry of Education. The Library is open to all members of 
the public, and access is made as convenient as possible. In 1939 a reading 
room was opened jointly with the Jeshurun Congregation in the centre 
of the city; it has a reference collection of 800 volumes, and a lending 
collection forming a branch of the Circulation Department of the main 
Library* Of the users of the Library, about two-thirds are drawn from 
the University, and the remainder from the general public. 

The total stock of the' Library in 1956 amounted to approximately 
900,000 volumes, made up as follows: 

Printed books 700,000 volumes 

Periodicals 200,000 

MSS. (Hebrew, including 430 of Yemenite 

origin) 37*<5 

Oriental languages 325 

Other languages 226 

Incunabula (Hebrew and other languages) 84 



In. 1902 the Bnai Brith added a new wing to its building in Jerusalem 
to provide the first permanent home for the Library, where it remained 
until 1930, when a large building was erected on Mount Scopus, 
chiefly at the expense of the David Wolffsohn Fund, and known as the 
David Wolffsohn House. It contains extensive storerooms, two 
reading rooms (general and periodicals), an exhibition room and 
administrative rooms. In 1940 a new wing was added to provide 
further storage space; it consists of three floors, each of five stackrooms. 
The main reading room, the Symonds Reading Hall on the first floor, 
has accommodation for 142 readers. The stacks have glass floors and 
metal shelving, and each floor is divided into sections separated by 
steel doors. There is a bindery in the basement. 

In 1948, during the fighting which preceded the establishment of the 
State of Israel, the premises of the Hebrew University, among them 
the Wolffsohn Building, were cut off from the Jewish part of the 
town. Though Israeli territory, the site is accessible only through 
Jordan territory, and since then the University area has been under 
United Nations supervision. The major part of the books a total of 
half a million remained there and are thus inaccessible; in addition, 
the Library is deprived of its stackrooms, reading halls, and offices. 
Officers of the University and the Library inspect the stackrooms every 
fortnight, but the books cannot be removed, for political reasons. 
The stocks of the Library were scarcely damaged during the 
war, but suffered subsequently owing to lack of ventilation and 

Both University and Library, meanwhile, have been accommodated 
in the town of Jerusalem, in makeshift premises. The main stackrooms 
and principal offices of the Library are situated at the temporary 
headquarters of the University, the Terra Sancta College of the 
Franciscan Order. Other departments are accommodated in private 
houses, or in basements and halls of other large buildings. The Terra 
Sancta College contains the stackrooms with more than 80,000 
volumes, and reading rooms, which have a seating capacity of 130, are 
open to the public from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and have a reference Kbrary of 
about 17,000 volumes, among them the books of the British Council 
Library in Jeruslaem, deposited on loan. The Medical Department, 
with about 10,000 books and 1,000 current periodicals, is housed in a 
spacious building in the centre of the town, while the Law Library, 
having some 6,000 books and periodicals, together with about 40,000 
books from the general stocks of the Library as yet uncatalogued, 


though available to readers, are located in the Ratisbonne Convent, 
The Arabic Department, with about 20,000 volumes, the Friedenwald 
Collection, and the Music Department are situated in the house of 
Professor Leon Roth, loaned by him to the Library; the library of the 
psycho-analyst, Dr. Max Eitington, is contained in the house named 
after him. 

The problems arising from the dispersal of the collections in this 
manner will be solved when a new building is erected for the Library 
in the centre of the new Hebrew University campus. Work is to 
begin in spring, 1957 and to be carried out in two stages of which 
the first is to provide stack space for 1,000,000 volumes, special 
reading and work rooms, and accommodation for the library school. 
Some accommodation has already been provided for faculty libraries 
and additional temporary storage obtained. 


For a long period after its foundation, the Library lacked a general 
catalogue, the only catalogues available being select lists of works in 
certain limited subject-fields. There are now two main card catalogues, 
author and subject. The former is arranged according to the rules of 
the American Library Association, with certain modifications, and is 
divided into five sections: Latin characters, Hebrew (in two parts, 
author and title), Yiddish, Russian, including other languages in 
Cyrillic characters, and Arabic, including other languages in Arabic 
characters. The subject-catalogue is arranged according to the Dewey 
Decimal System, some sections, mainly in the fields of Law and 
Medicine, being extended in accordance with the Universal Decimal 
Classification. There are also a catalogue of periodicals in the periodicals 
reading room, and an accessions register has been maintained since 


There are the following departments in the Library: The Director's 
Department, Acquisition, Periodicals, Cataloguing, Classification, 
Circulation, Reading Rooms, Music Library, Arabic Section, Depart* 
ment of Manuscripts and Incunabula, Department of Books from 
European Jewish Libraries salvaged from the Nazi Loot, Kirjath 
Sepher (bibliographical quarterly), and Bindery. A graduate library 
school affiliated to the National and University Library was opened 
in 1956. 


Figures for the use of the Library during 1956 were as follows: 

Books issued for reading-room use 2,000 

Books issued for home reading 72,000 

on loan to other libraries 12,000 


Number of readers visiting the General Reading Room 70,000 
Medical Reading Room 12,000 


Accessions during the year 1955 were: 

Volumes purchased 


received by legal deposit 

18,000 volumes were bound in 1955. 


The Library receives the publications of the United Nations 
Organisation, and the official pubEcations of many foreign 
governments. It is an official agent of the Smithsonian Institution, 
distributing American publications received therefrom, and also 
possesses die depository catalogues of the Library of Congress. 
Numerous requests for bibliographical information are received, 
mainly from the other libraries of Israel, and dealt with; further help 
is given to Israeli libraries in the form of donations of books. Books 
are lent freely to other libraries, and efforts are constantly being made 
to strengthen relations and to establish new ones with libraries, scientific 
institutions, and international bodies abroad. The Jewish National and 
University Library has always been called upon to discharge the func- 
tions of a university and a national library. With the establishment of the 
State of Israel, new obligations have been taken over, and in this way 
the Library has made its contribution towards the development of 
librarianship, helped to introduce a unified system of cataloguing, and 
participated in the establishment of new libraries. The Director of the 
Library serves also as Director of the Graduate Library School of the 
Hebrew University which was opened in November 1956, and works 
in close collaboration with the Library. Equipment is being obtained 
for the introduction of a photographic service. 



The staff of the Library includes university graduates, librarians who 
received technical training in various libraries abroad and others 
trained in the Library, and technical and administrative personnel. The 
staff are graded in seven categories under a scheme applying to 
administrative institutions in Israel. 

Numbers are as follows: 

Senior librarians 30 

Junior librarians . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 

Clerical and technical staff 49 

Apprentices 2 



Funds needed for the maintenance of the Library are allocated from 
the budget of the University. The sum available for the purchase of 
books was for a long while extremely inadequate, the bulk of accessions 
being received by gift. In 1934-35, 1^3 50 was available for purchases 
while in 1945-46 the figure had risen to I .1,000. 

Expenditure for the year 1955-56 was as follows: 

i i 

Salaries . . 235,000 

Equipment 6,000 

Books: General .. 50,000 

Medical .. 10,000 


Binding 9,000 

Transport of books 5 ,500 

Miscellaneous 20,200 



The David Wolflsohn House of the Jewish National and University Library- 

The Jewish National and University Library. In: The Hebrew University, 

Jerusalem, pp. 83-91. 1942. 
Hay, D. The Jewish National and University Library. 1944. % n: 

Association Record, vol. 46. pp. 24-27. 


Weil, G. Report on the Administration of the Jewish National and University 
Library, Jerusalem, for the period 3rd September, i935~3Oth September, 
1946. Eng. & Heb. 1947. 

Wormann, C. The Library. In: The Hebrew University, 1925-50. pp. 144-148. 

Carnovsky, L. Report on a programme of library education in Israel. 1956. 
(Unesco. Technical Assistance. Special Reports, no. i.) 




When the first Federal Parliament of Australia met in Melbourne in 
1901, it was faced with the problem of establishing a library to meet not 
only its own needs but those of the new Federal capital, to which it 
expected to move before long. The Library Committee, under the 
chairmanship of the Speaker, Sir Frederick Holder, consulted leading 
librarians throughout the world, and finally selected the Library of 
Congress as a model. The new institution received the tide 
Commonwealth Parliamentary Library, but in anticipation of the 
change to Commonwealth National Library, which was to come in 
1923, it began from its inauguration in 1902 to purchase all material 
available both in Australia and abroad, dealing with Australia, New 
Zealand, and the Pacific Islands; and in 1912 it received the copyright 
privilege, one copy of every Australian publication being deposited in 
the Library. With the death of Sir Frederick Holder, however, and the 
delay of twenty-five years in the establishment of a Federal capital, the 
Library remained almost exclusively the working collection of Parlia- 
ment until the transfer to Canberra in 1927. 

The rapid growth of the Library has been due in no small measure to 
its policy of acquiring existing collections in various fields whenever the 
opportunity has arisen, and systematically adding to them. The 
Australiana collection was based on the outstanding collection of 
Edward Augustus Petherick, consisting of some 16,500 printed books, 
pamphlets, maps and illustrations, together with MSS., which was 
acquired in 191 1 when Petherick himself joined the staff in the nominal 
capacity of archivist. Petherick, an Englishman who had emigrated to 
Australia with his parents while a child, returned to London in 1870 as 
representative of the Melbourne bookseller George Robertson. In 
the course of his work he formed his collection of Australiana, with 
which he returned to Australia in 1908. The MSS. in the Petherick 



collection include papers of Sir Joseph Banks, relating to his voyage 
with Captain Cook in the Endeavour, but its great value lies in its early 
printed material, particularly that relating to the discovery of, and early 
voyages to, Australia. To this was added by purchase in 1923 Captain 
Cook's Journal of his voyage in the Endeavour and other Cook papers 
including the log books of the Endeavour and the Dolphin and the 
collection of books and charts in the same field formed by Alexander 
Dalrymple. A more recent acquisition was a photostat copy of the 
journal of Cook's second voyage, presented by Her Majesty the 

In 1940 Gregory Macalister Mathews presented some 4,000 items 
which he had gathered in connection with his work on the bird life of 
Australia. This collection is unique because of its completeness, and 
since its acquisition an annotated catalogue has been prepared, though 
not yet published. A more recent benefaction is that of the Hon. Mr. 
Justice Ferguson, who in 1946 transferred to the Library the notable 
collection of books, MSS. and pictures relating to Australia and the 
South Seas which he had formed and used in the compilation of his 
Bibliography of Australia. 

An interesting collection of autographed copies of more recent 
Australian publications was acquired in 1937 from Phil Whelan, to 
which additions continue to be made. In 1948 Rex Nan Kivell 
transferred to the Library on indefinite loan his unique collection of 
pictures and prints of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. Another 
collection of material relating to the Pacific to be received was that of 
Sir Edmond Hallstrom. There are also MSS. of Australian explorers, 
including relics of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Exploring Expedition 
from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and almost one hundred 
items commemorating early flights to Australia. MSS. recently 
acquired include those of the authoress Henry Handel Richardson. 

Additions are constantly made to the collection by systematic 
purchase and by the application of the Copyright Act of 1912. In other 
subject fields the Library has adopted the same policy and, particularly 
since the Second World War, it has acquired mainly by purchase, 
important collections of material on China, Japan and the Far East and 
on economics, including one of outstanding importance comprising 
some 12,000 works on the political economy of Great Britain and 
Ireland dating from 1650 to 1870. The collection of material on the 
social sciences has been greatly enriched by systematic exchange of the 
official publications of the Dominion with those of other countries. 
The establishment of a special collection of material illustrating the 
growth and activities of the American people, as a memorial to the late 


President Franklin D, Roosevelt, has attracted further material from 
the United States. 

The Commonwealth Archives Committee, originally formed in 
1942 to ensure the preservation of governmental war records, drew up 
a programme for the preservation of selected records, as a result of 
which the Commonwealth National Library was designated as the 
central archive authority for all Government departments and for 
records of Australian political, economic and social life in general. The 
nucleus of the collection of national archives was formed by the 
documents of the Australian Federation League, and the personal 
papers of Sir Edmund Barton, first Prime Minister of the Common- 
wealth, and it includes many records of the Federation and the 
first Federal Parliament, and of the development of Australia as 
a Pacific Power. There is a large number of pictures and prints 
relating to the early years of the Commonwealth, and since 
1936, to maintain the completeness of its Australian collection, the 
Library has included sound recordings and films of historic interest in 
addition to its general collection of documentary and educational 

The Parliamentary section of the collections contains extensive 
series of the official publications of Great Britain, the Dominions, and 
foreign countries. In addition to serving Parliament, the Library has 
since 1930 offered reference and lending services to the general public, 
and research facilities for the Australian National University and 
Canberra University College. The number of volumes in the Library 
is now over 400,000. 

Under the Public Service Act, 1922-5 5, the Library is a Department of 
the Government, with the Parliamentary Librarian as Permanent Head 
of the Department, and responsible for the control of staff. The 
power of appointment and control of conditions of work of all 
members of the staff is vested in the President and the Speaker, 
with the advice of the Public Service Board. The functions of the 
Library are not prescribed by any law: control and direction is in 
the hands of a Joint Library Committee. 


At first, the Library was located in Parliament House, Melbourne, but 
in 1925 the Public Works Committee, envisaging the removal of the 
Library to Canberra, which followed in 1927, recommended the 
provision there of a separate building, leaving in Parliament House only 
material of immediate use to Parliament and Government departments* 


At present, the administrative headquarters of the Library, together with 
about half the staff, almost all processing work, and about 100,000 
volumes are contained in Parliament House. There is a Parliamentary 
Reading Room, fifty-six feet square, and a smaller newspaper reading 
room; seats are provided for twenty readers at desks, and about 
twenty-five in easy chairs. 

For the future buildings of the Library, a site of just over seven acres 
was provided, about <5oo yards from Parliament House. A small 
section of the building, then intended to form the first part of a larger 
plan, was erected in 1934, and consists of a ground floor ninety-four 
feet by twenty-nine feet, with a mezzanine floor over half of its 
width, and three stack floors above. The ground floor is used to 
provide a reference and lending service for residents in Australian 
Capital Territory; there are seats for thirty-five readers and the 
building has storage space, now completely filled, for 100,000 volumes. 
The Australiana Collection and the staffwho administer it share with the 
Archives Division a temporary structure composed of six steel Romney 
huts accommodation which, though provisional, is well equipped 
and contains offices, reading rooms and storage. The remainder of the 
book stock is at present housed in basements of the new Central 
Administrative Block, The Film Division occupies part of yet another 
temporary building but its transfer to more satisfactory premises in the 
Administration Block is now being planned. 

OfEces and archive repositories are also maintained in Melbourne, 
Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide, and another is to be opened in 
Perth. These are necessary partly through lack of space in the main 
Library, but principally because the Library is taking into custody 
substantial quantities of records still in frequent demand by 
the originating departments. In a land the size of Australia this 
calls for repositories in each major centre of Commonwealth 

The designs for the remainder of the new building were revised in 
1949, and again in 1952. The first part to be erected, at an estimated 
cost of .1,298,800, is planned to contain the collections of the Library 
and provide for their expansion over a period of ten to fifteen years, 
when a total of 750,000 volumes is expected to be reached. Further 
extensions to the stacks will be possible in the rear of the building. 
Among the accommodation to be provided are a bindery, 
photoduplication room, carrels for private study, film viewing rooms, 
listening rooms, a theatre for film projection and lectures, and an 
exhibition wing. There will be reading rooms (general, research, and 
for Members of Parliament), lending, newspaper, map and print and 


reference rooms, with a total of 50,000 reference books on open 
shelves, while the Ferguson collection will be placed in the Members' 
Reading Room. The collection forming a memorial to the late 
President Roosevelt is to be housed in a special wing of the new 


The main catalogue is in dictionary form and, like the author- 
catalogue and shelf list, is on cards of standard size. There are 
supplementary card catalogues for MSS., prints and pictures, and maps, 
and for certain special collections, including the Petherick, the 
Mathews, and the Ferguson collections. A catalogue of 16 mm. films 
was published in 1950 (supplements, 1951, 54). 

Current catalogues published by the Library are: 

Australian Government Publications. [Monthly.] 1952- . 

Annual Catalogue of Australian Publications. 1936- . 

Books published in Australia, [Monthly.] 1946- . 

Australian Books: select list of works about or published in Australia. 

[Annual] 1933- . 
Australian Public Affairs Information Service. A subject-index to current 

literature. [Monthly, with annual cumulations, 1955- .] 1945- - 
Select Bibliographies. Australian series. 1952- . 
Select Bibliographies. General series. 1952- . 


The Library is organised into six departments, as follows: 

(1) General Administration, responsible for all policy, staff, finance, 
buildings, equipment, and training. 

(2) Reference Division, responsible for the Legislative Reference 
Service and loan service to Parliament, and service to all Government 
departments and specialised groups and individuals of all kinds, such 
as the Australian National University and research scholars from 
overseas. The Division is also responsible for book selection, Australian 
collections, processing and bibliographical work relating to them, and 
for the preparation of bibliographies and brief guides to the literature 
on special subjects. 

(3) Preparation Division, responsible for ordering, exchanges, 
accessioning, cataloguing, classification, serials work, binding, lettering, 
etc, of all the intake of books, documents, and MSS. other than those 
handled by the Reference Division. 


(4) Archives Division, responsible for the appraisal, selection, and 
transfer from all Commonwealth Departments and Agencies of 
material of permanent archival value, and its subsequent arrangement 
and use: also for the transfer and custody of records whose final 
treatment as archives has yet to be decided. 

(5) Film Division, responsible for the selection, cataloguing, 
circulation, and reference use of a central library of documentary and 
educational films for use by Commonwealth Departments, State 
Departments and agencies and individuals in Commonwealth Terri- 
tories. It also acquires negatives with the right of reproduction, and 
makes available prints to Commonwealth Departments, State Agencies, 
and private purchasers throughout Australia. 

(6) Extension Division, , responsible for reference and lending 
services to residents of the Australian Capital Territory and to the 
Territories of Papua and New Guinea, the Northern Territory, 
Norfolk Island, and Nauru. 


The Library's policy is to integrate its services with those of other 
Australian libraries, and in 1949 and 1953 conferences of National 
Library and State library representatives were held to draw up a plan 
for the control and development of bibliographical services throughout 
the country. The plan evolved provides for an Australian Advisory 
Council on Bibliographical Services, on which are represented the 
State Library Boards, the Library Association of Australia, the 
Universities and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research 
Organisation, and also for an Australian Bibliographical Centre to be 
set up within the National Library. For the latter, the Treasury has 
provided ^6,000 per annum. 

Great emphasis was given to the Library as the focal point of the 
national system by the survey of Australian libraries carried out by the 
Carnegie Corporation of New York in 1934. A grant of $7,500 was 
made to the Library in 1936 for the development of library and 
reading facilities in outlying Australian territories, in which the books 
were to be supplied by the Commonwealth National Library. This 
was interrupted by the Second "World "War, during which much 
material was lost in New Guinea, Papua, and the Northern Territory; 
but the system has been re-established on an enlarged scale. 

A branch library to meet the needs of Government departments and 
the fighting services was opened at Melbourne in 1942; it was 
transferred to the Department of Post-War Reconstruction in 1946, 


and ceased to be a part of the National Library. During the Second 
World War, information branch libraries were established in six 
countries; those which remain, in London and New York, are 
administered by officers of the National Library. In 1946, following 
an agreement between the Departments of External Affairs, Informa- 
tion, and Commerce and Agriculture, the Library undertook to 
provide information and reference libraries for all overseas diplomatic 
posts of the Commonwealth. Books are selected, purchased, 
catalogued, and dispatched by the Library, and this service 
supplemented by a reference service as required. The sum available for 
this work rose from ^500 in 1944 to .4,000 in 1955, and the number 
of libraries from two in 1944 to forty in 1956. The Library has long 
made use of international exchange as a source of acquisitions, and 
through its Publications Exchange Agency, established in 1947, it 
exchanges material with Governments, research institutions, and 
learned societies throughout the world. It has also undertaken to 
co-operate in the Farmington Plan, and distributes among the 
participating libraries one complete collection of all Australian material 
of serious importance, providing at the same time the catalogue cards 
necessary to make the material known. 

In accordance with its function of collecting and preserving 
Australiana, the Library commenced in 1912 the publication of 
Historical records of Australia, of which thirty-four volumes had been 
issued before publication was suspended in 1926. Arrangements have 
been made, in co-operation with the Public Library of New South 
Wales and the Government of New Zealand, for all relevant material 
in the Public Record Office, London, and later that in other institutions 
in Great Britain and* the United States, to be microfilmed, and this 
project will, at least temporarily, take the place of publication of the 
records in printed form. The Library also publishes the Parliamentary 
handbook and record of elections. (1915- .) 

With the establishment of the National Film Board in 1945, the 
National Library became the central library and distributing agency 
for educational and documentary films: an average of 2,000 reels of 
film is lent monthly. Through its agency, films have been purchased 
from Great Britain and the United States, and a provisional catalogue 
of informational films produced in Australia has been issued. Films are 
exchanged with a number of foreign governments. 

The Library has compiled a union catalogue of periodicals in the 
social sciences and the humanities in the libraries of Australia, which has 
not been published but is issued on cards to State and university 
libraries throughout Australia. 


The Library has provided instruction in librarianship since 1932, and 
in 1946 a School of Librarianship, primarily for the training of 
Government librarians, was opened. Students take the professional 
examinations of the Library .Association of Australia. 


The staff of the Library is divided into three main grades, professional, 
clerical, and general. Professional staff must have a suitable university 
degree as a prerequisite to an appointment, and thereafter pass pre- 
scribed examinations in librarianship. Clerical staff are required to 
possess the normal qualification for entrance to the Third Division of 
the Australian Civil Service, matriculation or its equivalent. 

The staff of the Library in 1955 was as follows: 


Deputy Librarian. 

Chief Reference Officer. 

Chief Preparation Officer. 

Chief Film Officer. 

Director of Training. 

Chief Extensions Officer. 

Chief Archives Officer. 

55 Librarians, Film Officers, Archives Officers and Clerical Staff. 

69 Technicians, Assistants, Attendants and Typists. 


Although the Library is administered as a single unit, its finances arc 
derived from two sources, a direct vote from Parliament in respect of 
its function as a Parliamentary library, and a vote under the Prime 
Minister's Department for its work as a national library. 

Estimated expenditure for the year 1955-56 was as follows: 

Salaries 135,000 

Books, maps, plates, and documents . . . . 29,500 
Roosevelt Memorial Library. Books, maps, plates, 

and documents 2,000 

Collection and publication of Historical Records of 

Australia 2,500 

Printing and publications 1,000 

Purchase and copying of films 8,000 

Purchase of film equipment 1,500 

Carried Forward 179,500 


Brought Forward . . . . . . . . . . 179,500 

Subscriptions to newspapers, periodicals, and 

annuals 8,150 

Library services for overseas establishments . . 4,000 

Travelling and subsistence . . 2,000 

Freight charges . . . . 2,000 

Incidental and other expenditure 9>35O 

Grand Total 205,000 


Binns, Kenneth. The Commonwealth National Library. 1948. In: Barrett, 

Charles L. Across the Years, pp. 27-34. 
Bardett, Norman. The Beginnings of the Commonwealth National Library, 

Canberra. In : The Librarian and Book World, vol. 42. no. 7. pp. 143-46. 

July 1953. 

Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia. 1901, etc. 
Parliamentary Estimates. In: Printed Papers presented to Parliament. 1902, etc. 

26 NLW 




The former Imperial Library of Japan originated in the Shojaku-kwan 
established by the Department of Education in April 1872. It was 
opened on August I of that year, using the old university lecture hall 
at Yushima, Hongo-ku, as its temporary reading room. 

In February 1875, the name was changed to "The Tokyo Shojaku- 
kwan." Then in 1877 it passed to the control of the Tokyo 
Metropolitan Office, in July 1880, its name was again changed to 
" The Tokyo Library," and in 1885 it was moved to the building in 
Ueno Park later occupied by the Tokyo Fine Arts College. Soon after 
that, the stackrooms and the reading rooms were built there. 

In March 1889, the official constitution of the Tokyo Library was 
instituted by an Imperial ordinance. Then on February 10, 1896, a 
draft memorial for the establishment of the Imperial Library was 
submitted and passed by both houses of the Japanese Parliament. In 
April 1897, the official constitution of the Imperial Library was 
approved, and the name "The Tokyo Library*' changed to "The 
Imperial Library." It was decided to enlarge the scope of the library, 
and, during the eight years from 1896-1906, a new building was 
erected. Thus the national library of Japan was firmly established. 
On September i, 1923, the great earthquake took place, with Tokyo 
as its centre, and a large number of the libraries in Tokyo and 
Yokohama, including that of the Imperial University, were destroyed 
with their collections of books. The Imperial Library, however, 
fortunately escaped this calamity. Meanwhile, the number of readers 
was increasing rapidly, and in 1928 an addition to the reading rooms 
and new office accommodation were commenced, and completed by 
August 1929. 

The first Librarian was Hisanari Machida; the Librarian to remain 
longest in office, and who contributed most to the development of the 
Library, was Jhaki Tanaka (1846-1925). After graduating from the 
Department of Literature of the Tokyo Imperial University, he 



became an assistant professor there. Later he joined the staff of die 
Department of Education, and in 1886 entered the Tokyo Library, 
where he was promoted to the position of Director in March 1890, 
and held office until November 1921, excepting three years of absence 
(1888-91) while he was studying abroad, having been dispatched by 
the Government to investigate library work in Western countries. On 
his return, he resumed his duties as Librarian, and did everything in his 
power to meet the demands of the new age, by enlarging both 
buildings and collections. In so doing he made the Imperial Library a 
model for all countries, and the leading one in Japan. Furthermore, he 
promoted the co-operation of library workers by organising the 
Japanese Library Association, and enlightened them by his book, 
Library management, published in 1900, and by many essays. 

To the Imperial Library at its establishment were transferred the 
collection of books in the Department of Education, and the rare books 
among those taken over by the prefectural governments from the clan 
schools of the old feudal lords. With these, amounting to some 
25,000 volumes, as its foundation, the Library increased its collections 
by works received under the copyright privilege, by donations, 
exchanges, and purchases, and at the time of its becoming a branch of 
the National Diet Library, they amounted to 1,065,328 volumes. 

A law enacted in 1875 required two copies of all publications to be 
submitted for censorship, at first to the Department of Education, and 
later to the Ministry of Home Affairs; in each case, one of the copies 
was transferred to the Imperial Library. 

The contents of the Library are not limited to any special field of 
knowledge, but cover all kinds of literatures of all ages and of all 
nations. Most notable, however, are the rich collections of rare early 
Japanese and Chinese publications, and the completeness of the 
collection of modern Japanese works. The most important collections are : 

Rare Books and MSS. 

The Sakakibara, Collection. The bequest of Yoshino Sakakibara, 
containing rare works on history, education, literature, ancient law, and 
sociology of China and Japan. 

(3) Documents of die Tokugawa Feudal Government. Official records of 
die office of the general city magistrate of Tokyo. 

(4) The Komiyama Collection. Unpublished books transcribed by 
Masahide (Fuken) Komiyama, a geographer and an authoritative agrono- 
mist, and his son Yasusuke Komiyama, a Chinese scholar, at the end of 
the Tokugawa period. Valuable for the study of ancient geography. 

(5) The Kosugi Collection. Formed by Onson Kosugi, a prominent 
classicist (1834-1910), and consisting or the MSS. transcribed by him and 
dealing -with old official positions and practices. 


(6) The Kabutoyama Collection. The collection of successive generations 
of the Negishi family, presented to the Library by Nobusuke Negishi. 
Consists mainly of old documents concerning court nobles and the 
military class, transcripts of old scarce books, old Yedo sketches, 
hand-pressed prints of old coins, and genre-paintings of Kanto districts 
with die provinces Musashi and Sagami. 

(7) The Imaizumi Collection. Books especially concerning the tea 
ceremony, flower arrangement, and incense burning. 

(8) Documents of the So family. The documents made by the delegates at 
Pusan who took charge of the diplomatic affairs with Korea during the 
Tokugawa Shogunate. 

(9) The Enkoji Collection. Buddhist scriptures. 

(10) A Collection of Ukiyoe (genre-picture) Prints. Ukiyoe prints of almost 
all schools, providing valuable material for the study of die Ukiyoe, 
and the manners and customs of Japan of the Tokugawa period. 

(n) The "Yellow Cover" Collection. "Yellow Cover" is a type of novel of 
the latter part of the Yedo period. Its characteristics are the realistic 
presentation of die customs and manners of the merchant class, the 
rising class of that age, and the expression of the delicate tastes of jest 
which prevailed in that class. It enjoyed great popularity, and this 
collection is almost complete. There are also over 3,000 volumes of 
other popular books of die same period, all valuable material for the 
study of the literature characteristic of the Yedo period, 

(12) A Collection of Play-Books. MS. transcriptions of over 200 examples of 
classical dramas played in the Tokugawa period. 

(13) The Ito Collection. The collection of Baron Keisuke Ito containing rare 
books and MSS. written by prominent herbalists, including Baron Ito, 
of die late Tokugawa and early Meiji eras. 

(14) The Shirai Collection, The collection of Dr. Kotaro Shirai, a herbalist, 
containing important materials on herbal studies. 

(15) The Shinjo Collection. A collection of Japanese and Chinese materials 
on astronomy, calendars, superstitions, etc* 

After the Second World War, the tide of the Library was changed 
in December 1947, to "National Library." Until this time it had been, 
the sole national library in Japan, but a reorganisation of the library 
system of the country, planned joindy by the Japanese and Allied 
authorities, led to the enactment in 1947 of a law to provide a library 
for both houses of the Diet. Library Management Committees of both 
Houses of the Diet were set up, and as a result of their meetings the 
Library was visited in December 1947, by an advisory mission 
composed of Verner Clapp of the Library of Congress and Charles H* 
Brown of the American Library Association. They exchanged views 
with members of the Diet concerning the general principles bearing 


on the foundation of the Library, and with their advice the outlines of 
a new National Diet Library Law were drafted. It envisaged the 
establishment of a national library to form the centre of the library 
system of the country, with a collection of Japanese and foreign 
material to provide a complete service for the Diet, the Executive and 
Judicial Branches of the Government, and the general public; and to 
achieve this end it was to have as its pattern the Library of Congress. 
The Bill became law on February 4, 1948. 

Tokujiro Kanamori was appointed the first Librarian. When 
buildings had been allocated and the office removed from the Diet 
building, the collection of books and other materials was pursued 
energetically, and at the end of May 1948, 230,000 volumes had been 
gathered together. When they had been catalogued and made 
available for public use, the Library opened its doors on June 5. 
Further advice in these initial stages was given by Dr. Robert B. 
Downs, Librarian of Illinois University, in the capacity of special 
consultant attached to the Civil Information and Education Section, 
G.H.Q., S.C.A.P., and members of the Library staff have been sent to 
study library methods in the United States. 

The most important collections added to the National Diet Library 
since its foundation are the following : 

(1) The Manchurian Railway Company Collection. Foreign books and 
periodicals relating to law, politics, economics, industry, and social 
science, ranging from the early part of the twentieth century to the 
outbreak of the Second World War, published in various parts of the 
world, and assembled by the Company's former East Asia Economic 
Research Bureau. About 8,000 volumes. 

(2) The Fujiyama Bunko. Fundamental works on China, formerly in the 
possession of Aiichiro Fujiyama. About 52,000 volumes. 

(3) The East Asiatic Institution Collection. Material on law, politics, 
economics, and social conditions in China. About 28,000 volumes. 

(4) The Nakanishi Collection. Books presented by Torao Nakanishi, 
formerly professor at Tokyo University, relating to Marxist economics 
and including a copy of the first edition of Das Kapital. About 2,000 

(5) The Kameda Bunko. Books formerly in the collection of Jiro Kameda. 
About 4,000 volumes. 

(6) The Harima Bunko. Russian documents and other publications 
collected by the late Yukichi Harima. About 1,200 volumes. 

(7) The Meiji Collection. Documents and other materials relating to the 
Meiji Constitution and ancillary subjects, formerly in the possession of the 
heroes of the Meiji era, including Sanjo, Iwakura, Ito, Okubo, Katsuta, 
Inouye, and Makino. About 100,000 volumes. 


(8) The Rockefeller Foundation Gift. Selected American publications 
issued since 1940, including books on literature, the natural sciences, and 
the social sciences. About 4,000 volumes. 

(9) The British Publishers Association Gift. Primarily publications issued 
in the period 1945-50. About 2,000 volumes. 

(10) The Shidehara Peace Library. Works on politics and diplomacy, 
numbering some 2,000 volumes, collected in memory of the late Kijuro 
Shidehara, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Prime 
Minister, as a contribution to international peace. 

(n) The Slavic Study Collection. American, British, French and German 
publications selected by the Library of Congress and presented by the 
Rockefeller Foundation to assist Slavonic studies in Japan. About 
500 volumes. 

(12) Reports of the Publications Board of the United States Department of 
Commerce, About 100,000 items in microfilm or photocopy purchased 
by the Library to assist in promoting industrial and technical studies. 

(13) Reports and kindred material presented by the United States Atomic 
Energy Commission. 

Acquisitions are received by purchase, legal deposit, gift, exchange, 
and transfer from other libraries. Under the National Diet Library 
Law, the deposit is required at the Library of thirty copies of publications 
issued by the Government, national, local, and other official 
organisations: these are for official use or for international exchange. 
Of other publications, a single copy is required, thus ensuring the 
acquisition for the Library of all publications appearing in Japan. 
Through accessions since the establishment of the Library, and through 
the branch libraries whose collections were brought under control, the 
total stock of the Library in 1950 amounted to 3,700,000 volumes, all 
available for use by the general public. The Seikado and Toyo 
Libraries became branches of the National Diet Library in August 
1948, and the Ueno Library, the former National Library, in 
April 1949. From the stocks of the former National Library, 
130,821 volumes were transferred to the National Diet Library in 

All accessions apart from those of the Governmental Branch 
Libraries are processed in the Central Library. The Governmental 
Branch Libraries follow the methods of the Central Library: Japanese 
and Chinese books are arranged according to the Nippon Decimal 
Classification, and those in Western languages by the Dewey Decimal 
Classification. Gramophone records and cinematograph films are also 
subject to legal deposit under Japanese law; but obligation to deposit 
films is temporarily suspended, as the Library has no facilities for 


storing or using them. The use of records deposited is limited at 
present to the holding of monthly concerts in the Library, 
The total stock of the Library in March 1956, was as follows: 


Central Library 929,120 

Ueno Branch 922,116 

Seikado Branch 188,778 

T6y5 Branch 491,268 

Okurayama Branch 119,125 

Branch Libraries of Government Departments . . 1,839,141 


The former Imperial Library occupied in succession three buildings. 
The first, used temporarily, was the old university lecture hall at 
Yushima, Tokyo, whence the Library was removed in 1885 to Ueno 
Park, where a new building for it had been erected. The third building 
was constructed between 1898 and 1906 on a site adjoining the Tokyo 
Musical College; an extension containing reading rooms was completed 
in 1929. It was planned on the lines of library buildings in Western 
countries, and when completed, was conspicuous as an example of a 
style new in Japan. 

The National Diet Library had as its first home an office in the Diet 
building* Then a section of the former Akasaka Detached Palace was 
allotted as a temporary building for the Central Library; it had served 
as an Imperial Residence during part of the nineteenth century, 
having been presented to the Imperial family by its previous owners, 
the Tokugawa family, in 1872. It was rebuilt in European style 
between 1899 and 1909, and subsequently used to accommodate 
distinguished visitors and for State functions. It escaped serious 
damage during the Second World War. The Palace has a basement 
and two main floors, and covers 3*8 acres; it is elaborate in design, and 
not ideally suited for a library. The National Diet Library occupies the 
eastern half. There are no specially constructed stackrooms; 
reconstruction has been restricted on account of the historical and 
architectural importance of the building, and it is inconveniently 
remote from the Diet building. To compensate for the lack of space, 
and to facilitate efficient service to the Diet, a temporary wooden 
building has been, erected to house the Research and Legislative 
Reference Department, and the Division of International Affairs, 


while an iron-framed concrete building has been constructed as a 
store and reading room. The two buildings occupy an area of 0*56 
acres on the site of the former Land Survey Bureau of the Ministry of 
War, near the Diet Building. 

The present building is rectangular in shape, with curved projecting 
wings terminating in a pavilion at each end of the front: it encloses two 
quadrangles. The ground floor is used for administrative offices, staff 
workrooms, and book storage, while the first floor is taken up with 
reading rooms, the K.B.S. Library, see below, p. 393, and further stacks. 
The basement is used mainly for storage purposes. 

The unsuitability of the Akasaka Palace to library purposes, and the 
fact that it was becoming seriously congested, led to the planning of a 
new building for the Library. An architectural competition was held, 
and plans drawn up for a building to hold 10,000,000 volumes and 
provide accommodation for 3,000 readers. A site was selected beside 
the Diet Building. The Library building will have five floors above 
ground and three below, with a total area of 270,000 square feet, 
and will be of ferro-concrete construction. The plans are to include a 
central stack with reading rooms surrounding it, and will provide 
display windows for new publications and cultural material, exhibition 
rooms, an auditorium, research rooms for members of the Diet, and 
dining-rooms. There will be mechanical conveyors for books, and 
underground escalators connecting the Library with the suites of Diet 
members. Construction work is to be in two stages, of which the 
first is expected to be complete in 1960, and the total cost of the building 
is expected to be about 5,000 million yen. 


There is generally a multiplicity of catalogues in Japanese libraries, 
and the former Imperial Library was no exception to this, having a 
large number of printed catalogues issued at various times, and 
supplemented by card catalogues. The Advisory Mission recommended 
for the National Diet Library that there should be a single dictionary 
catalogue for books in Western languages; experience would show 
whether this would be possible for the Oriental books also. For a 
catalogue of these, Romaji, Japanese transliterated into Roman 
characters, is to be used, to overcome the difficulties involved in filing 
entries in Japanese characters. 

The issue of printed catalogue cards, making possible a centralised 
national cataloguing service, was begun in July 1949. By March 
1956* 9^803,976 cards had been printed, and 3,730,007 distributed. 



When first formed, the National Diet Library was organised as 

3 Divisions. General Affairs, Personnel, Management. 

4 Departments. Research and Legislative Reference, General Reference, 
Acquisition, Processing. 

i Detached Library, in die Diet. 

After subsequent enlargement and reorganisation, its composition is 
now as follows: 

Central Library and 28 branches. 

6 Divisions. 

i Department. 

i Detached Library. 

Branch Libraries: (a) Those of the executive and judicial branches of the 

(6) Others. 

The Branch Libraries in Government departments were established in 
accordance with the National Diet Library Law, for the sole purpose 
of serving the executive and judicial departments of the Government. 
For this purpose, eighteen branch libraries were opened on August 25, 
1948. There are now twenty-eight branch libraries, one being allocated 
to almost every Government Department. 

In the other category are such libraries as the Ueno Branch Library 
(the former Imperial Library), and the Seikado, Tdyo, and Okurayama 
Branch Libraries. Another library now forming an integral part of the 
National Diet Library is the K.B.S. Library, that of the Kokusai 
Bunka Shinkokai, or Society for International Cultural Relations, a 
special collection for foreigners wishing to study Japan. It comprises 
about 10,000 books in European languages. The Society, founded in 
1934 as a subsidiary of the Foreign Office, is now entirely independent 
of the Government, and retains its ownership of the books. 

The Divisions of the Library are as follows: 

Administrative Division. 
Research and Legislative Reference Department. 
General Reference Division. 
Branch Library Division. 
Processing Division. 
Division of International Affairs. 
Buildings and Grounds Division, 

Detached Library in the Diet. As well as providing a direct library service 
to the Diet, forms link between its Library Committees and the Central 


Library, and between members of the Diet, Secretariat, and Legislative 
Bureaux and the Central Library. 

Ueno Branch Library. Has its own Administradve, Processing, Circulation, 
and Reference Sections* 

Seikado Branch Library. 

Toyo Branch Library. Founded by Baron Yanosuke Iwasaki, who purchased 
as a nucleus the Library of Dr. G. E. Morrison, former adviser to the Chief 
Executive Office of the Republic of China. The aim of the founder was 
to preserve a record of Oriental Culture, which he feared would be 
overwhelmed by industrialisation and westernisation of China and Japan* 
His son continued the work, and in 1940 presented die Library to the 
Seikado Foundation, when it was opened to the public. It now contains 
125,000 volumes of Chinese books, and 75,000 volumes of Japanese, many 
of them very rare. The building of the Library was opened in 1924. 

Okurayama Cultural and Scientific Branch Library. Formerly a private 
institution: incorporated into the National Diet Library in 1951. 

Branch Libraries in the Executive and Judicial Branches of the Government. 
These number twenty-eight, with staffs varying in number from five to 

The Ueno Branch Library was incorporated into the National Diet 
Library in April 1949, the Seikado and Toyo Branch Libraries, the 
collections of which are the most valuable of their kind in Japan, in 
August 1948. All the branches are subordinate to the Central Library, 
where all book purchasing, processing, etc., is carried out. 

The first function of the Library is to serve the Diet, mainly through 
the Research and Legislative Department and the Detached Library in 
the Diet building. By the terms of the law establishing it, one of the 
functions of the Library is that of analysing and appraising measures to 
be brought before the Diet, and supplying information needed by the 
Diet as a basis for its deliberations. It is further to gather, classify, 
analyse, translate, index, digest, and compile into bulletins or reports 
data having a bearing on legislation. It also serves the Committees and 
Members of both Houses in drafting Bills. In 1955 the Research and 
Legislative Reference Department produced 3 ,63 4 legislative references, 
and during the same year, seventy-two legislative research reports were 
published and distributed to committees of the Diet, members of the 
Diet, research departments of the political parties, Government 
departments, and other bodies. 

The methods employed in, and the operation of, the branch libraries 
are entirely the responsibility of the Chief Librarian. War damage and 
extreme shortage of staff made their operation very difficult for a time, 
but this was later overcome. Books are lent between the branch 
libraries, and between the branch libraries and the Central Library, 


Additions to the collections during 1955 were as follows: 

Books and pamphlets 140,257 

Maps 1,672 

Music 171 

Records 1,879 

Microfilms 424 

Microprints 13,124 

Microcards .. .. 11,068 

Motion pictures (reels) 13 



7,181 current serials were received in the Library during the year. 
The figures for the use of the Library during 1955 were: 


Central Library 

Ueno Branch 

Seikado Branch 
Toyo Branch 
Okurayama Branch 
Branch Libraries in the Gov- 
ernment Departments 














176,022 474058 127,675 169,782 

863,184 1,623,167 136,450 i84,975 

Inter-library loans amounted to 3,118 volumes, of which 1,427 were 
lent to branch libraries. Reference inquiries handled numbered 
156,084, of which 131,731 were dealt with in the Government 
department branches. 


In the years between the two World Wars, the Imperial Library 
gradually became the centre of the library services of the country, 
lending books to other libraries, and supplying photographic facsimiles 
and bibliographical information, and the National Diet Library has been 
planned to continue and extend these services. Its Law of foundation 
provides that the services and collections of the Library shall be available 
to the people of Japan either directly or through other libraries to the 
greatest extent consistent with the requirements of the Diet, its 
committees and members, and other branches of the Government. 
The collections are to be available for consultation in the Library or by 


loan to other libraries, or through copying services and exhibitions. 
Local authorities and other interested bodies are to be assisted in the 
development of library services. The Library is represented, with the 
Ministry of Education, the Japanese Science Council, libraries, and 
publishers, on a committee established in 1951 to improve bibliographi- 
cal services in Japan. 
Three union catalogues are being compiled in the Library: 

(1) Union catalogue of books in the branch libraries of the executive and 
judicial departments of the Government. Total number of entries in 
March 1956: 359,802. 

(2) National Union Catalogue. 309,292 entries in March 1956. 

(3) Union Catalogue of Foreign Accessions. Lists works in the National 
Diet Library, the fifteen principal university libraries, and two public 
libraries. 64,268 entries in March 1956. 

A service of abstracts in physics and social sciences was begun in 
1949, but was suspended at the end of 1954. In July 1949, distribution 
of printed catalogue cards was begun; at first they were for the Central 
and Government Branch Libraries, and for international exchange, but 
are now available for distribution to other libraries, and include 
entries for all accessions to the National Diet Library. The Library 
also compiles a weekly list of Japanese publications deposited, to be 
cumulated annually into the Japanese National Bibliography, which is to 
include records, cinematograph films, maps, music, etc., as well as 
ordinary printed material. Quarterly indexes, arranged by author and 
subject, of articles appearing in periodicals are published separately for 
the humanities and natural sciences. A classified catalogue of new 
accessions is also published annually. 

International exchange began in Japan in 1875, as a result of proposals 
made by the American Government In 1910 responsibility passed to 
the Ministry of Education, and exchange was conducted by the 
Imperial Library until it was taken over by the National Diet Library 
in 1948. After the Second World "War, exchanges were at first limited 
to those with the U.S.A.; later they included France, Switzerland, 
Belgium, Denmark, and Norway, and later still Great Britain, Canada, 
India, and Australia. In 1955, 33,008 items were received from 
abroad, and 31,099 were dispatched. The Library also receives the 
publications of Unesco, and in 1949 was designated the official centre 
in Japan for international exchanges, and it acts as intermediary 
between libraries, universities, and other institutions in Japan and 
abroad for the exchange of publications. It provides a bibliographical 
information service for departments of the central and of local 
government, for other organisations, and for individuals. 



The Staff of the Library is as follows: 

Chief Librarian j 

Assistant Chief Librarian I 

Senior Specialists 23 

Directors of Departments and Divisions 12 

Assistant Director I 

Directors of Bureaux 3 

Librarians 91 

References 66 

Secretaries (administrative) 35 

Clerks 164 

Assistant Clerks 131 

Labourers 38 


The Librarians are engaged in technical and clerical duties connected 
with the acquisition, classification, circulation, etc., of bibliographical 
material. The Senior Specialists perform dudes comparable with those 
of the Legislative Reference Service in the Library of Congress 
advising Committees of the Diet on proposed legislation and on the 
drafting of Bills. Referencers carry out various tasks of research under 
the direction of senior members of the staff. Librarians of the Branch 
Libraries are appointed by the Chief Librarian upon the recommenda- 
tion of a committee of Government officials. A training course for the 
higher grades of staff was instituted at the establishment of the Library; 
since 1950 qualifying examinations have been held, while a school of 
librarianship was established at Keio University after the War, and 
some members of the staff have attended the courses. Candidates for 
the courses must already hold a university degree. 


The expenditure of the Library for the fiscal year 1955 was as 

follows: Yen 

Salaries 226,791,396 

Purchase of boob, etc 22,015,657 

Printing and binding 9,021,473 

Maintenance of the buildings and construction of a 

new building 22,555,858 

Other expenditure 76,864,780 




U.S.A. Department of State. Report of the U.S. Library Mission to advise on 

the establishment of a National Diet Library. 1948. 
Downs, R. B. National Diet Library. Report on Technical Processes. Tokyo, 



The description of each library follows, with some modification, the following plan: 

I History: the collections and some librarians. II Buildings. Ill Catalogues. 

IV Departments (with figures of use and accessions). V Place in the National System. 
VI Staff. VII Finance. VIII Bibliography. 

These main headings have therefore not been indexed. 

Aberystwyth, Nat. Libr. of Wales at, 38-48 
Advocates' Library, later Nat. Libr. of 

Scotland (Edinburgh), 28-38 
Afrikaans lit., at Cape Town, 354 
Aharoni zoological coll., at Jerusalem, 370 
Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin, 100, 

101, 108, 109 

Albert I memorial, Brussels, 146 
Alcazar, Tower of the, libr., 191 
Alcobaga MSS., at Lisbon, 202, 204 
Alcorta, A., libr. of, at Buenos Aires, 331 
Aldine Collections: 

Berlin, 102; Brussels, 142; Florence, 171; 

Leningrad, 263; Milan, 180; Rio de 

Janeiro, 337 

Alvin, L., libn. at Brussels, 143, 149 
Amis. Sec Friends 
Ammarmati, B., architect of Collegio 

Romano, 176 
Amyot, Jacques, Bp., raaitre dela Bibl. du 

Roi, 50 
Andrada e Silva, J. B. de, coll* of, at 

Rio de Janeiro, 336 

Andrade, J. M., libr. of, at Mexico, 319 
Angelis, P. de, coll. of, at Rio de Janeiro, 


Augoule'me, Libr. d', 50 
Apollinaire, G., pseud., cat. of Bibl. Nat. 

Enfer, 65 
Archer, W., iibn. of Royal Dublin Society, 


Archives. See also Records 
coll. at Canberra, 379, 380, 382; at 

Sofia, 271 

Public, at Ottawa, 311, 312, 315 
Argentine, Nat. Libr. of the, 326-34 
Arquinto, Cardinal, libr. of, at Madrid, 192 
Arsenal, Bibl. de P (Paris), 57; Italian MSS. 

in, 68-70, 72 

Artois, Comte de (Charles X), purchases 
Arsenal Libr., 68 

Arundel MSS., at Brit. Mus., 10 

Asensio y Toledo, J. M., Cervantes coll. of, 
at Madrid, 193 

Ashley Libr., at Brit. Mus., 13 

Astorga, Marquis de, libr. of, at Edin- 
burgh, 32 

Astronomy, Tycho Brahe's libr. (Vienna), 
So; his MSS. (Copenhagen), 207 

Athens, Nat. Libr. of Greece, 185-90 

Aubert, D., obtains MSS. for Burgundian 
library, 135 

Auskunftsbureau der Deutschen Bibl., 

Avila, incunabula from, at Madrid, 192 

Ayerza, R., gift to Bib. Nac., Buenos 
Aires, 329 

Aymont, J., thefts by, at Paris, 51 

Azamor y Ramirez, Bp. M., early bene- 
factor of Bib. Nac, Buenos Aires, 326 

Baak, H.A. van, coll. of, at The Hague,iss 
Bailey, Sir A., gift of, at Cape Town, 

353, 35*5 

Balcarres MSS., at Edinburgh, 31 
Balfpur MSS., at Edinburgh, 31 
BaUinger, Sir J., libn. at Aberystwyth, 38 
Banks, Sir J., scientific libr. of, in Brit. 

Mus., 12 

, papers of, at Canberra, 378 
Barany, R., medical coll. at Jerusalem, 369 
Barbosa Machado, D., libr. of, at Rio de 

Janeiro, 335, 3 4O 

Barnbougle libr., at Edinburgh, 32 
Barrois MSS., at Paris, 67 
Barros Arana, D., coll. of, at Santiago, 343 
Barton, Sir E., papers of, at Canberra, 379 
Basque lit., at Aberystwyth, 43 




Bates, E., coll. of, at Ottawa, 313 
Bauer, I., coll. of, at Jerusalem, 369 
Bazzani, G,, architect of Bib. Naz. Cent., 

Florence, 171 

Beaufort Estates, records of, at Aberyst- 
wyth, 43 

Beckley, J., Libn. of Congress, 288 
Begemann, A. J., Hbn. at Pretoria, 361 
Berghman Elzevir coll., at Stockholm, 


Bergmann, H., Hbn. at Jerusalem, 368 
Berlin University, 101, 104, no 
Berliner Titeldrucke (Accessions), 112, 116 
Bennann-Steiner, F., bequest of, at Jeru- 
salem, 370 

Berne, BibL Nat. Suisse, 121-7, 2I 8 
Bernoulli, J., Hbn. at Berne, 122 
Bessarion, Card., Hbr. at Venice, 184 
B&hune, P. de, his French hist, papers, 

at Paris, 50 

Bible, MSS. of the, at Brit. Mus., n, 256; 

at Leningrad, 256; Liithi coll. of, at 

Berne, 122; L. XJsozy del Rio coll. of, 

at Madrid, 192 

BibHograpbical Information Bureaux. See 

Information Bureaux 
Bibliographic de Belgique, 149, 150 
Bibliographic de la Prance (Paris), 64 
BibHoteca National, Buenos Aires, 326-34; 
Lima, 346-51; Lisbon, 201-6; Madrid, 
191-200; Mexico City, 319-25; Rio 
de Janeiro, 335-42; Santiago, 343-5. 
BibHoteca Nazionale, Naples, 181; Pal- 
ermo, 182; Turin, 183 
BibHoteca Nazionale Braidense, Milan, 

169, 179-81 
BibHoteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence, 

167-75; Rome, 176-9 
BibHoteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice, 

169, 184 

Bibliotheca Celtica (Aberystwyth), 42 
BibHotheque Nationale, Luxemburg, 163- 

6; Paris, 49-76 
BibHotheque Nationale Suisse, Berne, 

121-7, 218 
BibHotheque royale de Belgique, Brussels, 


Bick, J., Hbn. at Vienna, 84 
Biester, J., Hbn. at Berlin, 101, in 
Bignon, Armand Je"rome, Hbn. at Paris, 52, 

58, 62-3 

Bignon, Jean Fre*denc, Hbn. at Paris, 53 
Bignon, Jerome II, Hbn. at Paris, 51; 

reorganised and recatalogued Hbr., 52 
Bignon de Blanzy, Hbn. at Paris, 52 
Bijvanck, W. G. C, Hbn. at The Hague, 

Binding and care of bks., at Moscow, 246 

Bindings, at British Museum 8; at Stock- 
holm, 227 

Birgitta, St. See Bridget, St. 
Birk, ., Hbn. at Vienna, 83, 89 
Bjornson, Bj., coll. and room, at Oslo, 219, 


Blackwood, publishing firm, correspon- 
dence of, at Edinburgh, 32 
Blaikie Jacobite coll., Edinburgh, 32 
Bleek, W. M. I., Hbn. at Cape Town, 353 
BHnd, books for, at Moscow, 243 ; at Rio 
de Janeiro, 340-1 ; at Washington 296, 


Blois, royal Hbr. at, 50, 58 
Blotius, H., Hbn. at Vienna, 79, 88, 91 
Blumenthal coll., at Paris, 56 
Bnai Brith, support for Hbr. at Jerusalem, 


Bobbio, MSS. from, at Turin, 183 
Bodoni coll., at Lisbon, 201, 202, 204; at 

Milan, 180; at Rio de Janeiro, 337 
BoHn, A. W., Hbn. at Helsinki, 234 
Bollandists, Hbr. of the, at Brussels, 141 ; 

at The Hague, 155 
Bolzano coll., at Prague, 275 
Bond, Sir E. A., Hbn. at Brit. Mus., 22 
BonfigHoli, R., coll. of Judaica, at Jeru- 
salem, 370 

Bookbinding, See Binding and Bindings 
Book-carriers. See Conveyors 
Borbonica, BibL, at Naples, 18* 
Borecky, J., Hbn. at Prague, 276 
Bourdillon, F. W., coll. of med. French 

romances, at Aberystwyth, 39, 42 
Bourgogne, Bibl. de., at Brussels, 134-6, 

1 3 9-4 [ 150; inventory of, 148 
Boyle family, papers of, at Dublin, 129 
Bradshaw, H., incunabulist, 24 
Brahe Tycho, Hbr. of, at Vienna, So; MSS. 

at Copenhagen, 207 

Braidense, BibL Naz., Milan, 169, 179-81 
Braila Book Soc., Hbr., at Sofia, 267 
Brancacciana, BibL, Naples, 181 
Brazil, BibL Nac. de, Rio de Janeiro, 


Brazilian historical coll., at Lisbon, 202 
Breton Ht., at Aberystwyth, 43 
Bridget, Saint, coll. at Stockholm, 227, 229 
British Museum, 1-27 
Broadcast programmes org. by Bib. Nac., 

Mexico, 320 

Brogyntyn MSS*, at Aberystwyth, 43 
Bruges, Louis de, Hbr. of, at Paris, 50 
Bruno, Giordano, coll., at Moscow* 241 
Brussels, BibL royaJe de Belgique, 134-53; 

City Library, 134, 240-2, cat of, 149 
Bud6, Guillaume, mattre de la !ibr. 50 
Buddhist coll., at Tokyo, 288 



Biichemachweisstelle of the Austrian Librar- 
ies, 95 

Buenos Aires, Bib. Nac., 326-34 
Bulletin des btbltotheques de France, 71 
Bureau Scientifique Central N&rlandais, 


Burgundian libr. See Bourgogne, Bibl. de 
Burney; C, coll. of, at Brit. Mus., 3, 10, 12 
Burns, Robert, Glenriddell MSS. of, at 

Edinburgh, 32 
Busbeck coll., at Vienna, 78 
Bute coll., at Edinburgh, 32 
Buttmann, P., Secretary, at Berlin, 101, in 
Buturlin, D. P., libn. at Leningrad, 255 
Bychkof, A. F., libn. at Leningrad, 257 
Byzantine MSS,, at Athens, 187 

Cabrega, Marquis, libr. of, at Vienna, 80 
Cain, J., libn. at Paris, 54 
Calonius, M., libr. of, at Helsinki, 234 
Campbell, M. F. A. G., libn. at the Hague, 


Canada, Nat. Libr. of, 310-18 
Canadian Libr. Ass. urges establishment of 

Nat Lib., 3x1 
Canberra, Commonwealth Nat. Libr., 

Cape Town, South African Pub. Lib., 

352-9; City Libr., 358 
Capodistrias, J., founded Nat. Lib. of 

Greece, 185 
Capponi, L., Savonarola coll., at Florence, 

Cardera, V., fine arts coll., at Madrid, 


Cards. See Catalogues 

Carlyle, T., MSS. of, at Edinburgh, 32 

Carnegie Corporation, grant to State Libr., 
Pretoria, 361, 364, 365 

Carolina Minor, Bibl., at Prague, 275 

Caron,P, andjaryc, M, cat, of periodicals 
in Fr. nat. librs., 70 

Carreglwyd MSS., Aberystwyth, 42-3 

Carriers. Set Conveyors 

Cary, H. F., libn. at Brit. Mus., 20 

Casey, T. L., planned Libr. of Congress, 

Castiglioni coll., at Milan, 179 


(Some account of the catalogues will be 
found under the headings "History" 
and "Catalogues," and select lists 
under the latter, in each chapter.) 

, cards, distribution of, at Leningrad, 
262 ; at Moscow, 244, 249, 25 1 ; at Oslo, 
219; at Rio de Janeiro, 341; at Tokyo 
392, 396; at Vienna, 90; at Warsaw, 
384; at Washington, 292-4, 303. 

27 NLW 

, rules for, at Berlin, 112; at Brit. Mus., 
15, 21 ; at Jerusalem, 374; at Leningrad, 
261, 262; at Madrid, 195-6; at Paris, 
71; at Vienna, 89; at Warsaw, 284 
Subject: at Berlin, in; at Berne, 125; 
at British Museum, 15, 16, of MSS., 
22; at Buenos Aires, 331; at Cape 
Town, 356; at Copenhagen, 211; at 
The Hague, 158; at Jerusalem, 373; at 
Leningrad, 262; at Lisbon, 204; at 
Moscow, 244, 249; at Paris, 62, 63; 
at Rio de Janeiro, 339; at Santiago, 
344; at Stockholm, 228; at Warsaw, 

Union: at Berlin, 116-7; at Berne, 127; 
at Brussels, 151; at Canberra, 383; at 
Cape Town, 356, 358; at The Hague, 
158, i<5o; at Helsinki, 236; at Lisbon, 
205; at Luxemburg, 165 ;at Madrid, 
199; at Moscow, 251 ; at Ottawa, 317; 
at Prague, 278; at Pretoria, 363, 364; 
at Rome, 179; at Stockholm, 331; 
at Tokyo, 396; at Vienna, 90, 95; at 
Warsaw, 287; at Washington, 295, 
307; of incunabula in French libs., 65 
Catherine, the Great, Empress, founded St. 

Petersburg Libr., 253 

Cavendish family, papers of, at Dublin, 129 
Celle, Reformation coll. from, at Berlin, 103 
Celsius, M. O., libn. at Stockholm, 226 
Celtica, in Nat. Libr. Wales, 46; Phillipps 

MSS., at Dublin, 129 
Celtis, Conrad, libn, at Vienna, 78 
Cendculo, M. de., founder of Bib. Nac., 

Lisbon, 201 

Centre de Documentation, Paris, 70 
Cervantes coll., at Madrid, 193 
"Chairs" at Libr. of Congress, 294, 301 
Chandon de Briailles bequest, at Paris, 56 
Charles I, founder of Prague Libr., 374 
Charles III, founds Bib. Naz., Naples, 181 
Charles V, libr. of, in the Louvre, 49 
Charles X, enriched Kung. Bibl., Stock- 
holm, 224 

Charles, Prince of Lorrain, Hbr. of, at 
Vienna, 82; investigates Bib. Royale, 
Brussels, 147 
Chasanowitz, J., founder of libr. at 

Jerusalem, 367; coll., 369 
Chekhov Museum, Yalta, branch of Lenin 

Libr., 250 
Cheremetiev, Counts, libr. of, at Moscow, 

Chess coll. at Cape Town, 353; at The 

Hague, 155; at Mexico, 322 
Chibanov, , libr. of, at Moscow, 240 
Chilovi, D., lion, at Florence, 169 
Chinese bks, and MSS. See OrientaHa. 



Choiseul Gouffier, Count, libn. at 

Leningrad, 254 

Chopin, R, MSS. of, at Warsaw, 282 
Chorroarfn, J. L., libn. at Buenos Aires, 


Christiania. See Oslo 
Christina, Queen of Sweden, 224, 226 
Church in Wales, records of, at Aberyst- 

wyth, 43 
Cinematograph films at Canberra, 379, 

380, 382, 383; at Dublin, 131; at 

Tokyo 390; at Washington, 301, cat, 


Classification : 
Athens, 188; Copenhagen, 210; Dublin, 

128; Helsinki, 236; Jerusalem, 373; 

Leningrad, 255, 262; Lima, 347, 349; 

Lisbon, 202; Madrid, 193; Moscow, 

244, 249, 252; Ottawa, 316; Paris, 63 ; 

Prague, 276; Rio de Janeiro, 337; 

Sofia, 270; Tokyo, 390; Washington, 

Clement, N., libn. at Paris, 51; subject 

cat. of, 62 

Clementinum, Prague, 275-7 
Cobenzl, Count, and Bib. Royale, Brussels, 

135-8, 145, 147, 148 
Colbert, J. B., 50-1, 58; MSS. of, 67 
College des Quatre Nations, Mazarine 

Libr. at, 68 

Collijn, I., libn. at Stockholm, 226 
Collin coll. of MSS., at Copenhagen, 209 
Commonwealth Nat. Libr., Canberra, 

Congress, Libr. of, Washington, 288-309; 

model for Nat Libr., Canberra, 377, 

for Nat Diet Libr., Tokyo, 389 
Conservatoire Nationale de Musique, Paris, 

libr. of, 64, 68, 70, 72 
Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et 

Metiers, Paris, 57 

Consultants at Libr. of Congress, 294, 301 
Continental Congress, the, records of, at 

Washington, 306 
Conveyors: at Berne, 124; at British 

Museum, needed, 7; at Florence, 171; 

at Moscow, 244; at Ottawa, 315; at 

Tokyo, 392; at Washington, 298, 299 
Cook, Capt J., journal and papers, at 

Canberra, 378 
Cookery books, at Berlin, 103; at Cape 

Town, 353 
Coolidge, Mrs. F., her endowment of 

music at Washington, 292, 300-1 
Co-operation. See under "Place in the 

National System** in each chapter 
Copenhagen, Kongelige Bibl.; 207-15; 

duplicates from, at Oslo, 217 

Copyright. See Legal Deposit 
Cornish lang., coll. at Aberystwyth, 42 
Corvinus, Matthias, bks. from his libr. 

at Brussels, 13 5 J at Vienna, 78 
Cotton, Sir R., coll. of MSS., 1-2, 9, 12 
Cracherode, C. M., Hbr. of, at Brit. Mus., 

3 12 
Croker, J. W., French Revolution Tracts, 

at Brit. Mus., 13, 23 
Cureton, W., Orientalist, libn. at Brit. 

Mus., 17, 24 

Curzon MSS. See Zouche MSS. 
Cuspinian, J., libn. at Vienna, 78 
Czechoslovakia, Nat. Libr. of, 274-9 

Da C&nara, F. M. de M,, theol coll., at 

Lisbon, 202, 204 
da Costa, S., Hebraica of, at Brit. Mus., 

Dahl, G., designed R. Libr., Stockholm, 


Dahlgren, E. W., libn. at Stockholm, 226 
Danneskiold-Sams0e, C., libr. of, at Copen- 
hagen, 208 

Dante coll., at Florence, 170, i?r, 173 
Davies, J. H., libr. of, at Aberystwyth, 39, 

Davies, W., Orientalia of, at Aberystwyth, 

Davies, Sir W. LI, Hbn. at Aberystwyth, 

Deane and Co., architects of Dublin libr., 

Delianov, I. D., libn. at Leningrad, 257, 


Delisle, Leopold, libn. at Paris, 54, 63 
Demby, S., libn. at Warsaw, 28 1 
Denegri, P., coll. of, at Buenos Aires, 328 
Denkoglu, I. N., foundation coll, of, at 

Sofia, 267 

Deposit See Legal Deposit 
Deposit library, for little-used material, .u 

Helsinki, 236; at Moscow, 243; at 

Ottawa, 315; at Stockholm, 228 
de Ricci, S., coll. of, at Paris, 56 
Der Linde, A. van, Spinoza and chess colls, 

of, at The Hague, 155 
Dernschwamm, J., coll, of, at Vienna, 79 
De Sinner coll. at Florence, 168 
Dessin, J. N. von, coll. of, at Cape Town, 

352, 354J cat, 356 
Deutsch, E., libn. at Brit. Mus. t 24 
Deutsche Staatsbibl., Berlin, 98-120 
Diderot Libr., at Leningrad, 254 
Dietrichstein, M., libn, at Vienna, 82, 8y, 

Dillwyn, L. W., coll. of, at Aberystwyth, 




Direction des Bibl. de France, 70 

Dix, E. R. McC, Irish coll. of, at Dublin, 


Donabaum, J., libn. at Vienna, 84 
Douce, R, libn. at Brit. Mus., 20 
Drama. See Theatre 
Drama, English. See Garrick, D. 
, Spanish, Duran coll. at Madrid, 192 
Dresden, Kon. Bibl., 101 
Drolsum, A. C., libn. at Oslo, 216-8 
Drottningholm Libr., at Stockholm, 225 
Dublin, Nat. Libr. of Ireland, 128-33 
Dubrovsky MSS., at Leningrad, 254, 262 
Duncan Coll., at Pretoria, 361 
Dupuy, Jacques, libr. of, at Paris, 50, 62 
Duran, A., coll. of Spanish drama, at 

Madrid, 192 

Dutch lit., coll. at Pretoria, 360 
Dziatzko, K., libn. at Berlin, in 

Earthquake, at Tokyo, 386 
East Asiatic Inst. coll., at Tokyo, 389 
EcorchevilLe, J., cat. of music, at Paris, 65 
Eder, D., memorial coll., at Jerusalem, 


Edinburgh, Advocates" Libr., later Nat- 
ional Libr. of Scotland, 28-38 
Education, adult (Aberystwyth), 46-7 
Edwards, A., bequest for Cotton Libr., 12 
Edwards, Edward, libn. at Brit. Mus., 21 
Egana, M., libr. of, at Santiago, 343 
Egerton MSS. at Brit. Mus., 9, 26 
Ellis, Sir H., libn, at Brit. Mus., 20 
Elzevir coll. at Brussels, 142; Leningrad 
263 ; Lisbon, 202, 204; Rio de Janeiro, 
337; Stockholm, 226, 229 
Enfer. See Erotica 
Engel, C. L., designed Helsinki Univ. Libr., 


Engelenburg coll., at Pretoria, 361 
Engestrom coll., at Stockholm, 225 
English lit., Engestrom coll, at Stockholm, 

225; Wallis coll. at Pretoria, 361 
English MSS. at Leningrad, 259 
Engstrom, CX, medical coll. of, at Hel- 
sinki, 234 

Erichsen, J,, libn. at Copenhagen, 208 
Erotica, at Paris, 65; at Vienna, 83 
Escorial, the, bk. from libr. of Matthias 

Corvinus in, 136 

Ethiopic coll., at Copenhagen, 210 
Eugene, Prince, libr, of, at Vienna, 81 
Evans, L. H,, Libn. of Congress, 294 
Exchanges, international, at Libr. of Con- 
gress, 299-300; A. Vattemare's scheme 
for, 159 

See also under "Place in the National 
System" in each chapter 


Aberstwyth, Gregynog Gallery, 40; 
British Museum, 8 ; Florence, 172-3 ; 
The Hague, ** Museum of the Book," 
155 ; Leningrad, Korf *s policy of, 263 ; 
Madrid, 197; Moscow, 245; Paris, 
institution of permanent, 54; Rio de 
Janeiro, 336, 340; Stockholm, 231; 
Vienna, 83 

Faber, Bp. J., libr. of, at Vienna, 78-9 
Fairbridge, C. A., libr. of, at Cape Town, 

353, 354, 35<5, cat., 356 
Faklie, R., architect of Nat. Libr. of Scot., 

"Farmington Plan" of co-operative ac- 
quisition, 293-4, 383 

Farnese coll., at Naples, 181 

Fava, D., libn. at Florence, 169-70 

Ferdinand I, Emperor, benefactor of 
Vienna Hofbibl., 77; gift to Prague 
Libr., 275 

Ferdinand I, King of Two Sicilies, founds 
Bib. Naz., Palermo, 182 

Ferdinand II, Emperor, works from libr. 
of, at Vienna, 80; moves Hofbiblo- 
thek, 86 

Ferdinand III, Grand Duke, forms libr. at 
Florence, 168 

Ferguson, Adam, libn. at Edinburgh, 29-30 

Ferguson coll. of Australiana, Canberra, 

Ferguson, F. S., gift to Nat. Libr. of 
Scotland, 32 

Finance i 

(A section setting out the budget will be 
found at the end of each chapter.) 

Fine arts section, at Madrid, 197 

Fire, at Brussels, 137, 141; Helsinki, 233, 
145; Lima, 346, 348; Ottawa, 310, 
314; Stockholm, 224-5; Warsaw, 
282; Washington, 289, 291; destruc- 
tion of some Cotton MSS. by, 9 

Fischer von Erlach, J., designed Hofbibl., 
Vienna, 87; imitated at Berlin, 108 

Hament, C. S., libn. at The Hague, 154, 

Florence, Bib. Naz. Centrale at, 167-75 

Folger Shakespeare Libr., Washington, 298 

Folklore coll. at Copenhagen, 209; at The 
Hague, 158; at Oslo, 221 

Folk-songs, recordings, at Warsaw, 282; 
at Washington, 301 

Fontainebleau, Libr, de, 50, 52, 58 

Fontanieu coll., Paris, 52 

Forbes, R. Bp,, Jacobite coll., at Edin- 
burgh, 31 

Force, Peter, coll. at Washington, 29*, 300 



Fornelius, L., libn. at Stockholm, 226 

Fortescue, G, K., libn. at Brit. Mus., 23; 
his subject index, 16 

Foscolo, Ugo, MSS. of, at Florence, 168 

Foucjuet, Card, libr. of, at Paris, 51 

Franchctti German coIL, at Florence, 169 

Francois I, as collector, 50 

Frederick III, Elector, 99 

Frederick IH, King, founder of R. Libr., 
Copenhagen, 207, 2*1 

Frederik VI, King, founded Univ. bibL, 
Oslo, 216 

Frederick the Great, 99-100 

Frederick William, the Great Elector, 
founds libn at Berlin, 98; his libr. 108 

French literature: 14701600, Brit Mus. 
cat. of, id; coll. at Stockholm, 225; 
MSS. at Buenos Aires, 328; at Lenin- 
grad, 254, 262 

French Revolution, coll. at Brit, Mus., 13, 
23 j at Moscow, 241 

Freund, A., gifts to Berlin Libr., 103 

Freunde. See Friends 

Friedenwald, H., medical coll., at Jeru- 
salem, 369 

Friedmann, E., coD. of, at Jerusalem, 369 

Friends of National Libr., Societies of, at 
Berlin, 103; Berne, 127; The Hague, 
16*1; Jerusalem, 371; London, 2,6; 
Paris, 54, 69; Vienna, 92 

Fuentes Pacheco, M., gift of, at Lima, 346 

Fugger Libr., at Vienna, 80, 92 

Fujiyama, A., coll of, at Tokyo, 389 

Furstenberg coll. at Paris, 55 

Gaelic lit., at Aberystwyth, 43 
Gaigneres, R. de, MSS. of; at Paris, 51 
Galileo, MSS. of, i<58, 171-3 
Galvao, R., libn. at Rio de Janeiro, 336, 

339, 341 

Gama, J. de, libn. at Rio de Janeiro, 336 
Gamba, B., coll. of, at Vienna, 82-3 
Gamett, R., libn. at Brit. Mus., 23 
Garrick, D., coll. of plays, at Brit. Mus., 3, 


Gaster Hebrew MSS., at Brit. Mus., 17 
Gaulmin, G., Orientalia of, at Paris, 51 
Gembloux, Abbey of, MSS. from, at 

Brussels, 140 

Gennadios, G,, libn. at Athens, 185, 189 
Geography. See also Maps 
, Far Eastern: Komiyama coll. (Tokyo)* 

George IT, King of England, presented Old 

Royal Libr. to Brit. Mus., 1757, 12, 


George HI, King of England, libr., 3; 
MSS. in, 10 ; pr, bks., 12 

George IV, King of England, transfers 

George Hi's libr, to Brit. Mus. f 4, 12 
George V, King of England, deposits 

music at Brit. Mus., 13 
Gerard, G.~J., and Bib. Royale, Brussels, 

138-40, 145; cat. of, 148 
Gerli liturgical coll., at Milan, 179 
German coll., at Florence, 169 
Gersdorff, J., libr. of, at Copenhagen, 207 
Gilson, J. P., libn. at Brit. Mus., 23 
Gipsy literature. See Romany literature 
Glaser, E., coU. of, at Vienna, 83 
Glenriddcll MSS. of R. Bums, at Edin- 

burgh, 32 

Godet, M., Hbn. at Berne, 122 
Gortz-Wrisberg coll., at Berlin, 103 
Goethe coll., at Stockholm, 229 
Gottingen Univ. libr., 104, in 
Goldschmidt, L., Hebraica of, at Copen- 

hagen, 210 
Goldziher, L, Orientalia of, at Jerusalem, 


Gonnelli autographs, at Florence, i<58, 172. 
Gosse, Sir E., libn. at Brit. Mus., 24 
Gottorp Castle Hbr., at Copenhagen, 208 
Government publications, reading room 

for, at Brit. Mus,, 7 

Gram, H., Hbn. at Copenhagen, 208, 213 
Grant, Sir A., endows Nat, Libr, of Scot- 

land, 30, 34 

VGravenhage. See Hague, The 
Greece, Nat. Lib. of, 185-90 
Green, B. R,, architect of Libr. of Congress, 

Greenslade, S. K,, architect of Nat. Libr. of 

Wales, 40 
Grenville, T. bequeathed libr. to Brit. 

Mus., 13, 21 
Grey, Sir G., Hbr. of, at Cape Town, 353. 

Gribbel, J., gift to Nat. Libr. of Scotland, 

Griffenfeld, P. S., libn. at Copoihagai, 


Gripsholrn Libr., at Stockholm, 23$ 
Groussac, P., libn. at Buenos Aires, 328, 

Guicciardini, Piero, coll of, at Horeace, 

168, 170 
Gustavus Adolphus, enriched Kung, BibL, 

Stoclcholm, 224 
Gustavus Vasa, foundation coIL o at 

Stockholm* 224 

Hague, The, Kon. BibL at, 
Halkett, S., libn. at Edinburgh, 3$ 
Hatter, A. von, libr, of t at Mlaa* 17 
Halvorscn, J. B., Hbn. at Oslo* 1x7 



Hammer-Purgstall, J. von, Oriental coll. 

of, at Vienna, 82 
Hansen, T., architect of Nat. Libr. of 

Greece, 187 
Hapsburg, House of, and Vienna Libr., 77, 

Hargrave, F., legal MSS. of, at Brit. Mus., 


Harleian MSS. at Brit. Mus. f i, 9 
Harnack, A. von, libn. at Berlin, 101-4 
Hartel, W. von, libn. at Vienna, 83 
Hartland, S., ethnogr. coll. of, at Aberyst- 

wyth, 39 
Hasenburku, V,z., benefaction, at Prague, 


HautSn, , compiled cat. at Paris, 62 
Hebraica. See Judaica, Orientalia 
Heiligenstadt incunabula, at Berlin, 103 
Helsinki Univ. Libr., 233-9 
"Hemeroteca," Mexico, 321, 323 
Hendreich, C,, Hbn. at Berlin, 98-9, in 
Henry, Prince of Wales, libr. of, at Brit. 

Mus., 9, 12 

Heraldic museum, at Dublin, 131 
Hielmstierne, H,, libr. of, at Copenhagen, 

Hierta, P., incunabula of, at Stockholm, 


Hirsch, P., music libr. of, at Brit. Mus., 13 
Hofmeyr, J. M., bequest, Cape Town, 

353. 354 
Hohendorff, Baron von, coll. of, at Vienna 

Holden, C., architect of Nat. Libr. Wales, 

Holder, Sir F., and cst of Nat. Libr., 

Canberra, 377 

Holkham Libr., bks, from, at Brit. Mus., 13 
HoBoway theatre coll., at Dublin, 129 
Holstein-Ledreborg, J. L., Luther coll. of, 

at Copenhagen, 209 

Holtxop, J. W., libn. at The Hague, 156-7 
Hospital libraries, Wales, 47; Cape Town, 

Hostettler, , architect of Berne libr., 


Hough, G., libn. at Cape Town, 354 
Huebner, J., one of first Hbns. at Berlin, 98 
Huet, P. D., Bp. his libr. at Paris, 52 
Hugo, Victor, Blumenthal coll., at Paris, 


Hulthcm, Ch. van, Hbn. at Brussels, his 
Ebr., 134* 140-2, 146, 148, 149, 152 


Restriction to, at Copenhagen, 208; 
restriction to, at Stockholm, 227; 
colL of, at Venice, 184; preponder- 
ance of, at Warsaw, 283 

Humbolt, W. von, supports R. Libr., 

Berlin, 101 

Hume, D., libn. at Edinburgh, 29 
Hurault coll. of MSS. at Paris, 50 
Huth, H. and A. H., bequest of bks. to Brit. 

Mus., 13 

Ibsen, H., coll. at Oslo, 220 

Icelandic bks., Brit Mus. cat. of, 16; bks. 
and MSS. at Copenhagen, 207; at 
Stockholm, 225 

Idlius, Q., libr. at Berlin, 100 

Imperial Libr., Tokyo,. 3 86-7, 39*-3 395 

Incunabula : 

at Aberystwyth, 39; at Athens, 1 86, 187; 
Berlin coll., 103, 113, and cat. of, 113* 
Brit. Mus. coll. and cat. of, 13-14; at 
Brussels, 142; at Cape Town, 356; 
at Copenhagen, 209-10, 212; at Flor- 
ence, 169, 173; at The Hague, with 
"post-incunabula," 155, 158; at Jeru- 
salem, 369; at Leningrad, 259, 262-3; 
Avila cathedral coll. at Madrid, 192; 
at Moscow, 241 ; at Rio de Janeiro, 
337; at Santiago, 344; at Stockholm, 
226, 229; at Vienna, 82, 91; at Wash- 
ington, 291, 300; union cat of 
(Gesamtkatalog), 113 117; union cat 
of, in French libs., 65 ; union cat. at 
Rome, 179 

Index Bibliographicus, 71 

Information and Bibl. Bureaux, at Berlin, 
116, 117; at Berne, 127; at Canberra, 
382; at Leningrad, 264, 265; at Lima, 
349; at London, 19; at Ottawa, 312; at 
Paris, 69, 71 ; at Sofia, 272; at Wamw, 
285, 286 

See also generally under "Place in the 
National System'* in each chapter 

International exchange and lending. 
See under "Place in the National System" 
in each chapter. 

Ippel, E M Hbn. at Berlin, in 

Ireland, Nat Libr. o 128-33 

Irish Association for Documentation, 132 

Irish language and literature colls, at Dublin, 

Irish MSS., Brit Mus. cat of, n 

Issues of books. See under the heading 
"Departments" in each chapter 

Italy, history of. See Reformation; 

, National librs. of, 167-84 

Ito, K., coll. of; at Tokyo, 388 

Iwasaki, Y., libr. of, at Tokyo, 394 

Jacobites, Blaikie coll. of, at Edinburgh, 32 
Japonica. See Orientalia 

406 INDEX 

Jarcho, J., medical coll. of, at Jerusalem, 

Jefferson, T., President of U.S.A., appoints 

first Libn. of Congress, 288 ; his Kbr. 

goes to Libr. of Congress, 289, 291 ; 

cat. of, 304, classification of, 305 
Jerusalem, Jewish Nat. and Univ. Libr., 

Jesuits, libraries of the, at Brussels, 139, 145 ; 

at Luxemburg, 163 ; at Madrid, 191 ; 

at Mexico, 321; at Milan, 179; at 

Naples, x8i; at Paris, 52; at Prague, 

274; at Rio de Janeiro, 335; at Rome, 

176, 177; at Santiago, 343; at Vienna, 

, building of, at Luxemburg, 164; at 

Milan, 179 ; at Palermo, 1 82 ; at Rome, 


Jewish Nat. and Univ. Libr., 367-76 
John VI, removes Lisbon libr, to Rio de 

Janeiro, 335 

Joly, J., coll. of, at Dublin, 128-9 
Jouen, , catalogues of, at Brussels, 147-8 
Judaica, at Jerusalem, 369, 370, SchifFcoll. 

of, at Washington, 300 
Jurgens postal coll. at Cape Town, 354 
Justo, A. P., Kbr. of, at Lima, 347 
Juvenile dept. at Buenos Aires, 332; at 

Leningrad, 261; at Lima, 348; at 

Moscow, 242, 246; at Pretoria, 362, 

363; at Santiago, 343-5 

Kabutoyama coll., at Tokyo, 388 
Kameda, J., coll, of, at Tokyo, 389 
Kanamori, T., Hbn. at Tokyo, 389 
Kapr, S., libr. of, at Prague, 274 
Karabacek, J., libn. at Vienna, 83-4 
Karavelov, L., foundation coll. of, at Sofia, 


Kaufmann, E, libn. at Cape Town, 354 
"Keepsakes," cat. of, at Paris, 65 
Kenyon, Sir F. G., libn. at Brit Mus., 22-3 
King, Abp., collectanea of, at Dublin, 129 
King's Libr. See George III 
King's Tracts, in Brit. Mus. See Thoma- 

son, G. 

Kinsky Libr., at Prague, 275 
Kirchenministerialbibl., Berlin, 103 
Kivell, R. N., coll. of, at Canberra, 378 
Kjaer, A., libn. at Oslo, 217 
Klemming, G. E., libn. at Stockholm, 226; 

coll. of, 225 

Knight, G., libn. at Brit. Mus., 18, 20 
Kobeko, D. K, Hbn. at Leningrad, 257, 266 
Kokusar Bunka Shinkokai Libr., at 

Tokyo, 393 

Kollar,. A.,. Hbn. at Vienna, 81, 89, 91 
Komiyama geographical coll., Tokyo, 387 

Kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen, 207- 

Koninkijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, 154- 

Korf, M. A., Count, libn. at Leningrad, 

255, 263, 265, 266 
Korff, S. A,, Baron, legal libr. of, ac 

Helsinki, 234 

Kosugi coll., at Tokyo, 387 
Kriiss, H. A., libn. at Berlin, 104 
Kruger, P., founder of State libr., Pretoria, 


Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm, 224-32 
Kurfurstliche Bibl., Berlin, 98, in 

Labrouste, H., architect of Bib. Nat., Paris, 


Lacroix, A., and Bultingaire, L., cat. of 
periodicals in French nat. librs., 70 

Lafragua, J. M., libn. at Mexico, 320; col!, 
of, 321 

Lamb, W. K., libn. at Ottawa, 312 

Lambeck, P., Hbn. at Vienna, 77, So, 87, 

Landau-Finaly coll., at Florence, 169, 173 

Lange, H. O., libn. at Copenhagen, 209 

Lansdowne poHtical MSS., at Brit Mus., 

Larine, , gave extension of libr., Lenin- 
grad, 260, 263 

La Romana, Marquis de, libr. at Madrid, 

La Serna Santander, C. A. de t libn. at 
Brussels, 139-40; cat. of, 148 

Lauuoit, Count de, Voltairean coll. of, at 
Brussels, 144 

Lauriston Castle Hbr. added to Nat. Lib. 
Scotland, 32 

La Valliere, Due de, MSS, of> at Paris, 53; 
at Vienna, 82 


Hargrave MSS. (Brit. Mus,), 10; Korfl" 
coll. of, at Helsinki, 234; works on, at 
Washington, 290 

Law Libr., at Jerusalem, 372; at Washing- 
ton, 290 

Lazius, W., libr. of, at Vienna, 78-9 

Lean, V. Stuckey, bequest for extension *o 
Brit. Mus., 4 

Ledesma, E. F., Hbn. at Mexico, 320 

Legal Deposit; 

Aberystwyth, 40; Athens, r86; Berlin, 
102, io<5; Brit Mus,, 14, 17; Brussels, 
136, 144; Benos Aires, 32^30; 
Canberra, 377-8* Cape Town, 355; 
Copenhagen, 212; Dublin, 129; Edin- 
burgh, 28; Florence, 170; Hague, 156; 
Helsinki, 235, 237; Jerusalem, 371; 



Legal Deposit continued 

Leningrad, 255, 260; Lima, 347; 
Lisbon, 202 ; Luxemburg, 164 ; Madrid, 
192; Mexico, 319, 321; Milan, 180; 
Moscow, 242, 247; Naples, 181; 
Oslo, 217, 219, 220; Ottawa, 313-14; 
Paris, 51, 57; Prague, 275-6; 
Pretoria, 360; Rio de Janeiro, 337; 
Rome, 178; Santiago, 343; Sofia, 
268, 270; Stockholm, 225; Tokyo, 
387, 390; Vienna, 79, 86; Warsaw, 
282; Washington, 291, 292, 294, 299. 
Replaced in Switzerland by volun- 
tary concordat, 122-3 

Legislative Reference Service, at Canberra, 
381; at Tokyo, 394; at Washington, 

Leguina, E*, gifts to Bib. Nac., Buenos 

Aires, 329 
Leicester, Earls of, bks. from Hbr., at Brit. 

Mus., 13 

Leihverkehr, Berlin, 117 
Leinster House, bid. of Nat. Libr. of Ire- 
land, 130 

Le Mire, A., Hbn. at Brussels, 136 
Lending of books, at Vienna, 79 ; proposed, 

at Brit. Mus., 19 
See also under "Place in the National 

System,** in each chapter. 
Lenin State Libr., Moscow, 240-53 
Lenin, V. I., on functions of Leningrad 

Libr., 258 
Leningrad, Saltykov-Shchedrin Libr., 245, 

251, 253-66 

Lennox papers, at Dublin, 129 
Leopardi, De Sinner coll. of, at Florence, 

Leopold H, benefactions to Bib. Naz., 

Florence, x<58 

Leasing coll., at Berlin, 103 
LetelHer, C., abbe" de Louvois, 51, 58 
Libri MSS., at Paris, 67 
Lima, Bib. Nac., 346-51 
Lisbon, Bib. Nac., 201-6 
Lismore Castle papers, at Dublin, 129 
Liturgical coll, at Milan, 179 
Lizicky' Seminary Libr., Prague, 275 
Lobkowicz Libr., Prague, 275 
Lomnie de Brienne coll. of polit. papers, 

at Paris, 50 
London Philhellenic Committee, archives, 

at Athens, 187 
Lopez de Cordoba, A., Oriental coll. of f 

at Madrid, 192-3 
Lotaringia, Bibl., at Florence, 167 
Lothian, Marquess of, Hbr. of, at Edin- 
burgh, 32 
Louvois, C. LeteUier, abbe* de, 51, 58 

Louvre, the, R. Libr. of Charles V in, 49, 
58; added to Royal Hbr., 52; "Cabi- 
net du Roi," 17 cent., housed in, 58 
Loyau, J., subject index by, Paris, 62 
Lucerne, town libr., Helvetica at, 121 
Luthi coll. of Bibles, at Berne, 122 
Lumbroso Napoleonic coll., at Turin, 183 
Luther coll., at Copenhagen, 208-9 
Luxemburg, Bibliotheque Nationale, 163-6 
City Libr., 163 

Lynch-Gorostiaga family papers, at Buenos 
Aires, 329 

Machida, Hisanari, Hbn. at Tokyo, 386 
Mackenzie, Sir G., founder of Advocates' 

Libr., 28 

MacLeish, A., Libn. of Congress, 293-4 
Madden, Sir F., libn. at Brit. Mus., 20 
Madrid, Bibl. Nac., 191-200 
Magliabechi, A., founded Bibl. Naz. Cent., 

Florence, 167 

Major, R. H., libn. at Brit, Mus., 18 
Mallet, Gilles, Charles V's libn., Paris, 49, 

Manchurian Railway Co. coll., at Tokyo, 



(The collections of MSS. will be found 
mentioned in each chapter under the 
headings "History," "Collections," 
"Catalogues," and "Departments.") 
Brit. Mus., published facsimiles, n; 
general catalogue needed, to; of 
Catherine de Medici, at Paris, 50; 
Oriental. See Orientalia 
Manzoni coll., at Milan, 180 

Brit. Mus., 7, 8, 18; MS., cats, of, n 
Rolling shelves for, at Berne, 124 
Room for, at Aberystwyth, 44; at 
Berlin, 107; at Paris, 61, 68; at Stock- 
holm, 228; at Tokyo, 387; at Vienna, 
Marburg, Westdeutsche Bibl., books from 

Berlin at, 105 

Marcel, R., libn. at Paris, 54 
Marciana, Bibl., at Venice, 169, 184 
Margaret of Austria, Hbr. of, at Brussels, 

Maria Theresa founds Bibl. Braidense, 179, 

gift to Prague Libr., 275 
Marine, Fr. Min. of., libr. at Paris, 56 
, Port. Min. of, Hbr., at Lisbon, 202 
Marini, A. F., Hbn. of MagHabechiana, 

Florence, 167 

Marmel, J., Hbn. at Buenos Aires, 327 
Marot, D., architect of Kon. Bibl., The 

Hague, 157 

408 INDEX 

Masonic Archives, at Paris, 56 

"Massey Report" onest. of Canadian Nat. 

Libr., 312 
Mathematics, Muir Libr. o at Cape Town, 

Mathews, G. M., ornithol. coll. of, at Can- 
berra, 378 

Maty, M., libn. at Brit. Mus., 19 
Mauchter, Mathias, Hbn. at Vienna, 80, 89 
Mavrocordatos-Baltatzis Libr., at Athens, 

Maximilian I, reputed founder of Vienna 

Hofbibl., 77, 78; sold bks. from Bib. 

Royale, Brussels, 135 
Maximilian, Emp. of Mexico, 319-20 
Mazarin, J., Card., libr. of (the Mazarine), 

5i 57. 68-70 
Mazarine, Galerie, in Bib. Nat., Pans, 59, 

Medical coll., Engstrom, at Helsinki, 234; 

at Jerusalem, 368, 369, 372; Toner, at 

Washington, 291 
Medici, Catherine de, her Greek MSS. at 

Paris, 50 

Meehan, J. S., Hbn. at Washington, 290-1 
Meiji coll., at Tokyo, 389-90 
Meinieres, President de, charters of, at 

Paris, 52 

Mejan Libr., its Aldines (Berlin), 102 
Mejia, J. C., Mexican coll. of, at Madrid, 


Melo, C, libn. at Buenos Aires, 328 
Mesa Cens6ria, Kbr., at Lisbon, 201 
Metal construction at Brit. Mus., 4; at Bib. 

Nat., Paris, 59; at Washington, 291, 


Meusebach libr., at Berlin, 102 
Mexican coll., at Madrid, 192 
Mexico, Bib. Nac. de, 319-25 
Michael, H. J., Orientalia at Brit. Mus., 17 
Microfilms. See Photography 
Middleton Bequest coll., at Pretoria, 361 
Mier y Celis, A. de, coll. of, at Mexico, 321 
Milan, Bib. Naz. Braidense at, 179-81 
Military section, at Moscow, 242, 245-6 
Milkau, F., libn, at Berlin, report on 

Belgian librs., 144 

Moldenhawer, D. G., libn. at Copen- 
hagen, 208 

Molhuysen, P. C., libn. at The Hague, 156 
Molini, G., libn. at Florence, 169 
M011mann, B. Hbn. at Copenhagen, 208 
Monserrate, C, de, Hbn. at Rio de Janeiro, 

33<*f 338 
Montagu House, first home of Brit. Mus., 


Moreno, Manuel, libn. at Buenos Aires, 
326, 327 

Moreno, Mariano, reputed founder of Bib. 

Nac., Buenos Aires, 326 
Morpurgo, S., Hbn. at Florence, 169 
Morton, C., Hbn., at Brit. Mus., 19 
Mosel, 1, historian of HofbibL, Vienna, 

Motion pictures. See Cinematograph 


Moscow, Lenin State Libr. 240-53 
Mozart coll., at Prague, 275, 277 
Muir, Sir T., libr. of, at Cape Town, 353 
Munthe, W., Hbn. at Oslo, 216 
Musee de la Guerre, Libr., at Paris, 6*9 
Musee Pedagogique, Paris, 57 
Auditorium and endowment for, at 

Washington, 292, 300-1 
Cat of, at Paris, 65 
Cat. of MS., at Brit. Mus., n 
Cat. of printed, at Brit. Mus., 1