The Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books
Manuscripts, early printed books and other items maintained in the collections of the Dept. of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books are available to library users in the Study Room in Terezín at a specified opening hours
Documents should be ordered with at least one week in advance using the online form or personally in the New building's Study Room. More info at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +420 224 497 342.
- Department Activities
- Catalogues and databases
- Requests for reprographic services
The Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books manages the rarest collections of the National Museum Library (NML).
These include a collection of manuscripts, which currently contains more than 6,000 volumes, a collection of incunabula, an exclusive collection of early printed books, predominantly Bohemica, and two palace libraries: the Nostitz majorat library and the palace library of the Counts Kinsky. A part of this department is also a conservation workshop, which is used by other departments of the National Museum (NM) for their needs as well.
The foundations of the manuscript collection were laid by generous donations of the museum’s supporters already in the 19th century. These comprised in particular the collection from the Březnice castle library, which has supplied among the most famous manuscripts e.g. the Mater Verborum, an encyclopaedic dictionary from the 13th century, or the Jaroměř Bible, a remarkable monument of the art of illumination of the second half of the 13th century. The donation of Archbishop Václav Leopold Chlumčanský has augmented the collection with the Liber Viaticus and Orationale Arnesti, two liturgical manuscripts from the time around the middle of the 14th century, whose depictions are not missing in any major work on Czech illuminated manuscripts. The thematic scope of the manuscripts is much broader and contains works on both social and natural sciences.
Likewise the greatest part of the collection of early printed books, counting more than five thousand volumes now, consists of donations. Apart from the already mentioned supporters and founders of the museum, the acquisitions came from the library of Counts Franz Anton von Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky and Franz Klebelsberg. From the very beginning, the collection of early printed books was created as a collection of Bohemica, i.e. it was to contain mainly works written in Czech or somehow related to Bohemia. The best-known items include one of the earliest Czech printed books, the Trojan Chronicle, or a Latin issue of Comenius’ Great Didactic (Didactica Magna). Besides scientific literature, the collection of early printed books contains numerous copies of belles lettres as well.
The Nostitz majorat (fideicommis) library, which was founded in the 17th century, passed after its confiscation in 1945 into the property of the National Museum in the 1950s. It comprises ca 14,000 volumes, among them over 200 manuscripts, the oldest of which come from 13th century. The library is deposited in the original Baroque interiors of the Nostitz Palace in the Lesser Town in Prague.
The library of the Counts Kinsky was established through a single purchase of more than 18,000 volumes in the early 19th century; by 1945, when it was confiscated from the original owners, this number had exceeded 33,000. A considerable part of the collection is formed by the collection of book graphics along with a large set of printed books from the period of the French Revolution. After a recent reconstruction, the library returned to its original interior in the Kinsky Palace in Old Town Square in Prague.
Manuscripts have been made accessible for research purposes chiefly in the Manuscriptorium digital library as well as systematically in the form of digital copies made in the Photography Department of the National Museum Library.
The catalogue of Czech-language early printed books available online within the electronic retrospective bibliography Knihopis. Printed Bohemica of the National Museum Library (NML) from 1501–1800 written in foreign languages have been recorded in the union catalogue of foreign-language Bohemica, which is being prepared by the Book Department of the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague (Bibliografie cizojazyčných bohemikálních tisků z let 1501–1800 /A Bibliography of Foreign-Language Printed Bohemica from 1501–1800/).
In the recent years, the Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books has made available a catalogue of foreign-language non-Bohemical early printed books on the basis of the retrospective digital conversion of the card catalogue, and researchers have been provided access to scanned digital copies of the cataloguing cards. The actual database of early printed books created according to the international standards for the description of historical documents in the KpWin system in the MARC21 format has only worked in an internal regime as yet. It contains both foreign-language early printed books and records of new acquisitions (donations as well as purchases) and it is expected gradually to become a database including all early printed books deposited in the department or administered by the department in other libraries. The Online Public-Access Catalogue (OPAC) PORTARO should be in operation within one year.
- 2003–2005: The Complete Poetical Works of Bohuslav Hasištejnský of Lobkowicz, a grant of the Czech Science Foundation (CSF) – M. Vaculínová.
- VaV 2005 – DC06P02OUK001 – Retrospective Conversion of the Card Catalogue of Foreign-Language Early Printed Books of the National Museum Library within the Science and Research grant programme of the Ministry of Culture of the CR (MoC) (2006–2007) – R. Šípek.
- 2006–2011: A Scientific Treatment of Non-Catalogued Medieval Manuscript Fragments in the Manuscript Collection of the National Museum Library, a grant of the MoC – M. Dragoun, M. Vaculínová.
- VISK 5 MK ČR 2007 – Retrospective Conversion of the Card Catalogue of Foreign-Language Early Printed Books of the National Museum Library within the LPIS 5 grant programme of the MoC (2007) – R. Šípek.
- GA UK 2007 – The Jawor Chateau Library of Otto Jr. of Nostitz within a grant programme of the Grant Agency of Charles University (2007–2008) – R. Šípek.
- ECP–2008–DILI–518001 – Participation in the project Biodiversity Heritage Library – Europe – a grant programme of the European Commission (2009–2012) – R. Šípek. 1996–1997: external cooperation in the grant of the CSF Alba Amicorum in the Modern Period
- Cooperation in the resolution of the grant of the ASCR Research of the Library of Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria (project leader: Ivo Purš, Institute of Art History of the ASCR), 2005–2008, ASCR.
- 2007–2011: the research plan The Complete Poetical Works of Paulus a Gisbice within the project of the Historical Museum Personalities of Czech Science and Culture – M. Vaculínová.
- The Jawor Chateau Library of Otto Jr. of Nostitz – an internal Science and Research (VaV) project of the National Museum (2009–2010 – continued in 2011–2012) – R. Šípek.
- 2012–2015: the national and cultural identity (NAKI) project PROVENIO – Property Provenance Research in the NML (project leader: J. Kašparová)
The Restoration and Conservation Workshop provides its services to the library but also to other sections of the National Museum: theatre, historical as well as others. Its activities significantly contribute to the conservation and restoration of collection items. In the conservation work, it endeavours to conserve to the highest degree possible the original components of collection items and thus preserves their informative value also for future generations.
Selected thematic collections of digitised manuscripts and early printed books in the Manuscriptorium:
- František Michálek Bartoš: Soupis rukopisů Národního musea v Praze [A List of the Manuscripts of the National Museum in Prague], Vols. I and II, Praha 1926–1927.
- Josef Vašica, Josef Vajs: Soupis staroslovanských rukopisů Národního musea v Praze [A List of the Old Church Slavonic Manuscripts of the National Museum in Prague], Praha 1957.
- Václav Černý: Les Manuscrits Néolatins de la Bibliothèque du Musée National de Prague, Praha 1964.
- Pavel Brodský: Soupis iluminovaných rukopisů Knihovny Národního muzea [A List of the Illuminated Manuscripts of the National Museum], Praha 2000.
- Michal Dragoun: Soupis středověkých rukopisů z dodatků ke katalogům F. M. Bartoše, J. Vašici a J. Vajse [An Inventory of the Medieval Manuscripts from the Supplements to the Catalogues by F. M. Bartoš, J. Vašica and J. Vajs], Praha 2011.
- Michal Dragoun, Jindřich Marek: Rukopisné zlomky Knihovny Národního muzea. Sbírky Adolfa Patery a Čeňka Zíbrta [The Manuscript Fragments of the National Museum Library. The Collections of Adolf Patera and Čeněk Zíbrt], Praha 2012.
- Marek Brčák et al: Rukopisné zlomky Knihovny Národního muzea, Signatura 1 A, Praha 2014.
- Jiří Beneš et al: Rukopisné zlomky Knihovny Národního muzea, Signatura 1 B a 1 C, Praha 2015.
- Vlastimil Brom et al.: Rukopisné zlomky Knihovny Národního muzea, Signatura 1 D, 1 E a 1 G, Praha 2016.
- manuscripts of the Nostitz Library:
- Josef Vítězslav Šimák: Rukopisy Majorátní knihovny hrabat z Nostitz a Rhienecka v Praze [The Manuscripts of the Majorat Library of Counts of Nostitz and Rieneck in Prague], Praha 1910.
- Greek manuscripts in the NM:
- Jean-Marie Olivier, Marie-Aude Monégier du Sorbier: Catalogue des Manuscrits Grecs de Tchécoslovaquie, Paris 1983.
- Jean-Marie Olivier, Marie-Aude Monégier du Sorbier: Manuscrits Grecs Récemment decouverts en République Tchéque. Supplement au Catalogue des Manuscrits Grecs de Tchécoslovaquie, Paris 2006.
- printed books:
- Jitka Šimáková, Jaroslav Vrchotka: Katalog prvotisků Knihovny Národního muzea v Praze a zámeckých a hradních knihoven v České republice [A Catalogue of the Incunabula of the National Museum Library in Prague and the Castle Libraries in the Czech Republic], Praha 2001.
- Jaroslav Vrchotka: Knihovna Bohuslava Duška [Bohuslav Dušek’s Library], Sborník Národního muzea / Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – series C, Vol. 23 1978.
- Richard Šípek: Die Jauerer Schlossbibliothek Ottos des Jüngeren von Nostitz, Teil 1-2, Frankfurt am Main c2014.
- Manuscriptorium – digitised manuscripts from Bohemian and Moravian collections
- Knihopis – STT - Incunabula, Early Printed Books and Maps 1450-1800“, more at National Library Databases
- A Bibliography of Foreign-Language Printed Bohemica from 1501–1800
PhDr. Jaroslava Kašparová, Ph.D.
Email: email@example.com, Phone: +420-224 497 366
Early Printed Books, The Nostitz Library
PhDr. Richard Šípek, Ph.D.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +420-224 497 353
Manuscripts Mgr. Jana Tvrzníková
Email: email@example.com, Phone: +420-224 497 345
Early Printed Books Mgr. Monika Veverková
Currently on maternity leave
MgA. Karel Křenek Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +420-224 497 357 Jana Náprstková Jana Tomšů Phone: +420-224 497 357
The collections of the Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books may be studied in the reading room in Terezín (on Wednesdays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. after prior arrangement; for further details, see the main web page of the website of the National Museum Library).
Requests – a week in advance electronically (see below), in person or by phone (+420 224 497 342) in the reading room and the loan department in the New Building of the NM.
From the collections, it is also possible to request digital copies. The information on the prices of the copies and copyright regulations is provided by the Department of Services of the National Museum Library; see also the Price list