The Book Culture Department manages collections of book production related items such as original book illustrations and graphics, original printing blocks, typographic stuff, ex libris and archival materials connected to book culture and publishing bussiness. The department also administers specialized collections of holy pictures, chapbooks and a collection of Czech National Revival book collection, bibliophile book editions and original art bookbinding.

The first collections, upon which the department was founded, were items from publishers' estates, which the National Museum Library acquired together with book collections.

Gradually the department also acquired other book related items, for which there had been no specific or systematic place until then, such as chapbooks and broadside ballads, ex libris, original illustrations and graphics, printing blocks, posters, or a collection of printed holy pictures.

The collections are replenished by new acquisitions of both historical and contemporary items so that the department has a integrated picture of the development of book culture in the Czech Republic, including modern developments in the field of book production.

The department's collections are regularly shown at exhibitions and other cultural activities, and are enthusiastically received by the public. The department's collections are also available to researchers via arrangement with the curators.

Bibliophilia Fonds

The Bibliophilia Fonds in the National Museum Library has been built up steadily since the 1930s as evidence of the standard of Czech book culture and artistic bookbinding, and numbers almost 4,000 volumes of books, artistic bookbinding and artist's books. At present, the collection is being expanded to include special editions from the publishing houses Ateliér Krupka, Aulos and KGB (Kniha, Grafika, Bibliofilie – Book, Graphic, Bibliophilia) and others, and artistic bookbinding by Czech bookbinders, for example, Eliška Čabalová and Karel Dudešek, and also author's books by various artists.

In the collection we can also find several unique specimens, such as the book Divy prasvěta  (‘Prehistoric Wonders’) by J. Augusta bound in elephant skin leather, and one of the largest Czech books ever printed, Šumava umírající a romantická (‘The Bohemian Forest Dying and Romantic’) by J. Váchal.

In addition to the main collection, there are three collections from Czech bibliophiles (A. Chvála, M. Marten and J. Váchal) and two sets of Ex-libris  literature from the collections of M. Novotný and J. Paroubková.

The bibliophilia and book collections are included in the central catalogue of authors of the National Museum Library, marked Bibliophilia or giving the title of the book collection before the cataloguing number.

Note: Bibliophilia - book with an artistic design published in a small number of copies.

It is possible to order books from the book collections only to the study room in Terezín

More information about the collection can be requested from the contact address below.

 

Contacts

Bookplate Fonds

The Bookplate Fonds in the National Museum Library contains over 100,000 items (bookplates, New Year's cards and occasional prints) and is the second largest collection of its kind in the Czech Republic. The basis of this fonds comes from the important collectors and former members of the Association of Collectors and Friends of Ex Libris – the teacher K. J. Obrátil and the literary scientist and former director of the National Museum Library, M. Novotný. The oldest specimens are heraldic bookplates, dating back to the 16th century. However, most bookplates come from a period of great development of the art of bookplates in the first half of the 20th century.

The collection is very diverse in subject matter; frequent motifs include books and literary themes, natural motifs, nudes and themes of professions. The products of European countries, the USA, Australia and Japan are also represented. The collection is continually being expanded, mainly by donations and purchases; recently, for example, a large collection of bookplates by Jiřina Paroubková, a collection of bookplates from the estate of Alois Dyk and a collection of artist’s bookplates by Zdeněk Mézl, Dana Puchnarová, Jaroslav Hořánek, Petr Dillinger, Václav Fiala and Martin Manojlín.

The collection is processed in the catalogue of artists and in the Heritage database system, and is gradually being digitized.

Note: A bookplate is a small decorative label that identifies a book’s owner.

 

Contacts

Illustration and Prints Fonds

The collection of illustrations, containing more than 30,000 items, documents the artistic form of Czech books, especially during the interwar period (artists working with publishing houses, such as Václav Petr, Alois Srdce, Josef Hladký, Josef Lukasík, Rudolf Kmoch and Jan Pohořelý). The period before the First World War is represented by the popular artists Artuš Scheiner, Věnceslav Černý, Viktor Oliva and Adolf Kašpar. The collection of illustrations also contains a number of original book and magazine covers and designs. Another important part of the collection consists of illustrations and designs for covers for publishing houses that were created after the Second World War (e.g. works by Cyril Bouda, Josef Liesler, Václav Sivka, Zdenek Seydl and others). The collection also includes contemporary book illustrations. The latest significant additions include a set of illustrations by Jaroslav Hořánek, a collection of Václav Bláha's book covers, and extensive works by Zdeněk Mézl and Petr Dillinger.

The set of prints serves as complementary and comparative material to the work of graphic designers and illustrators dealing with books. The collection contains over 2,000 prints (by František Kobliha, Cyril Bouda, Josefa Váchal, Ludmila Jiřincová and others).

 

Contacts

Curator of Illustration, Printing blocks and plates, Deputy head of The department
Karfusová Veronika, BcA.

veronika_karfusova@nm.cz 224 497 336

Chapbook (broadside ballads) collection

A largest collection of its kind in the Czech Republic. The collection contains over 40,000 items in the form of individual booklets or convolutes -  sets of amateur-bound chapbook prints. These prints we are mostly broadside ballads (a literary form straddling the border between folk art and artistic poetry). The collection includes prints mostly from the 18th to the 20th centuries. In addition to Czech prints, there are also a number of Slovak, German and Polish prints. In 1989 the fonds was enriched with the significant collection of Rudolf Hlava from Semily (1911–1988).

 

The collection of  broadside balladprints (kramářské písně in Czech) is processed alphabetically in the catalogue according to the incipit (the first line of the song). The main catalogue is supplemented by auxiliary indexes - titles, printers, places and years of printing, musical incipits (in text form), authors and a detailed subject catalogue.

Since 1969, the National Museum Library has been entrusted with the work on a part of the national retrospective bibliography of the 19th century – broadside ballad prints.

The collection is also complemented by handwritten songbooks, cabaret and popular songs from the 20th century, endpaper and handmade paper.

 

Contacts

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs and Prayers
Bydžovská Iva, Mgr.

iva_bydzovska@nm.cz 224 497 331

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs, Deputy head of The department
Klacek Michal

michal_klacek@nm.cz 224 497 332

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs and Prayers
Měřička Matěj, Mgr.

matej_mericka@nm.cz 224 497 331

Publisher Archives and Personal Collections Fonds

The publisher estates collection contains over 45,000 archival documents, documenting the activities of more than forty publishers, both in Prague and outside it, as well as graphic designers, typographers and collectors. The most extensive is the estate of the publisher Václav Petr. The collection also includes the estates of the publishers Vladimír Žikeš, Jaroslav Picka, Leopold Mazáč, Václav Poláček, František Šimáček, Josef Lukasík, J.R. Vilímek, Josef Hladký, Jan Pohořelý and K. L. Žižka. The oldest is the bulk of the estate of Prague printer and publisher Bohumil Haas, from the first half of the 19th century. From the collection of book graphic designs the estates of the Czech calligrapher and book graphic designer Oldřich Menhart and the book designer Method Kaláb are worthy of special notice[v1] . A large group of bibliophiles and collectors of book art is represented by the estate of JUDr. Kamill Resler. The collection also includes a set of publishers’ lists, leaflets and book catalogues. The collection is processed in the catalogue of authors.

 

Contacts

Head of The Book Culture Department, Deputy Director, Curator
Muchka Pavel, PhDr.

pavel_muchka@nm.cz 224 497 333

Czech National Revival Book Collection

The Book Culture Department of the National Museum Library manages the National Revival  Book Collection. It is based on books set aside from 1947 from the main book collection of the National Museum Library. Since the 1950s, the National Revival Collection has been expanded by purchases. The Revival Collection does not have its own catalogue; it is included in the general catalogue of the National Museum Library with the label OBROZENÍ before the catalogue number. The collection includes contemporary scientific literature and works of fiction and poetry,as well as newspapers and magazines, almanacs, theatre plays, calendars and prayer books.

 

Contacts

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs, Deputy head of The department
Klacek Michal

michal_klacek@nm.cz 224 497 332

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs and Prayers
Měřička Matěj, Mgr.

matej_mericka@nm.cz 224 497 331

Poster Fonds

The Poster Fonds is temporarily closed due to the reconstruction of depositories. Cataloguing records for individual posters are available on the online Research Room portal. Only digital copies of posters are provided for exhibitions, if they are available (the collection is partly digitized).

The core of the collection is a set of approximately 700 posters by Karel Jaroslav Obrátil, mainly from the first decades of the 20th century (advertising, publishing, and political posters). The collection contains larger sets of posters by A. Mucha, E. Orlik, K. Reisner, J. Solar and, from his early period, J. Vachal. Among the new additions is an interesting collection of posters by H. Melicharová and J. Hodek, film posters by J. Hořánek, and a collection of advertising and exhibition posters by D. Puchnarová. The collection is complemented by contemporary posters with the theme of books and museums of mostly Bohemian origin.

 

Contacts

Holy Cards Fonds

The National Museum's Holy Cards Fonds contains almost 4,000 small cards from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The core of the collection consists of a set of holy cards that originated mainly in the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, which the National Museum acquired as a bequest from the Prague magistrate and prominent collector Bedřich Přibil (25. 8. 1876, Kolín – 11. 10. 1940, Prague). However, the largest part of the collection consists of original, extensive and high-quality collections of holy cards from the Literary Archive of the National Museum Library.

 

Contacts

Head of The Book Culture Department, Deputy Director, Curator
Muchka Pavel, PhDr.

pavel_muchka@nm.cz 224 497 333

Printing Blocks and Plates and Material Artefacts Fonds

The Printing Blocks and Plates collection documents almost all of the printing techniques and processes of producing prints that were used to print books (over 5,000 collection items). The collection includes both original printing plates created by artists and industrially manufactured matrices. The oldest exhibits in the collection are matrices of steel engravings by G. Doebler from the 1930s. There are also larger sets of original printing plates by Josef Čapek for book covers from the 1920s, and collections of plates by Jan Paroubek, Josef Hodek and Josef Váchal.

The collection of material artefacts (over 1,100 collection items) contains objects used in book printing and bookbinding. The core of the collection are items used in bookbinding acquired from the bookbinding workshop of Josef Danda of Nepomuk. The collection also includes personal mementos of Josef Váchal and sets of letterpress type pieces.

 

Contacts

Curator of Illustration, Printing blocks and plates, Deputy head of The department
Karfusová Veronika, BcA.

veronika_karfusova@nm.cz 224 497 336

R. Hlava Varia Fonds

The core of the Varia Fonds is part of the estate of the Semily collector Rudolf Hlava (1911–1988). These are mainly materials related to music (invitations, programmes for concert, balls, celebrations, debates, performances, etc.) and to publishing houses (correspondence, accounting books, etc.).

 

Contacts

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs and Prayers
Měřička Matěj, Mgr.

matej_mericka@nm.cz 224 497 331

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs, Deputy head of The department
Klacek Michal

michal_klacek@nm.cz 224 497 332

Memorial Cards Fonds

A small collection of religious memorials (functioning as announcements of death) is stored in the Book Culture Department of the National Museum Library (445 pieces, signature ÚO 1-445). Memorial cards (Christian cards, mementos) thematically belong among the small devotional prints (holy cards) and can be described as the forerunner of today's death notices. They are small prints which usually contain a black and white picture with a religious motif, a photograph, and brief information about the deceased person, as well as the text of a short prayer, or a quotation from the Bible.

The motifs of religious images most often relate to stories from the life of the Holy Family (the death of St. Joseph, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Marian motifs, etc.) and sometimes refer to the profession of the deceased person (e.g. St. George, the patron saint of soldiers).

The collection also contains small prints that are thematically related to memorial cards (e.g. the announcement of the death of T. G. Masaryk).

They are mainly small prints written in German and Czech language. Most of them were printed in the 19th century or the 1st half of the 20th century.

 

Contacts

Curator of Shop-keeper's songs, Deputy head of The department
Klacek Michal

michal_klacek@nm.cz 224 497 332

Photography Fonds

The Photography Fonds contains more than 6,000 items. The photographs mainly document the working environment of important figures of Czech book culture, and their lives, work and collaborators. There is a numerous collection of photographs from the estate of Jan Zrzavý, showing, for example, his studios and his stays abroad. There is also a very interesting set of photographs by Josef Váchal, mostly taken directly by the artist – photographs of his parents, of trips with friends and the artist's partner, Anna Macková, and numerous snaps from walks with dogs.

 

Contacts

Curator of Illustration, Printing blocks and plates, Deputy head of The department
Karfusová Veronika, BcA.

veronika_karfusova@nm.cz 224 497 336

Typography Fonds

The Typography Fonds contains more than 1,600 items. The fonds is based on the estates of prominent Czech typographers, Oldřich Menhart and Method Kaláb. There are numerous original designs by Menhart, his drawings and the first test prints of his fonts, mock-ups and designs for prints by both typographers, and samples of alphabets created in the first half of the 20th century. The collection serves as a resource for the study of the history of typography and the study of typographic techniques.

 

Contacts

Curator of Illustration, Printing blocks and plates, Deputy head of The department
Karfusová Veronika, BcA.

veronika_karfusova@nm.cz 224 497 336

 

Documents on the development of Czech book culture can be ordered to the reading room of the National Museum Library; see the electronic order form.

Book Culture

The collection of documents on the development of book culture contains mostly non-literary material…

Staff of the department

Head of The Book Culture Department, Deputy Director, Curator
E-mail: pavel_muchka@nm.cz Tel.: 224 497 333
Curator of Illustration, Printing blocks and plates, Deputy head of The department
E-mail: veronika_karfusova@nm.cz Tel.: 224 497 336
Curator of Shop-keeper's songs, Deputy head of The department
E-mail: michal_klacek@nm.cz Tel.: 224 497 332
Curator of Shop-keeper's songs and Prayers
E-mail: iva_bydzovska@nm.cz Tel.: 224 497 331
Curator of Shop-keeper's songs and Prayers
E-mail: matej_mericka@nm.cz Tel.: 224 497 331
Curator of Ex libris, Bibliophilia and Posters
E-mail: martina_vysohlidova@nm.cz Tel.: 224 497 346