ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Polish Libraries is an English-language peer-reviewed academic journal published yearly by the National Library of Poland and addressed to foreign library milieus. It is included on the Ministry of Education and Science’s official List of Ranked Scholarly Journals with 140 points. It is also indexed by Scopus and ERIH PLUS.
It aims at presenting issues related to historical and current challenges facing Polish libraries and library and information studies, including their ancillary and related sciences. The articles published in the journal cover a broad scope of topics and research fields, such as history, with history of libraries in particular, theory of bibliography, cataloguing, archival science, museology, manuscriptology, codicology, bookbinding studies, conservation and restoration, library statistics and sociology, readership studies, art history, musicology, and literary studies.
All of the articles published in the journal are peer reviewed by experts who do not know the identity of authors and vice versa (double-blind reviewing process). The reviewers are acknowledged external specialists, that is, they are not employed by the publisher. The editorial board of the Polish Libraries has been gradually increasing the number of reviews prepared by scholars affiliated to foreign research institutions. Not only does it help improve the academic quality of the articles, but it also aims at raising the awareness of the existence of the journal abroad. read more About the Journal
CREDITS / TABLE OF CONTENTS, p. 2–3
The decimation of Polish Libraries in the Second World War, p. 6–25
The fate of Polish libraries and book collections over the centu¬ries is intricately linked with the history of the Polish nation and the Polish state. Following the failed Kościuszko Uprising, on the eve of Poland’s third partition and the collapse of Polish statehood, the Russian Empress Catherine II decided to close down the Załuski Library of the Republic (Biblioteka Rzeczypospolitej Załuskich zwana), the first Polish national library and one of the largest and grandest libraries of eighteenth-century Europe, and move its collection to St Petersburg, where it formed the basis of the National Library of Russia. If anything, this was an augur of things to come. The destruction suffered by the Polish nation and the Polish state during the Second World War did not spare many Polish libraries, whose collections were to a great degree destroyed by shelling and bombing, and also the target of deliberate destruction. The libraries that suffered the most were those located in Warsaw, the centre of academic and cultural life in pre-Second World War Poland. The ashes of manuscripts and early printed books burnt by Nazi soldiers in the Library of the Krasiński Family Entail (Biblioteka Ordynacji Krasińskich) in autumn 1944, contained in an urn which today stands inside the Palace of the Polish Republic, are a potent symbol of the tragic fate suffered by Polish libraries in general.
The Literary Additions of Printed Matter from the First Printing House of Florian Ungler (1510–1516) as an Expression of the Renaissance as it Flourished in Polish Typography, p. 26–64
The article discusses the shape of the literary framing of prints published by Florian Ungler in Krakow in the years 1510–1516. The Bavarian publisher, in order to successfully compete with other Polish printers, significantly enriched his publications with various supplements. He used woodcut illustrations on great scale, unprecedented before in Krakow, which undoubtedly made his books visually more attractive. He also introduced new typefaces, typical of humanistic culture, especially Antique, which he used to press classical authors. While he consistently used Schwabacher and Fraktur for publications in Polish. However, the literary additions seem to be much more important: prefaces, dedication poems, epigrams addressed to the reader or to Zoil, as well as various forms that combine a visual element with a poetic one: proto-emblems and stemmata. The article provides statistical data on this issue, as well as discusses and interprets texts representative of various mentioned above categories. Ungler made them a standard element of an Old Polish book. The article proves that they were an important tool for him to communicate with the reading community. They also gave his publications a modern, renaissance character, which allows us to perceive his enterprise as the first fully humanistic Polish printing house.
Incunabula from the House of the Congregation of the Mission in the Płock Diocese Kept in the Seminary Library Prior to WW II, p. 65–83
The Congregation of the Mission was founded by Vincent de Paul in France in 1625. Its goal was to work with the poor, preach sermons and provide Christian education in general. In the 18th century, two mission houses were established in Mława and Płock, both within the Płock Diocese. The preserved collection of thirteen 15th-century printed books, kept before 1865 in the two aforementioned houses, was interesting in many respects: because of the authors of the works, the fields of knowledge they concerned, their provenance records, the publishing houses the books came from or their bindings. This collections reflects the mentality, culture of spirit and intellectual interests of its owners. After the dissolution of the houses, together with other books from the dissolved monasteries of the Płock Diocese, the books were first transported 66 Polish Libraries 2021 Vol. 10 Incunabula from the House of the Congregation of the Mission in the Płock Diocese Kept in the to the Płock cathedral library and then, in the 1920s, included in the newly built library building on the premises of the Theological
Seminary. The present article contains a catalogue of this collection together with a commentary on its history.
Incunabula left by Reformed Friars Minor as Found in the Register of the Collection of the Płock Seminary Library, Compiled by Kazimierz Piekarski before 1939, p. 84–107
Polish culture suffered enormous material and spiritual losses over the past centuries. The wars raged by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, troops marching across its territories, and lootings did not spare its numerous churches, palaces, and castles.
History, natural disasters such as fires and floods acted as an especially destructive force, ruining cultural heritage across many historical periods. Books collected in magnates’ and noblemen’s libraries, as well as those in the libraries of churches (Diocese), monasteries, and convents, were vulnerable to destruction. Many of them are only recorded in scarce sources, mentioned in brief textual, or occasionally oral, records, which are important for a Polish history of books. These brief notes often remain the only source of knowledge on once extensive and precious book collections.
‘Official Pushkin’. Alexander Pushkin’s Oeuvre in the Gymnasia of the Kingdom of Poland (1869–1905), p. 108–134
The work of Alexander Pushkin considered politically suspect and even potentially subversive in the first half of the 19th century, was finally approved by the Russian educational authorities in the 1860s. This resulted not only from the appreciation of the artistic value of his writing, but above all from the recognition of the poet as a Russian bard – a eulogist of the empire and Russian folk culture (narodnost). Since then, Pushkin’s literary work have permanently appeared on the pages of the school textbooks. With the education reform of Dmitry Tolstoy, the same school books that were used in other parts of the empire were introduced in schools of the Russian Poland (Kingdom of Poland). For Polish readers, Pushkin was considered as the central figure of Russian culture. The article presents which works of the Russian Romantic poet were included into school textbooks and books recommended for additional reading, what were the didactic and political functions of these works and how they were assessed by Polish readers. The aim of the article is therefore to present the role of school books in making of the ‘imperial Pole’ understood not only as the subject loyal to the Russian state and culture, but also as one who accepts its ‘civilizing mission’ in Poland.
Re-Cataloguing the Varnhagen Collection. A proposal of a new description scheme and its application to the selected material, p. 135–161
The article presents a proposal of re-cataloguing the Varnhagen Collection, one of the largest and most important European manuscript collections of the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. This collection is part of the former Prussian State Library in Berlin, and is currently kept in the Jagiellonian Library in Kraków. This proposal is a response to the postulate of creating a systematic, possibly complete and error-free catalogue of this collection, which will enable full use of its resources. The article develops a theoretical scheme of description, tested in practice in teamwork and with archival units of various volumes and structures. The scheme takes into account the archival strategies used in the collection, the tradition of research on the collection (Ludwig Stern’s catalogue) and refers to modern solutions (the electronic Kalliope database and the printed catalog of Alexander von Humboldt’s papers from 2019). After a short historical outline of the collection (relocation during World War II and the post-war situation) and the reconstruction of the history of its creation and character, the article presents in detail the description scheme and its use on the example of the legacy of the writer Helmina von Chézy (178–1856) belonging to the collection. The full application of the scheme will be found in the currently prepared catalog of parts of the collection, which can be used as a starting point for its comprehensive cataloguing.
‘[...]I Wrote Neither to Praise My Work nor for Benefit…’: Anton Losev’s Unique Work Found in the Jagiellonian Library, p. 162–200
In October 2020, an 18th–century manuscript containing hand-coloured drawings and featuring a long title in Russian: Abbreviated Description of the Lena River together with a General Map and Drawings of All Curiosities and Attributes along Its Banks underwent the digitizing process as part of the Jagiellonian Library digitizing ‘Patrimonium’ Project. The work seeming from the writing legacy of Ż. Pauli (1814–1895) was authored by the Russian clerk, Anton Ivanonovich Losev (1765?–1829). Losev was well known in Siberia, and particularly Irkutsk as a land surveyor, geographer, cartographer, historian, and tourism lover. However, in the remaining territory of Russia and Poland, his person and his works are practically unknown. The unique manuscript discovered at the Jagiellonian Library is the topic of this paper. Additionally, it contains the translation of the genuine text into English, which is published here for the first time.
Assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on the Changes in the Operation and Structure of Polish Voivodeship Pedagogical Libraries, p. 201–226
The objective of this research was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations and structure of the voivodeship pedagogical libraries in Poland. In the course of the investigation, information on the operations of these over that period was collected as well as the opinions of the users and the administrators of these libraries. The discussion focuses on the actions of the National Library of Poland (BN) and of the Polish Librarians Association (SBP) both of which significantly facilitated the organization of the libraries by releasing appropriate guidelines and recommendations for all types of libraries, and by consolidating the coming together of the various groups of librarians and supporting them in their adoption of remote working. It was observed that between March 2020-March 2022, the libraries were restructured, and the impact of the pandemic on the diagnosed situation was assessed. In order to provide answers to the research questions, the following data gathering methods were used: bibliographic and document analysis as well as a critical analysis of literature. Then, heuristic, and deductive methods were applied in order to identify the reasons for the changes that occurred in the organizational structures of the libraries and to assess their effectiveness.
Formation of the Centralised Publication Distribution Network in Poland. ‘Dom Książki’ in 1950–1953, p. 227–249
The paper tackles questions related to the formation of the ‘Dom Książki’ retail network in the early 1950s. This institution, responsible for all forms of book distribution, took over 899 retail facilities that were once property of publishing and bookselling cooperatives and no longer extant state publishers. As a result, an uneven retail network was created, which failed to meet bookselling requirements for quality of premises or territorial spread. The first two years of the operations of ‘Dom Książki’ were dedicated to the rational planning of the network by closing or merging already existing retail facilities or founding new, already professional, bookshops. Presenting her findings, author shows how the distribution network of ‘Dom Książki’ changed and what factors affected its size.
The Microarchive of Recollections. Archival Materials in Wiesław Kępiński’s Ego-documents, p. 250–268
The article aims to analyse the memoirs of Jarosław Iwaszkie¬wicz’s fosterling Wiesław Kępiński, with particular attention to the archives they contain (photocopies of manuscript notes and photo¬graphs). The article argues that collected ego-documents constitute ‘microarchives’ for Kępiński, in which he can recall his foster father (who had passed away) and create (and re-create) his own vision of his past next to him. Methodologically, the paper refers to family studies, research on vernacularity, and on melancholy.
REVIEWS AND MATERIALS
The Central Scientific Library of the Karazin Kharkiv National University under Russian Attack, p. 272–285
Russian School Canon in the 19th Century. Methodological Reflections Inspired by Khrestomatijnye teksty: russkaia pedagogicheskaia praktika XIX veka i poeticheskij kanon eds. A. Vdovin, R. Lejbov, Tartu 2013 [Anthological Texts: Russian Pedagogical Practice in the 19th Century and the School Canon], p. 286–306
Piotr Lechowski (ed.): Historia Biblioteki Jagiellońskiej. Tom II 1775–1918. [History of the Jagiellonian Library. Volume II 1775–1918] Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego 2017, p. 307–326
Leitfaden Provenienzforschung zur Identifizierung von Kulturgut, das während der nationalsozialistischen Herrschaft verfolgungsbedingt entzogen wurde, multiple eds., Deutsches Zentrum für Kulturgutverluste, Magdeburg 2019, 135 pp., p. 327–336
Richard Ovenden, Burning the Books. A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge, The Belknap Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 2020, 308 pp, figs., p. 337–350