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Collectors and collections

The Treasures of the Collections in the National Széchényi Library and the Histories of the Collections

Publishing Director: Jolanta Szuba (Kossuth Publishing House) and láSzló boka (National Széchényi Library)

Collectors and collections

The Treasures of the Collections in the National Széchényi Library and the Histories of the Collections

National Széchényi Library and the Histories of the Collections Kossuth Publishing House National Széchényi Library

Kossuth Publishing House National Széchényi Library

Published by the National Széchényi Library and Kossuth Publishing House

Responsible Publisher: the Director General of the National Széchényi Library and the Managing Director of Kossuth Publishing House

Publishing Director: Jolanta Szuba (Kossuth Publishing House) and láSzló boka (National Széchényi Library)

Production Manager: Ilona Badics Design: Nikolett Hollósi Typesetting: Judit Vincze

ISBN 978-963-200-656-7

Printed and bound by Nalors Grafika Ltd., Vác Managing Director: Gábor Szabó

© Kossuth Publishing House, 2016

© National Széchényi Library, 2016

© Authors and editors, 2016




Gabriella Somkuti

editors, 2016 Contents INTRODUCTION 7 Gabriella Somkuti Jenő Berlász The fORM aTION a ND faTe Of

Jenő Berlász

The fORM aTION a ND faTe Of The

Somkuti Jenő Berlász The fORM aTION a ND faTe Of The Jenő Berlász Mrs. GyÖRGy WIX

Jenő Berlász

Berlász The fORM aTION a ND faTe Of The Jenő Berlász Mrs. GyÖRGy WIX Gergely Tóth


fORM aTION a ND faTe Of The Jenő Berlász Mrs. GyÖRGy WIX Gergely Tóth The haND-DRaWN

Gergely Tóth

The haND-DRaWN MaPS IN The

Mrs. GyÖRGy WIX Gergely Tóth The haND-DRaWN MaPS IN The István elbe lászló Pászti anikó kocsy

István elbe

István elbe lászló Pászti anikó kocsy

lászló Pászti

István elbe lászló Pászti anikó kocsy

anikó kocsy

JÓzSef SzINNyeI The elDeR’S

anikó kocsy JÓzSef SzINNyeI The elDeR’S Contents Ágnes W. Salgó aNNa BÁCSVÁRy The eaRly hUNGaRIaN lIBRaRy

Ágnes W. Salgó

JÓzSef SzINNyeI The elDeR’S Contents Ágnes W. Salgó aNNa BÁCSVÁRy The eaRly hUNGaRIaN lIBRaRy Of DR.


The eaRly hUNGaRIaN lIBRaRy Of DR. GyUla TODOReSzkU aND hIS WIfe,

The eaRly hUNGaRIaN lIBRaRy Of DR. GyUla TODOReSzkU aND hIS WIfe, Ádám kövi fROM PROleTaRIaT MUSeUM

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The eaRly hUNGaRIaN lIBRaRy Of DR. GyUla TODOReSzkU aND hIS WIfe, Ádám kövi fROM PROleTaRIaT MUSeUM

klara Csepregi

The eaRly hUNGaRIaN lIBRaRy Of DR. GyUla TODOReSzkU aND hIS WIfe, Ádám kövi fROM PROleTaRIaT MUSeUM


Irén elekes

an “anonymous székely woman”


zsuzsa Maurer


Maurer The VeNICe CUlTURal CONVeNTION ON lIBRaRy aND MUSeUM anikó kocsy Ágnes hangodi éva kelemen Collectors

anikó kocsy

anikó kocsy Ágnes hangodi éva kelemen

Ágnes hangodi

anikó kocsy Ágnes hangodi éva kelemen

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aND MUSeUM anikó kocsy Ágnes hangodi éva kelemen Collectors and Collections eRIka NeMeSkéRI k aTalIN fÜleP
Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections

eRIka NeMeSkéRI

éva kelemen Collectors and Collections eRIka NeMeSkéRI k aTalIN fÜleP ITalIaN-hUNGaRIaN BeQUeSTS INTRODUCTION On

k aTalIN fÜleP


eRIka NeMeSkéRI k aTalIN fÜleP ITalIaN-hUNGaRIaN BeQUeSTS INTRODUCTION On 31 August 1802, Magyar Hírmondó


On 31 August 1802, Magyar Hírmondó [Hungarian Cou- rier], a newspaper published in Vienna, made the follow- ing announcement: “Count Ferenc Széchényi is a man who has attained fame in both Hungarian houses. In a show of exemplary patriotism, he has offered and given his rare collections, collections of books, manuscripts, pictures, escutcheons, maps, and coins which he has as- sembled with great effort and considerable cost, to the Hungarian homeland for public use.” A few months lat- er, on 25 January 1803, Magyar Hírmondó reported that, “yesterday, a furrier named Mátyás Kindi sought out his excellency Count Ferenc Széchényi. He showed him 48 books and asked him, since the Honorable Count had given his own precious library to the Homeland, to ac- cept the small present and use it for his own purposes.” The two bits of news, coming one so soon after the other, are of great symbolic importance. On the one hand, we have the Enlightened aristocrat, who seeks to serve the common good and who for years has de- voted his wealth and energies to his private library in Nagycenk as part of the ongoing struggle in the cause of the Hungarian language and education and culture in Hungary, a man who has labored tirelessly to build astonishing collections with the goal of turning them over to the nation. On the other, we have the furrier, who has followed his example and wishes to donate his modest library to the library that has just become a national treasure chest. As he himself noted in the petition he submitted to the court in Vienna, the fundamental principle that guided Széchényi in the acquisition of materials for his li- brary was the goal of creating a comprehensive collection of works written in Hungarian, published in Hungary, or written abroad about Hungary. He also sought to ensure that these works be properly preserved for posterity. In the course of the two centuries that have passed since it was founded in 1802, the National Széchényi Library continues to fulfill this fundamental function (as other national libraries around the world strive to do). Its collections, which boast astonishing breadth and depth, are enriched with obligatory copies of publications (a

practice that is also matter of law), as well as gifts that are continuously being made by collectors and patrons of the arts and sciences. In the early years of the library’s history, many peo- ple followed the noble example that had been set by Széchényi. For over a decade following the foundation of the library, Széchényi kept a registry of the donations that were made (Protocollum patriophilorum. OSZK Kézirattár Fol. Lat. 71.). More than 200 people made donations to the library, and almost 4,000 items were added to the collections thanks to these generous dona- tions (books, manuscripts, etc.). In addition to the most prominent figures of literary life in Hungary at the time (people like György Bessenyei, Ferenc Kazinczy, Sándor Kisfaludy, Sámuel Tessedik, and Benedek Virág), one also finds institutions of the Church (the chapters in Bratislava and Oradea and the Calvinist comprehen- sive school in Sárospatak). In the course of subsequent decades, aristocrats, scholars, figures of the Church and public life, and civil institutions enriched the collec- tions with their donations. When one examines a giv- en collection, often one discerns the traces of varying principles of collection, differing goals, and differing financial backgrounds and personal fates, for the stories of the collections themselves are complex and varied. Sometimes they were incorporated into the holdings as gifts or parts of a bequest, sometimes they were donated by individuals, sometimes they were purchased by the state, sometimes they were the result of international accords, and sometimes they were acquired thanks to the dedicated efforts of tireless librarians. This book is intended as a respectful monument to the collectors and benefactors of the library, as well as to the often anonymous librarians, who have created, through their dedicated efforts in the acquisition and preservation of works of the traditions of writing and printing, a veritable treasure chest rich with the wealth of the Hungarian language and the Hungarian past.

Lídia Wendelin Ferenczy


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


of Ferenc Széchényi Collectors and Collections 8 Com. Franciscus Széchényi. A print made with a copperplate

Com. Franciscus Széchényi. A print made with a copperplate engraving by János Sámuel Czetter (Vienna, 1798)

Gabriella Somkuti


In a document dated 26 July 1802, the Council of Gover- nor General in Buda informed Ferenc Széchényi that on 23 June the king had given his consent to create a collec- tion of works in Hungarian and works on Hungary’s cul-

ture and history available as the foundation of a national library on behalf of the Hungarian nation. From this day on, the fate of what had been a private family became an issue of national importance. The work that until that point had been done with patriotic zeal and dedication by

a small circle of people—Ferenc Széchényi and the schol-

ars, scientists, and literati he supported—became the task and duty of a larger community: the nation itself. The foundation took place at a favorable moment in history. In 1801, the war with the French came to an end, at least temporarily, and in 1802 the parliament was convened. The burst of national enthusiasm that accom- panied this ensured an equally enthusiastic response to patriotic measures and acts. Towards the end of August and in early September, the first articles began to appear in the press releases praising Széchényi for having founded the institution. The example he set had a strong influence on others: newspapers soon began to print reports about how donations had begun to arrive for the library. But the most effective and influential means of spreading news about the library and fostering enthusiasm was the printed catalogues, which Széchényi, after having been given permission by the king to act, sent to some 500 people and institutions in Hungary and abroad. 1 These catalogues offer an overview of the collection that was the foundation on which the national library was built. The content, organization, and editorial principles of the catalogues reflect very clearly the focused effort that went into their creation. They also show how insightful Széchényi was in his understanding of how important it was, from the perspectives of scholarship in Hungary and the development of a national archive of books, to create and disseminate a catalogue of the collection. Ferenc Széchényi was only 20 years of age when, in 1775, as the oldest male member of his family, he took over the management of the family estates and also ac-

cepted an office. From that moment on, his career as a public servant and his duties to his family shaped the

course of his life. First, he served as an articled clerk to

a solicitor in Pest. Then he served as associate judge in the court of appeal in the town of Kőszeg. He traveled

through the region of Transdanubia as deputy viceroy to Croatia and then royal commissioner, first in Zagreb and then in Pécs. He often returned to the village of Sopronhorpács and the family manor house in the village of Cenk, and of course he frequently traveled to Vienna. The family library, which was of tremendous importance in the life of the young Széchényi, was put in the manor house in Horpács. By the end of the 1780s, many signs were already beginning to suggest that Széchényi was taking very deliberate and even systematic measures to add to the collection. 2 The collection was still broad in its range, and as was befitting of a collection assembled by a man of the Enlightenment, it was encyclopedic in character. However, Széchényi’s interest in Hungarian history and the written documents of the Hungarian past soon began to find expression, and the number of these kinds of works in the collection began to grow. His sec- retary, József Hajnóczy, provided tremendous assistance and even inspiration, and indeed the two became close friends. Hajnóczy began to work for Széchényi in 1779. He was known at the time as an outstanding legal his- torian, and his new position gave him opportunity and time to pursue his life’s goal: research on the sources on the basis of which it would be possible to write a history of Hungarian law. He regularly made copies of the char- ters and various other kinds of documents that he came across in the course of his research and donated them to the growing library collection. At Széchényi’s request, in 1779 Hajnóczy began to organize the collection and document its holdings, and in January of 1780 he informed Széchényi that he had made a systematic catalogue. In the course of this work, he set aside duplicate copies and works that he felt should be removed, and he compiled a kind of inventory of works that in his view would make important additions. He used the following three catego- ries: a) works to be recommended to Ferenc Széchényi, b) works that should be read and considered by Ferenc Széchényi, and c) forbidden works. With regards to the works that he had recommended to Széchényi, he noted that he had either read them himself or he had read fa- vorable reviews of them. This list would be fascinating, as it would reveal just how strong Hajnóczy’s influence was on Széchényi’s reading habits and indeed on Széchényi himself. Regrettably, however, scholars have yet to find any trace of it.


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


of Ferenc Széchényi Collectors and Collections 10 Books on the shelves of the library in Nagycenk

Books on the shelves of the library in Nagycenk

Similarly, only fragments of the catalogue that was


where one can find information concerning Ferenc

made by Hajnóczy of the Horpácsi library survive. In-


Rákóczi. Thus, one finds here what is perhaps the

deed, what remains is in all likelihood only a kind of draft or a document that was drawn up somewhere along the way, but not the final version. 3 The handwritten docu- ment lists roughly 210 works on history, geography, math- ematics, physics, and philosophy, some of which were from abroad and some of which were printed in Hungary. One finds 25 works in Hungarian or about Hungary that figured later in the published catalogue, though in some cases these were later editions. These works were written, first and foremost, by authors who lived in Hungary (Mátyás Bél, Bonfini, Ferenc Farkas, Mik-

first example of a method that was used in compiling the catalogue of the collection of the library, a method that was one of the strong points of the printed cata- logue: precise and analytical information in annotations concerning references of any kind to Hungary in works that had been published abroad. The adoption of this method in 1779 was undoubtedly the work of Hajnóczy, who explored, organized, and recorded the holdings from the perspective of a historian, always keeping in mind the goals and needs of a scholar. Works listed in the surviving fragments of the catalogue

sa Hell, Elek Hoványi, János Horváth, János Ivancsics,

that did not touch on Hungary or its history can be found

János Kováts, István Losontzi, Pál Makó, György Maróthi, and Károly Pálma), but one also finds works on Hungary


Ferenc Széchényi’s library in Sopron. Although Hajnóczy worked for Széchényi as a legal

that were published abroad. The annotations concern-

advisor and executive and later came to play the role

ing a work of history that was published in Hamburg in


secretary, he devoted a great deal of his efforts to the

1756 gives precise indications, including page numbers,

library. In 1784, he organized its holdings again, inte-

grating and recording the information concerning new acquisitions and also systematizing the archives. In 1786, Széchényi and Hajnóczy went separate ways. Széchényi had a crisis of conscience when he learned of the unconstitutional measures that had been taken by Habsburg Emperor Joseph II, so he withdrew from public life. Hajnóczy, in contrast, supported the emperor, and he was given a leading position on the county level. They remained friends, however, particularly after the death of Joseph II, when Hajnóczy was stripped of his position. The former librarian was a frequent guest at Széchényi’s library that was taking form in Cenk. In 1794, a few days before he was arrested, he spent ten days with Széchényi in Cenk. After having withdrawn from politics, Széchényi took a long study-tour abroad. In the course of his travels in Western Europe and England he went to several famous libraries (in cities like Prague, Dresden, Göttingen, and London), and the influence of what he saw undoubtedly played a role in the decisions he made later. Having returned from his travels, in 1788 he took on the ser- vices of Mihály Tibolth. 4 Tibolth worked as a tutor for one of Széchényi’s sons. Apart from this, his primary responsibility was the library. Széchényi purchased a great deal of books during his travels. In all likelihood, the systematic integration of these books into the hold- ings was Tibolth’s first task. However, it is quite possible that at the time even Széchényi himself did not foresee the tremendous developments that would take place in the library over the course of the following decades, or the meticulous work of compiling the catalogue. Having withdrawn voluntarily from public life, Széché- nyi began to focus instead on cultural life. The role he played as a patron of the arts in Hungarian literary and even scholarly life is well known. In addition to providing material and moral support for writers and scholars, he also launched a number of scholarly initi- atives himself. He wanted to start a movement in sup- port of translation into Hungarian of useful works that had been published abroad. With this goal in mind, he worked together with Ádám Pálóczi Horváth and József Péczeli in Balatonfüred, but he was unable to transform his vision into a reality, for it required not only cooper- ation among scholars, but also sacrifices on the part of the Hungarian aristocracy. He also took great pains in his attempt to create a Hungarian society of scholars. Litterarius Consessus, which was held in his home in Pest in the hopes of furthering this goal, was not continued. With the restoration of constitutional law following the death of Joseph II, Széchényi returned to life in the public sphere. At the national assembly of 1790/91, he was one of the people who sought not only to restore and protect the privileges of the nobility, but also to

adopt measures for serious reform. As we know, however, these efforts were in vain, and they only complicated things for Széchényi. His progressive views met with anger from the court and the clergy. No doubt he him- self must have wondered whether, since he had proven unable to reach results of any national significance in both the political and the cultural spheres, the only role that remained for him was the role of Maecenas. Relying on his own estates and wealth, he strove to ac- complish whatever he could, under the circumstances, of his goals in the service of the Hungarian nation. He

accepted a diplomatic assignment in Italy that was more

a matter of show than actual political significance, but

he then withdrew altogether from public life and lived and worked on his estates. In May of 1795, Hajnóczy was executed for allegedly having participated in a Jacobin plot. Széchényi’s withdrawal from public life is usually linked to this event. The Ferenc Széchényi who, years

later, was made Lord Lieutenant of Somogyi County and made a member of the Hungarian Supreme Court

of Justice (at the time known as the seven-person table), was not the same resolute figure of public life that he had once been. He was known across the country as

a nobleman who was loyal to the dynasty. Only later

did people begin to grasp that he had indeed remained faithful to the principles of his youth, perhaps first and foremost by founding the library that bears his name. In the last decade of the eighteenth century, Széché- nyi focused almost exclusively on the library and finding and providing financial support for scholarly and literary life in Hungary. He began to work together regularly with booksellers and antiquarian booksellers from Vienna, Leipzig, and Nuremburg. He commissioned Hungarian scientists, scholars, and writers to make purchases, and he spent years searching all of Hungary and Transylvania in search of works to add to his growing collection. He purchased entire private libraries. His goal had become quite clear: he sought to gather together in a single col- lection all Hungarian literature and literature touching on Hungary’s history and culture. This included any work that had been published in Hungary, regardless of the language in which it had been written, as well as every work written in Hungarian, regardless of where it had been published. It also included any work that had been published abroad but that in some way touched on Hungary. According to a letter that he wrote in 1799 to one of his trusted men, over the course of four years Széchényi managed to assemble the collection of his Hungarian library. 5 This suggests that he began the work of gathering together the materials of his library in 1795. While it is a bit difficult to believe this, it is quite certain that the work of assembling the collection became very intensive in these four years, and it had a


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


of Ferenc Széchényi Collectors and Collections 12 The catalogue of the collection in Nagycenk (Sopronii 1799),

The catalogue of the collection in Nagycenk (Sopronii 1799), assembled by Mihály Tibolth (1765–1833). Preface by Michael Denis (1729–1800), head of the court library in Vienna

very specific focus. Mihály Tibolth, who later made the catalogue, unquestionably played a major role in these efforts. His role has been largely forgotten by poster- ity, but his contemporaries regarded him as the man who “was the primary worker in the effort of gathering together [the collection of] the National Széchényi Li- brary.” His biographer makes note of the tireless zeal and unbelievable diligence with which he searched for and found new books to be added to the collection. Perhaps the author of his obituary did not exaggerate when he wrote that Tibolth “sacrificed restful nights” to the work of building the library. 6 In the case of Széchényi, the idea of actually founding a library in the service of the nation himself only came up much later. In a letter written to György Kovach- ich Márton in 1798, he was still writing about giving the duplicate copies in his Hungarian collection, or at least some of them, to a Hungarian library that, he suggests, should be established. Thus, at the time he was not yet thinking of using his collection as a

time he was not yet thinking of using his collection as a Ferenc Széchényi covered the

Ferenc Széchényi covered the costs of the publication (Sopronii 1814–1825) of the manuscript catalogue compiled in 1803–1813

library open to the public. Perhaps the concerns he had for the creation of a collection, the significance of such a collection from the perspective of national values, the importance of continued efforts to make additions to the collection, and his desire to promote widespread use of the collection by the public all prompted Széchényi to decide that what he had taken great pains to assem- ble would be turned over to the public, for this was the only way to ensure that the collection would both survive and grow. This act is quite justifiably cited as eloquent testimony to his devotion to his homeland and his willingness to make sacrifices on its behalf. One should also emphasize the wise insight on the part of the Enlightened statesmen, who was not bound by the manacles of the feudal mentality and who placed greater confidence in a social institution as a means of achieving his aims than he did in the power of the individual or an individual family. The idea had already been raised by prominent figures in Hungarian life (primarily in the writings of Miklós

Révai and Márton György Kovachich) of collecting the written records of the nation’s past. In 1790, Révai proposed a plan for the creation of a Scholarly Society that would include a library, and Kovachich had similar ideas. In a 1791 work entitled Institutum diplomatico- historicum, Kovachich wrote the following: “The goal of this institution would be, first and foremost, to create a collection of manuscripts and historical written records that touch on Hungary, whether they were published here or abroad, either as a library or as a museum.” Ko- vachich placed emphasis on historical scholarship and, in particular, jurisprudence and constitutional law, and he considered the collection and copying of manuscripts (charters) of especial importance. Kovachich offered to donate his own library and, in particular, his collec- tion of manuscripts as the foundation of such a library. When he discovered that his vision did not enjoy the support of Vienna, he immediately turned to Széchényi, whom he had known personally since 1791. The two of them had even reached an agreement according to which Széchényi would purchase his entire collection (manuscripts, charters, existing copies of these docu- ments, and printer matter), and Széchényi also agreed to acquire any manuscript obtained by Kovachich in the future. Thus, it is quite clear that Kovachich exert- ed a significant influence on Széchényi and played an important—though not decisive—role in the growth of his collection. Kovachich consistently put emphasis on history and legal scholarship, while Széchényi’s inter- ests were much broader and included belle lettres, the human and natural sciences, and even shorter and often topical publications on questions pertaining to theology, politics, or economics. He was interested, essentially, in anything that had ever been printed in Hungary or written by Hungarian authors and printed abroad, as well as works that had been printed abroad in other languages but touched on Hungary’s fate or culture. And this was also true of manuscripts. These principles harmonize, essentially, with the concepts on the basis of which the National Library makes acquisitions today. Széchényi’s ability, so long ago, to transform these principles into reality offers a remarkable example to be followed. Tibolth undertook another ambitious plan to order and arrange the collection in the summer of 1796. Only after he had completed this, probably in 1797, did he be- gin work on the catalogue. He had the assistance in this undertaking of Ignác Petravich, the tutor to Széchényi’s son Pál, who later (after the collection had been moved to Pest) became the library’s clerk. He also had the as- sistance of József Kiblin, the court chaplain, who had once been a close friend and confidant of Hajnóczy. The manuscript of the catalogue was ready to be submitted to the printing house in the summer of 1798, and in 1799

the first two volumes were published. Supplementary volumes were published in 1803 and 1807, and index volumes were also printed. Széchényi entrusted Michael Denis, the director of the Vienna court library, with the task of writing the preface. Széchényi had diligently attended Denis’ lectures on li- brary sciences as a student at the Terezianum in Vienna. The preface begins with recognition of or, rather, praise for Széchényi’s efforts and then offers a description and analysis of the collection. In particular, Denis notes that the collection included an array of shorter publications, which was in his assessment an important consideration, since these kinds of shorter publications tended to disap- pear or became rarities more quickly than larger tomes. Denis placed emphasis on the idea—which has since become a basic principle for the National Library—that, in the interests of creating a truly complete collection, nothing should be considered superfluous or valueless. Finally, he notes that Széchényi’s library represented the most complete collection of literature, scholarly and otherwise, on Hungary. He praised Széchényi for having had the catalogue printed in order to make the collection the common property of scholars and writers. In 1799, Széchényi made a resolute statement: he had had the catalogue printed with the intention of informing the scientific world of his collection. Thus, he intended to draw widespread attention to his library, and he thought it important that the collection be actively used. The collection in Cenk was officially turned over and transported to Pest in the spring of 1803. Tibolth had already compiled the first supplementary volume of the catalogue, which was printed in the same year in Pozsony (today Bratislava in Slovakia). After having turned over his library, Széchényi con- tinued to collect books with unflagging zeal. He focused first and foremost on works which had been published abroad but which touched on Hungary. He expected the collection of works printed in Hungary to grow through the acquisition of copies offered by printing presses in Hungary and donations made by private individuals. Ti- bolth immediately added the works that had been pur- chased abroad to the catalogue and then had them bound. When a big batch of books had piled up, he sent them to Jakab Ferdinánd Miller, who worked in the library in Pest. Miller sent the books and other materials that he had received and the copies of works that had been sent by printing presses to Tibolth so that Tibolth could add them to the catalogue. This complex solution wounded the Pest librarian’s pride a bit, as did the fact that most of the acquisitions and additions that were being made to the library were being made by Széchényi. The institution, which had become independent, did not have sufficient influence to have pressured printing


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi Ex libris in the original copies from the collection

Ex libris in the original copies from the collection in Nagycenk

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


presses to send obligatory copies, and so the library only rarely received such books. A decree issued by the Coun- cil of Governer General on 28 November 1804 failed to do much to address the situation. In 1806, Tibolth wrote a note to Miller in which he made the observation that the works that had been donated by private individuals fit in a single chest and the works that had been sent by the Council of Governer General (the obligatory copies) fit in a single handkerchief. Had Széchényi not continued to purchase books there would have been nothing to add to the supplementary volumes of the catalogue. Some authors in Hungary continued to send works intended for the national library to Széchényi. In his letters of thanks, Széchényi never neglected to note that the works he had been given would be entered into the catalogue to ensure that they would remain part of “eternal memory.” 7 The second supplement, which was also the work of Tibolth, was published in 1807. Széchényi continued to purchase books and send con- signments of the volumes he had acquired to the library in Pest, though because of various problems, including sickness, financial woes, and disagreements with Miller, both the purchases and the consignments dropped no- ticeably, particularly after 1811. Various complications encumbered the publication of the third supplementary volume to the catalogue. Miller did not send the new acquisitions, and on other occasions he wrote letters to Széchényi in which he contended that he had taken over the efforts of adding to the collection in order to spare Széchényi the effort. But Széchényi resolutely insisted on his right to continue to build his collection as long as he lived, and also to edit the catalogues himself. On

8 September 1812, he made this very clear in a letter writ- ten to the palatine: “with great pleasure I would have de- livered to the national institute the printed material and manuscripts that I have acquired, in no small quantities, since the publication of the most recent supplementary volume. However, since Miller never took the effort to communicate to me the titles which individual authors or the Council of Governor General had sent so that, in accordance with the second point of the royal charter, the other supplementary volumes could be published,

I considered it superfluous to spend money on duplicate

copies and have them sent to Pest, particularly consider- ing the prevailing relations today. Your honor will also see that through no fault of my own I was hampered in my efforts to acquire books and continue publication of the catalogue. Lest someone else’s negligence continue to hinder me in my efforts to complete the obligation

I have taken on, please allow Miller to compile a list of the

titles of the works that have arrived since the publication of the second supplementary volume, categorize them,

and then send them to me in Vienna, where I will be very glad to receive them and will add to them the works

I have purchased, pass them on to the censor, look them

over, and have them printed. He should do this in part be- cause, according to my experiences, this can be done less expensively here than in Pest; this procedure should be followed in the compilation of the manuscript catalogue as well, if your Honor deigns to see to the publication of the third supplementary volume.” 8 However, the third supplementary volume to the cat- alogue was never completed. Today, we have to rely on the seals that were stamped into the books in order to de- termine which books were acquired by Széchényi himself and which were acquired independently by the library, either as gifts or as obligatory copies given by printing presses. The two stamps that were used at the time (Ex Bibl. Com. Franc. Széchényi” and “Ex Museo Hungarico”) indicate this clearly. Széchényi’s last will and testament offers ample evidence of how important the question of the catalogue was to him: in the first version, which was drawn up in 1814, he sets aside the income from the sale of the Sopron library to cover the costs of publishing the catalogue. In the final version drawn up in 1820, he enjoins his sons to continue the work of compiling and printing the catalogue. Until recently, there was no systematic compilation of the data concerning the initial holdings of the Széchényi Library. All of the works of scholarship on the library re-

lied on estimates: in the spring of 1803, when the library in Cenk was moved to Pest, according to Miller’s esti- mate the collection consisted of 4,115 individual items. Tibolth wanted the transfer of the holdings to be done in accordance with an item-by-item inventory, but Miller

regarded this as overly time-consuming. With this as his explanation or pretext, he provided only a summary of the acquisition. Thus, both in the secondary literature and as a matter of so-called common knowledge the conclusion has been reached and repeated that Széchényi laid the foundations of the national library by providing a collec- tion of some 4,000 books. Only recently have we taken the necessary pains to use the catalogues, which offer far more reliable information concerning the holdings, and examined each entry in order to compile a more precise account of Széchényi’s initial donation to the library. If one considers only the first two catalogues, which were published in 1799, the number of items was 7,096. The number of printed items that were less than 30 pages-long and thus could not be regarded as books proper was 1,894 and the number of printings that consisted of only a single leaf was 70. Thus, Miller received at least 5,132 works that were more than 30 pages in length. In all likelihood, even this number is not entirely accurate. The first sup- plementary volume to the catalogue had already been completed or rather was at the printer’s when the transfer was made. There is no reason to suppose that Széchényi would not also have turned over the books that are listed in this supplement. This first supplementary volume to the catalogue lists 3,234 works, the fruit of four or five years of work by Széchényi as a collector. (The number of works

of work by Széchényi as a collector. (The number of works longer than 30 pages was

longer than 30 pages was 1,867, the number of works less than 30 pages was 1,208, and the number of single-leaf works was 159.) Thus, the number of printed works that were given to the library in the spring of 1803 must have been 10,330. 6,999 of these items were books proper, 3,102 were works that numbered less than 30 pages, and 229 were single-leaf works. Thus, the holdings of the National Széchényi Library must have consisted of some 7,000 books and 3,330 smaller publications, and of course manuscripts, maps, and prints. The second supplementary volume to the catalogue contained 3,394 publications (2,040 of which were more than 30 pages in length, 1,240 of which were less, and 114 of which were single-leaf works). Thus, according to the catalogues published by Széchényi, the holdings consisted of a total of 13,724 items, 9,039 of which were books, 4,342 of which were less than 30 pages in length, and 343 of which were single-leaf publications. Széchényi’s endowments to the library went beyond even this, however. The second supplementary volume was published in 1807, but Széchényi continued to purchase books and have them sent to Pest for several more years. Even a cautious estimate puts the number of items that he acquired for the library at 15,000, at least. The catalogue is divided into two parts. The holdings are organized differently in each. In the first, they are arranged in alphabetical order, while in the second they

are arranged in alphabetical order, while in the second they The deed of foundation of the

The deed of foundation of the national library, approved by and bearing the seal of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor (26 November 1802)


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


are arranged according to their subject matter. The categorization of the works according to subject matter mirrors the customary organizational principles of the eighteenth century, i.e. the division of the sciences used in catalogues of French and German libraries and book- sellers. It was based on the system used by M. Denis. 9 The main divisions correspond to the divisions used in his system: 1. Theology, 2. Jurisprudence, 3. Philosophy, 4. The medical sciences, 5. Mathematics, 6. History, and 7. Philology. Széchényi only made changes to the order in which they were arranged. Theology remained the first category, but he moved history from sixth place to second, and he also put the medical sciences before philosophy. His decision to put the study of history in such a prominent place clearly shows his strong interest in history, as indeed does the nature of the collection. Almost half of the holdings fell into this category, in- cluding geography, travel records, and biographical writings, which included a huge quantity of speeches (welcoming speeches, funeral speeches, speeches that had been delivered when someone had taken office, etc.), which represented a distinctive genre of its own in the Hungarian literature of the time. As was customary at the time, philosophy included physics, chemistry, and “historia naturalis,” which meant natural history and the science of agriculture. Mathematics included the study of engineering and mechanics. Philology in- cluded the study of languages and literatures, literary history, belle lettres, pedagogy, and other, similar areas (book publishing, typography, censorship, scholarly institutions, etc.). The main categories were broken up into 32 sub-categories, which were organized al- phabetically. One of the great virtues of the catalogue was the way in which it promoted the analytical search for and study

of collected works. Similarly important was the inclusion

and analysis of scholarly journal articles. Thus, beside the name of a given author, one sometimes finds not only

a list of works that were published separately, but also

significant essays and treatises. From the perspective of their contents, the catalogues represented virtually everything that scholarly and literary writings in Hungarian had produced by the beginning of the nineteenth century, or at least what Széchényi had been able to acquire for the library. At the time, his collection was undoubtedly the most complete from this perspective, since no one else regarded the collection of books in Hungarian as a priority. The famous private collectors in Hungary of the era (Sámuel Teleki, Ignác Batthyány, Gedeon Ráday, etc.) sought to acquire books in Hungarian, but they were equally impassioned in their search for literature published outside of Hungary that was encyclopedic in nature. People who shaped critical

opinion at the time had good reason to celebrate the publication of Széchényi’s catalogues because essentially they constituted a continuation of the efforts of Czwit- tinger, Péter Bod and Elek Horányi to create a bibli- ographical summary of the national literature. They offered a firsthand account of a national collection that existed and that was intended to be exhaustive, and in doing so, they provided impetus for further research and additional bibliographical summaries. One of the most important parts of Széchényi’s library is the collection of books in Hungarian. The number of Hungarian works listed in the catalogue is 3,051. If one closely examines the entries for literature in Hungarian in the thematically arranged part of the catalogue, one cannot help but notice how comparatively paltry the scholarship in Hungarian was, both works written in Hun- garian and works translated into Hungarian.

In addition to works that had been written in Hun- garian, the task of amassing a collection also included anything that had been published in Hungary. In other words, it included works that had been printed in Hun- gary in languages other than Hungarian. In the case of these publications, it is more difficult to determine the number of works that were obtained. In 1885, Károly Szabó, a historian and member of the Academy Sci- ences, wrote in the preface to the second volume of his three-volume Régi magyar könyvtár (“Old Hungarian Library”), the first modern bibliography in Hungarian, that before 1711 roughly 2,000 works had been printed in Hungarian (most of which had been printed in Hun- gary) and some 2,453 works had been printed in Hungary in other languages. According to Csaba Csapodi, in the period between 1711 and 1800, 9,077 works were printed in Hungary.10 Thus, if one’s aspiration were to create

in Hungary.10 Thus, if one’s aspiration were to create a library with a complete collection of

a library with a complete collection of works printed in

Hungary or in Hungarian, according to scholarship at the end of the nineteenth century the collection would have to contain some 13,500 items. Széchényi’s collection, however, only contained some 7,584 works that had been printed in Hungary. (A hand- ful of them had been printed after 1800.) This demon- strates quite clearly that the task of gathering together in single collection the scattered materials which had been printed in Hungary was far from simple, and his dedica- tion notwithstanding, even Széchényi had only been par- tially successful. In particular, the older books which had been printed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (few copies of which had survived) had proven difficult to find, in particular works which had been published in the eastern parts of the country, Transdanubia and Transylvania. The collection also contained relatively few works written in the languages of the many national minorities of Hungary. According to the catalogues, the collection contained a total of 105 works written in Slo-

vak, Serbian, Romanian, or another one of the languages of the national minorities. Later, this virtual absence of works written in the languages of the national minorities would exert a strong motivating influence on people who made donations to the library, or at least this is suggested by the donation made by royal councilor János Latinovics in 1804. Latinovics gave some books written in Croatian to the national library and also announced his intention to gather together, at his own expense, all of the works that had been printed in Croatian in order to ensure that the Croatian nation would also have a complete collection of works in its national language. Of the 13,724 Hungarian-language books identified by the bibliographers at the end of the nineteenth century, Széchényi’s collection contained only 3,051. It contained more works in German (3,535) and twice the number of works in Latin (6,425). There were very few works in

other languages: 332 in French, 254 in Italian, and 104 in the Slavic languages. Thus, the library was by no means

a Hungarian library in the narrow sense (i.e. it was not a library that contained exclusively works in Hungarian), and indeed in the era of history before the age of the language reform this was seen as perfectly normal and common practice among collectors. The data concerning the most complete part of the collection, which consisted of works that had been printed outside of Hungary but touched in some way on Hungary, are a bit surprising. Of the 13,724 works

The work by historian Mátyás Bél (1684–1749, Posonii– Pestini 1792), in an edition edited by his student, János Tomka-Szászky, had been part of the collection in Horpács.


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi Collectors and Collections Sebestyén Tinódi’s collection of
Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections
Collection of Ferenc Széchényi Collectors and Collections Sebestyén Tinódi’s collection of historical songs, which

Sebestyén Tinódi’s collection of historical songs, which was supplemented with musical scores and published in Kolozsvár (today Cluj in Romania) in 1554, provides an account of battles with the Ottoman Turks in Hungary



the collection, 5,235 had been published outside

Hungary. If one compares Széchényi’s collection with


Hungary, i.e. 38.2 percent of the entire collection.

that of Sándor Apponyi, who later emerged as one of

(The collection included 905 works that did not in-

the foremost collectors of works in this genre, one has

clude information concerning the place of publication.

a good impression of its scope.


significant proportion of these items may well have

One could summarize the statistical information con-

been published outside of Hungary.) Only some of these works had been composed outside of Hungary, and only a small proportion were works that had been printed on commission by someone in Hungary or works by Hungarian authors that had been printed abroad. Most

tained in the catalogues as follows: According to date of publication: 76.81 percent consisted of works that had been published in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; 15.32 percent consisted of works that had been published in the seventeenth century; 4.22 per-


them were foreign works that touched in some way

cent consisted of works that had been published in the

on Hungary. The fact that almost 40 percent of the items in Széchényi’s library had been printed abroad indicates the remarkable breadth and wealth of the collection with regards to publications abroad about

fifteenth or sixteenth centuries; 3.65 percent consisted of works for which no date of publication was given. According to language: 46.8 percent consisted of works that had been written in Latin; 25.8 percent consisted

of works that had been written in German; 22.2 percent consisted of works that had been written in Hungarian;

2.4 percent consisted of works that had been written in

French; 1.8 percent consisted of works that had been written in Italian; 1 percent consisted of works that had

been written in some other language. According to place

of publication: 55.2 percent consisted of works that had been published in Hungary; 30.5 percent consisted of works that had been published in Austria or Germany;

7.7 percent consisted of works that had been published

in other countries; 6.6 percent consisted of works for which no place of publication was given. According to length: 65.9 percent consisted of works that were more than 30 pages long; 31.6 percent consisted of works that were less than 30 pages long; 2.5 percent consisted of works that were a single leaf. Széchényi’s library was first and foremost a collection of works by Hungarian authors, at least until 1805. According to the Hungarian biographical encyclopedia, there were 546 Hungarian authors who had written books before 1805. According to Széchényi’s catalogue, the library contained works by 417 of these 546 authors. Thus, the library contained writings by 76 percent of the authors who had been active in Hungary up to that time. The other 24 percent (129) does not really include any authors who were well-known or promi- nent in Hungarian scholarly or literary life. The most significant gap in the collection of works in Hungarian is the theological literature from the time of the Refor- mation, i.e. one of the earliest periods of book culture. These sixteenth-century works, however, were already rarities at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One had to have a bit of luck even to come across such a work, let alone acquire it. Some of the 129 authors wrote or had published only a single work, and it is quite possible that no copies survived at all. One does not find a single work by prominent protestant au- thors Mihály Bogáti Fazekas, György Blandrata, Ferenc Dávid, Mátyás Dévai Bíró, Bálint Kocsi Csergő, Mátyás Nógrády, Máté János Samarjai, Imre Szilvásújfalvi An- derko, Mihály Sztárai, or Mihály Tofaeus. Similarly, one does not find a single work by Catholic authors Mátyás Sámbár or Mátyás Nyéki Vörös. One also does not find the famous travel account by Márton Szepsi Csombor, which was published in Kassa (today Košice in Slovakia) in 1620, or László Amadé’s volume of poetry, which was published in Vienna in 1755. Similarly, one finds none of the writings of many prominent scholars, such as professors of law Mihály Bencsik and László Repszeli, inventor József Károly Hell (brother of Miksa Hell), Jesuit instructors and natural scientists Mihály Klaus, Mihály Lipsicz and Antal Reviczky, college teacher and physicist Mihály Paksi, Piarist mathematician János

The Ratio Educationis, issued in Vienna in 1777 at the decree of Maria Theresa, contained
The Ratio Educationis, issued in Vienna in 1777
at the decree of Maria Theresa, contained provisions
concerning public education in Hungary.
Author: József Ürményi (1741–1825)

György Schmidt, or physicians János Dániel Perliczky and Mátyás Váradi. One also finds nothing by physicians Ferenc Joó or Ferenc Kereszthury, two of the Hungarian authors who left the country. (The works of the former were published in Germany, and the works of the latter were published in Russia.) Of course, the group of Hungarian authors whose works were found in Széchényi’s collection extends far beyond the 417 authors who were included in the bibli- ographies compiled in the late nineteenth century, but the other authors in this group were of little significance. They do not figure in the aforementioned biographical encyclopedia and thus should not be included among the writers whose works exerted an influence on intellectual life in Hungary. The collection also contained very few works that had been translated into Hungarian. With the exception of a few early attempts, the translation of scholarship into Hungarian really only began to gather momentum in the eighteenth century. The group of scholarly works from abroad consists of only a few writings on theology, phi-


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


of Ferenc Széchényi Collectors and Collections 20 The color print in the 1789 edition of Hadi

The color print in the 1789 edition of Hadi és Más Nevezetes Történetek (“War-time and Other Notable Histories”), which was published in Vienna and is found in the collection of contemporary newspapers, depicts the coronation in Pozsony (today Bratislava in Slovakia) of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II.

losophy, history, the medical sciences, natural history, agriculture, and architecture. The collection of works of belle lettres that had been translated into Hungarian offered a wider range of selection. It included fragments of works by Greek and Roman authors that had been translated into Hungarian (authors like Aesop, Anacreon, Cato, Ci- cero, Cornelius Nepos, Horace, Ovid, Plautus, Sene- ca, Terence, and Virgil), works by the giants of Ger- man literature (Goethe, Kleist, Lessing, Schiller, and Wieland), the highly popular August von Kotzebue and Gessner, two early Shakespeare translations (Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet), Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, and Milton’s Paradise Lost (translated into Hungarian from French). There were even more works translated from French, writings by d’Arnaud, Boileau, Chateaubriand, Corneille, Fenélon, Le Sage, Marmontel, Molière, and Voltaire. This was all, or almost all, that was available at the time to someone who only read in Hungarian. If perhaps it doesn’t seem like much, one should keep in mind that at the time an educated person was able to read and write in several languages. Thus, there was not as much demand for translations into local languages. Translations were not necessarily intended primarily as tools with which to reach wider audiences. Rather, they were seen as a means of cultivating the target language. If one wishes to have a sense of the range and im- portance of Széchényi’s collection of works published

outside of Hungary but touching on Hungarian history or culture, it is worth comparing it with the collection of the aforementioned Sándor Apponyi. 11 Apponyi’s collec- tion was narrower in its focus. Of the works that had been printed abroad, he collected only the ones that had been written by Hungarian authors and had not been published in Hungarian and the works that had not been written by Hungarian authors but that touched in some way on Hungary or Hungarians. In contrast, Széchényi collect- ed works that had been published abroad in Hungarian. The catalogue of Apponyi’s collection contains 2,509 entries. 19 percent of these works had been printed in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. The collection boasted only 227 items that had been printed in the eighteenth century (9 percent of the holdings). Széchényi’s collection of works that had been printed abroad numbered 5,235 items, i.e. more than twice the number of comparable works in Apponyi’s collection, and of course of the 905 works in Széchényi’s collection for which the place of publication was unknown, in all likelihood many had been printed abroad. There is a significant difference between the two col- lections from the perspective of chronology: only 19.5 percent of Széchényi’s library consisted of works that had been published in the fifteenth, sixteenth, or seven- teenth centuries, 2,682 items in total. In other words, his collection from that period only rivalled Apponyi’s if one took into consideration works that were printed in Hun- gary as well, though Apponyi’s collection only contained

works that had been printed abroad. And Széchényi’s library clearly had fewer volumes from the period. The different circumstances of the two collections obviously explain some of these differences. Apponyi began to collect books for his collection in the 1860s, 80 years after Széchényi. He had far more occasion and time to browse through the works available in book markets outside of Hungary. It is therefore not surprising that his collection contains more old works published abroad that touched on Hungary, as well as less familiar items of printed material that had been published in small numbers and therefore constituted rarities. For instance, Apponyi had roughly twice as many short publications on the battles in Hungary against the Ottoman Turks, writings which belonged to the Neue Zeitung genre of the sixteenth century, than Széchényi. The scale begins to tip a little in the case of works by more familiar au- thors, and indeed sometimes Széchényi comes out on top. For instance, Apponyi’s collection had four editions of Bonfini’s Rerum ungaricarum, each of which had been printed in the sixteenth century (including a first edi- tion-copy, which had been published in Basel in 1543, and the complete 1568 edition, edited by Johannes Sam- bucus), while Széchényi’s collection boasted seven, three of which had been published in the sixteenth century (1543, 1568, and a 1581 German edition), two of which had been published in the seventeenth century, and two of which had been published in the eighteenth century. Apponyi had four editions of the very popular (it went into several editions) Histoire des troubles de Hongrie (Paris, 1685–1688), a work on the battles that took place around Buda and led ultimately to the liberation of the city from the Ottomans, while Széchényi only had two. Széchényi had four editions of Neue Beschreibung des Königreichs Ungarn, a work of history by Martin Zeiller that familiarized its reader with Hungary and also went into several editions, while Apponyi only had three. Both collections contained works by Benedictine monk C. Freschot which touched on Hungary. Of the German humanists, Széchényi’s collection contained more works by J. Cuspinianus than Apponyi’s, while only Apponyi’s collection contained a copy of Conrad Celtes’ book of odes. Széchényi’s collection did not fall far behind Apponyi’s from the perspective of works by Hungari- an authors in old editions published abroad. Apponyi’s collection included four of the seven sixteenth-century works by István Szegedi Kis, which had been published in Switzerland, while Széchényi’s collection had three. Apponyi had ten editions of J. Honter’s Rudimenta Cos- mographiae (Krakow, 1530), while Széchényi had three. Széchényi’s collection contained far more works by Már- ton Schmeitzel, but this may well have been due to the fact that Apponyi only rarely collected works that had

been published in the eighteenth century. Both collec- tions contained a copy of the 1663 Amsterdam edition of historian János Nadányi’s Florus Hungaricusa, but only Apponyi had a copy of the 1664 English-language London edition, which was regarded as a precious rarity. A careful comparison of the two collections suggests that roughly one-third of the items in Apponyi’s collec- tion were also found in that of Széchényi. As is clear, Széchényi’s collection had an impressive array of works that had been published abroad but that touched in some way on Hungary. It contained writings on the battles in Hungary with the Turks, theological questions, the literature of the Rákóczi War of indepen- dence, travel descriptions by people who had ventured into Hungary, and works of scholarship that examined the history of the country, its geography, etc. In short, one would be hard pressed to find a genuinely signifi- cant work that did not make its way into Széchényi’s collection. Roughly half of the collection consists of biographi- cal works and works on history and geography, and this section is particularly important in part because of the many significant works that were published on Hungary abroad. One can gain a good sense of the ways in which people abroad responded to events in Hungary and the changing image of Hungary abroad on the basis of the works that are found in Széchényi’s library. This is per- haps the chief merit of the collection, second only to its value as a repository of works printed in Hungary. Széchényi also included short publications in his li- brary. István Sándor, one of Széchényi’s contemporaries, had a good grasp of the significance of these documents. He offered the following explanation as to why it was important to include them in the catalogues: “The rea- son for which I have included some smaller works among the thicker and more slender books is simply that I once resolved that if anything were to come into my hands that has only been published in Hungarian, I would enter it into the records, I could not leave such things out. For smaller things are sometimes notable. One can hardly believe how, after time has passed, the most dif- ficult questions and doubts are resolved and clarified on the basis of smaller things that have been kept and put to the side. If only people would follow the admirable custom of having these kinds of fleeting and easily lost scraps bound as books!” 12 Széchényi’s library does indeed contain a remarkable array of these kinds of documents, documents which were often discarded by others but which are of immeasurable importance to scholars today. (Of course, one sometimes finds longer works among them which ended up in this category because of the topicality of their contents and the fact that they had rapidly become obscure.) One


The National Book Collection of Ferenc Széchényi

Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


finds a vast array of instructions, regulations, guidelines, stipulations, and proscriptions pertaining to the Church, the military, or institutions of secular life. The collection contains, for instance, postal and shipping schedules, regulations concerning fire-fighting, instructions for civil servants dealing with finance, and edicts issued by bishops. One also finds annual accounts of the affairs of individual institutions and official decrees, such as the voluminous Ratio Educationis, the Edict of Tolerance, and simpler decrees issued in documents that resembled placards. The collection also contains a larger number of speeches held, for instance, in the course of celebrations of name-days and weddings, or on the occasion of some- one taking office, as well as poems and funeral sermons. Finally, one finds an array of smaller publications with accounts of military and political affairs, pamphlets on questions of theology and politics, catalogues, price- lists, and economic plans. The incorporation of these materials into the holdings of a library saved them from certain ruin. István Sándor complained about this in 1803: “Because no one would believe how quickly old books become rarities and the scraps of writings from the time of Joseph II vanish right before our very eyes, though there are many notable items among them.” One could mention, in this context, the almanacs and school books which were included in Széchényi’s library as a consequence of his aspiration to have an exhaustive collection. In 1803, library custodian Jakab Miller wrote an article printed in Zeitschrift von und für Ungern, in which he indicated the specific years for which the library had an official almanac. He asked his readers to donate or sell (for a small sum) missing almanacs to the national library. Thus, we know, on the basis of this article, that the series of almanacs, calendars, and directories was by no means exhaustive. In the catalogue, journals and newspapers are included among books, as was the custom at the time. Alongside the periodicals that were published in Hungary or Vienna, some of the scholarly journals that were published abroad merit mention (in most cases, the catalogue includes the note “multa continent Hungarica” in the entries for these works). One such work was Abhandlungen einer Privatge- sellschaft in Bőhmen zur Aufnahme der Matematik, der vater- ländischen Geschichte und der Naturgeschichte (1775–1784), which was edited by I. Born and published in Prague, as well as Geographisches Magazin (1783–1797), also edited by I. Born and published in Prague. I do not intend to offer a detailed analysis of the col- lection on the basis of the way in which it was divided into different subjects. However, one can reach some

conclusions concerning the proportions of the seven sub- jects within the collection based on the extent of each. 54.4 percent of the works dealt with history, geography or travel descriptions or were biographical in nature. 13.4 percent concerned theology. 10.4 percent were works on philology, language, and literature, or were works of belle lettres. 8.6 concerned jurisprudence, politics, and economics. 6.2 percent dealt with philosophy or the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, minerology, and agriculture). 5.4 concerned the medical sciences. 1.6 percent dealt with mathematics, astronomy, and engineering and mechanics. Thus, the proportions are remarkably uneven, which is simply a reflection of the practice of collection that was adopted. This is why, when the first attempts were made to organize the books on the shelves of the first building that was home to the library in Pest, the Pauline monastery, it was not possible to use the categories that were customarily used. Instead, the librarians were compelled to take into consideration the nature of the collection itself and use appropriate organizational principles, principles which were strikingly new and unfamiliar at the time. As is evident on the basis of this discussion, the cat- alogue of Ferenc Széchényi’s library was not simply an inventory of works held in a private library. Rather, it constitutes a kind of handbook of literature (scholarly or otherwise) in Hungarian at the time and scholarship on Hungary (its history, geography, law, language, and literature). The relative exhaustiveness and depth of the collection gave it this quality. The publication of the catalogue at the time, the dawn of the national awakening in Hungary, strengthened a sense of national self-aware- ness. It was the embodiment of a powerful political and ideological idea in the fight to cultivate the Hungarian language and to nurture education and culture in Hun- gary. The catalogue, which was sent to places all over the country, also served an additional, very practical function. Authors who did not find their writings included in its pages hastily had copies of their works sent to the library. To have a work in the “library of the nation” became a mark of prestige and honor. The renowned polyhistor Ézsaiás Budai felt that the catalogue 13 “not only removes the Hungarian name from undeserved obscurity, but also elevates it to a brilliance and glory that will be met with wonder and respect by the other nations.” 14

met with wonder and respect by the other nations.” 1 4 Founder of the library, Count

Founder of the library, Count Ferenc Széchényi (1754–1820). The painting by Johann Ender (1793–1854), which was painted in 1823, is in the Széchényi Room of the Hungarian National Museum, which until 1984 was home to the manuscript collection of the national library.


1 Catalogus Bibliothecae Hungaricae Franciscicom.

Széchényi, Pars. I–II., Sopronii, 1799. 2 db; Index alter libros bibliothecae Hungaricae Francisci com.

, 1800; Catalogus bibliothecae Hungaricae nation- alis Széchényianae. Supplementum I., Posonii, 1803; Index alter libros Bibliothecae Hungaricae Széchényiano-regnicolaris supplemento I. compre- hensos, Posonii, 1803; Catalogus Bibliothecae Hungaricae Széchényianoregnicolaris. Supple- mentum II., Sopronii, 1807; Index alter libros

Széchényi duobus tomis comprehensos


Bibliothecae Hungaricae Széchényiano-regnicolaris

, Pestini, 1807.

supplemento II., Comprehensos

2 See FRAKNÓI, Vilmos, Gróf Széchényi Ferenc [Count Ferenc Széchényi], Budapest, 1902; BÁRTFAI SZABÓ László, A sárvár-felsővidéki gróf Széchényi család története, 1–2. [The History of the Family of Count Széchényi of Sárvár- Felsővidék], Budapest, 1913; KOLLÁNYI, Ferenc, A magyar Nemzeti Múzeum Széchényi Országos Könyvtára. 1802–1902 [The National Széchényi Library of the Hungarian National Museum, 1802–1902], 1., Budapest, 1905.

3 Catalogus Bibliothecae Illustrissimi Domini Comítis Francisci Szétsénii utr. S. C. et R. Apost. Maiestatum Camerarii eo quo libri in armariis

collocati sunt ordine, compositus anno 1780me mense ianuario. See National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Lat. 3816.

4 On Mihály Tibolth (1765–1833) see Zeitschrift von und für Ungern, 1803, Bd. 3., 121–125.; 1804, Bd. 6., 204.

5 See KOLLÁNYI, ibid, 14.

6 Honmûvész [Patriot Artist], 1833, 5.

7 See SEBESTYÉN, Gyula, Gróf Széchényi Ferenc levelezése könyvtári ügyekben [The Correspondance of Count Ferenc Széchényi on Matters Pertaining to the Library], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1891, 187.

8 See KOLLÁNYI, ibid., 297–298.

9 See M. DENIS, Einleitung in die Bücherkunde, Wien, 1777.

10 See CSAPODI, Csaba, Könyvtermelésünk a XVIII. Században [Book Production in Hungary in the Eighteenth Century], Magyar Könyvsze- mle, 1942, 4.

11 Hungarica. Magyar vonatkozású külföldi nyomtatványok [Hungarica. Publications Abroad on Hungary], compiled and recorded by Count Sándor Apponyi, Vol. 1–2. Budapest,


12 SÁNDOR, István, Magyar Könyvesház [Hun- garian Book House], Győr, 1803. Introduction. By “scraps,” Sándor meant shorter publications and brochures. “If I remember correctly, János Molnár referred to brochures and scraps. To be a scraps writer was to be a brochure writer.” Magy- ar Hírmondó, 1799. Dec. 10., No. 47., 766–767.

13 National Archives of Hungary, Archives of the Széchényi family, P 623,95 fasc. Vol. I. 13., I. csomag, 29.

14 This essay is a shorter version of an essay published in Hungarian in Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Évkönyve 1970–1971 [Almanac of the National Széchényi Library, 1970–1971], Budapest, 1973, 175–198.



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Collectors and Collections
COlleCTIONS OF MIklÓS JaNkOVICh Collectors and Collections Miklós Jankovich (1772–1846). Painting by József Pesky

Miklós Jankovich (1772–1846). Painting by József Pesky (1823; Hungarian National Museum)


Jenő Berlász


The purchase of the art treasures and library collections of Miklós Jankovich in 1832 was an epochal moment for the National Museum and, as part of the Museum, the Széchényi National Library. This addition to the library was regarded by contemporaries and, for a long time, by later generations as a kind of second moment of found- ing, and not without reason.Regarding his role in the society of the time, Miklós Jankovich was something of an unusual figure among the justices of the county courts and the circles of the nobility of the Napoleonic Era and the Reform Era. His distinctive personality found clear manifestation in his strong interest in and fascination with culture. He was a real literary gentleman: he collected books and manuscripts, he was a bibliographer and a bib- liophile, he collected works of the fine and applied arts, he studied history and archeology, he organized literary and scholarly events and forums, he provided support for the theater, and he busied himself with any number of other pastimes related to the cultural life of his day. This attitude would have been far more becoming of an aristocrat than a member of the lesser nobility, which is not to say that the lesser nobility in Hungary was lacking in education, cultivation, or interest in cultural affairs. Ever since the Reformation and the Counter-Reforma- tion, this leading strata of public life in Hungary had been becoming increasingly well-educated and increasingly involved in cultural affairs. It had acquired a distinctive, late Humanist kind of education and refinement. Be- ginning with the Enlightenment, many of the strongest supporters of cultural reform in the name of preserving and nurturing the mother tongue had come from its ranks, with György Bessenyei at the fore. The correspondence of belle-lettrist and language reformer Ferenc Kazinczy, who exchanged letters with people living all over the country, indicates quite clearly how common it was, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, for members of the lesser nobility to aspire to don the laurels of avid reader and writer. Among the well-to-do lesser nobil- ity, many people aspired to follow the example set by Gergely Berzeviczy, one of the first prominent political economists in Hungary and a man who wrote passionately in support of modernization. There was, however, one field of intellectual endeavor in which the lesser nobility

in Hungary showed little interest, namely scholarship. Scholarly inquiry into the complexities of natural and social phenomena seemed to hold little allure for the justices of the county courts. An estate-holding member of the nobility who showed a dedicated interest in one of the sciences was a rarity, and when, from time to time, a member of the lesser nobility would distinguish himself with his pursuit of scholarship, this was rarely more than a matter of dilettantism. The lesser nobility even failed to show much interest in the practice of collecting relics, works, and other items relevant to Hungarian history and archeology, in spite of the fact that both history and archeology were intellectual endeavors that were under- stood at the time as being very much in the interests of both the nation and (as the alleged representatives of the nation) the nobility. Antal Szirmay, Gábor and Károly Fejérváry, and István Marczibányi, members of the lesser nobility who did pursue scholarship, were exceptions. At the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it seemed that any hope for the collection and preservation of the scattered and, since the time of Joseph II, rapidly decaying cultural treasures of the vanishing feudal world had lay in the hands of a few wealthy, educated, and patriotic aristocrats or dignitaries of the Church. We know, however, that things did not actually turn out like this. It is true that the foundations were laid by magnates and Church figures like Sámuel Teleki, Ferenc Széchényi, Ignác Batthyány and József Batthyány. And yet, the polyhistor and collector who did more than any of his contemporaries and rendered greater services in the preservation of the treasures of Hungary’s past and of his day, who defined the practice of collecting as an undertaking that involved any and all intellectual and material fields of endeavor, was himself from the ranks of the lesser nobility. It is thanks first and foremost to the tireless efforts, passionate zeal, unmatched selflessness, and remarkable insight and expertise of Miklós Jankovich that, within the space of a single generation, the National Museum and, within it, the National Széchényi Library were able to burgeon, growing from initially modest col- lections to an impressive array of holdings worthy of the material and intellectual culture and history of 1,000 years of Hungarian history in Europe. The incorporation of



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Collectors and Collections


Jankovich’s collection into the holdings of the National Museum and the Széchényi Library meant the addition of

a vast, diverse, and invaluable store of cultural treasures

(codices from the Middle Ages, rarities of the printing industry, and works of the fine and applied arts from An- tiquity to the Neo-Classical period, including many items known the world over) that far exceeded the frameworks of the institution Széchényi had founded. It surpassed everything that had been accomplished up until that time. Jankovich’s dedication and zeal clearly were not mere matters of chance or coincidence. Rather, they were parts of his character, but they were also products of the unusual influences of his family and other external factors. Though we have scanty information concerning his family, a few facts nonetheless stand out that help further an understanding of Jankovich’s intellectual disposition and vision. The Jankovich family of Jesenice was not among the families of the lesser nobility which regarded themselves

as direct descendants of the Hungarian tribes that arrived in the Carpathian Basin in the ninth century. As the name suggests, the family was probably of Slavic origin, and it only became part of the landed nobility in the middle of the eighteenth century. The members of the family may well have been descendants of one of the im- poverished squire families that had fled north from lands in Croatia to escape the Ottoman Turks. They settled in Jesenice, a small village in Trencsén County (today the Trenčín District in Slovakia).Their title of nobility was also not terribly old. The family was granted noble status and a coat of arms in 1686, the year in which Buda was recaptured from the Turks, so it is quite possible that they were admitted to the nobility in recognition of services they had rendered in the fights against the Ottomans. Thus, they were a family that had fought its way out of poverty and anonymity and acquired the wealth, rank,

prestige, and status of the nobility. This kind of social and material mobility in the late feudal era was not simply

a matter of good fortune. In general, families were only

able to climb the social ladder if they performed military

services that exceeded the norm or won recognition with their erudition. The Jankovich family did both. Miklós Jankovich, who later would emerge as a re- nowned polyhistor, was born into a family that was grad- ually growing more prosperous and more refined in its culture and education. He was born on 2 January 1772, in all likelihood in the building in Pest that once stood on the eastern corner of what today are Kossuth Lajos and Petőfi Sándor Streets, a building which had served as his grandmother Krisztina Szunyogh’s dowry. In his

childhood, he probably spent the winters in this building or in the city of Székesfehérvár, where his family also had

a home. He passed the summers in the town of Rácalmás,

in an arcaded country house that still stands today. In all likelihood, the family residences were furnished with refined taste and flair, including works of art and the various appurtenances of intellectual endeavor, and this nurtured a childhood interest in Jankovich in the arts and sciences. The experiences he had in the family’s country houses and manor houses only strengthened these impressions. The cities of Pest and Buda, which were coming to life again in the era of Joseph II, clearly also exerted an influence on Jankovich. Life in the city alone would have been enough to give him far broader horizons than the youths of the nobility in rural parts of the country, but perhaps the most important influence was the schooling he received in the famous Piarist comprehensive school. The education Jankovich got in the mid-1780s in the Pi- arist school in Pest, combined with the schooling he had received before this in the Theresianum in Vác (a school founded in 1767 and based on the Collegium Theresianum in Vienna), which was also under Piarist leadership, had a decisive influence on his personality, his mentality, and his vision. In 1791, he completed his studies in histo- ry and law at the royal academy in the city of Pozsony (today Bratislava in Slovakia), but from the perspective of his intellectual horizons, his experiences at the acade- my merely complemented the multifaceted education he had already gotten at the comprehensive school in Pest. In addition to his family and his schooling, other factors also influenced his visions and ambitions. These other factors included the impressions he garnered from his meetings with illustrious representatives of cultural and intellectual life. According to Ferenc Toldy, who always wrote of Jan- kovich with praise, professor Dániel Cornides (1732– 1787) exerted the most decisive influence on him. In all likelihood, Jankovich acquired his erudition in the field of history from Cornides, as well as his knowledge of Hungarian history, which was based largely on primary sources. His exposure to Cornides’ scholarly workshop must have been a remarkable experience for the budding intellectual, in particular his exposure to Cornides’ col- lection of books, which consisted of some 2,000 printed works and manuscripts on Hungarian history. Clearly it was thanks to Cornides that Jankovich began to become familiar with the concept of a Bibliotheca Hungarica, and presumably this sparked his interest in the relics and re- mains of book culture in Hungary. The relevant secondary literature makes no mention of anyone else who exerted an influence on the interests, plans and aspirations of the young Jankovich comparable to that of Cornides. Clearly, however, there were other figures whose ideas interested him, for instance Márton György Kovachich (1744–1821), who was also a cus-

todian at the university library in Pest. Like Cornides, Kovachich was a prominent scholar educated in the Enlightenment tradition, and he was also groundbreak- ing in his work with historical sources. He founded the scholarly study of the history of law in Hungary, and he was one of the first people to propagate the idea of establishing a public national library. He also created an institute for the study of history and a collection of primary sources. Sources indicate that in the 1790s he was in close contact with Jankovich, and the two of them undertook an ambitious scholarly venture, namely the compilation of a Hungarian national bibliography (Bibliotheca Hungarica universalis). 1 Kovachich was al- most 50 years old at the time, and as a scholar he had accomplished a great deal. Jankovich was about 20, and he was essentially unknown among scholarly circles. Thus, Kovachich was clearly a kind of mentor to him. According to the sources, the period of time they spent collaborating in the pursuit of their shared interests cannot have lasted terribly long, but in all likelihood Kovachich exerted a powerful on Jankovich, motivat- ing him to continue his endeavors. He may well have strengthened Jankovich’s interest in the collection of things pertaining to Hungary’s culture and past, an in- terest that had been sparked by Cornides, and he may have prompted him to acquire a profound understanding of the history of printing and how to make a methodical bibliography. Jankovich had at least one other tie to a prominent figure in scholarly life at the time that merits mention, namely, his tie to Miklós Révai, the famous linguist, university professor, and founder of historical Hungarian linguistics. This relationship may have been indirect, i.e. Révai’s influence on Jankovich may have been mediated by István Horvát. Horvát, a piarist and a scholar, be- friended Jankovich, who had become a zealous adherent of the Révai’s principles of historical linguistics, as well as Révai’s fiery attachment to his national culture and identity. This found palpable expression in the first point of his program concerning the collection of things Hun- garian (what has come to be called “hungarica”), which focused on research on the literary relics and remains of the Hungarian language, as well as in his changed per- ception of the very goal of amassing a collection, which had moved away from the cold, rational scholarship of Cornides and Kovachich and towards the passionate attachment to national culture that was to become one of the hallmarks of Romanticism. In 1791, at 19 years of age, Jankovich left the Acad- emy in Pozsony. In general, the male children of promi- nent families would then be given honorary positions as notaries in a county, a tradition that went back several centuries. Jankovich was no exception. With a bit of

a delay, in 1793 he took an administrative position in

Fejér County. He was not terribly drawn to a career in administration, however. After having served as an administrative assistant for four years, in 1979 (the year in which his father died) he very gladly bid farewell to the county hall. He also left the city of Székesfehérvár and returned to Rácalmás, one of his family residences. Together with his younger brother József (who later would become deputy lieutenant of Fejér County) he took over the management of the estates they had in- herited. In 1798, he got married. His wife, Antónia Rud- nyánszky, was from a similarly prominent and wealthy family. In 1801, as part of his efforts to settle the family estates once and for all, he moved from Fejér County to Vadaspuszta in Pest County, which he made his home in the countryside. He dropped the name “Jeszenicei” (which was a reference to Jesenice as the family’s place

of origin) and took the name Vadasi. He spent roughly a decade in Vadaspuszta tending to the estates. He oversaw management of the land, litigated when necessary, and took advantage of the market opportunities created by the Napoleonic wars and sold produce wholesale, using the profits to purchase additional estates. At the end of this decade, Jankovich was 40 years old. The Napoleonic wars would soon come to an end and a new era of dropping prices would begin. Cautious souls abstained from further speculation and instead enjoyed the wealth they had acquired. Jankovich may well have noticed the signs of the changing times, and this may explain why he suddenly abandoned all pursuit of potentially profitable ventures. Instead, he devoted all of his time to the ambitious vision he had had as

a youth: the patriotic collection of cultural treasures

in the service of Hungarian scholarship and literature. Lest there be any misunderstanding, this is not to say that until then, roughly 1810, he had made no efforts to transform the vision of creating a methodically organized collection of scholarship and literature, a vision inspired by Cornides, Kovachich, and Révai, into a reality. Nor for that matter is it to suggest that the shift which took place was prompted entirely by financial considerations. On the contrary, he had undertaken efforts to realize his vision at a mere 20 years of age, and he had continued these efforts over the course of the next two decades with increasing focus, expertise, and zeal. By 1810, he could boast an array of accomplishments, and he had won rec- ognition from circles all over the country. This in and of itself gave him adequate reason to focus exclusively on efforts in the sphere of culture. He himself would have been unable to offer a short summary of the things he had achieved in the space of 20 years, and he certainly would not have been able to give an assessment of their scholarly significance. The time had come for him to



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Collectors and Collections


organize the books and art treasures he had managed to acquire and create a catalogue of the collection in the making. The collection which he had managed to assemble, almost as a kind of pastime during the two decades when he had focused on the management of his estates, was a complex assemblage that demanded the focused energies of someone willing and able to devote himself entirely to it. Jankovich regarded the work of collecting books, relics, and works of art as part of a mis- sion to preserve culture, a mission that would also help cultivate national self-awareness. At the same time, he regarded it as a kind of manifesto to the world, and in particular to the haughty representatives of German and Slavic scholarship, who called into question the roles that Hungary and Hungarians had played in European cultural development since the Middle Ages. At the beginning of this article I mentioned that Jankovich’s father, a captain in Jászkun, was also a bibliophile and a collector of books. His collection of books on law, history, and classical literature consisted primarily of works that had been sold for very little by the monasteries that had been dissolved by Joseph II. He kept his library in his residences in Székesfehérvár and Pest. Miklós Jankovich later revealed, when he was the proprietor of the nationally famous book museum, that the foundations on which he had built the collection had been the modest smattering of books, some 103 works in total, he had been left by his father. But the contribu- tion that the father had made to his son’s pursuits went beyond the small collection of books. He had offered selfless support for and shown clear understanding of his son’s passion for and dedication to the task of assembling an ambitious collection. Miklós had his father to thank for the fact that, long before he had become an adult, long before he had an independent income, he had been able to make expensive purchases of books. His first significant purchase was made in the spring of 1793, and Kovachich provided assistance. Clearly, they had begun work on a national bibliography in 1792. The books in question were from the library of Károly Wagner, who had once been a professor at the university in Buda and the custodian of the University Library. After retiring in 1784, Wagner had returned to the city of his birth, Kisszeben (today Sabinov in Slovakia) in Sáros County, where he had lived until his death in 1790. His collection, which he had managed to put together with the assistance of Cornides, his colleague at the university, and István Schönvisner, a fellow Je- suit, contained 624 works on history (a total of 800 volumes). From the perspective of its thematic focus, it was a collection of books on history which contained a representative assembly of primary source publications and secondary narratives on the history of Hungary. In

addition, as a kind of supplement, it contained standard seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century works on history published outside of Hungary. The vast majority of the works had been published in the eighteenth cen- tury, thus most of them were relatively recent publica- tions in Latin and German, alongside a smaller number of publications in French and Hungarian. The heirs to the estate wanted to sell the collection in its entirety. Familiar with Jankovich’s zeal as a collector, Kovachich acted as a mediator between him and the heirs. The final cost of the purchase was 1,500 silver forints, and Jankovich paid in installments. With this acquisition, Jankovich managed to take the first major step towards the creation of his envisioned Universalis Bibliotheca Hungarica. While this was taking place, Ferenc Széchényi had begun work on his collec- tion, a project that was similar in scope, inspiration, and final goal. In all likelihood, neither of the two knew an- ything about the other’s project, but clearly it was hardly a matter of coincidence that two aspiring scholars (or in fact more than two) cherished essentially the same vision. Undoubtedly both had been influenced by the transformations that had been underway in Hungarian society since 1770, including the rapid growth of the roles and the proportions of the intelligentsia in public life and, as both a cause and an effect of this, the growing importance of book culture. The goal was quite clearly to foster general education and make the acquisition of knowledge and erudition a matter of national sig- nificance. In other words, the efforts that were made in order to establish national collections of books were prompted by the same aspiration that later motivated István Széchényi to found the Academy of Sciences:

the acquisition of knowledge and the application of this knowledge to the concerns of the day—in other words, the cultivation of new energies to pursue research and new abilities to solve problems in the interest of addressing national goals. Jankovich’s first major acquisition only strengthened his desire to keep collecting. In 1795, two years later, he managed to find another library collection that was for sale. Pharmacist Sámuel Kazay (1711–1798), the provisor of the pharmacy in the city of Debrecen, was selling his collection of coins and works of art and also his library. His collection, which consisted primarily of works that had been purchased in Germany and Italy, was of almost unparalleled value. It was significant not because of its size, though it was remarkable from this perspective as well. It contained more than 1,800 works and thus was larger than the famous collection of Ádám Kollár in Vienna and was almost as large as the library in Pest that had been purchased by Count László Teleki the Elder from Cornides. With regards to its contents,

the Elder from Cornides. With regards to its contents, “Nicolai Jankovich manuscriptorum rerum Hungaricarum

“Nicolai Jankovich manuscriptorum rerum Hungaricarum catalogus.” A catalogue of the manuscripts in the collection (National Széchényi Library Manuscript Collection. Quart. Lat. 2683)

from this perspective it was more impressive than all of the other private collections in Hungary at the time. It was, essentially, a standard European scholarly library, with works of literature and scholarship in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, Italian, French, and Hungarian, in other words, the most important products of centuries of book printing, as well as numerous medieval codices. According to the catalogue, which the collector himself compiled, the collection included four thirteenth-cen- tury codices, two fourteenth-century codices, and 24 fifteenth-century codices, most of which were liturgical in nature. It also contained 150 incunabula, several hun- dred works from antiquity, and a number of other rare items. The collection included two globes, two celestial globes, and several atlases, as well as a rich collection of works of art (very much in the Humanist tradition), a veritable little museum, which contained more than 1,500 Greek, Roman, and Hungarian numisma (ancient coins), 150 gems and amulets, inscriptions, statues, panel paintings, weapons, and other works of art that had been discovered in the course of excavations. The value of the collection as a whole, including both the books and the relics and works of art, was put at 12,500 silver forints. The owner, however, was burdened with debt and was therefore willing to part with the collection, which was virtually unrivalled at the time, for a mere 2,500 sil- ver forints. The contract of sale was signed in October

1795, but serious obstacles emerged when Jankovich attempted to complete the transaction. In the spring of the following year, the Calvinist college in Debrecen took possession of the entire collection, in line with a court ruling, as compensation for Kazay’s debt of 1,015 forints. Other obstacles came up on Jankovich’s side of the deal. His father in all likelihood was not willing to sanction the contract his son had signed. In the end, the college prevailed. It took possession of most, if not all, of the collection, though Jankovich did later manage to acquire part of it, apparently by entering into negotia- tions with the college. The rare codices, precious books, and other valuable items from abroad in the collection were undoubtedly an impressive acquisition for Jankov- ich. It seems likely that they exerted some influence on him in his decision to expand his efforts beyond the original vision of creating a national collection and include items that were not specifically related to his national program. His ambitions shifted towards the vision of a broad, even international collection that included material relics. Given this broadening of the circle of interests of the young Jankovich, it is perhaps not surprising that as a collector he far outdid contempo- raries who had undertaken similar ventures. It also may explain, in part, why, following his father’s death in 1797, he moved from Székesfehérvár to Pest, into the family residence in Hatvani Street, taking the treasures



Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


OF MIklÓS JaNkOVICh Collectors and Collections 30 Historian György Fejér (1766-1851) offers a detailed

Historian György Fejér (1766-1851) offers a detailed presentation of Miklós Jankovich’s library in the contemporary press (Scholarly Collection. 1817)

he had acquired with him. Clearly he sought to continue his efforts as a collector in the cultural center of the country, which offered him the best possible prospects. Following the move to Pest, his work as a collector grew ever wider and more ambitious in its scope. Up until the turn of the century, he continued to focus on private libraries with works of scholarship, and he made most of his purchases and acquisitions in the territories of northern Hungary (what today is Slovakia). In 1799, the widowed Mrs. Károly Fejérváry (née Po- lixéna Semsey) offered Jankovich a valuable collection of books, manuscripts, and charters which had belonged to her husband, who had died two years earlier. Károly Fejérváry (1743–1794) had been a landowner in Komlós- keresztes (today Chmeľov in Slovakia) in Sáros County. His collection contained 1,070 printed books and 126 bundles of charters, documents, and letters (collectio diplomatica). The materials were particularly relevant from the perspective of the history of the Lutheran com- munities of Sáros County and the region in general. Most of the books, letters, and documents were from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the vast

majority of the charters were from the thirteenth, four- teenth, and fifteenth centuries. This collection, which was essentially Hungarian in its provenance, was valued by experts at 3,400 silver forints. Jankovich, however, appraised it at 1,580 forints. After prolonged bartering, in the spring of 1800 the widow and her son Gábor Fejér- váry, under pressure from creditors, were compelled to sell the collection for 2,810 forints. 3 At the time, Jankovich had an opportunity to make another significant, if also significantly smaller, purchase in the city of Eperjes (today Prešov in Slovakia). The wid- ow of a man named Sámuel Dobai Székely (1704–1779) lived in Eperjes. Sámuel Dobai Székely had been one of the most noted book and manuscript collectors of the eighteenth century. He was a member of the lesser nobility from a region known as Szepes. During the war of Austrian succession, he had traveled all over central Europe, and later he had also traveled in Italy. No matter where he went, he devoted a great deal of attention to cultural in- stitutions, scholarship, and books. In 1753, having left the military, he began to live a life of withdrawal in Eperjes. He founded a collection of rare books. In addition to publications in Latin, German, and Hungarian, he also had a large number of books in French and Italian, as well as a few in Slavic languages. The books mostly concerned history, religious history, geography, and politics. Most of them were about Hungary in some way. He had inher- ited many of these items from his father, András Dobai Székely, 4 who had once served as the notary of Szepes County. The other works he had purchased secondhand, for instance a collection consisting of some 700 volumes that had belonged to Dániel Sartori, a Lutheran preacher from Besztercebánya (today Banská Bystrica in Slovakia). This collection included the bequest of Sámuel Mat- theidész (1729), a famous professor from the college in Eperjes. The available sources do not indicate precisely how many books there were in the collection. It must have contained somewhere between 500 and 1,000 items. In all likelihood, Székely’s collection of manuscripts, docu- ments, and charters was of more historical value than the books, though we are compelled to venture hypotheses concerning its significance on the few items which have survived. Sadly, Székely’s widow sold most of the works in the collection in the 1780s. They were purchased by György Klimó, the bishops of Pécs, Károly Fejérváry, a man named Imre Bánó, and many other people. By the 1890s, only a few valuable works remained for Janko- vich to choose from. Indeed, we do not know for certain precisely what he bought, or even what quantity of items he bought, except in the case of coins. Furthermore, the catalogue that survived as part of Jankovich’s bequest indicates that at the turn of the century and over the course of the next roughly 15 years

Jankovich purchased large sections of other significant private collections in Upper Hungary. These purchases included the first library of Ferenc Kazinczy, which the great writer and language reformer had been compelled to sell in 1809. Jankovich did not limit himself, in this early period of major acquisitions of private collections, to Upper Hungary. He bought collections found in other parts of the country as well and sought opportunities to make good buys in other cities, first and foremost the capital, of course. We know of three major acquisitions that he made in Pest between 1801 and 1810. The most significant of these was the purchase of the library of György Ribay (1754–1812), a scholar and Lutheran preacher of Slovak descent. Jankovich paid a great deal—1,800 silver fo- rints—for the collection, which must have contained sev- eral hundred works on Slavic lands (first and foremost Bo- hemia). He purchased it secondhand from Gábor Ruttkai Dankó. In 1801, before having purchased Ribay’s collec- tion, he bought several hundred works from the bequest of János Bobics, a lawyer in Pest, and in 1810 he bought several hundred works from the library of magnate Count György Keglevich, which had been put up for sale at auction. The latter two collections contained primari- ly works from the eighteenth century, mainly works of scholarship published in Hungary, legal manuscripts, and literature of the Enlightenment from abroad, as well as works by Freemasons. Jankovich also purchased one or more manuscripts from Kovachich towards the end of the 1790s. It was through these purchases that manuscripts by sixteenth-century historian Antal Verancsics (also known as Antun Vranćić and Antonio Veranzio) came into Jankovich’s collection. Jankovich also made a sig- nificant purchase in the city of Sopron in 1802, through which he acquired valuable works (estimated at 400 sil- ver forints) from the collection of comprehensive school director Jonathán Vietorisz. Finally, on some occasions Jankovich managed to ob- tain valuable items through exchanges with aristocratic collectors, for instance Mihály Viczay (1756–1831) and in all likelihood István Illésházy (1762–1838). These purchases of private collections found in Hun- gary, to which one could add as a sort of addendum purchases which took place on several occasions of works that had been discarded in 1799–1800 by the archive of the Royal Treasury of Buda, did a great deal to help Jankovich reach his goal of creating a Bibliotheca Hun- garica Universalis. However, one cannot help but notice that even before the turn of the century Jankovich had gone well beyond the framework of his initial plan in his activities as a collector. Though he worked with tremendous zeal, patriotic fervor, and selfless dedication to reach a goal which for

him was almost a spiritual calling, he was unable to resist temptation, and he often indulged his interest in the written embodiments of the history of Central European culture and scholarship, which included medieval man- uscripts that were more finely crafted and, ultimately, more artistic than the manuscripts that had been written in Hungary and the typographical masterpieces of the Modern Era. But he was also motivated by his interest in politics and history and his fascination with the intercon- nections between the history of the Hungarian nation and the history of the surrounding peoples. His love of beautiful, old books proved ever more seductive, and he was willing to make any sacrifice to obtain old and rare books of the German and Slavic cultural circles, while continuing to pursue his acquisition of works written in Hungarian or by Hungarians. The task of creating a clear and thorough invento- ry of the collection in Jankovich’s residences in Pest (on Hatvani Street and Kerepesi Street) was daunting to say the least, as was the task of organizing it on the basis of clear and consistent principles of scholarship and sharing this information with the world of writers and scholars. The collection, which had grown over the period of a quarter of a century to contain well over 10,000 volumes, included many valuable treasures. In all likelihood, the first major efforts to create this kind of an inventory were made only after 1810, though minor steps in this direction may have been taken before this. It took years, and indeed the project only came to completion in 1815–1817. In 1817, the first publication offering a thorough presentation of the contents of the collection to the public was issued. The publication of the contents of the collection was a major event, as indeed was the publication of the journal in which it was printed, Tudományos Gyűjtemény [Scholarly Collection], the first modern cultural period- ical to be published in Hungary. The journal had been launched by the new intelligentsia which had gathered in the capital. Inspired by Romantic ideals, they sought to foster culture as an expression of national identity. Jankovich’s collection was presented in one of the first issues of the periodical. The length description, which was based on a direct account provided by Jankovich, was written by the editor of the journal, György Fejér (1766–1851), who was also a professor and historian, and he later became a custodian of the University Library. It was longer than 20 pages, and it did not cover the collection of archeological artifacts or the collection of works of art. 5 First, the article presented the collection of foreign books (bibliotheca extranea) held in the res- idence on Kerepesi Street. It then presented the collec- tion on the basis of a division of its holdings into eight categories. Six of these categories were commonly used



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OF MIklÓS JaNkOVICh Collectors and Collections 32 One of the most valuable printed items in Jankovich’s

One of the most valuable printed items in Jankovich’s collection, Ferenc II Rákóczi’s memoirs (La Haye, 1739)

in European Humanist scholarship and book culture. Two reflected the distinctive German and Slavic literary and cultural life of Central Europe. This division of the works in the collection constituted a striking diversion from traditional scholarly categories used in old libraries. The traditional categories were theology, jurisprudence, the medical sciences, philosophy, and philology. And indeed if one uses these categories, the collection was not even complete. This suggests that Jankovich’s goal was not to create a library that embodied so-called uni- versal scholarship, but rather one that focused on specific branches of the humanities. A manuscript section was missing, which in older collections was usually some- thing of a supplement. Instead, it included incunabula as a separate group. This did not mean that there were no manuscripts in the collection, however. The manuscripts were included with the printed books, organized accord- ing to subject matter. A contemporary familiar with the practice of book collecting at the time would have realized this on the basis of other examples as well, since according to the fashion of the time scholarly libraries were often museums as well, which contained, in addi- tion to printed books and handwritten codices, an array of other kinds of printed materials (pamphlets, etc.), handwritten document (charters, correspondence, pri- vate writings), prints made using engravings, and maps. Sometimes they even contained numismatic collections.

Jankovich placed the collection of works by Greek and Roman authors (bibliotheca auctorum classicorum tam Graecorum tam Latinorum) at the forefront of his collection for a good reason. It was a splendid array of works and on its own provided quite eloquent testimony to his tastes, dedication, and passion as a collector. The archeological and museological collection (biblio- theca antiquaria cum museis antiquitatum) did not contain anything from the Middle Ages, in part because these two branches of inquiry were young at the time. Rather, they included works of the “thesaurus” genre, artistical- ly masterful typographical masterpieces adorned with copperplate engravings. Thus, they too were an elegant reflection of Jankovich’s refinement. As a category, literary history and the bibliographical sciences (bibliotheca historiae literariae universalis omnium nationum et gentium) were among the branches of the modern sciences. Church history (bibliotheca historiae religionis Christianae omniumque eiusdem sectarum) under- standably offered another broad field for the inclusion of antiques, relics, and rarities. The groups of works categorized under history and geography (bibliotheca historica omnium gentium) also boasted an impressive array of manuscripts. According to Fejér, it contained some 500 manuscripts. Clearly, most of the manuscripts were from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but there may well have been as

many as 100 medieval codices written on parchment, including several very early works. The collection contained a respectable number of books written before 1500 (bibliotheca incunabulorum typographicorum) and rare books (rarissima). Rare books

and books written before 1500 were included in a single


We have no information based on primary sources concerning the total number of books in the foreign

collection. Based on the Fejér’s description, the entire book collection comes to somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 books. There may have been as many as 250 me- dieval codices. We know little concerning the number of medieval charters, modern documents of civic life, and private letters, but they must have ranged in the


However valuable and plenteous the collection of foreign books may have been, it was nonetheless a matter of second importance in Jankovich’s vision. From the outset, his primary goal had been to create a collection of works that had been written or created by the Hungarian nation. Parallel to his strivings to create a national bibli- ography, he also resolved to create a bibliotheca Hungarica that would be as complete and thorough as possible. In his view, this was a historical calling. He sought to save the relics that remained of eight centuries of writ-

ten culture in Hungary, relics that had survived the devastations of Turkish occupation and the damaging effects of Josephinism, and he strove to do this because he wanted to ensure that Hungary’s place in the history and culture of Europe be clear both to the world and to the Hungarian nation itself. When it came to this matter, his sense of calling was even more profound, if possible, than it was with regards to the collection of works of international value and in- terest. Naturally, he included printed and handwritten documents in his search, documents of all kinds, and he was even willing to consider illustrations that had been reproduced (such as maps and prints made with the use of engravings). But he regarded his basic task as being far wider in its scope than in the case of the other two na- tional collections, the Slavic and the German collections. Whereas in the case of German and Slavic languages he regarded language as the decisive criterion, here he went considerably further. His search for items relevant to Hungary’s culture and past included considerations of content and even printing and typography. He pursued his

activities as a collector according to five basic categories. With regards to printed material (books and pam- phlets), he collected everything

I. that had been printed in Hungarian;

II. that was in a language other than Hungarian but had been printed by a printer in Hungary, with par-

but had been printed by a printer in Hungary, with par- In the 1830 issue of

In the 1830 issue of A Tudományos Gyűjtemény [Scholarly Collection] and the offprint that was made from it Jankovich himself acquaints the reader with his library. (Magyar hajdan- kor emlékeinek…[Relics of Hungarian Times Passed…]) His uses the abbreviation W. J. M. (“Miklós Jankovich of Wadas”), which clearly demonstrates that he no longer used Jeszeniczei, which was a title of nobility, but preferred “Wadas” instead, a reference to his estate in Vadaspuszta (in Pest County)

ticular importance given to the period between 1473 and 1599;

III. that a Hungarian author (defined as someone living in Hungary) had written in a language other than Hungarian and that had been published outside of Hungary;

IV. that a foreign author had written about Hungary;

V. that a foreign author (in particular, a historian) had written about another country, but in which men-

tion was made of Hungary as well. This conception of “hungarika” was not original. In- deed the great Ferenc Széchényi had built his collection largely on this idea. However, it there was a bit of a shift, because Jankovich put emphasis on the collection of ty- pographical antiques, and he also was very wide-ranging in the interest he took in things abroad touching on


The holdings of the first section surpassed the corre- sponding part of Széchényi’s collection both in quantity and in quality. Jankovich’s collection also surpassed the



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OF MIklÓS JaNkOVICh Collectors and Collections 34 The first edition of Vörösmarty’s heroic epic, part of

The first edition of Vörösmarty’s heroic epic, part of the holdings of Jankovich’s library (Pest, 1825)

second group in the collection of the National Széchényi Library. This part of the collection boasted, in addition to numerous examples of print culture in Hungary in the sixteenth century, the most precious treasure of the history of the printing press in Hungary: the first book printed in Hungary, András Hess’ Budai Krónika [The Chronicle of Buda]. The third section of Jankovich’s collection may have been far more impressive from the perspective of antiq- uities and rarities than Széchényi’s collection. György Fejér’s description makes mention of 375 publications from the Humanist era, and Fejér makes particular note of the 1488 Leipzig edition of Constitutiones incliti reg- ni Ungariae, the Augsburg and Brünn editions of János Thuróczy’s Chronica Hungarorum, the elegies of Janus Pannonius, Pelbárt Temesvári’s collections of sermons (which were published in several editions), Michael de Hungaria’s Sermones, and a few other rare items.

From the manuscript collection of Jankovich’s library: Lea Ráskai copied the legend, narrated in Hungarian, of Saint Mar- git of the House of Árpád in the convent on Margaret Island in 1510. The gilded Renaissance binding was done in Buda (National Széchényi Library Manuscript Collection MNy. 3.)

But Jankovich’s collection was particularly rich in print materials having some bearing on Hungary (the

fourth and the fifth sections), and from this perspective

it far outdid the national library. Again, the antiquities

and rare items were of particular value, for instance a few missals that were printed in Italy on commission from Hungary and antiques from various periods. This collection of “hungarika” prints, which was par-

ticularly rich in cimelia, was fittingly complemented by a varied collection of written items, including man- uscripts, documents, charters, letters, and other kinds of writing, as well as a collection of prints. Fejér offers

a few characteristic examples of the items that were

unique and uniquely valuable from the perspective of their historical, literary, or cultural worth. Of the 20 medieval Latin codices which had some bearing on Hungary, he mentioned the following as items of particular value: the thirteenth-century Gem- mingeni Bible, which originally was from France but which had ended up in the hands of someone in Pozsony in the fourteenth century, the thirteenth-century Sam- bucus–Mossóczy bible, which was also originally from France, a fourteenth-century Livius Codex, which orig- inally was from Italy but which had ended up in a col- lection in Buda in the sixteenth century, an authentic fifteenth-century Corvin Codex, Galeottus Martius’ Corvin codex, De dictis et factis regis Matthiae, which is

Corvin codex, De dictis et factis regis Matthiae , which is thought to date back to
Corvin codex, De dictis et factis regis Matthiae , which is thought to date back to

thought to date back to the fifteenth century, and finally the fifteenth-century psalter of a provost in the city of Székesfehérvár. The most significant items in the collection of works in Hungarian, according to Fejér, were the Margit-le- genda [The Legend of Saint Margit], Szent Elek és Remete Szent Pál élete [The Lives of Saint Elek and Saint Paul the Hermit], and Szent Krisztina élete [The Life of Saint Catherine]. He also mentioned a superstitious text on how to treat horses and three codices no other traces of which have survived. Of the authors of manuscripts from the Modern Era, he mentions Sámuel Timon, Mátyás Bél, József Benczur, Jonathán Vietorisz, Károly Wagner, and Károly Fejérváry. Clearly works by these authors had become parts of the collection through the purchases of other collections. Fejér noted the correspondence of prominent fig- ures of Hungary’s cultural and intellectual life, such as Sámuel Dobai Székely, József Benczur, Dániel Cornides, György Pray, Ádám Kollár and József Koller, as a clear illustration of the value of this part of the collection. Fi- nally, he offered glimpses into the collection of national songs by listing the types of songs it included (cantus heroici, morales, ludicri, erotici). Fejér’s description is similarly brief in its treatment of the many thousand single-page documents, writings which are significant mostly from the perspective of the history of civil life. These items were grouped together with the diplomas and charters. With regards to the diplomas (diplomata originalia), he noted only that some of them are parchment, some were written on paper, and the earliest was from 1167. Concerning the public do- cuments of the Modern Era (acta publica), he writes that they contain first and foremost the laws and contracts of the country from 1440 to 1720, as well as protocol documents, stylionaria, epistles, and other chancellery documents. With regards to the group bearing the title “Writings of Leaders and Statesmen,” Fejér mentions original documents of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Em- peror and Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, as well as writings of Antal Verancsics, Palatine István Illésházy and Bálint Homonnai Drugeth. The collection of prints, which is of more artistic value and constitutes something of a fortuitous addi- tion to the collection rather than an integral part of it, also boasted an impressive array of items. The “vár- és városábrázolások” [depictions of the city and the castle] and the portraits are important as works of art and as potential subjects of study by scholars. The portraits were divided into several sub-categories, depending on the person depicted (rulers, people of noble rank, military leaders, figures of the Church, scholars, burghers, notable women, and even everyday people).



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OF MIklÓS JaNkOVICh Collectors and Collections 36 A work—the earliest Hungarian-language work to be

A work—the earliest Hungarian-language work to be published in its entirety in Jankovich’s second collection—purchased by Jankovich in 1852, containing the Hungarian translation of the letters of Saint Paul on the basis of the Latin Vulgate (Krakow, 1533)

It would be a mistake to think that Jankovich’s col- lection had reached its zenith, as it were, in 1817. The many old and rare treasures he had managed to acquire notwithstanding, the remarkable breadth, depth, and scope of his collection of books notwithstanding, his enthusiasm as a collector did not abate, at least not on the basis of the surviving documents. The first priori- ty of his vision as a collector after 1817 remained the search for and acquisition of items relevant in any way to Hungary’s past and culture, so-called hungarica. In pursuit of this goal, he continued to correspond with a wide circle of people.6 Indeed, he worked together with agents in order to determine where he might find old, rare products of the printing industry in Hungary or manuscripts that could be added to his collection. The collection, however, was so plenteous and so rich precisely in these kinds of items that more often than not he only made small, individual purchases. Only on rare occasions did he buy entire collections, usually when they were being sold in haste following the death of the

owner, and only if they contained items of distinctive value. In any event, the books and notes that survived in his bequest reveal that he acquired most or all of the collections of Márton Klanicza (1740–1810), a Slovak Lutheran preacher from Gömör County, Antal Péchy († 1829), a Roman Catholic archdeacon from Sáros County, Ferdinánd Stipsich (1754–1820), a professor of medicine from Pest, Gábor Petényi (Petyán) († 1822 körül), a Slovak Lutheran preacher, and Mátyás Senno- vitz (1763–1823), a school director from Eperjes (today Prešov in Slovakia). In addition to making additions to his Hungarian li- brary, Jankovich continued to devote considerable at- tention to his collection of internationally important codices, incunabula, antique items, and other rarities, a collection that was important from the perspective of the history of books and the history of the sciences. Af- ter 1817, he continued to build on the relationships he already enjoyed with famous foreign book dealers and develop further, similar ties. Naturally, he had the closest ties to the publishers and used booksellers in Vienna, but he did not neglect the other cities of Austria. He also had close ties to people in the book markets of the German empire, in particular the book markets in the cities of Leipzig, Nuremburg, Augsburg, Regensburg, and Breslau. The roughly fifteen-year period of zealous work in the pursuit of new additions to his collection bore witness to remarkable acquisitions. Jankovich, at this point, was not simply a seasoned collector by this point. He also had gained a thorough knowledge of the international literature on book culture and the science of bibliogra- phy. His collection, indeed, offers ample and eloquent proof of this. It had garnered praise and admiration from experts both in Hungary and abroad. We can venture only a few hypotheses concerning the state of Jankovich’s collection in 1830 and provide only estimates concerning the relevant data (with the exception of the collection of medieval codices). Janko- vich himself wrote a relatively long description of the collection entitled Magyar hajdankor emlékei… [Relics of Hungarian Times Passed…], which was published in the eighth volume of the 1830 issue of Tudományos Gyűjtemény [Scholarly Collection] (and as a separate offprint). This description gives some foundation for a survey of the collection. 7 With regards to the organization and categorization of the collection, two remarkable changes had taken place in comparison with the state of the library in 1817. The old categories that had been used in the collection of international works was still in use (1–6), but two new subject groups had been introduced. One was philosophy and jurisprudence, the other was aesthetics and belles lettres.

It is perhaps a bit surprising to note that the number of national collections dropped from three to two, and that there is no mention whatsoever of the Slavic col- lection. One should clarify, however, that there was no such reduction in the holdings. In all likelihood, this section was left out of the description by mistake. Two

other registers, also compiled by Jankovich (one in 1825 and one in 1832, so roughly during the same period), indicate that the Slavic collection was still part of the library (bibliotheca librorum variis linguae Slavicae dialectis editorum), and it boasted 1,000 items. Indeed, in addition to this collection and the German collection (bibliotheca scriptorum lingua Germanica editorum) a third national collection was beginning to take form: a collection of French literature (bibliotheca scriptorum Gallicorum). Finally, with the acquisition of some 80 new volumes, Jankovich had also begun to lay the foundations of a collection of items from the east (bibliotheca scriptorum orientalium, Judaicorum, Arabicorum, Persicorum, Syri- acorum). 8 If we take into consideration the fact that in 1817 the foreign collection contained somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 volumes, then in the space of roughly fifteen years it had grown by 75 to 118 percent. Jankovich offers only fragmentary and vague infor- mation concerning the medieval codex holdings. He notes that his collection contains some 200 parchment codices, in which one finds works by classical Latin and Greek authors, and that, in addition, the collection includes codices by medieval authors in Latin, German, French, Romanian, and Slavic languages. His use of the word “classical,” however, must have been a mistake. In all likelihood, in the space of the ten years in question, the collection of codices in Latin, which had numbered

130 volumes, grew by 70 volumes of codices from An-

tiquity and from the Middle Ages. The chapter on the Hungarian collection draws em- phasis to the fact that the Hungarian library had been divided into two basic groups: books written in Hun- garian and books on Hungary or its history written in other languages (which may well have been works by Hungarian authors or works by foreign authors about Hungary). The group of works in Hungarian numbered roughly 12,000 items. The group of works written in other languages numbered 50,000. Thus together, they numbered 62,000 items. It is worth noting that the description in question

consistently refers not to volumes, but to numbers, which means bibliographical entries. Other sources offer a po- tential explanation for this. The collection of works in Hungarian or on Hungary contained a very significant number of items that were very short. They filled some

200 thick folders and thus would have been counted as

only 200 items if they had been counted as volumes. However, given that each of these folders contained some 100 one-leaf or two-leaf printings, counted as sep- arate bibliographical entries they came to some 20,000 items. This explains the unusually high number of items in the holdings (62,000). The register does not indicate how many volumes were in the collection. In the sec- tion on the separate Hungarian collections, Jankovich mentions the wood and copper engravings as remarkably valuable items, as well as the original printing blocks that were grouped with them. According to his inventory, his collection contained some 60 folders worth of prints and 100 printing blocks. The survey lists another six groups of Hungarian man- uscript items: medieval codices (up until the end of the fif- teenth century), autograph manuscripts from the sixteenth century, autograph manuscripts from the seventeenth cen- tury, autograph manuscripts from the eighteenth century, copies of manuscripts from the eighteenth century, and finally the diplomas (from the beginning of the thirteenth century to the end of the eighteenth). According to the surviving correspondence with his family members, in 1822 Jankovich’s younger brother József suggested selling the collection. He was prompt- ed to do this in part by financial concerns, as well as the tensions that had arisen between Miklós and his sons, which gave serious cause for concern. According to József, there was no one to whom his brother could leave the innumerable treasures, for in his eyes Miklós’ sons were not worthy of them. Better simply to sell them and use the money to pay off debts and put the estate back on solid foundations. In all likelihood, Miklós was shocked by his brother’s suggestion and resolutely reject- ed it. Later, however, influenced by the increasingly dire family tensions and financial troubles, he reconsidered his brother’s advice. By 1824, the situation had changed. In the autumn of 1824, palatine József and his wife came to Jankovich’s home in Hatvani Street and spent long hours examin- ing the famous collection. It was probably clear that he had not come simply out of private self-interest, and indeed in all likelihood he had not been the person who had initiated the visit. People in the higher circles in Pest knew that Jankovich had offered to sell all of his collections to the National Museum, and as palatine, József had come to his brother’s home in Hatvani Street as the praeses and patron of the museum. On 7 January 1825, Jankovich had submitted a long petition to the palatine on the issue in question, asking him to use of- ficial channels to present his offer to the next meeting of the national assembly. In his petition, he explained that the collection was the work of 40 years of concerted effort, and that it was a literary and scholarly—as well as



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fine arts and archeology—collection that was surpassed by no other collection in Hungary. He listed all of the departments of his museum, breaking down the hold- ings into four main groups. The first was the collection of antiquities (collectio antiquitatum archaeologica). The second was the gallery (collectio iconographica). The third was the collection of manuscripts (collectio manuscripto- rum). The fourth was simply the library itself, narrowly understood (bibliotheca). Jankovich presented the collection of manuscripts as

a collection that was separate from the main body of the library. He broke it up into seven categories:

1. original charters and certificates that had some

bearing on Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia, and Dal-

matia, as well as legal texts, state contracts, and other kinds of public documents (diplomates Hungariam etc. respicientes) from as early as the twelfth century that had remained in manuscript form;

2. charters and certificates in German, Czech, and

other languages from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries (diplomates Germanica, Slavica etc.);

3. codices containing works by Greek, Latin, and

medieval authors from as early as the eighth century (codices Graeci et Latini);

4. eastern (Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, etc.) manu-

scripts (codices orientales);

5. codices in German, Serbian, and Romanian (codices

Germanici, Slavici etc.);

6. codices and manuscripts bearing on the history and

culture of Hungary in Latin, Hungarian, German, Cro- atian, Serbian, and Romanian up until 1700, including

two Corvin codices (codices ad rem litterariam et historiam Hungariae spectantes);

7. codices from the Modern Era on politics, econom-

ics, military affairs, and culture and education in Hun- gary after 1700 (manuscripta recentioris aevi rem Hunga- ricam… concernentia);

8. manuscripts in Latin, German, and Slavic languages

on the history of Germany, Poland, Italy, and other countries neighboring Hungary (manuscripta historiam Germaniae etc. illustrantia). After having presented the outlines of his collec- tion, Jankovich then went into its various virtues and values (valor internis, affectionis, raritatis, archeologicus, technologicus et literarius). He also gave an indication of how much he thought it would be worth on the market, i.e. the amount for which he would be willing to sell it

to the National Museum. According to his appraisal, the collection of antiquities and manuscripts was worth 80,000 silver forints, the gallery and the library were worth 40,000, and, thus, the two together were worth 120,000. He indicated that he would be willing to give

a discount of one-third of this sum, i.e. 40,000 forints, as

an expression of his love for and gratitude to the nation and his homeland. He would accept 40,000 forint for the collection at the time of sale and would leave the other 40,000 in the trust of the state, with the provision that he and, after his death, his heirs would be given the interest every three months. Palatine József soon sent this offer to István Horvát, the custodian of the National Széchényi Library, who replied immediately, expressing his immense gratitude for Jankovich’s generosity. He noted that the offer rep- resented an acquisition of tremendous significance for the National Library. On 15 September 1825, the palatine, who was well aware of the value of the collection and the generosity of Jankovich’s proposal, presented the offer to the national assembly. The assembly, however, hardly dealt with the matter, putting off the whole issue until “happier times.” The moment came in 1830, when the national assembly authorized the palatine to address the matter. 9 Jankovich submitted a new written proposal con- cerning the conditions of the sale of the library to the palatine in April 1831. In essence, it was identical to the offer he had made in 1825, except for the fact that, since the collection had grown in the meantime, he put the value at 150,000 silver forints. It took József months to reply, though we do not know why. This delay so embit- tered Jankovich that in the autumn, when a nationwide cholera epidemic hit the capital and caused widespread panic, he became increasingly tempted simply to with- draw the proposal and sell his collections individually. He would offer the collections that were of importance to Hungarian culture and history to institutions and private collectors in Hungary and would sell the international collections to antiquarian companies in Paris and Lon- don. He was so serious with regards to this matter that in his last will and testament drawn up on 10 September in Kecskemét he included the stipulation that his heirs dispose of the collections in this manner. Fortunately, matters took a different course. József managed to find a way to deal with the affair. On 28 September 1832, he informed Jankovich in an official document that he had accepted the conditions of his proposal and was prepared and authorized to sign a contract. 10 He also charged István Horvát, the custodian of the Nation- al Széchényi Library (an institution of the National Museum), with the task of drawing up and signing the contract with Jankovich. And thus, an important step was taken in the history of the National Széchényi Library, a step that had been very much desired both by Jankovich and József. The purchase constituted an acquisition so enormous, both for the National Museum and the Széchényi Library, that it far exceeded the framework and value of the

existing holdings. It is hardly an exaggeration to claim that the acquisition represented a kind of renascence for the entire institution. It was an important event for Jankovich as well. The sale of the collections saved him from drowning in a sea of debts. József appointed an official committee to deal with the practical details of the acquisition. On 16 November, the committee took possession of the keys to the rooms in which the collections were kept in Jankovich’s residences in Hat- vani Street and Kerepesi Street. It also requested that József appoint a temporary clerk and transfer the money to cover office costs. Thus, as honorary appointees, the delegates apparently did not regard compiling a registry as their job, but rather wanted to have a member of staff tend to the task. Jankovich, however, was not willing to turn the collections over to someone who was not on the committee, and the palatine also expected the members of the committee to see to the work themselves, so in the end they were compelled to perform the task. At Horvát’s suggestion, they agreed that they needed to compile a registry that would be “valid for all time,” and they set themselves to the task, working with cor- responding meticulousness. However, they soon realized that if they insisted on this degree of thoroughness, they would need more than a decade to finish the job. They were compelled to adopt a simpler approach, and even then, by the summer of 1833, they had only managed to make a precise record of some 13,000 items. József was astonished by the slow pace of the work, and in February 1834 he asked for a report and suggestion from the committee on how to finish the transfer of the collections in as short a time as possible. In June 1835, Horvát informed the palatine, on behalf of the commit- tee, that the method they had adopted, in the process of transferring the collections, of drawing up a registry in accordance with Jankovich’s wishes was hopelessly slow. Instead, he proposed that the items be transferred in large quantities (in globo) in sealed chests. Jankovich, however, did not approve of or accept this method. He was willing to make one concession: he would allow a temporary clerk to compile the registry, someone who would undertake to finish the task in a few months. He recommended Zsigmond Ivanich, an antiquarian, for the job. However, the two standpoints were irreconcilable, so matters came to a dead standstill. It was not until the spring of 1836 that some progress was made, when the national assembly ratified the contract of sale. In article 37 of 1836 on the National Museum, the Estates agreed to pay the purchase price, 100,000 forints, for the purchase of the Jankovich collection, in accordance with the contract. At the request of the palatine, they even agreed to provide an additional25,000 forints to cover the costs of second and third copies of works in

the collection. The article also included a pledge to provide 500,000 silver forints to cover the costs of the construction of the building of the National Museum. In the end, Jankovich had to give in, and in March 1836 he agreed to permit the transfer of the majority of the collections, the materials in the foreign library, en masse and to allow the Museum to compile a registry after the transfer had been made. In May, Horvát made

a proposal concerning where the vast array of books

and archeological materials should be put. However, before this question could be resolved, on 17 and 23

June Pest County sent two delegates, as legal witnesses. The formal transfer of every collection took place in their presence, and on 23 June an official report was drawn up. Parallel to this, on 17 June Jankovich issued

a so-called “resignatiója,” i.e. a record of the transfer

and his surrender of ownership. It nonetheless still took a great deal of time to address the practical problems that arose. Jankovich had put many of the items of jewelry in pledge, and the repur-

chase of these items, which were part of the antiquities collection, turned out to be complex. Complication arose involving the payments that were to be made according to the contract of sale as well. The biggest problem, however, was simply the question of finding an appropriate space for the many antique items and the library. The building of the museum that once stood in what today is the Museum garden in Budapest was so cluttered that, for instance, the much of the Illésházy library, which was acquired in 1835, was kept in the hallways. Horvát suggested that the collection be stored in another building owned by the state, or possibly a large privately owned building that the state could rent, while the new, more capacious building for the museum was under construction. Jozef, however, find neither of these two ideas acceptable for security reasons. Thus, in the summer of 1837 the collections were still in the

locked and sealed rooms of Jankovich’s residences in Pest, waiting to be moved to their eventual home. By the autumn of 1837, one of the civil service dwellings in the museum had been emptied, making it possible to transfer roughly half of Jankovich’s collection. In August and September, at the order of the palatine, Horvát packed up the materials in the so-called “ex- ternal” library (bibliotheca extera universalis), which had been stored in three rooms in the building on Kerepesi Street, in 165 chests and had them transported to the Museum, along with the bookcases. The Hungarian li- brary (bibliotheca Hungarica), however, remained where

it had been, although the building of the Ludoviceum

(the Royal Hungarian Ludovica Defense Academy), which was under construction, was at a stage at which it could have been used to store both the Hungarian



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Collectors and Collections


collection and all of the other collections for which a home, even if temporary, had not yet been found. The palatine proved unable to arrive at any clear resolution, but in the spring of 1838 an unexpected and tragic occurrence changed the course of events. Terrible flooding in Pest caused significant damage to innumerable buildings and cost many lives. Because of the many delays, in the civil society that took form after the Compromise of 1867 the people who were responsible for decision-making no longer had a clear grasp or appreciation of the value of Jankovich’s collections. They not only gave up on the task of com- piling a detailed inventory, they even abandoned the idea of keeping the collection together. The materials that had been sedulously assembled by Jankovich were merged with materials from other private collections or various origins, for instance the collections of Ferenc Széchényi, Mrs. István Illésházy, Mrs. István Horvát, and others. After having turned over his collections to the Nation- al Museum, or rather, according to the sources, well be- fore this, Jankovich became assembling a new collection. This represents a clear sign of his optimism and renewed joie de vivre. Apparently, he was simply unable to do without books and works of art, and he could not give up his passion for collecting. The vast array of precious materials that he had gathered together over the years, items which according to contract he had turned over the National Museum, were still on the shelves and in the cabinets in his home, leaving him virtually no space for new acquisitions. In all likelihood, he had not settled his debts either. Nonetheless, he again began searching for and purchasing works, primarily rare, old Hungar- ian books, manuscripts from Hungary and the neigh- boring countries, certificates and charters, coins, seals, and other antiques. He hired Sámuel Literáti Nemes as his “purveyor by appointment,” a man who was clev- er, shrewd, and not entirely reliable. Until his death in 1842, this man, whose past was shrouded in mystery and who was not really a refined antiquarian, acquired many items for Jankovich. According to his surviving diary entries, Literáti traveled all over the country, from regions in the west all the way to Transylvania, and even Croatia and Dalmatia. He focused on monasteries and the manor houses of noble families in his search for items of interest. Jankovich would always summon him when he had returned to Pest from his travels and would examine the newly found materials. When he found things that caught his eye, he would immediately pur- chase them. After 1838, he had space in which to store new acquisitions, though he didn’t have much money. He purchased items from Literáti mostly on credit, a sign of the uncertainties in his financial state of affairs.

About five or six years later, thousands and thousands of books, manuscripts, and works of art began to flow into Jankovich’s home again, at a remarkable pace. Jankovich drew up an inventory of the new items at the beginning of 1844. He appended it to a petition submitted to palatine József in order to inform the palatine of the contents of his second collection. 11 As had been the case in 1825, his intention was to sell the collection. Referring to the promise that had been made as one of the stipulations of the 1832 contract, according to which, were he to acquire new collections, he would offer them to the National Museum first and foremost, Jankovich asked József to take the necessary steps in order to cover the costs that he had incurred in assembling the collection. The inventory that he appended to the petition included a list of the items in the collection, divided into three categories: archeological relics, manuscripts, and books. The group of manuscripts was essentially a collection of various handwritten documents consisting of three differ- ent parts: charters and certificates for the most part from the twelfth century from Hungary and Croatia-Slavo- nia-Dalmatia; foreign charters and certificates that were in no way related to Hungary and exotic writings from beyond Europe; manuscripts mostly from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries written in Latin, Hungarian, German, Slovak, Croatian, and Romanian on questions of geography and politics touching on Hungary, Transyl- vania, and the other states of the region. The collection of printed books consisted mostly of old, rare, and remarkable publications. It was divided into five groups: old printed materials in Hungarian, regard- less of their place of origin, i.e. incunabula from before 1570 (incunabula Hungarica) and printed materials from after 1570; books written in any language that had been published in Hungary; books written in any language and published anywhere that had been printed before the sixteenth century and had some bearing on Hungary or Hungarian culture and history; incunabula that had some bearing on Hungary or Hungarian culture (incunabula extranea Hungariam concernentia); all kinds of occultist books illustrated with expensive copperplate engravings (works on alchemy, cabalism, astrology, etc.). Jankovich wanted to append to this registry inventories that he had compiled at his own expense of parts of the collection that had been sold in accordance with the 1832 contract, inventories of which the National Museum had wrongfully taken possession at the time (including a twelve-volume registry of the Hungarian library), as well as the inventories of his second collection, ultimately the manuscripts of his own scholarly treatises. However significant the offer may have been, it came too late for the palatine to submit it for consideration by the 1843–44 national assembly. But even if some kind of

decision based on matter of principle had been reached,

it would hardly have constituted a suitable solution for

Jankovich. By the early autumn of 1844, his creditors were taking resolute measures in order to compel him

to pay his debts. He was no longer able to avoid being

declared unable to manage his affairs. On September 30, Jankovich was compelled to turn over all of his financial affairs to István Nagy, the notary of Pest County, who

was tasked with the administration of his sequestered properties. From this moment on, he had to rely on the notary even for small change. Thus, he was hardly able

to continue making offers concerning his collection.

This humiliating situation robbed the man of schol- arship of all his strength. Family tensions also flared up

again, and in late 1845 and early 1846 he fell gravely ill.

A few months later, on 18 April, he died. His body was

taken to Rácalmásra and he was buried in the family vault. A few days after Jankovich’s death, when members of his family returned from the funeral to Pest, two officials came to the house in Hartvani Street: József Deák, the attorney for the directorate of public endowments, and János Zlinszky, the head magistrate of Pest County. In accordance with an official decree, they put the entire library and collection of antiquities of the deceased un-

der lock and key. Jankovich’s heirs learned that royal councilor Ferenc Steinbach, the director of public en-

dowments, had asserted legal claim to all of the museum pieces in Jankovich’s bequest. Steinbach based this claim on the contract that had been signed on the 10 Novem- ber 1832. The officials also informed the heirs that they wanted to compile an inventory and take possession of the collections as soon as possible. 12 The proceedings had been initiated by palatine József, president of the National Museum. On 10 April, he had instructed István Horvát, custodian of the National Széchényi Library, to work together with the directorate of public endowments and take measures without delay after Jankovich’s death

to acquire the precious collections for the Museum. He

cited the fifth point of the 1832 contract as a justification

for this step. In the fifth point of the contract, Jankovich had explicitly pledged to leave all later acquisitions of books and antiquities to the Museum. The article in question could well be interpreted to mean this. The text (in translation from a Hungari- an translation based on the original) is the following:

“since I intend to continue to collect things in Hungary, prompted by the fervor with which I was born and the desire to save antiques from ruin, as proof of my deepest respect for Your Imperial and Royal Highness, the Pala- tine of Hungary, I now make the National Museum the primary heir to all antiques that I will own at the time

of my death, and with regards to this I pronounce all of

my offspring and heirs also subject to this obligation.” 13

The attorney’s department for public endowments and, in part under the influence of the attorney’s depart- ment for public endowments, the palatine felt that this proclamation was unambiguous and indisputably valid. However, if one takes not only the strict text of the contract into account, but also considers Jankovich’s ob- vious intention, it is quite clear that they were wrong. It would be absurd to assume (as the representatives of the Museum assumed) that Jankovich regarded the 100,000 forint sale price in 1832 as a sum that also covered books and treasures of art that he might later acquire. After all, he had no way of knowing how many or what kinds of items he would later purchase or come to possess, or what their value would be. Indeed, he did not even pledge to continue his activities as a collector. He only mentioned that he was likely to continue collecting. The contract makes quite clear that the 100,000 forints represented the value of the collections that he had offered up for sale and nothing more. The sum did not cover second or third copies of the books, copperplate engravings, coins, or other items either, as indeed was made clear by the fact that the museum had had to pay an additional 25,000 forints when it had resolved to acquire them. It would also be quite absurd to think that Jankovich had wanted to give his second collection to the Museum as a gift. It was common knowledge that he had put his precious findings up for sale because of his enormous debts. He knew perfectly well that the money he would receive in installments from the Museum would hardly suffice for him to appease his creditors. In November of 1832, he hardly could have been so blinded by opti- mism to have pledged to give away valuable belongings. Clearly, his intention, in the fifth point of the contract, had simply been to indicate that, were he to acquire new collections, the Museum would have the first right to buy them. The aforementioned letter that he sent to the palatine on 24 January 1844 makes this quite clear. He unambiguously states that he wishes to give hi new collections to the National Museum in exchange for recognition of his efforts and monies to cover the costs he had incurred. Neither József nor Horvát raised any objection to providing the money to cover these costs. They made no reference to the contract, nor did the cite the fifth point and offer an interpretation accord- ing to which the Museum, as heir to the collections, was not obliged to provide any money in exchange for the acquisition. Indeed, the fifth point of the contract refers to the Museum as a “haeres,” the Latin term for heir. However, in the eyes of the law, inheritance also applied to debt, thus as heir, the Museum would have been compelled to shoulder a proportion of Jankovich’s considerable debt (160,000 forints) corresponding to the value of the collections.



Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


However, the director of public endowments did not share this view, so he managed to have the courts issue a warning to the heirs. When this proved unsuccessful, he had the collections legally sequestered by the court. Then, in the autumn, he initiated legal proceedings in the name of the royal treasury. The trial was heard by the Cisdanubian court of appeal. One year later, the heirs attempted to have the legal proceedings dismissed by submitting a petition to the 1847/48 national assembly. The national assembly, how- ever, did not address the issue. In the feverish days of March 1848, when the Revolution was on the horizon and historical questions were arising concerning the creation of a civil constitution, more important issues were at hand. Later, in the bloody days of the Revo- lution itself, the fate of a private collection was even less urgent. Thus, the affair was not resolved until the absolutist period after the Revolution. According to the ruling issued by the imperial court of Pest county on 30 January 1851, the court rejected the case that had been brought against Jankovich’s heirs by the director of royal legal affairs. The heirs were awarded complete power of disposal over the collection. The collections could not be turned over in their entirety, so the heirs were com- pelled to sell them at auction. They had announcements printed to spread the news among the people of the city and also, in all likelihood, among people outside of Budapest and antiquarians in Vienna that, on 22 Janu- ary 1852 and the subsequent days, Miklós Jankovich’s second collection in the family home in Hatvani Street would be sold at auction. The Jankovich family displayed very courteous be- havior with regards to the National Museum, which had been unsuccessful in its aims. In accordance with the earlier promise, it gave the institution an opportunity to select, make bids on, and purchase items that it wanted to acquire before the auction. The Museum, howev- er, did not have the financial resources did make large purchases for all of its collections. Its staunch patron, palatine József, died in early 1847, and no comparable figure replaced him in public life as a representative of the interests of the institution. The Museum was barely able to cover its operating costs. Thus, only the books department of the Museum (the National Széchényi Library) was able to make purchases from Jankovich’s bequest, and only within a very narrow range. The new head of the library, Gábor Mátray, who took over in the summer of 1846 and replaced István Horvát (who in the meantime had passed on), focused on the materials from the Middle Ages and in particular the col- lection of diplomas. He managed to acquire the bulk of the collection, no less than 1,448 diplomas, valued at 6,000 forints. He was able to make only modest acquisitions

for the other departments, and he had to select carefully from among the items for sale. In total, twelve medieval codices, nine incunabula, and modern manuscripts, docu- ments, and letters (representing ninety catalogue entries) were added to the original Jankovich collection. The purchases from the second Jankovich collection came to a total of roughly 8,000 forints. By the time the second Jankovich collection was put up for auction, the National Museum and its library, the National Széchényi Library, had already been moved to the splendid edifice designed by architect Mihály Pollack, the building known as the Museum Palace. The books were moved to the building in the fall of 1846 and the collection was systematically organized in the spring of 1847. At the time, the collections out of which the National Library later took form (the collections of Ferenc Széchényi, István Illésházy, Miklós Jankovich, István Horvát, and other illustrious individuals) were kept separately from one another and comprised inde- pendent groups in the holdings of the library. The ambitious systematic organization of the hold- ings, which was undertaken in 1869–1875 by library custodian Ferdinánd Barna at the request of minister of culture József Eötvös and which at the time was seen as modern, did not include the provenance of the items as one of their identifying elements. The considerations on which this system of organization was based, a system which itself was taken from the royal library in Munich, gave no importance whatsoever to the question of the origins of the various items and groups that comprised the collection of the National Library. And thus the frameworks according to which Miklós Jankovich’s extraordinary collection had been organized were lost. The 1832 contract had stipulated that each of the items of Jankovich’s collection that were to be made part of the holdings of the Museum’s library would be marked with a stamp indicating this, but in vain, no one concerned himself with this stipulation anymore. With the exception of the manuscripts, the items were given no mark whatsoever to set them apart, and so after 1875 one could only identify an item from Jankovich’s collection if it bore a note with his name or some other distinguishing sign. The damage that was thus done to the Jankovich collection, which ended up jumbled together with the rest of the items in the holdings of the library, was com- pounded later by even more substantial, material losses when parts of individual collections were disposed of in one form or another. For instance, in 1896, at the order of the government, the leadership of the Museum allowed 232 German-language manuscripts (or manu- scripts other having some bearing on German culture) from the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries—

items which originally had been part of Jankovich’s collection—to be given to the royal archive in Munich in exchange for the Hunyadi archive. The Hungarian National Archives, as the recipient of the Hunyadi ar- chives, provided compensation to the Museum Library in exchange, but this hardly made up for the loss. In 1884 and over the course of the years that followed, the National Széchényi Library was compelled to give up its rich collection of engravings. The government was establishing a public collection called the Hungarian Historical Gallery, the holdings of which were taken from the collection of antiques, the picture gallery, and the book collection of the Hungarian National Museum. The National Széchényi Library had to give the new institution its collection of prints, some 15,000 items, including engraving prints from Széchényi’s collection and prints from Jankovich’s collection. Finally, in the 1930s, the National Széchényi Library had to bid farewell to a third, quite substantial part of Jankovich’s collection, again because of measures taken by the government. In accordance with an article of

law passed in 1934, the public collections had to give the archival collection, which had taken form in the Hungarian National Museum and, more specifically, the National Széchényi Library, to the National Archives in its entirety. The charters, certificates, documents, and letters which had been part of Jankovich’s library had served as the foundation of this collection. In this essay, I have attempted to give an overview of the efforts of a man who was one of the most promi- nent representatives of the disappearing feudal world to establish collections of immense cultural and historical value. I have also endeavored to recount the fate his collections. It is my hope that this account will be of interest not only to specialists of the history of library culture in Hungary, but to a wider readership with an interest in the history of books and library collections. Furthermore, I hope to have shown persuasively that, in the foundation of the National Library, alongside Ferenc Széchényi, Miklós Jankovich made the most substantial and significant contribution. 14


1 National Széchényi Library. Manuscript collection. Fol Lat. 9.

2 See Catalogus bibliothecae Samuelis Kazzay de Ztrecze apothecarii. National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Lat. 11.

3 Catalogus bibliothecae et manuscriptorum Caroli Fejérvári de Keresztes. National Széchényi Li- brary. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Lat. 35.

4 Samuelis Székely de Doba bibiothecae librorum rariorum cathalogus. National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Lat.3. and 5.

5 FEJÉR György, T. Vadasi Jankovics Miklós gyûjteményeirôl, Scholarly Collection, 1817, XI. 5.

6 National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fond 16.

7 Magyar hajdankor emlékeinek jeles gyűjteményét hazájának mély tisztelettel ajánlja W. J. M.,

Tudományos Gyűjtemény [J. W. M. offers his ex- cellent collection of Relics of Hungarian Times Passed to his homeland with deep respect], 1830, VIII. 114–123.

8 Hungarian National Archives. Regnicolaris lt. Ladula XX. Nr.16. Fasc. D. Nr. 3. 12.

9 Hungarian National Archives. Regnicolaris lt. Ladula XX. Nr.17. Fasc. C. Nr. 42. Dieta anni 1830.

10 National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Hung. 3400/I. ff. 36–37.

11 Lajstroma W. Jankovich Miklós másodszori gyűjteményének… mely… öszve szedetett 1833– 1844. esztendőben [Catalogue of the second collection of Miklós W. Jankovich… which he collected in 1833–1844]. Hungarian National Archives. Nádori lt. An. 1844. nr. 296.

12 Hungarian National Archives. Nádori lt. An. 1846. nr. 1881.

13 National Széchényi Library. Archives of the Directorate. Collection of endowment and other important documents. 235, 236. National Széchényi Library.

14 This essay is the English translation of a shorter version of an essay originally published in Hungarian. See Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Évkönyve 1970–1971 [Almanch of the National Széchényi Library, 1970–1971], Budapest, 1973, 109–174.


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Collectors and Collections 44 Count István Illésházy (1762–1838) J enő B erlász The IlléSházy Fa MIly

Count István Illésházy (1762–1838)

Jenő Berlász

The IlléSházy Fa MIly lIBR aRy

Archduke József, Palatine of Hungary, praeses of the Hun- garian National Museum and the National Széchényi Library, received a letter dated 22 June 1835 1 from Count István Illésházy, a high-ranking member of a historic family of wealthy aristocrats. The missive reads as fol- lows:

Your Imperial and Royal Highness the Perpetual Prince, Archduke of Austria, Palatine of Hungary, Your Excellency,

My tasks at hand require me to spend the rest of my days withdrawn from public affairs, living in peace and tranquility. I have resolved to turn my remaining prop- erties over to the benefit of my homeland. To this end, and as a token of my uttermost respect for Your Impe- rial and Royal Highness, I hereby bestow my library of considerable value, including the books, manuscripts, and a prized collection of maps, upon the National Mu- seum, entrusting it to the protection of Your Imperial and Royal Highness. I kindly request Your Imperial and Royal Highness to take the necessary steps to ensure the transfer of the collection. I myself have already given in- structions concerning the handover, which will be car- ried out by judge of the High Court and steward of the estate Ferenc Némák in the Castle of Dubnic, Trencsén County. I remain a humble and obedient servant to Your Im- perial and Royal Highness,

Nagyszarva, 22 June 1835

Count István Illésházy

The letter does not reveal the motives behind the gift. Archduke József, Palatine of Hungary was, however, aware of the situation which prompted Illésházy to write this missive. Ever since he became Palatine of Hun- gary in 1796, he had been conscious of the events in the Count’s life. He was personally acquainted with Illésházy, who was count of Trencsén (today Trenčín in Slovakia) and Liptó (today Liptov) Counties, a prom- inent landowner with major estates in the Csallóköz region and Trencsén County in Upper Hungary (what today is Slovakia), Fejér County, and even the histor-

ical Moravia, and an illustrious public figure, who had played a leading role in national politics since the 1790s. Palatine József knew Illésházy was one of the few Hungar- ian aristocrats who were striving to separate themselves from the absentee-ist, Germanified court aristocracy to promote a national revival in Hungary. He must have been conscious of the Count’s past as a Freemason and his leading role in a belligerent political league at the time of nationalistic opposition following the death of Emperor Joseph II. He may also have been aware of the fact that Napoleon had selected Illésházy as prospective viceroy of a to-be-conquered Hungary, and the Count, as an object of suspicion, had thus been placed under long-term police surveillance. Throughout the critical years of the anti-French military campaigns, however, the Palatine had witnessed how Illésházy, along with the entire Hungarian aristocracy, remained loyal to the dynasty, and had assumed the lion’s share of the costs of fielding feudal militias. József also had firsthand ex- perience proving that the count was willing to support, if perhaps with some reservations, the policies that he introduced as palatine. Of nationalistic aristocrats, aside from Ferenc Széchényi, it was first and foremost Illésházy on whose advice he could rely, and who constituted a dependable ally at the Diets. His appreciation for the Count’s public achievements prompted József to have Illésházy appointed Genuine Privy Councilor in 1801 and to recommend him for vice chancellor in 1808. Instead of granting him the latter, however, the Viennese court awarded the count the Order of the Golden Fleece. The Palatine must have visited Illésházy’s palaces in Pozsony (today Bratislava in Slovakia) and Dubnic (today Dubnica nad Váhom). In- cidentally, Dubnic had hosted other notable guests, such as Czar Alexander I, who visited Illésházy’s residence fleeing the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, and Emperor Francis II, who travelled the country after the 1809 Battle of Wagram. Palatine József had thus almost certainly seen the library that the Count was now offering to give to the nation, and he must also have been aware of the tragic background of the pledge. It was an open secret that the 73-year-old lord, who had, for a generation, been a generous supporter of humanitarian causes and authors

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Collectors and Collections 46 At the time of the great flood of Pest in 1838, the

At the time of the great flood of Pest in 1838, the Illésházy collection, along with the holdings of the National Széchényi Library, was housed in the Ludoviceum, finished in 1834, later used as a military academy, now home to the Museum of Natural History. (Engraving by Rudolf Alt)

heralding a Hungarian revival, had gone bankrupt. His one million-forint debt was settled by Baron György Sina, a widely known banker of Greek origins, who thus obtained Illésházy properties in Upper Hungary (Trencsén, Bán [today Bánovce nad Bebravou in Slo- vakia] and Brumov). It was also known that the count, ailing and broken, had withdrawn to Nagyszarva (today Rohovce), Csallóköz, the estate of his medieval ances- tors. As the last member of his family, he was occupied with settling his remaining affairs. Aware of the reasons for the donation, Palatine József did not hesitate concerning. On 30 June, in an official letter sent mere days later, he thanked the Count for his generous offer and accepted it. He immediately notified Antal Haliczky, deputy head of the National Museum, and instructed him to prepare to take possession of the Dubnic library and transport it to Pest. On 9 August, on Haliczky’s recommendation, he asked István Horvát, warden of the National Széchényi Library, to travel to Dubnic and carry out the task. He also sent an order to the Lord Lieutenant’s Deputy of Trencsén County to make the necessary number of wagons available to the delegate of the museum. 2 István Horvát must have been familiar with Illésházy’s reputation. Scientists and authors of the early decades of the century, Kazinczy among them, held the count

in high esteem as a sophisticated bibliophile and a sup- porter of many causes, including the movement for the Hungarian language. They knew that he had contrib- uted a generous sum towards the establishment of the Ludoviceum and had made a magnanimous donation to the National Museum fund, and that for his services, he was elected a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1830. The takeover of the library took place in September. István Horvát and his apprentice transported the col- lection to the National Széchényi Library, which was at the time in the center of Pest (Országút, today Múzeum körút). With no surviving official record, we cannot gauge how Horvát must have felt about the promising acquisi- tion or what recommendations he may have made for the further treatment of the collection. Surprisingly, the press was reluctant to report on the remarkable expansion of the Library, even though the collection included several codices of immeasurable historic value. It is possible that Hungarian literati were informed of Illésházy’s gift only as late as May 1836, when the relevant paragraphs (par- agraph 1 of Clause 38) of the “long” National Assembly were published. 3 The Library may have been hesitant to act because the library rooms in the building of the museum, which had been converted from Archbishop József Batthyány’s

had been converted from Archbishop József Batthyány’s Ex libris from the collection housed in István
had been converted from Archbishop József Batthyány’s Ex libris from the collection housed in István

Ex libris from the collection housed in István Illésházy’s palace, Dubnic, Trencsén County

holiday home between 1814 and 1817, had, by that time, filled up to such an extent that no space was left for the Illésházy collection. The books from Dubnic were waiting in their crates for the new Museum to be built. 4 Construction of the Museum palace, designed by Mihály Pollack, began in the summer of 1837. As the old Batthyány villa did not impede construction, the collections should have remained in place until the new building was completed. The great flood of Pest in 1838, however, thwarted the plan. The villa was damaged to such an extent that the collections had to be evacuated. At Palatine József’s order, the material of the Library, along with the Illésházy collection, was stowed and relocated to the recently finished Ludovice- um building in Üllői út. Nearly a decade passed before the new Museum was in a state to house the collections. The new National Széchényi Library was moved into the building in two stages, in the autumn of 1846 and in the spring of 1847. Although there was abundant space now for the collections, the lack of equipment and sufficient staff in the splendid palace building caused additional delays. The Revolution and War of Independence in 1848/49, and the following dictatorial régime thwarted all attempts to resolve the issue. Under Baron Alexander von Bach’s

administration and the subsequent governments, all the solutions that were proposed encountered bureaucratic obstacles. The technical failures were aggravated by the personal losses that the Museum had suffered. In early 1847, Palatine József died, robbing the institution of an agile, enthusiastic, and powerful patron. Even before that, in the summer of 1846, István Horvát, who was inti- mately familiar with the 100,000-volume collection of the Library and who would have been the most suitable person to organize it, had passed away. István Illésházy, who could have determined the fate of the Dubnic library, had died in 1838. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and the subsequent formation of a national government marked a turning point in the state of the National Széchényi Library. When Baron József Eötvös, Minister of Religion and Education, found the resources to furnish and staff the institution sufficiently in 1869, Ferdinánd Barna, a young library officer, enlisting the assistance of a dozen temporary workers, systematically arranged the Library in a matter of years. By 1875, they had installed and cat- alogued all the 150,000 items in the collection. 5 The systematic rearrangement sealed the fate of the Illésházy collection. As Eötvös ordered the curators to follow the rules of the Munich classification system, the volumes were strictly categorized by branches of the

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Chartae geographicae (G)

sciences, dismantling historically formed collections, and cataloguing their items into rigid scientific classes and sub-

Libri rariores




classes. Thus, when the centennial volume of the Library was published, it was already impossible to determine the size or the cultural value of the Dubnic library. 6 The Manuscript Archive of the National Széchényi Library contains altogether seven volumes of inventories on the historical Illésházy collections under the press- marks Fol. Lat. 26–31. and Fol. Germ. 1. The volumes are of varying ages. Two of the inventories were compiled in the 1790s, while the remaining ones date from the general restructuring of the library between 1806 and 1807. They offer valuable insights into the Illésházy library stock, revealing how this forgotten gift enriched the National Széchényi Library. The so-called Bucsánszky inventory, which catalogues the library in its final form, serves as the most suitable basis for a comprehensive analysis. It was compiled by György Bucsánszky, Doctor of Hu- manities, poetry teacher, and deputy head of the Royal Catholic Chief Gymnasium in Pozsony, emeritus professor after 1803. Throughout his two-decade literary career, he

Bucsánszky was also meticulous in cataloguing the ma- terial. His two-volume Catalogus fulfils the dual role of inventory and topographical register. Each volume, num- bered consistently within the class, is registered by its almost photographically reproduced title page. He also indicated the format (forma), the year (tomi), and the number (volumina) of the volume. In another column (animadversiones), he added useful notes and scientific details. In Bucsánszky’s system, the role of the modern cata- logue is played by the so-called repertorium. 7 It is another two-volume registry, which was intended as a more light- weight, easy-to-search, alphabetical catalogue of authors or (for anonymous works) subject headings. For each book, the repertorium includes abbreviated titles with references to the Catalogus with its relevant volume and page, where the book is registered with its exact location. The Dubnic library enlarged the National Széchényi Library by a good 8,000 volumes of approximately 6,000

works. The collection comprised printed books (93.9 per-

wrote a textbook on Church history and a fair number of Latin odes and panegyrics. We have no details about his relation to István Illésházy. The Count must have seen him fit for the duty of organizing and cataloguing his library, and the professor lived up to the expectations. His system is based on theoretical studies, but finely ad- justed to the realities. He must have also been the artist behind the Empire-style, ornamental ex libris found in several volumes. Although he classified the material by branches of the sciences, as was conventional at the time, he also grouped books of different age and size together. He attempted to compensate for his utter disregard for chronology by establishing special categories within the collection to highlight the details of the library which were considered the most valuable. The branches of the sciences, by which Bucsánszky catalogued the collection, were as follows:

cent), maps (3.4 percent), bibliographical rarities (1.9 percent), and manuscripts (0.8 percent). The material was almost two-thirds of the size of Ferenc Széchényi’s gift to the nation in 1802. What the collection contributed to the Library in terms of quality, however, is even more impressive. The repertorium sheds light on the wide range of the col- lection. The Illésházy family evidently strived to extend their collecting efforts over all main areas of knowledge. The proportion of each field is also worth noting. The leading role of philology—i.e. belles-lettres and humani- ties—is self-evident for a flourishing library at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The substantial share of philosophy is a similarly modern feature. The high ratio of jurisprudential literature is what one would expect from the library of a family of aristocrats in leading

1. Classis facultatis theologicae


political roles. However, the relatively significant propor- tion of medical and theological literature definitely calls

2. Classis facultatis juridicae


for further inquiry.

3. Classis facultatis medicae


Thorough scrutiny of this “universal” library begins

4. Classis facultatis philosophicae


with performing two closely connected analyses into the

5. Classis facultatis philologiae


On the whole, these categories resemble the conven- tional faculty system of universities. Strangely enough, the only class Bucsánszky separated from philosophy was philology, as it was necessary to accommodate belles-let- tres, which had, by that time, carved out a place for itself alongside the sciences. Bucsánszky also established three special categories within the collection:

history of science. First, we must explore the layers of each scientific category. Then, we must introduce the titles which best represent the substance and quality of the collection. Meanwhile, we must not lose sight of the specifically Hungarian aspects of the material. According to the aforementioned sources, two mem- bers of the Illésházy family played a central role in es- tablishing the library. As no history of the Illésházy family has been written so far, we have to rely on the

insufficient and often incorrect information provided by the genealogical work of Iván Nagy. 8 About János Illésházy, this source informs us that he was a judge of the highest feudal court, known as the Table of Seven, and possibly chairman of the national bar examination board. We learn that the epoch-making 1790 National Assembly delegated him to the jurisprudential commit- tee, which was, among other such panels, intended to propose administrative and social reforms. He married Countess Szidónia Batthyány, who gave birth to their son, István, and he died in 1799. We hardly learn any-

thing about his mentality, except that he was a legal ex- pert and possibly a theorist, who was entrusted with the responsibility of preparing legal reforms. The beginning

of his public service in 1766 coincided with the decades

of the Enlightenment in Hungary. As a bibliophile, he must have played a principal role in establishing the jurisprudential collection of the library. His son, István Illésházy, began his studies in 1771 at a Jesuit institution in Nagyszombat (today Trnava in Slovakia). After the Society of Jesus was disbanded, he continued his studies under the supervision of Enlight-

enment tutors. He finished his studies in philosophy in Nagyszombat, and he received his Doctor of Arts degree in Buda, 1778. He attended this faculty with such illustrious contemporaries as Elek Horányi, Károly Koppi, Márton György Kovachich, Ignác Martinovics,

Lajos Mittelpacher, Lipót Schaffrath, and István Schön- wisner, and, as fellow Freemasons, he must have also maintained contact with them in the following decades. From 1777 to 1779, he was a student of law in Buda, then also at the Eger Lyceum, where he studied Church and domestic law until 1781. Although he received

a liberal education, his social status destined him not

for the world of scholarship, but rather for a political career. Yet, his public service never stopped him from enjoying the study of the sciences and literature. His knowledge of foreign languages (Hungarian, Slovak, Latin, German, French, and Italian) enabled him to acquaint himself with the audacious cultural endeavors and stimulating achievements of the time. In addition to family tradition, his enthusiasm for books must have been reinforced by his experiences at the libraries of his maternal uncles: Archbishop József Batthyány in Pozsony and Bishop Károly Eszterházy in Eger. His long life, spanning over decades of the Enlightenment and Romanticism, gave him ample opportunity to expand the library in Dubnic. The material that he bestowed on the National Széchényi Library in 1835 was three times the size of the collection of 2,000 volumes that he had inherited from his father. Theological works comprise a significant proportion of the first group in the Dubnic library. This is hardly

surprising, considering that János Illésházy received a

Baroque education, defined by Jesuit thought. His range of inquiry, although expanded by decades of Enlighten- ment education, was rooted in the late Scholastic idea. His son István must also have shown interest in theology, given the sensibilities of the time. For the most part (approximately 70 percent), the relevant material dates from the second half of the eight- eenth century. The proportion of post-1800 volumes is relatively low (6 percent). Notably, works printed in the seventeenth century occur with relative frequency (20 percent), while sixteenth-century volumes comprise another 4 percent of the collection. Geographically, most of the material originated from Habsburg provinces and the German Empire. Eight- eenth-century volumes were printed in such historical cultural centers as Vienna, Salzburg, Prague, Olomouc, Leipzig, Augsburg, or Cologne. Nineteenth-century works were published in modern seats of German scientific thought, including Göttingen, Berlin, Jena, Leipzig, Er- langen, Tübingen etc. There are a significant number of eighteenth-century Italian and French works from Rome, Venice, and Paris. The seventeenth-century ma- terial includes volumes from typically Protestant printing centers, such as Wittenberg and Utrecht. Interestingly, the proportion of Hungarian publications —printed in Nagyszombat, Pozsony, and later Pest—is as high as 20 percent. They largely date from after 1711, but 5-6 percent of them are early Hungarian prints. In terms of language, works written in Latin are the most common, followed by German, French, and Italian volumes. Hungarian pub- lications appear in a similar proportion to Italian ones. The material also features a number of titles in Slovak and Czech. The abundance of publications from the eighteenth century is a consequence of the clash between Enlight- ened absolutism and Baroque Jesuit thought. The the- ological material is clearly dominated by argumentative pieces and politically motivated works on ecclesiastical history and law. The canonical church is represented by its official publications: the Corpus Juris Canonici, decrees of the Council of Trent, various catechisms, the Martyrologium Romanum, and Acta Sanctorum, alongside such classical and modern authors as Jacob Gretser, Paul Laymann, Caesar Baronius, and Claude François Non- otte. New ideologies are promoted by thinkers including

Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (Gallicanism), Claude Fleury (episcopalism), Paul József Riegger (Józsefinism), and several others. The metaphysical thought of the Enlight- enment is featured in Leibniz’s ground-breaking work, Théodicée.

Naturally, along with scientific titles, the collection also includes a multitude of pamphlets. In the spirit of

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Collectors and Collections 50 Péter Pázmány: Isteni igazságra vezérlő kalauza [A Guide to the Divine Truth].

Péter Pázmány: Isteni igazságra vezérlő kalauza [A Guide to the Divine Truth]. A summary of the teachings of the Catholic Church complete with a critique of Protestant views (Second edition, Pozsony, 1623).

theological Enlightenment, the works of authors includ- ing Johann David Michaelis, Johann Wilhelm Schmid, and Johann Friedrich Jerusalem discuss the problem of exegesis, while others, namely Robert Bellarmin, Thomas

Kempis, Blaise Pascal, and Francis de Sales explore more peculiar faculties of orthodoxy and Jansenism, such as Asceticism or spiritual theology.

The collection of liturgical works features a plethora of Roman Catholic publications: missals, graduals, books of Psalms, breviaries, and other manuals of offices and rituals. The relative absence of scriptures and works on patristics also underlines the Catholic inclination of the library. Although the range of subjects is similarly wide in the Hungarian material, the ideological conflict here is con- fined to the opposition between Catholic and Protestant thought. Works of Catholic authors also dominate this section of the collection. Seventeenth-century authors comprise György Káldi, Péter Pázmány, Ferenc Otrokocsi Fóris, Pál Keresztury, Péter Beniczky, István Koháry, And- rás Illés, and Paul I, Prince Esterházy. Eighteenth-cen- tury thinkers include, among others, György Pray, Ince Desericzky, Antal Gánóczy, József Benkő, Mihály Szvo- rényi, Márton Padányi Bíró, and Ignác Batthyány. Nota-

ble Protestant works include early seventeenth-century Evangelical synodical decrees from Zsolna (today Žilina in Slovakia), Szepesváralja (Spišské Podhradie), and Rózsahegy (Ružomberok), Upper Hungary, and a trea- tise on the history of the Protestant Church in Hungary and Transylvania by German theologian Friedrich Adolf Lampe, published in Utrecht in 1728.

Chronologically, the jurisprudential collection is similar to the previous section. It is characterized by a dominance of eighteenth-century publications (with a

proportion of 50 percent) over seventeenth-century (17 percent) and nineteenth-century works (27 percent) with the sporadic presence of sixteenth-century vol- umes (6 percent). Geographically, the majority of these works originated from German university towns and printing centers, but there are also a number of prints from Switzerland (Basel and Geneva), the Low Coun- tries (Amsterdam) and even France. The proportion of Hungarian publications in this segment also reaches 20 percent. Until the mid-eighteenth century, the predom- inant language is Latin, but after that, works written in German begin to prevail. A limited number of volumes in French and Hungarian are also present. The rapid spread of civitas as thought and a view of life in the eighteenth century features as prominently in the jurisprudential collection as in the theological material. Here, the ancien régime is represented by the Imperial German offshoot of Roman law, known as the law of Pandects. There is an abundance of edi- tions of the Corpus Juris Civilis, the school textbook Institutes, collections of the Digest, the received law, and corresponding theoretical discussions. There are also numerous works on German public law, and even on the national customary laws of particular Habsburg countries. Prominent authors of natural law, such as Hugo Grotius, Montesquieu, and Karl Anton Martini, are also featured. A rich variety of publications reveal how Enlightened jurisprudential thought became part of the educational and legislative system, and how it was adopted in legal practice. The experimental legislative reform of the Austrian provinces is represented by the collected volumes of the decrees issued by Maria Theresa and especially József II. On the other hand, the works of Heinrich Zoesius and Gottlieb Heineccius also illustrate how the interests of the absolute monarchy conserved the law of Pandects, buttressed with Enlightenment interpretations. The collection also features the final product of the contemporary development of jurispru- dence: the Napoleonic Code. Expanding administrative functions of the state re- sulted in an extension of traditional jurisprudence into legal and political sciences. Statistics, early economics and financial studies began to gain relevance. Corres-

pondingly, the material from Dubnic includes works by Joachim Georg Daries, Johann Heinrich Gottlob von Justi, József von Sonnenfels, and Gottfried Achenwall, together with a rich literature of political journalism on the financial politics and other issues of the Napoleonic era. The material also faithfully reflects the development of feudal jurisprudence in Hungary. The diverse collec- tion of scientific literature must have been unequalled even by the libraries of the highest ranking families. It features, first of all, the most important editions of the Corpus Juris Hungarici: the first, 1584 edition by Zaka- riás Mossóczi and Miklós Telegdi, the 1696 version by Márton Szentiványi, and the official, eighteenth-century publications from Nagyszombat. Even more impressive is the collection of the Tripartitum editions, dating from the sixteenth century (1545, 1561, 1581) up to the late eighteenth century (1775). Interestingly, the library also includes the great collections of Transylvanian law: the Aprobatae Constitutiones and the Compilatae Constitu- tiones (from 1677 and 1779, respectively). Seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century scientific titles from the discipline of law appear in large numbers:

Praecognita Juris by Paul I, Prince Esterházy, Directio Me- thodica Processus Judiciarii by János Kitonich, a descrip- tion of legal proceedings by János Kászoni, Tripartitum Juris Hungarici Tyrocinium by János Szegedi, Jurisprudentia Practica by István Huszty, Opusculum Quaestonium by Pál Prileszky, Normalium Constitutorum by József Keresztúry, the legal codex from Tárnok by Márton György Kovach- ich, Ordo historiae Juris Civilis Hungarici by Antal Mózes Cziráky, and several other reference books. A further sizea- ble group consists of the documentations from each national assembly (acta, diaria, articuli) in printed and manuscript forms ranging from the early seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century. Certain public documents of national interest, such as peace treaties and unpublished reports by assembly committees, are also worth noting. Discussions of the history of law by Ferenc Ádám Kollár and József Benczur signify the literary offensive launched by the absolute monar- chy against the feudal constitution of Hungary. Finally, the appendix includes volumes from what were considered auxil- iary sciences of jurisprudence in the late eighteenth century:

diplomacy, heraldry, sphragistics, numismatics, and statistics. These are represented by the pioneering works of Márton György Kovachich, Ferenc Károly Palma, György Pray, Mihály Horváth, Márton Schwartner, Antal Szirmay, and György Fejér. The chronological distribution of the medical collec- tion is almost identical to the previous segments. The assortment of printing locations is also much the same, displaying a dominance of Imperial German printing centers, followed by those in the lands of the Monarchy,

with an approximately 10 percent share of Hungarian print shops, and finally a scarcity of Western European (French and Swiss) press-works. Unlike the previous col- lections, this section is dominated by German-language publications (50 percent) over the ones written in Latin (35 percent). Other languages (Hungarian, French, and Czech) feature less prominently. The material displays a blend of scientifically valu- able works and popular writings, including writings by charlatans. If we consider that in Hungary there was no formal medical training before 1770, and that even the most educated lacked medical knowledge, it is impressive that the library of an aristocratic family contained such a comprehensive collection of medical works. We can distinguish four subsections in the material:

works on general medicine and medical practice; publi- cations on surgery, obstetrics, anatomy and veterinary science; botanical, chemical, and mineral sciences; and pharmaceutical works. This classification shows great competence as it corresponds to the subjects of university medical training. The list of authors includes notable antique and medieval thinkers, such as Hippocrates or several physicians of the Salerno Medical School, but also modern scholars: Albrecht von Hatter, who, as a professor at the University of Bern and later Göttingen, established physiology as an individual science; Carl von Linné, author of the binomial nomenclature; or Dutch physician Herman Boerhaave, who taught at the Uni- versity of Leiden, and whose Institutiones de methodo me- dendi served as a basic reference book for decades throughout Europe. There are also works by outstanding representatives of eighteenth-century Central European medicine: Viennese professors Heinrich Johann Crantz, Joseph Jacob Plenck, and Anton von Störk. Hungarian physicians are also featured prominently: there is a 1573 Basel edition of Vegetius’s works compiled by Johannes Sambucus (János Zsámboky), while Sámuel Köleséri, János Torkos Justus, József Csapó, Károly Mócsi, Pál Adami, Gottlieb Klein, Péter Madács, Dávid Sámuel Mádai, János Molnár, and Sándor Tolnai each partake with one book. A number of titles published abroad discuss the therapeutic effects of the medicinal bath in Trencsénteplice (today Trenčian- ske Teplice in Slovakia), owned by the Illésházy family. There are a fair number of doctoral dissertations, herbaria in printed or manuscript form, as well as handbooks of medicines and herbs. Other works, dating as far back as the late sixteenth century, include books on equine and bovine diseases, and also studies on facing the terrifying epidemics of the past (such as the plague or the pox) or treating common illnesses (such as gout). The section with the heading “philosophia” does not strictly cover philosophy as we know it. In medieval terms, which were rooted in university education, and

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


coexisted with modern philosophy up to the nineteenth century, the expression referred to the seven liberal arts. Although the education reforms by Gottfried van Swi- eten meant that the subjects taught in the art faculties of Hungarian universities were no longer limited to the trivium and the quadrivium 9 , the library in Dubnic con- served the transitional period when historical liberal arts were blending with expertise and practical knowledge. The inventory established four categories for the rele- vant material:

1. logic, metaphysics, and history of sciences (historia litteraria);

2. mathematics, astronomy, geometry, and hydraulics;

3. physics, mechanics, and agriculture (res rustica);

4. ethics, aesthetics, and critical reasoning.

Philosophical works, strictly speaking, belong to the first and the fourth category. as in the case of the theo- logical section, these writings represent both prevailing world views. Jesuit scholars provide the religious perspec- tive, including Spanish thinker Francisco de Toledo, whose writings featured prominently in the Hungarian university curriculum, or Viennese professor Sigmund Strohenau. There are a number of works by university teachers from Nagyszombat: Gábor Hevenesi, András Jaszlinszky, János K. Horváth, Antal Vanossi, György

Szerdahelyi, and others, including thinkers who were already inclined towards modern philosophy. Notable non-Jesuit Catholic authors are Justus Lipsius, profes- sor of the University of Louvain, and Abbey Claude- François Nonnotte. Sixteenth-century, seventeenth-century, and eight- eenth-century authors of the Humanist and, later, the rationalistic-materialistic world view are also strongly represented. There are works by Michel de Montaigne and as many as six seventeenth-century editions of Fran- cis Bacon’s writings. Volumes by John Locke and even Helvétius are also listed. As to be expected, eminent thinkers of the German Aufklärung are present from Christian Wolff to Kant. Several of Wolff’s works are contemporary editions. The tomes of these outstanding scholars are interspersed with insignificant and often anonymous works on nature, religion and Freemasonry. Writings of Hungarian free thinkers include Phisiologis- che Bemerkungen über den Menschen (Petersburg, 1789) by Ignác Martinovics. The nineteenth-century material features publications written in the spirit of Romanti- cism, such as the 1815–1819 volumes of Geist der Zeit. Several reference books and brochures discuss tech- nological expertise and the applied branches of natural sciences. Engineering is represented by Jacopo Barozzi Vignola’s treatise on architecture and a number of other works on civil engineering, waterworks and navigation. Applied arithmetics is featured in textbooks on dou-

ble entry bookkeeping, while agricultural studies are discussed by more than two hundred reference books, guides, and agricultural calendars in German and Hun- garian, dating as far back as Posoni Kert (Garden in Pozsony) by János Lippay (Vienna, 1668). As a novel- ty, literary history is represented by Historia universitatis Tyrnaviensis by Ferenc Kazy and Conspectus reipublicae litterariae in Hungaria by Pál Wallaszky. Our statistics show that the size of the philological category exceeds the combined size of the four other sections. Early nineteenth-century philology comprised not only linguistics, literary science, and critical text analysis, but also a considerably broader range of con- cepts and practical knowledge related to the humanities. Even more remarkably, belles-lettres also belonged to this field, as an indication of the newfound appreciation for poetic and artistic work in the late eighteenth cen- tury. Philology also encompassed grammar—previously one of the seven liberal arts—and didactics, as well as general history and its auxiliary sciences: geography, topography, and military studies. The philology section begins with the history. A se- parate category was established for foreign historical works—excluding authors from the Ancient Greece and Rome—and for Hungarian titles. The size of the former group (444 titles) considerably exceeds the size of the latter (173 titles). Both segments are dominated by eight- eenth-century works with a scarcity of early publications. While nineteenth-century titles are rare in the Hun- garian material, the foreign corpus shows considerable expansion after 1800. The numbers may shed light on the embryonic state of Hungarian historiography before the eighteenth century, and its thwarted development in the early 1800s. The foreign material offers some surprising but ex- plicable insights. The collection lacks a strict scientific approach, and highlights of historiography are nota- bly absent. However, it is possible to trace scientific developments from chroniclers and Humanist authors to the representatives of Enlightenment thought and Romanticism, but only via insignificant titles, historical documents, and unscientific but intriguing tales and anecdotes. The collection method here clearly catered to the interests of the aristocratic readership. Humanist historiography is represented by such works as Histoire de Florence by Macchiavelli or late editions of Benvenuto Cel- lini’s autobiography (Amsterdam, 1694 and Braunschweig, 1748). A classic example of Baroque historical writing would be Discours sur histoire universelle by Bossuet (Paris, 1682). Works by Enlightenment thinkers include Geschichte der Deutschen by Michael Ignaz Schmidt (Ulm, 1778) and the German translation of Claude Francois Xavier Millot’s sixteen-volume Histoire universelle (Vienna, 1794). Ro-

sixteen-volume Histoire universelle (Vienna, 1794). Ro- History of Transylvania by János Bethlen (Vienna, 1782)

History of Transylvania by János Bethlen (Vienna, 1782)

manticism is exemplified by Österreichische Plutarch, the work of Josef von Hormayr (Vienna, 1807). These well- known titles are interspersed with outdated publications, biographies and historical anecdotes. Their significance at the time lied within broadening the traditionally restricted horizons of Hungarian aristocracy. The Hungarian material here is considerably more comprehensive and detailed than the previous col- lections of Hungarian titles. Humanist works include Historia Matthiae Hunyadi by Gáspár Heltai (Kolozsvár, 1565), Antonio Bonfini’s Rerum Hungaricarum decades (Hannoviae, 1606), Historia regni Hungariae by Baron Miklós Istvánffy (Coloniae, 1622), and products of the late Humanist scientific thought, such as Origines Hungaricae by Ferenc Otrokocsi Fóris (Franeqerae, 1693), De Mo- narchia by Péter Révay (Francofurti, 1659), and János Bethlen’s Rerum Transylvanicarum (1664). There are also post-Humanist titles and new discoveries, such as Epitome rerum Hungaricarum by Petrus Ransanus (Buda, 1746), Magyar Krónika by Pethő Gergely, (Pozsony, 1742), György Ráttkay’s Memoria Regum (Vienna, 1772), Gesta Hungarorum by Anonymus (Kassa, 1772), János György Schwandtner’s Scriptores rerum Hungari- cum (Vienna, 1746), Commentarii de rebus Transylvanicis by János Bethlen (Bécs, 1778–1782), Historia de rebus

Transylvanicis by Farkas Bethlen(Nagyszeben, 1782), and Forgách Ferenc’s Rerum Hungaricarum commentarii (Pozsony–Kassa, 1788). Foreign sources on the Ottoman–Hungarian Wars and the Hungarian revolutions are also available, including such titles as Hungarisch–Türkische Chronik (Nuremberg, 1684), Histoire de l’estat présent du royaume de la Hongrie (Cologne, 1686), or Vera et deducta descriptio criminalium processuum Francisci de Nádasd, Petri a Zrin etc. (Vienna, 1671). Other intriguing works feature the memoirs by Francis II Rákóczi, Histoire des revolutions de Hongrie (La Haye, 1739), de Sacy’s Histoire générale de Hongrie (Paris, 1778), and the publication Merkwürdige Geschichte des Lebens des Grafen Emerich von Thököly (Berlin u. Post- dam, 1738). The eighteenth-century material allows us to trace the evolution of scientific historiography in Hungary. From the positivist approach, Jesuit and Protestant authors in- clude Sámuel Timon, Ince Desericzky, Elek Horányi, and Péter Bod. Proponents for a school of political studies modelled on the University of Halle comprise Mátyás Bél, Károly Bél, András Lehoczky, and József Benkő. Ádám Ferenc Kollár appears as one of the foremost authorities on legal history. Pioneers of critical historiography include György Pray, István Katona, Dániel Cornides, György Márton Kovachich, Károly Wagner, Károly Ferenc Palma, and István Schönwiser. Finally, early nineteenth-century

and István Schönwiser. Finally, early nineteenth-century Published between 1746 and 1748, Johannes Schwandtner col-

Published between 1746 and 1748, Johannes Schwandtner col- lected the sources of Hungarian history in a three-volume tome

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


narrative historians are represented by Benedek Virág and Ézsaiás Budai. As a supplementary discipline to historiography, mil- itary science comprises a relatively small subsection with little more than 40 titles. These are partly sys- tematic discussions, such as Tactica by Emperor Leo VI the Wise (Vienna, 1781), Commentaries by Raimondo Montecuccoli (Vienna, 1718), Poliorcheticon by Justus Lipsius (Antwerp, 1605), and Observationes by Ludwig Khevenhüller (Vienna, 1734), and partly secret military instructions or regulations. They were mostly written in German or French, but some Hungarian texts occur as well, such as Krisztián Farkas Fáber’s textbook Hadi emberek oktatása [Training for Soldiers] (Kassa, 1759) and numerous service regulations from the last insur- rection in 1809. The geographical material is considerably broader, with as many as 202 volumes. 50 percent of the cor- pus dates from the eighteenth, 40 percent from the nineteenth century. The earliest works include the Weltbuch by Sebastianus Franco Werdensis (1542), a Liber cosmographicus (Basel, H. Petri, 1552), the Spec- ulum orbis terrarum (Antwerpen, 1593), Abrahamus Ortelius’s Compendio dal theatro del mondo (Anvers, 1612), and Gerardus Mercator’s Atlas (Atlas sive Cosmo- graphicae Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi, Amsterdam, 1606). From the seventeenth century onwards, there are a large number of city maps, country guides, alma- nacs and travelogues, and the arrival of the eighteenth century brings a proliferation of descriptions of exotic, faraway lands. There is a high proportion (18–20 percent) of works discussing Hungary. Notable examples are a Parvus atlas Hungariae (Bécs, 1639), and a book: Neue und kurze Beschreibung des Königreichs Ungarn (Nürnberg, 1664). Eighteenth and nineteenth century authors include Má- tyás Bél, János Tomka-Szászky, Karl Gottlieb von Win- disch, Sámuel Benkő, István Schönwisner, and János Csaplovics. Systematic descriptions of the country are rare—one example is István Losonczy’s textbook for schoolchildren, Hármas kis tükör (Pozsony, 1777)—but there are a fair number of accounts of specific regions, such as Transylvania or the area of the Danube or the Tisza River. The grammatical subsection consists of 106 titles, almost exclusively from the eighteenth century. The most prominent piece is De duplici copia verborum ac rerum commentarii by Erasmus of Rotterdam (Cologne, 1554). A number of Hungarian titles also stand out:

János Sajnovics’s famous Demonstratio (Nagyszombat, 1770), and the textbooks of Mátyás Bél and György Pray. Besides classical languages, the collection en- compasses the chief Western European vernaculars

and a few Slavic languages, such as Polish or Serbian.

Dictionaries also belong to this category with 63 titles.

A notable early edition is the Dictionarium undecim lin-

guarum by Calepinus (Basel, 1605), while one of the latest publications is Diderot’s seventeen-volume Encyclopédie (Luques, 1758). Seventeenth and eighteenth-century glos- saries include works of Hungarian authors, such as Ferenc Pápai Páriz, Ferenc Wagner, Sámuel Mindszenti, and János Mátyás Korabinszky. The appendix of the grammati- cal subsection comprises writings on didactics, including the 1777 Ratio Educationis and the 1790 plan for Hungarian academies: Planum erigendi Eruditae Societatis Hungaricae (Vienna). The majority of the works in the philological section are belletristic pieces, which clearly illustrates how the artistic world view gained prominence alongside the sciences at the time. The belletristic segment consists of separate blocks. It is, of course, based on antique poetry and prose, which had been held in great esteem since the age of humanism. 51, chiefly eighteenth-century editions encompass the most remarkable authors of the Antiquity. An early Hungarian publication is featured among the scarce sixteenth and seventeenth-century sources: Enchiridion by Epiktetos in Gáspár Heltai’s 1585 Kolozsvár edition. There are loosely connected samples of sixteenth-cen- tury to eighteenth-century Hungarian and international poetry in the collection. Written in German, French, Italian, and English, the majority of these 188 works date back to the eighteenth century. Hungarian contri- butions include titles such as the letters of King Mathias

I (Epistolae Matthiae Corvini, Kassa, 1744), the poetry

of Janus Pannonius (Libri III. Poematum, Buda, 1754),

Imre Thurzó’s orations as Rector of the University of Wittenberg (Orationes, Wittenberg, 1616), János Osztro- zith’s university speech (Oratio de majestate, Wittenberg, 1616), the letter of Palatine Miklós Esterházy to George

I Rákóczi (Pozsony, 1644), Miklós Zrínyi’s epic poem

Adriai tengernek Syrénája (The Siren of the Adriatic Sea,

Vienna, 1651), a laudation to Paul I, Prince Esterházy (Affectus universorum Statuum et Ordinum, Nagyszom- bat, 1681), and a György Bessenyei play, Buda tragédiája (Tragedy of Buda, Pozsony, 1773).

One of the separate belletristic sections with 417 titles includes great eighteenth-century and nineteenth-cen- tury editions of collected works; i.e. multiple-volume oeuvres of authors who were significant or fashionable

at the time. The young István Illésházy began to compile

this collection when he was still living in Bán, and he proceeded with expanding it until as late as the early 1830s. The inventory begins with the collected works of

Rousseau (1781–1782, Geneva) and early nineteenth-cen- tury editions of La Fontaine from Berlin, Leipzig, and

Vienna. German Rococo, Sturm und Drang, Classi- cism, and Romanticism follow, including such names as Goethe, Schiller, Wieland, and Herder. The list also includes Hungarian-born historian and belletrist Ignaz Aurelius Fessler. Another subsection (headed auctores scenici) compris- es late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century editions of dramatic works; altogether 245 titles. Series include Shakespeare’s works, the oeuvre of August Frie- drich Kotzebue, and August Wilhelm Ifflandt. Separate titles feature a fair number of contemporaries ranging as far as Franz Grillparzer. The collection of novels illustrate the proliferation of insignificant prose of nameless authors in the early nineteenth century. There are as many as 637 items on the list of multiple-volume novels, while single-volume editions total 211 titles with altogether 243 French nov- elists. In the 1836-piece multitude of romances, adven- tures, and travelogues, names of literary significance, such as Cristoph Martin Wieland or Madame de Staël, scarcely appear. The philology section ends with a good 400-piece assortment of miscellaneous material. Items of value include 65 contemporary brochures on the French Rev- olution and 20 pamphlets published by various German and Austrian Masonic Lodges in the 1780s and 1790s. Other historically relevant sources here may include calendars, almanacs, and pocket guides. The aforementioned special collections of the library feature printed bibliographical rarities, manuscripts, maps, and graphics. György Bucsányszky compiled the catalogue of these curiosities with great care. His list of special editions includes all the incunabula, then six- teenth and seventeenth-century works established as rarities by György Pray, and other domestic and inter- national editions which in his own view, or based on relevant literature, held special value. He selected and catalogued 115 such items in the collection. He also catalogued the manuscripts in the library separately. Here, unfortunately, he adopted the previ- ous library system, according to which this collection was rather archival in nature. This way, the few actual manuscripts are, to all intents and purposes, buried un- der multitudes of letters and documents. Furthermore, several manuscripts were overlooked and thus omitted from the new catalogue. The 51-item list consists predominantly of political and legal writings as opposed to literary works. While 28 items designate files and documents, as few as 23 are actual manuscripts. Only four of those hold significant value; two items are from the library of Archbishop Tamás Bakócz, and one of them, in a broader sense, is a Corvina.

Bakócz, and one of them, in a broader sense, is a Corvina. The Illésházy Family library
Bakócz, and one of them, in a broader sense, is a Corvina. The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library

Hartmann Schedel’s richly illustrated chronicle of the world (Schedel, H.: Liber chronicarum. Nuremberg, 1493) is featured among the rarities. It has several references to Hungary, including a portrait of King Mathias I and images of contemporary Hungarian castles.

Apparently, the Ransanus Codex was missing from the material at the time of the handover. It emerged some years later, and found its way to the National Széchényi Library from the collection of Miklós Jankovich. The assumption is that Jankovich borrowed the codex, and never returned it. The following documents date almost exclusively from the eighteenth century. They encompass ecclesiastical papers, including records on the history of the Society of Jesus from the Rákóczi era to 1773; files from the chan- cellor’s office, the regent’s office, the Royal Court and the Table of the Seven; decrees from the era of József II; record fragments related to the insurrection in Trencsén County; and other legal documents.


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


There is a relative scarcity of literary works in the manuscript collection. Notable examples are handwrit- ten notes of Miklós Zrínyi’s work, Ne bántsd a magyart [Do not hurt the Hungarians], and other manuscripts by Mátyás Bél, István Illésházy, and his father. The cartographic collection of the library consists of slightly more than 200 maps, some of them of sig- nificant value. The majority of the material originates from the eighteenth century. The oldest complete map of Hungary, J. C. Miller’s chart, dates back to 1709, the era of József II. Other valuable items include maps by J. Homann, J. Bruggen (1737), Schrämbl (1790), Kora- binszky, Sámuel Krieger, Lotter, and Lipszky (1806 and 1810). Six other charts, mostly from the Józsefine era, detail the topography of the Balkan Peninsula. Several county maps of Upper-Hungary were drawn between 1762 and 1795; they comprise charts of Trencsén, Liptó, Túróc, Árva, Nyitra, Pozsony, Zólyom, Bars, Hont, Sze- pes, Sáros, and also of Sopron, Moson, Zala, Vas, Fejér, and Pest-Pilis-Solt—counties where the Illésházy family once owned estates. 8 hydrographical maps feature the River Vág, the Danube, and the Marshlands of Ecsed

(Lacus Etsediensis). There are maps of the estates in Hra- dec, Érd and the historical Moravia.

The last special collection includes 25 items of copper engravings and graphics. The former group features a

number of significant works: the engraving series Series imperatorum Romanorum by court artist of Emperor Max- imilian II, Jacopo Strada of Mantua; Le Theatre des Pein- tures by David Teniers (Anvers, 1673); or the Historischer Bilder-Bibel (I. Teil, Augsburg, 1705) and the Biblisches Engel und Kunstwerk (Augsburg, 1715) by Johann Ulrich Kraus. Another valuable item is the series of replicas made of the frescoes of the Thurzó (Orava) Castle by Carolus Möller in 1763. Other pieces include Wilhelm Bauer’s engravings for Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Nuremberg, 1750), drawings of Swiss and Russian folk attires, the history of European clothing, uniforms of the Imperial and Royal Army, and illustrations for school textbooks and children’s books. A systematic analysis of the material sheds light on the leading role of István Illésházy. The Count acquired the library from his father in 1800, which leads to the conclusion that he must have obtained a majority of the post-1800 items. This expansion amounted to 6 percent in the theological, 27 percent in both the jurisprudential and philosophical, 43 percent in the philological, and at least 75 percent in the belletristic categories. Along with an approximately 200 percent increase in size, Count Ist- ván Illésházy’s contribution brought about the transition from an old-fashioned theological, philosophical, and ju- risprudential library to a collection of modern literary and scientific works.

to a collection of modern literary and scientific works. Opening page of the Cicero Codex (

Opening page of the Cicero Codex (De Oratore) with József Illésházy’s handwritten note (Manuscripts Archive of the Nat.Széch.L. Cod. Lat. 148.)

(Manuscripts Archive of the Nat.Széch.L. Cod. Lat. 148.) Codex of Petrus Ransanus, Bishop of Lucera, written

Codex of Petrus Ransanus, Bishop of Lucera, written in the early 1490s for the library of King Mathias I. The miniature shows the royal couple receiving the bishop. The Corvina originally belonged to the Illésházy family library, but later became Miklós Jank- ovich’s possession. (Manuscripts Archive of the Nat.Széch.L. Cod. Lat. 249.)

János Illésházy’s library, the catalogue of which had been regularly updated until 1799, did not include the collection of incunabula. It had only one such item: the Vocabularium Germanico–Latinum (Nuremberg, 1482). This collection must have almost entirely been com- piled by the younger Illésházy, when the material from disbanded monasteries became available in the market.

A similar expansion is discernible in the cartographic

collection. Other items of the early material, such as the medieval codices and other valuable documents of the manuscript archives were already included in the 1792 catalogue.

The role of János Illésházy is similarly perceivable from the analysis. As his father died in 1765, János,

being the sole heir to the estate, must have been tasked with administering the library. The post-1765 items

of the eighteenth-century material may therefore be

seen as his acquisitions. This entails a good 500 titles

of printed volumes, which is a significant expansion

both in size and quality. It demonstrates two pivotal changes that the Hungarian sensibility underwent in the

eighteenth century: the emergence of historical curiosity and increasing secularization. The former is indicated


the rapidly expanding historical material; the latter

by the dwindling theological acquisitions. Meanwhile, the conservative nature of Hungarian jurisprudence ex- plains why there was no pressing need to modernize the legal collection of the library. It is the prized collection of medieval codices which corroborates the existence of the library well before the time of János Illésházy. The Cicero and the Barbarus Codex each feature a handwritten note from 1725 and 1729, respectively: “Comitis Josephi Illésházi Catalogo in- scriptus”. 10 József (Józsefus) Illésházy was János Illésházy’s father. The existence of this unknown catalogue is tan- gible proof that the Illésházy family collection already existed in the early eighteenth century. Among the former possessors of the Barbarus Codex, the name of Palatine György Thurzó also appears a good one hundred years earlier (“Comes Georgius Thurzo Comes perpetuus de Arua Regni Hungariae Palatinus 1611”), and there is another handwritten note from him in the Ransanus Codex. This is valuable information in the light of the genealogy of the Illésházy family. From the early 1700s on, the family had two branch- es, which both originated from Ferenc II, the brother of Palatine István Illésházy, a leading figure in the politics of the Bocskai era. (István died without any offspring.)

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


The aforementioned family members belonged to the

These facts corroborate the theory that the library

older branch, which began with Ferenc III, and died out


Dubnic was gradually established through three and

with István Illésházy in 1838.

a half centuries. Notes from the Bucsánszky invento-

The younger branch began with Ferenc III’s brother


and actual works from the National Széchényi Li-

Gáspár (1593–1648), Gabriel Bethlen’s distinguished gen- eral and diplomat. This branch died out with Gáspár’s sons, Gábor (1622–1667) and (1625–1685?). However, Gáspár Illésházy was married to Ilona Thurzó, daughter of Palatine György Thurzó and Erzsébet Czobor. This would explain the presence of Thurzó family codices in

brary demonstrate the scientific and literary work of the Illésházy family, and, as a necessary consequence, their book collecting needs. There are two manuscripts written by Palatine István Illésházy in the Manuscripts Archive of the Széchényi Library: a book of political correspondence (Prothoc-

the Illésházy library. After the male branch of the Thurzó family died out, the Thurzó girls and their descendants

ollon partim de rebus Hungaricis) and a notebook with political reflections (Oratio Stephani Illésházy etc.). 13

inherited the undivided estate, but they must have shared


third manuscript, with his notes on contemporary

in the personal property. Part of György Thurzó’s library with the two codices must have found its way to Gáspár Illésházy through Ilona Thurzó. After his death, his sons Gábor and György inherited the library, which, when

history from 1592 to 1603, was published by the Hun- garian Academy of Sciences in 1863 as part of the the Monumenta series. Gáspár Illésházy, the other leading figure of Protes-

György died, went to the sole heir Miklós (who later became chancellor). The catalogue (“Index genuinus Bibliothecae Bittsensis… 1610.”), which Ilona Thurzó might have brought with her from

tantism, also left us outstanding works, such as the Kéz- ben viseloe koenyv (A Handbook, Debrecen, 1639), his collection of classical aphorisms, Viridarium (Trencsén, 1643), and his handwritten jurisprudential notes (Nota-

the family castle in Biccse (Byt č a in Slovakia), has been in the


varia juridica). His younger son, György, contributed

National Archives since 1927. It registers 308 volumes both in


Dávid Lani’s Protestant theological work Disputatio

alphabetical order and by format, and includes sixteenth-cen-

de justitia (Trencsén, 1640), and wrote his own piece

tury editions of the works of classical authors and Humanist


ethics under the title Oratio continens quadrigam co-

thinkers. Both the Ransanus and the Barbarus Codex are featured in the inventory from Biccse, and a number of early Hungarian works from the Illésházy collection also appear in

lumnarum ethicarum (Trencsén, 1642). The Manuscripts Archive also contains the handwritten diaries of Chan- cellor Miklós Illésházy from his years in office between

it. (RMK I. 421, II. 349, III. 1087 and 1185). These facts prove without a shadow of a doubt that the Illésházy

1706 and 1723. József Illésházy is featured with medicinal books, and there are written records of national interest

library already existed in the early seventeenth century.


János Illésházy, excerpts of classical Greek and Roman

At the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centu- ries, the Illésházy family was already a highly educated

works, and his memoranda of the eventful 1790 Diet. There are about 80 Illésházy items in the National

household. We do not know much about the schooling of Palatine István Illésházy, only that he attended school in Pozsony, i.e. comprehensive school. Based on his cor- respondence and historiographical memoranda, 12 he pre- sumably also had a university education. His nephew, Gáspár, attended the University of Leipzig from 1609, and had literary aspirations. As a monk, Gáspár’s brother, Ferenc III undoubtedly had a higher education. Gáspár’s sons, Gábor and György received Protestant schooling, but may have also attended the Catholic University of

Széchényi Library Collection of Early Hungarian Books. Among their possessor notes, the predominant date is 1729, when Count József Illésházy’s comprehensive cat- alogue may have been compiled. From the previous generation, two works under the press-marks RMK II. 1423. and 1109. feature Chancellor Miklós Illésházy’s handwritten notes: “Ex libris Nicolai Illésházy de eadem anni 1678.” and „Ex libris Comitis Nicolai Illésházy, Viennae die 17 Nov. 1706.” Two other pieces (RMK II. 2080 and III. 3578) were dedicated

Krakow. Ádám, one of their cousins, was a parish priest


the Chancellor. He, Miklós Illésházy, connects the

in Ásvány, Győr County, and received his theological

younger branch of the family to the branch which ac-

doctorate from the University of Nagyszombat. We have no data on the schooling of Baron Ferenc

quired the Thurzó library around 1621. The role of Gábor and György—Miklós’s predeces-

Illésházy IV, but his son, Miklós, who held the position of Court Chancellor between 1706 and 1723, must have

sors—in the formation of the library is corroborated by dedications from the 1660s and 1670s written by authors

received further education. The same stands for József, the warden of Hungary, and János, a pre-eminent judge. The last Illésházy, as we know, received his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Buda.

pressed into the binding by publishers (RMK II. 740/a, 971, 994, 1407). A contemporary handwritten record also proves that Imre Lósy, Archbishop of Esztergom, gave a volume as a gift to Gáspár Illésházy (RMK III.


1027, 3 rd copy). Both facts confirm that the Illésházy family was collecting books as early as the first half of the seventeenth century. Other, earlier evidence includes the printed law arti- cles (Articuli diaetales) from between 1595 and 1601, which the monarch sent as an official publication to István Illésházy, the future palatine. The Illésházy family library in Dubnic was the fruit of the diligent and conscientious labor of at least seven generations, and this is where its significance lies in

cultural history. The multitude of private bibliograph- ical collections in Hungary, dating from the sixteenth century or later, hardly ever survived more than two generations. They were soon dispersed, scattered, or transferred to new owners. The library of Dubnic is the only surviving collection which, dating as far back as the Humanist era, sheds light on a series of transitions in scientific sensibilities and offers insights into the cultural development of our political ruling class. 14


1 The original letter is in the Hungarian National Archives. Regnicolaris Archive, Archivum palatinale archiducis Josephi, Acta Musei, an. 1835, no. 777.

2 National Széchényi Library. Administrative Archive. Foundation Documents 24., Adminis- trative Archive. 1935. 10.

3 Magyar Törvénytár. 1836–1868. évi törvény- czikkek (Law articles from the years between 1836 and 1868), Budapest, 1896, 72.

4 MÁTRAY Gábor, A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum korszakai (Epochs of the Hungarian National Museum), Pest, 1868.

5 BARNA Ferdinánd, A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum Széchényi Országos könyvtárának

rendezéséről [On the arrangement of the National Széchényi Library in the Hungarian National Mu- seum], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1876, 127–134.,


6 A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum múltja és jelene (Past and Present of the Hungarian National Museum), Budapest, 1902. 6.

7 National Széchényi Library, Manuscripts Archive. Fol. Lat. 29., Fol. Lat. 30.

8 NAGY Iván, Magyarország családai… (Fami- lies of Hungary), vol. 5. Pest, 1859, 222–229.

9 SZENTPÉTERY Imre, A bölcsészettudományi kar története 1635–1935 (History of the Faculty of Humanities between 1635 and 1935). Buda- pest., 1935. 321–343.

10 Országos Széchényi Könyvtár. Kézirattár. Cod. Lat. 148., Cod. Lat. 294.

11 National Széchényi Library, Manuscripts Archive. Fol. Lat. 27., Fol. Lat. 28.

12 Gr. Illésházy István nádor följegyzései 1592– 1603 (Memoranda of Count István Illésházy, Palatine of Hungary between 1592 and 1603), in Monumenta Hungariae Historica, II.,7., Pest,


13 National Széchényi Library, Manuscripts Archive. Quart. Lat. 316., Fol. Lat. 2336.

14 This study is an abridgement. For the entire text, see Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Évkönyve 1967 (1967 Yearbook of the National Széchényi Library). Budapest, 1969, 57–97.

The Illésházy Family library
The Illésházy Family library


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Collectors and Collections 60 Palatine József (1776–1847) Mrs. G yÖRGy W IX lONG-FORGOTTeN COlleCTORS We tend

Palatine József (1776–1847)



We tend to regard collectors with a certain ill-will. On recalls the popular maxim, “Bücher und Antiquitäten verderben den Charakter,” or books and antiques cor- rupt the character. Long ago, librarian János Csontosi claimed that Miklós Jankovich, the most passionate Hungarian collector of all time, obtained the first two leafs of the Jordánszky Codex by having them torn out of the originally intact manuscript. According to Csontosi, only an expert could have known that the Codex was the most complete translation of the Old Testament known at the time, and “having a few leafs of its be- ginning has even greater value for a collector because this part of the Bible is entirely missing from our old Hungarian manuscripts.” 1 This ironic remark may ex- plain why we tend to forget the great collectors of old so easily, even though without their collections some libraries would never have become what they are today. Ill-will is unjustified, as few collectors begin by trying to acquire objects no one else possesses at whatever price, disregarding moral principles. This is especially true of book collectors. They start buying books because they are interested in works they wish to read, or because they want to make additions to a collection they inherited or founded using gifts they received in their childhood or youth. Later, the love of books may take different forms (even distorted ones). Some collectors are motivated by their patriotism and a sense of responsibility for their community, thus they establish public libraries, as some of the aristocrats and pontiffs of the eighteenth century did, for instance Bishop Klimó of Pécs and Count Ferenc Széchényi. For others, libraries are the main instrument of work throughout their lives, as in the case of the schol- ar István Horvát, the entomologist Imre Frivaldszky, or the bibliographer József Szinnyei. Yet others, who are sufficiently wealthy, find in their libraries an occupa- tion they enjoy, like Count Sándor Apponyi and Gyula Todoreszku. Of course, there are also those for whom financial considerations are important and who are will- ing to part even with the most beloved pieces of their collection for some profit, like Lajos Farkas. It is clear, however, that whatever the main motive for collecting books, and whatever direction the passion for collecting may take, a private library assembled with care, love and expertise can immortalize the collector’s name once it becomes part of a public library (whether it is donat-

ed or sold). There are few existing memorial libraries, since few libraries welcome a collection that has to be kept together, but it is sad that János Batsányi’s library, containing books with notes of philological value, or Ferenc Kölcsey’s library, for example, were “scrapped” when they were included in a larger collection, as were the books in Ferenc Széchényi’s library. In this essay, I remind my reader of long-forgotten names and collections that are no longer remembered even by members of the profession. However, there is a single exception which proves the rule: a person who was not a collector, and about whom much has been written, but whose memory cannot be honoured enough:

Palatine József of Hungary. Palatine József, or, as biographical lexicons give his name, Archduke Joseph Anton Johann (1776–1847), became Regent of Hungary at the age of 19 and Pala- tine when he was 20. For five decades, he attempted to rule following the example of his father, Leopold II of Tuscany. The experience he gathered at his father’s court in his youth was accompanied by an innate sense of aesthetics and an attraction to the everything new and modern. He considered it one of his foremost responsibilities

to improve and develop Buda and Pest, and he also supported the three national institutions established during his palatinate (in the case of the first, established at his initiative): the Hungarian National Museum (and national library), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and the National Theater. These institution had a far greater importance at the time than they do today, when they “only” embody cultural values. They had a political significance, and the court in Vienna did not consider Palatine József’s interest in them a harmless aristocratic pastime or a leisure activity worthy of a Habsburg. He was justified in thinking that he had to watch over the nation’s institutions, “he kept the noble interest awake

in our nation

he presented a comprehensive report

on the condition of the three cultural institutions to the National Assembly at each of its sessions, and he sent these reports to the legislative authorities of the

country as well

The most remarkable expression of

this interest took place at the National Assembly of 1832–1836, which allocated 500,000 Hungarian for- ints for the construction of the palace of the Hungarian



Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Collectors and Collections 62 Statue of Palatine József in the square bearing his name, made by

Statue of Palatine József in the square bearing his name, made by German artist Johann von Halbig in Pest in 1869

National Museum and 125,000 forints for the purchase

of the Jankovich collection, thus ensuring not only a permanent home for the Hungarian National Museum, but also a collection which would have been the pride

of any European institution ,” 2 writes János Csontosi,

who visited a great number of European collections and thus was able to make comparisons. From 1807 on, the Palatine acted as the general director of the National Museum, and he considered the development of the library an especially important task. He was not collecting a library for himself, but for the nation. He bought the manuscript and document collection of Márton György Kovachich (who was not only a professor of diplomacy, but also an active col-

lector and an accurate and conscientious copier and publisher of Hungarian documents) for 12,000 forints in 1809, and Gottfrid Kéler’s excellent library, which contained mostly historical works and pamphlets from the Age of Enlightenment, for 5000 forints in 1825. It was as a result of his indefatigable work and inter- ventions that the National Assembly (and county au- thorities) provided the sum necessary for the purchase

of Miklós Jankovich’s above-mentioned library and of István Horvát’s exquisite collection later on. (Not to mention the innumerable libraries of varying size that important scholars, pastors, etc. collected for them- selves, and which became part of the national library’s holdings together with Jankovich’s collection, such as the libraries of historian Károly Wagner, genealogist András Lehoczky, legal historian József Benczúr, or Ju- raj Ribai, who was one of the first important figures in Slovakian efforts to achieve nationhood.) The library of the Illésházy family at Dubnic, collected by several generations, was offered to the library of the National Museum in a letter written to the palatine by the last male member of the family, Count István lllésházy, in 1835. The palatine also donated his books to Széchényi Library. József Szinnyei reports—and he may have had firsthand knowledge of this—that he sent the books he had received to the library on the first day of every year. The older, leather-bound books in the library’s holdings often contain Latin notes referring to the palatine’s do- nations. These books include, for example, two beautiful volumes bound in green Morocco leather on the educa- tion of deaf-mutes written by Antal Schvartzer, Auróra’s pocketbooks for the years 1822 and 1823 in fine empire bindings, or the Missale made for Palatine József by Uni- versity Press, bound in delicately gilded purple leather. Several sources mention that the library acquired such invaluable volumes due to the palatine’s generosity as the Capitula concordiae inter Fredericum imperatorem et

Mathiam Hungariae regem

(Passau, 1491) purchased

in 1812, the 11 leafs of which he bought for 11 guldens, or a beautiful copy of the 1488 Augsburg edition of the Thuróczy Chronicle, written on membrane, which con-

tains a dedication by Buda bookseller Theobald Feger printed in gold (which is the earliest known example of gold printing). The palatine paid 400 florins and 9 kreutzers for this book in Vienna, 3 and he also pur- chased the first known Hungarian printed book, the chronicle of Buda by András Hess, for 100 silver flor- ins in Vienna with the mediation of antiquarian Fülöp Horovitz. 4 Besides managing the affairs of the country, and perhaps as a welcome break from cholera epidemics, floods and insurgent nobles, he also had initiatives as the library’s director which may seem hopelessly naïve today, but which were successful at the time. This is how the library came to possess the so-called Frankfurt Codex, which contains the Hartvik legend. Palatine József learned from Miller that the codex containing

the legend was kept in the library of the Abbey of Saint Bartholomew in Frankfurt. He inquired of the mayor of

the city: “

manuscript to the Hungarian National Library in Pest.” 5


they would be willing to cede the valuable

The Document Collection of National Széchényi Li- brary contains the so-called “key documents” regarding

board of directors of a public foundation, antiquarian, born at Rév-Komárom [today Komárno in Slovakia] on 28

significant donations of books and money, compiled for

July 1806.” 9 Or perhaps he did not want to? Lajos Farkas

Bálint Hóman in 1925 and intended for the Ministry


a prime example of how antiquities corrupt the char-

of Religion and Public Education. In these documents, one note mentions the “Hartvik legend of Ffurt (1814), brought by the Palatine” as a work in connection to which no written records are available. Even if the letter does not survive, it existed, as did the reply in which the city of Frankfurt offered the codex containing the

acter. The passion for collecting, or perhaps the desire to ingratiate himself with the new Austrian lords as soon and as efficiently as possible, induced the great collector to publish a long article in the 11 August 1849 issue of Pester Zeitung. The article, which appeared in the column “Feuilleton,” has a title worthy of an important collector:

legend of Saint Stephen to the palatine, who personally delivered it to the library. Another surprising initiative was that he persuaded the National Assembly to adopt a call to other libraries of the Habsburg Empire to cede the Corvinas in their possession, and he also obtained the court’s support for this. After a detour of almost fifty years in the Hofbibliothek at Vienna, the two Corvinas sent by the library of Modena in reply to the palatine’s request finally arrived at the national library. 6 He also attempted to acquire the two Corvinas in the Wolfen-

“A significant manuscript from the twelfth century” (Ein merkwürdiges Manuscript aus dem XII. Jahrhundert). The piece consists of the scholarly description of a codex owned by Lajos Farkas, with the professed aim of request- ing data to confirm his assumption that the codex is a work by Abélard, written in his own hand. Is a burgher of Buda, even if a renowned antiquarian, likely to have this purpose not long after the siege of Buda, and shortly before the collapse of the revolution? If so, then he was undoubtedly in the grip of a passion for collecting. The

büttel library by exchange, but this attempt did not yield results. 7

doubts that we may nevertheless harbor are caused by the tell-tale footnotes of the article. The first of these only

The above perhaps suffices to show why it is our moral

suggests the motives of a scholar and collector: the author

obligation to mention Palatine József first in the series


the article requests the redactors of Wiener Zeitung and

of long-forgotten names. “The Museum

lost a father


Allgemeine Zeitung at Augsburg to publish the detailed

in him, who considered the Museum his own offspring,

tenderly watched over its development and progress,

did everything possible in those circumstances to

serve its interests for 45 years.” 8 Lajos Farkas Losonczi (1806–1873) is the second in the series of important collectors both chronologically and as regards the value of his collection. (When describing the codices in his collection, János Csontosi said he was on par with Miklós Jankovich.) In spite of this, not even the scholarly “detective,” József Szinnyei managed to obtain biographical information about him other than the year


of his birth and his occupation: “Honorary lawyer on the

presentation of his codex in the supplements of their esteemed papers “im Interesse der Wissenschaften” (“in the interest of science”). If, however, we read the second footnote, we may begin to suspect that the author want-

ed to advertise his monarchist loyalties without being too obvious about it. In this second footnote he tells a lot about himself in a relatively short text. He recounts that a high-ranking official of the Hungarian Ministry of War in Pest came to visit him at Buda in in order to warn him that he is on the list of the “Gravirten,” those accused of crimes. We also learn the cause: he had issued

a call to the inhabitants of Lower Hungary, where he

of Lower Hungary, where he lONG-FORGOTTeN COlleCTORS The first book printed in Hungary, the Hungarian chronicle

The first book printed in Hungary, the Hungarian chronicle made by the press of András Hess at Buda in 1473, was purchased by the palatine in Vienna for the national library (Chronica Hungarorum. Buda, 1473)


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


had several good friends, relatives and acquaintances, which was also published in the 23 February 1849 issue of Wiener Zeitung, and which Austrians expected to bring favorable results. Losonczi received this warning on 28 April, when Buda was so closely surrounded that he did not dare flee, as he was afraid of being recognized. Thus, because imperial officers believed they would be able to hold Buda Castle until the arrival of the relief forces, he had himself imprisoned in the fortress on 4 May. (The reason for this “imprisonment” is not clear. He may have wished to seem a prisoner of the Austrians in case the Hungarians managed to occupy the Castle. This is a possibility.) He took a small chest with him. This “kleine Kiste,” which may involuntarily remind us of the chest in Molière’s The Miser, held the most valuable pieces in his collection. He mentions a few examples: a “herrliche” Corvina, made at Florence in 1470, with marginal notes by King Matthias; a Lucan codex (mein Lieblingsdich- ter—my favorite poet, he remarks) decorated with beau- tiful miniatures; the New Testament in Slavic, probably from 1469; the codex mentioned in the title; as well as some of the rarest old Hungarian books, several of which were unique copies, such as the first printed Hungarian comedy, which he described in detail in a Hungarian paper, the first printed Hungarian songbook, of which

there is a copy in the library of the Academy, but as that one is incomplete both at the beginning and the end, Losonczi’s is still regarded as a unique copy. Later he had to flee, thus, on a horrible night, when a neighboring house caught fire, exhausted because he was the only civilian to help the soldiers extinguish it, he carried the chest several hundred metres from his former cell. While they were trying to put the fire, the attackers were shooting flaming bullets, until the “heldenmüthige and unermüdete General,” the indefatigable and heroic Hentzi ordered the bombing of Pest in retaliation for shooting at the civilian houses of Buda. A few days lat- er, when the bombs started wreaking destruction (this is what he writes, even though he mentions flaming bullets in the previous sentences), he hid himself in a rock cellar with his chest, where he was at the time the fortress had to be surrendered due to the treason of the Italian soldiers, and where he also wrote these very lines. The long footnote closes on an elegiac note: “I have been collecting books and manuscripts about Hungary (mein Vaterland betreffende Bücher und Manuscripte) since I was sixteen,” saving many of them from utter destruction, nevertheless he was persecuted (doch bin ich verfolgt, weil ich sein Verderben zu verhüten tra- chtete) because he wished to prevent the destruction of

Corvina from the collection of Lajos Farkas, which contains Byzantine historian Agathias’ work on the
Corvina from the collection of Lajos Farkas,
which contains Byzantine historian Agathias’
work on the sixth-century Gothic wars (De
bello gothorum). The codex was in the library
of Queen Beatrix (Manuscript Collection of the
National Széchényi Library. Cod. Lat. 413.)
of the National Széchényi Library. Cod. Lat. 413.) lONG-FORGOTTeN COlleCTORS The Herbarium of Péter Juhász
of the National Széchényi Library. Cod. Lat. 413.) lONG-FORGOTTeN COlleCTORS The Herbarium of Péter Juhász

The Herbarium of Péter Juhász Melius (Kolozsvár, 1578), a herbal compiled on the basis of antique and contemporary authors, with Hungarian plant names, from the library of Árpád Horvát

his homeland. He is undoubtedly right in claiming that he saved numerous rarities for posterity. Farkas not only collected works about Hungary, but other rarities as well. His collection ranges from a unique—and unfortunately incomplete—copy of the first known Hungarian book on arithmetic, the Arith- metica, printed at Debrecen in 1577, to probably the oldest manual on choreography, whose title page is miss- ing, and which Farkas therefore describes as “Dezais:

Franczia tánczok alakjai [The Forms of French dances],

This small volume, published in Paris in the early

eighteenth century, also contains references to Hungary, as it preserves the steps and melody of a dance related to Thököly (Marche du Tekely), dedicating 6 of its 190 pages to our country. His article also claims that Farkas was the only private collector besides Jankovich to own

s.l. s.a

a Corvina. Last but not least, Ferenc Pulszky discov- ered no fewer than 15 original manuscripts by Kelemen


Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


Mikes in Farkas’ collection, including a manuscript of Mulatságos napok [Entertaining days]. His name appears in the volumes of his collection written in the large hand of a forgotten librarian. After his death, the library purchased his collection, which he summed up in hand-written catalogues, 10 from his widow. The 1,386 printed volumes and 223 manu- scripts cost 7,500 forints. (To help interpret the size of this sum: the “chief librarian,” the director of National Széchényi Library received an annual salary of 1,400 for- ints at the time, with accommodation and an additional allowance of 700 forints.) It is certain that Lajos Farkas guarded and protected his collection above everything, but every other detail he discloses concerning his char- acter betrays a surprising moral weakness. Árpád Horvát (1820–1894). The reader only needs to be reminded that he was a book collector. His name is well-known, not because of his (impressive) scholarly merits, but because of his association with the immortal name of Hungarian poet Sándor Petőfi. He was the man Júlia Szendrey married shortly after becoming the “na- tion’s widow.” He must have been very talented, as he was regular professor of diplomacy at the University of Pest at the age of 28, inheriting the department from his father, István Horvát. Szinnyei—who must have known him well—quoted Antonia De Gerando’s description of his character: a modest and likeable scholar, a zealous pioneer of progress. Júlia Szendrey, however, saw him as a monster, the source of all her suffering. 11 The truth was probably somewhere between these two extremes:

his long description of his book collection shows him as a meticulous, pedantic person, who focuses on the essence instead of daydreaming like his father did, but who is not too agreeable, rather haughty, even conceited. In 1885, Aladár György published a description of the libraries of Hungary based on questionnaires prepared for this purpose by the Statistical Office. Árpád Horvát also appended a long description, even a treatise, to the questionnaire, which appeared in its entirety in Magyar Könyvszemle [Hungarian Book Review]. 12 “I confess that I almost regret submitting this incomplete list to the Sta- tistical Office,” he writes, “because I thereby contribute to the depreciation of my own library, detracting from its value and worth, as such reports and inventories are wont to make the reader believe that they contain and satisfactorily present all of the more valuable volumes in the given library—and it would be a grave mistake to conclude this about my library based on my report.” Indeed, examining the detailed catalogue of his library, we may agree that he collected nearly all of the most modern and progressive works of his age. His interest

extended to several fields, but the first place was reserved

for those works which “


the aspirations and

motivating ideals of a period,” especially those—at least

for us—which “

the war between materialism and spiritualism in the mid-

dle of our century.” He is justified in claiming that “…

I own all of the more important socialist and communist

works, thus those by Morelly, Saint-Simon, Fourier, Considerant, Louis Blanc, Cabet, Dezamy, Proudhon, Villegardelle, Wertling, Lassalle, Marx, Krapotkin, etc., as well as works discussing and criticizing socialism and communism…” (“All of the more important works” is, unfortunately, an exaggeration.) Nevertheless, Júlia Szendrey was also justified in com-

plaining about his perusal of pornographic albums, which she found deeply humiliating, even though her husband provided scientific justification for this collection as well:

“Only the straitlaced and the Pharisees can deny that wom- an is the most interesting topic of sociology. The litera- ture on this subject is exceedingly rich; I own the best of what was published on the topic in the four languages of

I. a/ woman from a physiological and

ethnographic perspective; b/ woman from a psychological and moral perspective; c/ woman from a sociological per-

spective (women’s tasks, the emancipation of women); d/ woman from a legal perspective (the legal status of wom- en); e/ woman from a historical perspective. II. a/ love; b/ marriage; c/ family; d/ divorce; e/ prostitution.” Growing up in his father’s beautiful library of two rooms and surrounded by his father’s scholarly and lit- erary friends, Árpád Horvát started his collection of about 5000 items as a child, with gifts from Kazinczy, Károly Kisfaludy, Vörösmarty, Mihály Vitkovics, Ist- ván Kulcsár—his father’s friends. (Aladár György gives 1826 as the year of the library’s foundation, perhaps not without malice, as Horvát was six years old at this time.) The agreeable description of collecting books as a child is followed by sentences that reveal an unpleas-

went to University at the age of

ant self-conceit: “


I speak the four main languages of European culture:

German, French, Italian, and English

there “


one collected according to such a careful plan

European culture


in an interesting manner


I became Doctor of Philosophy at sixteen

,” and elsewhere:

is in Hungary no larger library than mine, nor ”

finally: “…I close this report by expressing my profound conviction that the collector who moves in the world, actively engages in political battles, visits casinos, clubs, and balls, may be a genius, a great scholar, or an enthu- siastic admirer of literature, and if he has wealth, he may even possess a large library; but he can never be a bibliographer in the scholarly sense of the word: only those can become true bibliographers whom the profanum vulgus calls by the name of ‘bookworms’; but even they may only become so if they have what the Germans call ‘tüchtige Schulbildung’ ”

have what the Germans call ‘tüchtige Schulbildung’ ” Catalogue of the painting collection of Enea Lanfranconi

Catalogue of the painting collection of Enea Lanfranconi


Árpád Horvát’s library is commemorated in the cat- alogues found in the Manuscript Collection (marked Fol. Hung. 1887/10-12). 13 Although more than half of the collection—1,873 of the 3,577 works catalogued in 1897—consisted of duplicate copies (or were not re- tained), the remaining material added important works of contemporary foreign literature and useful reference

books to the library’s holdings. The library was purchased and donated to the National Széchényi Library by Dr.

condition that copies of works

already in the library’s possession be given partly to Eötvös Kollégium, and partly to the libraries of certain seminaries.” 14 The price was 6000 forints. Unfortunately, little is known about the generous donator, Dr. Károly Mészáros of Szentiván. The available information is found in genealogical works: Dr. Károly Mészáros, retired medical officer, was ennobled and became Dr. Károly Mészáros of Szentiván on 20 June 1895, at about the same time that he bought Horvát’s library. We also know that he fathered four sons. In spite of this, he spent 6000 forints on increasing the collection of the national li- brary, which seems all the more generous if we consider prices and circumstances in this period. For example, the National Széchényi Library bought Michael de Hun- garia’s “Sermones tredecim,” an incunabulum printed in 1480, for 63 forints, not to mention that the na- tional library’s entire annual budget for acquisitions was roughly the same as the price of the Horvát collection.

Károly Mészáros, “


price of the Horvát collection. Károly Mészáros, “ on Female nude. Painting from the Lanfranconi collection

Female nude. Painting from the Lanfranconi collection

The nation’s gratitude is only expressed by the small round stamp preserving his name together with Horvát’s in the books and in the provenance columns of contem- porary catalogue pages: “Árpád Horvát’s library, donated by Dr. Károly Mészáros of Szentiván.” Enea Grazioso Lanfranconi (1850–1895) was an im- portant collector and sponsor of the end of the century. He was born in Italy, and came to Hungary when he was twenty years old, and yet he donated invaluable maps and paintings to the nation. Árpád Horvát—who cer- tainly knew him—probably would not have considered him a “bibliographer,” but rather a “man of fortune” who can afford to acquire a large library. According to the obituary in Vasárnapi Újság [Sunday News],15 he was a wealthy man, “…who spent hundreds of thousands on his art collections.” Indeed, we have to believe that his financial means were nearly inexhaustible. He was probably rich when he came to Hungary, and he cer- tainly needed wealth for his enterprises, but in Aladár György’s above-mentions statistical questionnaire he also indicated 1870, the year of his arrival, as the year his library was founded. He had a palace built for him at Pozsony (today Bratislava in Slovakia), in which the library occupied three rooms. While other collectors spent a few hundred forints per year on buying books, he reported annual expenses of 5000 forints for book ac- quisition and 2000 forints for binding to Aladár György. “He built a veritable museum of old engravings, histor-



Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


ical drawings and maps,” writes Vasárnapi Újság. After the exhibition of 1885, where his collection was a great success, he donated 14,000 maps of this collection to the capital. His engravings of Buda and Pest were listed in a separate catalogue printed at the Pest Press in 1887, with the title List of the historical pictures presented to Budapest by Enea Lanfranconi. His collection of paintings must have been exquisite: a single item, a painting by Rubens, was valued by Mihály Munkácsy at two hundred fifty thousand forints. He was not only an entrepreneur, but also worked as an engineer. He surveyed the Danube from Pozsony to Orsova (today Orșova in Romania), and he also worked on flood protection. He printed his books at his own expense, and he also published at his own expense and in several languages the letters of gratitude he received from well-known public figures after the publication of these books. (Monarchs, politicians, and others wrote these letters not because they were experts on flood pro- tection, but to acknowledge the receipt of the beautifully bound volumes.) He displayed his works—and the maps probably drawn by his own hand, several of which are in the library’s possession—in a separate room at the first Hungarian book exhibition of 1882. In addition to these, he was an amateur archaeologist, and Szinnyei mentions his publication written on this subject. The Manuscript Collection possesses an album from his collection which contains pencil drawings made after the paintings of Italian Renaissance masters, and we may suspect that these appealing but rather unimaginative images may have been drawn by the young Lanfranconi himself. He was rich and successful, and his expensive passion for collecting brought him success and nationwide recog- nition. In addition, to quote Vasárnapi Újság again, “…he was intimately connected to the world of scholarship.” Nevertheless, at the age of forty-five “…he took his own life with a weapon.” The reasons for his suicide are not known. He left no will, and the few lines he wrote before his death were illegible. He had two brothers in Italy, who were probably the heirs with whom the cultural administration started immediate negotiations. Lanfranconi killed himself on 9 March 1895, and issue 187 of Magyar Könyvszemle in 1895 mentions the academic committee of renowned experts whom the Ministry of Religion and Public Ed- ucation sent to inspect the legacy and negotiate with the heirs. Imre Szalay, director of the Museum of Eth- nography, and Jenő Radisics, director of the Museum of Applied Arts also joined the committee for the final negotiations. The outcome of these negotiations is de- scribed in the report sent by László Fejérpataky to Imre Szalay on 4 December 1896. The state purchased the

library, “


value is estimated at about 15,000 for-

ints, together with other objects in the collection, for a price of 26,000 forints.” In the appendix to the report, László Fejérpataky includes a detailed list which also contains the Munich call numbers of the books. Where there is no such number, the book was a duplicate. The final accounts show that the purchased collection con- tained a total of 2,130 works in 4,821 volumes, 753 works of which, in 1,628 volumes, proved to be duplicates. The items of the collection most valuable for us are the works about the Danube and its surroundings, the contemporary accounts of the Ottoman Wars, and the maps, of course. Although outside the scope of interest of the national library, the bulky decorated editions of engravings—mostly about Italian art, buildings, paint- ings, and statues—are also beautiful and valuable. In all of the volumes, a tiny stamp commemorates the collector, and the catalogue of the entire collection is found as Fol. Hung. 1887/16 in the Manuscript Col- lection. The items in this catalogue are in alphabetical order according to the name of the author, and, as men- tioned above, the original Munich call number is also included. The alphabetical order is maintained until item no. 2,052, which is followed by two works that “ had been lent to Gyula Benczur, and were thus recorded only later.” Without the Lanfranconi collection, the National Széchényi Library, and especially the Map Collection, would be much poorer. Enea Grazioso Lanfranconi is followed by another passionate and successful collector whose name has a foreign ring. Despite his Flemish-sounding name, István Delhaes (1845–1902) was born in Pest. His father migrat- ed to Hungary from the Netherlands and settled in Pest, where he married a Hungarian woman. István Delhaes was born in 1845—or in 1843, according to Vasárnapi Újság. His merchant father sent him to Vienna to study painting. He made several pictures, but never became

renowned as a painter. On the other hand, he must have been an excellent restorer, and worked as such at the ducal gallery of Liechtenstein. However, his name is remembered because of his collection and his last will. “Count Ferenc Széchényi and István Delhaes—these two names are milestones in the hundred-year-old his- tory of the Hungarian National Museum…,” Vasárnapi Újság writes about him, or rather about his collection. 16

“The Hungarian aristocrat laid its foundations

artist who came from abroad and spent most of his life

and this

in Vienna


collection of antiquities had not seen such an increase

since the time of Jankovich’s death, but Jankovich’s

legacy had to be bought at a hefty price, whereas Delhaes “…only had the nation’s grateful remembrance in mind

he left to the Museum his objects of art, which


contributed to its growth with his valuable to an extent we may call magnificent…” The

his valuable to an extent we may call magnificent…” The Pictures of Hussars in the richly
his valuable to an extent we may call magnificent…” The Pictures of Hussars in the richly

Pictures of Hussars in the richly illustrated book by Karl Timlich: A magyar és horvát nevezetes öltözetek [Famous Hungarian and Croatian costumes] (Vienna, 1816), from the collection of Baron Ferenc Révay

he collected with such passion.” The collection of an- tiquities acquired mostly Egyptian objects, but—which Vasárnapi Újság does not mention—the Museum of Fine Arts also received valuable assets. The preface to the catalogue of the exhibition commemorating Delhaes in 1910 states that the Museum of Fine Arts received 14,453 engravings and 2,683 drawings, as well as some of Delhaes’ paintings. His name is evidently familiar to art historians. However, the nation has long forgotten about his book collection. This is not surprising, as he had never been a passionate book collector, the books only supplemented his collection of engravings: they include illustrated works, engravings and lithographs by famous artists. A few examples: Dürer: Underweysung der Messkunst, Nürnberg, 1525; Romeyn de Hooghe’s draw- ings for Nicolaus Petters book on wrestling, published in Amsterdam; Ridinger’s beautiful and lively engravings of horses (Vorstellung und Beschreibung derer Schulpferden); Austrian painter Matthaus Loder’s colored lithographed caricatures for J. F. Castelli’s book Sammlung menschlicher Thorheiten, which was published at Vienna in 1818 and is a precious rare item. László Fejérpataky, director of the library at the time, wrote a memorandum to the director of the Museum, Imre Szalay, on 24 April 1902, 17 from which we learn that

the National Museum, or, more precisely, Szalay, had to advise the Ministry of Religion and Public Education on dividing the collection offered in the will between the three institutions. (Fejérpataky had to prepare an inven- tory of Delhaes’ books, which he kept for the Széchényi Library with a single exception. The only work that he “…transferred to the Botanical Department of the Na- tional Museum, as it does not fit the library’s holdings” was a collection of botanical engravings.) The National Széchényi Library received a total of 381 volumes, all expensive and valuable. Delhaes’ name does not appear in these volumes. It is only if one notices the beauty and the artistic illustrations of the volumes with inventory number 1902/55 that one can discover István Delhaes’ forgotten name in the inventory records. Dr. Imre Hajnik (1840–1901) follows next in this series of collectors. An anonymous work titled A bu- dapesti társaság [The Budapest Society]18 and published in 1886 presents hundreds of people—even if in one or two sentences only—who played a part in the social or cultural life of Budapest. In this, we find the follow- ing about Hajnik: “A worthy member of the Hajnik family, which has given so many outstanding figures to our public life. This worthy young professor of our University of Budapest started a large-scale work on the



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constitutional history of Hungary based on the study of primary sources.” (He wrote several other signifi- cant works on legal and constitutional history, and his Egyetemes európai jogtörténet [Universal European legal history] made him a scholar of European renown.) His huge library must have served the purposes of work: it contains monographs on legal and constitutional history from Hungary and abroad, source editions, and volumes of professional journals. This was a well-known collec- tion, which Aladár György included in his survey. This is how we know that, according to the owner, he started collecting his library in 1862, and in 1885 it contained over seven thousand volumes. Imre Hajnik died in August 1901. The Ministry of Religion and Public Education wished to buy his library, not for the University Library or the Library of the Acad- emy, even though Hajnik was a university professor and an academician, but for the municipal library at Pozsony (today Bratislava in Slovakia). The library’s catalogue was sent to director Szalay in 1902 with the request that the national library should state which items it would like to buy exercising its pre-emptive rights. Szalay forwarded the catalogue to Fejérpataky in December 1902. As he received no answer, he pressed for the library’s opinion on 8 March 1903. Upon this, Fejérpataky, looked at the catalogue or took charge of the issue: in any case, he returned a carefully written answer in five days, the gist of which was that the library wanted everything. 19 “Having studied the catalogue of the Hajnik library, I am convinced that this invaluable collection of books on law, legal history and history, collected with rare discernment and expertise over the course of a life rich with scientific accomplishments, should not be placed in a provincial library where its appropriate use would be at least problematic, but in the capital, in the fo- cus of academic life. Our libraries in the capital have deficiencies in the very fields that are so excellently

Being familiar

represented in the Hajnik collection

with the deficiencies of the National Széchényi Library in this respect, and attempting to turn our library into a

truly Hungarian and national library as far as our powers and circumstances permit… I would consider it a fateful omission if we did not employ every method and means to acquire this valuable collection.” This is followed by concrete suggestions. The Min- istry of Religion and Public Education should buy the collection for the National Széchényi Library for the “very fair” price of ten thousand forints, informing the representatives of the heirs that this price may be paid in three instalments. The library has no money, there- fore the expenses should be covered either from one of the Museum’s funds, or from money requested from the Ministry. Duplicates would be given to other libraries,

of course, thus the National Inspectorate of Museums and Libraries should contribute proportionately to the price. Finally, he states that as the library is short on both money and workforce, nor is there enough room, the Museum should provide space and wages for processing the books in the Hajnik collection. László Fejérpataky is still considered a scientific au- thority among members of the profession. Thus it is unsurprising that the library’s annual report for the year 1903 mentions the Hajnik library as the most valuable acquisition of the year, eventually bought by the Minis- try for the National Széchényi Library as a result of the actions of its learned director. The catalogues of the Hajnik library can be found in the Manuscript Collection, marked Fol. Hung. 1887/5–6. (Fol. Hung. 1887/7 is a later bibliography of the same.) One of these catalogues may have belonged to the orig- inal owner, as attested by the notes on location—by the window, etc. The other list is typed, in alphabetical order to some extent, but it restarts in several sections, and although the sections are not identical, they often include the same works. There is a handwritten note among the pages: “No estimate. How will an inventory of these works be taken?” This typed list enumerates the works retained by the library. The numbering also restarts several times, and although the number of indi- vidual items is indicated next to the works, they are not added up at the bottom of the pages. Indeed, the books were not taken into inventory, even though inventories already existed at this time (we may remember that the books of Delhaes, acquired by the library in the same year, received inventory number 1902/55). Fejérpataky did not exaggerate when he emphasized the scientific value of the collection, as besides the history of law and constitution it also included monographs on the histo- ry of universities, registries, and several sourcebooks. (There are thirteen titles beginning with “Monumen- ta” or “Monumenti” alone, from Parma to Sardinia, or from sources on Charles University in Prague to the ones on Czech and Moravian universities. In addition to these, numerous Hungarian works were also added to the collection of the national library which may have been duplicates, from the Codex Diplomaticus of Fejér to Waldstein and Kitaibel’s work on botany, which is one of the most expensive Hungarian works.) Instead of an inventory, it is the lists in the Manu- script Collection that preserve the memory of the Hajnik library and its collector, the scholar Imre Hajnik, as well as a stamp in the books—and in the provenance columns of the Munich catalogue—which reads: from the library of Imre Hajnik. Similarly to the way Imre Hajnik’s meticulously col- lected library made the National Széchényi Library’s

collection of nineteenth-century works on legal and

constitutional history relatively complete, the national library also acquired a nearly complete collection of travel memoirs from Egypt, Palestine, and Turkey—as well as other countries of the Middle East—thanks to

a passionate traveller. (Unfortunately, these are mostly

nineteenth-century travelogues, apart from a few vol- umes from the end of the eighteenth century; never- theless, they make a valuable collection.) The library inherited this fine collection from Baron Ferenc Révay (1835–1916), poet and patron of the arts. We do not know much about him: Szinnyei reports that he was an aristocrat, Lord Lieutenant, member of the House of Magnates, imperial and royal chamberlain. The anon- ymous gossipmonger of “The Budapest Society” remarks that he “…usually spends winters abroad, mostly in Egypt,” and he is “a widely travelled, wealthy aristocrat who is very fond of science.” His library also attests to this: the majority of the collection consists of works about Egypt: its culture, its history, and its languag- es—there are countless books on learning Arabic. That the collector was “widely travelled” is proved by travel books about several other countries. Evidence for his “fondness for science” can be found in the great number of books on the history and literature of Antiquity, from Schliemann’s Mykene (1878), Ilios (1881), Troy (1884), and Tyrins (1886) to several classical authors (there are twenty editions from the sixteenth century alone). Besides German, French, English, etc. travelogues and expedition reports, the collection also contains beautiful Hungarian books on travel and hunting (Manó And- rássy’s travel memoirs and the book Hazai vadászatok [Hunting in Hungary] edited by him, to mention these two expensive volumes as an example). Furthermore, it also contains rarities such as Andreas Christian Zipser’s “Der Badegast zu Sliatsch” (from 1827), or Kari Timlich’s A magyar és horvát nevezetes öltözetek [Famous Hungar- ian and Croatian costumes] (Vienna, 1816). Révay may

have thought of Ignác Goldziher and Ármin Vámbéry as kindred spirits, as he bought nearly all of their books. If we read the entries referring to inventory number 131/1916 in the accession register, we find that besides

a haphazard and obviously subjective selection of con-

temporary literary works, other parts of the collection were assembled with a well-defined profile in mind:

classical literature, the history and culture of Antiquity, travelling, and, related to this, national costumes. He did not keep items outside of these fields, even though he was aware of their value. In 1883, for example, he donated 121 calendars, “all of which are of outstanding value,” to the national library, which was short on this type of publications. 20 Károly Szabó had only published Volume I of the RMK [Old Hungarian Library] at the

time, thus only publications in Hungarian had been accounted for, and these were especially valued. Révay’s donation, however, contained 7 calendars in Hungarian published between 1662 and 1696, which were then considered unique. The collection left to the library contained only 9 volumes of the RMK, but one of these was previously unknown, and János Melich described it immediately in the “Magyar Könyvesház” [Treasury of Hungarian Books] column of Könyvszemle. The Report on the Révay and Szinnyei libraries 21 lists a total of 3490 books (several multivolume works were bound together in one volume), 9 volumes of the RMK, 44 leaflets, brochures and pamphlets, 32 volumes of newspapers, 8 manuscripts and 24 letters, 10 original and 7 copied documents dating from before the sixteenth century and 104 documents written after the sixteenth century. The report was the work of Dániel Havrán, leader of the team which catalogued the collection “…for additional wages and after hours,” i.e. between 3 and 6 pm. He found it necessary to add that all of

were The present-day colleague cannot avoid the feeling that this collection was considered so valuable because those who catalogued it received extra wages—as they were simultaneously cataloguing other acquisitions as well –, and because of the beautiful decorative editions of Hun- garian works in good condition. Everything else must have been considered alien to the profile of the library’s holdings. Reading the titles of the many richly illustrat-

ed travel books today, we are aware that the value of works illustrated with steel engravings from this period has increased considerably, and we must consider this beautiful collection with a consistent profile a very val- uable acquisition. The male line of the Révay family probably died out, as long lawsuits started concerning the legacy, as at- tested by a report by Dániel Havrán, who represented the National Széchényi Library in the legal procedures. Nevertheless, the library received Ferenc Révay’s col- lection without delay, and the collection of antiquities of the Hungarian National Museum also received its share of the inheritance, because all heirs and potential heirs consented to this. The National Széchényi Library received another collection at around the same time, probably also through a lawsuit. This is another rather consistent collection, which, however, fit better the holdings of the national library than Ferenc Révay’s travelogues and expedition books. Pál Almásy (1818–1882) was an important figure in political life during the Revolution of 1848 and in the following years. He was also one of the wealthiest people in the country. His childhood was overshadowed by a mysterious crime: first his grandfather died under enig-

the books “

bound and in a clean condition.”



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matic circumstances after drinking a glass of lemonade, followed by his father a few months later. Doctors be- lieved that the sudden death of the grandfather, which occurred in a box of the German theater, was caused by a cerebrovascular incident, but the father’s death was attributed to poisoning. Evidence pointed to the family’s lawyer and to a person hired by him, but no motive was found, “…the secret of the poisoning was never unveiled,” to quote the contemporary papers. Almásy, who was still a child, grew up in a very pro- tective atmosphere after these tragic family events. This, however, left no traces in his behavior as an adult. As he was Speaker of the House of Representatives at Debre- cen when the declaration of dethronement was passed in 1849, he was the one to read it. He was sentenced to death and the forfeiture of his estates in his absence. His family intervened on his behalf, thus he was soon granted an amnesty, and he returned from emigration in Switzerland and France to Hungary in the early 1860s. He became one of the leading figures of the Resolution Party, but he also started conspiring to restore Hungar- ian independence. Almásy and his fellow conspirators were betrayed, and he was sentenced to death again, a sentence which was commuted to 20 years imprisonment. After a short time in prison, he was released because of his influential family and because the Austro-Hungar- ian Compromise was nigh, and times were changing. He never became involved in politics again and instead lived life of withdrawal. The journalist who wrote the obituary page of Vasárnapi Újság called him “the most polite member of society.” He spent vast sums on public goals. He made a large donation for the building of the Academy, and he also contributed to the establishment of the Hungarian Society of Fine Arts. Then he embarked on a venture and lost his vast fortune. He was also un- lucky with his children, as his son became an officer in the Austrian army while he lived in emigration and his daughter married an Austrian officer. Finally, he had to suffer another great loss when his son died at a young age. He lived in the countryside for a while, then moved to Budapest, but lived such a sequestered life than many may have thought him dead. He maintained close connections with Kossuth and László Teleki even in emigration, but Gyula Tanárky’s di- ary gives the impression that he was not regarded favora- bly by them. According to Tanárky, Kossuth mentioned him in connection with a “conspiracy,” and thought that this conspiracy was revealed because Almásy and Be- niczky betrayed the people involved. 22 The source of this suspicion may have been that Almásy was pardoned so soon, and that he accepted it. Perhaps it was this distrust that led to his disillusionment and his retirement from both political and social life.

Unfortunately, little information is available on how the national library acquired Almásy’s collection. In 1925, the Ministry of Religion and Public Education requested documents concerning valuable donations of books, objects of art, and money made to the Museum. The draft prepared by the library 23 lists the following under item no. 33: “The library of Pál Almásy (originally Mrs. Pál Almásy, but ‘Mrs.’ is struck out) is ceded by the heirs to the Museum. Resolution of the district court of the 6 th District of Budapest.” However, the resolution itself is not enclosed, although other similar documents are all available here in the original or in copies. János Melich reported on behalf of the library in 1916 that 3391 works belonging to the Almásy library had been catalogued by 31 December 1915, and the remaining ca. 600 volumes would also be catalogued by the end of 1916, whereas the collection of 14 486 documents had been processed entirely. Further reports make no mention of this collection, only the accession register for the year 1915 contains a list of the works taken into inventory. After the entries, the total number of books is also indicated in pencil: 4,221. This huge number consists mostly of historical and political works, but also includes writings by renowned foreign literary au- thors of the period. French literature is especially well represented: Victor Hugo, George Sand, Hector Malot, fashionable authors such as Cherbuliez, Sardou, etc. (We would like to note that one copy of Diderot and D’Alembert’s famous encyclopaedia in the National Széchényi Library also comes from the collection of Pál Almásy. It is not a first edition, but it is nevertheless ex- tremely valuable—not to mention its intellectual value.) However, it is the books on Hungary which represent the greatest addition to the library. The predecessors who worked to increase the collection, and who could not have had sufficient financial means even in those times, would have especially welcomed foreign works on the history of Hungary and the role of Austria af- ter the Revolution, such as W. Rogge’s Österreich von Világos bis zur Gegenwart, Leipzig, 1873; Echo der Skizzen aus der Geschichte eines Jahres gegeben von einem Mit- glied der Beschlusspartei, Hamburg, 1862. (This latter was a reflection on Aurél Kecskeméthy’s Skizzen aus der Geschichte eines Jahres—Vázlatok egy év történetéből [Sketches from the history of a year], published at Vienna in 1862); [Schweinitz, Johann] Österreichs Zukunft und sein Heer, Wien–Pest–Leipzig, 1866, etc. Of course, there are several other types of books with references to Hungary in the catalogued material of the Almásy col- lection: works published during Almásy’s lifetime (Béla Loránd’s Lache im Leben, Lache im Sterben, München, 1865; or A. Ph. Segesser’s Die Beziehungen der Schweizer zu Matthias Corvinus, Luzern, 1860; etc.), or even in the

seventeenth century (Der neu-aufgegangene Glücks- und Majestäts-Stern des Königreichs Ungarn, Nürnberg, 1688; Ortelius redivivus, 1665; Kriegs- und Friedensergebnisse Nürnberg, 1686; etc.). According to the family tradition, Almásy wrote books himself: the anonymous Croquis aus Ungarn and Neue Croquis aus Ungarn (Lipcse, 1843 and 1844). Szinnyei and others, however, attribute these works to a journalist publishing under the name Albert Hugo, who worked in Pest in the 1840s. Nevertheless, the family tradition, or

more precisely the entries that preserved this tradition in copies of books from Almásy’s library were sufficient for Pál Gulyás to include his name in his lexicon of writers. Thanks to this, posterity knows which of the many Pál Almásys the seal in the books commemorates: “from the library of Pál Almásy.” In this essay, I have attempted to conjure to live forgotten nineteenth-century book collectors and their collections. These small libraries, which were assembled with expertise and devotion, de- serve to have their memory kept alive. 24


1 CSONTOSI János, A Jordánszky-codex győri töredéke [The Győr Fragment of the Jordánszky Codex], Magyar Könyvszemle [Hungarian Book Review], 1880, 142–143.

2 CSONTOSI János, A két modenai Corvin-co- dex története [History of the two Corvin codices at Modena], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1891, 84–85.

3 A Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum könyvtára 1802–1895 [The library of the Hungarian Nation- al Museum 1802–1895], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1896, 100–101.

4 Horovitz Fülöp a magyarországi antiquariusok nestora [Fülöp Horovitz, first among Hungarian antiquarians], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1886, 342.

5 KOLLÁNYI Ferenc, A Széchényi Országos Könyvtár a Horvát István kinevezését megelőző három évben [The National Széchényi Library in the three years preceding the appointment of István Horvát], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1904, 172.

6 CSONTOSI János, A két modenai Corvin-co- dex története [History of the two Corvin codices at Modena], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1891, 81–116,


7 MÁTRAY Gábor, József nádor törekvései a wolfenbütteli Corvin-codexek visszaszerzésére [Palatine József’s attempts to reclaim the Corvin codices at Wolfenbüttel], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1883, 75–83.

8 CSONTOSI János, Adatok a Nemzeti Múzeum könyvtárának történetéhez [Data from the history of the library of the National Museum], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1885, 10.

9 SZINNYEI József, Magyar írók élete és munkái

[The Lives and Works of Hungarian writers], III.


10 National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Hung. 1887/1–4.

11 Szendrey Júlia ismeretlen naplója, levelei és halálos ágyán tett vallomása [The unknown diary, letters, and deathbed confession of Júlia Szendrey], published by MIKES Lajos and DERNŐI KOCSIS László, Budapest, 1930, 184–186.

12 Horvát Árpád jelentése az Országos M. Kir. Statisticai Hivatalhoz saját könyvtáráról [Ádám Horvát’s report about his own library to the Hungarian Royal Statistical Office], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1885, 42–57.

13 National Széchényi Library. Manuscript Collection. Fol. Hung. 1887/10–12.

14 National Széchényi Library. Archives. Docu- ment no. 82/1896.

15 Vasárnapi Újság [Sunday News], 17 March 1895, 494.

16 A Delhaes gyűjtemény, s egyéb régiségek a Nemzeti Múzeumban [The Delhaes collection

and other antiquities in the National Museum], Vasárnapi Újság, 1902, 785–786.

17 National Széchényi Library. Archives.


18 A budapesti társaság [The Budapest Society], Budapest, 1886, 464–465.

19 National Széchényi Library. Archives.


20 Jelentés a MNM könvvtárának állapotáról 1883–4-ben [Report on the condition of the library of the Hungarian National Museum], Magyar Könyvszemle, 1884, 148.

21 National Széchényi Library. Archives.


22 A Kossuth-emigráció szolgálatában. Tanárky Gyula naplója [In the service of the Kossuth emi- gration. The diary of Gyula Tanárky], Budapest, 1961, 181, 333, 340.

23 National Széchényi Library. Archives. 2886/1925. Key documents.

24 The present study is an abridged version. For the original and complete text, see Az Országos Széchényi Könyvtár Évkönyve [Yearbook of the National Széchényi Library]. 1984–1985, Buda- pest, 1992, 179–203.



The haND-DRaWN MaPS IN The FeSTeTICS COlleCTION aT keSzThely

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FeSTeTICS COlleCTION aT keSzThely Collectors and Collections Color map of the siege of Belgrade in 1717,

Color map of the siege of Belgrade in 1717, indicating fortresses, camps and warships


Gergely Tóth

The haND-DRaWN MaPS IN The FeSTeTICS COlleCTION aT keSzThely

The Map Collection of the National Széchényi Library contains a large number of hand-drawn maps from the Festetics library and archives in Keszthely. 1 The press- mark of these works, which can be considered maps in the traditional sense, begins with Mp. (Mappa). Of the 504 pieces with a Mp. pressmark surveyed by Béla Iványi, about 450 2 became part of the collection after 1945. Another part of these maps, with the pressmark Dl. (Delineatio), are “plans” or “delineations” showing the layout or design of various buildings. These can be found in the National Archives of Hungary. 3 The Festetics family was of Croatian origin. Pál Festet- ics was the first member of the family to settle in Hungary in the early 1630s. He and his son of the same name laid the foundations of the family estates in Transdanubia, especially in Somogy, Tolna, Fejér, Vas and Sopron Counties. 4 Most of the estates, however, were acquired by the son of Pál Festetics the Younger, Kristóf Festet- ics (1696–1768), Deputy Lieutenant of Sopron County and member of the Governor’s Council, whose lifelong indefatigable work and good business sense increased the family fortune. He commissioned construction on the estates in Keszthely, the better part of which he purchased in 1737–1739. Therefore, he is regarded as the founder of the Keszthely branch of the family. The Deputy Lieutenant made his new acquisition his seat, and he worked zealously on the town’s revitalization:

he invited craftsmen, and he had a pharmacy and a hospital built. 5 He also had a palace built in Keszthely, which housed his library and archives, and the surviving documents prove that he knew these well and devoted himself to their maintenance. 6 There is no available information on whether he collected or commissioned maps, but several contemporary maps of estates or of lawsuits about estates survive due to his diverse activities in land acquisition. Kristóf Festetics’s brother, József Festetics (1691–1757), also contributed to the map collection in Keszthely. He was a military officer with a successful career, who partic- ipated in the Ottoman wars of 1716–1718 and 1737–1739, thus it is likely that it was he who added the five maps related to these wars to the collection. 7 The carefully drawn color maps exhibit excellent workmanship, and they accurately represent the layout of castles and for- tresses, as well as the movement of troops. The larger

map about the siege of Belgrade in 1717 (Plan der Stadt Belgrad…, see Note 7) is outstanding on account of its size (121132 cm), and it represents the reoccupation of the key fort in a spectacular manner. The imperial army, led by Prince Eugene of Savoy, laid siege to the town on 18 June. Learning this, grand vizier Khalil Pasha attempt- ed to relieve the fortress with his troops. The imperial commander fortified his camp on the Belgrade side, then rode out and defeated the Ottoman army on 16 August. The castle’s commander surrendered, and the imperial forces marched into the fort called “the key to Hungary” on 22 August. The map contains detailed drawings of Belgrade’s fortifications at the time, the camp of the imperial forces and the system of trenches surrounding it, the warships at anchor on the Danube, and the troops deployed in combat, together with the names of the commanding officers. The depiction of the Turkish camp is understandably less detailed. The mapmaker makes up for his lack of information in artistic portrayal: the camp of the Ottoman army is represented by a multitude of tents of varied colors. The map is very graphic and offers a lifelike presentation of the vegetation and the hydrography of the area. In addition, the author uses letter markings to provide a detailed explanation of the contents of the map, i.e. the siege’s events. It should be noted that the war had an unfortunate outcome for József Festetics: after the successful occupation of Belgrade, the imperial command attempted to invade Bosnia, and the young officer was captured by Turks during the ill-fated campaign, freed only in April 1718. 8 In his last will, Kristóf Festetics left the Keszthely estate and a considerable portion of his lands to his son Pál. Pál Festetics (1722–1782) was less interested in augmenting the family fortune, he rather devoted his time to career in administration. He first became Deputy Lieutenant of Sopron County, then Councilor of the Hungarian Chancellery in 1758, and in 1762 he started working at the Court Chamber. The well-trained states- man, who was equally familiar with imperial and Hun- garian legal practices, soon earned the trust of Queen Maria Theresa, who consulted him on several issues, and appointed him Vice President of the Hungarian Chamber in 1772.9 Pál Festetics is also an important figure because he was the first to ensure the regular maintenance of the Keszthely archives and to appoint an


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Collectors and Collections
Collectors and Collections


archivist in charge. A few pieces in the map collection are related to his person: besides contemporary estate maps, for example, maps related to his administrative work also survive. It is known that Maria Theresa sent him to supervise and organize the operation of salt mines in Máramaros (today Maramureș in Romania) as a royal commissioner in 1777: 10 it must have been at this time that he acquired a cross-section drawing of the salt shafts at Rónaszék (today Coștiui in Romania), made in 1743 (which is currently among the Delineations in the Na- tional Archives of Hungary), 11 as well as the detailed draft of the salt mine at Sóvár (today Solivar in Slovakia), drawn in 1760 and copied in 1778. The latter town, although it was not in Máramaros (Maramureș), but in Sáros County, may have served him as a reference in surveying the mines in the north-east. 12 In addition, the collection includes a large hand- drawn map addressed to Pál Festetics, which presents Roman and Eastern Catholic and Orthodox church ad- ministration in the Kingdom of Hungary and its associ- ated countries. 13 The author of the map is Major Baron Georg Pflacher, who, as he writes in his dedication, was the one to “invent” and draw the map (Author Georg. L. B. de Pflacher vigil. praefectus, eiusdem inventor et delinea- tor). An interesting feature of this large map is that, in addition to the archdioceses and dioceses that existed in Hungary and the associated countries at the time, it also indicates the archiepiscopal and episcopal sees that had been abolished by the eighteenth century. Pflacher shows pontifical seats in an ornamental frame, and dis- tinguishes them according to their rank and denomina- tion (Roman or Eastern Catholic, or Orthodox) using abbreviations and pontifical insignia (crosier, mitre, or cross) in the frames. Furthermore, the ribbons below the frames show the name of the current head of the diocese, or indicate that the archiepiscopal or episcopal seat is currently vacant (vacat). The above data aid us in determining the time of creation of the undated: the prelates named in the map were all in office in 1777, thus it is certain that Pflacher drew the map in this year. This can be further narrowed down considering some of the information. The map shows the dioceses of Szombathely and Székesfehérvár, founded by Maria Theresa on 17 February 1777 (this is the latest date ap- pearing in the map), but the author does not yet know of the death of György Klimó, Bishop of Pécs, which occurred on 2 May 1777, as he is named as the head of the Pécs diocese. Therefore, the map was made after 17 February 1777, but before, or at least not long after, 2 May of the same year. 1777 was a significant year: Maria Theresa’s radical church administration reforms, aimed at the division of overly large Roman Catholic dioceses and at the foun-

of overly large Roman Catholic dioceses and at the foun- dation of new ones, as well
of overly large Roman Catholic dioceses and at the foun- dation of new ones, as well
of overly large Roman Catholic dioceses and at the foun- dation of new ones, as well

dation of new ones, as well as at the establishment of Eastern Catholic bishoprics, had been completed by this time. Both measures were timely: the division of dioceses covering entire provinces made the pastoral and other activities of the priesthood more efficient, which also served the interests of the Vienna government, whose influence over the church was increasing and which was consciously exploiting this. The establishment of “uniate,” i.e. Eastern Catholic dioceses—which sig- nalled the independence of Eastern Catholics from the Roman Catholic church organization—was demanded both by Rusyn and Romanian believers, as well as by their priests. The Eastern Catholic diocese of Munkács (today Mukacheve in the Ukraine) was the first to be established in 1771 by the Queen for the Rusyns, who became Eastern Catholic in the early eighteenth centu- ry. This was followed by the foundation of the Eastern Catholic diocese at Várad (today Oradea in Romania) in 1776 for the Uniate Romanians of Bihar County, the necessity of which was also indicated by the conflict between the Roman Catholic bishop of Várad and the Eastern Catholic believers under his jurisdiction in the early 1750s. The Eastern Catholic diocese of Kőrös was founded in 1777, with the union of the Orthodox Serbs as its purpose (Pflacher’s map only shows the diocese of Munkács). The division of the large old Roman Catholic dioceses brought even greater changes. The Esztergom archdiocese was the first in 1776, with the Queen estab- lishing the bishoprics of Szepes, Rozsnyó and Beszter- cebánya on its former territory. The already mentioned dioceses of Szombathely and Székesfehérvár were created in early 1777: the former contained parts of the dioceses of Győr, Veszprém, and Zagreb, whereas the latter was consisted of parts of the diocese of Veszprém alone. 14 The mapmapker calls attention to these newly established Roman Catholic dioceses by writing the Queens initials (M. T.) in golden letters in their frames, and explaining in the legend that these are the bishoprics “founded by the Holy Roman Empress and Apostolic Queen of the Kingdom of Hungary.” 15 That is, Pflacher’s primary aim may have been to illustrate the changes in church ad- ministration that took place in the 1770. Such a work could prove of practical use to the Vice President of the Chamber, since the Chamber managed the benefices of the vacant pontifical sees and it also supervised the use and distribution of the income of the appointed bishops and archbishops. Nevertheless, from the point of view of cartography, the map is more spectacular than accurate. Although

Details of the map drawn by Major Baron Georg Pflacher in 1777 and dedicated to Pál Festetich (National Széchényi Library Map Collection TK 1390)


The haND-DRaWN MaPS IN The FeSTeTICS COlleCTION aT keSzThely

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Collectors and Collections


latitude and longitude lines are marked on its frame, the representation of the geographical area (which also includes a considerable part of the Balkan Peninsula in addition to Hungary) is rather disproportionate. Pflacher attempted to make up for this deficiency with a pleas- ing portrayal of topographic and hydrographic features, as well as with the use of colors. In addition, he also indicates more important cities, the names of counties (without their borders), and the road to Constantino- ple in the sketchy layout. It should be noted that the Map Collection of the National Széchényi Library also contains two works among the maps donated by Ferenc Széchényi which may be regarded as later versions of this map. One of these, which is identical with the map dedicated to Pál Festetics apart from differences in some data and ornamental elements, was made by Pflacher himself, 16 probably also in 1777, but after the death of György Klimó, i.e. 2 May, as the word vacat can be read below the ornamental frame representing the diocese of Pécs. This map is addressed to Ádám Patachich, who was appointed Archbishop of Kalocsa in 1776: the decorative representation of the Patachich coat of arms and the name of the newly appointed archbishop on the ribbon below the frame surrounding the Archdiocese of Kalocsa are gestures intended for him. A smaller and simplified version of the above two maps, drawn in 1786, may also be the work of Pflacher,17 but some of the differences may raise doubts about the identity of the author of this 1786 map, if not about its relationship to the other two maps. 18 György Festetics (1755–1819), founder of the Georgikon, had the greatest merit in collecting, commissioning and organizing maps. 19 The busy aristocrat employed his own engineers and cartographers to prepare the layout of individual buildings and for other tasks (land surveying, regulation of waterways, road construction). 20 Due to their character, the maps and layouts related to these activities form part of the “delineations,” which, as men- tioned above, are found in the collection of the National Archives of Hungary. However, the part of the collection owned by the National Széchényi Library also contains several maps connected to the lifetime and activities of György Festetics. One of the most spectacular and valuable pieces is the hand-drawn atlas which presents the Georgikon, the famous agricultural school founded by the progressive aristocrat in 1797, on four maps. 21 The first page, which shows the inner, central part of the Georgikon, was made by Alajos Hawliczek, 22 “profes- sor of mathematics” (mathesis professor) in September 1810, based on accurate measurements. The mapmaker carefully indicates individual parts of the model farm in the map, distinguishing buildings, gardens, ploughlands and pastures using different markings and colors. He also marks other, smaller units with letters, and indicates

their size in the legend: in the case of buildings, he de- scribes their function, whereas in the case of gardens he specifies whether they are orchards, botanical gardens, etc. The second page contains the “map of the meadows belonging to the Georgikon” (Planum Pratorum ad Geor- gicon pertinentium), which was also drawn by Hawliczek in September 1810. The author shows the division of the meadows, and provides information on the size of individual parts in the legend. He also drew the canals constructed in the meadows and the mill on the banks of the Hévíz stream. The third map, made by engineer János Szajdensvartz 23 in 1807, shows the “forest belonging to the Georgikon.” In addition to the forests and their divisions, the mapmaker also indicates the quarry, the hunter’s lodge, the vineyards, chestnut plantations, and meadows, together with their size. The fourth page is somewhat different from the others, as it presents the cross-section and the layout of the building which houses the school, the lodgings of the trainees, as well as the “larger servants’ quarters.” This page was also drawn by Hawliczek in September 1810. Both drawings are accurate and beautifully made at the same time. They also show the floor plan of the building and the heating system: the author carefully represents the location of the stoves and the passages behind the stoves which were used to light the fires. The series of four maps described above offers an authentic and detailed image of the contemporary condition of the Georgikon, therefore it is considered a useful source. 24 György Festetics also considerably increased the number of his estates. His most important acquisition was the Csáktornya (today Čakovec in Croatia) manor, which was put up for sale in 1790–1791 by the Althan family, who were deeply in debt (the final agreement was signed by the former owners on 17 March 1791). 25 The 1792 map of the “Csáktornya dominion” proba- bly commemorates this event, the estate’s entry in the possession of the Festetics family. 26 The map shows the entire territory of Muraköz (Međimurje) to the border of the country. The mapmaker, János Tomasich, 27 indicated not only the settlements (distinguishing market towns, villages with parsonages or chapels, as well as palaces and monasteries), but also forests, ploughlands, roads and ferries, as well as mountain vineyards, which were “painted in brown paint” (unfortunately, the coloring has almost completely faded). The drawing in the top right corner is very interesting and rather mysterious at first sight. On top, the author carefully drew the façade of the Csáktornya castle next to the Festetics coat of arms. Below this, there is a lively scene: a figure dressed as a Hungarian noble offers keys on a cushion to a young woman, whose clothes show her to be an aristocrat, while below them Hungarian nobles watch the scene on the

left, and people in peasant clothes, including a woman and a child, on the right. Between the two groups there is

a poem written for the occasion: “Muraköz likes to serve

a beautiful Lady, / to come to the hand of the fairer Sex

again / Or maybe Csáktornya is Jove’s offspring, / on whom his Father’s sins are visited: / Ammon abducted many a fair Damsel / and Csáktornya is often given to Countesses.” This slightly frivolous poem sheds light on what is depicted in the scene: the “handing over” of the Csáktornya estate, i.e. the arrival of the new own- er. The mention of the “Countess” in the poem, the Festetics coat of arms, and the year number 1792 are clear indications that the scene refers to the purchase of the estate by György Festetics, thus the woman in the picture must be the Count’s wife, Judit Sallér, who is received by the nobles and peasants living on the estate. The Countess probably took possession of the estate because her husband, who was a military officer at the time, could not return from abroad. In the political upheaval of 1790, following the death of the “hatted king,” Joseph II, Kristóf Festetics and some of his fellow officers demanded that Hungarian regiments should use Hungarian as the language of command and that they should be stationed in Hungary in time of peace, which

was frowned upon by the imperial military leadership. He was severely reprimanded in Vienna in August 1790 (he was in detention for 14 days), after which he was sent to Brusselles, then to Milan in 1791. At the pleas of Judit Sallér, he was retired from the service and returned to Hungary in May 1791. 28 Thus, while the emperor kept György Festetics away from Hungary, his wife was in charge of various tasks, including the management of the Csáktornya manor. The map also contains a later note made in 1794. According to the Latin text, the red color in the map indicates the division of Muraköz into four districts in 1794, and green shows the borders of the “stewardships” (spanatus) indicated in Arabic numbers. These markings reflect the innovations in estate management introduced by György Festetics. The similarity of handwriting sug- gests that these remarks were also added to the map by János Tomasich. In addition to the above, the hand-drawn map col- lection of the Festetics family includes another map of the Csáktornya estate, which is not only the oldest, but also one of the rarest and most outstanding pieces in the collection. The map was drawn on parchment by imperial engineer Giovanni Giuseppe Spalla in 1670 at the order of Emperor Leopold I. 29 This map is very decorative: the author prepared veritable engravings of all settlements and layouts of every castle, he provides

a varied representation of topography, vegetation, and

hydrographical features, the latter in minute detail. The

map contains several curiosities: the finely drawn image of the Csáktornya castle is in a separate frame, in front of which stands an engineer surveying the land (self-por- trait?); below Kotoriba miniature drawings of twenty-one deer can be seen in a regularly shaped, enclosed area. Pál Hrenkó believes that this is a depiction of the famous deer park of the Zrínyi family. 30 However, he also points out that the spelling of settlement names is inconsistent and often erroneous. 31 The historical reasons for the creation of this map are clear. In the spring of 1670 the conspiracy organized by

are clear. In the spring of 1670 the conspiracy organized by Pages from the hand-drawn atlas
are clear. In the spring of 1670 the conspiracy organized by Pages from the hand-drawn atlas
are clear. In the spring of 1670 the conspiracy organized by Pages from the hand-drawn atlas

Pages from the hand-drawn atlas presenting the Georgikon at Keszthely (Geodaisia Georgici… 1810–1811.) (Map Collection of the National Széchényi Library TA 417.)


The haND-DRaWN MaPS IN The FeSTeTICS COlleCTION aT keSzThely

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Collectors and Collections


COlleCTION aT keSzThely Collectors and Collections 80 The Festetich manor at Csáktornya. From the map drawn

The Festetich manor at Csáktornya. From the map drawn by engineer János Tomasich in 1792

Ferenc Frangepán, Péter Zrínyi, and Ferenc Rákóczi I was nearing its outcome. While Rákóczi resolved to act and started an uprising of the nobles, his two companions travelled to Vienna on 13 April to plead with the em- peror and ask for mercy. However, they were imprisoned on 17 April. Emperor Leopold and his entourage had already decided to crack down on the rebels, and it was certain that their estates would also become forfeit. Thus it seems clear that the monarch commissioned engineer Spalla on 3 May to survey the Csáktornya manor in order to acquire more accurate information about the Zrínyi estate, which was to become the property of the treas- ury. 32 Imperial forces invaded the town and the entire Muraköz soon afterwards. Later, Ádám Zrínyi, the son of Miklós Zrínyi, was returned his portion of the estate, but after his death in 1691 the entire Csáktornya estate was managed by the Inner Austrian Chamber. Following this, the land had several owners, until it was given to the loyalist Count Mihály János Althan in 1720. 33 The map had either been at Csáktornya since 1670 or it may have been given to the Althan family by the emperor; in any case, it is certain that it became part of the Festetics

collection following the purchase of the estate previously owned by the Zrínyis and the Althans in 1791. 34 The maps in the collection vary as regards their contents and age. The largest and thematically con- sistent part of the collection consists of the so-called “yellow-framed county map series,” which presents the counties of Hungary. About 31 such maps are known, 22 of which can be found in the Map Collection of the National Széchényi Library. 35 The maps were probably made in 1740–1750, and they were named after the char- acteristic color of their frames. 36 It has long been held that the author of the finely drawn and detailed maps was Sámuel Mikoviny (1700–1750), one of the greatest cartographers of the eighteenth century,37 who made sev- eral county maps for Notitia, the historical-geographical description of the counties of Hungary by Mátyás Bél (1684–1749). 38 The pieces in this hand-drawn series closely resemble the maps known to have been made by Mikoviny. The similarities include those in the title:

titles in both series contain the word mappa (“map”), as well as the expression methodo astronomico-geometrica concinnata (“prepared with the astronomical-mathemat-

concinnata (“prepared with the astronomical-mathemat- One of the collection’s earliest and most beautiful maps,

One of the collection’s earliest and most beautiful maps, made in 1670, shows the Csáktornya manor

ical method”).39 In addition, Sámuel Mikoviny’s map of Nógrád County and the map of the same county in the hand-drawn collection obviously resemble each other as regards the representation of topography, the marking of settlements, and the list of names. 40 However, Enikő Török, who researches the cartographic work of Sámuel Mikoviny, warns that in this case the similarities do not point to the same author, but to copying, i.e. the author of the hand-drawn map used Mikoviny’s map as his source. Török has also examined other pieces in the series, and she excludes the possibility that these were drawn by the famous engineer and cartographer. 41 Nevertheless, even if Mikoviny did not made these maps directly, there are several indications that the maps are related to him and to the county maps in Bél’s Notitia. On the one hand, it is worth noting that the collection includes several maps that can be attributed to Sámuel Mikoviny with certainty, such as the maps of Pest42 and Turóc Counties.