Manuscripts and Old Books Collection
Monday-Friday 8.00 – 16.00
00385 1 616 4281
Dr Irena Galić Bešker, Head of the Collection
The Manuscripts and Old Books Collection was established in 1894, as a special department of the Royal University Library, at the initiative of Ivan Kostrenčić, the director of the Library at that time.
The Collection assembles, preserves, processes and makes available the items from the richest Croatian collection of national manuscripts and old books, as well as the manuscripts and numerous rare and old books belonging to other cultures.
The Manuscripts and Old Books Collection contains a vast legacy of manuscripts – correspondence including nearly 100,000 letters and 3,670 call numbers for individual manuscripts (1,720 in Croatian, 920 in Latin, 454 in German, 230 in Italian, etc.). The Collection also includes the photographic collection containing 865 items. In total the Collection contains 9,236 items (10,295 volumes) and its materials have been organized in ten groups:
* RI – incunabula
* RII – Croatian Books
1. books in the Glagolitic script
2. books in the Cyrillic script
3. books from Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Croatian Littoral, Istria
4. books in Kajkavian
5. books from Slavonia, Lika, Bosnia, and books by the Bačka and Burgenland Croatian authors
6. books by Croatian authors in foreign languages
7. more recent Croatian books
* RIII – Serbian, Montenegrin and Macedonian Books
* RIV – Slovenian Books
* RV – Partisan Books and Periodicals
* RVI – Foreign Rare Books
* RVII – Newspapers and Magazines
* RVIII – Posters, Advertisements, Leaflets and Other Ephemeral Printed Materials
* RX – Newspaper Clippings
* RXI – Reprints and Copies.
The Libraries of the Zrinski and Kušević families are also part of the Collections’ holdings and are kept as separate units.
Especially valuable items
Manuscripts – The Vinodol Code (a transcript from the beginning of the 16th century, parchment, Glagolitic cursive script); Mavro’s breviary, 1460 (parchment, angular Glagolitic script); Petris Miscellany (1468, paper, Glagolitic cursive script, transcript), Hilarius Pictaviensis, De Sancta Trinitate (15th c., parchment, humanities); The Vrbnik Statute (16th c., parchment, angular Glagolitic script); Istrian Book of Boundaries (a transcript from the 16th c., paper, Glagolitic cursive script); Statute of Poljica (17th c., paper, Croatian Cyrillic cursive script); Nikola Zrinski Adriai tengernek syrenaya (first half of the 17th c ., paper, original manuscript), Elegia in mortem filii (17th c., original manuscript); Ivan Mažuranić, The Death of Smail-Aga Čengić (before 1847, original manuscript); collections of manuscripts of Pavao Ritter Vitezović, Baltazar Adam Krčelić, Ljudevit Gaj, Vatroslav Jagić, Đuro Šurmin, Emilij Laszowski, Franjo Kuhač, Vladimir Lunaček, Franjo Fancev, Konstantin and Lujo Vojnović, the Brlić-Mažuranić family, Eugen Kumičić, Eugen Kvaternik, Nikola Tommaseo, Franjo Bučar, Oton and Elza Kučera, Nova Evropa archive, the legacy of Miroslav Krleža, materials donated by Vinko Nikolić and Ante Ciliga.
Old books – the oldest Croatian books printed in the Glagolitic script: Missal by the Law of the Roman Court (1483) and the breviary entitled Brevijar po zakonu rimskoga dvora (1493). Works by Marko Marulić, Hanibal Lucić, Dinko Ranjina, Marin Držić, Ivan Gundulić, Bartol Kašić, Andrija Kačić Miošić, Matija Divković, Matija Antun Reljković, members of the Croatian National Revival, etc. Works by the Croatian scientists Antun and Faust Vrančić, Matija Vlačić Ilirik, Frane Petris, Marin Getaldić, Ivan Lucić, Ruđer Josip Bošković, Benedikt Stay Stojković, Pavao Ritter Vitezović, Baltazar Adam Krčelić, Matija Petar Katančić, Juraj Habdelić, Jakov Mikalja, Ivan Belostenec, etc.
The Digitised Catalogue of the Manuscripts and Old Books Collection and the Alphabetical and Subject Manuscript Catalogues. Alphabetical catalogues of old books, old periodicals, brochures and partisan periodicals, alphabetical catalogues, correspondence, obituaries, the Kušević family library, the Zrinski family library, and the alphabetical catalogue of the photograph library. Central catalogue of the 16th century books held in the libraries of the Republic of Croatia (currently in the making).
Being a member of the Consortium of the European Research Libraries, the National and University Library in Zagreb has access to the database of old books (1455 – 1830) Heritage of the Printed Book Database (previously called the Hand Press Book Database), as well as to the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), which started out as the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue – the international union catalogue of various types of material printed in English-speaking countries in the period between 1701 and 1800.
Library users may search both databases in the Manuscripts and Old Books Collection Reading Room from Monday to Friday between 9 and 14:30.
Use of materials
The Collection’s holdings may be used only in the accompanying Reading Room exclusively for the purposes of study and reading. It is not allowed to copy the materials in the Collection. Arrangements can be made for making microfilmed copies and other types of reproductions.
Digitisation of the holdings of the Manuscripts and Old Books Collection
Online digitisation request form – Manuscripts and Old Books Collection