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The Tatra Museum Library

 

An auxiliary department of the Tatra Museum, the Library dates back to the beginnings of the Tatra Museum Society’s operation. ‘Books and drawings, plans and maps of the Tatra Mountains and the region of Podhale’ figured as objects of interest to the museum in its first constitution of 1888. In that same year, the library received a donation of several dozen rare bryological works from Tytus Chałubiński’s collection. Another valuable donation, of books on Tatra subjects and press cuttings from articles on the Zakopane Style, came from Zygmunt Gnatowski. Yet the core of the library holdings consists of works donated to the museum by the first director, Juliusz Zborowski. A bibliophile by predilection, Zborowski is undoubtedly to be credited with the creation of the library proper. He defined its profile and, throughout his term in office, systematically augmented its possessions, which task was facilitated by his wide social and professional contacts with the world of learning. Scholars did not only donate their works to the library but many of them spent time looking for, and finding in second-hand bookshops works that could enrich J. Zborowski’s collection. As a result of purchases, donations and exchange carried out between the World Wars, the Museum Director had gathered a sizeable library containing, among other items, the earliest works on the Tatra Mountains and journals appearing in the regions of Podhale, Spisz and Orawa. Many works bear precious dedications and have been artistically bound by Kazimierz Brzozowski.

The Library holds prints, manuscripts, iconographic materials and documentary materials in a range defined by the museum’s tasks and the institution’s needs dictated by its research, documentation, publishing and educational functions. The book holdings embrace items devoted to the Tatra Mountains and the regions of Podhale, Spisz and Orawa, the ethnography of Poland at large, museum science, and works on general subjects. The Library is composed of a book collection (27 000 books proper and over 2 000 titles of periodical publications) and special collections. The latter comprise maps, a musical collection (records and scores), photographic archive (positives, negatives and transparencies), print collection (printed iconographic materials), technical documentation, community life documents and press cuttings.

 

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Translated & edited by: Joanna Holzman, Adrian Smith, Anna Wende-Surmiak