The Provenances and Book Collections
in the National Museum Library

In terms of ownership provenance, the book collections of the National Museum Library (NML) are a very important source including both historical book collections (manuscripts and early printed books) and modern book sets (personal libraries of significant figures of Czech literature, valuable book legacies of famous collectors) and personal and family aristocratic libraries. The NML has had a long tradition of processing and recording ownership provenance, on which it is possible to build (mainly the professional research by B. Lifka and his excellent comprehensive monograph loaded with information, Exlibris a supralibros v českých korunních zemích v letech 1000 až 1900 /Ex Libris and Super Ex Libris in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown in 1000–1900/, issued in the 1980s).ramelli

The NML has in its holdings noteworthy book collections defined by their provenance from the Middle Ages, Early Modern Period as well to almost the present time. The PROVENIO project focuses on the methodology of the processing of all the records regardless of what period they come from. Apart from the aristocratic libraries which became part of the NML as donations of Czech aristocracy especially after the museum was founded and then at the time of the confiscations in and after 1945 and in 1948, these include also fragments of early modern bourgeois libraries. Monastic and church libraries are represented by the library of the Capuchin Monastery in Roudnice nad Labem and the library of the Church of St Ignatius in Prague. A separate significant collection are the so-called libraries of important figures, comprising the libraries of remarkable scholars, writers, artists but also publishers such as Gelasius Dobner, Jan Otto, Jakub Arbes, Julius Zeyer, Emmy Destinn, Marie Hübnerová, Karel Čapek, Karel Teige and many others.

The PROVENIO database should contribute to better knowledge of these noteworthy book collections and provide information on their composition also to the wider public.