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Czartoryski's library


In 1961 the Czartoryskis’ book collection and archives were moved to a newly built house at 17 św. Marka St. Until then the Library had been located in the humid and cramped building of the former City Arsenal at 8 Pijarska St., a place absolutely unfit for storing this type of collection. The relocation project was possible thanks to the engagement of the management of the National Museum of Krakow, loans extended by the Public Fund For Monument Preservation and support from the Ministry of Arts and Culture.

The founders of the family library at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries were Adam Kazimierz and Izabela Czartoryski. It was the ambition of the successors to Adam Kazimierz to create a national library, in every sense of the word, based on the existing resources. Therefore their eldest son, Adam Jerzy took effort to add to and enhance the book collection and to create what he named the Public Archives, the core of which would be the collection bought in 1818 from Tadeusz Czacki. With planned acquisitions, gifts and exchanges the book collection at the Czartoryski’s Puławy palace grew to 70,000 prints and 3,000 manuscripts in 1830. When the estate was confiscated after the fall of the November Uprising (1831), the collection was dispersed and for nearly half a century peregrinated from place to place. The scattered books were rolled back up by Adam Jerzy’s son and heir, Prince Władysław, who installed them and the archives in the City Arsenal, which was offered by the municipality on the condition that the collection was made accessible to the public for research purposes.

According to the Statute enacted by Władysław Czartoryski, both the Library and the Princes Czartoryski Museum was maintained by the entailed estates, particularly in Sieniawa and Besko. This de facto private book collection of the Czartoryskis served the nation incessantly until World War II, when the Library was closed formally but used clandestinely by a large circle of scientists and researchers. It has remained an inexhaustible resource until now, and in 1971 was granted status of an academic institution of humanities.