Maps

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The Map Collection of National Széchényi Library is basically a hungarica collection. Being part of Hungary’s national library, our aim is to collect, with as much integrity as we can, all the Hungary-related printed and manuscripts cartographic documents as well as digitally produced maps, atlases, celestial spheres and globes, etc. As part of a stock comprising over 300,000 items, our collection holds, in addition to the so-called hungarica maps, a rich and highly valuable collection of works of the entire European history of cartography, too. In 1802, Count Ferenc Széchényi donated his famous collections including a collection comprising approximately 6,000 units of maps and atlases to the Hungarian nation. As a collection of graphic documents, this collection has been handled separately since the age of foundation.

During the 19th century, in addition to entities of legal deposit, the Map Collection was significantly enriched by way of receiving donations and also by making acquisitions. To mention just the most notable ones, there was the donation of Count István Illésházy (208 items, 1835); the acquisition of a several hundred-piece map collection of the renowned book and map collector Miklós Jankovich (1836); the purchase of a 300-piece collection of the famous professor of linguistics István Horváth; a highly valuable present (circa 2,200 items, 1895) of Enea Lanfranconi, an excellent water engineer who lived in Bratislava. In the early 20th century, leaders of NSZL recognized the value of large-scale topographic maps in various historical researches, so they made efforts to purchase Hungary-related maps of this kind. As a result of these steps, from the middle of the 1920s onwards, a great volume of large-scale maps arrived in NSZL’s Map Collection. These maps were manuscript and printed maps (cadastral and feudal fee management maps, maps on land utilization, military maps, etc.) but, at the same time, several smaller-scale maps on a variety of topics (county, town, village, etc.) had also been acquired.

In the first half of the 1940s, a great number of unused school maps and atlases from church and secular schools have found their way into the Map Collection of National Széchényi Library. As a result of the communization of baronial and church collections, a bulk of cartographic documents got into NSZL’s Map Collection.

Since 1945, the decisive majority of the annual growth of stock has been provided by entities of legal deposit. However, making purchases of missing hungarica maps also play an important part in the development of NSZL’s Map Collection.

Since 1939, the Map Collection has been a separate department within the organizational structure of National Széchényi Library.

 

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