The original of Hymn in National Széchényi Library

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It has been less known to the public that the stock of National Széchényi Library, holding several million documents, includes documents which are not actually owned by the Library. And it has been almost entirely unknown that the autograph manuscript of Hymnus (Hymn), one of our greatest national relics, also belongs to this category.

After Ferenc Kölcsey’s death (1838), autograph manuscripts were inherited by his half-orphan, underage nephew Kálmán Kölcsey, and the fate of these manuscripts was managed by Kálmán Kölcsey’s widowed mother, Mrs. Ádám Kölcsey, née Josephine Szuhányi. In the decades that followed, the valuable bequest was split into several parts. Some of the documents were acquired by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and National Széchényi Library, but a bundle of the precious manuscript verses, including Hymnus (Hymn), has been owned by the family ever since. Hymnus (Hymn) had been hiding, and until the middle of the 20th century, literary historians did not know anything about it. In the summer of 1944, however, one of Kölcsey’s collateral relatives Magda László, prompted by the responsibility of preservation, put the irreplaceable autograph manuscript in escrow in National Széchényi Library where it has been kept ever since.

Prompted by the responsibility of preservation, owner family is going to confirm their former decision. At 1 p.m. on Monday July 3, 2017, Parties – on behalf of the family, Péter Fáy and on behalf of National Széchényi Library, László Tüske – will solemnly sign the renewed Escrow Contract in the building of National Széchényi Library. On this occasion, visitors will have an opportunity to look at the autograph manuscript of Hymnus (Hymn) by Ferenc Kölcsey.

Venue: Buda Royal Palace, Wing “F”, Floor 6, Ceremonial Hall

The event is open to press but preliminary registration is required. We kindly ask you to notifiy us at

Site on Hymnus (Hymn) at NSZL's content service on Ferenc Erkel

Image report of the event

Video about the ceremony