A concise history of the Bibliotheca Zriniana

The name Bibliotheca Zriniana refers to a historically formed collection of 529 volumes of books and 29 manuscripts belonging to the Bibliolteca Nacionalna i Sveucilisna (National and University Library of Croatia) in Zagreb. This is a special collection, most of the books are held together as a separate unit. We also know of some 202 books (including 5 manuscript volumes) which formerly belonged to the Zrínyi Library but they got lost during the past centuries. That much we know for certain. And we also believe, basing our assumption on experience gained from studying historic collections and their catalogues or, to be more precise, on what former location marks can convey us, that, in addition to the surviving books and to those mentioned in written records but lost by now, the collection may have contained another 120 volumes, though there is no written evidence to prove our statement and no books are known to us that once belonged to the Zrínyi library and are now kept elsewhere. Therefore what we can state with reasonable certainty is that the holdings of the Bibliotheca Zriniana consisted of 731 volumes, of which 529 volumes are still extant and 202 volumes have been lost.

The origins and development of Miklós Zrínyi’s library

Most of the holdings of the Bibliotheca Zríniana were collected by its founder, the poet, military commander and politician Miklós Zrínyi (1620-1664).* (*An introduction to the Zrínyi Library is not supposed to deal with the life and works of Miklós Zrínyi, one of the greatest figures of sevententh-century Hungary and the greatest Hungarian baroque poet. Those who want to know more about his life and works can find further information in Appendix VII of this volume: a list of works about Zrínyi. We would also like to call the attention of those interested in Zrínyi to an English book written and published during his lifetime: The Conduct and Character of Count Nicholas Serini, London, 1664. This work has been reprinted recently under the title Angol életrajz Zrínyi Miklósról (English biography about Miklós Zrínyi), by Sándor Iván Kovács. Budapest, Zrínyi Katonai Kiadó, 1987. As to Zrínyi’s literary works in English, cf. D.Mervyn Jones, Five Hungarian Writers. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1966. pp.1-61.) The core collection of Zrínyi’s library was described in the Catalogus of 1662, but the entire collection must have been more extensive. In a number of books to be found in the present-day collection of the Bibliotheca Zriniana in Zagreb, but not included in the Catalogus, there are indications showing that these books also belonged to Miklós Zrínyi’s library. And a number of other books may also be considered to have formed part of Zrínyi’s collection. In their case we have no proof, but no evidence to the contrary can be produced either. So we decided to include these books in the reconstructed collection, too, admitting that we may be wrong. What can be stated with certainty is that the books owned by Miklós Zrínyi amounted to more than three quarters of the holdings of the ibliotheca Zriniana now held in Zagreb.

In the Zagreb collection there are only two books that Zrínyi inherited from his father, and fifteen books got to him from István Jóna, a chief steward managing his estate, Csáktornya, presumably as a bequest. The other books were purchased by Zrínyi. This shows that the library came into being, because Zrínyi was interested in books. Strictly speaking, he was not a traditional bibliophile, as the contents of the books were more important for him than their form, all the same, he developed a taste for collecting books. His grand tour in Italy in 1636 may have given him the main impulse to become a book collector. The fact that most of his own acquisitions originated from the years immediately preceding or following that date seem to support this hypothesis. His main sources of book supply were Venice and Vienna, even in later years.

The possessor’s notes in some of Zrínyi’s books show that he obtained books from private owners, too. The former owners of about 100 volumes in his collection were members of the Listi family. The Listi collection seems to have come into Zrínyi’s possession in two parts, the first part before 1662 and the other between 1662 and 1664. The characteristic location marks of this collection - the abbreviation “no” followed by numerals – differ clearly from those in his other books, and this allowed us to identify the volumes of the Listi collection, even if no inscription could be found in some of the volumes. (Besides the location mark, a number of these books also bear inscriptions by different members of the Listi family.) Other books show signs of former possesssion by Miklós Istvánffy, Sándor Mikulich, Péter Endrődy, György Ráttkay, István Balassa, György Thurzó, György Lippay etc. On the evidence of his purchases, Zrínyi’s motives for collecting books were not those of a bibliophile, he bought books for practical reasons, because he needed these particular works for his daily work.

The housing of the library

We do not know what the groundplan of the Zrínyi Castle in Csáktornya (Cakovec) was like. So we know nothing of the whereabouts of the library, either. The only visitor who mentioned that there was a library in the castle was a Dutchman, Jacobus Tollius. There may have been no library at all in the castle before 1638, because there was no mention of it in the document recording the division of the estate between Miklós and Péter Zrínyi in 1638. It is more likely that a room was furnished for this purpose later, because a library was mentioned in an inventory drawn up in 1670, and this document also mentioned that the books were kept. in four bookcases. In our opinion, though we have no written evidence to support it, Zrínyi may have kept some books he used frequently in his study, and he may even have taken parts of his collection to his other houses (he had town residences in Vienna and Zagreb).

The arrangement of the library and the 1662 Catalogus

We can form an idea of how Zrínyi’s library was arranged by studying the location marks in the still extant books. Six types of location marks, each differing from the others, can be found in the volumes of the Bibliotheca Zriniana, but only one type of location mark could have any connection with Miklós Zrínyi. The location marks belonging to this type are large, angular, 4 to 8 cm-long figures, Arabic numerals written or pasted on the spine of the book. (The figures were painted on the spine of books bound in calfskin or paper, and were written on slips of paper and pasted on the back of leatherbound volumes.) After Zrínyi’s death this type of location mark was no longer in use, even the books written by him and published posthumously had another kind of location mark.

The location marks of the Zrínyi library, still visible on more the 200 volumes even now, show us a library arranged according to size. In 1662 the serial numbering of the volumes (location marks) got as far as no.501 (no 90), therefore the library must have held about five hundred volumes at the time. Location marks of the same type can also be seen on the spine of some books purchased later than 1662. In this group the serial numbering advanced as far as no. 617 (no 453). Consequently, at the time of Zrinyi’s death the library must have held a little more than 600 volumes.

Because of the arrangement by size it was rather difficult to use the library. Therefore Zrínyi had a Catalogus made in 1662, arranged in a classified order. However, besides Zrínyi’s wish to have a classification scheme indicating the contents of his collection, facilitating thereby its use, this inventory may also have had some connection with his last will and testament, made on the 6th of April 1662, because he specified in it, that his archives be classified. (The library was not mentioned, nevertheless it was classified in the same year.)

It seems that the list was actually drawn up by one of Zrínyi’s scribes, basing his descriptions on the title pages or engraved flyleaves (if there were any). He transcribed the text mechanically, without expanding the abbreviations, and if the titles were long, he left out the words not printed in bold letters, but he did not alter the word order. If the author’s name could not be found on the title page, he gave the printer’s name instead, repeatedly (e.g.in nos 198 and 325), but in some cases he took great pains to find the author’s name, thumbing through the entire book. He never transcribed title pages printed in Gothic types (black letters), but he summarized their contents in Latin.

When he finished the description of a title page, he added notes on the material and colour of the binding and the size of the book.The list contains 423 volumes of a collection amounting to about 500 volumes, and this may lead us to the conclusion that the missing volumes may not have been in their place on the shelves at teh time of the stock-taking.

The drawing up of the list was the work of a clerk, but it seems almost certain that the classification scheme was devised by the owner himself. If Zrínyi’s collection is compared with other contemporary Hungarian libraries, it strikes us that the classification of history is more detailed and finer that in other collections. Hungarian and Eastern history are connected, political and military literature are placed under separate headings, and poetry is subdivided into classical and contemporary poetry.

Zrínyi paid little attention to the physical appearance of his books, most of the volumes kept their modest white calfskin publisher’s binding. Some of his books, those he valued highly, were bound in red morocco. Though he cared little about outward appearance, he wanted to stress that the books belonged to him, and put into the volumes his engraved bookplates showing his portrait. As far as we know, he had two kinds of bookplates: the first was made by Elias Wideman, in 1646, at the time of his first marriage and bore his motto: “Nemo me impune lacesset”. This kind of bookplate can usually be found on one of the inside covers or endpapers of the books. After his promotion to viceroy of Croatia (27th December 1647) a new variation of the bookplate was made, his new rank was mentioned on the circular legend, but the date was not included. This new bookplate must have been made in 1648 or 1649. A second kind of bookplate was also made by Widemann, in 1652, at the time of Zrínyi’s second marriage. The new motto was “Sors bona nihil aliud”.

The Library and its users:

Concerning the use of his archives, strict instructions can be found in Zrínyi’s last will and testament. There must have been some directions concerning the use of his library, too, but these did not survive. There are only a few inscriptions in the still extant volumes of the collection, from the second half of the 1660s, which were not in Zrínyi’s hand. Only the family historian, Mark Forstall is known to have spent a rather long time in the library, because of his researches into the family’s past, connected with his work for Zrínyi. This suggests that the owner and, on rare occasions, people working for him may have been the only users of the library.

Zrínyi’s autograph notes inscribed in the books are relatively well identifiable and can be put in four types: 1.He inscribed his motto Sors bona nihil aliud in his own hand in some of his favourite books bound in crimson leather (nos 154, 185 213, 485). 2.He liked to write short sentences or improvised verses on the inside covers, endpapers, flyleaves, or even on the bindings of his books (nos 63, 182, 292, 498). In a unique case, fragments of a draft in prose have survived in the margins of a book (no 169). On the inside cover of Vincenzo Tanara’s book on gardening, which may have given him new ideas on this subject, Zrínyi scribbled some remarks on fruit improvement together with practical instructions (no 382). 3.His marginal notes inscribed in Malvezzi’s commentary to Tacitus show how Zrínyi the essayist worked. On blank leaves bound at his request within the covers of the book, in front of the pages, he epitomized some of the chapters. He also used these blank leaves for summarizing his impressions as he read on, while earlier he put down his impressions in the margins of the books. 4. His citations from the works of a number of authors: Istvánffy, Bonfini and Heltai show that he used several sources at the same time, when he was working,

When finding something of interest or when his attention had been attracted to a passage, Zrínyi grabbed his pen and recorded his thoughts or impressions. He was particularly keen on dates and facts connected with the history of his family. He usually made comments in the language of the text he was reading, but sometimes he unexpectedly switched to Hungarian, when reading a Latin or Italian text and commenting upon it in one of these languages. When he was too impatient to make comments, he would stress interesting parts by using special signs or symbols such as NB [nota bene] in block capitals or the sketch of a hand pointing in some direction or a long vertical line along the margin or a capital X. In these cases he often used a pencil instead of pen and ink.

The total absence of a “Theologici” class from his classification scheme shows that works about theology fell completely outside Zrinyi’s field of interest and his conception of book-collecting. Perhaps if by any chance he was given some polemical tracts or other kinds of religious works, he gave them away to ecclesiastical institutions, e.g. to the Pauline monastery of Szentilona (Saint Helen), where the friars prayed for the souls of the dead buried in the Zrínyi family vault or to the Franciscans he had settled in Csáktornya. It can be taken for granted that following the usage of his times Zrínyi sometimes gave books or manuscripts to his friends or visitors as gifts.

Miklós Zrinyi’s library compared with contemporary private libraries

Other aristocratic libraries are also known to have existed in Hungariy in the 17th century: the best known collections were those owned by Sándor Mikulich, Ádám Batthyány, Ferenc Nádasdy and István Csáky. The holdings of most of these collections were more extensive than that of the Zrínyi library but, except Ferenc Nádasdy’s library, these were family collections, developed by several generations of owners, during a long time, and they held rather old books, while Zrínyi’s library was an up-to-date, modern collection, because he acquired mainly new books, and it was particularly rich in books about military science and the art of war, political science and contemporary Italian poetry. About half of Zrínyi’s books were in Latin, and one third in Italian, but several Italian books were translations from Latin or French originals. The rest were in French, German, Spanish and of course Hungarian, and there were a number of multilingual books, too, in Latin and Italian, Latin and Greek, or Latin and French. Some of these were dictionaries.

In comparison with other seventeenth-century European collections, Zrínyi’s library was up to the European standard. Though there were a number of aristocratic libraries in Europe containing between 200 to 3000 volumes, the size of a characteristic seventeenth-century collection was 200 to 800 volumes.As to the modernity of the contents, the Bibilioteca Zriniana was one of the best collections in Hungary, it was not only up to date, but also reflected the personal interests of its owner.

Péter Zrínyi’s books:

After Miklós Zrínyi’s untimely and unexpected death in 1664, his public and military functions were inherited by his younger brother Péter Zrínyi, who soon moved to Csáktornya, the seat of the actual head of the Zrínyi family, and took up residence in the castle.

The contract between Zrínyi’s widow and the new viceroy of Croatia, dividing the landed properties was signed on 15th December 1665. The widow, Mária Zsófia (Marie Sophie) Löbl and the children, the two-year-old Ádám and the five-year-old Katalin (Catherine) continued to live in Csáktornya, in order that the widow, an energetic woman, may govern the domains inherited by her children. At the beginning of 1670, however, Péter Zrínyi who was one of the chief organisers of an anti-Hapsburg plot realized that he and those living in the estate were in serious danger, and asked her sister-in-law to leave Csáktornya. The widow then moved to Varasd. On 16th March 1670 the inventory of the personal property she had left behind was drawn up by the clergy of the Zagreb Chapter. The list contains a mention of the library, stating that the books were kept in four bookcases. Péter Zrínyi was outlawed on 16th March 1670 and the Imperial Court of Vienna soon started the proceedings of the confiscation of all his property. Two proceedings were conducted on Péter Zrínyi’s estate, the first on the 20th of May and the second on the 21st of July, and several references to his books can be found in the official records. Another, even more detailed record of the confiscated property was made a year later, on the 30th of October 1671, and the last item of this record was: “Libri. Secundum cathalogum adiunctum ut littera A:” The seized books are recorded in the attached list (See Appendix VI).

The list contained 95 volumes to the value of 69 Forints and 8 kreuzers. As a bibliographyt the list was highly unprofessional. The person taking the inventory translated the Italian, German and Croatian titles into Latin and many items contained only a general reference to the contents of the books or simply copied the titles taken from the spine. The spelling of the authors’ names was often so bad that in some cases it was almost impossible to reconstruct the original form, suggesting that the names may have been dictated to the scribe. The language of the books was usually Latin or Italian. The list contained several medical books, and the numberof works by the Latin classics was also very high im proportion to other kinds of books. Compared with the library of his elder brother, Péter Zrínyi’s collection was not so rich in works about miltary science, politics and history. On the other hand, his liking for poetry was manifest, shown by the presence in his collection of three books on rhetoric, a volume of Tasso’s works and another volume by Marino. The books seized by the Imperial Court also included seven copies of the prayer-book of Péter Zrínyi’s wife,. Katalín Frangepán, entitled Putni tovarus (a travelling companion), printed and published in Venice in Croatian.. Copies of Péter Zrínyi’s own work, a translation into Croatian of his elder brother’s epic poem, Szigeti veszedelem (Adrijanskog mora Syrena) were seized during the confiscation process in Buccari (Bakar) on the 22nd of June 1670: “…item librorum croaticorum Venetiis impressorum de expugnatione Szigethana cistae magnae 3” In the end, another list from 1672 (without the indication of month and day) recorded the items of property illegally removed from the Zrínyi estates by various persons, and mentioned about 200 books, forcibly carried off from Ozaly. No trace of Péter Zrínyi’s confiscated or scattered books was ever found. At present only one book exists with his inscription (a volume from the library owned by him), it is a copy of the Odyssey in Latin (no 268). The reason why it could escape the fate of Péter Zrínyi’s other books was that it had been mixed among Miklós Zrínyi’s books before 1662.

Ádám Zrínyi

Ádám Zrínyi was born of Zrínyi’s second marriage to Mária Zsófia Löbl on the 24th of November 1662. He began his studies in Vienna, at the Jesuit College in 1673 and completed his secondary education in the spring of 1676. On the evidence of the registry books of the University of Vienna, he was immatriculated in the Faculty of Philosophy, and the subject of his dissertation (disputatio) leads us to the conclusion that later he may also have read law.

Ádám Zrínyi’s books purchased during the 1670s and his inscriptions in his books give us an idea of what his his university years and education were like. Most of the books added by him to the holdings of the Bibliotheca Zriniana were secondary and university textbooks or lecture notes (nos 625-627, Ms 61, 657). There were a few occasional publications (nos 635, 636) among his books, too. In one of these – Florilegium, a collection of poems felicitating the imperial couple on the occasion of their marriage – a poem by Ádám Zrínyi, entitled Prudentia can be found on page B3.

Ádám Zrínyi started on his “peregrination” (his study tour) at the beginning of 1680. He followed in his cousin, János Zrínyi’s footsteps and went to the University of Leuven. His peregrination notes are in the possession of the University and National Library of Croatia in Zagreb (MS no 631). On the evidence of these notes we can state that at first he spent some time in Brussels and somewhat later he immatriculated in the Faculty of Law of the University of Leuven. Two of his manuscripts (MSS nos 629 and 630) attest that he also attended a lecture course on the art of fortification.

After his return home, he set about settling the affairs of his landed estates inherited from his father and following his example, he took part in the military campaign against the Ottoman Turks, fighting on the battlefield, and like his father he also took his share in the literary propaganda campaign waged against the Turks.He appealed to Pavao Ritter Vitezovic to publish an epic poem which, under the title Oddilyenje Sigetsko, recalled the siege of Szigetvár; this work was based on his father’s epic poem, Szigeti veszedelem. Presumably in 1684 he married Katherina Maria Lamberg, the offspring of an ancient Austrian family.

Ádám Zrínyi, commanding in person his own troops on the battlefield from 1682 to his death in 1691, fought successfully against the Ottoman Turks, and because of his military successes, he was soon made chamberlain and councillor and in 1687 the palatine, Pál Eszterházy mentioned his name among those he proposed for the post of a general who was to command the entire Hungarian army. Unfortunately, his glorious career came to an early end, he fell in battle, near Szalánkemén on the 19th of August 1691. Colonel Ádám Zrínyi, fighting under Louis of Baden was killed in action in the “bloodiest battle of the century”.

The growth and development of the library under Ádám Zrínyi

In most of the volumes of the Zrínyi Library a numbering in brown ink can be found, usually on the recto or verso of the flyleaf. The numbers inscribed in the books served as a basis for an inventory. The inventory must have been made after Miklós Zrínyi’s death (1664), because this kind of numbering can be found even in books acquired later than 1664, and it seems likely that it was drawn up not long after Ádám Zrínyi’s death, as these numbers can no longer be seen in any book added to the collection after his death (nos 721, 725-727). If one examines the numbering, trying to find a kind of system behind it, it soon becomes clear, that it does not lead to any kind of meaningful arrangement or order, so it is obvious that the list was part of an inventory of the movable property of Csáktornya, and had nothing to do with any kind of library classification. As the numbering goes as far as 805 (no532), this may show the number of volumes at the time of stocktaking.. The inventory was probably made between 1681 and 1695-6, the most likely date is 1691, the year of Ádám Zrínyi’s death, and more specifically the period soon after his death. Studying the numberinb, we can come to another interesting conclusion. The numbering in brown ink cannot be found in the books and manuscipts bought by Ádám Zrínyi in Vienna, and used by him as textbooks during his studies or in later years in Vienna. This suggests that the inventory was drawn up in Csáktornya, and not in Vienna. And it also leads to another conclusion, víz. that most of Miklós Zrínyi’s library was left in Csáktornya until 1691 with the exception of a few volumes taken to Vienna by his son. The books kept in Vienna, together with a score of Ádám Zrínyi’s textbooks and school manuals were returned to Csáktornya and incorporated in the collection at the time, when his widow, Maria Lamberg left Csáktornya forever, and took the Bibliotheca with her into her second marriage.

Ádám Zrínyi probably liked books, the fact that he pasted the bookplates inherited from his father in some of his own books (nos 641, 647, 651, 652, 663) also suggests that he cared for his books. As far as we know, the only picture ever made of the library was commissioned by him and engraved in Vienna, by Tobias Saddler, who portrayed him, too, standing there, in front of the bookshelves, holding a book in his hand and turning the leaves.

We know very little of Ádám Zrínyi’s interests, and his contribution to the development of the library requires further investigation. The schoolbooks which were in use in the Jesuit College of Vienna in the late 17th century and the law manuals were certainly his acquisitions. One of his characteristic traits as a collector was his liking for law books (nos 653, 669, 670). 46 volumes can be said to have belonged to him. Still, we have good reason to believe that his contribution to the development of the holdings was more important than that, and either many of his books got lost or we have to look for them under section C of our reconstruction of the Zrínyi Library (cf. the list published in this book), a section containing the books of doubtful provenience, the books which may have belonged to the Bibliotheca Zriniana, but we cannot provide any conclusive evidence to support our hypothesis. The French books (e.g. nos 550, 567-578, 607-614) were almost certainly purchased by him. Considering the fact that at the time of Miklós Zrínyi’s death about 600 location numbers were given to books, and when Ádám Zrínyi died, this number rose to about 800, showing an increase of about 200 volumes, it seems reasonable to believe that.his personal contribution to the development of the library may have been important.

The Bibliotheca Zriniana in Bitov

Maria Katharina Lamberg, Ádám Zrínyi’s widow married a second time at the end of the official period of mourning, a year after her husband’s death. She left Csáktornya, taking her late husband’s movable property to the home of her new spouse, Bitov (Vöttau in German) in Moravia. Since the beginning of the 15th century the castle in Bitov had been owned by an old family of Moravian origin, the Jankovskych z Vlasime. (The members of the family used the Germanized form of their name, Wlassim or Wlaschim.) The second husband of Ádám Zrínyi’s widow was a member of this family, Maximilian Arnost, grandson of the founder of the Bitov line, Bedrich z Vlasime.Maria Lamberg had two daughters by his second husband, but they had no son, so the family became extinct in the male line.Their elder daughter married a Count Kaunitz first, and a Count Cavriani for the second time, but she died without issue, therefore it was Heinrich Josef Daun, who had married the younger daughter, Maria Leopoldina, who inherited Bitov. From then on the Bitov estate was handed down in direct line of descent in the Daun family.

The Daun family did not enrich the library: of the books still extant, there is not a single volume which was bought by them, but a bequest, the collection of Ignac Hynek z Vlasime was added to or rather mixed with the Bibliotheca Zrinyiana. The name of the owner can be found in 33 books and two autograph manuscipts also belonged to him. The volumes - where the possessor’s notes indicate either “Ecclesiae Gemnicensis” (Jemnic, a village near Olomouc) as the owner, or have notes inscribed by Joannes Zagrabinus, Johannes Soebellayí and other priests from the neighbourhood of Olomouc (e.g. Ratkov, Mikolovice) - belonged to the Hynek collection, too. Books without location or identification marks, but containing inscriptions in Czech can also be said to have belonged to this collection. Ignac Hynek z Vlasime (died in 1655) was the pupil of the Jesuit College in Brno, then, beginning with 1631, he studied at the University of Olomouc. He filled high public functions: administrative and political positions in Moravia.

The Zrínyi library amounted to about 850 volumes at the time of its transportation to Moravia, and several volumes (approx. 300) were lost during the Bitov period. In the late 19th century a member of the Daun family, a collector of antiquities, Heinrich Daun (died in 1890) found the collection, reduced in numbers, in a damp and mouldy cellar of the Bitov castle. He arranged the decaying books and placed them in a separate room. He also found the Catalogus of 1662, and tried to check the books against its descriptions. He pasted a paper label showing the title and the author’s name, as well as the location marks and classification numbers (Roman numerals) on the spine of each book. He also wrote the numerals on the inside back cover of the books in red ink. As he had no special knowledge of books, he made several mistakes, when checking the volumes.

From Bitov to Zagreb

It was László Szluha who first called the attention of the Hungarian academic community and educated public to the Zrínyi library in Bitov. At this time he was the private tutor of Alfons Pallavicini’s son in Vienna, and accompanied his pupil to an excursion to Bitov and its neighbourhood in the summer of 1873. As he realized the importance of his discovery, he contacted Ferenc Toldy, the secretary general of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Toldy intended to visit Bitov personally, but his serious illness took a critical turn, and he died. After his death the task of cataloguing the library fell to László Szluha, who began to work on it with great enthusiasm, but he also fell ill, and his sudden death put an end to the recording of the material. In the end, an eminent Hungarian codicologist, János Csontos was commissioned by the Hungarian Historical Society to make researches in Bitov, on the spot. Csontos travelled to Bitov in September 1881, but for reasons unknown to us he could not do any serious work, because he was allowed very short spells of time for work, “some fifteen-minute periods” he complained. Ten years later, when the news of Heinrich Daun’s death on the 2nd of January 1890 and the Daun family’s intention to put up the estate of the deceased for auction reached Ferenc Pulszky, the director of the Hungarian National Museum, he sent Béla Majláth to Moravia to purchase the books. Unfortunately Maláth arrived late: the library had been sold eight days before his arrival, and by the time he found it in Vienna, in a second-hand bookshop owned by S.Kende (at 3 Heumühlgasse), the collection had already changed hands three times. Kende was a good businessman and he was also knowledgeable about books, and he had ongoing and long-standing connections with the Hungarian public collections (libraries). He was conscious of the importance and value of his acquisition. For this reason he kept the collection as a whole together and hoping that he could sell it to a Hungarian library, he allowed Majláth to study the most interesting specimens of the collection, he could even copy the unkown Zrínyi autographs. Kende was not in a hurry to sell the collection. He published the inventory under the title Bibliotheca Zrinyiana (Vienna, 1893), a list of the holdings of the collection. Though Kende’s considerations when pereparing his list were commercial, he wanted to advertise the collection, the inventory was a good, reliable, professional work. He sent the list to all the major Hungarian public collections, but none of these was able to pay the price or even to find a rich Hungarian collector to buy it. In the end, the Croatian Government profiting by the hesitation of the Hugarian libraries bought the books for 12 000 forints and the collection was transported to the University Library of Zagreb.

Kende sold the Bitov legacy as a whole, he kept the collection together.The collection contained: 1) the still extant volumes of Miklós Zrinyi’s library listed in the 1662 Catalogue; 2) volumes not listed in the catalgoue, but generally considered or believed to have been owned by Miklós Zrínyi, and Kende went as far as to mention that in his opinion these volumes were part of the original collection, 3) volumes believed to have been Ádám Zrínyi’s books and 4) volumes which Kende considered to have been added to the main holdings of the library in Bitov, after Ádám Zrínyi’s death and the second marriage of his widow. The volumes belonging to the fourth group were not listed in Kende’s inventory.

The University Library of Zagreb formed a special collection of the books bought from Kende under the name of Bibliotheca Zriniana. However, the manuscripts were removed from this collection and even some printed books found their way into other departments or sections of the library (nos 230, 231, 309, 479, 679).A number of volumes, 10 in all, included in Kende’s description disappeared (nos 61, 227, 228, 529, 547, 561, 606, 669, 670, 723). On the other hand, some other books which had obviously nothing to do with Bitov, but may have been purchased from Kende, because they were of interest to the Zagreb library (as books with inscriptions by Croatian owners of a later age) were attached to the collection (nos 518, 713). The provenance of these books was uncertain, and they did not show any sign of ever having belonged to the Zrínyi Library.

The entire material of the Bibliotheca Zrínyiana was exhibited in Budapest in the entrance hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at the time of the Zrínyi Tricentenary in 1918 and the list of the books was included in the catalogue of the exhibition (edited by Zoltán Ferenczi, Budapest, 1919). The marginal notes inscribed in the books by Miklós Zrínyi were published separately at a later date by Maria Drasenovich in Pécs in 1934. Unfortunately this work, a dissertation submitted to the University of Pécs, was not up to the required philologal and bibliographical standards.

At present the Bibliotheca Zriniana is kept in the stacks of the Department of Manuscripts of the Nacionalna i Sveucilisna Biblioteka in Zagreb. A handwritten inventory originating from the earlier twentieth century and a modern, typed catalogue kept in the drawers of filing cabinets help the users in finding the material they want. The modern location marks (beginning with BZ) printed on labels are pasted on the binding of the books, in the upper left corner of the outside back cover. A similar label pasted on the inside back cover is a former location mark, written in pencil, and is invalid by now. A peculiarity of the system of registration of the collection is that the duplicates are placed beside the first copies and have no location mark of their own.

A number of volmes chosen from the holdings of the Bibliotheca Zriniana were displayed at the Juraj Krizanic exhibition organized in the Croatian National Library in 1983 and the pictures showing these books were also included in the catalogue of the exhibition. The members of the staff of the manuscript department intend to edit a modern catalogue of the entire collection.


The history of the Bibiotheca Zriniana cannot be closed as yet, neither can the researches be coonsidered to be complete. Further researches will surely produce new results, and these may complete, complement or modify the former findings. New findings are to be expected in three fields of research in particular. 1. Researches into genealogy and the history of Bohemian libraries in the Czech Republic can provide answers to a question which need to be solved: it would be important to know, whether the Bibliotheca Zriniana was divided between the heirs of Maria Lamberg, in which case a part of it may have been inherited by another Czech family besides the Dauns and if so, it should be found out, what happened to these books. 2. The investigations could be followed in another direction, in Austria: it would be important to find the papers left behind by S.Kende, the Viennese bookdealer, in order to throw light on the circumstances of his acquisition of the Bitov library. A few volumes may have been sold during the short period, while the library was in the hands of other booksellers than Kende, so it would be important to follow the books from Bitov till they reached his bookshop 3. New insights into the question can also be expected from our Croatian colleagues through the exploration of the documents recording the circumstances of the acquisition of the Bibliotheca Zriniana by the Croatian National Library, and by the publication of the contemporary inventories which, we hope, still exist in some form or another. Hungarian, Croatian, Czech, and Austrian scholars can still do much to fill in the picture of the library founded by Miklós Zrínyi by adding a number of new details and by gaining new insights by looking at earlier findings from other points of view.