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Silesian-Lusatian Collection - former Silesia-Lusatian Cabinet - History of the collection

Silesia – Lusatian Cabinet was the oldest of departments of post-war Wroclaw University Library. The organizer and first manager of SLC was Zofia Gostomska-Zarzycka (1899-1952), who arrived in Wroclaw on 10 May 1945 with the second group of Polish scientists. In the collections secured after the war, there were many Silesiaca. In December 1945 the basis for Silesian department was created, and in 1946 the first special department of Wroclaw University Library was officially brought to life in Szajnochy street; it was the Silesian Cabinet. Its first activities focused on gathering Silesian prints from various scientific disciplines at one place and making them easily accessible. In this period of time, prints from the period of 16th-18th century were collected, not only those about Silesian region but also the ones which had been published there (this part was passed in 1947 to Old Prints Department) as well as books printed after 1800 that were related to Silesian region by their content. In 1948 from the restricted collection there were separated prints related to Lusatian region and in Lusatian language and merged with the Silesian Cabinet collection, that was later re-named as Silesia – Lusatian Cabinet.

In SLC’s collections one can find books and periodicals published from the 16th century to the year 1945, coming from collections of former University Library and City Library, post-war claims of collections from the whole Silesia and Lusatian regions, from other pre-war Wroclaw’s libraries, as well as new prints published after 1945 that originate from a mandatory copy, purchases, donations as well as domestic and foreign exchange.

Important part of collection are periodicals published since 18th century till present that form the largest collection on the world scale of pre-war German and Polish newspapers published in Silesia region. Periodicals published in Wroclaw have survived in almost 100%, and from Lower and Upper Silesia regions except Wroclaw – in around 50%.

SLC is in possession of historical collection of prints referring to Wroclaw and called, from the first letters of historical signatures (Ya, Yb, Yc...), ygreks or Wratislaviana. This collection originates from the former City Library and consists of books, periodicals and ephemeras , containing, among others, rich graphic material from publications printed from the beginning of 16th century to the year 1945. It was merged with SLC’s collections in 1960. A Wratislaviana collection has not yet been fully cataloged.

From this collection there have been separated approximately 15.000 dissertations from the German University of Wroclaw, among them many written by Poles studying in Wroclaw. All theses since 1811 had been collected; in catalogs they stood as addition to the entry “University of Wroclaw (Yu)”, were chronologically sorted and stored in briefcases. Wendt’s catalog did not indicate them, because a separate catalog was meant to be created for them. Information about them was in a systematic catalog, under the entry „Dissertationes” and sorted by authors, but in this case a dissertation supervisor stood for the author. After re-cataloging for Polish signatures, in SLC there remained only theses thematically related to the collections’ profile, and the rest was included in WUL’s general collections.

The collection of school curricula from the Silesian region has been gathered since the beginning of their publishing. In the alphabetical catalog they stand under the name of the city in which a given grammar school functioned. School programs from Wroclaw were gathered in full sets and stored under the Y signature at the appropriate schools.

Since the year 1945 the press service (newspaper articles) providing information regarding the University of Wrocław and Wroclaw University Library has been maintained by the Scientific Information Department. The albums from the period of 1945-2003 are stored in Silesian-Lusatian Collection's storage rooms.

Within Silesian-Lusatian Collection are also present ephemeras, the so-called documents of social life (dsl), related to Silesia and Lusatian regions, that are currently under the process of sorting and undergoing preparations for electronic processing.

The exceptionally valuable books and periodicals are systematically secured on microfilms, microfiches and CD-ROMs.

Silesia-Lusatian Cabinet, as a department of the Library, has been closed in 2011, but its collections, under the name of Silesia-Lusatian Collection, are still being completed and circulated in Reading Room on F. Joliot-Curie 12 St.