Recovering the missing diary by the Wroclaw University Library
To the collections of the Wroclaw University Library was returned Melchior Lucas' diary from the 17th century, that was part of the former Wroclaw City Library's collections, of which the current University Library is the heiress.
The manuscript, originating from 1635, was put up for sale in an auction house in Germany in April 2018. Thanks to quick intervention, legal and logistical help from the Division for Looted Art operating within the Department of Cultural Heritage Abroad and Wartime Losses of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the object was withdrawn from the sale and after several months of efforts the process of its restitution has been successfully carried out.
The recovered diary (a type of manuscript containing original personal entries of prominent persons of a given era) belonged to Melchior Lucas, who lived in Wroclaw and held a high office in the administration in Silesia. In his diary one can find dedications of representatives of many layers of contemporary society: aristocrats, imperial officers, high-ranking clerics, patricians, burghers and teachers.
Lucas' diary was a part of the collections of the Wroclaw patrician Thomas Rehdiger (1540-1576), stored by St. Elizabeth Church in Wroclaw. This diary has 563 pages and is in octavo format (11.5 x 15 cm). Its binding is made of black leather with gold plated stampings, monogram and date 1635. The album contains 367 entries about people mainly associated with Wrocław dating back to 1635-1650. There are also 16 heraldic watercolors, 11 damaged coats of arms, five partly emblematic watercolors, five ink drawings and a few calligraphic ones. One can also find emblematic copperplates - some of which with student motifs and mostly with bilingual Latin-German maxims. The final pages of the diary contain four copper engravings depicting mortal sins by the well-known Flemish painter, sculptor and engraver Jacob van der Heyden (1573-1645).
The recovered manuscript is an unique social document of the times, preserved in a single copy, which, regardless of its literary and aesthetic values, has a significant historical value for our region.
Attention: Diary has been digitized and from 11.12.2018 is available in the Digital Library of University of Wroclaw.