History and profile

The founder of the Kórnik Library, Tytus Działyński, came up with the idea to produce a scholarly journal – an organ of the Library – as early as in the 1840s. His son Jan planned to publish “Kwartalnik Biblioteki Kórnickiej” [“Quarterly of the Kórnik Library”], but, sadly, did not manage to find the appropriate associates to cooperate with.

The idea of the Działyński family was put into effect by Józef Grycz, head of the Library from 1928 until 1929. He was the editor of the first issue of “Pamiętnik Biblioteki Kórnickiej”,published in 1929. Since then, the periodical has been issued irregularly, depending on the availability of funds and materials. Since 2013, the journal has been an annual; 35 issues of the journal had been published by 2018.

“The Journal” was founded to popularise the collections of the Library, document its history, and publish scientific papers based on its materials. The several dozen or so years long history of the periodical witnessed some exceptions to the above programme, but generally speaking, the journal maintained its focus on Kórnik. “The Journal” published many texts presenting printed and hand-written materials from the Library’s collections. Synthetic descriptions covered some sets or selected parts thereof, such as dlugossiana, the so-called Zaremba’s Archive (materials dating to the times of the Bar confederation), the archive of the headquarters of the January Uprising in the Prussian Partition, the so-called Roman and Parisian collections (selected non-serial publications, periodicals and photographs from scientific centres of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Rome and Paris), and Jędrzej Giertych’s archive. Texts of catalogues of ephemera, journals and calendars from the period between the 16th and the 18th centuries were also published.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Adam Mickiewicz, an issue (6) was prepared and issued three years after the commemorative events, presenting unique manuscripts and memorabilia from the Romantic period kept by the Library. The publication included articles by eminent Mickiewicz researchers: Stanisław Pigoń (who wrote about the autograph in the 3rd part of Dziady), Leon Płoszewski, Eugeniusz Sawrymowicz, and Hanna Malewska. The issue won much appreciation from Polish language scholars.

A valuable monographic issue (12) was published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Kórnik Library (in 1976). It contained some pioneering articles based on the so far unused sources. They presented a genesis of the Library, its transformation from a private library into a public institution, extension of the book collection in the subsequent periods and its financial foundations. Both this particular issue of the periodical and the jubilee celebrations two years later reminded the scientific environment and the general public about the Library’s contributions to Polish science and culture (the Library’s printed materials and publications were then decorated with a motto 150 years of service to the nation).

A monographic issue (24) was devoted to Zygmunt Celichowski – a distinguished Kórnik librarian and a plenipotentiary of Jan Działyński and the Zamoyski family.

A lot of space was donated in “TheJournal” to source editions, including petty litteraria, manifestos, memorials, contracts, and – above all – correspondence: from single letters to entire letter collections published in parts. Described were also cartographic and museum collections, collections of paintings and goldsmiths’ wares, furniture and single selected exhibits.

Since 2014, annual scientific sessions dedicated to the Library’s most valuable possessions have been organised at the Library. Materials from the events, devoted for example to the 16th century painting Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Angilbertus’s poem on the Battle of Fontenoy dating to the 9th century, are also published in “The Journal”.

The periodical has significantly contributed to research concerning the biographies of the founders of the Library, in particular Tytus Działyński. Most space was devoted to editions of his correspondence, and his contributions to the establishment of the Poznan Society of Friends of Learning were also covered extensively; his collecting activity was covered to a relatively smaller extent. In 1987, a biographical monography of Jan Działyński written by Andrzej Mężyński, a Library employee, was published, and for this reason “The Journal” discussed only Jan Działyński’s contributions to the extension of the collections and his publishing activity. Numerous texts were devoted to the economic and social activity of Władysław Zamoyski and the School of Women’s Housework ran by his mother, Jadwiga. Several texts concerned the “Zakłady Kórnickie” Foundation which was established by the Zamoyski family.

“The Journal” fulfils the duty of commemorating people who connected their professional life with the Library. Exhaustive papers were devoted to its directors: Stanisław Bodniak, Stanisława Jasińska, Stefan Weyman, and Jerzy Wisłocki (an extensive section in issue 29), as well as employees-experts, including Józefa Orańska, and Jacek Wiesiołowski; “further plan” employees are never forgotten and ample obituaries are always published to commemorate them.

The core of the team of authors has always been employees of the Library, but papers by authors from other academic environments (mainly Adam Mickiewicz University) are also published. The periodical is open also to persons only just starting their scholarly career.

Over time, the editors and publishers have changed.

Issues from 2. (1930) to 4. (1947) were edited by Stanisław Bodniak,

5. (1955) and 6. (1958) – by Stanisława Jasińska,

7. (1959) – 12. (1976) – by Stefan Weyman,

13. (1977) – 20. (1983) – by Marceli Kosman,

21. (1986) – 23. (1993) – by Helena Chłopocka, and

24. (1996) – 37. (2020) – Barbara Wysocka.

The first four issues were published by the “Zakłady Kórnickie” Foundation, issues 5.-22. by Ossolineum, and since issue 23., the periodical has been published by the Kórnik Library using its own resources.

The periodical is devoted to the broadly understood promotion of its home institution. Its thematic scope is related to the activity of the Library and includes papers with librarian contents in the strict sense, as well as papers devoted to museology, research, and the edition of texts. Many texts presented the history of the Kórnik Library and people connected with it.

The layout of “The Journal” has basically remained unchanged since its beginnings. It includes papers and articles, materials and publications of inedita, bio- and bibliographical works (usually based on the Library’s collections), descriptions of collections and new purchases, reports on activity, and obituaries. Reviews or polemics have been published very rarely.

Issue 26. included an evaluation of 25 volumes of “The Journal” by Andrzej Mężyński.

Table of contents for all issues with access to articles is available via the Archive tab.

Some old issues of “The Journal” can be purchased. Their list and prices can be found on the Library’s website.