Uppsala University Library

Archives of Individuals and Organisations

At Carolina Rediviva there are the archives and papers of authors, theologians, historians, politicians, artists, musicians and other cultural celebrities. Also university departments and societies can donate their records to the Library.

Manuscripts at Uppsala University Library

The archives of individuals, families and organisations form a very important part of Uppsala University Library's manuscript collections. They vary in size from a single volume to a hundred metres of shelving. The Library has around 700 archives from individuals and nearly 100 family archives. Over and above these are the archives of the Uppsala student "nations", the magazine Ord och Bild and the archive of a folk dance society called Philochoros.

What can you find in these archives?

There's everything from a person's first school exercise book to diaries, guest books, calendars, hastily noted thoughts about life, ledgers, official correspondence and sometimes thousands of private letters to and from relatives and friends.

The archives of authors contain the manuscripts of works of fiction. In the archives of academics and scientists you can follow their scholarly journeys. The archives of the clergy contain sermons that reflect a lifetime's work. Photographs, drawings and other pictures are often found in personal archives whereas the archives of organisations and clubs are full of documents like annual reports, minutes, correspondence and ledgers. 

Here we have for example the manuscripts and correspondence of Carl Larsson, The Svedberg, Gustav III, Stina Aronson, Gustaf Fröding, Harry Martinson, Sara Lidman and many more.

How can you find them?

Most have to be studied in the Library itself with the aid of catalogues that are maintained by the Section of Manuscripts and Music, but there is a national Swedish catalogue that is under construction:

Alvin - platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage

Recently catalogued archives

How do archives end up in the University Library?

Sometimes people choose to donate their papers during their lifetime, but more often their archives are presented by relatives after the death of the person concerned. Sometimes archives are bequethed to the Library.

Personal archive

One example is King Gustav III (1746–92), who bequeathed the whole of his archive to Uppsala University with the codicil that it would remain unopened for 50 years. Today it is one of the most famous archives in the Library. It contains both private papers from his childhood and official documents from his reign.

Another example is the librarian and writer Greta Renborg (1921–2005), who not only bequeathed to the Library her own archive from her career which span close on 50 years, but also a considerable sum of money earmarked to publicise and make accessible these archives of individuals and organisations.

Why are these archives important?

The archives of individuals, families and organisations complement the the official archives of government and they are important not only for professional researchers but also for genealogists, writers, biographers, journalists and others with an interest in history in its widest sense. Digging into an archive brings you physically close to your sources, it is a direct link to testomonies from bygone times. 

Donating archives to the Library

Are you considering handing over your archive to the Library? Or do you have a one-off manuscript that you think may be valuable to future research?

The Section for Manuscripts and Music is happy to assist you with your searches. You can request a document and study it the same day, here in the Special Reading Room in the Library.


E-mail: ask.library@ub.uu.se
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