Uppsala University Library

Braniewo Jesuit Library

Swedish armies systematically plundered rich libraries on the continent during the many wars of the 17th century. It may seem offensive to us, but it was general practice then, and in accordance with public international law of the time.

One of the collections taken as war booty during the wars of Gustavus II Adolphus in Poland in 1626 is the one from the Jesuit College of Braniewo (Braunsberg). The largest part of it was brought to the recently founded university library at Uppsala, where there was a great need for books.

War booty of this kind of cultural heritage material is repulsive to most people in our time. During the 17th century, however, other principles pertaining to public international law were followed than the ones that we have today, and private property could be conquered just like territories (the Swedish regions of Skåne, Jämtland and Halland, among others, were also added to the Swedish realm through wars during this century). Hugo Grotius’s De jure belli ac pacis (1625) is a very important work when we try to understand the ideas behind this practice.

In agreements and peace treaties it was thereafter settled if something should be returned after all. Thus was also the case at the peace of Oliwa in 1660, when Sweden and Poland at last laid down their weapons after decades of repeated conflicts, and Sweden promised to return some royal libraries, among other things. Since this time books from the Jesuit library of Braniewo have thus been kept at Uppsala University Library. However, they have not been kept as a unit, but have been inserted according to subject into the other collections of the library.

Hand painted illuminations that adorn the introductory page of Gregory IX's Decretales (pope or council's decision). The book is an incunable, printed in Venice in 1482. It has belonged jesuitbiblioteket Brauneberg [Ink. 35:148].
Hand painted illuminations that adorn the introductory page of Gregory IX's Decretales (pope or council's decision). The book is an incunable, printed in Venice in 1482. It has belonged jesuitbiblioteket Brauneberg [Ink. 35:148].

For a long time work was carried out in order to restore the collection from Braniewo in catalogue format. Józef Trypucko (1910–1983), professor of Slavic languages at Uppsala University, was occupied with this project for many years. After his death, the work was continued by other researchers, in later years primarily by Michał Spandowski and Sławomir Szyller from the National Library of Warsaw.

The project was finished in 2007, and a catalogue covering the books from the Jesuit College now in the holdings of Uppsala University Library was published in three volumes. Hereby those parts of the great Jesuit library were now restored into one collection– albeit only in catalogue format.

The library of the Jesuit College consisted primarily of printed works from the 16th and 17th centuries, but also contained manuscripts and incunables (texts printed no later than 1500). The collection in Uppsala currently encompasses almost 2,000 printed works, 335 incunables and 63 manuscripts.

In cooperation with the National Library of Warsaw digital records of the books from Braniewo at Uppsala University Library were created. These have later been uploaded to the National Union Catalogue Libris, as well as to the local catalogue Disa.

Catalogue

The catalogue was published as item number 41 in the Acta Bibliothecae R. Universitatis Upsaliensis series. A digitized version is available on the Internet:

  • Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, The catalogue of the book collection of the Jesuit College in Braniewo held in the University Library in Uppsala. Vol. 1, Introduction; Manuscripts; Incunabula / Katalog księgozbioru Kolegium Jezuitów w Braniewie zachowanego w Bibliotece Uniwersyteckiej w Uppsali. Vol. 1, Wstęp; Rękopisy; Inkunabuły / Józef Trypućko; uzupełnił Michał Spandowski; opracowali Michał Spandowski, Sławomir Szyller, Biblioteka Narodowa, Warszawa, 2007. 
    Digitized version.

  • Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, The catalogue of the book collection of the Jesuit College in Braniewo held in the University Library in Uppsala. Vol. 2, The 16th and 17th century books / Katalog księgozbioru Kolegium Jezuitów w Braniewie zachowanego w Bibliotece Uniwersyteckiej w Uppsali. Vol. 2, Druki XVI-XVII w. / Józef Trypućko; uzupełnił Michał Spandowski; opracowali Michał Spandowski, Sławomir Szyller, Biblioteka Narodowa, Warszawa, 2007. 
    Digitized version.

  • Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, The catalogue of the book collection of the Jesuit College in Braniewo held in the University Library in Uppsala. Vol. 3, Indexes / Katalog księgozbioru Kolegium Jezuitów w Braniewie zachowanego w Bibliotece Uniwersyteckiej w Uppsali. Vol. 3, Indexy / Józef Trypućko; uzupełnił Michał Spandowski; opracowali Michał Spandowski, Sławomir Szyller, Biblioteka Narodowa, Warszawa, 2007. 
    Digitized version.

The catalogue can be ordered at Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis or purchased at the Carolina Rediviva reception desk (tel. +46-18-471 39 00). 

See also:
Trypucko, JózefPolonica vetera Upsaliensia: Catalogue des imprimés polonais ou cncernant la Pologne des XVe, XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles conservés à la Bibliothèque de l'Univversité royale d'Upsala. - Uppsala: Universitetsbibl., 1958. - (Acta Bibliothecae R. Universitatis Upsaliensis; 13)

On Literary War Booty

Göransson, Ulf, "Kulturarvskrigsbyten och den rättsliga utvecklingen från Grotius", i Bevara för framtiden (red. Peter Sjökvist), Uppsala 2016, s. 73-82.

Munkhammar, Lars, ”Dessa eviga krav på återställande”, i Bevara för framtiden (red. Peter Sjökvist), Uppsala 2016, s. 83-94.

Sjökvist, Peter, "Freden i Oliwa och restitutionen av bokliga krigsbyten", i Biblis 68 (Vintern 2014/15), s. 20–23.

Walde, Otto, Storhetstidens litterära krigsbyten. En kulturhistorisk-bibliografisk studie, vol. 1–2, Uppsala 1916–1920.

Contact

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