Nicolaus Copernicus’ books digitized

6 april 2017

First page in one of the books with Copernicus name in Greek

The Copernicana Collection at Uppsala University Library is a collection of books that were owned or used by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), the well-known Polish astronomer. Along with ancient Greek astronomers, he claimed that the sun is the centre of the universe, rather than the earth. Now this collection is digitized and available online.

After his death, the books Nicolaus Copernicus had owned or used were transferred to the chapter library of Frauenburg and the library of the Jesuit college of Braunsberg. During the war between Sweden and Poland in 1626, they became Swedish property, and the books were donated to Uppsala University. They were an important addition to the library that had been founded there five years earlier, in Gustavus II Adolphus' effort of to improve the university.

The great majority of these books have remained at Uppsala University Library ever since, with the exception of single volumes that have ended up at other Swedish libraries for various reasons. You can find all the books in the collection in Alvin – a platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage:
Copernicana Collection

A group of scholars confirmed the identity of Copernicus’ books as early as at the end of the 19th century. At this point a new collection containing 45 of these volumes was created at Uppsala University Library. Since then, the actual connection between Copernicus and parts of the collection has been a contentious topic among researchers.

Regardless of the provenance of every single book in the Copernicana Collection, as it has been called since the beginning of the 20th century, it is still a fact that the collection holds the world's largest number of books connected to Copernicus.

Read more about the Copernicana Collection

The collection has been registered in the Swedish National Union Catalogue LIBRIS, as well as in Uppsala University Library's catalogue DISA:
The Copernicana Collection in Disa
The Copernicana Collection in Libris