The Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow

·    News   ·   Events   ·    Search    ·    Contact    ·        ·


The Manuscript Collection of the Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow currently has over 15’850 manuscript units (as of 2016). It has been collected since 1856, when the Cracow Learned Society gained autonomy from the Jagiellonian University and established a library separate from the Jagiellonian Library. The Manuscript Collection consists of objects donated by the members of the Cracow Learned Society, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow, as well as various individual donors. It has also been regularly supplied by acquisitions.

Among the eldest objects in our collections we have donations from the 19th-century Polish historians and bibliophiles: Jan Wincenty Smoniewski, Cyprian Walewski, Antoni Julian Schneider, Ambroży Grabowski, Bolesław Ulanowski, Jan Ambroży Wadowski, Hieronim Łopaciński, Franciszek Wolański, and members of Popiel family from Czaple Wielkie. Thanks to the Society’s and later Academy’s reputation, we were bequeathed legacies of various Polish scholars, writers, politicians, and artists, as well as numerous family archives. Most significant were bequests made by: Joachim Lelewel, Jan Chrzciciel Albertrandy, Jerzy Samuel Bandtkie, Teofil Lenartowicz, Antoni Zygmunt Helcel, Józef Majer, Oskar Kolberg, Kazimierz Girtler, Józef Hieronim Retinger, Jan Fijałek, Zygmunt Lasocki, Bronisław Piłsudski, or Jan Łoś, and archives of Polish noble families: Chodkiewicz, Koźmian, Ogiński, Potocki, Pusłowski, Rzewuski. The Library’s profile as a research institution attracted numerous donations of copies and transcriptions from the national and foreign libraries and archives that were sponsored by the AAS in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. These materials concerning Polish history include transcripts from the now-extant manuscripts like the acts from Polish and Lithuanian local parliaments held currently in the Pawiński Files, November and January Uprisings’ documents in the Staszewski Files, materials of the Polish National Party in the Zieliński Files, as well as the enormous collection of materials from the AAS/PAAS Roman Expedition in the so called Roman Files.

Most recent acquisitions include bequests of: Wawrzyniec Dayczak and Maria Dayczak-Domanasiewicz, Leszek Dutka, Jerzy Got, Jerzy Świecimski, Żuliński’s family archive, and philatelic collection from the Polish Martial Law Period (1981-1983) donated by Bożena Wyrozumska.

Unique group of diplomas on parchment and paper is also a part of the manuscript collections. This group of 330 objects was identified by Jan Czubek, when he was editing the first manuscript catalogue 1906-1912. Thanks to further donations and bequests by Franciszek Ksawery Wolański, Jan Ambroży Wadowski, and Rev. Jan Fijałek it was expanded to over six hundred objects (as of 2016).



The Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow has over 17’000 volumes of books published in 15th-18th c. Majority of this collection was donated to the Academy by the most famous Polish bibliophiles of the 19th century, like Jan Wincenty Smoniewski, Julian Bayer, Florian Sawiczewski, Cyprian Walewski, Maksymilian Marszałkowicz. Thanks to them, our Early Printed Books section has unique collection of sometimes exceptionally rare early printed books from Polish and foreign printers.

The collection consists mostly of scientific treatises and texts on liberal and fine arts (particularly early history, archaeology and art history). Another significant group are religious texts: theological treatises, liturgical books and devotional texts. Interesting part of collection is group of 18th c. Polish political texts: statutes, parliamentary polemics and speeches and publications concerning Polish partitions. We also have a small collection of Polish ephemera concerning the Battle of Vienna 1683, and substantial collection of Polish funeral orations. Thanks to generous gift of bibliophile Henryk Bukowski, we have a priceless collection of scandinaviana (early modern books on history and culture of the countries on Scandinavian Peninsula).

The Library also has a collection of 155 incunabula described in the catalogue published in 2015. The group consists mostly of religious texts as they came from the nearby monastery of the Canons Regular of Penance.



The Cartographic Collection of the Scientific Library of the PAAS and the PAS in Cracow currently consists of over twelve thousand atlases, maps, and plans published 16th-21st century.

Diverse collection includes the most famous early modern atlases by cartographers Abraham Ortelius and Gerard Mercator, and maps by Jodocus Hondius, Erik Dahlberg, Guillaume le Vasseur de Beauplan and Tobias Mayer. Our collection of the 18th-century maps consists of priceless examples from the pre-partition Poland, like maps of Voivodships made by Charles Perthées for the king Stanislaw August Poniatowski, and Giovanni Rizzi-Zannoni’s Carte de Pologne issued by Józef Aleksander Jabłonowski on the eve of the First Partition (1772). In this part of our collection we also have a singular issue of the two-colour map printed on canvas: Neue Landcharte des Koenigreichs Pohlen, Grosherzogthums Lithauen, und des Koenigreichs, und Herzogthums Westpreussen (1775) and one of three preserved issues of Carte d'Amerique divisée en ses principaux pays made in Paris by Jean Clouet in 1785.

Among our 19th-century cartographic publications we have one of the first geological maps of Poland, Carta geologica totius Poloniae by Stanisław Staszic (1806), Atlas statystyczny Polski (Statistical Atlas of Poland) by Stanisław Plater (Poznań 1827), and historical maps by Joachim Lelewel. Cartographic collections received many donations from the Polish geographers working abroad, like Ignacy Domeyko, or Wojciech Chrzanowski. The AAS sponsored the publication of Atlas Geologiczny Galicji (Geological Atlas of Galicia), issued 1887-1912.

In the collection of the 20th-century cartography we have the album of topographical maps of the United States of America issued by the U.S. Geological Survey 1885-1945, as well as the series of Canadian geological maps issued by the Geological Survey of Canada 1978-1980. Library also holds three examples of the Monumenta Poloniae Cartographica facsimile of the early modern maps of Poland made by Karol Buczek and published by the PAAS in 1939. Save for few examples, whole issue was destroyed by the Nazi occupants during World War II.



The project of preserving Library’s manuscript collections on microfilms was started by the Polish National Library in the 1970s. Thanks to their work, we received over 4’760 items accompanied by the printed catalogue (Katalog mikrofilmów. Rękopisy Biblioteki PAN w Krakowie, vol. 1, ed. by J. Dużyk, B. Schnaydrowa, J. Staszel, Warszawa 1976 and vol. 2, ed. by J. Dużyk, J. Kręcina, Warszawa 1995). Since the mid-1990s the Library’s Reprographics Section has been responsible for making the microfilms. Materials available on microfilms currently consist of the oldest part of the Manuscript Collections (call nos. 1-6042), and the most popular transcriptions in the Zielinski (call nos. 7781-8225), Pawiński (call nos. 8318-8356), and Roman Files (call nos. 8357-8564). A collection of microfilmed copies of the legal documents from the Royal Prussia is also available in the Library.


Back to top