Letter-Plan for Organizing the Books in the Library of Bishop Ignác Batthyány

The starting point of this research is a letter found in the archival fund of the Batthyaneum Library in Alba Iulia, in which Bishop Ignác Batthyány laid out a brief plan for the future manner of cataloging the books he owned in Alba Carolina/Alba Iulia in 1783.

The librarian who was to carry out this plan was Imre Dániel, the first of the Bishop’s librarians, who, in addition to his duties, researched in Italy, from December 1783 to December 1785, documents relating to the history of Hungary and Transylvania and purchased books at the bishop’s request.

The book-cataloging ideas the bishop presented in the letter-plan do not differ from the cataloging methods used in Europe – France, Austria or Hungary. What is different, perhaps, is the number of books and the acumen of the person who was to handle this work. So far we have not found a more complex plan than this in the library funds; it is possible that there is no ampler plan since Batthyány had served, while he was a student in Rome, as librarian at the Sant’Apollinare College; also, before he became a bishop in Transylvania, Batthyány had held various positions at Eger and Pécs, where there existed vast libraries. We consider that he was familiar with their cataloging methods and that he briefly presented them to his librarian in this letter-plan.

(Andreea MÂRZA, Planul-scrisoare de organizare a cărților în biblioteca episcopului Ignác Batthyány, în Revista Transilvania, nr. 4-5/2016, p. 127-132)