About the library
The Library of the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS represents one of the largest publicly accessible libraries (approximately 260,000 volumes) within the social sciences institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The division of its collection into four sub-libraries reflects the historical development that the institution and its books have undergone over the past decades.
Library of the Archives of the CAS
The library collection has been continuously built up since the establishment of the Archives of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in 1953 through the purchase of new and antiquarian books. It contains publications on Czech history, archival and records service, history of science and codicology, and also includes the library of the former Cabinet for the Study of the Works of Zdeněk Nejedlý of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, a collection of publications of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts, and the preservation fund of the Publishing House of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences / Academia. Selected titles are available in the reading room as part of the reference library.
Part of the collection, which was damaged in the 2002 flood, is gradually being reconstructed and catalogued.
Library of the Masaryk Institute of the CAS
The library collection has been built up and expanded since the establishment of the Masaryk Institute of the CAS in 1995. It offers contemporary book production thematically covering Czech and Central European history from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Part of the collection is available in the research room as a reference library.
T. G. Masaryk Library
(depository of the T. G. Masaryk Institute, o. p. s.)
The library was gradually established within the T. G. Masaryk Institute as a philosophical study library for the professional public, to which T. G. Masaryk added his personal collection of 70,000 volumes in 1932 as a cornerstone, and he continued to contribute to its further development. In the year of Masaryk’s death, the number of volumes reached 107,239. Many of the books bear Masaryk’s signature, his cipher Ψ, notes in the text or comments on the frontispiece.
For more than twenty years, the library staff has been diligently collecting books, either through donations (E. Rádl, V. Škrach, J. Herben, etc.) or purchases. The library consisted of more than 300 selected volumes and sub-volumes, according to which the volumes were sorted into shelves. Many of the specimens are also significant for their dedications to personalities of artistic and political life, ex libris and ownership and heraldic stamps. The collection consists mainly of monographs, with a rich representation of periodicals (3,100 titles). An exceptional part of the library is the collection of bibliophile R. Hirsch, purchased by the Institute in 1939, comprising 70,000 volumes, of which 11,500 are old prints.
At the time of the dissolution of the T. G. Masaryk Institute in 1954, the last addition to the library was recorded. The number of volumes then stood at 204,611.
The fate of the library was constant moving and relocation. Originally, the Masaryk Library was located at Prague Castle and at the Castle of Lány. After the establishment of the T. G. Masaryk Institute in 1938, it moved with him to his own house in Prague-Bubeneč. When the Institute’s collections were confiscated in 1941, the books were deposited in the basement of the university library in Klementinum, some of them were appropriated by the library of the Reichsprotector and the Prussian State Library. After the restoration of the Institute, its library moved to Kramář’s villa in Prague in 1948 and finally in 1951 to the former building of the Czech Savings Bank on Národní třída, where the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts was then located. Following the decision of the Political Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to close the T. G. Masaryk Institute, the library was moved again in 1954, which meant its liquidation as a functional unit. The division of the library collection was unsparing, not respecting the classification system, nor the sets of editorial series and periodical titles. The professor’s personal library and the archive ended up in the Institute of the History of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, while the other books were in the Basic Library of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences or in the National and University Library.
In 1990, the T. G. Masaryk Institute was restored as a foundation (later a public benefit corporation) and received the library and archive back in restitution. At that time, the Institute had no funds, building or depository to store the recovered funds. Therefore, in 1995, the newly established Masaryk Institute of the CAS took over their management, which in 2006 merged with the Archives of the CAS to form the present Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS (hereinafter referred to as MIA CAS). After obtaining the necessary funding and appropriate depositories, it was possible to transfer the books from the depositories of the National Library and the Library of the CAS. The total number of volumes returned at that time is estimated at 160,000, which represents 3,800 linear metres.
In 2016, the library was concentrated in a newly adapted depository in Prague, in the immediate vicinity of the Institute’s building. Only then, thanks to the financial support of the government and the Czech Academy of Sciences, could the complete cataloguing begin.
As of 28 December 2023, a total of 159,504 volumes have been catalogued. An overview of the volumes catalogued so far and the system of subject classification of the T. G. Masaryk Library
T. G. Masaryk Professor Library
(depository of the Central Library of Charles University)
The professor’s personal library, which represented the most valuable part of the original library of the T. G. Masaryk Institute, was transferred to the Institute of the History of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (later under the name of the Institute of the History of Socialism, and finally the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia) after the dissolution of the Masaryk Institute in 1954. After 1989 the books were handed over by the state to the Central Library of Charles University (30,000-40,000 volumes).
On the basis of the 2017 agreement on cooperation between the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS and Charles University, the so-called professorial library was taken over by the MIA CAS in 2019 after the reconstruction of the new depository. Subsequently, the related catalogue records were also transferred. After more than sixty years, all the holdings of the T. G. Masaryk Library were concentrated in one place. The debt to the library and its founder will thus finally be settled.