Collection of Manuscripts

The PLM’s Manuscript Collection holds one of Hungary’s largest compilations of literary documents. Its scope of collecting covers 19th to 21st-century Hungarian literature in Hungary and over its borders, as well as works originating in emigration. Thus it is a vital source for researchers of literature, and the history of the press and theatre, as it is the basis of education in these disciplines. Collecting manuscripts began on the initiative of the museum’s legal predecessor, the Petőfi Society, which was organised in 1876 to foster the cult of the poet  Petőfi and to map his relics. It was institutionalized by integrating the Jókai collection when Petőfi House was founded in 1909. It was supplemented after World War II with manuscripts and documents of Attila József, then Endre Ady. Since 1954 following the establishment of the museum the stock has increasingly and systematically grown and by today it exceeds two million items. Over the years several highly valuable writers’ manuscript bequests and parts of noted collectors’ compilations (Lajos Ernst, József Szalay, Lajos Szathmáry) have been acquired by the museum. The bequests of Zsigmond Móricz and Miklós Szentkuthy can be mentioned as the largest document compilations.
Keeping in mind supplementing the historical compilation, our strategy to augment the stocks points at our main task and responsibility, which are to map in time and collect before a possible loss writers’ recent bequests and contemporary writers’ documents.
We support research by taking note of researchers’ needs and proposals in our collecting, as well as with information. The received documents are classified, i.e. they are divided into three large groups; letters, works and personal documents (identity papers, certificates, contracts). Then they are listed. The process does not finish there, since that is when the scientific description of each lot is recorded in the data base, thus serving the philological research of small details (letterheads, the picture side of postcards or writers and works mentioned in a given document).
The list of bequests can be accessed here.
Contact: E-mail:, Telephone: + 36 1 317 3611 / 130, 117
Please make any request for manuscripts at least two days in advance.
For conservation reasons, requested manuscripts are returned to storage in five working days.

Online catalogue