Its history and growth are very similar to that of the book collection. Striving for completeness, the library collects periodicals of Hungarian literature in and outside Hungary, of art, criticism and linguistics, literary historical and theoretical journals, periodicals of borderline fields and the arts and political, social historical papers of the last century. At present the collection contains approximately 2200 periodical titles.
Of those the number of current contemporary literary journals is only 100, while a more significant part of the collection is represented by periodicals of the past, which mostly serve the purposes of research and exhibitions. Most of them were bequeathed or donated to the museum.
Our oldest periodicals are from the 18th century . They include the originals of Kazinczy’s Orpheus, the Magyar Hírmondó of Pozsony, József Pétzeli’s Mindenes Gyűjtemény and the Viennese Magyar Kurir, all from the 18th century.
The basis of the 19th-century periodical collection was provided by the Petőfi Society. The volumes of Athenaeum, Divatcsarnok, Délibáb, Honderű, Pesti Divatlap and Regélő are often used sources for academic research.
Some items in our collection are interesting not necessarily for their age: it includes some periodicals which were issued in only one or a few copies, such as Jenő Rejtő’s paper Nagykörút (Great Boulevard) and the periodical Kritika, published by emigrés in Munich at the turn of 1976 and 1977.
In comparison with other libraries, it has individual or parts of periodicals, as well as temporary publications not closely connected with the collecting field. The process of unusual collecting is explained by the requirements of exhibitions. The temporary publications can serve as contemporary documents of a period or significant event. The representation of bequests is a primary aim in handling the collection. The collection grows not only with books when a writer’s bequest is processed, but often with dedicated periodicals. Signed copies reveal the relationship between the signer and the recipient. Time and again they provide information about belonging to a political, denominational or a literary group, a field of interest, and often about daily events of the time, and therefore they are valuable historical documents.
The collection of emigré newspapers and periodicals represents an outstanding section. It includes the press material of some 23,000 volumes received as a full bequest from the Hungarian Institute of Munich, comprising more than 900 kinds of newspapers and journals. The collection includes Hungarian emigré press documents from all over the world, and among Hungary’s public collections many copies are accessible only from this collection.
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