The Zamoyski Family Library in Warsaw as an Institute of Polish History
Biblioteka Ordynacji Zamojskiej jako instytut historii polskiej
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The first known place where Jan Zamoyski’s (1542-1605) collection was kept was Zamach, the center of eldership held by Zamoyski. Due to his frequent travels and lack of fixed accommodation he would keep his book collection in several locations. That he was probably carrying the most necessary books with himself is shown by the fact that on his journey to France, he carried only statutes. Zamoyski would also gather his books in one safe and trustworthy place. Such a place could be Knyszyn, located near Tykocin, a residence of Zygmunt August, and at the same time the eldership Zamoyski received from Henryk Walezy. The earliest information regarding keeping the collection in Zamość comes from 1588. From a widely known account of Bonifacio Vanozzi we know that in the year 1596 the library was not organized and was located in one of the castle’s rooms. In correspondences with the treasurer it was repeatedly called the “shop,” a place functioning as a treasury, archive and library. A small part of Zamoyski’s book collection has survived to our times. Excluding portions originally belonging to Zygmunt August, which were taken by Zamoyski after the king’s death, 23 books and 21 manuscripts which definitely belonged to the chancellor were found. Zamoyski’s library was primarily used to help in research conducted by professors from the Zamoyski Academy, in which the chancellor passionately participated, and where furthermore a well-equipped academic press popularized research results. Zamoyski was importing books of authors in which he had an interest: he especially pursued new editions of Cicero. There are no sources confirming the effort it took to acquire such luxurious codices.
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