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History of Jesuit Library in Český Krumov

The first Jesuits came to Český Krumlov in March of 1584. Four years later in May 16th, 1588 new Jesuit College was opened in town (Horní No. 154). The library had always been a part of Jesuit educate and preaching activity. Wilhelm von Rosenberg donated to it in the very beginning, and more books, money and maps arrived in 1591.

Jiří Bílek z Bílenberku, portrait Liber benefactorum collegii Crumloviensis, inchoatus a R. P. Albrecht in 1670 brings the first mention of the Jesuitical library in 1657. It is associated with the name of a prelate Jiří Bílek z Bílenberku who held his office here during 1642 - 1657. In his testament he bequeathed his library and 100 ducats to the College. Another library patron was friar M. Ondřej Freyberger. According to the statute of the order, he renounced his father's heritage in the amount of 600 ducats, which, as he had declared in November 12, 1692, were split to 400 ducats assigned to the College, while 200 ducats of it were determined to the purchase of valuable books, and 100 ducats were given to buy books for convent cells of professors in the Latin school at the College. So did Jan František Schikmayer, a former priest in Hofkirchen in Austria, who bequeathed his own library to Jesuitical College in April 17, 1698. Marie Ernestine von Eggenberg, neé von Rogendorf, who married the Duke of Krumlov Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg was another firm patron of the library. She was directly involved in obtaining books for the Jesuitical Library. After her death, Eleonora Amalie Terezie von Schwartzenberg, née von Lobkowitz and wife of Maria Ernestine's descendant and nephew, committed herself to donating regularly, starting in 1720, a German section of the Library with an annual amount of 30 ducats.

The library was even well insured against the case of fire. A special provision in a fire control order from 1695 give us details as of how the library caretaker was supposed to rescue the library content in cooperation with appointed seminar students and the poetry magister as to transport books, especially those of the greatest value, and store them into various rooms along the central corridor.

For f more than a half century afterwards, during 1721 - 1777, there is no more mention of the Jesuitical Library within the State Regional Archive branch in Třeboň. It seems that after the Jesuit Order dissolved in 1773, it was all transferred from Český Krumlov to a former Jesuitical farm at nearby Římov.

On April 30th of 1777, a council in Opařany that cared for the former Jesuitical property administration issued an order for the Commercial Office in Římov to transport the Library to Prague and hand it over against a receipt to a University Library administrator P. Charuel. Not even three weeks passed when the council requested of the office in Římov whether or not the transportation of books to Prague would be worth the price. The office in Římov then answered, immediately after the first order in May 19th, that they had put the books into 45 cases and arranged their transportation to Prague for a daily carriage price of 1 ducat. The price of the books had been estimated at 2000 ducats and the catalog was left with Count Morzino. The reception of 44 cases of books, thoroughly put under seal, was confirmed on a separate receipt by the university librarian Karel Charuel. The last known mention of the Jesuit Library stated the books' transportation expenses. Since the load was so heavy, 21 farm carriages would have to be utilized, and as the draught animals would consequently have gotten tired soon, the journey would have taken 9 days, each day per 1 ducat, and altogether it would have cost 189 ducats. Nevertheless, the Commercial Office ultimately did not use the farmers' help as originally planned; it arranged horse-and-cart transports, paid 170 ducats only and therefore saved 19 ducats from the budget.