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Royal discovery in Warsaw library

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 14.12.2011 12:55
A collection of documents signed by a series of Polish monarchs has turned up unexpectedly at the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH).

photo - SGH

Zoran Karisic, an archivist at the university library, found the documents by chance in a storeroom.

“It was a simple cardboard box, lined with paper and tied with string,” she told the Rzeczpospolita daily.

The papers take in the period 1555-1790, including items signed by Bona Sforza, the Renaissance queen reputed to have had a habit of poisoning her enemies, as the well as the ill-fated last king of Poland, Stanislaw August Poniatowski.

Karisic revealed that although some conservation will be carried out by the National Library, the documents are generally in extremely good condition, many bearing ornate seals.

Yet how the papers came to be in the collection of the school remains a mystery.

During World War II, the library was incorporated into the German State Library in Berlin (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin).

One theory is that the documents may have been presented to the Warsaw school before the war by descendents of the Polish Chrzanowski family, as there are recurrent mentions of the clan in the papers.

There are some concerns that exposure to light could damage the documents, thus it is not certain whether there will be a full-blown exhibition. However, following conservation, all of the treasures will be scanned and published on the college’s internet web site. (nh/pg)

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