Ossolineum Institute

Ossolineum Institute (Polish: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich). A library and publishing house situated in Lviv (1827–1940) and then (after 1946) Wrocław. It was established as a result of a bequest (1817) by Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński (d 1826), who donated his private library and set aside funds for the creation of a public institution in Lviv. It served as a regional scholarly library for Galicia. In addition to Polish, German, and other collections it had valuable material on the culture and history of Ukraine (including antiquarian manuscripts, archival materials on the history of Ukrainian cities, and original copies of universals issued by Ukrainian hetmans). In 1940 the Ossolineum collection was incorporated into the Lviv Scientific Library of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine along with those of several other libraries. In 1946 the Ukrainian SSR handed over the main portion of the Ossolineum collection to Poland. It provided the basis for the creation of a new Ossolineum library in Wrocław, which collects books and manuscripts in the humanities that pertain to Poland, particularly Silesia. By an oversight, a mistake, or malicious intent the most valuable sources for Ukrainian history were also passed on to Wrocław. The publishing house has become a separate institution and is run by the Polish Academy of Sciences.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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