Bridget Guzner: Hungarica at the British Library or the Extraordinary Journey of the Books of a Hungarian Collector

Bridget Guzner will talk about the birth of what subsequently became the second largest collection of Hungarian books held in any library outside Hungary. After his employment as full-time assistant in 1838, Thomas Watts started acquiring books in all languages for the  British Museum Library. With the steady increase of funds, this process culminated in 1870 with the purchase of the library of a lesser known Hungarian collector, István Nagy, a lawyer by profession and founding member of the Hungarian National Economic Society. His vast collection of  printed books, manuscripts, historical prints and maps included rare items of  the hitherto finest art collection of another Hungarian, Miklós Jankovich. The talk will take the audience on the journey of this extraordinary repository, making its way into the British Museum.  Together with  László Waltherr’s collection of pamphlets, also purchased  in the 1870s, István Nagy’s books constitute a vivid illustration of the history of printing and Protestantism in Hungary.

Bridget Guzner was born and educated in Transylvania (Romania). After graduating in Phylology at the Babes-Bolyai University in Kolozsvár, she followed her mother’s British roots arriving in the UK in the 1970s.  She became a research assistant at the British Library. Later, she was appointed Curator of the Hungarian and Romanian collections. She took great interest in the collections, organised exhibitions and events, acquired and described old and new material with the purpose of enhancing the appreciation of Hungarian history, language and culture in the UK.

30 January 2014, 7pm at the Hungarian Cultural Centre