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Private archives – an important part of the collections
Private archives are collections from individuals, families, associations, organisations, etc. The University Library preserves personal archives from researchers at Lund University within all fields, but also from authors, artists and other people active in the region’s cultural life. The library also has archives from associations and societies connected to the University, as well as a small number of family archives. The archives vary in size from a few volumes to over one hundred metres of shelf space. There are currently just over 1000 private archives in the collections.

Personal archives usually contain letters, biographical documents as well as manuscripts and work material reflecting the archive compiler’s various activities. Most of the material can be ordered and read in the University library’s Special Collections Reading Room.

Below are some examples of the material that can be ordered from our archives:

Archive of Esaias Tegnér

Among the major authors’ archives is that of poet, scholar, bishop and politician Esaias Tegnér, with manuscripts and a comprehensive collection of letters. The archive contains no fewer than 2772 letters from the period between 1801 and 1846. Tegnér’s correspondents include professor of Botany Carl Adolph Agardh, chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius, authors Fredrika Bremer and Erik Gustaf Geijer and inspirer Martina von Schwerin.

Archive of Victoria Benedictsson

The archive of author Victoria Benedictsson (Ernst Ahlgren) is still one of the most requested among the library’s collections, containing besides her manuscripts and letters also her diaries which were only to be opened 50 years after her death. In them she writes extensively about her relationship with Danish author and literary critic Georg Brandes.

Photo of author Victoria Benedictsson
The author Victoria Benedictsson on a photography from 1887, signed with her pseudonym Ernst Ahlgren. From the Benedictsson, V. collection.

Archive of Hjalmar Gullberg

Hjalmar Gullberg’s archive features letters from friends and fellow authors such as Selma Lagerlöf, Sara Lidman, Dag Hammarskjöld and Gabriela Mistral. It also contains largely all the surviving poetry manuscripts, usually annotated with the date, sometimes even the hour of the day when it was written. The archive also includes translations and material which reflects his time as the head of the Swedish Radio Theatre.

Archive of AB Svenska Ord

Recently acquired archives include that of AB Svenska Ord, or the archive of comedians Hasse Alfredson and Tage Danielsson. It contains manuscripts of fantastic shows such as “Gröna Hund”, Gula Hund” and “88-öresrevyn” and films such as “Att angöra en brygga”, “Äppelkriget”, “Mannen som slutade röka” and much more besides.

Otto Taussig Schubert collection

Of great value for music researchers is the Otto Taussig Schubert collection which contains several original compositions by Franz Schubert, including Heidenröslein with lyrics by Goethe.

Musical scores of Lund University Acdemy Orchestra

In addition to Taussig’s Schubert collection, you can also find the large deposit of musical scores from the 1600s and 1700s of the Lund University Academy Orchestra, Akademiska kapellet. The Academic Orchestra was founded in 1745, and the University Library has three major collections of sheet music from conductors Kraus, Engelhart and Wenster, containing works by Mozart, Bach, Hasse, Hofmeister and many others.

De la Gardie collection

The De la Gardie collection from Löberöd is one of the library’s largest and most important archives. It consists mainly of family archives, but you can also find historical and financial documents and papers from the most diverse subjects and of many different types, such as letters, commercial documents, poems, recipe books and more. The collection contains not only original letters from King Eric XIV and Queen Kristina but also documents from the Anjala conspiracy and secret love letters from the 1600s written in code. In terms of time, the collection spans 300 years, from 1550 to 1850, and occupies approximately 150 metres of shelf space.

Painting of Indian cress
Indian cress (Tropaelum Majus), also called firebush. From the aquarelle books of the countess Beata Sparre (born Ramel), "Blomstermålade efter naturen 1778", in the De la Gardie collection.

Voices from Ravensbrück

The University Library also possesses completely unique source material from the survivors of the Ravensbrück concentration camp and from other concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe. The core of the archive consists of just over 500 witness accounts from Polish concentration camp prisoners who arrived in Sweden after the end of the war. The interviews were conducted during 1945 and 1946. The archive also contains a lot of material from and about the camps, such as notebooks and journals, poems, drawings, photographs, etc.

Drawing of Liza, Ravensbrück concentration camp
The pencil drawing "Liza", made by the paintress Jadwiga Simon-Pietkiewicz, Ravensbrück April 26, 1944. From the Ravensbrück collection.

In addition to these, there are also archives from less famous people who nevertheless sometimes played an important role in various contexts. One such example is Tage Forsell, a furrier in Malmö who helped refugees from occupied Denmark to cross the Öresund Strait to Malmö during the Second World War.

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