The Edward Goldstein Library

Temporary exhibitions

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  • Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - Sunday, June 23, 2024

The library of Edward Goldstein (1844–1920) is part of a collection donated to the National Museum in Krakow in 1909 by a doctor, anthropologist and collector, who lived for over 40 years in emigration in Paris, where he sought refuge following the January Uprising.

He gathered books along with art works, artistic handicrafts, numismatics, military artefacts and the art of the Far East. The most valuable part of the book collection are old prints issued from the 16th to the end of the 18th century, as well as several incunabula. It is dominated by medical, travel, natural history, ethnographic and historical literature, as well as cartography.

The exhibition presents 74 books, published from the 15th to the 18th centuries, as well as 22 maps and atlases, issued from the 17th to 19th centuries. Written in various languages (French, Latin, German), the books demonstrate the multifaceted and scientific character of the book collection through the multiplicity of subjects referred to, including research achievements in various fields of knowledge. A virtue of the books are the illustrations executed in various techniques (woodcut, copperplate), giving a deeper awareness of the matters referred to. The display is supplemented by cartography, mainly related to territories of Central Europe. One’s attention is drawn to the decorative title cartouches, among other aspects.

The travel literature is made up of amazing descriptions of expeditions to far regions of the earth. It is complemented by geographic and historical works, as well as textbooks and information pamphlets, broadening and systematising general knowledge about the world around us. Exotic elements will also be found in another of Goldstein’s fields of interest, that is medical literature; while fiction is a valuable part, it does not dominate in the collection. Words fascinated Goldstein, not only in their literary form. Language and writing, their beginnings and history made an important contribution to all research, including anthropology, in the centre of the collector’s scientific interest.

The scientific literature above all consists of French-language works, textbooks and guidebooks in various fields of knowledge, published in the 17th and 18th centuries. The presentation of Edward Goldstein’s book collection is crowned by the Polish theme, which is not dominant in the collection, though it is present and noticeable.



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