The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Department of Scholarly Information, Vilnius (Lithuania)
From the Lithuanian Scientific Society to the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences: Lithuanian Sources for the History of Science in the Manuscript Department of the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (1907–1941)
A wide range of manuscripts, iconographic and printed materials held at the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences serve researchers in various scholarly fields.
The purpose of this presentation is to review the sources available to science historians. It is limited to Lithuanian sources from the first half of the 20th century (1907–1941): from the establishment of the Lithuanian Scientific Society (1907–1940) until the establishment of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (since 1941). An inventory listing of the fonds in the Manuscript Department facilitates the search. It shows whether the information is only available in the card catalogue, or that it is also available in the electronic catalogue. However, the catalogue entry is only a guide. It’s one thing to preserve a document and another to find it. Due to the very large number of documents being preserved and the rather slow rate of digitization, there is room for new discoveries, such as the discovery in 2015 of the 1915 founding documents of the first Lithuanian gymnasium in Vilnius.
For science historians, there are many materials in personal fonds, which make up about 66 percent of all fonds. A large number of these personalities were scholars and scientists, and many of them were important for twentieth century history of science. Here you can see the development of the scientist himself, the work he has done, its dissemination, and valuable correspondence, often with feedback about his work.
Other valuable materials for science historians are the archives of institutions: scientific institutions, organizations, and societies. Science historians of the first half of the 20th century may be particularly interested in the collection of the University of Kaunas Library (F12). There are important collections related to the history of Vilnius University and the formation of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. An especially important collection is that of the Lithuanian Scientific Society (F255). Many materials can be found about other scholarly organizations of the first half of the 20th century: the Lithuanian Language Society, the Lithuanian History Society, the Lithuanian Association of Women with Higher Education, the Lithuanian Society of Librarians, the Vilnius Friends of Science Society and others.
The Library preserves many important materials. But the problem of accessibility and dissemination remains. Very often today, users assume that if something is not found in virtual space, then it does not exist. This is not true. We invite researchers to use our open stacks, which are expanding and becoming more accessible, as well as our digital collections. Virtual exhibitions also provide useful information.