Budapest Collection: the local/urban history library of the capital
Our main mission is to locate and preserve all printed publications and other reproduced documents that contain information which can evoke the everyday life of the one-time citizens of Budapest, and the changes in the natural and built environment of the city. (Further details can be found in the Library's Collection Rules.)
We build data repositories, literature databases, publish publications, create and transmit digital documents in the field. We provide information, cooperate with other public collections, publishers and editorial offices. We are in contact with local history groups, local social and municipal organizations. We organize exhibitions and other cultural events on topics related to Budapest, and hold presentations for high school and university students.
Budapest Collection has been formally a separate department of the capital's library since 1914, but its past dates back much further: in the documents we can find property stamps of Pest City Council from the mid-1800s, the Budapest Statistical Office and the Budapest Archives - the collection's predecessors from the 19th century.
In our collection you can find 15-17. century antiques as well as books from the 19th and 20th century, magazines, maps, posters, sheet music and photographs. We fill the deficiencies from the antique trade and - fortunately - we often get offers from private individuals. We are also updating our collection weekly with newly released publications.
The Budapest Collection also takes care of the library's antiques and protected rarities on other topics.
All documents here are considered as protected materials, so modern publications are also eventually preserved, so the documents cannot be borrowed, they can only be used in our reading room. The material is available to all registered readers, but some usage rules contain more restrictions than usual.
Main parts of the collection:
Urban history collection: more than 100.000 books, periodicals and manuscrips
Photographic archive: more than 250.000 photographs and other urban history themed images
Poster and brochure archive: more than 400.000 bills, posters, handbills, picture advertisements, playbills, sheet music, program booklets, bill slips, invitation cards, official forms, mourning cards, admission tickets and other small-sized printed matters.
Map archive: 1500 cartographic documents, plans and architectural layouts.
Special collections: Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, Szüry Collection, Ballagi Collection, Pamphlet collection - more than 20.000 rarities.