Private Archives

"Private archives" is a general designation for the archives of individuals, families, associations, organizations, etc. For more than a century now, the bulk of the National Library’s acquisitions of manuscript material has consisted of private archives.

Personal archives predominate, particularly the archives of authors and other literary personages. But the library also holds the archives of artists, academics, and politicians; archives pertaining to the history of books, libraries, printers, rare books, and the book trade; and the archives of associations, periodicals, and the women’s movement.

A personal archive may contain letters, manuscripts, notes, and excerpts, diaries, biographical material, collections of press cuttings, and photographs.

The provenance principle has been applied to the organization of archives for a very long time. Essentially, this means that the collection is registered and stored under the name of the creator of the archive. Archives are thus not split up, since they should be kept together. The National Library holds about 350 archives.

Last updated: 2016-02-09
Contact person: Katinka Ahlbom, e-mail:
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