Manuscript Collections and Archives
The Manuscript Department consists of many individual collections, which are now closed to new acquisitions. Since 1990 new acquisitions (with a few exceptions) are placed numerus currens. For a broader description of the individual collection and its history, see: Carl S. Petersen: Det kongelige Biblioteks Haandskriftsamling, Kbh. 1943.
The current accessions
New manuscripts are registered in the Accession Protocol of the Department and are searchable in the Department's base in REX . New acquisitions are given the year of accession and a serial number for identification.
The historic main collections
The core of the Manuscript Department is made up of the Old Royal Collection, the Thott Collection and the New Royal Collection.
Old Royal Collection
is the oldest collection of the Royal Library. It consists of many individual manuscripts and collections, which were acquired by the library in former times, among these the manuscripts from the library of the Gottorp Castle. The collection was catalogued and closed for new accessions at the end of the 18th century. In this collection are all types of Danish and foreign manuscripts from the early Middle Ages to the 18th century.
was acquired by the Royal Library as a bequest from count Otto Thott after his death in 1785. In the collection are a considerable number of manuscripts from the Middle Ages, many of which are illuminated.
New Royal Collection
was established as the open collection of the Royal Library after the Old Royal Collection was closed. The core of the collection was the manuscripts of the historian P. F. Suhm. New Royal Collection has functioned as the open collection of the Manuscript Department until 1990 and contains all types of manuscripts from the Middle Ages up to the 20th Century, primarily concerned with Danish history and literature in a broader sense.
The smaller, individual Collections
A number of collections, which the library acquired after the establishment of the New Royal Collection, were retained as individual collections in the Manuscript Department. The most important of these are the following (with the exception of manuscripts and collections from the University Library of Copenhagen, see below):
The Uldall Collection
General director Peter Uldall´s collection, acquired by the Royal Library in 1803. It contains primarily manuscripts of historical, topographical and juridical content.
The Kall Collection
Abraham Kall´s collection, acquired by the Royal Library in 1821. It contains primarily manuscripts concerning the history and topography of Denmark and Norway.
Jacob Langebek´s historical records and collections.
The Bølling Collection of Letters
A collection of Danish and foreign individual letters, found in various collections and collected by librarian J. A. Bølling in the beginning of the 1860´s.
Newer Collection of Letters
A collection of Danish and foreign individual letters, acquired by the Department since the 1860´s. New acquisitions of individual letters are still placed in the collection.
A smaller collection of manuscripts and papers left by E. C. Werlauff.
C. F. Allen´s collections concerning Nordic history, bequeathed to the Royal Library in 1878.
The Abraham Collection of autographs and manuscripts
The Danish part of N. C. L. Abraham´s collection of manuscripts, acquired by the Royal Library in 1878.
The Collin Collection
The collection was established by Edvard Collin and donated to the Royal Library by his son Jonas Collin in 1905. It consists first and foremost of letters and manuscripts of Danish and Norwegian poets, among others Poul Martin Møller, Henrik Ibsen and H. C. Andersen.
Shipowner Hugo Marx-Nielsen´s collection of letters and manuscripts of Danish poets, donated to the Royal Library in 1921.
The Holstein-Ledreborg Collection of Manuscripts
A collection of letters and manuscripts of the family Holstein-Ledreborg, donated to the Royal Library in 1925.
S. A. E. Hagen´s manuscripts concerning music were bequeathed to the Royal Library in 1929. Music manuscripts proper were donated to the Music Department.
A number of larger archives are placed in the Manuscript Department as self-contained units. Among the largest and most important are:
The archives of Georg Brandes, established in 1912, although the main part was acquired after the death of Brandes in 1927.
The archives of N. F. S. Grundtvig, given to the Library in 1941 after having been deposited at the National Archives since 1890.
The archives of Karen Blixen, acquired in 1969.
Collections, formerly at the University Library of Copenhagen
The Manuscript Department of the University Library was incorporated into the Royal Library in 1938. The manuscripts are still kept together in the original individual collections. New manuscripts have not been added to the collections since the incorporation into the Royal Library.
E donatione variorum
was established after the fire of the University Library in 1728. It contains both elder (including from the Middle Ages) and newer manuscripts, which were given to the library as a "gift from various persons" after the disastrous fire.
was the second open collection besides E donatione variorum.
contains the manuscripts collected by Frederik Rostgaard.
was bought in its entirety in 1770 from the heirs of the German classical philologist Johann Albert Fabricius (1668-1736). The collection contains manuscripts from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.
is a smaller collection, primarily of maritime manuscripts, left by commander Peter Schønning and given to the library by his heirs in 1813.
Morten Thrane Brünnich´s collections concerning Norwegian mines were given to the University Library in 1827.
Søren Kierkegaard´s papers
Manuscripts, drafts, "journals" and various kind of records, donated to the University Library by his brother P. C. Kierkegaard in 1875.
H. C. Ørsted´s papers
Manuscripts, records, letters etc., donated to the University Library by Ørsted's grandchild in 1897.
The diaries of Georg Brandes 1860-74 are published online.
The Karen Blixen archives contain letters, manuscripts, drafts etc.
The collections also include drawings in relation to authors and book history. Here a greeting from the Danish painter Anton Hansen to his friend, the author Martin Andersen Nexø.