Książki z księgozbioru Korduli z Komorowskich Potockiej w bibliotece Heleny Dąbczańskiej

Irena Gruchała


The books from the household collection of Helena Dąbczańska (1863–1956), a famous Lviv collector, are currently preserved in the Central Library of the Academy of Fine Arts and in the Jagiellonian Library in Cracow. The research into the collection has identified portions of the collection that previously were part of libraries collected in aristocratic households. The current article discusses 90 books that were once in possession of Kordula Potocka (1764 – after 1837), wife of voivode of Bełz, Teodor Potocki (1730–1812). The collection is an example of a library created at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, at a time when upper-class women were increasingly interested in books: they read intensely and created private libraries, in which love stories were being gradually replaced by a variety of fiction and non-fiction. Kordula Potocka’s choice of books reflects cultural developments of the period. As a lady of fashion and a powerful magnate’s wife, she would read books in French published abroad. Like other private libraries during the period of the Partitions of Poland, Potocka’s collection is dominated by works of fiction and books on history. In the former category, many varieties of the novel are represented. The novel, a genre previously despised during the Enlightenment period, in Potocka’s time was developing and gaining wider readership. The novels gathered by Potocka are an accurate representation of this literary development. Another vast category are books concerning events that occurred during Potocka’s lifetime. The chronological range of the collection, the authors’ periods of activity and the presence of many first editions suggest that the volumes in this category are for the most part contemporaneous with current affairs of the period.