Książki Jana de Wittego i jego syna Józefa w bibliotece Heleny Dąbczańskiej

Irena Gruchała


The books of Jan de Witte and his son Józef in Helena Dąbczańska’s library

Fragments from the library of Jan de Witte (1709–1785), a bibliophile, architect, and commander of the Kamieniec Podolski stronghold, from the book collection owned by his son Józef (1739–1815), and from that of Józef’s wife, Zofia (1760–1822) form part of the library of Helena Dąbczańska (1863–1956), a Lwów (Lviv) collector. They are now held in Cracow, in the Main Library of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts and in the Jagiellonian Library. In the course of examination of Dąbczańska’s library the books of the De Witte family, among other items, were selected on the basis of their provenance. Seventy-nine books belonged to Jan de Witte, forty-one to Józef, and three to Zofia. Other parts of the libraries owned by these three persons were found after the Second World War by Zbigniew Rewski in the library of Łańcut Castle. The present article is a supplement to those earlier examinations. Jan de Witte’s books are of the greatest significance because of his social standing and his passion for books. In their formal aspect they differ from those in the Łańcut library, though the subject matter is general in both assemblies. The article shows which items may have been used by De Witte as a military man and architect and which reveal his interests. The books owned by Józef de Witte exemplify a small collection assembled by a military man; their subject matter is also general. Predominant among them are French publications which appeared in Józef ‘s lifetime. The number of items owned by Zofia de Witte is too small for an attempt at their broader characterization. Nevertheless, what Zbigniew Rewski once  oted has since been confirmed: Zofia de Witte, later Potocka, showed a lively interest in literature. The fragments of the book collections discussed here were found to include numerous first editions, in some cases their owners having actually met the authors of those works, this testifying to their active participation in European culture.