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The contents of the Princes Czartoryski Library originate from the family's personal book collections preserved in numerous residences. The beginnings of the library, founded by Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski and Izabela Czartoryska nee Fleming, date back to the year 1770, which marks the creation of the first collection catalogue of Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski's private library located in the Blue Palace in Warsaw. The catalogue contained information on 1645 prints and manuscripts.
In 1784, the Czartoryski family moved its residence, along with its book collection, to Puławy. The exhibits collected at the Temple of Sybil, erected in the new location, featured prints and manuscripts. The failure of the November Uprising resulted in the dispersion of the collection and began a nearly half-a-century-long exile. In order to save the library, a decision was taken to evacuate it outside the borders of the Russian partition zone. Its largest part was deposited in Sieniawa, while the rest went to Krasiczyn, Krakow and Kórnik. After Adam Jerzy Czartoryski had settled in Paris in 1834, he began importing his library collection. However, the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and the battles during the Paris Commune posed an immediate threat to the collections in the Hôtel Lambert. It was then that Prince Władysław Czartoryski took the decision to move them to Krakow, with the intention of creating an institution of a national character.
In 1876, the institution made the museum and library collections available to the public. In the years 1898-1945, the library and museum were supported by the Sieniawa entail in accordance with the statute created by Władysław Czartoryski. After World War II, in 1950, the library and museum collections came under the control of the state and were incorporated into the National Museum in Krakow as a deposit.
The collection is legally owned by the Princes Czartoryski Foundation, established in 1991 by Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski.
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