Dudík: Correspondence with Gustaf Edvard Klemming (1875–76)

During their military campaigns in the seventeenth century, Swedish regents and field marshals plundered many Continental collections. Consequently, several Central and Eastern European scholars came to Sweden in the nineteenth century – as the status of historiography increased tremendously in Europe, the location of its sources also gained importance. A significant example is the Moravian historian and Benedictine priest Beda Dudík, who mapped Bohemian and Moravian sources in Sweden in 1851. In Stockholm, Dudík met the librarian Gustaf Edvard Klemming, and a life-long collaboration was initiated. Their correspondence reveals how spoils were researched, perceived, and, especially in the 1870s, how a possible restitution of loot was negotiated. Dudík’s success – 21 Bohemian manuscripts were restituted in 1878 – heavily depended on his friendship with Klemming. Ultimately, at a time when history and heritage were nationalised, the Dudík-Klemming letters emphasise a transnational dependency of some nations and regions in this process.

commented by Emma Hagström Molin

Original text    Translation    Brief biography    Commentary    Bibliography

Original text

from: Kungliga biblioteket (KB), Stockholm: Ep K3 (Dudík to Klemming) and Ep D7 (Klemming to Dudík), no fol.

Gustaf Edvard Klemming to Beda Dudík, Stockholm, 14 June 1875:

[1] 65

Högst ärade vän och fader!

Jag har att tacka Er för brefvet af 21 Mars, som bekräftar, att Barberina icke längre har qvar de rune handskrifter, som funnos der 1772. Återstår att söka dem i Vaticana, dit calendarium flyttat. Skola vi aldrig söka realisera de gamla planerna angående de Böhmiska handskrifterna här i Stockholm?           Ni har ju Kejsarens öra; hvarför icke intressera honom för frågan, så att en diplomatisk underhandling om deras återlemmnande kunde börjas. Här göra de ju ingen nytta och jag skulle bestämdt tillstyrka deras afträdande, mot skälig verdergällning. Skulle icke Kejsafren kunna öfvertala il Santissimo Padre, att utlemna Christinas bibliothek till Sverige, som hon medförde 1654? Dylikt har skett förr med bibliotheca Palatina; med Corvinus – Abdul Aziz etc. etc. Tentare licet! Lyckas ej det ena så kan ett annat [2] sätt lyckas. Det finnes så många nya stora, dyra, och nyttiga arbeten, att säkerligen en frestande samling kunde erbjudas i byte, NB af här felande ting. Säg mig Edra tankar i dessa ämnen och bibehåll gammal vänskap

till en tacksam lärling,
nu sjuklig asthmaticus.

Sthlm 14 Juni 75.                                                       Klemming

Beda Dudík to Gustaf Edvard Klemming, Raigern (Rajhrad), 22 December 1876:

 [1] Raigern 22. Dezemb. 1876.

Mein lieber alter Freund!

Ich kann das Jahr, ohne Sie an mich zu erinnern, nicht schließen. Die Lebenstage werden immer kürzer. – Hora ruit! und wir haben keine Zeit mehr zu verlieren. Darum dürfen wir uns nicht aus den Augen verlieren.

Wissen Sie, wann Sie mir den letzten Brief geschrieben haben? es war den 15. Juni 875! seid jener Zeit keine Spur mehr von Ihnen. Ist das recht? Im heurigen September traf ich in Buda-Pest mit einigen Ihrer Landsleute zusammen[.] Dem Einen – ich glaube, es war ein Pastor – gab ich einige Zeilen an Sie.

In Ihrem letzten Briefe erwähnten Sie des alten Planes, die Böhmischen Handschriften, welche bei Ihnen liegen, einzutauschen. Wenn wir nur etwas hätten, was wir dafür anbiethen könnten! Sie machen eine Anspielung auf die [2] Bibliothek der Königin Christina im Vatican. An diese ist wohl nicht zu denken. Sie ist ein Geschenk an die Kat. Kirche, und da hat nicht ein Mal der Papst das Recht, etwas daraus zu verschenken. Der Vergleich mit der Corviniana ist nicht stiechhältig. Die vier Codices ohne großen literarischen Werth, welche der Sultan Abdul Aziz auf mein Zuthun dem Kaiser von Oesterreich geschenkt hat, war ein erobertes Gut. Und die Palatina ist bis zur Stunde in Rom.

Das »tentare licet« wäre nur dann möglich, wenn von Seite Schwedens irgend ein Wunsch ausgesprochen werden möchte, was es als Gegentausch verlangen würde? Wir wissen, was uns Ihre Bibliothek biethen könnte, wir wissen aber nicht, ob wir im Stande wären, dafür eine Gegenleistung biethen zu können. Wenn ich nur irgend einen kleinen Anhaltspunkt hätte was Ihre Bibliothek wünscht, könnte ich schon den Versuch wagen. Also – machen Sie den Anfang.

Die Dominikaner Handschrift aus Krakau [3] hat Ihre Bibliothek aquirirt? Haben Sie viel gezahlt?

Ich habe eben ein Werk vollendet, welches nicht blos für Deutschland, sondern ganz besonders auch für Schweden vom Interesse ist, nämlich: »Schweden in Böhmen und Mähren von 1640 bis 1650« nach schwedischen und kaiserlich oesterreichischen Quellen. Es sind durchgängig Dokumente aus dem Wiener Kriegsarchive und aus dem Reichsarchive in Stkh. und aus Skokloster. Was ich bei Ihnen in Jahre 1851 gesammelt, habe ich erst jetzt verwerthet. Die Anordnung ist so wie bei meinem Waldstein. Die Dokumente per extensum bilden nämlich das Substrat der Arbeit. Im ganzen können nahe zu an 350 Berichte und Dokumente vorhanden sein. Das Ganze kann an 20. Druckbogen betragen. Leider sind die kriegischen Zeiten gerade in Oesterreich einem solchen Unternehmen nicht günstig. Die Verleger ziehen sich zurück, so daß ich bis jetzt noch keinen Verleger habe.

[4] Könnten Sie mir nicht beihilflich sein irgend einen Verleger im Auslande zu aquiriren?

In jüngster Zeit habe ich zwei Arbeiten publiciert: »Correspondenz Kaisers Ferdinand II. mit dessen Beichtvätern P. Becanus und P. Lamoraini«. Diese Schrift erschien durch die Kais. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. Sie ist Ihnen demnach zugänglich. Die andere, doch in böhmischer Sprache, ist eine Geschichte der Buchdruckerkunst in Mähren von 1489 bis 1621. Dieses Buch wird auch in den Centralblättern der Comission zur Erhaltung den histor. und Baudenkmale in Wien erscheinen. Und gerade jetzt bin ich beschäftigt mit einer Geschichte der ehedem Karl Zierotinischen Bibliothek in Breslau. – So geht es mit Gottes Hilfe vorwärts »so lange es noch Tag ist«.

Und nun, mein guter alter Freund, viel Glück und Gottes Segen für Sie und Ihre Familie zum neuen Jahre. Möge Sie der liebe Gott gesund erhalten. Dies wünscht von Herzen

Ihr alter Freund
Dudík.

Translation

by Emma Hagström Molin (Klemming) and Susanne Meyer-Abich (Dudík).

Gustaf Edvard Klemming to Beda Dudík, Stockholm, 14 June 1875:

Most honoured friend and father!

I am thanking you for the letter of the 21st of March which confirms that Barberina no longer have the rune manuscripts that were there in 1772. Remains to seek them in the Vaticana, whereto [the] calendar has been moved. Shall we never realise the old plans regarding the Bohemian manuscripts here in Stockholm?             You have the Emperor’s ear; why not spark his interest in the question, so that a diplomatic negotiation about their restitution could begin. Here they are of no use, and I would firmly advocate their cession in exchange for a reasonable compensation. Could not the emperor convince His Holiness to extradite Queen Christina’s library, which she brought with her in 1654, to Sweden? Suchlike has happened before with bibliotheca Palatina; with Corvinus – Abdul Aziz etc. etc. Tentare licet! If not this way, then maybe another. There are so many new grand, expensive, and useful works, that a tempting collection could surely be offered in exchange, N.B. of things missing here. Let me know your thoughts on these matters and preserve [our] old friendship

to a grateful apprentice, now an infirm asthmatic.

Sthlm 14th of June 75.                                Klemming

Beda Dudík to Gustaf Edvard Klemming, Raigern (Rajhrad), 22 December 1876:

[1] Raigern 22. Decemb. 1876.

My dear old friend!

I cannot end the year without thinking of you. The days of my life are getting ever shorter. – Hora ruit! and we must not lose time. Therefore we must not lose sight of each other.

Do you know when you last wrote me a letter? It was on 15 June 875! Ever since no trace from you. Is that right? This September I met some of your country people in Buda-Pest [.] One of them – I think he was a pastor – I handed a few lines to you.

In your last letter you mentioned the old plan of exchanging the Bohemian manuscripts which are with you. If only we had something we could offer in return! You allude to the [2] library of Queen Christina in the Vatican. This is probably out of the question. It was a gift to the Catholic church and not even the Pope has the right to give something from it away. The comparison with the Corviniana is not valid. The four Codices without substantial literary value, which were given by Sultan Abdul Aziz at my suggestion to the Austrian Emperor, were seized property. And the Palatina is to date in Rome.

The »tentare licet« would only be possible if some wish were expressed by the Swedish side about what it would demand in return? We know what your library could offer us, but at the moment we do not know if we might be in a position to offer a quid pro quo.  If I only had a small hint what your library might wish for, I could certainly try.  So – help me out.

The Dominican manuscript from Cracow [3] was acquired by your library? Did you pay a lot?

I have just finished a work which is of interest not only for Germany but especially also for Sweden, entitled: »Sweden in Bohemia and Moravia from 1640 to 1650« based on Swedish and Imperial Austrian sources. Without exception, these are documents from the Vienna War Archive and the National Archives in Stkh. [Stockholm] and from Skokloster. I only used now what I collected from you in 1851. The structure is as in my Waldstein. The documents per extensum are in fact the basis of the work.  Overall, there may be nearly 350 reports and documents. The whole will comprise about 20 printed sheets. Unfortunately the wartime in Austria does not favour such an undertaking. The publishers are withdrawing, so that I have not found one yet.

[4] Could you not try to help me find some publisher abroad?

Recently I published two works: »Correspondence of Emperor Ferdinand ii. with his confessors P. Becanus and P. Lamoraini«. This was published by the Imperial Academy of Science in Vienna. You will therefore have access to it. The other, however in the Bohemian language, is a history of the art of bookprinting in Moravia from 1489 to 1621. This book will also appear in the Centralblätter of the Commission for the Preservation and Upkeep of Historical and Architectural monuments in Vienna. And just now I am busy with a history of the former Karl Zierot library in Breslau. – So things move on with God’s help, »while there is still daylight».

And now, my good old friend, best of luck and God’s grace to you and your family for the New Year. May the dear God preserve your health. Most sincerely,

Your old friend
Dudík.

Brief biography of the authors

Gustaf Edvard Klemming (1823 Stockholm – 1893 Kjesäter) was a Swedish librarian and publisher of medieval texts. Klemming started to work in the Royal Library in Stockholm in 1844 and came to dedicate 45 years of his life to it, with circa 30 of these in various senior positions. As a young student, he became friends with George Stephens (1813–1895), an English philologist who taught Klemming how to read and interpret old manuscripts. Klemming’s lack of formal training however has made his scholarship the subject of severe criticism. Nevertheless, this industrious work by one man left its mark on almost all of the older prints in the collection of the Royal Library, and the foundations for book history in Sweden are much indebted to him (SBL).

Beda Franziskus Dudík (1815 Kojetein/Kojetín – 1890 Raigern/Rajhad) was a Benedictine priest and historian, mainly active in Habsburg Moravia (Mähren) and Vienna, who published extensively – around 90 works – throughout his active years (Mahel 2015, 439). Dudík studied history and theology in Brünn/Brno before entering the Benedictine Order in 1836, where he was ordained in 1840. He then taught Classical languages and history at the academy in Brünn, also adding geography and the natural sciences after 1848. Dudík’s search for spoils in Sweden in 1851, which continued with Queen Christina’s manuscripts in Rome in 1852, earned him many prestigious assignments. He was official historiographer of Moravia from 1859, member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna from 1865, emperor Franz Josef’s historian during the war against Prussia in 1866, as well as when the Suez Canal was inaugurated in 1869, to mention only a few highlights from a quite spectacular career (Kinter 1890, 4–8, 10, 12–13).

Commentary – Negotiating restitutions

The correspondence between the Moravian historian Beda Dudík and the Swedish librarian Gustaf Edvard Klemming spans more than 30 years and reveals a transnational collaboration regarding formerly looted objects in Swedish collections, among other matters relating to manuscript research and collecting. Dudík wrote in German, while Klemming insisted on replying in Swedish most of the times (KB). The two very different scholars – Dudík a well-educated Benedictine, Klemming more or less an amateur philologist – not only remained in contact for decades; their friendship also facilitated the restitution of 21 Bohemian manuscripts, which is discussed in the letters above. This event took place in 1878, when the manuscripts were formally gifted by the Swedish king to the Austrian government. The Royal Library received an exclusive collection of contemporary books in return, and Klemming was personally decorated with an Austrian order (Kongl. bibliotekets handlingar 1, 4–5; Walde 1920, 471).

It all began in June 1851, when Dudík arrived in Stockholm to research formerly looted sources on Moravian history. During the wars of the seventeenth century, Swedish regents and field marshals had managed to confiscate entire archives and libraries in Central and Eastern Europe. Dudík’s mission – carried out on commission from the Committee of the Moravian Estates – was to map and establish the spoil’s historical value, as well as try to negotiate their return, or at least make them more available for non-Swedish scholars. According to a letter published in Brünner Zeitung in 1850, as many as 7,000–8,000 volumes of printed books and manuscripts were still to be found in Sweden. Before arriving in Stockholm, Dudík had already been introduced via diplomatic channels, which granted him access to the Royal Archive and Library (Dudík 1852, 9–11, 14–15). After his arrival, he quickly gained support from the Swedish royal family, perhaps thanks to the Catholic queen Josephine of Leuchtenberg (1807–76). Dudík was granted a private audience with the Queen in mid-July during which religious matters were discussed. Only days after his arrival, she had sent him a welcome gift in the form of a bunch of asparagus (MZA, Brno).

Not only Klemming, but several Swedish officials seem to have willingly assisted Dudík in his work. He was even allowed to bring manuscripts from the Royal Library back to the flat that he rented, so that he could prolong his work days (Dudík 1851, 20). It seems as if Dudík’s presence added some excitement to the officials every-day duties, and the stay in Sweden equally made an impression on Dudík: among his papers and notes from this journey, he carefully preserved a laurel wreath that he had received during a ceremony in Uppsala (MZA, Brno). Dudík’s most significant findings were 40 manuscripts of Bohemian or Moravian origin in the Royal Library. He classified all 40 according to language, 21 as “Bohemian”, (Dudík 1852, 142–288), which reflects that Czech was not fully established as a term nor as an official language at this point in history (Kamusella 2009, 106–107). Findings in other collections were dealt with more sweepingly, and Dudík could still not account for 7,000 to 8,000 books by the time he left. Still, the Swedish journey and the restitution in 1878 are seen as his most important scholarly achievements (Mahel 2015, 439–440).

When Klemming wrote to Dudík in 1875, the former took the initiative to realise earlier plans regarding a possible restitution of the 21 Bohemian manuscripts. His »tentare licet!« should be read as »we could always try!«. He was, nevertheless, expecting compensation in return, and Queen Christina’s (1626–1689) manuscript collection in the Vatican library was on top of his wish list. It was well known that the Queen had taken valuable manuscripts with her when she abdicated and left the Swedish kingdom in 1654. Since looted manuscripts were part of this collection as well, Dudík examined it in 1852 (Dudík 1855). Klemming mentions two previous restitutions to support his desire; the Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz (1830-1876) had restored four manuscripts, once taken from the Bibliotheca Corviniana in the Hungarian kingdom, to Austria. And Pope Pius VII (1742–1823) had restituted 852 manuscripts from the Bibliotheca Palatina to the University of Heidelberg in 1816. The entire Palatine library had become a spectacular loot during the Thirty Years War in 1622, before being offered to Pope Gregory XV by Maximilian of Bavaria (Bepler 2001, 955). The main part was, and still is, preserved in the Vatican. Dudík responds to Klemming’s request with patience and facts. The latter was doubtlessly asking for something out of reach, however, wishing for Queen Christina’s manuscripts demonstrates that Klemming was in favour of nationalised collections (SBL). This helped Dudík’s case: if the Royal Library’s first objective was to represent Swedish history, the Bohemian manuscripts which very few Swedish scholars could read were simply not useful, which Klemming also expressly writes. It should be noted though that the remaining 19 manuscripts of Bohemian or Moravian origin – in Latin and Germanic languages – that Dudík located in the Royal Library were never a part of this discussion.

National history and nationalised collections were essential motivations for both Klemming’s and Dudík’ actions, nonetheless, their collaboration and wishes emphasise nationalism’s transnational dependencies (c.f. Swenson 2013, 4). Dudík was not the first foreign scholar who came to Sweden in search of spoils, and restitution requests had been made since the end of the seventeenth century (Walde 1920, 455, 460–473). The mission that Dudík received from the Moravian Estates, however, must be understood in relation to the status of historical scholarship in Moravia around 1850. Moravian sources had been intensively collected since the 1830s, and a municipal archive, a Mährisches Landesarchiv, was established in Brünn in 1839. The first official Moravian historiographer, Anton Boczck (1802–1847), had expressed his concern for research about the region; while neighbouring Bohemia had already enjoyed six periods of historical scholarship, Moravia had barely had one and was therefore treated like terra incognita in European historiography (Die Regesten der Archive im Markgrafthume Mähren, XIV–XV). Whatever Moravian sources could be located abroad would consequently help Moravia to be recognised.

Nationalism and objects in flux inherently influenced how the latter were perceived, and the Dudík-Klemming collaboration is noteworthy in this regard. Bénédicte Savoy has shown how restituted Napoleonic loot was transformed; when abducted art works returned, they were often incorporated in newly established museums and became objects of national public attention. (Savoy 2011, especially 393–397). Likewise, Dudík’s research and the restitution of 1878 contributed to changing the understanding of the formerly looted manuscripts as new layers of meaning were added to their history. Firstly, Dudík’s work helped to underpin the perception of the Bohemian manuscripts as »Swedish spoils« in Sweden, a category that did not exist during the seventeenth century. It also contributed to introduce the word provenance (proveniens) to the Swedish language (Hagström Molin 2015, 16, 74–75). Long before Dudík’s time, when the Benedictine Bernhard Pez (1683–1735) had made a request about this material in 1731, the discussion only mentioned manuscripts taken from Austrian convents, serving Austrian history (Dudík 1851, 6–7). Dudík’s understanding of them differed, as he acknowledged local provenances from Bohemia and Moravia, and classified some sources as Bohemian, based on language. In 1878, after the 21 manuscripts had been shown to the Austrian Emperor, they were incorporated into the Moravian archive in Brünn, where they are preserved to date. Herein lies a final twist, since at least 14 of the manuscript had been taken from Prague in 1648 (Dudík 1852, 142–197). These manuscripts of Bohemian origin had become Moravian property. Considering the precarious position that Moravia had within European historiography – especially in relation to Bohemia – the restitution of 1878 was a great victory for Moravian history.

Emma Hagström Molin earned her PhD in history of ideas, and is associated with the Chair for the History of Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Department for History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her doctoral thesis analyses loot in Swedish archives and libraries during the seventeenth century, while her postdoctoral project takes interest in provenance research and historiography during nineteenth-century, mainly through the lens of Beda Dudík’s transnational research.

Bibliography

Jill Bepler, Vicissitudo Temporum. Some Sidelights on Book Collecting in the Thirty Years’ War, in: Sixteenth-Century Journal 32, 2001, No. 4, pp. 953–-968.

Peter von Chlumecky (ed.), Die Regesten der Archive im Markgrafthume Mähren und Anton Boczck’s Berichte über die Forschungen in diesem Lande, Brünn 1856.

Beda Dudík, Forschungen in Schweden für Mährens Geschichte, Brünn 1852.

Beda Dudík, Iter Romanum 1 Theil: Historische Forschungen, Wien 1855.

Ulla Ehrensvärd, s. v. Gustaf E Klemming, in: Svenskt biografiskt lexikon (Swedish biographical lexicon), 08.05.2019, online available.

Emma Hagström Molin, Krigsbytets biografi. Byten i Riksarkivet, Uppsala Universitetsbibliotek och Skokloster slott under 1600-talet [The Biography of Spoils. On the Lives of Loot in the Swedish National Archives, Uppsala University Library, and Skokloster Castle], Göteborg 2015.

Tomasz Kamusella, The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe, Basingstoke 2008.

Maurus Kinter, Der mährischen Landeshistoriograph Dr. Beda Dudík: eine Lebesskizze, Brünn 1890.

Kongl. Bibliotekets Handlingar 1: Årsberättelse för år 1878, Stockholm 1879.

Richard Mahel, Beda Dudík (1815–1890), Prague 2015.

Bénédicte Savoy, Kunstraub: Napoleons Konfiszierungen in Deutschland und die europäischen Folgen, Wien 2011.

Astrid Swenson, The Rise of Heritage: Preserving the Past in France, Germany and England 1789-1914, Cambridge 2013.

Otto Walde, Storhetstidens litterära krigsbyten: en kulturhistorisk-bibliografisk studie 2 (The Literary Loot of the Great Era: A Cultural Historical Bibliographical Study 2), Uppsala 1920.

Unpublished sources:

Ep K3 (Dudík to Klemming) respective Ep D7 (Klemming to Dudík), Kungliga biblioteket (KB), Stockholm.

Beda Dudík’s diary 1851–1852, Dm 3/3i–3, E6 (Benediktini Rajhrad), Moravský Zemský Archiv (MZA), Brno.

Laurel wreath, box 183, E6 (Benediktini Rajhrad), Moravský Zemský Archiv (MZA), Brno.

Cite this article as:
Dudík: Correspondence with Gustaf Edvard Klemming (1875–76), commented by Emma Hagström Molin, in: Translocations. Anthologie: Eine Sammlung kommentierter Quellentexte zu Kulturgutverlagerungen seit der Antike, https://translanth.hypotheses.org/ueber/dudik, published 29.07.2019.

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