Georges-Joseph Gérard (1734-1814). Fragments of his Monumenta Historiae Belgicae in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague

by Tamara Hiemstra

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 31
Keywords: Georges-Joseph Gérard; Book History; Libraries
Record ID: 1273196
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/28715


During an internship project at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (the National Library of the Netherlands; KB) in The Hague the library’s Special Collections’ department requested a project be set up to examine the catalogue objects then described only as ‘collections’. Previous digitization projects had shown that these collections often contained prints or Plano’s that had remained uncatalogued as individual objects. The goal for this Plano project was to find and identify the objects in these collections and add them to the library’s catalogue as new, individual entities. During the first stages of the project over 2500 individual prints were discovered to be part of these ‘collection’ catalogue objects. Among these were eight folders of collected materials accompanied by handwritten notes and indexes. These folders were identified as the work of historian Georges-Joseph Gérard (1734-1814). This thesis argues that the eight folders are a part of Gérard’s planned Monumenta Historiae Belgicae project, a large-scale project with the intention of collecting all available source material on the history of the Southern Netherlands. Was the project important enough for Gérard to cut prints out of undamaged books, or did he acquire the source materials through other methods? The folders from the KB show that Gérard was not only an avid note-taker, but also a collector of prints.