About the Literary Archive

Department profile

The Museum of Czech Literature Literary Archive (MCL LA) – as one of the MCL collection departments, has become the accredited, specialised archive pursuant to § 80, Article 4, Act No. 499/2004 Coll. on Archiving and Records Management and on the Amendment of the Selected Acts (Act No. 309/2009 Coll., and Act No. 329/2012 Coll.) Therefore, its collections are indexed in the National Archives Heritage Registry contained on the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic’s official website.    

Collection Plan Activities
The MCL LA’s mission is to amass and to extend archival collections. Individual collection wholes are acquired directly from the literary active personalities, their heirs and the owners of literary inheritances, or from the institutions engaged in literature or culture (publishers, associations, journal editorial office, and the like). The coordinator of acquisition activities is PhDr. Petr Kotyk

Document processing
Archival fonds and collections are employed for research, exhibition, publishing and documentary purposes.  Archival records are not made accessible to the public unless they are professionally processed – assorted by a respective system for registration, and provided with a finding aid, mostly the inventory list relating to respective fond.

Document protection
The large portion of the MCL LA collections has been deposited in the newly built Central Depository in Litoměřice since 2016. This location fully complies with the modern standards for long-term storage of archival collections while paying regard to the specific requirements that relate to different types of material (paper, photograph negatives, magnetic recordings, and the like). Damaged archival records undergo restoration, and selected collection wholes deacidification. Some material from the fonds of V. Dyk, J. V. Frič, L. Fuks, J. Gebauer, J. Hašek, B. Hrabal, Mrštík Brothers, R. Medek, K. Teige and many more have been restored over the recent years especially through the Czech Republic Ministry of Culture’s Integrated System for the Protection of Cultural Heritage ISO/D programme, wrapping material for better and more careful storage has been gained as well.  

Providing access to the archive collections

Archival records for attendance study


Digitizing archival records and making their copies accessible via the Internet. Requirements for more intensive presentation of the MCL LA collections will be laid down in the project ‘From the Source to Edition’ launched in 2016. 

Editing and publishing activities

Exhibition activities

Literary programmes

Excursions to workplaces for higher schools (especially universities)

Loans from the Audio/Video Archive for research and other expert purposes

Towards December 31st, 2015, the MCL LA had contained 2,288 private and corporation fonds in total over 4,700 running metres in extent. The large portion of fonds comes from the 19th and the 20th centuries, some of them overlap with the 18th and 21st centuries. In rare instances, some fonds contain earlier archival records.

Fonds and Collections
The Archive collections largely consist of private fonds of writers, however, some of them include writings of persons engaged in literature, such as editors, translators, literary scientists and booksellers, as well as prominent linguistic scientists, historians and archivists. Additionally, the MCL LA contains private fonds of some politicians, diplomats, doctors and others’. Publishing or editorial offices’ archives (incl. ‘Ottovo nakladatelství’, ‘Melantrich’, ‘Družstevní práce’, ‘Čs. spisovatel’) and different associations’ archives (‘Československá jednota, PEN Club, ‘Společnost přátel knihy pro mládež’, ‘Ženský výrobní spolek český’, and many more) constitute fonds of corporations. The Archive boats extensive and distinguished collector’s wholes: the Karásek Gallery, the collection of correspondence and manuscripts amassed by Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic; the Lešehradeum, the collection of literary and historical documents compiled by Emanuel z Lešehradu; and a group of varia (17th– 20th centuries) containing separate things or smaller wholes, which are being continuously added to.      

Photo Archive
This section includes diverse photographic material (film positives and picture documentation, film negatives, microfilms). Photo archives of big publishers (‘Ottovo nakladatelství’, ‘Vilímkovo nakladatelství’, ‘Družstevní práce’, and others) and photo studios (Jan and Josef Mulač) constitute valuable part of this group.

Archive of Cuttings
The Archive of Cuttings’ heart holds three large collection groups: Personalities, Czech and Foreign Writers, and the Gallery of Jiří Karásek ze Lvovic.

Audio/Video Archive
In the Audio/Video Archive there are especially sound, film and audiovisual archival records that contain recordings of public performances of writers and literary scientists. The largest groups comprise copies of sound records from the Czechoslovak Radio Archive, which relate to Czech literature and its creators dating from the 1930s to the 1950s; unique videos of author’s readings, lectures, interviews with authors given for the MCL LA; records of literary programmes and conferences, memories of relatives, and the like.