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Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:57:42 EDT by webmaster, 6477 views
History/Political Science paper by Niessen, James P. (all papers)
Heritage and Repatriation in the History of Habsburg and Hungarian Archives
How long has Hungary had a national archives? It’s a trick question: the Hungarian National Archives (Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár) was created only in 2012 with the integration of the central repository of the country (Magyar Országos Levéltár) and the county archives. The Országos Levéltár arose by stages beginning in 1723 as the repository of the state offices of the country. Formal definition of “the country” became more complicated after 1918, but Hungary’s archives fared better than those of Austria in the sense that Hungary retained possession of major bodies of public records for regions that were now part of neighboring countries—whereas many of the records in Vienna were “repatriated” to Austria’s successor states. The aspiration to create an archives “of the nation” arose well before 2012. Today’s nation is cultural and sociological more than administrative, and the archives increasingly shared the ambition of the National Library to document Hungarians everywhere. Repositories in Hungary have accepted donations by Hungarians in the diaspora for decades, but especially since the establishment of the Mikes Kelemen Program in 2014 for the shipment to Hungary. My paper will examine the results of the program and the disadvantages of separating the national heritage of diaspora populations from that of their host countries.
Brief Professional Bio:
James P. Niessen earned his Ph.D at Indiana University with a dissertation on religion and politics in Transylvania during the 1860s. He has published various studies on Hungarian religious history, libraries and archives, and most recently on refugees from the Revolution of 1956. He is World History Librarian at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, external public member of the Hungarian Academy, and currently serving his second term as President of AHEA.