Documentary Collection I contains, besides documents in the narrower sense, photographs, postcards and newspapers in comprehensive units.
This rather diverse collection, which chronologically encompasses the period from the sixteenth century to the onset of the Second World War, is distinguished by individual sets of materials in terms of their importance and numbers.
Among the royal charters, the most important documents are the Statuta Valachorum of 1630 and its reaffirmation in 1717.
Materials with a familial character, such as those of the Knežević baronial dynasty, provide data on the lives of family members and the circumstances which prevailed in the Croatian lands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The documents of the guilds and later craftsmen’s associations serve as a source for the study of economic circumstances in north-western Croatia from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.
Significant materials include the official pronouncements and proclamations from the time of French rule, the tumultuous years of 1848-1849, Austrian rule and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The Collection contains materials from: Dimitrije Demeter, Stanko Vraz, Josip Jelačić, Ivan Mažuranić, Naum and Iva Mallina, Eugen Kumičić, Stjepan Miletić, Antun and Stjepan Radić and others.
Among the texts penned by individual politicians, the Collection holds: political party electoral proclamations, campaign brochures and memorial pictures.
The materials of the History and Antiquities Society (later the Croatian Archaeology Association), which, besides being important to the development of Croatian historiography, are a source of data for the history of the National Museum. The manuscript book Pohodnici Muzeuma (Museum Visitors) is the first preserved source of data on museum visitors in 1846 and 1847.
Insight into social life and the activities of various civic associations is provided by: posters, certificates, event programmes, invitations and other small printed matter. A special unit consists of materials from the Croatian Sokol Association.
The photographic series are significant, such as those which document the construction of the Karlovac-Rijeka railway in 1872 and the photographs of buildings and sites taken in 1895 for the Millennial Exhibition in Budapest. Furthermore, the Collection includes photographs of public personalities, i.e., portraits of politicians, artists and scholars. From the First World War period, the largest group consists of photographs of Home Guard infantry regiments.
The albums of the Economic Exhibitions held in Zagreb in 1864 and 1891 are vital for insight into the political and economic history of the Croatian lands in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The collected postcards, besides cities, places and landscapes, also depict: reproductions of artworks, portraits of well-known personalities, national symbols, ethnographic motifs, political cartoons, illustrations for special occasions, and so forth. Their artistic repertoire reflects social conventions, the aesthetics of their time and the preferences of their collectors, who created personal “souvenir” postcard albums.
The Collection also has individual copies of various newspapers that contain news on groundbreaking political and social events, which together with the anniversary issues of Obzor, Narodni list and several humour and satirical publications, form the periodicals section.
Documentary Collection I has been partially processed and published.
Nikolina Šimunović, Curator