The Biographical Lexicon of the History of the Bohemian Lands is based on the extensive biographical collection in the possession of Collegium Carolinum. This collection takes in information on and references to figures of importance to the historical development of the Bohemian Lands, Czechoslovakia and/or the Czech Republic.
The decisive feature in this regard is the figures’ geographical relationships, meaning that people who were born or died in the Bohemian Lands are listed together with figures who spent a significant period of their lives in the region or were otherwise influential there. The time horizon stretches from the Middle Ages right up until the present day and, in terms of thematic subject matter, covers all areas of public life, including politics and religion, business and technology, art and science, and even matters of sport.
Collegium Carolinum’s Biographical Collection
Collegium Carolinum’s Biographical Collection, which contains information on approximately 80,000 individuals and families, forms the basis upon which the Biographical Lexicon of the History of the Bohemian Lands (BLGBL) was compiled. The latter work has been published in instalments since 1974.
It documents figures of German, Czech, Jewish and other backgrounds in the Bohemian lands, along with foreigners who had a significant impact on the development of the region. It also includes figures whose influence was felt only on a sub-regional or local level.
The collection was started in the late 1940 and has been continuously expanded ever since. Particular highlights of the set include the Kuhn Collection (covering the leadership of Communist Czechoslovakia from 1948-1989) and the Marschner Collection (which documents the lives of German entrepreneurs and technical specialists). The Biographical Collection proper – from which about 50,000 personal data records have been digitized – concerns itself with more than just collecting historical materials already in existence. Rather, the personal files and records it contains are expanded and enhanced on an ongoing basis, especially those that relate to women, to whom scant attention has been paid in biographical research up until recent times.
Building upon the Biographical Collection that was begun in the 1940s and since then integrated into the stock resources of Collegium Carolinum, the Biographical Lexicon of the Bohemian Lands represents one of the long-term academic history projects with the richest tradition in the wider region.
The Collection, which has now been largely digitized, is still growing on an ongoing basis. It will eventually contain a total of about 20,000 biographies on the history and culture of the Bohemian Lands.
This will provide valuable groundwork to serve as a starting point for further research. The Institute aims to achieve the appropriate level of connectivity by making the data sets created by the initiative available in digital form.
The Biographical Collection is developing a number of databases and biographical resources. These include the following:
- The full text of completed Volumes I to III of the Biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte der böhmischen Länder Volume I: A - H; Volume II:I - M; Volume III:N - Sch
- The Table of Abbreviations and Sigla of the Biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte der böhmischen Länder
- Biographical collection of Collegium Carolinum (extensively digitized, for legal reasons for internal use only, information on the collection of materials on individual figures may be granted on request)
- Name database of the Biographical Collection of Collegium Carolinum (research database currently in preparation).
- Bibliography: Tschechische, slowakische und internationale biographisch-historische Publikationen, einschließlich „versteckter“ Sammelbiographien seit 1989 (Status as of 2020).
- Biographical notes on members of the Historische Kommission der Sudetenländer in the year of its foundation in 1954 (2008, updated in 2015).
The biographical collection and the editorial team of the Biographisches Lexikon zur Geschichte der böhmischen Länder work closely together with the following facilities.
- Department of Biographical Studies at the Historical Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Prague ( Historický ústav AV ČR, Oddělení biografických studií) and the editorial team of the Biografický slovník českých zemí and its biographical database.
- Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) in Munich and their German biographies database.
- Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon 1815-1950 (ÖBL) in Vienna
- The Biographical Portal, an international cooperation partnership based at the Bavarian State Library in Munich