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Croatia and the Croatian Collections in the Library of Congress

Croatian materials are located throughout the Library of Congress with the European Reading Room as the main point of contact. This overview of the collections describes books, electronic resources, journals, visual materials, and other special formats.


Image of book cover for Septemvriicheta
Misal po zakonu rimskoga dvora. 1483. Otto Vollbehr Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Library of Congress. View full bibliographic information about this item in the Library of Congress Online Catalog

The Library of Congress has been collecting publications from Croatia for almost 150 years and has amassed a collection particularly strong in the areas of history, literature, economics, law, and the political and cultural life of the Croatian people. The intent of this guide is to provide an overview of the collections from and about Croatia in the Library of Congress to enable a researcher to assess if a visit to the Library will be necessary to undertake research. With descriptions of various genres of publications, as well as a bit of history on the development of the collections, the guide covers collection materials across most reading rooms and internal divisions of the Library, including our digital collections.

The first Croatian publications collected by the Library were scholarly and government titles arriving via the International Exchange Service managed by the Smithsonian Institution. Publications added to the collections in the late nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth century included economic and agricultural journals from Zagreb, as well as historical and cultural journals such as Arkiv za Povjestnicu Jugoslavensku [Archive of Yugoslav History], Rad jugoslavenske akademije [Works of the Yugoslav Academy], and Ljetopis jugoslavenske akademije [Chronicle of the Yugoslav Academy]. Early volumes of journals from the prestigious Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti in Zagreb also were acquired from the library of professor Martin Hattala (1821-1903) in 1904. During the Austro-Hungarian era, German, Croatian and Italian language titles from the territory of modern day Croatia were acquired, but the collecting of Croatian-language titles predominated during the two Yugoslav periods. These early receipts were mostly periodicals or books in an expanding range of subjects, but almost no newspapers.

Before World War II, publications exchanges and transfers of materials from other federal libraries were the most important methods of acquisition of Croatian materials, with few purchases or gifts. Large-scale exchanges and purchases began only in the late 1940s and provided not only a majority of the Croatian publishing output of titles of research value, but also enabled large retrospective acquisitions of materials dating back even into the nineteenth century. Gaps in journal runs were filled and newspapers began to be collected systematically, including titles from some regional cities. The Library's acquisition of materials from South Slavic countries was accelerated in 1967 with the introduction of the Public Law 480 Program, which enabled the Library to use Yugoslav domestic currency to set up an office in Belgrade and to purchase systematically all new titles from all parts of Yugoslavia and to subscribe to the most important journals and newspapers. The Library's Belgrade office operated for five years, and offered a unique opportunity for acquiring those titles that the government under Tito later banned and ordered burned (e.g., special issues of the serial publication, Praxis ). Strong, comprehensive collecting of scholarly and current events materials begun during the communist era continues to this day with the Library maintaining both exchanges and an approval plan for Croatian publications and acquiring approximately 5,000 pieces (both books and periodical issues) per annum. The collection has grown to over 30,000 volumes, one of the largest in the United States.

Library of Congress Guides to Croatian Resources

In addition to this overview-guide of the Croatian collections, staff of the Library of Congress have produced several other more detailed guides on Croatian resources. They are linked below.