Universiteit Leiden

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Subject guide


According to a rough estimate the western manuscripts collections and (private) archives contain some 500,000 letters, of which over 300,000 are catalogued. The letters kept in the University archives are not catalogued; the same holds for most letters kept in the oriental collections. They can be found through collection guides.

The online catalogue contains:

Digital Collections is a database containing digital images of manuscripts, archives, letters and other materials (such as rare books, maps, prints, drawings and photographs). More and more letters are digitally available. For example, the correspondence in the archives of De Gids, Tideman and De Vreese, just as the correspondence in the archives of Beets, Kruseman and the publishers Sijthoff en Bohn. In time the letters in the archives of Johan Huizinga and Christiaan Huygens will also be digitally available.

The older letter collections are described in two printed catalogues (completely incorporated in the online catalogue):

  • Geel 1852 — Describes the correspondences acquired in the years 1716-1852. The senders have been processed in the authors index.
  • Catalogus compendiarius 1932-1937 — Printed index to the correspondences of all letter collections (and alba amicorum). Pars II.1 (= dl. 22), II.2 (= vol. 26) give alphabetical lists of names of senders and receivers for the library collections, with reference to the shelfmarks; pars III (= vol. 34) does the same for two loan collections: Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde en Remonstrants Seminarie.
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