The manuscript archive

The Manuscript Archive is one of the largest collections of its kind in Hungary. Compared with the national, academic and church manuscript archives, it was established quite late, so – with regard to the collection customs of the aforementioned associate institutions – we put the main emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries and on contemporary Hungarian literature. We inherited the basis of the 19th-century Hungarian collection from the Petőfi House. Our Manuscript Archive preserves Sándor Petőfi’s 3,700 and Mór Jókai’s 5,000 pages of correspondence and manuscripts.

 We also have the remnants of the Darnay legacy, once one of the most important private manuscript archives of the 19th century – a victim of the devastation of the World War.. So we can boast not only the autographs of two of our national celebrities – Sándor Petőfi and Mór Jókai – but also the manuscripts of Mihály Csokonai Vitéz, Dániel Berzsenyi and even the author of our national anthem, Ferenc Kölcsey.

In our collection, research can be done into the legacy of three generations of writers who organised themselves around the excellent (even by European standards) literary periodical, Nyugat (1908–1941). For example, Zsigmond Móricz, Milán Füst, Lajos Nagy, Józsi Jenő Tersánszky, Zsigmond Remenyik, Antal Szerb and Miklós Szentkuthy. We consider it essential to admit into our public collections the correspondence and works of recently deceased writers, and the documents of liquidated editorial offices. For example, Tibor Déry, Lajos Kassák, Ágnes Nemes Nagy and Gábor Devecseri. We monitor and accept the manuscripts and legacies of Hungarian writers such as József Méliusz, Károly Kós, Gábor Gaál, Áron Tamási and Gizella Hervay, who worked in parts of the country that were annexed off after World War I. As a result of the emigration research work in the Museum, many of the writers who settled abroad or their descendants offer their correspondence and papers. For example, László Cs. Szabó, Pál Ignotus, Sándor Lénárd, Sándor Márai, Ferenc Molnár, Zsigmond Remenyik, Tibor Méray (Irodalmi Újság), József Molnár (Új Látóhatár) and Éva Saáry (Circle of Swiss Hungarian Writers and Artists).

The artists’ names in the list and some of their works (Antal Szerb’s Utas és holdvilág [Journey by Moonlight], Milán Füst’s Feleségem története [The Story of my Wife], Sándor Márai’s A gyertyák csonkig égnek [Embers] in twenty languages, Sándor Lénárd’s Winnie ille Pu, etc.) are probably also known abroad. The list of bequests representing our collection – together with our catalogue – may be viewed on the Museum’s homepage ( The searchable items in the catalogue are Correspondent, Addressee, Author, Bequest, Reference, Title element, Annotation, Language, Date. We rarely have manuscripts of world literature relevance, but if we do, they will be part of the correspondence in the bequests.