The Collection of Old and Rare Books
The Collection of old and rare books at the SASA Library includes around 3,500 titles of old and rare books and periodicals.
The most important and most numerous group of the collection is Old Serbian books group. These are the books printed up to 1867. There are 1,300 titles. The oldest Serbian printed books (’srbulje’) are kept at the SASA Archives. The only ’srbulja’ at the Library is Pentikostar [Pentecostarion] printed in Mrkšina church in 1566. Particularly valuable in this group are two rarities: the Regulation of Maria Theresa to the Serbs of Military Frontier of 1771, printed in Vienna in church Cyrillic and a book of verses of Count Beladinović ’Prevozvišenomu gospodinu đeneralu M. i kavaleru Nerančiću na bregu Adrijatike’ printed around 1788.
The group titled ‘Serbika’ comprises books of domestic authors in foreign languages and foreign authors’ book about us. Among them, travelogues by foreigners, created during their journeys through our country are the most prominent pieces. One of the oldest is Viaggi dell‘ Illustrisimo e Eccellentissimo Sign. Marchese Ghiron Francesco Villa in Dalmatia e Levante by the author Giovanni Battista Rostagno from 1668.
The group ‘Old books in foreign languages’ consists of over 200 titles. Approximately, these are books published before 1800 or after, printed on hand-made paper. Two most valuable are incunabula: Appian’s ‘History of Rome’ of 1477 and Lucanus’ ‘Pharsalia’ of 1498, both printed in Venice.
In addition to monographs, the Collection of old and rare books contains old and rare periodicals (newspapers, journals, almanachs, calendars). In the old periodicals, we can single out the first Serbian journal ‘Slaveno-serbski magazin’ of 1768 and the oldest Serbian and south-Slavonic literary journal ‘Letopis Matice Srpske’ which has been published since 1824.
The group Rare books has nearly 400 titles and consists of books and periodicals published in fewer copies, the extraordinary artistically furnished publications, the ones with inscriptions and notes of renowned people as well as illegal and war editions etc. One of these is ‘Afrika’ by Rastko Petrović from 1930 with the author’s original drawings, as well as ‘Sloboda ili glas vile amerikanske’ (San Francisco, 1869), which is the first Serbian book published on the American continent. Mention must also be made of ‘Krfski zbornik’ of 1917-1918 belonging to rare periodicals.
A special place in the Collection is taken up by the Library of Vuk Stefanović Karadžić with his 49 titles of books, some of which are particularly valuable due to a multitude of Vuk’s notes and records.