Universitat de València. Biblioteca Històrica
The Historic Library of the University of Valencia, Spain
The origin of the Library goes back to the donation, in 1785, of the books belonging to Francisco Pérez Bayer. Other professors offered their own collections to enlarge the university “bookstore”, which was inaugurated in 1788 under the rectorship of Vicente Blasco. Unfortunately, most of this original collection was lost in the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814). However, during the 19th century the library received several donations from professors and Valencian scholars, who bequeathed their private collections to it. According to the intellectual interests of donors, the collections were focused on literature associated with Valencia, as well as works of law and science.
During the 19th century, after the Mendizabal Disentailment Laws, the Library increased its collections significantly with the arrival of books from the secularised monasteries from the region of Valencia. Among them was the Monastery of “San Miguel de los Reyes”, with the very rich library of the kings of Naples, founded by Alfonso the Magnanimous and legated by Fernando of Aragon, Duke of Calabria. Some of these masterpieces will be a special target for digitization within the Europeana Regia project.
Besides the manuscripts, other important collections include incunabula, which, although not very numerous, include several unique copies, and printed books from 16th to 18th century, among them samples from the most important printing shops in Europe. The collection of 19th century printed books includes works of importance to the evolution of science.
The University Library was, during and after the Spanish Civil War, a depository for the books requisitioned from institutions and private individuals, which constitute a highly useful collection for the study of social history and graphic arts at that time. It is worth mentioning the collection of Valencian posters about the Spanish Civil War.
At present, the Library maintains a policy of acquisitions focused on ancient works printed in Valencia and written by Valencian authors.
The Historic Library of the University of Valencia is still located in its original building at La Nau St. (C / Universitat, 2, 46003, Valencia), which has been completely restored. Due to its holdings, the “Histórica” is one of the most important libraries in Valencia.
The library collaborates regularly in the organisation of exhibitions, providing its holdings for institutional events, locally, nationally and internationally.