Slovak National Archives (SNA) - Department of Early Fonds and Collections

Slovensky národny archiv (SNA) - Oddelenie starších fondov
Contact: Dr Marta Melníková (f) Head
Slovensky národny archiv, Drotárska cesta 42, 817 01 Bratislava, Slovakia
421 (0) 2 6280 1214, 421 (0) 2 6729 8241, 421 (0) 2 6729 8253
421 (0) 2 6280 1247

The structure of the holdings of the Department of Early Fonds and Collections represents to a certain extent the various stages of the development of the central Slovak archival institution.

As far as the historical value of documents is concerned, the most valuable part includes probably archival collections of ecclesiastical institutions. In the first place these are private historical archives of the Premonstratesian monasteries in Jasov, and Leles, the Private Archives of the Bratislava Chapter with its valuable historical library. The archival materials of ecclesiastical institutions, exceptional also in a European context, comprises a unique complex of six fonds of credible locations (loca credibilia), which over five centuries served as public authority institutions on the territory of Slovakia and became irreplaceable source of information about the development of our country in the Middle Ages.

The biggest collection of the department is the group of 98 archives of noble families and their feudal manors, which encompass archival documents range in date from the 13th to the 20th century. These are the archives of the magnate noble families Pálfi, Erdõ di, Esterházi, Habsburg, Zai, Kubíni and Révai, whose members played important roles in various political and economic authorities of the Hungarian Kingdom and the Habsburg Monarchy over the centuries.

The collections include also archival documents of the lesser nobility, quite numerous in Slovakia. All these documents provide an enormous amount of information about social relationships and lifestyle in our territory between the 13th and the 20th century.

The later political and administrative development in Central Europe resulted in the fact that from the period prior to 1918 the department keeps only fragments of archival documentation of central legislative and executive authorities. However, the materials include a representative collection of fonds of public foundations, as regional institutions of central economic authorities of a feudal state. The source basis from the 19th century is significantly complemented by the materials of the then existing universities, and above all, the three Slovak gymnasiums.

In the latest period, the informational wealth of archival materials of institutional origin has been complemented by personal papers which arose from initiatives of influential Slovak political, economical and cultural personalities from different spheres of their public life. At present the department is keeping 126 personal papers from the 19th and the 20th century.

In addition to classical archival resources, the department keeps 56 wide-ranging archival collections created by institutions, individuals and the archives itself.

Of exceptional documentary value are collections of various historical maps and plans from the 18th to the 20th century. The department lists nearly 40,000 items of the above-mentioned archival materials, which are gradually being arranged, described and made accessible for research to the general public.

A Guide to the Fonds and Collections of the Department of the History of Feudalism (Sprievodca po archívnych fondoch I. Oddelenie feudalizmu) (the predecessor of the present OSF) provides to researchers a basic information about holdings of department. The majority of its fonds are accessible by traditional or modern finding aids.