The Transylvanian Librarian during the Enlightenment. Case study: Imre Daniel

In Transylvania, one can only speak of librarianship as a profession from the eighteenth century, more exactly from the second half of it. Though in Western Europe the status of librarianship had been clarified several centuries before, in this part of the Habsburg Empire the political events following the battle of Mohacs, until the inclusions of Transylvania in the empire, prevented such noble concerns.

Appointing Ignac Batthyany as bishop of Transylvania in 1780 and his cultural activity and concerns gave new impulse to scientific life. The prelate’s passion for manuscript and printed books led to him establish a scientific library in Alba Carolina (Alba Iulia), for which the bishop also found a librarian. He was Imre Daniel, a Catholic Armenian from Dumbraveni/Elisabethopolis, who helped Batthyany buy books ever since he was a student in Vienna or later, when he was sent by the prelate for a two-year long research trip to Italy. The activity of this librarian in the bishop’s service was interesting, but, as one knows so far, short lived.

Future research on Imre Daniel’s profile and status as a librarian might reveal new data, unknown so far due to the fact that the archive material from 1754-1804, i.e. during Daniel’s life span, is especially vast and incompletely researched.

(MARZA Andreea – Figura bibliotecarului transilvan în epoca luminilor. Studiu de caz: Imre Daniel, in Petru Maior şi prietenii, Cluj-Napoca, ed. Mega, 2015, p. 161 – 169)