Lviv’s Bookstores. Continuing History

20.02.2012

View from Batoriya Street onto Rynok Square. 1890.
Photo by Edward Tshemeski from the collection of the Lviv Historical Museum. Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Львів на фотографії 1860-2006. 2008
View from Batoriya Street onto Rynok Square. 1890.
Photo by Edward Tshemeski from the collection of the Lviv Historical Museum. Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Львів на фотографії 1860-2006. 2008

Through the middle of the 19th century the most desired location for a bookstore in Lviv was Ploshcha Rynok (Market Square) or neighboring streets such as Krakivska.The reason for this was the large quantity of officers and educational establishments in this part of the city.

Later, a unique phenomenon in the history of Lviv was the formation of what researchers call the Street of Bookstores - the former Batorija street (modern day Knjaza Romana Street). Over the course of nearly 80 years, the most well-known of Lviv’s bookstores and antique dealers were located on this relatively small street. Between 1866 and 1944 there were 65 bookstores, sometimes two in a building (as in №2-34), on Batorija Street.

From the first third of the 19th century, the area around Batorija Street was saturated with different types of educational establishments - schools, private educational establishments, gymnasiums and seminaries.

A view of Batoriya Street, 1909
Postcard from the collection of Ihor Kotlobulatov
A view of Batoriya Street, 1909
Postcard from the collection of Ihor Kotlobulatov
The second half of the 19th century saw an increase in the number of bookstores in Lviv. Booksellers were also developing new ways to meet the needs of their clients.

The main reason for the dynamic development of bookstores was the significant increase in the number of residents (1850 - 68 325 residents; 1900 - 149 544 residents) and different types of educational establishments.

On the turn of the 20th century the term antique (from the Latin Antiquus - or old) bookstores and bouquinistes (from the colloquial French bouquin - book); specialized bookstores also made an appearance followed by bibliopole dynasties.

ID: 00000

The bibliopole family Jablonski held an important place in Lviv’s cultural environment during the 19th century. Their bookstore operated from 1816 to 1868. Bartholomew Jablonski’s bookstore was located at 1 Shyroka Street (modern day Kopernika Street).

Jablonski sold and traded antique book collections, manuscripts, parchments; collected autographs of authors and famous people, coins and other antiques and published book catalogues.

Section of an engraving with a view of Ferdinand Square, 1847
In the forefront, on the right is a bookstore with the sign that reads: Kaetan Jabłonski
Lithography by August Gatton
Section of an engraving with a view of Ferdinand Square, 1847
In the forefront, on the right is a bookstore with the sign that reads: Kaetan Jabłonski
Lithography by August Gatton

In 1842 Kaetan Jablonski took over the family bookstore, publishing and antique business.

ID: 00000

Kaetan’s bookstore was located at 6-7 Ferdinand Square.

Among the many works that K. Jablonski published many were by Leopolitans:

  • Ludwik Zieliński. Karol XII, król szwedzki, we Lwowie 1704. 1842.
  • Dionizy Zubrzycki. Kronika miasta Lwowa. 1844.
  • GALICYA pod względem topograficzno - geograficzno - historycznym. skreślona przez Hippolita Stupnickiego. Z mapą Galicyi, łącznie z obwodem krakowskim i Bukowiną. Lwów. Z drukarni Zakładu naukowego imienia Ossolińskich, przy ulicy Ossolińskich nr. 23 1/4. 1849.
  • Maciej Bogusz Zygmunt Stęczyński. Album "Okolice Galicj". 1847–1848.

Franz Heinrich Richter (1837-1883) left his mark on the history of bookstores and publishers; he was the bookseller, publisher, and printing house owner located at Mariaсka Square 4 (modern day Miсkiewicz Square).

Franz Heinrich Richter’s corporate sticker
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова. 2005
Franz Heinrich Richter’s corporate sticker
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова. 2005
Richter was an active publisher; his printing house printed the following:

  • Series called "Biblioteka Narodowa" (1868-1880) and "Biblioteka Teatrów Amatorskich" (1870-1880).
  • Bookstore catalogues.
  • Periodicals: Tydzień Literacki, Artystyczny, Naukowy i Społeczny (od 1879 nr.3 - Tydzień Polski ), an illustrated periodical "Strzecha: pismo ilustrowane dla rodzin polskich" edited by Franciszek Waligórski (1868), an illustrated magazine for children and youth "Promyk" edited by Władysław Bełza (1872-1874), the newspaper "Kurier Lwowski", a calendar "Chochlik" and others.

In 1873 Richter’s bookstore distributed the Viennese publisher Artaria & Co.’s new edition Map of Lviv (Plan von Lemberg).

Click here to see the original edition of the Artaria & Co. Map

Map of Lemberg. 1873
Fragment of the title page and Lviv City Center. Courtesy of the NB LNU I. Franko
Map of Lemberg. 1873
Fragment of the title page and Lviv City Center. Courtesy of the NB LNU I. Franko

In 1880 Franz Richter sold his bookstore and book lending establishment to his former assistant Herman Altenberg (1848-1885).

In his first five years of book publishing Herman Altenberg had published nearly twenty works which were regarded as the best of Polish classical literature, elaborately illustrated by famous Polish artists.

After his death his heirs continued the business; in 1903 they divided the family business; the bookstore and publishing house located at 4 Mariaсka Square was run by Alfred Altenberg (1877-1924).

H. Altenberg Publishing Company Logo
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова. 2005
H. Altenberg Publishing Company Logo
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова. 2005
The company’s bookstore printed and distributed illustrated artistic albums, scientific literature, popular scientific works and poetic series as well as illustrated postcards.

Because of the threat of bankruptcy in 1912 A. Altenberg recruited several friends to jointly establish the H. Altenberg and Associates bookstore in the hotel George.

In 1913 the Association started to expand and by 1920 the bookstore was called H. Altenberg, H. Zeifart, E. Vende and Associates.

Fragment of a photo showing the storefront of the bookstore in the Hotel George
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Львів на фотографії 1860-2006. 2008
Fragment of a photo showing the storefront of the bookstore in the Hotel George
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Львів на фотографії 1860-2006. 2008

After Alfred’s death his widow Jadwiga Altenberg ran the business out of 14 Akademicka Street (modern day Shevchenko), and H. Altenberg ran the Publishing House Bookstore out of 6 Panska Street (currently I. Franko Street).

ID: 00000
ID: 00000
ID: 00000

Local works published by Altenberg include:

  • Władysław Łoziński. Sztuka lwowska w XVI i XVII wieku: architektura i rzeźba. 1889.
  • Barański F. Przewodnik po Lwowie z planem i widokami Lwowa. 1902.
  • A monograph by Artur Grotther, edited by A. Potocki and many illustrated albums of the artist’s work. 1904.
  • Series "Historical Library": Franciszek Jaworski.O szarym Lwowie. 1917; Władysław Łoziński. Życie polskie w dawnych wiekach. 1907; letters by Leon Sapieha.
  • A photo album by Russian Captain Nabokov called "Lviv. Winter 1914/15".
  • Stanisław Rossowski. Lwów podczas inwazyi. 1916.
  • Facsimile publication of Russian posters.

The renowned book company "Gubrinowicz and Schmidt" functioned from 1868 to 1939. Its founders and owners were Władysław Gubrinowicz and Władysław Schmidt.

In 1868 they entered the book business by purchasing the well-established Kallenbach Bookstore. From this bookstore they introduced their own range of products, opened a publishing bookstore and kept an inventory of musical notes at 10 Teatralna Street.

Among the vast array of popular and scientific literature which they published there were also some local works that they sold such as:

  • Antoni Schneider. Przewodnik po Lwowie. 1875.
  • The works of well-known Lviv historians: Władysław Abraham, Oswald Balzer, Kazimierz Chłędowski, Antoni Malecki, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Ludwik Kubala, and Izydor Szaraniewicz.
  • Władysław Łoziński. Patrycyat i mieszczaństwo lwowskie w XVI i XVII wieku. 1892.
  • Stanisław Schnür-Pepłowski. Obrazy z przeszłości Galicyi i Krakowa (1772-1858). 1896.
Gubrinowicz and Schmidt published, possibly, the only map of Lviv showing the city when it was occupied by Russian forces “Map of Lviv. 1915” (Планъ г. Львова. 1915).

Map of Lviv. 1915
Fragment of the title page and the city center of Lviv. Courtesy of the NB LNU I. Franko
Map of Lviv. 1915
Fragment of the title page and the city center of Lviv. Courtesy of the NB LNU I. Franko

In 1898 Władysław Gubrinowicz built a facility at 9 Teatralna Street; on the 1st and 2nd floors he set up his bookstore and book lending establishment.

The façade on the corner of the building, facing the intersection, was decorated with the busts of famous Polish writers Jan Kochanowski and Adam Mickiewicz, and Zygmunt Krasinski, Juliusz Słowacki, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski and Adam Asnyk on the Kilinskiego Street side. The busts were sculpted by Piotr Harasimowicz.

Bookstore on the corner of Teatralna and Kilinsky Streets (modern day P. Beryndy Street)
Photo circa 1920s
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Львів на фотографії 1860-2006. 2008
Bookstore on the corner of Teatralna and Kilinsky Streets (modern day P. Beryndy Street)
Photo circa 1920s
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Львів на фотографії 1860-2006. 2008

Bernard Poloniecki’s renewed Polish bookstore held an important spot in the city’s cultural tapestry for 50 years.

The book seller (Berl Pordes, 1862-1943) started his professional biography in 1879 in a bookstore of one of Leon Israel Pordes’s older brothers which had been operating out of 1 Trybunalska Street since 1879.

B. Poloniecki Bookstore’s business card
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова. 2005
B. Poloniecki Bookstore’s business card
Source: Iryna Kotlobulatova. Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова. 2005
In 1889 he bought the Polish bookstore on Halytska Square 14 from the widow A. Bartoshevych. Poloniecki started publishing his own book catalogues; he published a four volume set of A. Miсkiewicz’s (1893), a six volume set of J. Słowacki’s and a ten volume set of W. Shakespeare’s works.

In 1896 the bibliopole converted to Catholic Church and changed his name to Bernard Poloniecki.

In 1897 he moved his bookstore to 11 Mickiewicza Square and in 1901 moved it to 3 Akademichna Street/1 Tanska (Rudanskoho).

The bookstore funded a tourist map of Lviv which depicted the most important structures in the city as 3D miniature pictures.

Map ID: 075
Original Title: Wielki Plan Lwowa z przedmieściami i najbliższą okolicą miasta
Localization: Lviv
Year: c. 1910
Scale: 1:12 500
Map Size: 89,5x57,5 cm
Publisher: B. Poloniecki's Polish Bookstore. Lviv
Source: Courtesy of Ryszard Hubisz
Copyright: Ryszard Hubisz. Crakow
Digital plan of Lviv from around 1910. The map highlites 23 objects in the city
Great Plan of Lwow with Suburbs and Neighbouring Areas

You can read more about the beginnings of publishing, printing and selling books in Lviv in an earlier post.

Based on materials from Iryna Kotlobulatova’s book: Книгарі та книгарні в минулому Львова (2005). Printed with permission.