Javascript must be enabled to continue!

Galatz


City’s cultural life    EN

Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN

There were few signs of a cultural life at Galaţi during the first half of the 19th century. The beginnings of public education and the establishment of several private schools increased the level of literacy among local inhabitants, and the first buds of a cultural life were related to the performances of travelling theatre troupes, an increasing book trade or the publication of newspapers and books. As other templates refer to aspects of the city’s cultural life, we will shortly mention below the development of the local press and the establishment of a public library and of a museum.

The first newspaper published at Galaţi was a commercial gazette, edited in Romanian and Italian by the Sardinian Mario Pietro Cugino. “Dunărea – Il Danubio” (The Danube). It appeared with interruptions during the period 1846 – 1849 and gradually turned from a commercial to a generalist newspaper that also contained cultural and scientific information from the Principalities and the rest of the world. Between 1849 and 1918 there were edited at Galaţi about 250 publications, most of them with a brief existence. Among the more significant and durable newspapers a special mention deserve “Vocea Covurluiului” (The Voice of Covurlui) (1873–1888), “Poşta” (The Post Office) (1880–1889), “Galaţii” (1882–1932). Literary publications such as “Avântul” (Forward), “Curentul Nou” (The New Trend), “Învierea” (The Resurrection) or “Dunărea de Jos” (The Lower Danube) were also published, being cultural magazines that defended one of ideologies debated in the Romanian culture (modernism, traditionalism, socialism, etc). They were directed by important representatives of the local cultural elite, who also popularised the virtues of the emerging culture. The printing houses from Galaţi also published about 500 literary works during this period, both in Romanian and in foreign languages (French, Greek, Bulgarian, etc.)[1].

The first initiative for establishing a public library at Galaţi dates back since November 1864, when several teachers petitioned the municipality with such an intention. The idea was brought to the fore again in 1868 by Constantin Troteanu, the principal of the commercial school, who required the Ministry of Education to acknowledge his school library as a state public library. Despite of being granted this title and of receiving several donations, its book corpus was scarce. Intentions to found a veritable public library were renewed in 1882, and in 1888 the “Brotherhood of Workers” Society established a library focused on socialist literature. The donations of historian and statesman V. A. Urechia stood at the basis of the modern “V. A. Urechia” Library. In 1888 he offered 5,431 volumes to the “V. Alecsandri” High School, the library was officially founded in December 1889 and inaugurated on 11 November 1890. At that moment, its heritage consisted of 6,007 volumes, some of them unique incunabula and old European and Romanian printings. A society for building a proper headquarters for this institution only managed to complete it during the late 1930s (now the building hosts the Dramatic Theatre of Galaţi). Other smaller libraries with a transitory existence were the “Cuza Vodă People’s Library” or “N. Iorga Library”, supported by different charitable institutions for the development of literacy and culture[2].

There were similar initiatives of organising a museum. At its inauguration in 1890, the “Urechia” Library also hosted a small museum in its halls. It was a mixed collection with palaeontology, archaeology, numismatic and sigillographic pieces, national and world ethnography, heraldry, bass-reliefs, numerous documents, ancient weaponry, etc. In 1913, teachers Paul and Ecaterina Paşa laid the foundations of another mixed museum at the School for Boys No. 6. It comprised a rich and varied collection of stuffed birds and animals, numerous ancient objects of rock, metal, clay and marble, many documents, coins, medals, evidence of the richness of the Romanian land: weapons, costumes, stamps, maps, historical objects, precious gems, etc. The inauguration of the museum took place on 22 June 1914 in the presence of Professor I. Simionescu[3].

Picture 3.1.1_1 The V. A. Urechia Library (late 1890s)
Source: www.bvau.ro

Picture 3.1.1_1 “V. A. Urechia” Library (late 1890s)
Source: www.bvau.ro

 


[1] Ecaterina Şoitu, “‘Curentul nou’, o revistă de opinii”, 100 de ani de la înfiinţarea primei biblioteci publice din judeţul Galaţi (Galaţi: Biblioteca V. A. Urechia, 1974), 201–205; Neagu Perianu, “Revista gălăţeană ‘Dunărea de Jos’”, Institutul Pedagogic Galaţi, Lucrări ştiinţifice, 3 (1969), 307–312; Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 412–416, vol. II, 317–330.

[2] Valeriu Surdu, Istoricul Bibliotecii Publice “Urechia” din Galaţi, 11 noiembrie 1890 – 1 septembrie 1905 (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic Albert Baer, 1906); Lucia Borş, “Biblioteca ‘V. A. Urechia’”, Boabe de grâu, 3 (1932), 348–367; Nedelcu Oprea, “Biblioteca publică în judeţul Galaţi. 100 de ani de existenţă”, 100 de ani de la înfiinţarea primei biblioteci publice (Galaţi: Biblioteca Judeţeană V. A. Urechia, 1974), 34; Păltănea, Istoria, I, 409–412, II, 336–341. Also see Nedelcu Oprea, Biblioteca Publică “V. A. Urechia” Galaţi: Monografie (Galaţi: Biblioteca V. A. Urechia, 2002).

[3] Ion T. Dragomir, “Dezvoltarea muzeistică din Galaţi”, Revista muzeelor, 1 (1970), 34; Ştefan Stanciu, Costin Croitoru, “Despre unele preocupări muzeale şi arheologice la Galaţi”, Perspective asupra istoriei locale în viziunea tinerilor cercetători, vol. III, Miscellanea in memoriam Ştefan Stanciu, edited by Costin Croitoru (Galaţi: Editura Istros, 2007), 235-255; Sorina Caloian, “Instituţiile muzeale gălăţene. Istoric, actualitate, perspective”, Perspective asupra istoriei locale în viziunea tinerilor cercetători gălăţeni, vol. I, edited by Costin Croitoru (Galaţi: Editura Istros, 2005), 125–135; Păltănea, Istoria, II, 341–342; for documents, see Pagini din trecutul muzeografiei gălăţene. Acte, documente, corespondenţă şi note, edited by Costin Croitoru (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2009).


References

Websites:

The official site of the “V. A. Urechia” Library

www.bvau.ro

The official site of the “Paul Păltănea” History Museum of Galaţi

www.migl.ro

Archival sources:

Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.

Bibliography:

Borş, Lucia, “Biblioteca ‘V. A. Urechia’” [“V. A. Urechia” Public Library], Boabe de grâu, 3 (1932), 348–367.

Caloian, Sorina, “Instituţiile muzeale gălăţene. Istoric, actualitate, perspective” [The Museal Institutions from Galaţi. History, Actuality, Perspectives], in vol. Perspective asupra istoriei locale în viziunea tinerilor cercetători gălăţeni [Perspectives on Local History by Young Researchers from Galaţi], vol. I, edited by Costin Croitoru (Galaţi: Editura Istros, 2005), 125–135.

Dragomir, Ion T., “Dezvoltarea muzeistică din Galaţi” [The Development of Museums at Galaţi], Revista muzeelor, 1 (1970), 35–39.

Oprea, Nedelcu, “Biblioteca publică în judeţul Galaţi. 100 de ani de existenţă” [The Public Library from Galaţi County. 100 Years of Existence], in vol. 100 de ani de la înfiinţarea primei biblioteci publice [100 Years since the Foundation of the First Public Library from Galaţi County] (Galaţi: Biblioteca Judeţeană V. A. Urechia, 1974).

Pacu, Moise N., Cartea Judeţului Covurlui. Note geografice, istorice şi în deosebi statistice [The Book of Covurlui County. Geographical, Historical and Mainly Statistical Notes] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu, 1891).

Pagini din trecutul muzeografiei gălăţene. Acte, documente, corespondenţă şi note [Pages from the Past of Galaţi Museums. Acts, Documents, Correspondence and Notes], edited by Costin Croitoru (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2009).

Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).

Perianu, Neagu, “Revista gălăţeană ‘Dunărea de Jos’” [“Dunărea de Jos” Review of Galaţi], Institutul Pedagogic Galaţi, Lucrări ştiinţifice, 3 (1969), 307–312.

Şoitu, Ecaterina, “‘Curentul nou’, o revistă de opinii” [“Curentul nou”, a Review of Opinions], in vol. 100 de ani de la înfiinţarea primei biblioteci publice din judeţul Galaţi [100 Years since the Foundation of the First Public Library from Galaţi County] (Galaţi: Biblioteca V. A. Urechia, 1974), 201–205.

Stanciu, Ştefan, Croitoru, Costin, “Despre unele preocupări muzeale şi arheologice la Galaţi” [On Some Museal and Archaeological Preoccupations at Galaţi], in vol. Perspective asupra istoriei locale în viziunea tinerilor cercetători, vol. III, Miscellanea in memoriam Ştefan Stanciu [Perspectives on Local History by Young Researchers. Miscellanea in Ştefan Stanciu’s Memory], edited by Costin Croitoru (Galaţi: Editura Istros, 2007), 235–255.

Surdu, Valeriu, Istoricul Bibliotecii Publice “Urechia” din Galaţi, 11 noiembrie 1890 – 1 septembrie 1905 [The History of the “Urechia” Public Library of Galaţi, 11 November 1890 – 1 September 1905] (Bucharest: Stabilimentul Grafic Albert Baer, 1906).

Tezaur documentar gălăţean [Tresure of Documents on Galaţi], edited by Cezar Bejan, Alexandru Duţă, Stelian Iordache, Viorica Solomon (Bucharest: Direcţia Generală a Arhivelor Statului, 1988).


Back