Marianne Czeke, the first Hungarian female librarian, was born 150 years ago

Czeke Marianne was born on 18 October 1873 in Sopron. The talented and ambitious girl decided to study at university after her travels in England and France. After successful high school graduation in 1901, she enrolled in the Latin – French – German department of the University of Budapest. On 17 June 1905, she received his doctorate with summa cum laude and wrote his doctoral dissertation on Lessing and Shakespeare. On 24 March 1906, she was awarded a teaching diploma.

After the successful completion of her studies, she applied for a job with the Minister of Religion and Education and the Rector of the University, who accepted her application and assigned her to the University Library. The Library Committee discussed the application and supported it with the following reasons: „Dr. Mariann Czeke meets the requirements of the post in question to an excellent degree and is therefore unanimously recommended to the good will of the Board of Governors, all the more so because, as she emphasizes in her application, she feels a calling to the library profession since she has already worked in this direction at the Bibliotheque nationale. The Committee also acknowledges that women are generally fitted for the library profession; hence the considerable number of clerks in America are women; their excellent sense and regularity of cleanliness and accuracy of treatment are a great help here. But, on the other hand, it must also be pointed out that in this case we are dealing with a pioneering new career for women, and that it is therefore not for more than one case, but only for this one, that the decision and unanimous recommendation is to be made. It therefore does not wish to make it a system for the time being, but takes into account the applicant is exraordinary readiness and desire; but at the same time it is reassuring to note that the applicant as a teacher, will enter the Vlassics College and that if the experiment should fall, she will be able to transfer to the teaching profession.” (ULA, University Archives, 19.b. Minutes of the 15 June 1906.) But the experiment worked.

Marianne Czeke worked at the University Library for two decades. Her main responsibility was the management of the special Shakespeare collection, for which she published a detailed catalogue. In the meantime, she was constantly publishing, translating, and active in public life, being a member of several women’s movement associations. From 1925 she was involved in the publication of the diary of Teresa Brunszvik. Her works include, among others, the Treatises on History and Politics, Lessing and Shakespeare, Montessori's Thoughts in the Diary of Count Teresa Brunsvik, and the Life and Character of Count Teresa Brunsvik. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary, her works are now available digitally on the ELTE Digital Institutional Knowledge Library (EDIT). The first Hungarian female librarian died in 1942, aged 69.   

The life of Marianne Czeke is described in detail by Edit Fabó. The study is available:  

Source/author of illustration:
Fabó Edit: Dr. Czeke Marianne – Az Egyetemi Könyvtár első könyvtárosnője. Egyetemi Könyvtár Évkönyvei XVI. Budapest, 2013. 204.