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Unlocking the Fagel Collection: The Library and its Context

Trinity College Dublin, June 22–23, 2023

Call for Papers


The Fagel collection is one of the most important and largest Dutch private libraries of the eighteenth century still surviving today. It was assembled as a working library by several generations of the Fagel family, of whom successive members held high offices in the Dutch Republic throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The collection of books, pamphlets and maps was purchased as a whole for Trinity College Dublin in 1802.

This symposium represents the culmination of the Unlocking the Fagel Collection project (2020–2023), a collaboration between the Library of Trinity College Dublin and the KB National Library of the Netherlands, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will mark the achievements of the project which has facilitated access to and raised awareness of this unique heritage library through cataloguing of the Dutch imprints in the Short-Title Catalogue Netherlands (STCN). This moment also signals the beginning of a second phase of work, dedicated to enhanced cataloguing of all non-Dutch materials and supporting new research into the collection, notably through extensive digitisation as part of the Virtual Trinity Library.

As such, the symposium represents an opportunity to take a fresh look at the historical context and significance of the collection, and to look forward to future exploration thereof, particularly, it is hoped, through new collaborations and digital integration with collections and projects internationally.

Topics may include:

  • The history and socio-cultural context of the Fagel library and the Fagel family, e.g. Den Haag book culture, print and the Dutch States General
  • Comparative perspectives with contemporary libraries, cultures of collecting, in the Dutch Republic and elsewhere, e.g. patrician libraries, political libraries, expatriated libraries
  • Fagel holdings in relation to overall STCN data and other recorded collections
  • Exploration of the collection’s holdings: books, pamphlets, maps, engravings, manuscripts, items no longer in the collection
  • Links with complementary collections: the Fagel archives, the (dispersed) art, coin and plant collections, etc.
  • The role and use of the Fagel Collection, then and now, e.g. information politics
  • The collection’s organisation and history, in the Netherlands and at Trinity College Dublin
  • Materiality of the collection, of individual items, and questions of preservation
  • Perspectives on future development and use of the collection, e.g. in digital form

The organisers welcome proposals for papers (c. 250 words) on these and related topics.

Proposals should be sent, together with a short bio-bibliographical statement including indication of institutional affiliation, by 20 January 2022.

Email to: with subject heading ‘Fagel Symposium’

Participation and attendance, including meals and refreshments, is free of charge. Travel costs and accommodation are not covered.

For further information, please contact Ann-Marie Hansen, project manager of Unlocking the Fagel Collection, at the Library of Trinity College Dublin. Email: