History of the collection: The collection was acquired over a period of years
Size: The Bilderdijk collection comprises c.800 books, 500 of which stem from the collection of A.W. Leeflang acquired by the KB in 2008. The library also has some 80 manuscripts of Bilderdijk’s works and c.300 letters.
Accessibility: The manuscripts and most of the books may be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.The books may be found in the KB Catalogue. The descriptions of the books in the Leeflang collection can be found by following this link to the KB catalogue.
More information: Arno Kuipers 070-3140561 en Paul van Capelleveen 070-3140331.
Portrait of Willem Bilderdijk
Titelpage ofMijn verlustiging.[Revised edition]. Leyden: C. van Hoogeveen junior en Erven D. Klippink, 1781.
Description of the collection
The oeuvre of the writer, lawyer, teacher, historian, translator and, above all, poet Willem Bilderdijk (1756-1831) is gigantic. His drive and production became legendary in his own time. In 2006, Lesley Monfils published a bibliography of the works of Willem Bilderdijk, and he showed that the number of monographical titles already exceeds 400. The KB owns a large part of these. The build-up of the Bilderdijk collection started soon after the library’s foundation in1798. In the early nineteenth century, Bilderdijk was considered a great poet, equalling Vondel. One of the earliest publications by Bilderdijk in the KB is an edition from 1781 of the notorious collection of erotic poetry Mijn verlustiging. The library also owns a number of eighteenth-century occasional poems by Bilderdijk, for instance the poem for his wife from 1794, Ter verjaarfeest van mijne egade, and a dated and signed copy of Bij ’t lijk van mijn zoontjen, na drie weken levens overleden, den laatsten van grasmaand MDCCLXXXIX *(1789). Another remarkable work is *Kort verhaal van eene aanmerklijke luchtreis, en nieuwe planeetontdekking from 1813, allegedly translated from the Russian by Bilderdijk. Obviously, it was entirely made up by Bilderdijk himself. Apart from the books, the KB also owns a large number of manuscripts and letters by Bilderdijk. The library has several autograph poems, besides manuscript versions of historical and legal works. Among others, the letter collection comprises 224 letters from Bilderdijk to the bookseller and publisher Johannes Immerzeel jr.
In 2008, the KB’s Bilderdijk collection was more than doubled by the acquisition of the so-called ‘Leeflang collection’. The Bilderdijk collection brought together by A.W. Leeflang had been housed in the Literary Museum for years, before it was given on perpetual loan to the KB. The collection is special in that it comprises many editions from the period after Bilderdijk’s death. The collection, which has been used by Lesley Monfils for the bibliography, contains dedication copies, autograph letters, inserted engravings, corrected copies (used for later printings)and special editions, partly with variants. All works have autograph annotations written by the collector. The descriptions of the books in the Leeflang collection can be found by following this link to the KB catalogue.