Endangered Archives


EAP103: Endangered ethnographic archive, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Ethnographic Archive is one of the oldest Bulgarian archives and is situated in the old royal palace of Bulgarian rulers in Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria. Today this building is in a very poor condition and circumstances for record preservation are extremely uncomfortable and unacceptable. The archives have no air-conditioning and there is no protection from humidity, microbes, moulds and direct sunshine.

This project is concerned with preserving two sections of the archives: written documentary material from between the middle of the 19th & 20th centuries and photographic material comprising old photographs, negatives, plates and slides from the second half of the 19th century up to the 40`s and 50`s of the 20th century.

The written documents, containing some 25,000 pages, provide information about the traditions and folklore culture of the Bulgarian society. They include fieldwork researches which scope data to the history, foundation of villages, means of livelihood, Bulgarian material culture (houses, agricultural implements, costumes) and spiritual culture (traditional customs, mythology, folklore). They show the traditional life of Bulgarians and include different villages in the border of Bulgarian ethnic aria. The archival materials present information for Bulgarian pre-industrial society.

The photographic collections contain 10,000 black-white and color photonegatives, 5,000 photographs and 5,000 plates. These photographs document traditional Bulgarian cloths, architectural monuments, rituals, women's traditional costumes, popular customs and life style of Bulgarians. They help to make a complete, exact and objective reconstruction of these lost cultural phenomena, agricultural implements, folk-style objects and national costumes, and present a valuable group of documents to different aspects of traditional folklore culture.

The project will proceed in two stages. The preliminary part of the project will involve moving the written material into archival boxes in new cupboards. A survey will be undertaken of the material at this stage to see which, if any, documents should be digitised. Staff at the Museum will be trained in digitisation techniques and will take significant digital samples of the photographs. A report will be made on the photographs/collections selected for digitising.

The second part of the project will entail the full digitisation of the listed photographic material plus any of the documents which it is agreed should be digitised.

This project will help to preserve for the future this unique valuable and diverse information about the life style, economics and culture of Bulgarians during the pre-industrial period, not contained in any other archives.


EAP103/1: Photographic Collections of the Ethnographic Institute and Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences [Mid 19th - Mid 20th century]

"This Fonds consists of digitised copies of the photographic collections held by the Ethnographic Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. Dated from the mid 19th to mid 20th centuries, the photographs are arranged into three Series - negatives, ethnographic photographs, glass plates - and document ethnographic, historical and artistic research. Photographic subjects include traditional costumes, celebrations, material culture, architecture, agricultural methods and implements, artistic works, and geographic and environmental features."

EAP103/1/1: Ethnographic Photographs Series 1 - Negatives [Mid 20th Century]

EAP103/1/1/186: Woman`s costumes

Extent: 8 TIFF images
Level: File
Scope and Content: "Photographs of women's costumes, Plodovitovo village, Chirpan district (Central Bulgaria). Date(s): 1962. Creator(s): Nikolov, N. Extent: 8 negatives. Copy process: scanned"
Collector Ethnographic Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1949-
Language(s) Not applicable
Script(s) Not applicable
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