Documentary heritage of the traditional Protestant communities in Bulgaria (EAP1145)

Aims and objectives

This research project aims to identify and digitalise materials that provide information on pre-modern way of life of the Evangelical Christians in Bulgaria. The project is interested in various types of documents that have not yet been submitted at the State Archive or regional archives. There are manuscripts, photos, letters, brochures, church diaries in Bulgarian or in the mother languages of the respective ethnic groups (Turkish, Romany, Hebrew, etc.). Some of these materials are still available to families and Protestant churches and are in vulnerable condition because usually do not arrange for their safe storage.

The research project focuses on history and cultural tradition of Protestant communities with creation of a detailed digital collection of photo and documentary materials providing significant information on preindustrial
features of the Protestant culture related to the period when Protestants in Bulgaria have adhered to a conservative and traditional way of life. The main task of the project is to conduct a field research among various ethnic groups, whose members converted to Protestantism, to collect materials from the representatives’ personal archives, to digitise approximately 900 materials and to systemise the digital copies in catalogue. Specific outcomes of the project are directly connected with implementation of project activities and its expected results, which are fieldtrip report, digital collection, which will be available online and a photo exhibition in the next stage of the realisation of the project idea (Major project). These digital documents will provide information on the communities’ traditions and their “hidden” history that are otherwise hardly known outside the boundaries of the respected communities. Our preliminary research showed that this possibility has not been explored and elaborated so far and since the materials are kept in private archives and collections, they are threatened with extermination and extinction. The main task of this project is a preliminary study on the possibilities for project continuation and the collection of large volumes of materials to be carried out and this opportunity to be agreed with the informants at this stage. The project also will produce interim and final report on the condition of the collected materials. Finally, we will examine the possibilities for continuation of the work at the next stage and collecting of more photo and document materials.

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