Three Precious Cultural Manuscript Collections from the 19th century facing disappearance (EAP989)

Aims and objectives

This project will be the first (and pioneering) attempt to bring interested audience's attention to some oldest surviving manuscripts from Bulgaria reflecting cultural (ethnographic and folklore) of Bulgarian and Balkan specifics. The team of the project considers this application a logical step, after having successfully accomplished two EAP digitisations of visual materials - black-and-white old photographs, portraits and negatives (The manuscripts deserve such attention because they are richer in content, more explanatory and informative, and provide possibility for scholarly investigation and analytical documental survey. Such investigation which will be expressed in the catalogue entries, will concern the creators of the documents, people, places and events  mentioned in the manuscripts (where possible), the whole line of a document's life as a story and as a document. This way, through the image and through the description, the British Library and the online users will eyewitness a vivid - both seen and read, picture of people's pre-industrial everyday and festive life. Thereby, the Ethnographic Archive of IEFSEM will become public as a keeper of significant documental (not only visual) treasure, discovered and disseminated through the EAP.

As stated, the archive consists of over 4,000 old and newer manuscripts (more than two thirds are from the pre-industrial period). They range from a single page up to several hundred pages, some also contain drawings, sketches and photographs. We have specifically chosen similar manuscripts with visuals for this projects, aiming to test our team's ability to digitise such combinations of text and images, to investigate the details, and to describe them. As a result, experience will be gained, and new ideas for further manuscript digitisation will be developed.

The project will contribute to at least three general ideas:

1. increased access to our archival heritage

2.  an opportunity to extract information, to conduct investigative and educational work 

3. safeguarding the archival documents through  limited use of the originals 

4. participation in the future establishment of a Common European internet-portal of cultural archives etc.


The EAP989 team has digitised three newly discovered unique manuscript collections from the 19th century.

1. Ivan Enchev Collection

2. Konstantin Zagorov Collection

3. Georgy Garnev Collection

This totals 1416 nonstandard handwritten and hand painted pages with texts, images and notated songs covering vast areas in Bulgarian and Balkan lands, cultural and folklore heritage - now lost objects and unknown recordings.

A survey report was also submitted as part of the project.

The records copied by this project have been catalogued as: