History of the State District Archive Havlíčkův Brod

The Havlíčkův Brod District Archive was officially established in 1954 on the basis of Government Decree No. 29/1954 Coll. as a professional facility of the District National Committee for the then district according to the 1949 administrative division of the state. However, the history of its predecessors is much older and richer. As in other areas, its „professional“ staff followed the founding work of many enthusiasts and, in a good sense, amateurs who, in the context of building municipal and community archives, did a great deal of work to preserve archival wealth. As a result, the Havlíčkův Brod City Archives was one of the richest and remains to this day as a separate collection. Between 1858 and 1877, its archives were started by Jan Hulakovský, a local native and former employee of the gubernatorial archives in Prague, who created the organizational scheme still used today. At the beginning of the 20th century, PhMr. Jaroslav Růžička was appointed the town archivist, but because he held his position for only one year and used the archive (let’s say the town’s records room) mainly for his research interest, he could not significantly intervene in the field of the archival material. Even during the First Republic, the archive could not be kept together (although this was the primary interest of its then „administrator“, the professor of the local grammar school František Petro, who was also the representative of the town museum), it was scattered in several buildings and was used again more as a town office.

During World War II, the archival material was taken care of by Bořivoj Benetka, whose office at the deanery housed the old town registry and the most valuable archival material (especially documents dating from the mid-13th century) was stored in boxes in the building of the town savings bank.

In 1945, Pavel Sochr, a parish priest of the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, became the administrator of the town archives, and in 1952 he was also entrusted with the administration of the district archive service. In 1954, after the aforementioned government decree came into force, Antonín Šouba was appointed district archivist and Pavel Sochr, an expert in Havlíčkův Brod historiography, worked as his collaborator.

The archival holdings of the Havlíčkobrod district archive were then scattered in the dean’s building, in the town museum and in the records room of the local national committee. After the eviction of the district people’s library, the archive’s headquarters was set up in the old town hall on the square.

In 1958, the graduated historian Jiří Sochr became the administrator of the district archive, who was its first truly professionally trained employee, and he then served as its director until his sudden death in 1987. It should not be forgotten that similar facilities to the Havlíčkův Brod district archive were established in the second half of the 1950s in accordance with the above-mentioned government decree in Chotěbor and Ledč nad Sázavou (always for the district of their district national committee). In 1960, in connection with the territorial reorganization of the state, all three district archives were merged and a „new“ institution (under the old name) District Archive Havlíčkův Brod was created. Its headquarters was still located in the old town hall in Havlíčkův Brod, with detached workplaces in Chotěbor and Ledč nad Sázavou and a separate depository in Vilémovice.

From 1961 onwards, the Havlíčkův Brod Municipal Council exerted constant pressure to move the district archives out of the old town hall. The result of complicated negotiations was the acquisition of the former oratory at the castle in Pohde, which was equipped with wooden shelves and used as a depository. However, the very poor situation in the dislocation of the headquarters persisted until 1970, when the Department of Internal Affairs of the Havlíčkův Brod District National Committee leased the former rectory in Pohde from the Roman Catholic Church and moved the main office of the district archives there. However, the capacity of the premises in Pohledu was quickly filled by the removal of archival material from local national committees, schools, institutions of district-wide importance (district courts, former district national committees, district prosecutor’s offices, etc.), social organizations, etc. from the former districts of Havlíčkův Brod and Ledeč nad Sázavou.

In 1974, the legal status of archives was regulated by Act No. 97/1974 Coll. on Archives and their tasks were elaborated in detail by a series of implementing decrees approved in 1974 – 1977. The adaptation of the existing regulations to the new social conditions took place in 1992 after the approval of Act No. 343/1992 Coll., which amended the Archives Act of 1974. According to its provisions, the Havlíčkův Brod District Archive was renamed the Havlíčkův Brod State District Archive. Since at least the mid-1980s, negotiations have been taking place to resolve the critical situation of the archive in terms of securing its storage space. The capacity of the archive was completely full, making it objectively impossible for its staff to carry out the tasks stipulated by law.

The situation was further complicated in 1987 by the death of the current director, prom. hist. Jiří Socher. Helena Pospíchalová, a long-time employee of the archive, was put in charge of the archive for one year and in 1988 the management of the archive was entrusted to its current director, PhDr. Ladislav Macek.

The main task that had to be solved at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s was the provision of new premises for both depositories and operational activities. The existing premises at the rectory in Pohledu and at the Chateau in Chotěboř were completely inadequate (the state of disrepair of the buildings, very unfavourable microclimatic conditions, …) and there was a threat of mass destruction of most of the archives.

Thanks to the understanding of the founder, i.e. the Havlíčkův Brod District Office, one floor of the former Svazarm building in Havlíčkův Brod was first rented and reconstructed for depository purposes.

In 1993-1994, the building of the former District Construction Company in Havlíčkův Brod was acquired and structurally modified for the needs of the archive. In 1994-1995, the archival collections of the entire district were concentrated in the new depositories, and the necessary operational premises of the archive (workrooms, organizing rooms, research room for the public, archival library, etc.) were located there.

This has succeeded in creating solid material prerequisites so that a very rich and valuable part of our cultural heritage can be stored, processed and made accessible to the research public in a form that meets the requirements of the beginning of the 21st century.

A fundamental change in terms of the organisational integration of the archive took place in 2002. Following the wording of Act No. 320/2002 Coll. on the amendment and repeal of certain acts in connection with the termination of the activities of district offices, the State District Archive Havlíčkův Brod became an internal organisational component of the Moravian Regional Archive in Brno on 1 August 2002.


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