Donation of Kristaps Morbergs, the Grand Patron of the University of Latvia

Kristaps Morbergs (1844-1928), the Grand Patron of the University of Latvia, was a Latvian entrepreneur and architect, designer and proprietor of several buildings in the Riga’s Central District. He left to the University of Latvia all the fruits of his lifetime of labour, by testament, to promote science and education and, along with his real estate donation, the University of Latvia also received 220 valuable books that enrich the Library’s historical holdings.

Information from the State Archives of Latvia and documents from the Library of the University of Latvia state that in 1926 K. Morbergs granted the Faculty of Architecture miscellaneous editions on architecture and building, however, after his death the remaining specifically collected and composed library (kept in two big oaken shelves) had, according to his testament, been given into the charge of the Faculty of Architecture of UL and the Central Library of UL. Later on, the meetings of the Library Council dealt with obtaining books, for study needs, from Morbergs Foundation. These books were marked by denotation stamps “Obtained at the expense of KR. MORBERGS Foundation”.

Donated and purchased books were published in the 19th century and the early 20th century. The earliest edition is „Kosmos: Entwurf einer physischen Weltbeschreibung” by the natural scientist A. Humboldt (published in Tübingen in 1845). Among all this various assortment, particularly noteworthy are yearbooks of the Riga Society of Architects (Architektenverein zu Riga) „Jahrbuch für bildende Kunst in den Ostseeprovinzen” (issued in Riga 1907-1926), manifested the evolution of building in Riga, and compendium of building regulations “Bauordnung für Riga: Ortsstatut der Rigaschen Stadtverordnetenversammlung” (published in Riga in 1904).

As an architect, actively engaged in this field, K. Morbergs had collected, in his library shelves, the editions revealing extended various aspects of building and construction. There are available the editions on practical topics of building and architecture, as well as works about the visual aesthetics of architecture and famous representatives. The donation contains books featuring world-famous architects’ lives and activities, history of culture, art and architecture of various countries and cities, as well as books on the subject-matter of natural sciences (notedly topics on botany, zoology, medicine, technique) and linguistics (like Esperanto and Chinese grammar),

poems of Michelangelo, editions of philosophical works by Kant and Schopenhauer, books on important cultural, historical and political events that occurred on the territory of Latvia at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The donation also includes many illustrated editions, cartographic materials, textbooks, guidebooks, reference books etc. The editions are mostly in German, then in French, English, Latin.

German, then in French, English, Latin. Photos from the exhibition and opening the book devoted to the 170th anniversary of Kristaps Morbergs