Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem
The historical development of the Archive
The Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem was not artificially created like many other state district archives, but it developed naturally as a city facility.
Even though the City Archive in Ústí nad Labem was first mentioned 300 years ago, it actually started functioning in 1828. At that time, the city registrar Friedrich Sonnewend was charged with organising the city’s historical files. The City Archive did not have a permanent administrator from 1840 to 1890. The librarian from the Society for the History of the Germans in Bohemia, Wenzel Hieke, was appointed the archive administrator in 1890. After his death in 1895, this function was performed by the city archivist, Alexander Marian, until 1919. In 1920, Dr Franz Josef Umlauf was appointed the administrator of the City Archive. Umlauf performed the function as a secondary occupation. The archive was based in two cellar rooms of the German grammar school in Velká hradební Street.
On 11th November 1922, Dr Bedřich Mendl inspected the Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem at the commission of the Ministry of Education and National Enlightenment. The result of the inspection was a promise of a state subsidy for the archive under the condition of the provision of archival care for the written documents of the rural part of the district. the Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem also began to function as the district archive from 1922. During the 1920s, Umlauf gradually brought written documents of the patrimonial administration, the city brewery and the books of the Ústí ecclesiastical authority to the archive. The archive received the complete yearbooks of Ústí newspapers from 1856 from the stockbroker Karl Böhm. However, the newspaper collection did not fit into the archive and it was therefore placed in the cellar of the Trmice château. At the beginning of the 1930s, Umlauf was increasingly involved in the organisation of German national history in Czechoslovakia and genealogical work. After neglecting his care for the archive, he came into acute conflict with the city’s mayor Leopold Pölzl. The dispute culminated in 1934, when Umlauf requested Pölzl in writing to be relieved of his position as archive administrator. Umlauf was replaced by the expertly educated archivist, Dr Franz Josef Wünsch.
In 1936, the City Board adopted a new statute for the archive. The archive was defined as a city authority and the archivist became a city employee. After several years of requesting, Wünsch acquired more expansive premises for the archive in a house on Wenceslas Square in Trmice.
In 1941, the archivist Franz Josef Wünsch was drafted to the front and the position was once again assumed by Franz Josef Umlauf. The head of the city’s cultural authority, Walter Hermann, assumed the leadership of the archive and the city museum simultaneously during reorganizational changes in 1942. After his departure to the front, Umlauf again assumed the leadership of the archive for the third time. He administered the archive until 13th December 1945, when he handed the archive keys to Dr Alfred Piffl. It was to Umlauf’s credit that there were practically no losses of archive materials at the end of the war and in the following period. After Piffl, the official administration of the archive was assumed by the ornithologist Dr Josef Jirsík, but the archive was actually administered by Ing. Karel David in addition to his official employment.
In the autumn of 1951, Jan Bouček became the city archivist. He managed the archive until his death in 1983. The collections of the City and the District of Ústí nad Labem were transferred to the archive during Bouček’s tenure. The archive acquired new premises in the centre of Ústí nad Labem in 1968. It has been managed by Dr Vladimír Kaiser since 1984.
The District of Ústí nad Labem underwent fundamental administrative reforms in 1986. Ústí nad Labem was declared a statutory city. As an institution of the Internal Affairs Department at the National Committee of the City, the archive was transformed back to the Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem in that (like the National Committee of the City of Ústí nad Labem) it performed archival activities throughout the entire territory of the District of Ústí nad Labem. The National Committee of the City of Ústí nad Labem was dissolved after the municipal elections in 1990 and the City of Ústí nad Labem was given the special status of a “statutory city” with the “Municipal Authority of the City of Ústí nad Labem” on the basis of the Municipalities Act (section 3 of Act no. 367/90 Coll.). Since 1990, the Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem has been an independent department of the municipal office and subsequently the Municipal Authority and it has assumed the archival care for the entire territory of the District of Ústí nad Labem.
Photo: The Archive of the City of Ústí nad Labem, 2018