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«The International Institute of Teacher’s College, Columbia University The INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE of Teachers College, Columbia University, was ...»

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The great national collections, such as the National Archive, the Hungarian National Museum, the National Hungarian Museum of Fine Arts, the National Hungarian Museum of Industrial Arts, and the Library of the Peter Pázmány University at Budapest have special significance, not only because they contain a tremendous treasure in their collections, but also because among their officers are some of the most outstanding men of Hungarian scholarship. The poverty of society, the almost complete lack of support for private scholarship, and the consequent stagnation of individual scientific organizations make employment with these institutions almost the only scientific positions outside of those at the universities. Hence the task of systematically regulating the personal affairs of tliese institutions and their employees was of primary importance.

This end might have been accomplished by two methods—· either by appointing a director on the principle of a state administration, as is customary in the case of state theatres and as the 268 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY Germans did with the museums of Berlin, or by applying the principle of autonomy by establishing a governing body from the heads of collections, from experts outside of the institutions, and from connoisseurs and patrons of art. One of the primary rules of organization is to adjust it to the nature of the matters to be dealt with. Thus a theatre, demanding action and hasty decisions, can be directed profitably only by the use of the director system; but the affairs of scientific collections, demanding deeper study and broader consideration, can be treated best in a council. The heterogenous nature of the collections would also militate against the system of directorship because no one would be versed in so many branches of science. The principle of an autonomous organization was therefore chosen and put into effect with all the institutions under the jurisdiction of a Library, Archives, and Museum Council. The organization of these cultural institutions in many respects resembles that of the university; it is a system which experience proves to be more suitable for the administration of scientific institutions than a purely bureaucratic system and also provides sufficient protection against political influence and favoritism in the selection of the staff with strictly scientific responsibilities.

Making a separate institution out of the natural science, ethnographical, and archaeological collections of the National Museum and erecting separate buildings for each have constituted a paramount problem. A solution of this problem, as indicated, would have the advantage of eliminating the situation of having a heterogeneous staff and material under one administration. This would leave the building of the Museum entirely in the service of the national library. Because of the present financial state of the nation and the high cost of building, this idea must be left out of consideration at the present. It has been a happy circumstance, nevertheless, that the building of the National Archives, which had been delayed by the War, was finally completed for use in 1922. However, obstacles in the way of the outward development of the museums cause no despondency. It would be extreme onesidedness, indeed, if the progress of the institutions would be seen in buildings and purchases alone. It is, of course, necessary to obtain as many new books and periodicals as possible for the libraries or else the living libraries will become


museums of dead books. Nevertheless, in the case of the museums and archives, a broad field is open for trained and conscientious archivists and museum officials, even without new buildings and purchases. The complete analysis of the materials of collections, their systematization, cataloguing, exhibiting, and estimating the scientific value of certain articles as well as of offering the educational values represented by them to the people at large constitute a program which tends far more than external expansion to raise the level and worth of the museums. Over against the almost popular emphasis in recent years upon the financial side of the collections the law desires to endow the living, personal forces with new vitality; all its regulations are to this end.


The Council was vested with the rights and privileges of a separate legal body. This was done in order to create the conditions for a lively and energetic organization and to ensure the hearty support of the general public, which is difficult to arouse to the support of institutions maintained by the state. It was also a question as to whether each collection should obtain self-governing powers or all should be united under one self-governing organization. The latter plan was chosen and the basis was laid for the conservation of energy. Furthermore, an institution was created which comprises the best talent in each scientific field, and consequently the body speaks with authority and commands unquestioned respect. To increase this respect and to give the Council an opportunity to safeguard and promote its interests by laws, the Council has been granted the right to send a representative to the Upper House of Parliament along with such other institutions as the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the universities. In spite of the union of these institutions under one legal body, the inner life of the individual institutions has been left untouched as far as their independence is concerned; this idea is especially brought out by the regulation of the law that each institution should have its own funds into which should go funds for the support of the state and the gifts of individuals. Noteworthy also is the fact that, while the Council, together with the institutions, constitutes a separate legal body, 270 ED U CATION IN HUNGARY the employees of the various institutions nevertheless remain employees of the state.

The law makes up the Council from three sources. The first group is drafted from the heads of the institutions and also the heads of the various departments of the National Museum, since these departments in reality are separate museums. These eleven members in the Council represent the knowledge and experience which can be gained only after many years of service in a library, in archives, or in a museum. The next group of members is composed of ten university professors, who are invited by the Minister for a term of five years from the professors in the Faculties of Philosophy, Theology, Law and Political Science, Medicine, and the Technical University. The professors contribute their theoretical knowledge to the membership of the Council. The general public is represented by five individuals, who through their gifts in any form have been of service to the cause and are invited by the Minister to become members for a term of five years.

Since the Council represents a heterogenous group of interests, it is broken up into smaller councils according to the separate interests. It seldom occurs that the Council is in session with its full membership of twenty-seven. This takes place only when its president and new members are nominated and when general problems are under consideration. The actual work is carried on in the smaller councils and in the executive council. Each of the smaller councils consists of five members, comprising the president, two officials of scientific institutions, and two other members. The membership of each council is chosen in conformity with the tendency and nature of the individual collections, and interlocking and duplication of members are carefully avoided.

Administrative matters are in the hands of a separate council, working under the jurisdiction of the main Council, which consists of eleven members comprising the president of the Council, the five heads of the institutions, and five other members. It is obvious that emphasis is placed primarily upon the heads of the institutions, whose long administrative service guarantees sound management. The other members are professors and connoisseurs in such a proportion that the number of the former always exceeds that of the latter.



The Council is vested with a clearly defined sphere of activity.

It nominates its own president and its own members, who are thereupon invited by the Ministry of Public Worship and Instruction. The Council also nominates the scientific and administrative officials as well as the entire staff of the institutions.

This personnel is divided into three groups: (1) the scientific, which has charge of the scientific work of the institutions and is composed of individuals of specialized training and high university education; (2) the scientific and technical assistants such as restorers, conservers, photographers, mechanics, and so on; (3) and the administrative force, in which individuals falling within this class may be employed. Selection occurs on the basis of candidacy and nomination. The Council passes upon the inefficiency and undesirability of employees.

The Council, furthermore, limits the sphere of collection for each institution in such a way that competition among them is eliminated and duplications are avoided. The Council has the right to remove articles from one institution to another in order to simplify cataloguing and to unify groups of articles. The Council is responsible for all excavations. This right is particularly significant inasmuch as in times past excavations, being conducted by individuals, were sporadic and often without gain to the nation because either articles were lost or they strayed into the museums of other countries. The Council prepares its own budget and takes it before the Minister of Public Worship and Instruction with its advisory report. The entire group of institutions in a legal way is represented by the Council, which has the right to make legal contracts. The Council also has the right to conduct national campaigns for the purpose of arousing interest in its activities and obtaining financial support. Of great help to the Council in this respect is its right to be represented in the law-making body of the country, from which it can address the nation in its campaigns. It is in this way that the National Library, Archives, and Museum Fund has been established under the management and care of the Council. Another task of the Council is to make international contacts and to conduct the international exchange of books. In all matters relating to libraries, archives, and museums it serves as an advisory body to 272 EDUCATION IN HUNGARY the Ministry. Finally, all departments must prepare reports of the work done during definite periods; this not only stimulates interest and activity, but also provides the Council with material for shaping its policies and program of work.


–  –  –

Hungarian dramatic art began with mystery plays and school dramas. Professional dramatics in Hungary was German to a large extent even in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and it was only in 1791 that Ladislaus Kelemen, the first theatrical director, started the National Hungarian Theatrical Company, although historical data show that permission to initiate a similar organization had been granted to George Felvinczy at the end of the seventeenth century; however, nothing is known of his career. Because of the public's indifference to Hungarian actors, Kelemen's company could not stand competition with the Germans and he went on a travelling tour through the country.

A similar company was formed soon afterwards at Kolozsvár, and this fared more favourably.

This company, with the support of the nobility of Transylvania, grew rapidly and in 1807 a group of them appeared at Pest, where they successfully maintained themselves. From this time on, theatrical companies sprang up one after another throughout the country.

As a result of public enthusiasm the company at Kolozsvár received in 1821 a permanent home under the title of the National Hungarian Theatre of Kolozsvár, which was the first permanent theatre in Hungary. It was out of the gifts of the nation that the National Hungarian Royal Opera House was founded in 1884 and since that time the National Theatre has devoted itself exclusively to dramatic art.

–  –  –

The Royal Hungarian Opera House since its establishment cultivates all branches of the opera. It presents serious and comic opera, pantomimes, ballets, and oratorios, both from HunEDUCATION IN HUNGARY garian and foreign authors. Its primary aim is to develop and advance Hungarian music, but it pays attention to the music of other nations. The Hungarian composers whose works are often on the program are Erkel, Goldmark, Liszt, Huber, Mihalovich, and Géza Zichy of the older masters and Hubay, Dohnányi, Mader, Szabados, Poldini, Bartók, Kidály, and Radnai of the younger generation.

Of foreign composers the following have been and are still included in the programs from time to time: Verdi, Donizetti, Bellini, Ciordano, Rossini, Leoncavallo, Puccini, and Mascagni of the Italians; Delibes, Gounod, Thomas, Bizet, Meyerbeer, Pentier, Debussy, and Ravel of the French; Wagner, Weber, Gluck, Mendelssohn, D'Albert, Mozart, Strauss, Kinzl, and Beethoven of the Germans.

The Opera House has exerted far-reaching influence upon Hungarian music, which has not only become strengthened but has also met with recognition in other countries. Like other metropolitan opera houses, the Royal Opera House presents all pieces with a complete force. It has 38 soloists, an orchestra of 97 members, 6 conductors, a chorus of 78 members, a dancing company of 32 members, and a technical personnel of 120 members.

The Opera House maintains permanent contacts with foreign companies, and many of the outstanding foreign singers have appeared in its productions. A good many Hungarian singers are invited to sing with foreign companies, some of them even being permanently contracted. In the past Caruso and Titta Ruffo have appeared in Budapest, while Maria Jeritza, who is an honorary member of the Opera House, sings annually; other foreign singers appearing in Budapest are Feinhals, Journet, Ivogun, and so on. Hungarian singers known abroad are Maria Basilides, Erzsi Sándor, and Francis Székelyhidy; Hungarian singers having contracts abroad are Maria Németh, Piroska Anday, Kálmán Pataky, Gitta Alpár, and Oscar Kálmán.

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