2 thoughts on “A Final Resting Place – Shelf Life: The Library of Zsuzanna Bethlen de Iktar at Teleki-Teka (Part Three)

  1. Sadly, not all members of the Teleki family behaved with the dignity of their illustrious ancestor, Samuel, as this extract from the recently published ‘Patrick Leigh Fermor : Noble Encounters between Budapest and Translvanya relates:
    [During Communism] ”One member of the family, Countess Gemma Teleki, was permitted to live in a back corridor of the library and to eke out a miserable existence selling flowers and vegetables in the market square of Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș). She is still remembered in the city today. A member of the Samuel Teleki library staff recalled seeing her in the 1980s selling her home-grown produce. She recalled the wonder of a child in Communist times observing a grand old lady in reduced circumstances: ‘’we knew she was a Countess but we didn’t quite know what a Countess was’’. Her former husband, also her cousin, Count Károly Teleki, known to his friends as ‘Pufi’ left Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș), taking with him from the library of which he was president, rare items to which he had no claim to ownership. These included the only Corvina, a Codex from one of the most extraordinary libraries of the Renaissance period, established by King Matthias Corvinus in the mid 15th century. He also took fourteen incunabula, approximately fifty early Hungarian books and other extremely valuable and rare items which he sold to support his playboy existence in the South of France and elsewhere. The items disappeared in the 1920s and 1930s. To this day it has been impossible to re-acquire any of these books for the library or even, in the case of many of the lost items, to discover their present whereabouts.

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