Department of Archiving and Auxiliary Sciences in History
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Venite igitur intro!
History of the Department
Archiving and auxiliary sciences in history have a more than 60-year-old tradition at the Faculty of Arts. In 1923, shortly after the faculty was established, auxiliary sciences in history started to be applied as an academic field which soon became an integral part of the curriculum for history studies. In the early 1950s, an independent study programme in archiving was created. In turn, this improved the organizational base for a further development of auxiliary sciences as well. A recognition of the importance of archives in the society and the need to make them usable and available resulted in the establishment of a new specialized study programme in archiving in the 1950/1951 academic year. The prominent representative of the new discipline was Prof. Alexander Húščava.
It was Assoc. Prof. Darina Lehotská who significantly contributed to the creation and running of the renewed curriculum. After the study programme was introduced, Assoc. Prof. Lehotská, first as a part-time and from 1955 as a full-time teacher, took on the entire workload of teaching archive theory and practice, and later also diplomatics.
One of the first two students of the newly established study programme in archiving was Jozef Novák. Prof. Húščava liked Novák’s diligence and interest in auxiliary sciences in history and in 1952 chose him as his assistant, even before Novák’s graduation. Novák became assistant teacher, later associate professor and finally a full professor, giving lectures and publishing articles and essays in several fields of auxiliary sciences in history (chronology, sphragistics, genealogy, numismatics, among others). But his research was mainly focused on heraldics. After the death of Prof. Húščava in 1969, Assoc. Prof. Novák replaced him as the department sponsor.
Archivists were initially educated also by teachers from other departments of the Faculty of Arts. Besides teachers from the Department of Slovak History (originally Czechoslovak history) and Department of General History, the department could rely on teachers from the Department of Languages, Department of German and Nordic Studies, Department of Classical and Semitic Philology, Department of Hungarian Language and Literature, and the Department of Slovak Language.
From the very outset, archiving and auxiliary sciences in history also relied on the services and expertise of part-time teachers and professionals. These included Prof. Marsina, Dr. Kušík, Dr. Sedlák, Dr. Palko, Ms. Marquartová, Dr. Rákoš, Dr. Stieberová, Assoc. Prof. Žudel, Ing. Hanus and others. Practical archiving classes were led by experienced archivists working in all types of archives in Bratislava and elsewhere.
In the first 25 years, the more or less stable annual cycle of classes was disturbed in the 1974/1975 academic year by the Ministry of Education. It decreed that the length of study in all non-pedagogical programmes had to be shortened to four years. In the 1980/1981 academic year, the situation got even more complicated. The Ministry of Education issued a decree according to which all so-called small study programmes, including archiving, could admit students only every other year. From the 1986/1987 academic year, archiving became a five-year study programme again.
In 1995, Prof. Novák turned 65. This was why the head of the Department of Slovak History and Archiving had to appoint Assoc. Prof. Leon Sokolovský as new head of the section, who effectively took this position on 1 February 1996.
On 8 November 1999 the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Arts discussed and approved a proposal to establish an independent Department of Archiving and Auxiliary Sciences in History. The decision took effect on the symbolic date of 1 January 2000, in the year when archiving celebrated the 50th anniversary of the study programme’s existence. Prof. Sokolovský became the first head of the department.