"On the night of 25 August 1914, around one or two o'clock in the morning, several fires broke out in the medieval Belgian city of Louvain, which had been occupied for about a week by invading German troops. The fire lasted three days, during which time the Germans did not allow authorities to combat it. The result was the destruction of much of the city, including the famed library of the Catholic University of Louvain." So begins an overview of the history of the Louvain University Library written by Phillip A. Metzger for Libraries & Culture. Following its destruction in World War I the library was rebuilt in 1928, but sadly it was destroyed again in World War II. I wrote an earlier blog post about the destruction of the libraries in Louvain in 2009. I also created a webpage about the destroyed libraries on the Library History Buff website which includes images of a number of postal artifacts in my collection. I recently added the two postcards shown above to my collection. The first shows the library after its destruction in 1914 and the second shows the interior of the new library built in 1928. I also have a previous related post about "Fire - The Enemy of Books".
When Books Went to War: Librarians in WWII
2 weeks ago