Corvina Foundation

Last updated: May 28, 2009

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Officers and Trustees

3. Grants List

4. The Selmec Library

5. The Selmec Library Catalogue

6. The Sárospatak Library

7. The Subotica and Kalocsa Libraries

8. Winners of the Corvina Prize


The Corvina Foundation is a small philanthropic foundation headquartered in Princeton, NJ. In late 2008, it distributed all its assets to various Hungarian grantees and stopped operating. The Foundation nevertheless maintains this web page. Its name is derived from King Mathias of Hungary (1458-90), whose coat of arms contained the image of a raven ("corvus" in Latin). King Mathias (Mátyás in Hungarian) was a great Renaisssance king who collected an extraordinary library of books.

His gold seal is pictured below.

Curiously, the library stood at approximately the same place in the Buda part of Budapest where the National Széchényi Library stands today. After his death, the library was dispersed, but the books, many of which survive in excellent condition, are referred to as the "Corvinas."

The mission of the Corvina Foundation is to provide small grants to assist organizations that are engaged in higher education or in promoting the arts. The founders of the Corvina Foundation felt that there are many valuable small projects in these fields that are too small to be on the "radarscreen" of the larger foundations; this is the gap that the Corvina Foundation has been trying to fill since 1993.

The Foundation is also trying to bring to the attention of the public important Hungarian artifacts from the past. Among these are the catalogue of the Selmecbánya library of science and technology, the rarities from the library of the Sárospatak College and the unusual 17th century finds from the Subotica (Szabadka) City Library.

The Corvina Foundation has been determined to be a 501(c)3 organization under the US Internal Revenue Code and donations to it are tax deductible. If you wish to make a donation, please contact us via e-mail.

The Great Selmecbánya Library

In 1735, the Viennese Court established in the northern Hungary, in the town of Selmecbánya, a College of Mining and Metallurgy, with a view toward training mining experts for the entire Austrian Empire. After the political settlement between Austria and Hungary in 1867, the institution became a Hungarian one and functioned until the end of World War I, when Selmecbánya became a part of the newly created Czechoslovakia (Banská Stiavnica). The college was moved to the Hungarian town of Sopron and in 1949 to Miskolc, and the library was divided between the Universities of Miskolc and Sopron.

The library contains an extraordinary collection of rare books on science, engineering, mathematics and other scientific fields. It contains numerous items from the 16th and 17th centuries, and at the end of the 18th century the library contained 1,210 volumes on mathematics, geometry, mechanics, physics, chemistry and geology, and 590 volumes on mining, metallurgy and technology. See The Selmec Library at Miskolc.

In order to provide a research aid for historians and philosophers of science, the Corvina Foundation is pleased to make available the catalog of this remarkable library.

Our Web Counter says you are visitor No.    since February 21, 2002.