The Special Collections division of the University of Antwerp Library is pleased to announce that ca. 1100 objects from the extensive collection of the historian, collector and scholar Alfons K.L. Thijs can now be consulted via an online catalogue created by the University of Antwerp.
Dr. Thijs devoted his entire life to the study of the life, work and devotional practices of everyday people, particularly as is evident in Flanders, Belgium, from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Following Fons Thijs’s death in 2014, the University of Antwerp Library was able to purchase a special part of his collection, namely images and short texts associated with localized devotions, both in and beyond Flanders. In order to do justice to this exceptional collection of rarely preserved texts and images, as well as Fons Thijs’s own dedication to revealing the past through the study of such objects, the University library decided to digitalize the entire collection and make it available online via a flexible cataloguing system through which a broad range of individuals could investigate a variety of questions from diverse fields of interest.
Search options for the Thijs Collection:
– Search for specific words or dates: One can enter dates or individual names (e.g., of artists or publishers), or place names, or names of institutions (such as religious orders) in the open field and press START.
– Search by theme: One can also start with one of several general, well-represented subdivisions of the collection and view all of the objects associated with that sub-division, e.g., Marian devotions or prints in memoriam.
– General search: One can also start with “View all” in order to obtain a chronologically arranged list of all the objects in the collection.
The collection can also be consulted in person in the reading room of the Ruusbroecgenootschap (https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/ruusbroec-institute) where it currently resides on extended loan.
This was a logical choice given the remarkably extensive, complimentary collection of devotional images (ca. 40,000) that is already part of that collection. Although these images are not yet available online, one can consult catalogues of important sub-divisions of this collection via online links (see: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/ruusbroec-institute/library/special-collections/devotional-prints).
Questions? Please feel free to explore the related websites or send us an email: Dr. Tom Deneire, Director of Special Collections: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Karen L. Bowen, Print Collection: email@example.com https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/library/collections/special-collections (Antwerp University Library Special Collections) https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/library/collections/special-collections/collection/thijs-collection (overview of the Thijs Collection)
Online catalogue in English: http://anet.be/opac/opacuactobj/E
Online catalogue in Dutch: http://anet.be/opac/opacuactobj