Bequest of Martin, György
The bequest of Hungarian folklorist and folk dance researcher György Martin is currently held at the Hungarian Heritage House. The collection offers interesting insights into the private practices of alternative culture during the Kádár era in Hungary. It contains many documents, including letters, documents about the folk dance house movement, and documents about research trips. György Martin’s correspondence in particular reflects the trajectories of a non-conformist intellectual agenda.
Budapest Corvin tér 8, Hungary 1011
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Name of collection
- Bequest of Martin, György at the Hungarian Heritage House
Provenance and cultural activities
The bequest of Hungarian folklorist and folk dance researcher György Martin is currently held at the Hungarian Heritage House (HHH), at its Folklore Documentation Library and Archives from 1999. The collection offers insights into the private practices of alternative culture during the Kádár era in Hungary. The library at the HHH based on Martin’s bequest contains approximately 10,000 books and periodicals. The library adheres to Martin’s original systematic concept of collection, so the documents are arranged according to theme.
The collection includes György Martin’s correspondence with Communist Party officials, so it reflects the dynamics of an emerging non-conformist intellectual agenda between private practices and politically enforced limits on expression. The collection includes many letters written to Martin’s friends and colleagues in Hungary and abroad. Martin was also keen on documenting his collecting work in a systematic way. The documents about his trips abroad, festivals, and conferences attended offer an overview of the life of a researcher under communism in Hungary.In his work, Martin’s central method was comparative folk dance research. His findings and ideas became the basis of further academic research on folk dance. Martin took part in the popular Hungarian folklore revival movements of the 1970s. Thanks in part to his professional and scientific collections, the folk dance house movement got off to a promising start. He contributed to the organization of the first dance house in 1972. He brought folk dance house traditions of the Székely Land and the city of Sic or Szék, a largely Hungarian-speaking city in Transylvania, to Budapest. Martin travelled to Romania as frequently as he could, and he maintained connections with other people who supported folk dance research there. Martin also offered a film he made on folk dance to the participants of the dance house movement. He shot a series of folk dance films. His most famous dancer was István Mátyás, who went by the nickname “Mundruc.”
Description of content
The bequest consists of approximately 10,000 books and periodicals. The themes of the books harmonize with Martin’s areas of research and, therefore, most of them cover comparative folk dance. The collection contains many manuscripts about European, African, and Asian ethnic groups and their folk music and customs. In addition, it contains books and periodicals about other topics, such as folk art and farming, which help further an understanding of the complex world of peasant culture.
Martin collected literary and religious periodicals in Romanian, Turkish, German, English, and French. The manuscripts and small prints contain documents concerning Martin’s personal and professional life. The invitations to festivals, celebrations, tradition conservation bands, and folk dances provide compelling insights into the cultural policy of the era, too. Martin was a member of several official associations, invitations and papers of which are also in his bequest. He also maintained ties with cultural institutes, as reflected in his surviving letters.
Martin delivered lectures at Eötvös Lorand University, and he taught folk dance courses. His documents about the folk dance house movement are an essential part of the collection, as are his personal notes about his workplace, the Music Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
- film: 500-999
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
- memorabilia (posters, flyers, stamps, etc.): 10-99
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Martin György: Énekes körtáncok. /Jelenlévő múlt/. Planétás Kiadó, Budapest, 2000.
Martin György: A botoló tánc zenéje. MTA Zenetudományi Intézet, Budapest, 2002.
Martin György: Mátyás István 'Mundruc'. Egy kalotaszegi táncos egyéniségvizsgálata. /Jelenlévő múlt/. Mezőgazda Kiadó, Budapest, 2004.
Author(s) of this page
- Vámos, Gabriella