Vinko Nikolić Collection
The collection contains the personal papers of the émigré writer Vinko Nikolić and the archives of the literary quarterly Croatian Review, which the communist authorities banned in Croatia in 1945. Nikolić re-established the review in Argentina in 1951 and was its editor-in-chief until 1990. Additionally, the collection contains the archives of the Library of the Croatian Review, a publishing house founded by Nikolić in 1957. This rich collection is essential for researching the transnational network of post-war Croatian political émigrés, whose literary works were strictly prohibited and labelled as "hostile propaganda" in socialist Yugoslavia.
Zagreb Ulica Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice 4, Croatia 10000
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Name of collection
Vinko Nikolić Personal Papers
Provenance and cultural activities
Vinko Nikolić began to gather his own collection just before World War II. It encompasses the period from his student days to 1945. Since Nikolić was active in the Ustasha movement in the time of the Independent State of Croatia, he had to flee from Croatia. Then the OZNA (People's Protection Department) seized a part of the archives from his residence in Zagreb. However, those records were not destroyed. Later, it was delivered to the then University Library in Zagreb by the authorities. As the long-term head of the Old Manuscript and Book Collection, Šime Jurić processed it. When Nikolić came to Croatia for the first time after 45 years of life in exile, he visited the University Library in September of 1990 and the staff of library at the time showed him these records. It served as an incentive for Nikolić to donate his émigré collection to the institution. Nikolić's pre-emigrant archives have separate signatures and are held separately from this émigré collection. The most interesting part of that collection is his work about Croatian writer and poet Vladimir Nazor in 1936.
Nikolić already began assembling the émigré collection in 1945, when he settled in refugee camps in Italy, and continued to do so until the end of his life. It documents Nikolić's work in the émigré community as the editor of Croatian Review, one of the most prominent and influential Croatian émigré journals. As its main creator and collector, Nikolić did not compile it with a clear aim; it was primarily his own personal archive and the archive of Croatian Review. Štefica Nikolić (née Hofmann), who was his spouse and secretary of Croatian Review's editorial board, played a great role in the process of collecting his records. Nikolić's books and his review were officially prohibited by the communist authorities. During the communist era, anyone who possessed it would suffer consequences. When Franjo Tudjman, who was a dissident, was arrested in 1972, the authorities had found copies of Nikolić's Croatian Review in his house. Since Nikolić's émigré collection was outside the country, he did not hide it from the communist regime.
As the majority of the collection reflects the organizational and editorial work on Croatian Review, a significant date in the collection's history is the year 1951, when Nikolić launched it together with Antun Bonifačić, another émigré writer and poet. As the cultural review of Matica hrvatska, it had been published from 1928 to 1945. However, it was banned when the communists assumed power. Therefore, Nikolić wanted to continue the tradition of that review in exile. In 1956, Filip Lukas, as the ex-president of Matica hrvatska until 1945, allowed Nikolić to continue publishing Croatian Review abroad, but under certain conditions, Lukas asked Nikolić to return Croatian Review to the country when the end of the communist dictatorship. In this way, Lukas wanted him to preserve the continuity of the cultural work of his generation.
The records from the most fruitful period were deposited in the National and University Library in Zagreb throughout 1991, when Nikolić returned from Spain to Croatia. Prof. Drago Pažin processed these records from 1994 to 1996. The head of the Library at the time, Ivan Mihel, and Nikolić concluded a donation agreement on the collection. Štefica Nikolić submitted the records from the last years of his life from 1990 to 1997 to the above-mentioned institution.
Vinko Nikolić was one of the leading Croatian émigré intellectuals. His collection is one of the fundamental historical sources for Croatian political and cultural history of the latter half of 20th century. It is a particularly important source on Croatian political emigration as a form of cultural opposition to the rule of communism in Croatia and Yugoslavia. The collection additionally has special importance to national and cultural history, because it testifies to cultural tendencies which were forbidden in socialist Yugoslavia.
Description of content
Nikolić's collection contains personal documents, manuscripts, essays, articles, papers, brochures, lectures, memoirs, paintings, photographs, illustrations, private and business invoices, etc. Nikolić's library is stored at the Croatica Abroad Collection at the National and University Library in Zagreb. The main components of collection are literature, politics, scholarly and non-scholarly research and writing, culture and art, which all pertain to Croatia and Yugoslavia in a broader sense. The prevalent themes are life and work in Croatian emigrant communities and the Croatian national question in communist Yugoslavia (1945-1990). There are other issues, such as literature and cultural perspectives in Croatian emigrant communities and in the country generally, the history of the Croatian language, world literature, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and Croatia, the Catholic Church in Croatia and in the world, dissident movements in the country and in Europe, Croatian-Serbian relations, Croatian-Slovenian relations, Slovenian and Serbian political emigrant communities, the Muslim question in Bosnia and Herzegovina.The first, and largest, part of collection consists of book and lecture manuscripts; these are especially important published and unpublished manuscripts by various contributors to Croatian Review. There are also numerous notes from Nikolić's editorial work. In total, there are 7,828 manuscripts of various published and unpublished contributions by authors who had contributed to Croatian Review. Of that number, Nikolić was the author of approximately 580 various contributions, which he had mainly written as the editor.
The second part consists of book manuscripts and their corrections by Nikolić and other authors from the Library of Croatian Review: People and Landscapes, the publishing house which Nikolić established in 1957. Namely, this library had regular editions, the aforementioned People and Landscapes and the cycle of Croatian Poets, in which Nikolić published works of emigrant poetry. There are just over 20 manuscripts with corrections by the authors who published them as their books in those cycles. The third part consists to the records of personal documents, various photographs, paintings, invoices, addresses, clippings, brochures (among them 71 invitations and proclamations), and 37 obituaries of people largely from emigrant life (Stjepan Buć, Vilim Cecelja, Stjepan Ratković, Stjepan Sakač, Viktor Vida, Filip Lukas, Alojzije Stepinac, Karlo Balić and others).
Nikolić maintained private and business correspondence with many Croatian political émigrés, but also with émigrés from Serbia, Slovenia and Hungary. He communicated with about 600 correspondents, as contained in approximately 20000 letters (Bogdan Radica 850, Jure Petričević 604, Jere Jareb 406, Lucijan Kordić 369, Ante Kadić 337, Vinko Grubišić 331, Ante Smith Pavelić 331). In a large sense, these are the letters of his friends and associates in Croatian Review. During Nikolić's wanderings throughout Europe after the French government expelled him from Paris in 1966, he sent a letter to French President Charles de Gaulle to protect him from Yugoslav diplomacy, which is also contained in the collection. Additionally, in his collection he has the last letter that Croatian Jew Ivo Goldstein sent to his son Slavko from an Ustasha prison in 1941. About that event a film was made under the title Ten Months for Life (2012). The records are in paper format and have not yet been digitized
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
- Kosić, Ivan
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- Letter from Filip Lukas to Vinko Nikolić, 21 January 1956
- Letter from Vinko Nikolić to Bogdan Radica, 2 April 1951
- Letter from Vinko Nikolić to Croatian émigrés on his incident in France in 1966, December 1966
- License of the Spanish Ministry of Industry for publishing the Croatian Review,1970
- Nikolić, Vinko. The ninth appearance of the free Croatian book at the Frankfurt Book Fair, in Croatian, 1981. Manuscript/Typescript
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
- Kljaić, Stipe
Blažeković, Milan. Bio-bibliografski leksikon suradnika Hrvatske revije. Zagreb: Pergamena, 1996.
Kosić, Ivan. "Pisma u rukopisnoj ostavštini Vinka Nikolića." Hrvatska revija 47, no. 3-4 (1997), 682-703.
Maruna, Boris. Bibliografija Hrvatske revije: 1951-2000. [Zagreb]: Matica Hrvatska, 2003.
Mimica, Darko. Izložba u počast Hrvatskoj reviji 1973.-1990.. Zagreb: Matica hrvatska, 1996.
Nikolić, Vinko. Opjevani grad. Šibenik: Gradska knjižnica "Juraj Šižgorić, 1994.
Nikolić, Vinko. Pred vratima domovine: susret s hrvatskom emigracijom 1965. ; dojmovi i razgovori.. Pariz: Knjižnica Hrvatske Revije, 1967.
Nikolić, Vinko. Stepinac mu je ime : Zbornik uspomena, svjedočanstava i dokumenata. Knjiga I-II. Munich: Knjižnica Hrvatske revije, 1980.
Nikolić, Vinko. Stepinac mu je ime: zbornik uspomena, svjedočanstava i dokumenata 1-2. Zagreb: Kršćanska Sadašnjost, 1991.
Nikolić, Vinko. Hrvatski razgovori o slobodi: drugi simpozij "Hrvatske revije," srpanj 1971. Munich: Knjižnica Hrvatske revije, 1974.
Nikolić, Vinko. Bleiburška Tragedija Hrvatskog Naroda. Munich: Knjižnica Hrvatske revije, 1976.
Nikolić, Vinko. Hrvatska danas i sutra; simpozij skupine hrvatskih intelektualaca u Evropi, kolovoz-rujan 1968. Munich: Hrvatska revija, 1969.
Nikolić, Vinko. Jubilarni zbornik, 1951-1975. Munich: Knjižnica Hrvatske revije, 1976.
Pažin, Drago. "Iskrice iz riznice NSK u Zagrebu: Hrvatska revija – arhiva." Marulić 39 (2006), ?.
Kosić, Ivan , interview by Kljaić, Stipe , December 28, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection
Kljaić, Stipe , Pažin, Drago , interview by Kljaić, Stipe , January 10, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection