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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Czech Language

Linguistic History

The Czech language began flourishing with the Czech National Revival movement of the 18th and 19th centuries. Josef Dobrovský (above right) wrote an influential book on Czech grammar in 1809.  Josef Jungmann (above left) published a multi-volume Czech-German dictionary from 1834-1839 which became an influential work on the formation of the Czech language.  To learn more about either of these figures, you can do an author search in the online catalog.  Here is standard form of their names as authorized by the Library of Congress:

  • Dobrovský, Josef, 1753-1829
  • Jungmann, Josef Jakub, 1773-1847

If you would like to learn more about Czech linguistic history, the following Library of Congress Subject Headings can help get you started:

  • Czech language - History
  • Czech language - History and criticism

Call number ranges for Czech linguistics are:

  • Dewey Decimal Call Numbers:  491.86 
  • Library of Congress Call Numbers:  PG4001-5146

Below are two documents that will help the Czech language learner think about the language's relationship with other Slavic languages.  The source for these documents is:

    Comrie, Bernard and Greville G. Corbett, eds., The Slavonic Languages. London: Routledge, 1993.

The Lands of the Bohemian Crown

The history of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown spans across Bohemian dynasties, foreign empires and monarchies, dictatorships, and independence. To gain a rudimentary understanding of who controlled the lands of present day Czech Republic over time, take a look at the timeline on the left sidebar. The history of the Czech Republic is ripe with religious and cultural innovations, as well as a determination for independence from foreign governments. Hugh LeCaine Agnew's book The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the present day Czech Republic.  This book offers a good starting point for learning about the history of Bohemia.

To search your home library's collection for works on Czech history, you can use the following call numbers depending upon your library's chosen classification system:

  • Dewey Decimal Call Numbers:  943.71-943.72
  • Library of Congress Call Numbers: DB2000-3150

To search your home library's collection for works on Czech history by subject, you can use the following Library of Congress Subject Headings:

  • Czech Republic -- History
  • Czechoslovakia -- History
  • Bohemia (Czech Republic) -- History
  • Moravia (Czech Republic) -- History
  • Czech Republic -- Civilization
  • Czechoslovakia -- Civilization

Please take notice that subject headings "Czech Republic" and "Czechoslovakia" do not always overlap.  Both headings should be checked to gain a sense of a library's complete collection on Czech history.

Historical Collections

In addition to secondary sources, Czech libraries have recently digitized a wide array of historic materials available for public access. The collections below allow users to access digitized historic manuscripts, archival materials, and more.

Modern History Resources

Modern Dejiny logo

Modern Dejiny was created to serve as portal for high quality educational materials for teaching 20th century Czech history. Alhtough originally intended for educators, this portal provides in depth information for anyone interested in the history of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia. The portal contains articles, primary resources, and videos in Czech regarding Modern Czech history. 

Memory of the nations is one of the largest collections of oral first-hand accounts of major 20th century events in Czechoslovakia.  It has been accessible to the public online since 2008 as a database of witnesses who experienced the events of the 20th century and experienced two totalitarian regimes - Nazism and Communism. It also contains articles written in Czech about many of the historical events that the archive documents.