The next big collection included in Cieszyn Library is very interesting for literature lovers and researchers. It is Józef Ignacy Kraszewski’s Library. After Henryk Sienkiewicz, Kraszewski (1812-1887) was the most popular Polish author of historical novels. In 1908, his book collection was given to the Educational Society of the Duchy of Cieszyn by Franciszek, the famous writer’s son and heir. When it was transferred to Silesia, it was initially used as a library for teachers at the Polish secondary school in Orlová. In 1920, when Cieszyn Silesia was divided, Orlová became part of Czechoslovakia and the book collection was transferred to Polish Cieszyn. In 1925, it was placed in the same building with the collection from the People’s Library. Both book collections were supposed to become the foundation of an educational facility which the Educational Society was planning to establish.
The books collected by Józef I. Kraszewski were his main writing tools, so in his library there are mostly works on the history of Poland and general history (various sources, diaries, scholarly analyses, auxiliary sciences), social literature, philosophy, pedagogy, belles lettres and academic periodicals from all over Europe. At the same time, this collection clearly shows that its owner was a passionate bibliophile. It includes many valuable Polish and European publications. Their choice testifies for real erudition. There are e.g. Quaestiones librorum de anima Johannis Versoris by John of Głogów (Metz, K. Hochfeder published by J. Haller, 1501), Golden Legend by Jacobus da Varagine (Venice 1516), five 16th century editions of Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, a complete Teutsche Akademie der Bau-, Bild- und Mahlerei-Künste by Joachim von Sandrart, 12th century editions of the chronicles by Dithmar and Helmold, Lux e tenebris published by Jan A. Komeński in the years 1664-1665, as well as numerous Arian prints, including Bibliotheca Anti-trinitariorum by Christopher Sandius (Freistadt 1684), Catechesis Ecclesiarum (Raków 1609), and the works of Stanisław Lubieniecki.
There are also works with hand-written dedications from writers, scientists, translators, publishers and outstanding political figures, which reflects extensive contacts made by Józef I. Kraszewski and the recognition he enjoyed among his contemporaries. In total, there are about 800 such works. Among them, there are books dedicated to Józef I. Kraszewski by Maria Konopnicka, Władysław Syrokomla, Władysław Mickiewicz, Józef Łepkowski, Adam Asnyk, general Henryk Dembiński, Józef Korzeniowski, Samuel Orgelbrand, Stanisław Jachowicz, Kornel Ujejski, Teofil Lenartowicz, Stanisław Smółka, Alois Vojtěch Šembera and Francisco de Mas y Otzet. The provenance of some older books is also very interesting. There are for example works with supralibros of Hugo Kołłątaj, bishop Andrzej Próchnicki, Ignacy Karol Sternberg or a mineralogy manual written by Ignacy Domeyko with the author’s hand-written dedication to Joachim Lelewel. Today, the book collection of Józef I. Kraszewski consists of almost 1,000 old prints and 13,000 prints from the 19th century.