Zbigniew Herbert’s private library survives at his home in Warsaw on Promenada Street. The impressive collection numbers nearly ten thousand volumes, which Herbert himself arranged by author and topic.
The library illustrates the wide ranging nature and profound depth of Herbert’s interests and quest for knowledge: from 17th-Dutch painting, through history, theology and law, to botany and zoology. Valuable archival materials also survive in the books: Herbert’s unknown drawings, annotations which are parts of poems, or fragments of essays and letters. Many of the volumes contain dedications: the majority have an inscription on the title page, describing when and where the book was purchased or procured—all of which are an important source of information for anyone researching the poet’s life and work.
The library constitutes a unique intellectual portrait of Zbigniew Herbert.
Katarzyna Herbert, the poet’s wife, and founder of the Zbigniew Herbert Foundation, gifted the library to the Foundation’s care, in order that this exceptional collection would be available to both researchers and educators.