Az Amerikai Magyar Alapítvány folyóirat gyűjteménye - American Hungarian Foundation Collection

AHF – Archives

The American Hungarian Foundation has played a remarkable role in preserving, maintaining, making available, and passing on Hungarian cultural heritage in the United States since it was founded in 1955. It collects, catalogs and promotes the documents and objects of the Hungarian immigrants and exiles, supported by the Hungarian diaspora community and members of the different generations of Hungarian origin with donations. Publications, lecture series, festivals, exhibitions comprise a variety of activities to present literary and scientific output, as well as works of fine and folk art. The collection is no doubt a major source of research on American Hungarians. In the 1960s awards were established to appreciate achievements concerning Hungarians, annual dinners and fundraising balls were organized, scholarships and fellowships were offered to support scholarly research. The Foundation, originally located in Elmhurst (IL) and relocated to New Brunswick (NJ) in 1959, moved into a new building in 1989. The Hungarian Heritage Center, designed by Hungarian-American architect László Papp, gives home to a museum, library and archive. A long-term contract was signed in 1997 with the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange and with the National Széchényi Library to build cultural relationships. In September 2005 in Budapest the American Hungarian Foundation and its founder-president, August J. Molnar (1924, Cleveland, OH-2016, New Brunswick, NJ) were honored with the “Hungarian Heritage Award” for their cultural mission. To meet the challenges of the 21st century a homepage is available on the internet, events to attract upcoming generations are organized, social media is used to reach and involve younger members of the community, and the digitization of the most vulnerable and unique print and audio-visual materials (American-Hungarian newspapers, photos, manuscripts, oral history interviews for example) is already underway in order to ensure long-term preservation of the Hungarica collections and broad access to the documents in digital format.

The library and the archive can be treated as one in many respects: periodicals belonging to the library collection represent archival value due to their age, as well as fragile and unique nature. Rare books, manuscripts, miscellaneous prints about the events held by the organizations of the local community such as invitations, newsletters, photos, video recordings are also included in this category. The archive has more than 300 bequests by American-Hungarian organizations and individuals. There are two major deposits: the Bethlen Collection from the American-Hungarian Reformed Church (1895-2000) and the William Penn – formerly known as Verhovay Aid – Association Collection (1888-1955). There is rich archival material available about the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and resettlement of refugees, including the registration cards of more than 32,000 refugees who arrived at Camp Kilmer, and the papers donated by the United Nations Library (1956-1962). The bequest of the noted poet and journalist György Szécskay consists of nearly 20,000 personal files. Xerox copies of early biographical notes by photographer André Kertész number almost 1,200 pages in the archive. Documents long-lost and/or hiding on the shelves of the archives such as the proofread version of Géza Kende’s third volume of Magyarok Amerikában [Hungarians in America, 1928], and three scrapbooks on the unveiling of the Kossuth statue in New York City with photographs by Alajos Schüszler, were recently discovered. Some significant collections and several oral history recordings have been already digitized by researchers who participated in the Mikes Kelemen Program. Library holdings are included in the Rutgers University Libraries online catalog, the Finding Aid for the Bethlen Collection is available as a research guide at Rutgers University Library homepage, while the archival database can be used locally. These projects all contribute to the mission of AHF to “Collect, Converse and Celebrate”. As a private property of the American Hungarian community, it was founded and have been since supported by the donations of this community. Both Hungarian and American scientific institutions should appreciate its valuable collections.