The first information on the composition of the founder’s map collection is to be found in a letter of presentation by Count Ferenc Széchényi addressed to the monarch, King Francis (1768-1835) in March, 1802. In this letter of determination on his donation, the Count alluded to a non-hungarica map collection of some 5,000 sheets and also mentioned a hungarica collection, without, however, specifying its size or amplitude. According to other extant records and the numbers of maps remained, the amount of the original hungarica collection part might recently be judged as having comprised some 6-800 map sheets.
This hungarica collection, which was acquired by the Count Ferenc largely by the assistance of booksellers and art dealers of Vienna and Leipzig in the 1790s, was not and could not be, at time of its formation, complete, namely it could not include the entirety of hungarica maps produced and published in the 16th - 18th centuries. Nevertheless, the Count, with the foundation of the national library, established an institutional frame of systematic collecting, inside of which the hungarica map collection – with purchases of missing works - would have been turned into more and more comprehensive in later decades of the 19th century and in the 20th century.
Selecting for this virtual, online show, we chose hungarica works of three particular map classes: the finest pieces representing the whole country, the maps depicting different country regions and works showing individual counties.