Marine Library, renamed at the end of the 19th century to the Imperial and Royal Marine Library, was established in 1802 in Venice under the supreme command of the Austrian war navy. Its foundation was prompted by Duke Karl (Erzherzog Karl) (1771-1847), Minister of War and the Navy, who donated the basic collection of 20 volumes of scientific volumes. Other officers joined the effort of financing the library. From the beginning it was a scholarly and professional library responsible meant to fulfil the navy’s requirements of a central collection of naval books and periodicals. In the war against France, in 1805, Austria lost Venice and with it the library (which at that time contained approximately 700 volumes), but when Venice returned to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1814 part of the library holdings were found. The library was handed over to the MarineCollege, which was later named the Marine Cadets’ College. Due to the war for the unification of Italy in 1848 the college was transferred to Trieste, where in 1851 it was transformed into the MarineAcademy. In 1850, the collection was moved from Venice to Trieste. During this time the main objective of the central library of the Austrian war navy was to gradually collect materials in the fields of naval science, applied naval science and general knowledge. In 1854 the newly formed Marine Astronomical Observatory in Trieste took over part of the MarineAcademycollection. In 1866, the collection was moved from Trieste to Pula (Pola) and in 1869 it was included with the newly formed Hydrological Institute, as a separate department. In 1892 the collection was moved to the Marine-Technical Committee building (established in 1885), and in 1900 it became a part of this organization. At that time a noticeable increase was observed in the acquisition of materials in the fields of technological science. In 1904 the holdings numbered 14,944 items contained in 43,574 volumes, and at the end of 1918, when it ceased functioning, the library had 18,472 book and periodical titles. After the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, at the end of 1918, Pula was occupied by the Italian army which took possession of the library. During this time a small part of the collection was taken to Italy. The Marine Library was integrated to the Library of the Military Naval Command in Pula. After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, Pula was occupied by the German army which in 1944 carried away by train the entire marine library collection to the Eisgrub and Feldsberg Castles (now Czech Republic). From there it was moved to the War Archives in Vienna between 1949 and 1950. In 1975, the biggest part of the preserved collection (around 20,000 volumes) was returned to Pula as a gift of the Republic of Austria.
It was given to the University Library in Pula. A smaller part of the holdings (approximately 11,000 volumes), together with the inventory book, remained in the Austrian State Archives Library in Vienna. In 1992, the Marine Library was registered as a cultural monument of the Republic of Croatia. In 1996, this collection – as a special collection of the University Library in Pula – was moved to the Home of the Croatian Defenders (formerly the austrian Marine-Casino).
Marine Library contains 6,757 titles in 20,731 volumes (monographs number 6,392 titles in 13,716 volumes; and journals, annuals and newspapers number 365 titles in 6,655 volumes). These numbers refer exclusively to scientific and professional publications from scientific societies and institutions from almost the entire world (mostly from Europe, but also from the United States, Russia, Japan and South America) which were published prior to 1918. The contents of these nautical and science publications include: pure mathematics, technology, military science and geography; philosophical sciences (particularly history and linguistics). About 60% of the library holdings are in German, 15% in French, 15% in English, 7% in Italian, 0.7% in Latin, and about 2.3% in other languages (such as Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Russian and others). The oldest book printed in English is Arithmetica universalis (Cambridge, 1707) by Sir Isaac Newton. There is also a good representation of encyclopedias, two published in English which are singled out are: The Penny Cyclopedia (London, 1833 – 1943, 27 volumes) and Encyclopedia Britannica (London, 1875 – 1903, 34 volumes). Among numerous English language periodicals we stress Scientific American (New York, 1870-, 90 volumes). Among English language dictionaries the oldest worth emphasizing are: A Vocabulary of Sea Phrases and Terms of Art used in Seamanship and Naval Architecture (London, 1799); A Dictonary of the Chinese Language (London, 1865) by R. Morrison; and English – Eskimo and Eskimo – English Vocabularies (Washington, 1890) by R. Wells and J. Kelly. Of special interest to Croatia is The Fisheries of the Adriatic and the Fish thereof (London, 1883) by G. L. Faber.
The Austro-Hungarian Navy in Pula / Pola (which was the main war harbour) until 1918 published about 100 titles (about 200 volumes) of monographs and periodicals in the German language. Prominent editions are Veroffentichungen des hydrographischen Amtes der k.u.k. Kreigs-Marine zu Pola (Edition of the Hydrographical Institute of the Imperial and Royal War Navy in Pula) (1897-1915, 28 volumes) and 6 volumes of the edition Die Reisen S.M. Schiffe (Voyages of the S.M. Vessel). The monthly editions of the periodicals published in Pula and worth mentioning are: Mitteilungen aus dem Gebiete des Seewesens (News about the Maritime Science)(1873-1914, 42 volumes), Jahrbuch der meteorologischen und erdmagnetischen Beobachtungen (Annual of Meteorological and Earthmagnetical Observations) (1897-1915), and Almanach fur die k.u.k. Kreigs-Marine (Almanac of the Imperial and Royal War Navy; 1876-1917).
Our University Library also has a rich collection of digitized old newspapers and magazines (www.ino.com.hr), among others the Brijuni Islands Newspaper: