Emma Hagström MolinMay 5, 2023
Spoils of Knowledge
Seventeenth-Century Plunder in Swedish Archives and Libraries
In Spoils of Knowledge: Seventeenth-Century Plunder in Swedish Archives and Libraries (Brill, 2023), Emma Hagström Molin offers novel perspectives on document and book plundering. At the forefront of her study is the controversial heritage connected to the Swedish Empire (1611–1721) kept in Swedish archives and libraries.
Previous studies suggest that continental spoils were perceived as an inferior and problematic category, and that Catholic books in particular were hard to accommodate in Protestant libraries. However, by considering systems of classification and collection orders of archives and libraries, Hagström Molin unearths a much more complex history of how plundered knowledge was appreciated, used and fused with its new Swedish settings. Moreover, spanning a history of four hundred years, this book shows that the understanding of spoils changed significantly over time. Molin demonstrates the value of studying classification and provenance, and the importance in considering how contextual time and space shapes the meaning of texts.
Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive.