Skip to main contentAccessibility feedback

John Baptist Albertrandi

Polish Jesuit, of Italian extraction, b. at Warsaw, 7 December, 1731; d. August, 1808

Click to enlarge

Albertrandi, JOHN BAPTIST, who is also called Jan Chrzciciel, or Christian, a Polish Jesuit, of Italian extraction, b. at Warsaw, December 7, 1731; d. August, 1808. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, August 14, 1748, and left the Society shortly before the suppression, probably in 1769, for his name is not found in the catalogue of 1770. After teaching literature for twelve years in the various Jesuit colleges of Poland, he was entrusted with the care of the great library founded by Zaluski, the famous prelate and litterateur, who had revived literature in Poland. This library which he bequeathed to Poland was seized by Russia and now forms the nucleus of the Imperial library. Subsequently Albertrandi accepted the charge of preceptor to the nephew of the Primate, Archbishop Lubienski. With his pupil, who afterwards, became Minister of Justice in Poland, he travelled through the various countries of Europe, chiefly Italy, to gather material for a great history of Poland. With his own hand he copied manuscripts referring to Poland wherever he found them and in three years amassed a collection of one hundred and ten folio volumes. Where he was not allowed to copy, he read and, on returning home in the evening, wrote out what his prodigious memory retained. Sommervogel says that the net result was two hundred folio volumes. He is called the Polish Polyhistor. His style is rapid, orderly, and methodical. He knew Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and most of the European languages. His published works are: two volumes of a translation of Macquer’s “Roman History”; an abridged “Annals of Poland“; a great number of articles in the “Moniteur”, a journal of Warsaw. He also collaborated with Father Naruszewicz, S.J., in a periodical called “Agreeable and Useful Recreations”, and produced a work on numismatics, besides many discourses for the Academy of Warsaw, which he founded. After leaving the Society, he became Royal Librarian, and Bishop of Zenopolis, and was decorated with the Order of St. Stanislaus. In his work in the Royal Library he not only published a catalogue in ten volumes octavo, but left critical remarks in each of the books. He also had ready for publication manuscripts for the history of the three last centuries of Poland, explained by medals; Polish annals up to the reign of Vladislas IV; and a “History of Stephen Bori”. This last has been published.


Did you like this content? Please help keep us ad-free
Enjoying this content?  Please support our mission!