Kraków is known as a birthplace of Polish language books. It has a long secular printing and bookbinding traditions. This masterpiece of artistic craftsmanship is a part of the history of our city and our country. The 16th century, known in Poland as the "golden age" and the 17th century which had brought the expansion of art of printing and the development of bookbinding and it has raised them right up to the top of true art. Nonetheless, by the end of 17th and 18th centuries and despite development of high quality book binding materials, book ornamentations and their quality worsened. The Partitions of Poland has brought to the impoverished Kraków many unfortunate changes, which also affected printing and bookbinding craft. In the 1880s the bookbinding craft experienced a rebirth because of the bookbinding manufacture technique changes. The bookbinding manufacture rose to unprecedented scale after 1900.
One of the most prominent bookbinders in Kraków, the creator of artistic bookish bindings, diplomas and book bindings gallantry was Robert Jahoda / 1862-1947 /.
Although he was born in Bochnia, because of his profession he was connected with Kraków from 1887 until his death. From 1912 on, he resided in tenement on Golebia Street where his print shop has been as well. His print shop was an industry-leader from the year 1918 until 1939.
Libraries such as Jagiellonian, The Polish Academy of Skills (PAU), Wawel castle and cathedral, Czartoryski, Kornicka and other, used to subcontract the maintenance and bindings of their books there. The most valuable conservatory work executed in his print shop was restoration of Annales seu Cronicae Regni Poloniae by Jan Dlugosz.
His bindings used to win first prizes and medals on exhibitions not only in country but also abroad (Lvov, Paris, Vienna, Leipzig, Padua, Kraków and Poznan). After his death, the company was shared between his daughter Zofia Jahoda-Broniewska and Robert Jahoda-Zóltowski.
In the 1950's, the printing office was nationalized and in 1954 the Art Industry Cooperative called "STARODRUK" was created. The cooperative took over the place and the equipment on Golebia Street.
From 1967 until the beginning of the 1990s, it was owned by the Museum. In 1982, the museum opened the exposition entitled Printing house of Robert Jahoda. The history of Kraków's art of bookbinding and printings. After the tenement was retrieved by the private owner in 1992, the exhibition was moved to the main museum in "Krzysztofory" palace.
We have about 3000 souvenirs (exhibits) related to Robert Jahoda and his institution dated from 1887 to 1947. 20 printer's and 8 bookbinding machines from the 19th and 20th centuries, produced by famous German and Austrian companies such as: "Hugo Carmine", "G. Siegel", "G. Brehmer", "Josef Anger und Sone", "Hoh und Hohne", "Krause", "Simplex".
The collection also contains unique set of tools and materials from the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century like pistons used to manual gild, roll adorns, leather bellow used to clearing of cases, agates used to polishing of gilds, grinder to printing paint, rulers, fillet - tool used to burning, tool used to manual typesetting of letters, manual curlers used to paint imposition, sets of matrixes and brass ornaments (approximately 1000 pieces in sets), lithographical stones, bookbinding pistons and matrixes, printer's shelves with cases and types.
Especially interesting is the collection of projects of books bindings, circumstantial diplomas and addresses' folders created by excellent artists such as: Juliusz Kossak, Henryk Uziemblo, Stanislaw Fabijanski, Antoni Procajlowicz, Zygmunt Kinastowski, Wlodzimierz Tetmajer, Jan Gumowski, Henryk Starzynski, Franciszek Seifert, Zofia Jahodzianka and Stanislaw Wójcik between 1892 and 1939.
Moreover, the collection contains book bindings prepared by Robert Jahoda and his apprentices and collaborators (83 pieces) and bric-a-brac gallantry - ball cards from the beginning of the 20th century (20 pieces).
Types and printing blocks from the famous printing houses and Kraków's companies, "Czas" (The Time), "W. L. Anczyc", "Wladyslaw Teodorczuk", "Tadeusz Jablonskieg i Sp.", "Kazimierz Zadrazil" and foreign ones such as "R.G.OFFENBACH A.M", "HUSNIK-HAUSLER, PRAGUE" which are the significant part of the collection as well as xylographic blocks. The oldest originates back to the 2nd half of 19th century.
As a supplement to the collection, and in particular, describing the importance of Robert's Jahoda institution for the Polish culture, is the collection of diplomas and medals won on the national and foreign exhibitions--Lvov 1894 and 1902 , Paris 1900 and 1925, Vienna 1907, Leipzig 1914, Padua 1922, Berlin 1925, 1938, 1939 and Poznan 1929. Moreover, the collection contains the photographic records of bindings--the oldest made on glass photographic plates, diplomas, addresses and awards granted to the company and to Robert Jahoda himself
The history of the company has been widely described in the book created by the master himself and entitled The Memorial Book and in a few volumes The Chronicles of the printing office in years 1887-1947, which contains the numerous photographs, correspondence and press cuttings.
Robert Jahoda and his business property memorials collection is systematically supplemented and extended by the museum with the memorials related to his family such as photographs and documents of Robert Jahoda-Zolkowski (his son)a Member of the Parliament as well as a bookbinder and a lawyer.
Finally, in this collection you can also find documentation of the Kraków's printers' everyday life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Awards, documents and photographs from the congresses of printers and bookbinders (1908, 1913) photographs of the printing houses and their interiors, the emblem of Kraków's printers from the beginning of the 20th century, distinction of the Kraków's Printers Cycling Club, tableau of the Kraków's printers from the 1924 year, the members of Medal of The White Raven Chapter distinctions.
Templates of the books' front-papers and sheets of paper with the water marks is the oldest one and it originates back to the beginning of the 18th century.
The collection dedicated to the life and work of Robert Jahoda emphasizes on the significance of his accomplishments in the history of Polish printing arts at the end of 19th and the first half of the 20th century.