The nineteenth century is often referred to as the age of the societies. People who shared the same occupation or the same pursuits started countless clubs of friends where they would debate subjects of common interest. Literature-lovers were no exception; they started literary societies and book clubs. Members of a book club bought books and paid for them out of a common fund; they read these books on their own and then talked about them in a group. The Netherlands boasted hundreds of book clubs in the nineteenth century. In the beginning, these clubs were the domain of the intellectual elite; these were men (and later on women too) whose love of books united them. But there was more to it: members also wanted to share their knowledge with others. Many literary societies therefore opened their libraries to the public.
This collection contains exceptional items from the archives and the library of the Dordrecht society Diversa sed Una (founded in 1816). Also on view are historical documents from the DiEP Collection – archives, monuments and archaeology in Dordrecht.