History of the Archives of Vojvodina



The Archives of Vojvodina started working in 1926, and its official name at that time was the State Archives in Novi Sad.[1] By the Regulation of the Deputy Minister of Education, no. 1566 from the 5th of August 1926 Dr. Dimitrije Kirilović was appointed “as the archivist in the State Archives in Novi Sad”. In December that year Kirilović tasked an expert in the field of archival records Dr. Aleksa Ivić to make a “report about the condition and volume of the archival records from counties and cities in Vojvodina” (todays territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina).

With great years-long effort, Dimitrije Kirilović managed to transfer, to the Archives of Vojvodina, records of: the Bács-Bodrog County from Sombor; Torontál County from Beliki Bečkerek; Timiș County from Vršac; Šajkaški Battalion; part of the records of District of Kikinda and German-Banat Frontier Regiment number 12; National Committee from 1848/49; records of the cities Novi Sad and Petrovaradin; Kamenica Seigniory; National Administration for Banat, Bačka and Baranja; Collection of plans of the cities in Vojvodina (which are located today in the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina) from the beginning of the 18th century; Registers of born, dead and married since the beginning of the 18th century (duplicates written for state needs); Letters from famous people from the public and cultural sphere and other records that authentically testify about activities, life and work, as well as about political, public, economic, cultural and historical events during which the creators of the records lived and worked. Dr. Kirilović, as a member of the State Commission for Restitution of Archival Records, managed to retrieve large amounts of records form Hungary, Austria and Romania.

After the end of the April War the Archives found themselves on the territory of the so called Independent State of Croatia. The occupying authorities moved some of the records from the building of the Magistrate into the Garrison administration, and another part they took to Vienna. Beside that, Rudolf Šmit, former official of the Archives, who was put “as the commissioner of the State Archives in Novi Sad and Historical Society”, usurped a valuable part of archival records and took it to Czechoslovakia before the end of the war. A large part of the records was destroyed when it was moved in the casemates of the Petrovaradin Fortress in 1943, where it remained until 1945, when the Main Peoples Liberation Committee of Vojvodina moved the remaining records in the basement of the Ban Palace in Novi Sad.

After the Second World War, on the 29th of April in 1946 the Archives continued their work, under the name Vojvođanska Arhiva, of collecting and protecting the records. Franja Malin assumed the role of manager and remained until 1946, when Dr. Marko Maletin, former archivist in the Archives, was named the new manager. Apart from protecting the archival records which were collected and kept, the Archives monitored the work and problems of archive centers in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, that were founded from 1946 to 1954.

In 1951 the Archives changed their name into Državna Arhiva AP Vojvodine. This name was then changed in 1958 to Istorijski Arhiv AP Vojvodine. In the same year the Archives started organizing archive records of the fond Kraljevska Banska Uprava Dunavske Banovine, which was taken from the Executive Committee of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in 1956. In 1967 the Archives were joined by the Agricultural Archives from Novi Sad, founded in 1962 as a specialized archival institution for organizing and processing of archival records from the field of agriculture and water management.

In 1970 the name of the institution was changed and remained until today: Archives of Vojvodina. During the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, based on the protocol of cooperation with archives in Hungary, Rumania, Czechoslovakia and USSR, which included exchange of experts on reciprocity base and appropriate programs, the Archives of Vojvodina organized research and recording of the archival records which are significant for history of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in those Archives, with the goal of filling in the gaps of its fonds and collections. Celebrating the 80th anniversary, the Archives of Vojvodina in 2006 signed protocoles of cooperation with the Hungarian State Archives, Budapest City Archives, Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Archives of Republika Srpska, Archives of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the State Archives of Montenegro.

The Archives of Vojvodina, thanks to its professional, scientific and cultural work, received several public awards: Orden zasluga za narod – award of the Presidency of SFRJ in 1986, Zlatna arhiva – “Aleksandar Arnautović Foundation” in 1999, Iskra kulture – Vojvodina Institute for Culture in 2006.

By the Decree of the President of the Republic of Serbia, the Archives of Vojvodina were awarded with the Sretenjski Medal, second degree, in 2016 for special credit in preserving the cultural and historical heritage, due to 90 years of its existence and work.

Archival materials in the Archives of Vojvodina

The oldest document in the Archives of Vojvodina is a parchment fragment of a manuscript from the 12th or 13th century, according to the professional paleographic and archeographic analysis of radiocarbon dating conducted by measuring the amount of carbon-14 (analysis was conducted in 2015). The manuscript was created on parchment, the main text is written in black ink, and the only ornament are simple vermilion initials. It is about two sheets of Breviary, written in Latin, Carolingian minuscule. The text represents parts of the service dedicated to the Ascension of Jesus.

The Archives of Vojvodina house and professionally maintain around 9.000 meters of archive records in 566 archival funds and collections. The archival materials were created from between the 12th and 13th century to the year 2010. The records are written in Latin, German (Gothic), Hungarian, Serbian folk and literary language from different epochs, standard Serbian language and occasionally there are documents written in other languages (French, Italian, Greek). The Archives also house archival records created by works of administrative bodies and public services from the period of the Habsburg Monarchy and Austro-Hungarian Empire – Bács-Bodrog, Torontal and Timiș Counties, Illyrian Court Office, Deputation and Authorities of the Serbian Voivodship and Timis Banat, Kingdom of Serbians, Croats and Slovenians – Districts of Bačka, Belgrade and Srem, Kingdom of Yugoslavia – Kraljevska Banska Uprava Dunavske Banovine, and FNRJ, i.e. SFRJ – authorities of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, judicial authorities, military, cultural, educational, scientific, health, social, economic, sport, public and political, religious institutions, organizations, societies and associations that acted or are still active on the territory of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. The Archives also keep both personal and funds of prominent individuals whose activity was significant for history of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.

According to the records that are being kept in the research hall, these are the most researched funds of the Archives of Vojvodina: Ilirska dvorska kancelarija – Beč (1791–1792), 1791–1792; Bačko-bodroška županija – Baja, Sombor (1688–1849), 1688–1849; Torontalska županija – Veliki Bečkerek (1779–1849), 1731–1849; Tamiška županija – Temišvar (1779–1849), 1731–1849; Šajkaški graničarski bataljon – Titel (1763–1873), 1768–1878; Zemaljska uprava za Srpsko Vojvodstvo i Tamiški Banat – Temišvar (1849–1861), 1849–1861; Društvo za Srpsko narodno pozorište – Novi Sad (1861–1954), 1779–1954; Tehnička direkcija Akcionarskog društva Kanala Kralja Petra I – Sombor (1921–1945), 1802–1957; Narodna uprava za Banat, Bačku i Baranju – Novi Sad (1918–1919), 1918–1919; Trgovinsko-industrijska i zanatska komora – Novi Sad (1919–1941), 1919–1941; Kraljevska banska uprava Dunavske banovine – Novi Sad (1929–1941), 1929–1941; Glavni narodnooslobodilački odbor Vojvodine – Novi Sad (1943–1945), 1944–1946; Vojna uprava za Banat, Bačku i Baranju – Novi Sad (1944–1945), 1944–1945; Skupština SAP Vojvodine – Novi Sad (1946–1991), 1946–1985; Izvršno veće SAP Vojvodine – Novi Sad; Zbirka karata i planova, 1794–1956; Zbirka povelja i diploma, 1565–1861; Zbirka matičnih knjiga Vojvodine, 1826–1895. Archive records and collections are stored according to the Law stated records.

Buildings Head Office of the Archives of Vojvodina through Time

Since its foundation, the Archives had issues with space for depositing records. The first, temporary head office was located in the rooms of the Educational Inspection (Futoški put 77, today Futoška Street 17 where the Electrotechnical High School “Mihajlo Pupin” is). The Women’s Education School and Trade Academy buildings were also located there, while the Archives themselves only got two rooms, even though Dimitrije Kirilović asked for the whole floor with 30 rooms. That is why in 1934 the Archives were moved from Novi Sad to Petrovaradin into the building of the Petrovaradin Magistrate (Jelačićeva Street 8, today Beogradska 6), where it received 15 rooms. However, these rooms were not even equipped with the most basic conditions for storing and protection, but still the Archives remained here until the end of the April War. The records were then moved to the rooms of the Garrison Administration in Petrovaradin, and after that in 1943 in the casemate of the Petrovaradin Fortress. The archival records were again moved in 1945 to the rooms of the Banska Palace (at the time, the building of Glavni narodnooslobodilački odbor Vojvodine, and today the head office of the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Bulevar Mihajla Pupina 16). Seeing as how the records taken abroad during the Second World War were returned via restitution (from Vienna in 1947, from Czechoslovakia in 1959, Budapest in 1960), it turned out that this space was still not enough. Records gained by restitution, 120 boxes of documents and books, were put in the hall of the basement.

The problem was solved by renting the rooms from the Serbian Orthodox Church in Sremski Karlovci – rooms in the Patriarchy Court (Trg Branka Radičevića 8) and in the building of the People’s Funds (Trg Branka Radičevića 3), in which the Archives were moved to in 1956. The archival records were moved from the building of the People’s Funds, from December 1959 to February 1960, into the building of the former Karlovci Magistrate (Trg Branka Radičevića 1, head office of Mesni narodni odbor in Sremski Karlovci then, today head office of SO Sremski Karlovci). By moving the Archives to Sremski Karlovci it was made possible for the acquired archival records to be thoroughly sorted. However, by acquiring the records of the Agricultural Archives, the Archives of Vojvodina had yet again difficulties with storing the records, so in 1968 some of the records were moved to rooms of the Beočin Monastery (records in the monastery rooms were moved into the present building of the Archives of Vojvodina in 2000).

The Archives of Vojvodina was moved from Sremski Karlovci into the building of the county jail, built in 1901 and adapted for the Archives needs in 1988.

The building was officially opened on the 27th of April 1989. By the decree of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in 2007, this building was declared a cultural monument.

The depots of the Archives of Vojvodina have a capacity for 12 kilometers of archival material. They are equipped with metal shelves and movable electric “trains”, hygrometers and thermometers that determine climate conditions within depots, as well as with fire protection equipment and devices for detecting fire. In 2008 the Archives introduced electronic control of entrances and exits in the depots. Manipulation of archival records from the depots and working areas to the research rooms is enable by two elevators.


Dr Dimitrije Kirilović (archivist 1926–1932; director 1932–1941); in 1941 the occupation authorities put Rudolf Šmit in charge, former official in the Archives “for a commissioner of the State Archives in Novi Sad and of the Historical Society”, but he did not remain continiously on duty rather only until the end of the war; after the Second World War the position of the “director of the State Archives in Novi Sad” was given to Franja Malin (1946). Since then, directors were: Marko Maletin Ph.D. (1946–1949); Živojin Radulovački (1949–1953); Dragoslav Jovanović (1954–1955); acting director Milorad Rajić (1955–1956); Sava Atanacković (1956–1958); acting Director Velimir Mihajlović (1958–1964); Đorđe Marđeloški (1964–1969); Sredoje Lalić, MA (1969–1971); Kalman Čehak Ph.D. (1971–1979); acting Director Danka Miljević (1979–1980); Sava Živkov Ph.D. (1980–1989); Pavle Stanojević (1989–2003); Stevan Rajčević (2003–2013); Branimir Andrić (2013–2018). Since the 21st of June 2018 the director of the Archives of Vojvodina is Nebojša Kuzmanović Ph.D.

[1] Today’s Archives of Vojvodina. The name of the institution has been changed many times. hereinafter: Archives of Vojvodina, shortened: Archives.

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