About the project

The digitizing of Milada Blekastad’s correspondence began in 2018 as the first phase of the CAS Institute of Philosophy research project “Digitization and presentation of the archive of Milada Blekastad-Topičová,”  funded under the Memory in the Digital Age programme of Strategy AV21. Our aim is not only to digitize the extensive academic and cultural correspondence of translator, Comeniologist and literary historian Milada Blekastad-Topičová (1917–2003), but also to make it accessible to the broader professional community and general public. In the first year, we succeeded in digitizing Blekastad’s correspondence with German Comeniologist Klaus Schaller; Czech Comeniologists, philosophers, literary historians and classical philologists Bohumil Ryba, Vlasta Taťjána Miškovska-Kozáková, Antonín Škarka, Jan Blahoslav Čapek, Dagmar Čapková, Mirjam Bohatcová and others; and the writer Ludvík Vaculík and his family. All in all, this came to 10,000 scanned pages. This digitization is ongoing as is the creation of structured metadata, which will be the starting point for an online database with records of approx. 2,000 individual letters. The project team of Vladimír Urbánek (project supervision), Miloslav Caňko (digitization and metadata creation) and Veronika Krubnerová (metadata creation) build on the expertise gained by the Department of Comenius Studies and Early Modern Intellectual History in the years leading up to the integration of Jan Amos Comenius’s correspondence into the Oxford Early Modern Letters Online database. Regular consultations about the current research take place with our Oxford colleagues, especially Professor Howard Hotson. The project is connected to the 2017 exhibition “Invisible Bridge”, which explored the life and work of Milada Blekastad. Since the summer of 2018, the researchers have also been involved in developing the Historical Correspondence Online website (Historická korespondence online; HIKO) in cooperation with the CAS Library and the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS.