Collection Černý MSS - Jaroslav Černý Collection

Notebook Černý MSS 17.130
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Identity area

Reference code

Černý MSS


Jaroslav Černý Collection


  • 1918-1988 (Accumulation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

52 boxes, 56 card index boxes, 8 packages, 4 rolls, 1 book, 1 album, 7 ring binders, and 1 videotape.

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Czech Egyptologist. Born, Plzeň 1898. Died, Oxford 1970.
Son of Antonín Černý (1861-?) and Anna Černá, née Navrátilová (1866-?). Educated at elementary school (1904-1909) and state grammar school (gymnasium) in Plzeň (1909-1917). Studied at Charles University, Prague (1917-1922, matriculated for winter semester 1917/1918, doctoral degree awarded 1922 (see Employed as clerk in the Živnobanka central branch in Prague (1919-1927). Associated with the IFAO from 1925 as visiting scholar, later member of expedition to Deir el-Medina. Awarded scholarship to study hieratic ostraca in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Sponsored by T. G. Masaryk, P. Petschek and Orientální ústav, Prague. Secretary of the Orientální ústav from 1929. Worked with Sir A. Gardiner on ostraca from different European collections as well as on hieratic papyri. Formal contract with Gardiner from 1934. Lecturer in Egyptology, Charles University, Prague, 1929-46. Worked in Sinai in the 1930s, resulting in his new edition of Gardiner and Peet, The Inscriptions of Sinai. Excavated at Deir el-Medîna, 1925-1970. Worked as epigrapher in Abydos with A. Calverley and M. Broome.
Affiliated to the Czechoslovak legation in Cairo from 1942, in diplomatic service of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile (London) until 1945.
Appointed Edwards Professor of Egyptology, University College London, 1946-51. Professor of Egyptology, Oxford, 1951-65 (Emeritus, 1965-70). Worked in Nubia recording temple inscriptions at Amada, Gebel el-Shems, and Abû Simbel during the UNESCO campaign.
Initiated and co-organised topographical and epigraphic mapping on the Theban mountain as part of the UNESCO and CEDAE campaign.
Published extensively in the field of Egyptology including publications on palaeography, Ramesside period, social history, religion, and late New Kingdom hieratic inscriptions.
Married Marie Sargant née Hloušková (1899-1991).

Archival history

Bequeathed to the Griffith Institute by Jaroslav Černý in his will (Černý MSS 19.71). Some additional material remained in the possession of Professor Černý's widow Mrs Marie Sargant (née Hloušková), which following her death in 1991 passed to Černý's stepdaughters, Professor Naomi E. Sargant, Lady McIntosh (1933-2006), and Mrs Anna Allot (1930-). Additional correspondence presented by Dr Jiřina Růžová was donated to her by Mrs Anna Allot for the preparation of her biography of Professor Černý.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The estate of Jaroslav Černý. Some additional material presented by Professor Naomi E. Sargant, Lady McIntosh (Černý's stepdaughter) in 1992. Remaining additional material presented by Mrs Anna Allot (Černý's stepdaughter) in 2011. Selected family correspondence presented by Dr Jiřina Růžová in May 2016. Family photographs and varia presented by Mrs Anna Allott in October and November 2016, March 2017, and March 2021. Additional correspondence, notes and memoranda by Dr Jiřina Růžová in August 2021.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Notebooks, notes, card indexes, copies of inscriptions, a corpus of transcribed hieratic ostraca and papyri, photographs, correspondence, and personal items.

  • Series 1 to 4, 6, 7 contain photographs, copies, transcriptions and translations of Egyptian texts, and photographs of objects and sites.
  • Series 5 contains articles and lectures, some unpublished.
  • Series 5 and 10 contain notes on Egyptian history.
  • Series 8, 14, 22, 24, 26 contain notes and indexes on lexicography and grammar and card indexes for a late Egyptian and general hieroglyphic dictionary.
  • Series 17 contains notebooks with transcriptions of texts from ostraca, graffiti, papyri and other monuments. There is a card index of ostraca with references to notebooks in series 28.
  • Series 18 and 23 contain Coptic notes and a card index for Coptic grammar.
  • Series 25 contains data on Egyptian personal names.
  • Series 33 is an etymological card index.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Mostly kept as received. Arranged in 49 series:

  • Correspondence (Series 21) has been arranged in alphabetical order.
  • Series 47 - condolence letters to Mrs Černý, arranged alphabetically.
  • Series 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 24 and 24A, 25, 26, 27, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 45, 46 are thematic/problem-oriented, other series (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 16, 28) are source-oriented and contain collections of data pertaining to individual artifacts of Egyptian material and written culture.
  • Series 31 is an index.
  • Series 19 and 39-44 are varia.
  • Series that contain texts and other data from individual monuments or sites are arranged according to the Topographical Bibliography [TopBib].
  • Objects from museums are catalogued under present location arranged in an alphabetical list of museums and usually a separate list of private collections.
  • Series 48 is a postcard album.
  • Series 49 is a photograph album.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Property of the Griffith Institute. Access to correspondence is subject to prior approval by the Archivist. No restrictions for rest.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright Griffith Institute, University of Oxford.

Language of material

  • Ancient Egyptian
  • Czech
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian

Script of material

  • Coptic
  • Egyptian hieratic
  • Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • Latin

Language and script notes

There are notes for hieratic palaeography, hieroglyphic transcriptions, occasional use of Egyptological conventional transliteration.

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Mostly without problems. Parts of correspondence on fragile airmail paper and lower-quality paper.
Videotape requires an appropriate media player or specialist digitisation.
Working with card indexes requires returning cards in their proper sequence.

Finding aids

Catalogue and a correspondence handlist.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

These are originals except where indicated otherwise in itemised description.

Existence and location of copies

  • Copies of Černý MSS 3.595, 3.627, 13.23, 13.30, 15.215A, 15.220, 19.64 (Černý's own bibliography), 20.1, 21.272, 21.277, 21.324, 21.707, 21.712, 21.732, 21.1014, 21.1526. Select copies of notebooks, series 17, notebooks not identified. Varied notes from the Coptic Etymological dictionary. In Departmental archives and library of the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, Prague.
  • Photocopies of some Černý MSS (mostly of notebooks and related to IFAO ostraca) at the IFAO, Cairo.

Related units of description

Other Archives:

  • Archives of the IFAO (French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, Cairo), photographs and a personal file of J. Černý.
  • Oxford University Archive, Bodleian Libraries, J. Černý’s academic staff file, pension file, plus central University correspondence files concerning Egyptology and the Professorship (UR 6/ER/2).
  • Charles University in Prague Archive, the dissertation, examiners' reports, and a personal file of J. Černý.
  • Archives of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, obituaries and a limited number of materials related to Černý's stay in Philadelphia.
  • Folder with a small group of handwritten notes found inside six different books in the library of the Czech Institute of Egyptology in Prague.
  • Parish register, Roman-Catholic, Plzeň (N), 1897 - 1898 = fol. 1 - 401. Digital access:
  • Presidential Office Archive, Prague, fonds Prezidentská kancelář, collection Přemysl Šámal (1867-1941), correspondence, and a file on J. Černý, no. 1024, titled 'Doc. Dr. Jaroslav Černý, cesta do Egypta'.
  • Archives of the Czech National Bank, Prague, fonds Živnobanka, box 4888, personal file J. Černý; fonds Živnobanka, collection Correspondence of Director General Jaroslav Preiss, several letters from Černý from the 1930s.
  • Archives of the National Museum, fonds J. V. Prášek, correspondence, letters of Černý to Prášek.
  • Archives of the City of Plzeň, Schools, State Grammar School school certificates.
  • Departmental archives and library of the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures, collection J. Černý (family photographs, letters, lectures, offprints, notes).
  • Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences, v.v.i. fonds František Lexa, correspondence from J. Černý.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague, fonds London archive (Londýnský archiv), series personal files (OSO), file J. Černý, file M. Sargant.
  • Librarium of The Hague, Netherlands, Jaroslav Černý, [Herbert Walter] Fairman, C. (Constant) de Wit, Notes de grammaire Neo-Egyptienne: Late Egyptian Grammar. Rédigées par J. Černý, revues par Fairman, copiées par C. De Wit (en 1952) [original manuscript; no imprint (c. 1950)]. Previously at the library of Professor Michel Malaise Michel Malaise (1943-2016). For more information, see (accessed 19/09/2019).

Griffith Institute Archive:

  • Petrie MSS ('Legends copied from Album of photographs taken by W. M. Flinders Petrie of Egyptian objects in the Museums of Bologna, Florence, and Turin, April 1893. (Copied by J. Černý, Oxford 1954).').
  • Gardiner MSS correspondence.
  • Gunn MSS, notebook 54, enclosed letters.
  • Newberry MSS.
  • Fonds of his correspondents, see series Černý MSS 21, and individual subseries.

Related descriptions

Publication note

  • Publication details indicated in Černý catalogue, under individual series or subseries entries.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

NRA catalogue reference

NRA 41268 Cerny

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Physical storage

  • Shelf: 0304-0316