YOAKIM GRUEV (1828–1912)

190 years since the birth of Ioakim Gruev Proichev (1828–1912), enlightener, pedagogue, translator, book publisher and public figure, director of the National Enlightenment in East Rumelia, founder of the Plovdiv National Library.
With Circular No. 42 of 30.I.1880, he appealed to provincial prefects to keep the old antiquities and hand them over to the library of the Directorate of National Enlightenment where the books were gathered for the future regional library. “Except for that they can be preserved, but they will serve the interested scientists in their research on our country's past and our people's life”.
Evidence of the foundation of the library immediately after the creation of East-Rumelian government was given by Joachim Gruev himself: “One of the most useful institutions and the powerful means of disseminating the public enlightenment are the public libraries. From the beginning of the current administration, the Directorate has been able to lay the foundations of a regional library and a museum. This library has since acquired a modest amount of books in the past summer, put it under a particular government, and opened it to the audience on September 15th” (Report to H.H. Chief Governor of Eastern Rumelia by the Director of the National Public Enlightenment for the situation of the study in the field in 1881–1882 school year. 30 September 1882. Plovdiv, 1882).
In his “Historical Review of the National Library and the Museum in Plovdiv near Unification”, published in 1906, Boris Djakovich gives a decent assessment of Gruev's case:
“At the beginning of our new political formation as an independent entity on the Balkan Peninsula, there were such Bulgarian men with an innate talent for cultural and political activity, which even after 25 years of political life make us wonder about their energy and follow their deeds. Fully conquered by an idea – all for the Fatherland and for the people, instinctively aware of the narrative of history, these men of the Nation do not spare their time, nor labor and they are always everywhere because there is no nation's institute in our country, nor an ordinance on which the beginning they did not put it. One of these tireless workers is Yoakim Gruev. He has stepped rightly by merit on the top step in the governance of the people's education, he has not only proved his long-proven talents to guide it, but also to create it, to create something new for it, something unheard then in Rumelia – entire scientific institutes. Recognizing, on the one hand, that, in the system of national education, the national libraries should be at the forefront together with the schools, he has considering a plan and created the first state library in southern Bulgaria; on the other hand, he felt that, for the development of national science, he had to trace the remnants of “our country's past and our people's life”, he founded a special repository for them and named it the museum, which is the first Bulgarian museum. This museum was designed by Mr.Gruev not only for the repository of antiquities, national monuments and ethnographic materials, but also for “a source of science and knowledge of our country and our people” – in other words, he was looking at this institution also as a purely scientific institution, and as a national, patriotic case. Mr. Gruev was deeply saddened that many of our monuments were irrevocably dead and afraid that the same fate could also befall the remaining demolished monuments survived in our country he would quickly take administrative measures to protect them from foreign encroachment, from export abroad; with a number of district prescriptions and instructions to prefects, school inspectors and district supervisors, he teaches what and how to store, what and how to collect, what and how to dig, print, transcribe and so on; he appeals to the patriotic feelings of the people, whom he insistently urges to search for and collect national monuments and sights in the common national repository the museum; he finally applies the Ottoman law to search for antiquities and store them in our country. And thanks to the perseverance, the strong will and the enlightened mind of Mr. Yoakim Gruev, South Bulgaria soon sees a National library and a National Museum arranged in the very heart of Plovdiv”.

And her creator notes modestly with one sentence in his memories “I set the foundation of a Regional Library with a Museum”.

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