The Old Book Collection

GIH's library has a large collection of historical books. If you are looking for information or photographs of someone who has studied at GIH, or about Swedish gymnastics, you can find this here.

The GIH Library's old book collection

The GIH Library is the world's oldest sports library. The foundation of the library was laid by P.H. Ling when he founded GIH's predecessor, Gymnastiska Centralinstitutet, GCI, in 1813. The book collection has since been expanded through purchases and donations from, among others, L.G. Branting, C.A. Georgii, Elin Falk and the Swedish Sports Confederation.

The library thus has an interesting collection of historical literature from the 1500s onwards in areas such as anatomy, physiology, physiotherapy, military gymnastics, fencing and acrobatics. There is also a wealth of literature on the history of Swedish gymnastics and sports.

A selection of the library's older books are described in the book "Kinetic Jottings" (Ove Hagelin, 1995).

Find historical material

Below you will find tips on how to find more information about the history of gymnastics, the history of GCI and GIH, as well as older photographs of gymnastics. Contact the library if you have any further questions.

Students up to 1912

Students up to 1912 can be found in the register of GCI's 100th anniversary book. The list is divided into male and female students. The male list, in turn, is divided into two parts: before 1864, which is not complete, and 1864–1912. Women were admitted to GCI in 1864. The list includes name, year of birth, year of graduation.

Students 1904–1992

Students between the years 1904–1992 can be found in annual class lists. These can be found in the library's book stacks. The lists contain name, address and possibly telephone number.

Female students

Female students who are members of the GCI/GIH Association can be found in the GCI Association's yearbook, which contains registers.

In 2016, there is also a list sorted by year of departure from GCI/GIH. This list includes female students who are members of the association.

Digitized photos from GCI

Some group photos can be found among GIH's digitized photos on Wikimedia Commons

The library's photo album

The GIH Library has photo albums from a number of grades, see the library catalogue "Photo albums: albums donated to the GIH Library, often by former GCI-GIH students". External link, opens in new window. For a clearer list, see the pdf at the bottom of the catalogue.

There is also a list of the class photos in Oswald Holmberg's photo album from the years 1923–1943. Photo albums are not available digitally. Contact the library if you have any questions.

National Archives of Finland

More photos can be found at the National Archives in Täby/Arninge External link, opens in new window..

Search by going to External link, opens in new window. and selecting "Gymnastiska Centralinstitutet, Kungliga (GCI / KGCI)" and "K Fotografiska avdelningar". Order materials using the National Archives' order form External link, opens in new window..

  • Physiotherapy: Anders Ottosson at the University of Gothenburg is researching this. See, for example, the book Gymnastik som medicin (Gymnastics as Medicine).
  • The National Library of Sweden's service "Svenska dagstidningar" is very good for finding personal names, advertisements for (physiological) gymnastic institutes, etc. Only articles that are more than 115 years old can be read in their entirety. Search Swedish newspapers External link, opens in new window.

On this page

Gamla bokryggar

Historical collectionAbout the old book collection at the library

Per Henrik Ling, den svenska gymnastikens fader, grundare av Gymnastiska Centralinstitutet 1813.

GIH's historyGIH was founded by PH Ling in 1813 and has a rich history


Photos from the archiveThe library's photo collection on Swedish gymnastics

Last modified:18 Dec 2023