Count Sámuel Teleki de Szék was born in the village of Gernyeszeg, Maros County on 17th November, 1739. A crucial time of his years of preparation was the four-year study tour he performed in Europe (1759-1763),
... the most important stops of which were in Basel, Utrecht, Leiden and Paris. His impressions triggered the idea to found a library; few people knew more about books at the time.
During his university years, he made up a well-devised plan to build out a book-supplying network. Arriving home he settled on his Sáromberke estate near the village he was born in. This is where he started his activity toward the reformation of the Transylvanian Protestant public education. He funded scientific and cultural activities, provided financial aid for writers, scholars as well as Transylvanian students studying abroad. After 20 years of intensive research, in 1784 he published the most complete edition of Janus Pannonius’ works.
He entered public service in 1774 as Lord-Lieutenant of Küküllő County and later of Bihar County. In 1787, he was summoned to Vienna and appointed Chancellor-Assistant of Transylvania by Emperor Joseph II. From 1791 until his death, Sámuel Teleki was Chancellor of Transylvania. Teleki's moving to Vienna brought him closer to the European book-trade and diversified his sources of supply. According to the accounts and book orders available, Teleki purchased books from as many as 25 European cities. During six decades of systematic collection, Teleki managed to acquire many significant works published since the advent of printing.
Sámuel Teleki died in Vienna, on 7th of August, 1822. He was buried in Sáromberke, in the family crypt.