Treasures in the Staatliche Bibliothek Passau

The selection of 15 treasures of the Staatliche Bibliothek Passau reflects the history and the profile of this institution. The library goes back to the book collection of the Passau Jesuit College founded in 1612. With the dissolution of the Jesuit order in 1773, it became the property of the Passau Bishopric and called itself from now on "Fürstbischöfliche Akademische Bibliothek" (Princely Episcopal Academic Library). Only three decades later, the collection fell through the secularisation in 1803 to the Bavarian state and became the point of collecting for the equally dissolved clerical libraries of the city and of the hinterland.

Three of the cimelia come from the monastery Vornbach (district Passau) that was dissolved in 1803. The "Formbacher Bibel" (Formbach Bible) and the "Formbacher Missale" (Formbach Messbuch, mass book) dated to the fifteenth century are of the highest importance as manuscripts with their magnificent book illustrations far beyond the borders of Lower Bavaria.

Several pieces were once part of the library of the Jesuit College. Extraordinary is the first printed edition of Nicolaus Copernicus' (1473–1543) main work "De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium" in which the astronomer laid out the foundations of the heliocentric worldview. Hans von Gersdorff's (d. 1529) "Feldbuch der Wundarznei", an incunabulum of 1517 provides illustrations for the treatment of patients in detail.

Some further objects, the Staatliche Bibliothek has acquired over the last years and decades. Important for Passau is the "Herbarius" (Herbal Book), an incunabulum by the Passau printer Johann Petri of 1487. In addition, there is a book of emblems and "liber amicorum" of 1608 which belongs to the important collection of books of emblems in the library.

In the case of the youngest of the treasures presented here, it is a matter of a substantial volume dated to 1739 which includes around 145 pen-and-ink drawings as well as several dried butterflies and plants ("Variarum lectionum digesta symbolico philologico moralia").

>> This collection is a stock of the Staatliche Bibliothek Passau (State Library Passau).