The replies from Upper Bavaria concerning the “survey” of the Bayerischer Verein für Volkskunst und Volkskunde, 1908/09

The collection from the “survey” contains 91 replies from the administrative district of Upper Bavaria. Three of them were submitted from the Upper Palatinate and one from Swabia. They come from places that changed their district association with the administrative reform of 1972. Over the course of time, at least 20 letters disappeared from the holdings.

Who replied?

Of the answers identified by name, i.e. 81 out of the 91, only one came from a female “assistant teacher”, all others were sent by male authors. More than two-thirds of them were local teachers and chief teachers, more than one-tenth were mayors. In the latter case, only their function in local government is known, not their actual profession. Among the rest, there were three pastors, a pharmacist, a doctor, a sculptor, a merchant, a parish clerk and the board of an embellishment association. In one occasion, two people answered together. The responses from Upper Bavaria are in about 50% between one and nine pages long, just under a third of them consist of up to 19 pages, less than a tenth of them are up to 29 pages long and less than a tenth of them are up to 39 pages long. Only six contributions have a length of 30 and more pages, the longest one comes from Ostermünchen (community of Tuntenhausen, district of Rosenheim) with 115 pages.

Population structure of the villages

In c.1900, around 40% of the towns and villages had a population of less than 500 inhabitants, a third up to 1,000 and a quarter up to over 1,000 inhabitants; the statistics do not contain data on social stratification. Three-quarters of all places were of mixed denominations. With the exception of one community with a Protestant majority, the Catholic confession prevailed in all others, and a quarter of places were exclusively Catholic. Residents of Jewish faith were only represented in six places. The answers rarely respond to questions about differences in faith or confession. In accordance with the regional distribution, answers from Western and Northern Upper Bavaria are more numerous. An impression is given by the map, which Torsten Gebhard described in his essay “Bemerkungen zur volkskundlichen Umfrage” (Remarks on the folkloristic survey, Bayerisches Jahrbuch für Volkskunde 1986/87, p. 6). Letters from twelve locations were published in diverse regional journals.

Selected collectibles from the “survey” of 1908/09

>> This collection concerns the “survey” of the Bayerischer Verein für Volkskunst und Volkskunde (Bavarian Society for Folk Art and Folklore) from the collection of the Institut für Volkskunde (Ethnological Institute).