The Monacensia in the Hildebrandhaus is a traditional institution belonging to the Münchner Stadtbibliothek. It houses the city of Munich's literary archive and is one of the most important research libraries for anyone interested in Munich's history and cultural life.
The Monacensia was founded by the first full-time municipal library director Hans Ludwig Held (1885-1954). The writer and philosopher of religion initiated the establishment of a Munich library as an independent department of the Münchner Stadtbibliothek in 1922. In 1924 he laid the foundation stone for the manuscript department, today's literary archive. The Monacensia has been housed in the former artist villa belonging to the sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand (1847-1921) since 1977.
The library with its unique collection of books on the subject of "Munich", comprising some 150,000 media, is committed to scientific research. The main focus of the collection is Munich as a city of literature and culture. The library's holdings range from old Munich prints from the 16th century to current new publications.
The literature archive's collection comprises some 300 literary estates, premature legacies and collections from renowned writers closely associated with Munich. These include Herbert Rosendorfer, Oskar Maria Graf, Frank Wedekind, Annette Kolb, Franziska zu Reventlow, Therese Giehse, Herbert Achternbusch, Ludwig Thoma, Lena Christ, Bally Prell, Gisela Elsner, Gert Heidenreich and many more. The literary archive's main focuses include the collection areas Munich authors in exile after 1933, Bohemian Schwabing around 1900, contemporary literature as well as Munich folk artists and cabaret artists such as Liesl Karlstadt, Bally Prell, Roider Jackl, Erni Singerl and Jörg Hube. With the complete estates of Klaus and Erika Mann, over 800 letters and manuscripts by Thomas Mann as well as numerous letters, manuscripts and photographs by Golo, Monika, Michael and Elisabeth Mann, Monacensia is an internationally renowned research centre on the Mann family.
The Monacensia in the Hildebrandhaus presents its holdings and research results to the public through various forms of literature promotion. These include permanent and special exhibitions, publications, guided tours, city walks, readings, book presentations, lectures, conferences and seminars. As a partner for science and education, Monacensia enables broad basic research. The scientific indexing of the estates in the literary archive is an integral part of everyday university life at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.