Treasures in the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg

The Staatsbibliothek Bamberg (Bamberg State Library) is one of the most important libraries in Bavaria. Its historical holdings reflect the history of book collecting in Bamberg and Upper Franconia from the Middle Ages to the modern age.

When it was founded in 1803, the Electoral Library received the holdings of the monasteries in Bamberg and Upper Franconia, which had been abolished in the course of secularisation, containing numerous medieval manuscripts and early modern prints. An outstanding part of the collections are 1,000 medieval manuscripts, including about 165 that had already been transferred to the Cathedral Library when the Diocese of Bamberg was founded by Emperor Heinrich II in 1007. Other important manuscript collections were kept by the Benedictine abbeys on the Michaelsberg in Bamberg and in Banz and the Cistercian monastery in Langheim.

In addition to manuscripts, the Royal Library of that time also received about 3,500 incunabula, several block books and tens of thousands of prints from the early modern period. The library was also enriched in 1807/8 by the extensive book collection from Karl August II von Pfalz-Zweibrücken (1746-1795), the elder brother of the first Bavarian king Max I Joseph.

Other private libraries and special collections, including the graphic arts collection from the Bamberg art connoisseur and Dürer researcher Joseph Heller (1798-1849), which comprises more than 50,000 sheets, and the collection from Emil Marschalk von Ostheim (1841-1903), which focuses on regional history, expanded the holdings in the course of the 19th century. In addition to drawings and engravings, the graphic art collections also include photographs, posters and postcards. Museum collectors' items such as printing plates, coins and medals, globes, glass windows and a fan are also worthy of note.

The State Library's areas of collection also include the works of literary figures who lived and worked in Upper Franconia, including E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776–1822) and Jean Paul (1763-1825).

A selection of objects will gradually be made available in bavarikon.

>> This collection is part of the Staatsbibliothek Bamberg (State Library Bamberg).