The Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg

The Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg (Aschaffenburg Court Library) serves to provide literature and information for the 'Bayerische Untermain' region, i.e. the independent city of Aschaffenburg and the Aschaffenburg and Mittenberg districts. Due to its location and its centuries-long affiliation with the Electorate of Mainz, its catchment area also extends to Hessen. The collection comprises more than 135,000 volumes and contains literature for the humanities, social and natural sciences as well as regional literature. The valuable, partly unique old holdings include 58 manuscripts and 162 incunabula, 30,000 volumes from the period before 1900 and special collections such as prints, pamphlets of the Reformation, autographs, maps and plans etc.

The Court Library was founded by the Elector and Archbishop of Mainz, Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal (reigned 1774-1802). He was assisted in the planned construction of his private library in Mainz by the then very well-known poet Wilhelm Heinse (1746-1803) as the first full-time librarian. In 1794, the book collection was taken to the second residence Schloss Johannisburg (Johannisburg Palace) in Aschaffenburg, where it was kept safe from the French revolutionary army. After Erthal's death in 1802 his private library fell to the Electorate. His successor Karl Theodor von Dalberg (1744-1817) enriched the collection with book donations and new acquisitions. With Dalberg's Principality of Aschaffenburg, the Court Library passed to the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1814, but the collection and its cimelia remained in Aschaffenburg. During the Second World War, the library was relocated and thus saved from destruction, as Schloss Johannisburg burned down almost completely. It was not until 1960 that the Court Library was able to return to the rebuilt building.

The Court Library has been looking after the Abbey Library, which belongs to the Aschaffenburg General School and Study Fund, on permanent loan since 1962. Its holdings date back to the University Library of Aschaffenburg (1808-1818), the Lyceum Library (1818-1873) and the subsequently existing grammar school library. They also contain remains of the libraries from the former Aschaffenburg collegiate monastery of St. Peter and Alexander and the Jesuit College, which was abolished in 1773. In 1967, 7,000 volumes came to the Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg as a gift from the Jesuit convents in Aschaffenburg and Ravensburg. The Hugo Dingler Archive has been managing them as another permanent loan since 1980.

The Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg is subordinate to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library).

Collections owned by the Hofbibliothek Aschaffenburg available on bavarikon


Schloss Johannisburg
Schlossplatz 4
63739 Aschaffenburg
Head of Library: Karin L. Kuhn