Collection news

Interesting facts and news from 82 collection portals

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  • Original image size
    Part of the west facade: between the north and south towers, the crossing tower with the Star of Bethlehem on its top peeks out in the background.
  • Original image size
    The 4th delivery of the "Ansichten, Risse und einzelne Theile des Doms von Köln : mit Ergänzungen nach dem Entwurf des Meisters, nebst Untersuchungen über die alte Kirchen-Baukunst und vergleichenden Tafeln der vorzüglichsten Denkmale"
  • Original image size
    The west facade in the general view ...
  • Original image size
    ... and in detail: To estimate the proportions, people are shown next to and in front of the cathedral
  • Original image size
    This is how the cathedral looked at the end of the 300-year interruption in construction in the early 1820s.
  • Original image size
    Cologne's trademark for centuries: the crane on the unfinished cathedral

Brilliant marketing in the 19th century

or How an Art Collector pushed for the Finishing of Cologne Cathedral

A story to set the mood for Advent:

Sulpiz Boisserée (*1783 †1854), a Cologne art collector, historian and one of the main initiators of the completion of the cathedral in the 19th century, dreamed of the finishing of the cathedral as early as 1808 and began to make drawings of the existing components. After finding one half of the revised medieval facade plan 8 years later, he published his "Ansichten, Risse und einzelne Theile des Doms von Köln ..." starting in 1821, exactly 200 years ago. A series of copperplate engravings after drawings by Angelo Quaglio, Friedrich Schinkel and Georg Moller, among others. For the spire of the crossing tower, Boisserée planned a star as a symbol for the shrine of the Three Kings, which, after several changes of location, is now located behind the high altar.

The drawings showed what the cathedral might one day look like - an excellent means of spreading an idea and literally showing his contemporaries the goal. Boisserée's plan worked and with his publication he triggered a nationwide enthusiasm for the construction of the cathedral, which at that time had been interrupted for almost 300 years.

Boisserée's work in our collection: The 3rd delivery from 1823 is in the collection Jacob Ignaz Hittorff >> and the complete edition in our collection focus Rheinland >>

November 26 2021


Project "Saving the Wallraf Library

in the KEK exhibition "Original conservation in perspective"

The KEK celebrates its 10th birthday and project "Save the Library of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf" is part of its exhibition "Original conservation in Perspective"!

What does KEK mean! - KEK is short for "Koordinierungsstelle für die Erhaltung des schriftlichen Kulturguts" (Coordination Office for the Preservation of Written Cultural Heritage). It was founded in Berlin in 2011 to support archives and libraries in the protection of written cultural assets and to coordinate work across state and divisional borders.

The CEC is now documenting its work with an online exhibition. Using 10 objects, it shows how diverse our written cultural property is: the spectrum ranges from books made of wax to GDR posters from 1948-1961 to the first e-mail received in Germany in 1984.

We are represented there with the library of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf. Because when Wallraf dies, the city of Cologne inherits his estate:
"... As heiress of my entire estate [...] I appoint the city and municipality of Cologne, my hometown." Thanks to his decree, Wallraf's library became the foundation of our holdings. During the Second World War, his library had to be moved to a monastery cellar. The damp indoor climate led to considerable inventory damage, which has now been permanently secured in the BKM special program (Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien = Federal Government for Culture and Media) from 2018 to 2020.

KEK-Exhibition >>

Detailed information on the project "Saving the Library of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf" can be found here:
Teil I - Teil II - Teil III

To the collection portal "Bibliothek von Ferdinand Franz Wallraf" >>

November 9, 2021

All Saints' Day 2021 - The death note collection in a new design and with a new function

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

You may be familiar with this: on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, people commemorate the deceased through prayers and special grave decorations.
But does the expression death notes (Totenzettel) also mean something to you? In the beginning they were distributed to the mourners at the funeral mass, later they were also mailed or published in newspapers.
Over the centuries, of course, the content and design changed - in the 18th and 19th centuries, for example, the phrase "Jesus! Maria! Joseph!" often introduced the death note text. Depending on the style, detailed descriptions of the circumstances of life and death followed, which makes the death notes an informative source for genealogists and family researchers.
We have assembled a collection of more than 14,000 death notes in the USB. Now it appears in a new design and with the additional register "Provenience". All citizens who send us death notes are listed there. Of course, we continue to collect so that the database grows continuously. Have you kept any death notes and would like to see them safely preserved?  Then we would be happy to add them to our collection, digitize them and keep the originals safe! You can send us the death notices to:

Cologne University and City Library

Universitäts- und Stadtbibliothek Köln
Universitätsstraße 33
50931 Köln

Zur Totenzettelsammlung >>

November 1, 2021