"Books on the road" in summer 2022

Some of our book treasures are spending this summer in Münster, Düsseldorf, Arnsberg and Essen. From now on you can also see in the foyer where the book journeys are going. A QR code will take you to the exhibition descriptions.

We are a little proud that our stock is in such demand - and our books are also happy to see something else ...

Books on a journey - loans for museums >>



31. May 2022

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March 8, 2022 - International Women's Day

Mathilde von Mevissen - women's rights activist and co-founder of the Cologne Women's Education Association

Mathilde von Mevissen (1848-1924) was the second eldest of the five Mevissen daughters. As was common in the 19th century, the girls did not receive a well-rounded education. Attendance at a school was replaced by home tutors. "In all knowledge I am a homeopath - have always taken only the very smallest doses," she wrote years later. She discovered ways and means to secretly obtain books from her father's rich library, which was forbidden to the children, in order to quench her thirst for knowledge. As an adult, she was a strong advocate for women's rights (women's vote) and especially for the education and advancement of girls. She was a co-founder of the Cologne Women's Further Education Association, which was founded in 1894. The fact that a girls' high school - the first in Prussia - was opened in Cologne in 1903 was due to her commitment and financial support. She was still alive when this school was named after her in 1923. As a person of merit in the city's history, the city of Cologne honors the memory of Mathilde von Mevissen with a sculpture in the figure program of the City Hall tower.

"Da ich unglücklich war und wohl etwas unterdrückt - Mathilde von Mevissen und die Mädchenbildung"
in: Jahrbuch des Kölnischen Geschichtsvereins ; volume 75, issue 1, page 87-142 ; ISSN 0341-9320 2198-0675, (2004)

To the collection of the Family von Mevissen >>

March 8, 2022

Iceland's books and a beautiful Christmas tradition

In the books of our Cologne Iceland collection you can find traces of former users again and again. In this collection of psalms from 1754, for example, someone has entered a handwritten alphabet including special characters æ, þ and ø (today: ö); in addition, various people have immortalized themselves with names in the volume. In addition to pastor Jón Magnússon from Hvammur, to whom the book probably belonged, we find Jón Helgason and Jón Jónsson, but also the maiden names Ástríður and Þorbjörg. Perhaps these were Pastor Jón's students?

In Iceland, literary tradition has played a major role since the Middle Ages, so many people learned to read and write at an early age. Paper was needed for this! But because there were no paper mills in Iceland for a long time, the raw material was scarce. So books were written on the unprinted sheets.
Today there is enough paper in Iceland and especially in the pre-Christmas period many new books are published. Due to the so-called Christmas book flood (isl. Jólabókaflóð), books have become the traditional Christmas gift (and chocolate!) - perfect for delving into exciting stories in the quiet time between the holidays.

If you would like to learn more about our Islandica collection, take a look at our collection portal >>


December 27, 2021