News, interesting facts and stories from over 80 collection portals - we report regularly from our collections.

Ownership stamp "Student library of Cologne"

"OLD STUDENT LIBRARY OF COLOGNE" - what do Cologne students read, interest and move in the interwar period from 1920 - 1940?

This can be clearly seen from the inventory of the old Cologne student library, was founded at the University of Cologne in summer semester of 1920.
User requests were taken into account when selecting the stock.

The collection contains the entire literary diversity of the first half of the 20th century and includes writers who were close to National Socialism or were ostracized by it. The inventory reflects the themes that accompanied student life in Cologne at the time.

We have found yet over 250 books from the old student library in our inventory and assigned them to the new collection.



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November 8, 1942

80 years ago Helene Richter died in the concentration camp Theresienstadt

Helene Richter was an Austrian Anglicist and theater scholar. The private library, which she built up together with her sister Elise, was sold as a distress sale to the USB Cologne in 1942 and is now considered a Nazi-confiscated cultural asset. The library was reconstructed in 2005 as part of the Nazi provenance research, and in the course of restitution an amicable agreement was reached with the heirs living in England in 2014. According to this agreement, the books will remain at the USB Cologne and will thus continue to be available to scholars. In 2009, Dr. Christiane Hoffrath carefully documented and reviewed the history of this library in her publication „Bücherspuren“.

A special find in the library is a typescript by Helene Richter, published in 2011 in our Electronic Series: "Die drei großen Tragödinnen des Burgtheaters im 19. Jahrhundert.", PDF (79MB)

The library of Elise and Helene Richter was one of the first collections in our holdings to have its own collection portal: "Virtuelle Bibliothek Elise und Helene Richter".

Helene Richter: autodidact - anglicist - theater scholar

Like her younger sister Elise, Helene received private lessons. As an autodidact, she devoted herself to English studies and published translations and non-fiction books from 1895. She received honorary doctorates from the universities of Heidelberg and Erlangen, and her hometown named her an "honorary citizen of the city of Vienna."

In March 1938, the University of Vienna revoked the teaching license of her sister Elise Richter, who had habilitated in 1904, and she was banned from libraries. Subsequently, for financial reasons, Elise and Helene Richter sold their library, most of which was sold to the University and City Library of Cologne and the Austrian National Library. In March 1942, they had to move to a Jewish old people's home. From there they were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in October 1942, where Helene died on November 8, 1942.

November 8, 2022

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  • Original image size
    Aus: Paré, Ambroise: Een suyverlijc tractaet, om int corte te handelen enn te genesen alderhande wonden enn quetsuren gedaen met haeckbussenIn, Antwerpen: 1556
  • Original image size
    Aus: Paré, Ambroise: Een suyverlijc tractaet, om int corte te handelen enn te genesen alderhande wonden enn quetsuren gedaen met haeckbussenIn, Antwerpen: 1556
  • Original image size
    Aus: Paré, Ambroise: Een suyverlijc tractaet, om int corte te handelen enn te genesen alderhande wonden enn quetsuren gedaen met haeckbussenIn, Antwerpen: 1556
  • Original image size
    Aus: Paré, Ambroise: Een suyverlijc tractaet, om int corte te handelen enn te genesen alderhande wonden enn quetsuren gedaen met haeckbussenIn, Antwerpen: 1556

Finds from the closed stacks:

Ambroise Paré - Father of French Surgery

At first glance, this is a ghoulishly beautiful Halloween accessory. But then it turns out that we have medical classics in our hands: A Dutch edition of Ambroise Paré's treatise on the treatment of wounds caused by firearms and gunpowder.

Ambroise Paré (* c. 1510, † 1590), was a French surgeon and is still considered a pioneer of modern surgery and the founder of facial prosthetics. After training as a barber, he worked for many years as a military surgeon on the battlefields of Europe, where he treated soldiers, generals and even kings with great success. He developed treatment methods for injuries caused by the new types of firearms that gave soldiers a better chance of survival. He was the first to describe gangrene and design advanced prostheses. But he also made significant advances in other medical fields, such as obstetrics.

Despite his lack of academic training, Ambroise Paré was admitted as maître en chirurgie to the Collège de Saint Côme, the surgical college of the Paris medical faculty, in 1554. Due to his great practical and scientific merits in surgery, he was called the "father of French surgery".

In 1545, Paré published his treatise "La méthode de traicter les playes faictes par hacquebutes et aultres bastons à feu", which is considered a milestone in the history of surgery. Publications written for practical use were often subject to wear and tear, so that only a few copies exist today. And our edition, a Dutch translation from 1556, also shows clear signs of wear. It was printed in Antwerp and belongs to the Gymnasium Library collection. Signature: GBIX+C

October 31, 2022

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October 1, 1901

First report on the discovery of the Waldseemüllerkarte from 1507 appears in Kölnische Volkszeitung

In 1901, the Jesuit priest Josef Fischer found what is probably the only surviving copy of Martin Waldseemüller's world map from 1507 in the Wolfegg castle library near Ravensburg. The name "America" was written on this map for the first time. The find went through the entire world press at that time. Josef Fischer himself, together with Prof. Franz von Wieser, published the volume "Die älteste Karte mit dem Namen Amerika aus dem Jahre 1507, und die Carta marina aus dem Jahre 1516" in 1903. The Austrian scientist Dr. Philipp Schöbi found out that the very first report about the sensational find should have appeared in the Kölnische Volkzeitung and thereupon contacted us. And indeed: Through autoptic research, we discovered the small article:  Tuesday, October 1, 1901, on the third sheet in the evening edition, p. 1, bottom right in the "World and Knowledge" section. Thus, we were able to confirm Mr. Schöbi's assumption, supplement his research result with a scan of the newspaper page and put it in the light of day.

Signatur: ZTG14+A-1901(11.7/8.11)

About the Waldseemüller map or How America got its name

Martin Waldseemüller's 1507 map of the world was the first map to depict a new continent in the West: AMERICA. The map documented the latest geographical discoveries resulting from the Portuguese and Spanish explorations of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Cartographer Waldseemüller relied on data collected by Amerigo Vespucci during his voyages to the New World in 1501-02. In recognition of Vespucci's realization that a new continent had been discovered, Waldseemüller christened it "America." This map is the only known surviving copy of the first edition, of which probably 1,000 were printed. The depiction of the newly discovered American land dimensions changed the European understanding of a world that until then had only known Europe, Asia, and Africa.
(Source: Library of Congress, Digitale Weltbibliothek)

In 2001, the Waldseemüllerkarte was sold to the Library of Congress. Since 2005, it has been part of the UNESCO World Documentary Heritage.
(Source: Wikipedia)


01. Oktober 2022



Exhibition at the Art Station Sankt Peter Cologne, 02.09.-02.10.2022

In September 2022 we will be guests at the Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Köln together with the Kölner Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds.

The exhibition "Wegweiser" arises from the Cologne Jesuit Collection and aims to present the things of the second glance: Five stations tell stories that books in a school library only reveal when you open them - perhaps quite by random.

On our website, the cultural program also features an online exhibition on the "Wegweiser" with interesting background information on the exhibits (in German) >>


September 2, 2022

"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 >>



May 31, 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