Collection news since 2017
Jesuit Collection - Searching for traces of scattered objects
250 year old index of Cologne drawings and prints is online!
It was a good idea that Jacob Heyder - a Cologne Jesuit - compiled an inventory of the prints and drawings in the Cologne Jesuit library in 1778 ("Stampe e disegni, che si trovano nel museo del Collegio Tricoronato a Colonia"). For 16 years later, in 1794, Cologne was occupied by French revolutionary troops. In the same year, French commissars began to confiscate cultural objects of the city and to transfer them to Paris, among them parts of the Cologne Jesuit collections. In addition to valuable books, some 27,500 drawings were also taken away, which are still kept in the Louvre in Paris today. There they were roughly systematized and cataloged.
Heyder's list, however, is more finely structured and depicts the collection at an earlier date than the Paris lists - on which some works of art are therefore missing. The Heyder catalog thus remains the central source for reconstructing the collection in Jesuit times. Now it is available online.
We continue to work on reconstructing the Jesuit Library virtually. You can read what we have discovered so far and what we are still looking for on the Jesuit Portal at: "The scattered collection" >
October 19, 2021
Reference date 14 September 1321
700 years ago Dante Alighieri died in Ravenna
It is not entirely certain exactly when Dante Alighieri, Italy's most famous poet, was born in 1265. What is certain, however, is that he died in Ravenna on September 14, 1321 - 700 years ago today - and that with his Divine Comedy he turned Italian into a literary language.
On the occasion of the Dante anniversary, Dr. Cristina Dondi of Oxford University asked us to participate in the Polonsky Foundation and MEI/CERL project. Here, all copies of a particular Dante edition of "La Commedia" from 1481 are to be recorded. In addition to our copy, some 172 volumes from other libraries are listed with their specific provenances, such as handwritten entries. This allows historians to trace the spread and history of this particular edition as a whole and see the path it has taken through Europe and the centuries.
In our Digital Dante Collection, whose basic stock of about 900 volumes goes back to the private collector Wilhelm Reiners, you will of course find numerous original-language Dante editions and Dante letters, but also commentaries, research reports, biographical works, and literature about the Renaissance. We are constantly expanding this Dante collection, incidentally one of the most comprehensive in Germany, with new acquisitions.
To the MEI entry of our Commedia edition from the year 1481 >>
September 14, 2021
Start date July 29, 2021
436.000 pages on Rhineland and German history can now be accessed online
Search the "Kölnische Zeitung" in full text from 1803-1945
The "Kölnische Zeitung" is one of the most important national German newspapers of the 19th and 20th centuries.
This newspaper is known beyond the Rhineland and currently the only OCR-enabled newspaper at zeitpunkt.nrw .
The University and City Library of Cologne and the University and State Library digitised the newspaper as part of a two-year DFG project (July 2019 - May 2021).
The cooperation partner was the Institut für Zeitungsforschung in Dortmund.
The gap filling has been supported so far by:
- the Abteilung für Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit und Rheinischen Landesgeschichte der Universität Bonn
- the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
- the Institut für Zeitungsforschung in Dortmund
- the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Münster
- the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf.
A total of approx. 436,000 pages have been scanned in Cologne and Düsseldorf from the years 1803 - 1945. Issues still missing from the last six months of the newspaper (October 1944 to the beginning of April 1945) are to be added gradually.
July 29, 2021
Collection launch 24 June 2021
Donation of the collector Immo Mikloweit to the automobile history in Cologne is now online!
As early as 1877, the first steam-powered motor vehicle rattled through Cologne, followed by the first gasoline-powered vehicle in 1888. After the turn of the century, a short period of electric drive followed; the first cabs and also the first Cologne ambulance and post van drove with electric drive (!).
The car expert Mikloweit researched the history of automobile manufacturing in Cologne and published his knowledge in numerous publications.
Learn more about the Collection Immo Mikloweit >>
On this day, May 1, 1906
115 years ago, the first German-New Zealand phrasebook for tourist travel was published. We would like to celebrate this small anniversary because Heinrich Erkes (1864-1932), one of our former library colleagues, was the author of the travel dictionary.
With approximately 10,000 titles, we now maintain an Islandica collection that is unique in the German-speaking world. The foundation for this was the private collection of Heinrich Erkes with about 4500 titles, which he donated to the USB in 1920.
The merchant, social democrat and librarian (at the newly founded University and City Library of Cologne) systematically collected books, newspapers, magazines and maps from and about Iceland. 232 book titles of which were published before 1800, such as a print of the first Icelandic Bible from 1584 or various editions of the Edda sagas. Erkes created an alphabetical handwritten catalog in addition to a card catalog, the original of which is now in the National Library in Reykjavik. We own a copy of the catalog and have digitized it.
Furthermore, we acquire current Icelandica literature and thus continuously expand the collection's holdings.
- Heinrich Erkes: Kurzer Deutsch-Neuisländischer Sprachführer mit Grammatik und Wörterverzeichnis, 1906, Library shelfmark: L36/355.
Browse directly in the language guide language guide >>
- Heinrich Erkes: Katalog der Islandsammlung, [um 1930], Library shelfmark: 5P411.
- Zur Sammlung Islandica >>
Launch of the Virtual Jesuit Collection Cologne on 21. May 2021 - a LAM project (Library, Archive, Museum) of the ULC Cologne.
„Lieber ein Kollegium ohne eigene Kirche als ein Kollegium ohne eigene Bibliothek“
"Better a college without its own church than a college without its own library"
This was the attitude of Petrus Canisius (1521-1597), a Dutch Jesuit who had a decisive influence on the beginnings of the Jesuits north of the Alps.
From 1556 - 1773, the Cologne Jesuit order had both: St. Mary's Assumption, the collegiate church located on Marzellenstraße, and the collegiate library, also housed there, which, among other things, supplied the Tricoronatum (Dreikönigsgymnasium) with school literature.
Today, this library is scattered among the 40,000-volume Gymnasium library. Thanks to the support of the Cologne Gymnasium and Foundation Fund (GSF), we have now been able to reconstruct part of this library in a collection portal.
For this purpose, our three-member "Jesuit Team", consisting of a doctoral student, a graduate librarian and a student assistant, searched the holdings of the Gymnasialbibliothek set up at our premises for books from the Jesuit Library and presented the results of their work to the Cologne Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds on April 21, 2021. Examination by autopsy provides answers to questions such as, "Which books were obtained for study and teaching?" or even "Which books were not allowed to be kept in the school library?"
In addition, the ownership entries present in the volumes provide valuable information about the relations of the Cologne Jesuits with their brethren in other European countries. A catastrophe for the Jesuits, but an opportunity for today's research, is the library fire of 1621, which made it necessary to rebuild the book collection.
Other project partners funded by the GKF are the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud and the Chair of Early Modern History. Together, we pursue the goal of researching and describing the Jesuit collections.
Before the project funding by the Cologne Grammar School and Foundation Fund ends in 2022, the collection will be supplemented with drawings and prints from the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum.
To the Jesuit Collection Cologne >>
Learn more about the LAM project of the USB Cologne >>
On this day, 04 April 2021
Fire of the Cologne Jesuit Library 400 years ago. In the same year, the Jesuits started the rebuilding of their library, which they again housed in buildings on Marzellenstrasse.
The Jesuits had been resident in Cologne since 1544/45 and had run the Gymnasium Tricoronatum (Three Kings' Gymnasium) since 1556. As in all their branches, they also built up a library here.
On Palm Sunday 1621, many books fell victim to a fire, but fortunately some were preserved (see picture on the left). According to the sources, the Jesuits could not save a single book, because the fire had been smoldering for two hours before it was noticed. According to this, the preserved books just happened to be in other rooms of the college. The new library remained even after the dissolution of the Jesuit Order in 1773. The French moved some of the valuable books to Paris and used the rest for the library of the new École Centrale. Later, the "Gymnasialbibliothek" became the property of the newly founded Cologne Gymnasial- und Stiftungsfonds. Today it is on permanent loan in our stacks.
80th anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hilferding
On February 11, 1941, Rudolf Hiferding died as a result of severe torture in the Gestapo prison in Paris.
Rudolf Hilferding was born in Vienna in 1877 to a Jewish family. He studied medicine there and also worked on social, national economic and financial issues. In 1923 and from 1928-29 he was finance minister in Berlin.
In 2011, 700 volumes of his library were added to our collection, where they are stored and can be searched in a separate collection portal and also via the USB portal. The cataloging of the books also included the listing of provenances, so that dedications by prominent party comrades such as August Bebel and Karl Kautsky, but also by friends of Hilferding such as René Schickele, are listed in the Cologne provenance portal. Bibliothek Rudolf Hilferding >>
Kölner Provenienzportal >>
January 3, 2021
Luther's expulsion from the church 500 years ago
On January 3, 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated. Prior to this, in 1520, he received the "Bulla apostolica contra errores Martini Lutheri et sequacium," a threat of excommunication from Pope Leo X. A papal bull - or bull for short - is the term used for documents that announce important legal acts of the pope. In December 1520, a book burning took place in Wittenberg, where volumes of Canon Law, the confessional manual of Angelus de Clavasio, and other volumes were thrown into the flames. Luther burned a print of the Bull of Banishment in the process. Then, on January 3, 1521, he received the Bull of Banishment and was excommunicated. The excommunication and his main reformatory writings made Luther famous throughout the empire. Among other factors, modern printing helped Luther achieve his extraordinary publishing success.
In the Gymnasium Library, we have one copy each of the threat of excommunication (AD+S593) and the actual excommunication (AD+S96), which you can now browse in full text.
Portrait of Martin Luther from the workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1528, Luther House Wittenberg Collection
Portrait of Pope Leo X, painting by Raphael, c. 1518-1519, Florence, Uffizi Gallery
The Wallraf library in YouTube video
How did the library of the Cologne "arch-citizen" Ferdinand Franz Wallraf (1748-1824) get into the University and City Library of Cologne? And what happens today to his historically valuable books?
While Wallraf lacked the financial means for the necessary care of the collection during his lifetime, his library is in a dilapidated state 200 years later. But thanks to the support of the federal government, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Cologne, as well as private book sponsorships, his library is now being completely renovated and restored.
Our colleagues in the bookbinding department have been securing badly damaged volumes for several years now. With the initial cleaning, damage assessment and reordering of the approximately 10,000 volumes, they are performing a veritable tour de force that is being carried out in addition to the current work. But it is worth the effort: the inventory is being protected and restored and ownership notes are becoming visible which provide important evidence for our provenance research. The virtual reconstruction of the Cologne Jesuit Library (German), for example, profits enormously from the preparatory work of the bookbindery.
The rescue operation has become part of the daily work in our bookbindery and requires precision, expertise and staying power. But see for yourself: "A tour de force with sensitivity : The restoration of the Wallraf Library".
Our thanks go to the multimedia team of the Press and Communication Department of the University of Cologne, with whose help this video was created!
Cologne coin portal
Coin gift for the Institute of Classical Studies
Gunther Schodlok, a coin collector from Lower Saxony has donated more than 3,500 antique coins to the Institute of Classical Studies. The joy about the donation is all the greater because the collector "made a targeted attempt to fill the gaps in our collection through acquisitions," says Dr. Angelo Geissen, former curator of the Cologne coin collection. Schodlok's collection also contains one of the last coins from the time of Queen Cleopatra.
You can read more about the donation and its impact on numismatic research at the University of Cologne in the Cologne University Magazine: Münzschenkung der Superlative (German) >>
Soon the "new" coins will also be researchable in the Cologne coin portal (German). The coin portal was created in 2013 in close cooperation with Dr. Gregor Staab, the curator of the coin collection at the Institute of Classical Studies and the USB. The portal software was developed at the USB. We were able to advise and support the Institute in the registration of these special collection objects.
100th anniversary of Max Bruch
The Cologne-born composer and conductor died in Berlin on October 2, 1920.
This is an occasion for us to refer to the Max Bruch Archive of the Musicological Institute of the University of Cologne: The archive holds approximately 7,200 letters from and to Max Bruch. Bruch himself has compiled a large part of his correspondence with fellow musicians, music institutions, friends and family members in 17 volumes, some of which are annotated, titled and bound. This correspondence provides an overview of his extensive network. To listen to his work here the violin concerto Scottish Fantasy op. 46 (YouTube)
Our services for Cologne University Collections include advice on the acquisition of extraordinary collection material as well as the technical realization and support of the Max Bruch Archive (German).
27.09.2020: Books on a journey
Loans to museums in 2020
Because of Corona, exhibitions, which were also supposed to show a selection of our books, had to be cancelled or rescheduled. But now museums are opening their doors again.In the context of the touring exhibition "History of Things", for example, eight museums will present the topic of provenance research one after the other. On 27.09.2020 the exhibition opening will take place in the Kreismuseum Wewelsburg. We are represented there with three loans from the "Virtual Library Elise and Helene Richter".
An overview of all current journeys of our books can be found here >>
20.12.2019: New portal for the collection " Old books on art - Incunabulum until the year 1920"
Digitised publications from the virtual KunstBibliothek Köln (KuBi)
The collection contains source works for art historical research from the genres of fine arts, sculpture, architectural architecture, photography, graphics, applied arts and painting.
You will find publications by scientists, artists and writers, folders, illustrated books and collections of prints from individual centuries.
10.12.2019: New Publication - "Homage to Hittorff"
from our collection Jakob Ignaz Hittorff
Gare du Nord, Place de la Concorde, the famous blue street signs in Paris - all this is part of the work of the Cologne-born architect Jakob Ignaz Hittorff. Only drawings still exist of his festive decorations and interiors. The furnishings made according to his designs, such as tables and cupboards, are kept in museums. In other words, Hittorff's estate is scattered and objects, files, pictures, books and letters are still being discovered and researched today.In this memorial book, curators from museums, archives and libraries in Cologne and Paris have the opportunity to speak and give an insight into the diversity of the existing Hittorff legacy.
12.11.2019: New portal for the collection
The collection "Bibliothek Belgisches Haus" online for the first time
In 2016, the Belgian State gave us the library of the "Belgian House". This enabled us to expand our holdings of literature on and from Belgium by approximately 5,000 volumes. All books can now be researched and borrowed. In the collection portal you will find non-fiction books on Belgium's geography and history, crime novels such as Georges Simenon's "Maigret", but also publications by Belgian institutions such as the "Palais des Beaux-Arts" in Brussels.
09.10.2019: Farewell to Eduard Prüssen
At the beginning of October we received the sad news that Eduard Prüssen, graphic artist and book illustrator died on 2.10.2019 in Cologne.
Mr. Prüssen was closely connected with us via the Cologne Library Society and already presented us with a large part of his complete oeuvre as an estate in 2010.
We lost a generous patron and a good friend whom our colleagues were very fond of. The list of his works has been published by USB as an e-book and print edition.
Eduard Prüssen's "Kölner Köpfe" were published by us in 2010 as a special publication (German). To the collection portal (German) >>
75 years ago the Icelandic Jesuit priest and writer Jón Sveinsson - called "Nonni" - died in Cologne.
With his autobiographical youth novels he succeeded in "awakening an Icelandic consciousness in the world".
Thanks to our extensive Islandica collection we have a special interest in "Nonni" and want to draw attention to him here. For example with the biography "Father Jón Sveinsson" by Gunnar F. Gudmundsson, which appeared in 2017 in our series of publications and hardly leaves an unanswered question about the exciting life of the Icelander.
The Nonni-Fanclub Deutschland is taking the 75th anniversary of his death as the occasion for the exhibition "Nonni - ein Isländer am Rhein" in St. Maria Magdalena and Lazarus-Kapelle auf Melaten, where Jón Sviensson found his final resting place.
The association warmly invites you to visit the exhibition! Read more >>
02.08.2019: Cologne dissertations before 1800 online
The moment when you are invited to the test ...
... is just as exciting today as it was 200 years ago. Would you like to know what topics were researched at that time and who did their doctorate at the Old University? Then browse over 400 dissertations online. In addition to the scientific-historical benefits, you get an insight into Cologne's biographical research.
Digital dissertations of the Old University of Cologne from the 17th and 18th centuries - our contribution to UNIVERSITY JUBILEE 2019. Read more >>
22.07.2019: Johannes Fastenrath is online
¡Interesante para los romanistas!
Now you can search more than 2000 titles of the Library Johannes Fastenrath (* 3. May 1839 in Remscheid; † 16. March 1908 in Cologne)!
Who was Johannes Fastenrath?
At the end of the 19th century, the Cologne-based lawyer, writer and translator was regarded as a cultural mediator between Germany and Spain. He translated Spanish works into German and published in Madrid, for example, the six-volume "La Walhalla y las glorias de Alemania", a collection of essays designed to bring Spaniards closer to personalities of German history and culture. For his work, he received awards in Spain, such as the Honorary Citizenship of the City of Seville or the Knight's Cross of the Spanish Crown. In 1900 he brought the tradition of the Barcelona Flower Games - a poetry competition - to Cologne, where they took place until 1914 in the Gürzenich.
Until 2002, the "Premio Fastenrath" was awarded to Spanish poets in Spain by the Real Academie Española. Read more >>
02.07.2019: Restoration of the Wallraf Library
Wallraf - The "Collector"
The library of Ferdinand Franz Wallraf is in a dilapidated state. Our book sponsorship program 2018 "Wallraf's Books" was very successful, but about 5000 more volumes urgently need to be restored or passively preserved. This cannot be achieved with private donations only. But rescue is at hand: the Wallraf Library is to be renovated and restored with federal and state funding.
Martin Stankowski's "Alternative City Guide" has contributed to a new view of the city of Cologne and its history. With his work, the author, journalist and cabaret artist has also built up a private library, which is now publicly accessible in the UCL Cologne.
On 4 April 2019, Martin Stankowski will present selected books from his collection in conversation with Professor Dr. Jürgen Wilhelm.
In 2011 the UCL received the library of the Cologne university professor Hans Engländer. Engländer didn't just collect valuable books, but also used them intensively and made them available to his students. The English Library is now mostly searchable online and accessible to students again today. In this way we are fulfilling a great wish of the collector.
In 1994 Engländer received a great honour: a newly discovered Malagasy frog species was given its name "Boophis englaenderi".
(Photo: Courtesy of Glaw & Vences 2007: A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar, third edition. | Source: Stefan R. Sudmann: In memoriam Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Engländer, 2011)
The new collection portal contains original English, French and Italian editions of sociology, many of them in their first edition. The titles are entirely accessible via OCR.
Lieben auch Sie Bücher? Dann helfen Sie uns, den reichen Schatz alter Bücher zu bewahren! 2018/19 steht der Fokus "Patenschaft" auf der Gelehrtenbibliothek von Ferdinand Franz Wallraf.
We do not only lend scientific literature. With the library of our former deputy director Dr. Gernot Gabel, more than 3500 fiction classics, illustrated by renowned book artists, have arrived our house.
Look forward to Charles Dickens and Herman Melville, but also to children's books such as Philip Ardagh's "Schlimmes Ende".
September 30, 2018
Recently, our dissertations and postdoctoral theses from 1850 to 1945 from the University of Wrocław have become fully searchable in the new collection portal "Wrocław Dissertations".
Uniwersytet Wrocławski is a partner university of the University of Cologne, an impulse for the implementation of this project.
September 15, 2018
Search newspapers from 1800 - 1945 from the Rhineland and Westphalia for free!
We support the state project led by the ULB Bonn with approx. 330 master films of 8 local newspapers.
Cologne provenance portal
June 8, 2018: Provenance research at the USB Cologne
Many books in our historical holdings and collections belonged to individuals and/or institutions before they came into our possession. Handwritten ownership entries, bookplates, stamps, supralibros, and other features have often survived. We research these provenances and add the identified information to our research portal. However, you can also research all recorded provenances at a glance in the Cologne provenance portal >>
Exhibits for museums from the library of the former mayor of Cologne
April 26, 2018
In 2018, we were represented in two special exhibitions with loans from our Hermann Heinrich Becker Library:
- The major state exhibition on Karl Marx: In 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the "Communist Manifesto". We are pleased to have been able to contribute one of the rare original editions of the Manifesto, as well as the Rheinische Zeitung from 1842 - with personal notes by Karl Marx - to the Trier exhibition. Both volumes come from the library of the "red" Becker.
- 1877 saw the first meeting of the Intern. Verein gegen Verunreinigung der Flüsse, der Erde und der Luft (Association against Pollution of Rivers, Soil and Air) in Cologne: This was necessary in the "Age of Coal" - you can read about the aims of the association and the course of its first meetings in the "Verhandlungen des Internationalen Vereines gegen Verunreinigung der Flüsse, des Bodens und der Luft/1.1877 ". RHPER700-1.1877
02.02.2018: Neues Sammlungsportal - Bibliothek Rudolf Hilferding
Der Sozialdemokrat Rudolf Hilferding war Arzt, Ökonom, Pazifist, Publizist, Parteigenosse von August Bebel und Karl Kautsky. Er war Finanzminister in der Weimarer Republik und starb 1941 unter ungeklärten Umständen in dem Pariser Gestapo-Gefängnis La Santé.
Seine Bibliothek ist im Sammlungsportal "Bibliothek Rudolf Hilferding" vollständig recherchierbar.
NEUE DISSERTATION - mit Quellenmaterial aus dieser Sammlung:
Lewerenz, Susann: Geteilte Welten, Köln: Böhlau, 2017.
Zugl.: Hamburg, Univ., Diss., s.a. Inhaltsverzeichnis