Maps, Prints and Drawings

The collection of fine art prints, drawings and maps – which includes many items with regional subjects such as views of Franconian places and coats of arms – is varied and diverse. The extensive collection of broadsides includes 70 rare 15th-century prints, which are documented in incunabula databases.

Prints and Drawings

Today, there are around 80,000 sheets in the extensive collection of prints and drawings. Like the history of the Bamberg State Library itself, this collection also reflects the interests of its patrons. Immediately after the dissolution of the monastery and collegiate libraries and their merger with the former university library during the Bavarian secularization of 1802/03, various private patrons enriched the collection of the then-Royal Library.

The initial collection of copperplate engravings, etchings, and woodcuts, which mainly came from religious institutions, grew significantly through private donations. Around 50,000 sheets of today’s collection go back to the legacy of the Bamberg art scholar and collector Joseph Heller (1798–1849), who maintained close ties to the library throughout his lifetime and named it in his will as the sole heir to his collection. All in all, this is composed of heterogeneous sections and is partly organized according to genres (topographical views, historical views of buildings and places, portraits) and partly according to artists or schools. In many cases, the focus was on the thematic relationship to his hometown Bamberg. An impressive group of just under 100 woodblocks, iron and copper plates is to a great extent due to the collecting interests of Heller and the former library director Heinrich Joachim Jaeck.

The peculiarity that Heller's estate was handed over in its entirety to the library after the collector's death, led to the preservation of the cross-genre and cross-material intertwining of its individual components. This was the starting point for a research project in the course of which Heller’s collection structure is being digitally reconstructed on a selected range of items. The results are made available to interested users online.

Beyond items from the so-called Helleriana, the collection of prints and drawings includes groups with different thematic focus, e.g. political caricatures, illustrated pamphlets or proclamations especially of the 19th century, which partly go back to the donations of Freiherr Emil Marschalk von Ostheim (1841–1903). There are also numerous armorial wall calendars for institutions from all over Germany as well as broadside theses of the 17th and 18th centuries from Catholic universities, colleges and other educational institutions.

Through donations and special acquisitions, the collection of prints and drawings grew significantly in the 19th and 20th centuries, both with respects to fine arts as well as more modern materials such as photographs, postcards, and posters. In 1963, the collection of prints and drawings of the Bamberg Historical Society became integrated into the State Library as a deposit.


Schemmel, Bernhard: Auserlesene Schrift-Bilder. Zu einer Sammlung von Schreibmeisterblättern der Staatsbibliothek Bamberg. In: Manfred von Arnim (ed.): Festschrift Otto Schäfer. Stuttgart, 1987, pp. 131–161 (catalogue).

Schemmel, Bernhard: Die Graphischen Thesen- und Promotionsblätter in Bamberg. Wiesbaden, 2001 (catalogue).

Heinritz, Reinhard (Hrsg.): Dürer und die Literatur. Bilder, Texte, Kommentare. Bamberg, 2001 (catalogue).

Todendantz. Totentanz-Literatur und -Illustrationen. Düsseldorf, 2003 (catalogue).

Biller, Josef H.: Calendaria Bambergensia. Bamberger Einblattkalender des 15. bis 19. Jahrhunderts von der Inkunabelzeit bis zur Säkularisation. Weißenhorn, 2018 (catalogue).

Ehrl, Franziska; Juntunen, Eveliina: Joseph Heller und die Kunst des Sammelns. Ein Vermächtnis im Herzen Bambergs. Bamberg, 2020 (digitized version).

Topographical Views and Maps

Items with topographical motifs include views of Franconian landscapes, places, houses, and the countryside in local and foreign publications mainly from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century.

In addition to atlases and bound collections of maps, a significant number of unbound single-sheet maps are available, most of them from the 19th century. Among the older maps, which date back to the 17th century, there are numerous prints from Nuremberg and Augsburg. Card supplements from newspapers, periodicals, and monographs as well as special maps of battlefields and geographical expeditions have also been collected and preserved separately.


Schemmel, Bernhard: Karl Theodor von Buseck (1803–1860). Fränkische Ansichten. Bamberg, 1985 (catalogue).

Schemmel, Bernhard: Die Ingenieur- und Zeichenakademie des Leopold Westen und ihre Entwicklung 1794–1833. In: Buch und Bibliothek in Bamberg. Bamberg, 1986, pp. 299–378 (digitized version).

Schemmel, Bernhard: Die Entdeckung der Fränkischen Schweiz im Spiegel der Graphik. Bamberg, 1988 (digitized version).