Our historical collection includes hand-written manuscripts, old prints, and graphic designs. Our commitment is to maintain and preserve these rare and priceless items of the library, thus resulting in special conditions and restrictions for their access and use.
For the search in the historical holdings of the Bamberg State Library various proofing instruments are available. Depending on the stock group and the time of acquisition, printed catalogues, online catalogues, databases or brief overviews should be consulted. The deep development of our old stock continues. We are happy to assist you with your research.
The still valid catalogue of manuscripts, developed by the library directors Friedrich Leitschuh and Hans Fischer, was published between 1887 and 1912. Fridolin Dressler completed it in 1966 by recording new entries.
Manuscripts that came before 1966 in the possession of the Bamberg State Library, are listed at:
Leitschuh, Friedrich; Fischer, Hans; Dressler, Fridolin: Katalog der Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Bamberg. Bamberg et al, 1887–1966.
The catalog is accessible online with a full-text search option:
Church fathers and older theologians
Theological authors of the 14th century
Philosophical, scientific and medical manuscripts
Philological, astronomical-mathematical manuscripts, varia with orientalia
Supplements and indices
Manuscripts of the Helleriana
Bamberg collection, appendix: Manuscriptes of Zweibrückner und Marschalk's collection
Miscellany, appendix: Invoices and certificates
Acquisitions since 1912
A printed edition of the catalogue can be found under the entry M 740 in our reading room.
Manuscripts acquired since 1966 can be found in the Msc.Add. short list.This directory also lists the estates, books, and poetry albums acquired since 1966.
Since 1970, the Bamberg State Library has kept 290 manuscripts of the library of the Historical Association as a deposit. They are listed in:
Dengler-Schreiber, Karin: Die Handschriften des Historischen Vereins Bamberg in der Staatsbibliothek Bamberg. Bamberg, 1985.
The catalogue is available online with a full-text search. A printed version of the catalogue can be found in our reading room under M 740-5, and further copies may be borrowed from the Bamberg Catalogue.
The medieval manuscripts of the Bamberg State Library, which are decorated with illuminations, are successively accessible in the catalogue of illuminated manuscripts in the history of art. The descriptions of the manuscripts of the 8th to 14th centuries are already published. The manuscripts of the 15th and early 16th centuries are currently under development as part of a DFG project.
Suckale-Redlefsen, Gude; Pfändtner, Karl-Georg; Westphal, Stefanie: Katalog der illuminierten Handschriften der Staatsbibliothek Bamberg. Wiesbaden, 1995–
Volume 1: The Manuscripts of the 8th to 11th Centuries (2004)
Volume 2: The Manuscripts of the 12th Century (1995)
Volume 3: The Manuscripts of the 13th and 14th Centuries (2015)
Volume 4: The manuscripts of the 15th and early 16th centuries (in progress)
All volumes of the catalogue can be found in our reading room under the signature M 741, further copies can be borrowed via the Bamberg Catalogue.
Facsimiles of manuscripts that are in the Bamberg State Library from our own collection and those of other libraries may be found in the lists below:
For the following manuscripts, there are (partial) facsimiles readily available:
Die Bamberger Apokalypse. Luzern, 2000.
Scriptorum opus: Schreibermönche am Werk. 2. ed. Wiesbaden, 1999.
Das Lorscher Arzneibuch. Stuttgart, 1989.
Die Handschrift Bamberg Lit. 6. Münsterschwarzach, 1986.
Der Bilderschmuck zum Psalmenkommentar des Petrus Lombardus in Bamberg. Wiesbaden, 1986.
Der Bamberger Psalter. Wiesbaden, 1973.
The literary remains of the Bamberg State Library can be found in the printed manuscript catalogue (in the signature group Msc.Misc.), partly in the Msc.Add. short list. Some are further documented in Kalliope. Viewing and inspection is possible upon request, taking into account copyright laws.
A complete record of the approximately 3 500 incunabula (prints from the 15th century) kept in the Bamberg State Library are held only in an internal card catalogue. However, a large part of the collection has already been uploaded to online databases:
GW: Union Catalogue of Incunabula of the Berlin State Library
ISTC: Incunabula Short Title Catalogue of the British Library
INKA: Incunabula catalogue INKA of the Tübingen University Library (partly with descriptions of the specific features)
As part of a DFG project, about 530 incunabula with illuminations are currently being catalogued.
An inventory of printed publications and documents published since 1501 is for the most part recorded in the Bamberg Catalogue. Completely documented are dissertations published since 1800, all current newspapers and magazines, and monographs published since 1925.
Around 90 percent of literature published before 1925 is listed in the Bamberger Catalogue, but a complete directory can be found in completely so far only in internal card catalogues or repertories. If necessary, please contact the staff at the circulation desk.
Only internal directories exist for graphic prints and drawings so far. Please send us an email if you have any questions about our collection.
In addition, a selected compilation, the works by Albrecht Dürer, Lukas Cranach the Elder / the Younger and Hans Holbein the Elder currently digitized as part of a DFG project, scientifically developed and - with the usual library stock - made available to all interested parties.
If you wish to view original manuscripts, incunabula, old prints or graphic prints, we kindly ask you to inform us of your visit at least one week in advance through email, explaining the purpose and background of your request for use.
The directorate grants permission to inspect originals only for projects for a scholarly purpose, provided that their use is reasonable with regards to conservation. Before you start working in the reading room, we will inform you of the conditions for use during a conversation.
An overview of the conditions of use regarding our special collection may be found here.
Through our digital collections you can see reproductions of numerous manuscripts, old prints and graphics. The digitized books are indexed with detailed information and some transcriptions, and linked with further descriptions. Downloads as a PDF or JPG file are usually possible.
Unless otherwise stated, the digital copies already available are under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA 4.0. You may reproduce and redistribute this material, modify the material for any purpose, and build upon it, as long as you cite the Bamberg State Library as the source, specify the signature of the document, and use the same license in case of distribution.
You may request reproductions of special collections items from us. We will gladly inform you about the technical options as well as about the costs incurred and the fees for each release.
Our documentation on research shows academic and popular scholarship published on manuscripts, incunabula, old prints, or graphic prints from the Bamberg State Library and is one of the focal points of the library’s collection. This collection ranges from a footnotes to essays through monographs. On the other hand, publications that use Bamberger manuscripts as illustrations for decorative purposes are not taken into account because they do not refer to the manuscript in the text. This data is kept up-to-date in an offline database and transferred to the online version every twelve months.
Information from the research documentation is available upon request. Please inform us about new publications on our collections. We welcome any sample copies.