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Department of Early Printed Books

The Collection Libri in membrana impressi

Libri in membrana impressi is the State Library’s collection of works printed on parchment. This is one of its oldest special collections. It, too, shared the fate of other collections during the Second World War. After the War was over only half the original stock of works was able to find their way back to the library from their provisional locations. Today this collection still has 83 items.

Parchment is animal skin (sheep, goat or calve hides) that has been freed of the animal’s hair, cleaned, bated with limestone, smoothed with pumice and then dried while stretched, but not tanned. Due to its smooth, hard and horn like quality, parchment is particularly suitable for colours. Indeed, it is this quality that secured its use right up until the present day. The State Library’s collection of works printed on parchment ranges from the “Theuerdank” of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I up until modern times and also includes the works produced by the Cranach Presse, which was founded in Weimar in 1913. Under the direction of Harry Count Kessler, it manufactured only a few choice books of extraordinary beauty.

Listed in



Abteilung Historische Drucke / Rara-Lesesaal


Abteilung Historische Drucke / Andreas Wittenberg
Abteilung Historische Drucke / Michaela Scheibe