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Department of Early Printed Books

The Diez Library

The library of the diplomat Heinrich Friedrich von Diez was acquired in 1817 after his death and comprised about 17,000 printed works and 856 volumes of manuscripts. Diez socialized with the scholars of his time, receiving guests such as Alexander von Humboldt at his table almost every day. Goethe, too, profited from Diez’s scholarly work and corresponded frequently with him in connection with his “West-östlicher Divan”.

In his Last Will and Testament Diez bequeathed his library to the Royal Library in Berlin on condition that it always be kept together as received and that it be shelved separately. Although Diez always stressed that when deciding which books to acquire he gave priority to a book’s utility over its beauty or rarity, he did possess a large number of rare first editions, numerous printed works from the 16th century, and other rarities.

Of course, this library, considered as a whole, is an extremely interesting document of Diez’s times. His original systematic arrangement has been retained until the present day.


Listed in





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


Handschriftenabteilung / Nachlässe