Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

When the Kurfürstliche Bibliothek was founded, manuscripts already formed part of the library’s collections. Its first librarian was Johann Raue (1610-1679), Professor at the Joachimsthalsche Gymnasium in Berlin and School superintendent of the March of Brandenburg. In 1668 he created the first "Catalogus Manuscriptorum", in which he described the manuscripts according to their shelving ("Repositories"). Head librarian Friedrich Wilken (1777-1840) then rearranged the manuscript holdings according to literature and language sections, later also with regards to their provenance. Shelfmarks were assigned which indicate the different sections (e.g., Ms. boruss., Ms. germ., Ms. lat., Ms. Phill.). Oriental and music manuscripts are not part of the collections of the Manuscripts Department. These materials are held by the Oriental Department, founded in 1918, and the Music Department, founded in 1825, respectively.

For first information on all our Western manuscripts please consult our “Signaturenübersicht” (conspectus of shelfmarks). It provides information on the current depository and availability of a manuscript as well as links to digitized items and online-descriptions. For a growing number of our manuscripts you can get information on their content, dating, provenance and physical description. The service also includes references to printed catalogues and links to digitized catalogues of our manuscript holdings.