Manuscript Hs. 562

Today the abbey library’s catalogue, which was first published in 1753 under Abbot Philipp Jakob Steyrer to index the holdings and continually updated until around 1774, is the most important reflection of the wealth and organisation of knowledge in the Abbey of Saint Peter in the 18th century.

The Abbey of St Peter’s library catalogue

The abbey library’s catalogue is a top-quality source, even if it does not record all holdings up until the library’s dissolution. The four-part handwritten catalogue, which is bound in light pigskin leather in three folio volumes, decorated with roller stamps and adorned with decorative seals, is currently indexed as Hs. 562 in University Library Freiburg’s holdings.

Until 1774, the catalogue ultimately listed just under 13,000 titles. Looking at the titles and their dates of publication, there were no more entries after 1774. The final creation of the library room in the Abbey of Saint Peter and the systematic acquisition of large parts of the book collection and its indexing in the catalogue are part of Abbot Steyrer’s legacy. Although the collection continued to grow under his successor Abbot Ignaz Speckle (1795–1806), the era of the Baroque abbey and its libraries was over. Today the room and book collection, or at least parts of it, can only be pieced together and reconstructed in our minds thanks to the catalogue. From this perspective, the heritage and preservation of the catalogue is almost more important than many of the individual books from the closed library that have been preserved. In any case, the value of the catalogue as a source, both for the history of the immediate local area and the history of the church and science in southern Germany in the second half of the 18th century, should not be underestimated.

(From: Angela Karasch: Klosterpräsenz nach der Zeit: säkularisierte Büchersammlungen in der Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg (The Presence of the Abbey After It’s Gone: Secularised Book Collections at University Library Freiburg))

Indexing and digitisation project

Since 2010, there have been various projects at University Library Freiburg devoted to indexing the historic catalogue of St Peter. You can find more details about the projects and their objectives here.

University of Freiburg