Historical Books and Manuscripts in Greifswald

Historical collections

Prayer book, 1515 Photo: University Library Greifswald

Thanks to its history that spans more than four hundred years, the University Library has an extensive historical collection (approx. 110,000 volumes). These include alone 313 incunabula, 5,000 prints dating from the 16th century, nearly 16,000 from the 17th century and 25,000 from the 18th century.
In addition the special collection Historical Books also encompasses approx. 1,600 manuscripts and autographs as well as 25 bequests of particular historico-cultural value.
Also particularly noteworthy is the collection of historical Swedish and Finnish prints. Around half of the collections are in the exclusive possession of the library, i.e. are not available in any other library in the world.

Old University Library

Rubenowstraße 4
17489 Greifswald
Tel.: +49 3834 420 1640
Fax: +49 3834 420 1646

There are approx. 20,000 volumes missing from the collections evacuated during the Second World War. At least some of these can be found in the University Library of Torun. They include the Low German Department (1942 14,300 volumes) and the library of the Greifswald Professor for Metaphysics and Logic Peter Ahlwardt (1710-1791) (over 3,000 volumes) as well as the collection of works of Ernst Moritz Arndt, numerous copper works and maps.

The Pomeranica have a special place in the historical collections. They can be found distributed among the collections.

The historical collections up to 1850 are already listed in full in the OPAC catalogue. The historical collection is indexed in a group system (subject catalogue), which contains all literature up until the year of publication 1959. This scanned subject catalogue is available on the Internet.

Special collections

The library has several special collections, the majority of which were created before 1945. Not all have special shelf marks. Some are simply shelved separately from the rest of the library stock.

The most important special collection is the Wolgast Library. 554 volumes from the original 938 volumes of the former library of the St. Petri Church in Wolgast still exist, as many were destroyed while the works were being evacuated during the Second World War.

The Ernst Moritz Arndt Collection today consists of over 300 different publications and editions of the works of Ernst Moritz Arndt, as well as secondary literature.

The Thorild Collection encompasses 36 editions of the works of Thomas Thorild (real name Thorén).

The collection of personal writings Vitae Pomeranorum encompasses approx. 9,000 prints.

The collection of Newspapers up to the year of publication 1945 includes over 15,000 titles. 

There are 29,500 volumes among the Theses up to the year 1908 and 30,000 as of 1909.

And finally the special collections also include the School and University Writings.