International librarians concerned about manuscripts of Baden-Württemberg
Dr Alex Byrne, President of the International Federation of Library
Associations and Institutions (IFLA), expressed dismay when he heard of the
planned sale of the manuscripts of the House of Baden by the provincial
government of Baden-Württemberg.
He said: “The international library and archival community is shocked to
hear of the proposal of the Government of Baden-Württemberg to sell all the
works acquired before 1872 – some 3500 out of a total of 4200 volumes – from
the manuscript collection of the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe.
This incomparable collection includes major treasures taken from monasteries
in 1803 and documents a thousand years of commerce and cultural development
in Europe. It is not only a treasure for Baden-Württemberg and Germany but
part of the world heritage. It must be protected.”
The collection includes prachtmanuscripts, an illuminated Book of Hours
belonging to Archduke Christoph I of Baden (1490), the prayer book of
Susanna von Brandenburg-Ansbach-Kulmbach medieval lectionaries from the
scriptorium of the monastery at Reichenau, and the Gospel of St. Peter (ca.
1200). The majority of manuscripts come from the libraries of monasteries
in the Black Forest, the Upper-Rhine, and Lake Constance and most were
acquired when the monastic libraries were expropriated following
secularisation in 1803. They record the development of religion and society
in the region.
It is understood that the sale is intended to finance the preservation of
the Salem castle, the last castle of the house of Baden, and its ongoing
maintenance. While this is desirable, it must not be done at the expense of
this important collection of manuscripts.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions calls
on the Government of Baden-Württemberg to abandon this proposal and renew
its commitment to the preservation of the history of Baden-Württemberg as
documented in the manuscript collection of the Badische Landesbibliothek.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is
the leading international body representing the interests of library and
information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library
and information profession. http://www.ifla.org.
Dr Alex Byrne, IFLA President, Tel +61 2 9514 1465, Email
Dr Peter Lor, IFLA Secretary General, Tel +31 70 31 40 884, Email