Re-Cataloguing of the formerly Donaueschingen manuscripts in the BLB Karlsruhe

The former Donaueschingen Manuscripts in the Baden Regional Library (Badische Landesbibliothek, Karlsruhe, BLB) represent one of the most important collections of medieval historical records in the German language. With 287 volumes, the collection not only contains numerous celebrated medieval manuscripts, but also a variety of 18th and 19th century copies that are of considerable importance for the history of science. In addition to various Southwest German noble libraries which were united through inheritance in the Fürstenberg Court Library Donaueschingen (Fürstlich Fürstenbergische Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen), one of its more outstanding provenances is Joseph von Laßberg’s collection.

In 1998, DFG-sponsored re-cataloguing of the former Donaueschingen manuscripts commenced. In 2011–2013, after an interruption at 2004, the catalogued items were updated, revised and supplemented with new descriptions. This project was conducted at the Centre for Manuscripts at the Leipzig University Library with funding from the BLB Karlsruhe. The cataloguing of the group of literary manuscripts has thus been completed. The proposed project aims to produce a scholarly catalogue of the next section of the collection, manuscripts with theological prose, so that they can take their place within the framework of an in-depth catalogue of the whole collection. In total we are dealing with 72 manuscripts, the majority of which have not been studied, or have only minimally been researched so far. They cover a broad spectrum of the ecclesiastical literature of the late middle ages. Aside from translations of the Holy Scripture, tractates, sermons, exempla, legends and devotional literature, this part of the collection contains an extensive group of prayer books, as well as several Latin manuscripts with the monastic hours.

It is anticipated that the project will bring to light numerous new textual witnesses and spawn codicological results which will not only be of relevance to the study of Medieval German Literary and Language studies, but also to research into the areas of regional, cultural and devotional studies. From what we know so far, it would appear that the collection contains vast stretches of relevant material, especially about the history of women’s monasteries, as well as private devotional practices. The project is conducted in cooperation between the BLB Karlsruhe and Leipzig University Library and is scheduled to run for four years and four months. The cataloguing is to be conducted at the Centre for Manuscripts at Leipzig University Library. The results of the cataloguing process will continuously be published online via Manuscripta Mediaevalia.