Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek

Ten years ago, in September 2004, a devastating fire broke out at the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek in Weimar (D-WRz). In total, 196,000 books and manuscripts, including music materials, were in the building that burned. 28,000 were spared but 50,000 were completely destroyed. A further 118,000 items sustained damage during the fire. In the ten years since, the library has undergone stages of restoration work. The items that received the least amount of damage were attended to first, and today the conservators are treating the materials that were partly burned. Their work has been recently featured in the German media (on 3sat--see 3:00 for a view of a score--and the Tagesschau) and a current exhibit at the library chronicles the labor-intensive restoration process.



A report was recently published about the state of the library after the fire. The summary about the music materials is as follows, which we are reprinting with kind permission from the library:

“The ducal music collection was especially hard hit by the fire. It originally consisted of almost 3,000 items (ca. 2,200 printed music editions and 800 manuscripts). Of this, 68 items that were especially valuable had been stored elsewhere and remained safe. In the last few years, it has been possible to acquire microfilms of 130 manuscripts and 520 prints that had been created for researchers since the 1960s. These items have been digitized and are available online. This means that about one fifth of the original collection is accessible again. Replacement copies for 60 items could be acquired. During the course of the initial steps taken after the blaze to reconstruct and restore the collection (which included publishing the card catalog with notes about fire damage, loss, and microfilms/copies), it became clear that the volumes that were salvaged from the debris also sometimes contained perfectly readable pages of music. The library hopes that in the coming years, more originals can be identified and restored than originally thought.”



Currently, the RISM online catalog has 246 sources from the Anna Amalia Bibliothek. No doubt some of those were lost in the fire. A catalog of musical works that were lost can be found on the library's website. We are working on incorporating this information into the RISM online database.

Photo credit: The Green Castle that Duchess Anna Amalia turned into the Ducal Library in 1761-66 in the late Baroque style. Here the southwest view in 2004 just before the fire. Photo taken by R. Möhler. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.




Catégorie : Library collections

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