Top of the literary worldAbout the Institute


The Brenner-Archiv is a research institute at the University of Innsbruck. Being financially supported by the Tyrolean Regional Government - Cultural Department, by the city of Innsbruck and the Province of South Tyrol - Cultural Department, it forms the Tyrolean/ South Tyrolean literary archives as well as nationally oriented literary archives throughout Austria. Its name derives from the cultural journal “Der Brenner”.

The Brenner-Archiv was founded in 1964 on the basis of a contract between the Austrian Government and Ludwig von Ficker (1889-1967), the editor of the journal “Brenner”. In his editorial archives, there was a separated collection of a considerable part of Georg Trakl´s literary estate. It consisted of the manuscripts by the “Brenner” staff and the extensive correspondence by Ludwig von Ficker to personalities from the fields of literature, philosophy and art (among others: Paul Celan, Martin Heidegger, Karl Kraus, Else Lasker-Schüler, Christine Lavant, Rainer Maria Rilke).

In 1979 the Brenner-Archiv was established as a research institute based on a contract between the Austrian Federal Government, the Tyrolean Regional Government and the Leopold Franzens University of Innsbruck. The achievement is particularly a result of unceasing effort on the part of Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Walter Methlagl, who directed the institute till his retirement in 2001.

The archives was one of the first archives in German speaking countries. Methlagl´s method called “3‑Pillars-Model” served as an example for establishing of corresponding institutes in other Austrian states.

In 1997 the “Literaturhaus am Inn” (i.e. House of Literature upon Inn) was set up. On the one side, it deals with public relations of the Brenner-Archiv. On the other hand, it also serves as a special scene for contemporary literature and cultural discussions (design, direction and administration from 1997 to 2000: Dr. Ursula Schneider, Dr. Erika Wimmer; from 1998 to 2004: Dr. Erika Wimmer; direction since 2003: Dr. Anna Rottensteiner / administration since 2004: Kristin Jenny).

Ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Johann Holzner led the institute from 2001 until his retirement in 2013.

Interim management until September 2014 by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sebastian Donat, MA.

On October 2014 has Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrike Tanzer taken over the management of the Research Institute Brenner-Archive.


Due to national and interdisciplinary orientation of the “Brenner”, there were in the course of years acquired some literary estates from the age of Austrian modernism (Karl Kraus, Sidonie Nádherný von Borutin, Leopold Liegler). Except literary estates (among others: Christine Busta, Otto Grünmandl, Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando), the Brenner-Archiv collects also philosophical and theological materials (Ferdinand Ebner, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Wolfgang Stegmüller, Ludwig Wittgenstein), fine arts (Albin Egger-Lienz, Max von Esterle, Erich Lechleitner), materials from the area of music (Josef Matthias Hauer, Günther Andergassen, Robert Nessler, Peter Suitner, Haimo Wisser) and architecture (Paul Engelmann, Adolf Loos).

There is a highly detailed documentation of Tyrolean authors of the 19. and 20. century (Norbert C. Kaser, Franz Kranewitter, Karl Schönherr). Furthermore, the documentation of some personalities from Vorarlberg is available (Max Riccabona)

The archives is even in charge of some materials from so called “Vorlass”, i.e. an estate of a living author (Felix Mitterer, Joseph Zoderer).

The archives further preserves various materials of theatre (e.g. Austrian “Exl-Bühne”) and literary scene (cultural events during “Österreichische Jugendkulturwochen”, Innsbrucker Wochenendgespräche, literary groups of Angelika von Hormann, Ingeborg Teuffenbach).

Meanwhile (2019), the Brenner-Archiv contains about 280 literary estates, partial estates and collections of personal or institutional provenance including thousands of photos of personalities such as Karl Kraus and Georg Trakl. The library comprises about 30.000 books (many of them from the libraries of the preserved literary estates) and over 300 sets of wholly or partially preserved periodicals of historical and contemporary interest.

The Brenner-Archiv has emphasized especially the importance of research since the moment of its establishment, as many research projects have proven (even the completed ones are displayed under the link “Research projects”). Editions with cultural science based comments, literary historical documentations and biographies belong to specific research areas of the “Brenner” research team. In addition to that, there are also theoretical and methodological reflections.  Since 1982, the journal “Mitteilungen aus dem Brenner-Archiv” annually informs about research in the institute as well as about other external more or less relevant research projects. The Brenner-Archiv maintains scientific contacts with numerous Austrian and foreign institutions.

Most importantly, the archival work involves making all the many literary remains accessible for research as well as efforts to complete the collections and gain new ones. Various conservational measures are crucial to preserving the materials collected in the archives for coming generations. This involves both conserving the original materials as well as digitalizing them, so that their preservation is reassured. There are regularly organized meetings, where the work team of the archives (AGA – “Arbeitsgruppe Archiv) discusses and controls standardization and work flow. The team takes also care of the digital archives and puts online original manuscripts, letters and photos along with audiovisual documents and born‑digital materials as well as their related metadata.

As a literary archive, it is for the Brenner-Archiv vital to increase interest in literary historical context within general public. The data base “Literatur in Tirol” (Literature in the Tyrol) is expanded continuously and has already established itself as a reliable search engine. The “Literaturlandkarte Tirol” (literary map of Tyrol) is being developed, which should in future offer guided tours in cooperation with “Literaturhaus am Inn”.

Board of trustees:

Members of the board of the institute are representatives of the Ministry of Science, the University of Innsbruck, the Tyrolean Regional Government and Ludwig von Ficker’s relatives:

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sebastian Donat, M.A., Professor für Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft, Dekan der philologisch-kulturwissenschaftlichen Fakultät an der Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck
  • MinR Mag. Andrea Geisler, Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung
  • C. H. Huber, Autorin, Innsbruck
  • HR Dr. Thomas Juen, Vorstand der Abteilung Kultur im Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung
  • HR. Dr. Christoph Mader (Vorsitzender), ehemals Vorstand der Abteilung Kultur im Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung
  • Dr. Robert Frühstückl, Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung
  • Mag. Dr. Ursula Schneider, Literaturwissenschaftlerin am Forschungsinstitut Brenner-Archiv
  • Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Ulrike Tanzer, Professorin für Österreichische Literatur, Leiterin des Forschungsinstituts Brenner-Archiv
  • Dr. Jutta Wiesmann, Oberärztin i.R., Enkelin von Ludwig von Ficker 


 Photos from the early years of the Brenner-Archiv

Photogallery to anniversary of the Brenner-Archiv - 40 respectivelly 50 years Brenner-Archiv (2004, 2014) - you will find in the "Pressespiegel"


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