Historical book

Historical Collections at the University and State Library of Tyrol

In regardless of its relatively young age, today's University and State Library Tyrol (ULB Tyrol), founded in 1745 as Bibliotheca publica Theresiana, has extensive, broadly diversified and high-quality historical collections with about 70,000 items. This cultural heritage includes medieval and modern manuscripts, early prints, printed books from the 16th to 18th centuries, Tyrolean prints from before 1850, as well as an extensive collection of prints from the 15th to 18th centuries named after the first director of the library, Anton Roschmann, including hand drawings by Tyrolean artists - mainly from the 17th century - and a collection of bindings and fragments. Maps and globes are also included.

The history of the collections is closely linked to the many church and private libraries in Tyrol, which date back to the Middle Ages and were once an integral part of the cultural landscape of the region. A basis of just over 12,000 volumes was laid with the acquisition of books from the royal court on the occasion of the founding of the library. Approximately one third each of this consists of parts of the library of Archduke Ferdinand II at Ambras Palace, duplicates from the Vienna Court Library or gifts from Empress Maria Theresa, and from both Innsbruck Court Libraries.

A first major expansion of the collection took place in the course of the abolition of the Jesuit order (1773) and the incorporation of books from the libraries of the colleges in Innsbruck and Hall. Their holdings were characterized by the diversity of the fields of knowledge represented. A further rapid expansion of the holdings resulted from the abolition of more than 20 monasteries for men and women in Tyrol under Emperor Joseph II. Although not the largest, the most important of these dissolved libraries was that of the Allerengelberg Charterhouse in Schnals. From the collegiate monastery of San Candido, which was also abolished, the ULB Tyrol obtained only very few books, but among them one of its most valuable objects, namely a late Carolingian Gospels ("Innicher Evangeliar") with full-page author's pictures and initial pages. This oldest manuscript found in Tyrol was probably written in the Lake Constance area at the beginning of the 10th century. The abolition of the monasteries and convents that had been spared under Joseph II, which was accompanied by the administrative integration of Tyrol into the Kingdom of Bavaria (1806-1814), brought the library a last major expansion of valuable books for the time being.

Quite extensive additions to the historical collections followed later in the 19th and in the first half of the 20th century through several legacies and bequests. These included entire libraries of scholars, even though their quality was not as good as the acquisitions described above. An exception is the famous "Liederhandschrift B" of Oswald von Wolkenstein from 1432, which Emperor Franz Joseph I gave to the library in 1889 as a permanent loan. The most recent and, with some 33,000 volumes, most remarkable increase in the collection took place in the first decade of the 21st century with the acquisition of the library of the Ritter von Waldauf'schen Foundation in Hall and the Historical Library of the Innsbruck Servite Convent.



Main library
Innrain 50, 2nd floor
6020 Innsbruck

T: +43 512 507 2435
E: ulb-sosa@uibk.ac.at 

The historical collections can be used in the reading room of the Historical Collections.

Historical Collections of the University and State Library of Tyrol

Scientific management

OR Mag. Peter Zerlauth
T: +43 512 507 2425
E: peter.zerlauth@uibk.ac.at

Literature on the collection

Neuhauser, W.: Die Geschichte der Handschriftensammlung der UB Innsbruck, in: Ders. (Hg.): Beitrage zur Handschriftenkunde und mittelalterlichen Bibliotheksgeschichte. Referate der 7. Tagung österreichischer Handschriftenbearbeiter in Innsbruck/Neustift (Südtirol), Juni 1979 (= Innsbrucker Beitrage zur Kulturwissenschaft, Sonderheft 47), Innsbruck 1980, S. 51–72 (zugleich in: Schretter, C./Zerlauth, P. (Hg.): In libris. Beitrage zur Buch- und Bibliotheksgeschichte Tirols von Walter Neuhauser [= Schlern-Schriften 351], Innsbruck 2010, S. 75–95).

Neuhauser, W./Schretter-Picker, C./Zerlauth, P./Kennel, P.: Das Alte Buch an der ULB Tirol. Erbe und Auftrag, in: Niedermair, K./Schuler D. (Hg.): Die Bibliothek in der Zukunft. Regional – Global: Lesen, Studieren und Forschen im Wandel. Festschrift für Hofrat Dr. Martin Wieser anlässlich seiner Versetzung in den Ruhestand, Innsbruck 2015, S. 245–276.

Sepp, S.: Die Bibliothek entsteht und wachst. Bemerkungen zur Entwicklung des Bestandes der Innsbrucker Universitätsbibliothek in den ersten hundert Jahren ihres Bestehens, in: [o. Verf.]: Vom Codex zum Computer. 250 Jahre Universitätsbibliothek Innsbruck, Katalog Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum 1995–1996, Innsbruck 1995, S. 21–46.

Nach oben scrollen