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The British Library

Address. 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB [Map]
Telephone. (020) 7412-7000
Fax. (020) 7412-7268
Internet. http://portico.bl.uk/

Governing body or responsible institution. The British Library Board. Source of funding: Grant-in-aid from the Government plus revenue from services
Functions. National library with Legal deposit for British publications.
Subjects. Holds books on all subjects and in all major and most minor languages of the world. Its policy, continuing that of its predecessor the British Museum, is to collect significant primary and secondary literature from all sources, as well as the National Printed Archive of British books, giving the user unrivalled resources to back up the study of any chosen topic. It now holds one of the most important collections of German printed books outside the German-speaking countries, from the beginnings of printing to the present day.

Access. Intending readers are asked to bring with them three passport-sized photographs and a recommendation from a person of recognised position. Tickets are issued for a maximum of five years (renewably). - Opening hours of reading rooms: Tuesday and Wednesday 9.30 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Monday and Thursday 9.30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9.30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Special facilities. Online public access catalogue (OPAC), CD-ROM readers, access to other bibliographical databases and the Internet, microfiche and microform readers, work-stations for users' lap-top computers and typewriters, various devices for bibliographical examination of books (comparator, ultra-violet lamp, etc.). Photographic Service provides copying service, also overhead scanner and digitiser, x-ray watermark recorder.
Printed information. Numerous information leaflets on the collections and how to use them.
Travel directions. The library is within easy walking distance of King's Cross, St. Pancras and Euston main-line stations, and of the Underground stations at King's Cross and Euston. Buses passing by are routes 10, 30, 73, 91. - No parking for readers' cars.


History of the library and its collections 1.0

1753-1835 1.2

1835-1870 1.35

Catalogues 1.37-1.40

Acquisitions expenditure 1.52-1.54

1871-1914 1.84

1914-1997 1.108


Outline of the collections 2.0

Chronological outline and analysis by language 2.1

Subject outline 2.13

German collections by subject 2.21

Special collections 2.52


Catalogues 3.0

Modern general catalogues 3.1

Historic general catalogues 3.2

Special catalogues of German books 3.3

Other special catalogues including German books 3.4

Catalogues of private collections now in the British library 3.5

Sale catalogues 3.6

Archival sources and publications about the history of the library 4.0

Archival sources 4.1

Parliamentary papers, House of Commons 4.2

Other publications 4.3

Publications about the collections 5.0

Publications relating to the German collections 5.1

Works on particular collections 5.2


1.1 In the following account, 'German books' are defined as all books, in whatever language, published in the German-speaking countries, plus all other books in German, wherever published; from the 15th to the 17th centuries there are more German books in Latin than in the vernacular. 'Books' include monographs, serials, pamphlets, broadsides, music and maps.


1.2 The British Library was founded in 1973 by uniting the library departments of the British Museum with the National Central Library, the National Lending Library for Science and Technology, and the British National Bibliography, and its London operations now occupy a new building at St. Pancras. For 220 years, from the founding of the British Museum by Act of Parliament in 1753 and its opening to the public in the former Montagu House in Bloomsbury on 15 January 1759, until the creation of the British Library, the history of the collections of German printed books forms part of that of the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum, and important additions continue to be made by the British Library. Here, the broader institutional history is sketched in only where necessary to indicate context. The development of other Museum Departments is not recounted, nor is that of the English and of the other foreign collections within the Department of Printed Books. The most closely related of the other Departments were the Department of Manuscripts (one of the three original Departments, with Printed Books and Natural History) and the Department of Prints and Drawings (formed in 1837, the prints from the Department of Printed Books having been transferred in 1808 to the new Department of Antiquities formed in the preceding year), but the latter did not join the British Library in 1973. The bibliography below indicates the more important works from the extensive literature on the more general topics.

1.3 It was the bequest to the British nation, on very advantageous terms, of the collections of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) which gave the impetus for the foundation of the British Museum, which was financed from the proceeds of a national lottery. Sloane's collections (for which £20,000 was paid), comprising his library, his herbarium and other natural history specimens, and miscellaneous antiquities, together with the Cottonian manuscripts and antiquities (already national property, since 1702, to which in his will dated 1738 Major Arthur Edwards had bequeathed some 3,000 printed books plus money for the upkeep of the Cottonian Library), and the Harleian manuscripts (purchased in 1753 for £10,000), constituted the Foundation Collections, which were joined in 1757 by George II's munificent gift of the library of the Kings of England, known as the ``Old Royal Library'.

1.4 The printed books from these early collections were originally kept apart from each other: for instance, shortly before May 1779, when he wrote the preface to his anonymously published Beyträge zur Kenntnis Grossbritanniens vom Jahr 1779. Aus der Handschrift eines Ungenannten herausgegeben von Georg Forster (Lemgo 1780, p. 261), Gerhardt Friedrich August Wendeborn, who was a German pastor in London, reported that there were separate rooms for copyright books, Major Edwards's books and new books purchased from the interest on his bequest, Dr Birch's books (of which some had already been sold as duplicates), the Sloane books (six rooms) and the Old Royal Library (three).

1.5 Unfortunately, at some time after 1787 when the library was arranged into classes, all printed books were interfiled with each other and with much material acquired later, so that their several provenances can be reconstructed only with considerable difficulty from early manuscript catalogues. These catalogues, on which a great deal of work remains to be done, constitute the only way of assessing the share of German books, since books of all national origins are intermixed on the shelves (as generally throughout the library). Sales of duplicates in the first 80 years of the Museum's existence further complicate the identification of provenance.

1.6 Perusal of the manuscript catalogues of Sloane's library nevertheless reveals unequivocally that his printed books of periods up to his own (the mid-18th century) constitute a vitally important element in the British Library's great strength in these periods, not least in German books. Later accessions, both of major collections such as Cracherode, Banks, George III and Grenville, and through trade purchase, particularly in the 19th century, allowed the library to extend its holdings into areas not particularly well represented by Sloane books, and of course into later periods, but there should be no doubt that the range and variety of his collection provided an extraordinarily solid foundation for succeeding generations of collection-builders (see below 2.54 -2.66).

1.7 The library of Sir Robert Cotton (1571-1631) was a collection of manuscripts, which would have been even more stunning than it is, had it not suffered a disastrous fire in 1731. Its German star is the 10th-century Old Saxon Heliand, but it is mainly of British national interest (including, for instance, Beowulf, the ``Lindisfarne Gospels', and two copies of Magna Carta). The c. 3,000 printed books which had come to the Cottonian Library on Major Edwards's death in 1743 (but which did not reach the Museum until 1769) were strong in history, topography, travels, illustrated books, and Italian literature and history; there was only a handful of books printed in Germany, and none solely in the German language.

1.8 The Harleian Collection of manuscripts was formed by Robert Harley (1661-1724) and his son Edward (1689-1741), Earls of Oxford. The Harleian printed books had been sold off in 1742, but amongst the manuscripts the Museum came to possess were the printed fragments (including titlepages, colophons, devices, prints, and so on) assembled by John Bagford (1650-1716), agent of Humphrey Wanley, Robert Harley's librarian from 1708, as the basis for a history of printing, which never got beyond a few partial sketches. The English titlepages in the Bagford Collection have been catalogued, but the foreign ones, including very many German, principally of the 16th and 17th centuries, still await attention. Many of the best prints amongst these fragments were eventually transferred to the Museum's Department of Prints and Drawings, but the remainder, mounted in large albums, are kept as printed books. Those of German interest are mostly at Harl.5914, 5920, 5926, 5933, 5939, 5944, 5962, 5964, 5966, 5968, 5969, 5975, 5989, 5992 and 5994.

1.9 The Old Royal Library (see below 2.67 -2.77) was the private library of a succession of English monarchs, and as a whole seems now a rather random, if undeniably learned collection, as far as the printed books are concerned. It was begun in about 1471 and enlarged with various degrees of interest by individual monarchs. It was mostly neglected in the 18th century, and by the time it came to the British Museum in 1757, bringing with it the right of Copyright Deposit for British publications (one of the most precious assets of the Department of Printed Books, though not enforced with any rigour until after the Copyright Act of 1842), it contained some 12,000 vols, of which about 9,000 were printed books. Its strengths are in the humanities, with little science, medicine and natural history. There are at least as many books printed abroad as in England, with the principal foreign languages represented being French, Italian and Spanish. However, Latin is overwhelmingly the main language (well ahead of English), and while there are a hundred or so Latin (and Greek) books printed in the German-speaking countries, including many editions of classical authors, Church Fathers, and humanist scholars printed in the 16th century in Basel, that Protestant centre of book-production in Latin, and perhaps a dozen Zürich editions of works by Conrad Gesner, there seems to be only a handful of books entirely in the German language. There are incunables (only a small number from Germany), but the majority of the collection dates from the 16th and 17th centuries.

1.10 An anonymous pamphlet published in 1697, A proposal for building a Royal Library, by the current Royal Librarian, Richard Bentley, complained that no books had been acquired from abroad for some sixty years, and in vain urged that important foreign collections like those of de Thou and Marquard Gude should be acquired for the nation. It is fortunate that Sloane's collection is so strong in books from this period of neglect beginning in the mid-17th century and indeed continuing to the founding of the British Museum, and also, of course, in scientific subjects. Not until very recently has detailed work on the Old Royal Library been undertaken, by T. A. Birrell, whose results are awaited with the keenest interest (see below 5.2). Early manuscript catalogues of the library are difficult to use, and that drawn up after its arrival in the Museum, assigning entries to individual monarchs, must be used with considerable caution. (This used to be known as the Maty catalogue of 1769, but though Matthew Maty, Keeper of Printed Books from 1756 to 1765, certainly worked on it, it seems to have been transcribed into one volume by his successor Samuel Harper at some time before 1787, perhaps as early as 1767.)

1.11 It cannot be assumed that publication dates of books in the Old Royal Library reflect regnal dates, as all monarchs seem to have included antiquarian books in their accessions. Some early books in the Museum were rebound with monarchs' initials tooled on their spines, but these initials indicate merely the reign during which the editions in question appeared, and not ownership. The interfiling of royal books with the other early collections of the Museum, and with later accessions, as well as their inclusion in the sales of duplicates already mentioned, make the identification of provenance quite hazardous. Even Henry VIII's presentation copy to Archbishop Cranmer of his Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus M. Lutherum (London 1521), formerly in the Lumley Library, was sold, and is now in Lambeth Palace Library.

1.12 The British Museum in its early years had modest biennial funding from Parliament (from 1762), and no regular funds for adding new or old books to its collections, apart from the small interest from Major Edwards's bequest. Arthur Edwards's legacy of £7,000 was not paid until 1769, then invested, and the interest used for printed books until 1785, thereafter also for coins and more general purposes of the Museum (until 1815). For a long time after the arrival of the Old Royal Library, therefore, only sporadic additions were made to the collections of foreign printed books, usually by gift or bequest.

1.13 Information on early accessions is hard to come by. In 1775, bids were placed at a sale of Dresden duplicates; in 1783 the Museum began subscribing to the Göttingische Gelehrte Anzeigen; and the volumes of G. W. Panzer's Annales typographici (Nuremberg 1793-1803) were acquired on publication. The Museum certainly also subscribed to at least one contemporary German scientific work, Marcus Elieser Bloch's Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische (Berlin 1782-1795), presumably on the urging of Sir Joseph Banks, an Official Trustee since 1778, whose name also appears in the list of subscribers. It seems highly likely that other works of interest to Museum Departments were purchased in this way, but evidence can only rely on chance finds for the time being.

1.14 The main acquisitions of this period were, however, not German: 180 Hebrew books given by Solomon da Costa in 1759; the magnificent collection of over 22,000 English tracts of 1640-1661 formed at that time by George Thomason and purchased for £ 300 by King George III for the Museum in 1762; two Paris 1764 editions of sonatas by the young Mozart (K.6-9) presented by his father Leopold during Wolfgang's visit to the Museum in 1765, during which he wrote his only English-language motet ``God is our refuge' and presented the autograph; the Birch manuscripts bequeathed in 1765 (with some printed books of minor importance, many of which were sold as duplicates to raise money); two important gifts of Icelandic books from Sir Joseph Banks in 1773 and 1783; while the actor David Garrick bequeathed his magnificent collection of English plays, chiefly of the 16th and 17th centuries, in 1779. However, in 1773 Horace Walpole presented the collection of titlepages formed by the bibliographer Joseph Ames (1689-1759), which as now bound conclude with 3 vols from presses in foreign, including German, cities, arranged alphabetically by city names, but unfortunately not now present beyond the letter J. These are placed at 463.h.7-9, and, like the Bagford Collection described above, await a full listing.

1.15 In 1799 the reclusive collector Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode (1730-1799) bequeathed to the British Museum his fine library of about 4,500 printed books, plus prints, drawings, coins and gems. He had been much frightened by the French Revolution, and determined to secure his property by leaving it to the British nation. He had specialised in assembling early editions of Classical literature, especially editiones principes, and had also paid some systematic attention to incunables in a way not characteristic of the Foundation Collections. Apart from the literature of Greece and Rome, he bought especially Latin and Greek editions of the Bible, with Biblical scholarship and dictionaries of ancient languages, and books on coins and other antiquities, and prints, as well as fine illustrated editions. He was interested in early English literature, and had several Caxtons, and his preferred modern foreign languages were Italian and French, and, some way behind, Spanish. He is known to have bought books from the de Thou collection, mostly from the sale of P. de Soubise's library, as well as books which had belonged to Louis XVI. Cracherode had sought out books in fine condition, and many are copies printed on large paper or on vellum; his printed books (with the exception of the incunables) are kept together at 657-688 (see below 2.78).

1.16 The purchase by Parliament for £4,925 of the Lansdowne manuscripts in 1807, which belonged to William Petty, first Marquess of Lansdowne (the Lansdowne printed books were sold elsewhere), did include amongst its important English political and state papers the correspondence of John Pell (1611-1685), Cromwell's resident in Zürich during the Commonwealth, rich in contemporary manuscript news reports.

1.17 It was at about this time, 1807/08, that the prints from the Department of Printed Books were transferred (via the Department of Manuscripts) to the newly-constituted Department of Antiquities; Prints and Drawings became an independent Department in 1837. Funds for the expansion of the collections of printed books had remained small since the Museum's earliest days (income from the Edwards bequest together with money from the sales of duplicates), and had usually run only to a few essential scholarly books; the more substantial purchases made in this way included some foreign books bought for £227 in 1770, of which no details are recorded. There was a brief period, from 1812 to 1816, when Parliament granted £1,000 per annum for the purchase of printed books, intended primarily for English works, and extending to the small collection of books on music assembled by Charles Burney the Elder (1726-1814), bought from his son for £253 in 1815.

1.18 The most notable addition to the German collections at this time also came in 1815, when the Museum purchased the von Moll Collection of books (about 20,000, mainly German and printed in Germany), portrait prints, mineralogical specimens and a herbarium, for £4,578, selling out the remaining funds of the Edwards bequest to meet much of the costs, with general Museum funds making up the difference (see below 2.79-2.85). (The large and important portrait collection is now in the Museum's Department of Prints and Drawings.)

1.19 With the notable exception of the von Moll Collection, in the early years of the 19th century the Museum's acquisitions of foreign literature were more substantial in the French, Italian and Spanish languages than in the German. In 1813 the collection of some 4,300, mainly Italian, but also French, books of Pierre Louis Ginguené was purchased for £ 1,000; in 1817 the first of three large collections of French Revolutionary tracts was acquired (the others came in 1831 and 1856) which were to make the Museum the best repository of such material outside France.

1.20 In 1817, the collection of Charles Burney the Younger (1757-1817), classical scholar and textual critic, son of the historian of music, was purchased for £13,500 by means of a special grant from Parliament, which took the opportunity of suspending the annual book grant of £1,000. Burney's collection comprised about 14,000 printed books and 525 manuscripts, including most notably editions of Greek and Latin authors, several with annotations of scholars like Bentley and Casaubon; duplicates were to be sold. This certainly added to the Museum's fine stock of editions of Classical authors published in Germany, but these are impossible to quantify, as Burney's books were mostly not kept together. Burney also had a great deal of material of British interest, including a wonderful collection of English newspapers of the 17th and 18th centuries (which are kept together, as are his 349 vols of cuttings on the English stage, and his scrapbooks with extracts from Classical texts, the latter now in the Department of Manuscripts). In 1825 Sir Richard Colt Hoare presented his collection of nearly 2,000 works, mainly on Italian topography and history.

1.21 The Museum's next major acquisition containing large numbers of German books came with the bequest of the outstandingly fine collection of Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), built up during his remarkable career as natural historian, especially botanist, and supporter of research and exploration. The collection was bequeathed to Banks's friend and librarian Robert Brown for his lifetime, and then to the Trustees of the British Museum, or earlier if Brown wished it. Brown did so wish, and the collection arrived in Bloomsbury in 1827. Banks had accompanied James Cook on his first circumnavigation of 1768-1771, was President of the Royal Society from 1777 to his death, and Trustee of the British Museum, whose Reading Room he had used since 1765. He knew and corresponded with most of the leading natural historians and scientists of his day, including the most notable from Germany. Many used his library when in London, one of the most important specialist scientific libraries of its time. Together with his librarians, Banks tried to keep abreast of current developments, but also collected scientific works of the past, including incunables. He bought foreign books widely and regularly, many from foreign booksellers such as Haude & Spener in Berlin, since for him science knew no linguistic boundaries; and he certainly knew some German himself. He had books from all over Europe (including Iceland, and books from Russia in Russian, French, German, and Latin), from America, India, and the West Indies, and his collection totalled nearly 8,000 titles, plus 6,000 pamphlets (see below 2.86-2.89).

1.22 In 1823, the British Museum Library received the most magnificent gift in its history, the books collected during his lifetime by King George III (1738-1820), presented to the nation by George IV. The books reached the Museum in 1828, after a splendid gallery 100 yards long had been built to house them, now the oldest surviving part of the Museum building, designed by the Museum architect Robert Smirke and paid for by a Parliamentary grant of £140,000. From 1851, this gallery also served as the Museum's principal exhibition space for printed books.

1.23 It has generally been assumed that George III began his collection from scratch, after the Old Royal Library, a collection neglected and scarcely added to by the Crown in the 18th century, had been removed to the newly-founded Museum in 1757, but the extent to which he was able to take over books from other already existing Royal libraries, such as that of George II's Queen Caroline of Ansbach (of which a manuscript catalogue of 1743 exists at Windsor), remains to be investigated. He proved to be energetic and discerning in his own acquisitions policy, and by his death his collection numbered some 65,000 vols, plus 19,000 pamphlets, a topographical collection of about 50,000 maps and charts, with 446 MSS, as well as coins, medals and drawings. George III was a cultivated man if not an intellectual, who spoke German with his Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and knew Latin and French, and whose own interests included science, especially astronomy, agriculture, and the arts; but the library is truly universal in scope. It is especially rich in the Classics, English and European literature, heraldry, antiquities, topography, theology (including 200 editions of the Bible), history, works of reference, British state publications, scholarly journals, science, agriculture, illustrated books, music, and early printing (including some of the earliest products of German presses and Caxtons) (see below 2.90-2.105).

1.24 Quite out of the ordinary for this period was the purchase from a sale by R. H. Evans in 1829, for the large sum of £268, of a German Bible of 1541 (2 vols, J. Luft, Wittenberg, 679.i.15,16) with extensive manuscript notes by Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, and Johann Major, from the collection of George Hibbert (1757-1837).

1.25 The Banks and George III collections were not quite the last whole libraries acquired by the Museum, but the more a library has, the more duplicates it will add in such bulk accessions, and so it was high time for the Department of Printed Books to develop a coherent policy for selective acquisition of current and antiquarian material. The old reliance on benefactions and funds from the sale of duplicates, with occasional special grants from Parliament, could no longer sustain the kind of collection growth, particularly in the field of the latest scholarly publications, which readers were increasingly demanding.

1.26 The Museum had been permitted to dispose of duplicates from its collections almost from the outset, and sales of duplicate printed books were held in 1769, 1788, 1805, 1818, 1819, 1831, March and July 1832. Unfortunately, the books sold off were often ``best' copies and those of important provenance, such as Sloane or Old Royal Library copies, in a largely futile attempt to increase the money raised. In addition, in 1830 2,072 duplicate scientific books, made so by the arrival of the King's copies, were transferred to the Royal Society, together with a payment of £3,559, in exchange for their Arundel manuscripts - part of the collection formed by Thomas Howard, second Earl of Arundel (1586-1646), which included those items (notably Greek manuscripts) from the collection of Willibald Pirckheimer (1470-1530) not acquired by the city of Nuremberg, purchased there in 1634. (Unfortunately, some of the printed books from Pirckheimer's library held by the Royal Society were disposed of in sales in 1873 and 1925, by Quaritch and Sotheby's respectively: some books from the former sale entered the collection of William Mitchell and were presented to the Department of Prints and Drawings in 1904; and in 1924 the Department of Printed Books had an opportunity of selecting some items, all Italian, before the second sale, and is known to possess 18 Italian incunables which formerly belonged to Pirckheimer.)

1.27 Thereafter more modern standards of biblio-

graphical expertise in distinguishing copy from copy came into play, together with a proper regard for association copies and provenance, and for the value of multiple copies for physical comparison of books of the hand-press period, so that single duplicates were only very occasionally parted with, usually by exchange with desiderata offered by booksellers. It was also recognised that sales of duplicates discouraged some collectors from presenting or bequeathing their libraries to the Museum.

1.28 In the first duplicate sale of 1769, £602 was raised from 1,663 lots, of which about 452 came from Sloane's books, 457 from Major Edwards's bequest, 194 from the Old Royal Library, and 553 from a bequest by Dr Thomas Birch, who had been one of the original Museum Trustees, and which consisted mainly of manuscripts on British biography, together with an unspecified and undescribed quantity of printed books now known only from this sale. The duplicates sold covered all subjects, in date from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and mainly in English, Latin, French and Italian, with practically nothing in German, though there were numbers of Latin books printed in Germany. Top prices (up to £14) were paid for the proceedings of some learned societies and illustrated books, whereas a run of 21 vols of the Acta eruditorum to 1698 (from Dr Birch's library) could raise only 7s.6d.

1.29 The second duplicate sale, in 1788, which included coins and medals, raised £554 from 4,813 lots, the books again covering all subjects, but this time adding the 15th century to their dates and a few items in German to the list of languages. These included several of the 17th century (e.g. J. V. Andreae's Chymische Hochzeit, Strasbourg 1616, two copies of Jacob Boehme's De signatura rerum, Amsterdam 1635, and three chemical works of J. R. Glauber) and one (Sammlung russischer Geschichte) printed in Petersburg in 1760. It is striking to note that most of the items in German failed to sell, and were ``put by', i.e. bought in by the auctioneer: the language was still little-known in Britain at this date and not yet liable to attract the common run of collectors.

1.30 The 1805 sale raised £952 from 855 lots, including several job lots such as ``various unbound medical tracts, principally foreign', and ``various Dutch and German unbound tracts'. There were a few more items in German amongst the range of 15th to 18th-century books on all subjects, while the most notable item printed in Germany was a vellum copy of the 1466 Mainz Cicero De officiis, sold for £36.15s.: the Museum already had the Cracherode copy on vellum, and was to acquire another from Grenville in 1846.

1.31 The 1818 sale (£1,358 for 2,713 lots) was similar, but had nothing from Germany approaching in importance the Caxton Cicero of 1481 sold for the top price of £52.10s. or the Florence Homer of 1488 sold for £ 32.10s. The 1819 sale (£2,703 from 2,271 lots) was more specialised, covering all dates but not all subjects, concentrating on authors of Greece and Rome, many in editions of Aldus, Étienne and in usum Delphini, together with classical antiquities, theology, and some English literature and topography: it seems certain that a large part of these duplicates came from the Burney Collection (see above 1.20). The books were almost all in Latin, Greek, or English, with apparently no German. Books printed in Germany included another 1466 Mainz Cicero, presumably on paper (£17.10s.), and the Basel 1516 New Testament of Erasmus in Greek and Latin (£2.12s.6d.). For comparison, other noteworthy prices included a Complutensian polyglot Bible for £30, and runs of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions 1665-1814 for £51.9s. and the Gentleman's magazine 1731-1816 for £35.

1.32 The 1831 sale (£1,151 from 2,081 lots) had more 18th-century books than items of other dates, and now included most common languages. There are books in German on natural history, especially botany, mineralogy, publications of German learned societies and academies, and illustrated books including several by Sandrart. The sale no doubt reflects the impact on the collections of the Banks and King's Collections, so recently received. The last two duplicate sales, in March and July 1832 (£710 from 2,396 lots and £609 from 1,396 lots respectively) were not remarkable from a German point of view, though both included a few books in the German language, and seem to have continued the theme of the 1831 sale; someone in the March sale acquired a copy of Redouté's Les roses (1817-1824) for £7.5s., and someone in July a somewhat imperfect copy of Fust and Schöffer's Mainz Latin Bible of 1462 for £16.10s.

1.33 The slow arrival of the German language on the collecting scene in Britain (apart from the special areas of science and early printing), and, as we shall see, in the systematic acquisition plans of the British Museum, is part of a broadening of horizons which has left other traces. On 29 June 1832, Sotheby's sold the books of Sir George Duckett (1st Baronet, d. 1822), plus 318 lots of German books, mainly history and belles-lettres, amongst which were several works of Goethe, Herder, Schiller, Schelling and Tieck, the sale catalogue (conveniently overlooking Queen Charlotte's books sold in 1819) describing ``the German library' as ``the most select and extensive ever offered for sale in this country'. There is no sign of the Museum having bought at this sale, indeed deficiencies in its holdings in these and other areas of German literary culture were to be pointed out in the 1830s and 1840s. We may also note that the first professorship of German in Britain was founded at the University of London (University College) in 1828, and the second at King's College in 1831.

1.34 The first chair of Italian at the latter institution, something of a sinecure, was awarded to one Antonio Panizzi, also in 1828, but there were few students, and, having taken a full-time appointment as Extra Assistant in the Department of Printed Books in 1831, he resigned his professorship in 1836 when Parliament required Museum officers not to hold second positions outside it. Panizzi (1797-1879, subsequently Sir Anthony Panizzi) was an Italian lawyer and political exile who had fled to England in 1823, a man of broad culture who developed quite remarkable skills in bibliography, librarianship and management, and applied them indefatigably to the growth and efficiency, not only of the Department of Printed Books, but of the whole Museum. His vision of a universal library accessible to all was realised with unrelenting hard work, inspiring leadership, and enviable lobbying skills, and was to become the chief model for national libraries all over the world. He became Keeper of Printed Books in 1837 and Principal Librarian (the senior officer) of the British Museum in 1856. (At the end of the 19th century, this highest office was called Director and Principal Librarian, the latter part of the designation gradually falling into disuse. The first Director of the British Museum not from one of the library departments was Sir George Hill, formerly Keeper of Coins and Medals, in 1931.)


1.35 It is impossible to regard the history of the Museum's printed books from the mid 1830s until 1865 as anything other than the Panizzi era, which became an heroic period of planned acquisition on the grandest and yet most practical scale, transforming all areas of the collections, both antiquarian and current, including that of German books. During the twenty years from 1814 to 1834, the Trustees had spent a total of under £20,000 of their own funds (as opposed to special Parliamentary grants) on purchases of printed books, under £1,000 per annum on average, the years from 1820 to 1828 inclusive being the most poorly funded. From 1823, £300 per annum was earmarked for foreign books, and to continue to complete works in progress in the libraries of Sir Joseph Banks and (from 1829, when the annual grant rose to £1,000) King George III; in practice, the second commitment swallowed up most of this money, and seems in any case not to have been above criticism in the thoroughness of its performance. From 1833, when the grant ceased to be restricted to the above categories, until 1837, expenditure on printed books of all kinds totalled £10,100, or about £2,000 per annum on average.

1.36 A Parliamentary Select Committee in 1835 began to review ``the condition, management and affairs of the British Museum'; another in 1836 completed the task, after taking evidence from members of the staff and of the public, and devoting much attention to printed books, and to comparative evidence from other great European libraries collected by Panizzi: the 27 libraries included, from the German-speaking world, Basel, Berlin, Bern, Dresden, Frankfurt, Göttingen, Kassel, Munich, Vienna, and Wolfenbüttel. The Select Committee recommended various reforms, including the provision of more funds and the production of catalogues of all the Museum collections.

1.37 Author catalogues of the printed books in the Museum had been published in 1787 and in 1813-1819. A new one had been first ordered by the Trustees in 1834, who then in 1838 instructed Panizzi to proceed to prepare it and print it as soon as possible in alphabetical order. Panizzi, who was already an experienced cataloguer, had developed firm views on how best to catalogue the Museum's ever faster growing collections, and drew up a set of rules, which were to be followed for well over a hundred years, but felt that immediate printing was premature. The new catalogue did not in fact get beyond one volume, covering only the letter A, published in 1841. The method then instituted for maintaining a general catalogue of printed books for use in the library, which involved laying-down columns from the latest printed version into guardbooks and adding slips for accessions, was also followed for over a century, indeed until the advent of computer catalogues.

1.38 Printed versions of the author catalogue were published by the Trustees in 1881-1900 (with Supplements dated 1882-1905) subsequently known in the library as GK1; in 1931-1954, a new edition based on serial recataloguing of the whole collection, which progressed only from A to DEZ (GK2); and in 1959-1966, a largely unrevised photolithographic edition from the guardbooks in use in the library (GK3), with two supplements 1968-1972. A more recent photolithographic edition was commercially published in 1979-1988 (GK4), and it is this version which formed the basis for the conversion of the file to machine-readable form, now available online and in a CD-ROM version. Post-1975 current accessions are recorded in a separate and ever-growing machine file known as the Current catalogue, which includes post-1982 accessions of books published prior to 1975.

1.39 A classed catalogue of the library, begun in 1824, had been in preparation by Thomas Horne, but was unfortunately abandoned in 1834, and no manuscript seems to survive. Panizzi's own preference for a subject index to the author catalogue over a separate classed catalogue (though he admired Göttingen's combination of author and classed catalogues) did not bear fruit until after his death, when the Trustees began in 1886 to publish usually five-year cumulations of indexes to their accessions of printed books, using an alphabetic system developed by George Fortescue, who had entered the Museum in 1870. This series was concluded in 1986 with the subject index to the accessions of the years 1971-1975. Commercially-published subject catalogues of the accessions of 1975-1985 and 1986-1990 followed in 1986 and 1991/92 respectively.

1.40 Books before 1881 were not subject-indexed, though attempts were made by Robert Peddie to fill this yawning gap (published from 1933 to 1948), based largely on the holdings of the British Museum library and the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The Museum's own printed post-1880 Subject indexes have not been converted into a machine-readable file. While the current machine catalogue provides subject access to modern books, there are some gaps in its coverage of contemporary foreign-language literature, including German, occasioned by financial constraints from the 1980s. Those requiring subject access to the earlier collections, including German books, therefore, can be assisted by Peddie (for books up to 1880) and the Museum's Subject indexes (for books published from 1881 onwards); and by the keyword search facility of the computer catalogues.

1.41 The British Museum's evidence to the Select Committee of 1836 included some account of deficiencies in the holdings of foreign books, intended to elicit increased purchase funds from Parliament. Henry Baber, then Keeper of Printed Books and responsible for the selection, stated that there were few readers of German literature, and that he responded to demand rather than acquiring works of ``the most eminent authors', principally from want of funds. Published lists of printed books added to the collections of the British Museum from 1831 to 1835 show that German books, in German and other languages, and from all periods of printing, had indeed been acquired, but on a small scale and quite unsystematically, comprising as they did mainly occasional rarities and a selection of recent scholarship and scholarly editions (for example, six Luther editions in the five-year period, of which only two were of the 16th century, the remainder being of the 19th).

1.42 A pamphlet written by a reader in response to the Report of the 1835 Committee, and published in good time to form part of the evidence considered by that of 1836, had been very critical of the Museum's holdings in various areas, including continental publications on recent history and fine arts and architecture, as well as German and French literature. It was no doubt as a sop to the very different line of policy this represented that Baber had only just purchased several works of Bürger, Gellert, Gleim, Herder, Houwald, Körner, Lessing, Mendelssohn, Schiller, Seume, and Tieck.

1.43 This critic of Baber's complacent policy was Edward Edwards (1812-1886), politically a radical, who was to become a member of the library staff from 1839 to 1850 and then, more importantly, a prime mover in the establishment of public libraries in Britain. Panizzi also argued for public library provision in London outside the British Museum, which he always saw as a research library, not for public education, and it is a matter of great regret that he took against Edwards when the latter was working for him, instead of recognising the potential of another highly original, if flawed, reforming spirit. In his 1836 pamphlet, Edwards listed some of the noted German authors very poorly represented in the Museum: Fichte, Goethe, Herder, Kant, Niebuhr, Jean Paul, Raumer, Schelling, Schlegel, and Schlosser; not present at all, he said (not quite accurately), were Gellert, Heine, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Friedrich Laun (an eccentric choice), C. A. Menzel, Johannes von Müller, Tieck, and the Vosses.

1.44 Panizzi's eloquence before the 1836 Committee in favour of more funds for acquisitions was equally powerful, and his demands were specific: £10,000 per annum for ten years for special purposes (antiquarian purchases), plus £2-3,000 per annum for regular current purchases. In size of holdings, he placed the British Museum after Paris, Munich, Copenhagen, Berlin, Vienna, and Dresden. His arguments were not only an appeal to patriotic pride, but arose from a view of the acquisitions policy appropriate to a national library worthy of the name which today would be called proactive: acquire the books, make them accessible to all through excellent catalogues, and the use will follow; a view which he pursued with extraordinary vigour, and which the subsequent history of the collections has entirely vindicated. He said: ``I want a poor student to have the same means of indulging his learned curiosity, of following his rational pursuits, of consulting the same authorities, of fathoming the most intricate inquiry as the richest man in the kingdom, as far as books go, and I contend that the Government is bound to give him the most liberal and unlimited assistance in this respect.'

1.45 In 1837, Panizzi became Keeper of Printed Books, and in his first report to the Trustees on acquisitions policy, dated 12 October, he said he wished the Museum to have, as far as foreign literature, arts and sciences were concerned, the best editions of standard works, literary journals, transactions of learned societies, large collections, historical or otherwise, newspapers, and collections of laws and their best interpreters. He continued his campaign for more Government funds by drawing up, in 1843, a clear survey of holdings and deficiencies to the d of 1842, which was first printed privately in 1845. This statement formed the chief evidence presented to the Treasury in the Trustees' Representation ...on the subject of an enlarged scale of expenditure for the supply of printed books for the Library of the Museum, printed, together with the Treasury's reply, as a Government document in March 1846. From 1833 to 1837, Panizzi said, more liberal Parliamentary grants had totalled some £10,000 (as opposed to the minimum of £10,000 per annum he had solicited in 1836), but most of this had been expended on British books, which the library had hitherto been precluded from buying because it was thought (erroneously) that the right of legal deposit under the Copyright Act fulfilled needs in that respect: thus many important English books were bought at the Heber Sales of 1834-1837. Foreign books had not figured largely in recent purchasing, therefore, and deficiencies were shown to be considerable.

1.46 In German books, these included theology, where there was an inadequate representation of Bibles (despite those recently purchased from the sale of the Duke of Sussex's collection), liturgies, editions of the Church Fathers, Roman Catholic theology in general, Luther (only 135 editions present) and Zwingli (4); and church history of the Northern countries. Law and political economy were also deficient, though there had been recent attempts to buy texts of foreign laws, including those of the German states and Austria. In philosophy, German metaphysics showed gaps in Kant (despite some recent purchases of early works) and his opponents, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. German education, mathematics, and fine arts were weak; holdings of German astronomy were patchy.

1.47 Amongst generally weak holdings of foreign history, German history and topography were reasonably well represented in the King's Library, but not in the remainder of the collections, though recent attempts had been made to fill gaps. Foreign biography and local literary history were also generally weak. In linguistics, the Museum held many older grammars and dictionaries, but few modern ones (of Adelung's German dictionary the Museum had ``only the first and worst edition'), and no proceedings of German philological societies. German literature, in the narrow sense of belles-lettres, was ``extremely incomplete in most of its branches, and rich in none'. Of the older poets, Panizzi said, there were no editions of Hans Sachs, Paul Fleming, Logau, or Lohenstein; of the moderns, the Museum had imperfect holdings of J. H. Voss (no edition of Luise), and no Hölty, Collin, Claudius, or Hamann (this last oddly not with the philosophers). The literature of Greece and Rome was deficient in modern foreign editions, although a considerable purchase of German editions of the years 1825-1840 had been made.

1.48 Some thousands of university dissertations had also been purchased recently, but the Museum's holdings still lagged some way behind those of the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh. Representation of German periodicals in theology, fine arts, literature and science was good, and was being augmented in history; but with the exception of a complete set of the Allgemeine Zeitung recently acquired, German newspapers were virtually absent. The Museum's strengths in natural science, natural history and medicine were well known and had been maintained to a degree. From 1833 until 1836 inclusive, the Museum's expenditure of £8,000 overall on acquisitions of printed books had included under £800 on about 700 German works, whereas from 1837, the year when Panizzi became Keeper, until 1842, it had spent £18,000 overall on printed books, with over £3,700 on nearly 3,700 German works. This is but one example of his decisive influence on all aspects of the Department's activity.

1.49 This report of Panizzi's did not go into exhaustive detail, but gave clear evidence that the Museum's methods of acquiring printed books had finally passed from the haphazard to the systematic. The selection of foreign literature was by now based on accurate records of existing holdings, on desiderata lists derived from bibliographic sources of all kinds (German current publications were mainly chosen from the regular listings of Hinrichs, for example), from subject bibliographies and catalogues of other institutions to national bibliographies such as Kayser, and on firm ideas of what a national library ought to be providing its users in both current and antiquarian literature from all countries. His arguments were fortunately found convincing, and the Treasury, which had provided £4,200 per annum on average from 1843 to 1845, agreed to increase the annual total to £10,000 from 1846 onwards.

1.50 In 1850, a Royal Commission appointed in 1847 to investigate the constitution and government of the British Museum published its report, including much detailed evidence from members of the staff and others. It endorsed Panizzi's views on catalogues of Western printed books: that the general catalogue should only be published when the manuscript was complete (if then), and that only thereafter should special catalogues of sections of the collections be attempted (e.g. incunables, 16th-century books, books printed on vellum). This was indeed to be the pattern followed, with the exception that George Bullen's catalogue of English books to 1640 was published in 1884, before the conclusion of the General catalogue begun in 1881; a catalogue of books on vellum was not produced until 1996, and many other special catalogues are still being prepared or are planned.

1.51 The 1850 Royal Commission heard much about acquisitions, notably that 100,000 items had been added to the collections during the first three years of the increased grant. So vigorous was Panizzi's acquisitions policy, however, together with his successful effort to enforce deposits by British publishers under the Copyright Act, and the growth of other departments of the Museum, that storage space had soon become problematic. He was even forced to restrict expenditure, despite the availability of the increased Government funds, from late 1848 until the building of the round Reading Room together with associated book-stacks in the Museum's central courtyard, his own brilliant solution to the space problem, achieved in 1857. At the same time, he argued for the removal from the Bloomsbury building of some of the other departments, and in 1859 land in South Kensington was purchased for the Trustees' natural history collections, though these (the specimens, not the books, which remained with the rest of the library at Bloomsbury) were not transferred to the new site until 1880-1883 (since 1963 the independent Natural History Museum). In 1905, post-1800 provincial newspapers were removed to a new building at Colindale in North London in a further attempt to create space in Bloomsbury, and all other 19th- and 20th-century newspapers were to follow. Finally, after the Second World War, the accelerating growth of the library led to the outhousing of substantial parts of the stock, and finally to plans for a whole new library building. The British Library was constituted in 1973 as an institution quite separate from the British Museum, and the building plans, which had at first envisaged a new library opposite the Museum, were to be realised at St. Pancras.

1.52 These various responses to the inexorable growth of the collections lay in the future when Panizzi solved the immediate problem by building the round Reading Room in 1857. Thereafter acquisitions expenditure could return to the high level instituted in 1846, and indeed remained there until 1886, twenty years after Panizzi's retirement, when the book budget was cut by 40 per cent as part of a general reduction in Government spending, and with a few exceptions (£9,000 in 1889) remained at £6,000 per annum until well into the 20th century. It did not reach £10,000 per annum again until 1946/47, and, for instance during the two World Wars, had often been very much reduced; furthermore, by this time the purchasing power of the pound was substantially diminished. Not until the early years of the British Library (from 1973) can one again speak of very generous funding for acquisitions, but expenditure on the new building in the late 1980s and 1990s, together with cuts in public finance, soon reduced acquisitions to a less satisfactory state.

1.53 The division of expenditure between current and antiquarian books has mostly been very variable, due to the unpredictability of the market for the latter and the tendency, most marked in the modern period, for current book-prices, especially those of serials, to rise: while new German monographs if anything grew cheaper during the 19th century, the price of German serials then began the inexorable rise which has reached crisis proportions in recent years, and has in the last decades also affected monographs. After becoming Keeper, Panizzi had at once set about putting into effect his principles on the acquisition of current foreign books, and at the same time bought antiquarian books on the most generous scale. He thought, however, that in periods of financial stringency current purchasing should be postponed in favour of antiquarian collections which might appear on the market; similarly, he bought virtually no current foreign literature during the years of acute shortage of storage space, from 1849 to 1857, and gaps were made good retrospectively. Later policy has reversed this view, probably as a result of the need to maintain subscriptions to the very high numbers of current foreign serials and works in progress purchased by the library, as well as of pressure from users. Separate figures for expenditure on current and on antiquarian purchasing were not kept before the First World War, but between 1915 and 1937, some 20 per cent of the total acquisitions budget of £160,000 went on antiquarian material.

1.54 The proportion of the funds for foreign acquisitions spent on German books was not consistently recorded until fairly recent times, though it seems always to have been larger than for any other foreign literature, presumably because of the high German output of scholarly literature. In the almost thirty-year period from 1858 until the reduction of funds in 1886, with an annual purchase grant of £10,000, it is estimated that about half was expended on current literature in all languages, including the recent literature (mainly books of 1850-1856) whose purchase had been postponed because of space problems, and half on antiquarian purchases both English and foreign. In the same period, annual expenditure on German books (new and old together) averaged £1,400, ahead of French, in second place at £1,200 per annum, North American at £500, Italian at £400, and the other languages at lesser amounts. By the period for which estimates can be attempted again, the late 1930s, German expenditure was running at as much as about 40 per cent of the total, but of course the Second World War cut off supplies of current German books altogether, nor were antiquarian books purchased for the duration. By the 1950s, with current purchasing restored, the proportion of total expenditure applied to German books was approaching 30 per cent, almost the proportion which had applied in the mid-19th century. At this time, more than half the German funds were being spent on antiquarian books, probably because of the drive to replace books destroyed during the War, and the proportion certainly dropped in the period before it briefly rose again to something like 40 per cent after the first decade of the British Library's existence (the early 1980s).

1.55 It is clear that, in his earliest years as Keeper (from 1837), Panizzi had to contend not only with inadequate funds, but with a body of Museum Trustees not yet sufficiently convinced of the rightness of his instincts and judgement to allow him a free rein within the existing financial constraints. He had at first to fight his own masters to secure almost any important and expensive antiquarian material. Old bibliophily amongst the Trustees had not yet developed into an understanding of the true place of antiquarian books in the history of cultures: they had and retained, for instance, a particular fondness for books printed on vellum: in 1822 there were 150 in the collections, a number which had risen to 935 by 1862. Thus, amongst the rather few antiquarian purchases of his early years, in 1838 Panizzi was allowed to buy a magnificent illuminated vellum copy of Luther's Wittenberg Bible of 1558-1561 (C.24.d.9) for £105, but the next year, when funds were low, was refused permission to buy for £70 a first edition of Shakespeare's Rape of Lucrece. Panizzi finally secured a copy of the latter in 1845, by which stage the Trustees, having seen his outstanding efficiency demonstrated in many directions, had become more and more content to leave purchases to his discretion.

1.56 He seems not to have known much German himself, but this did not prevent him from playing a most active part in acquisitions, particularly of antiquarian books, and from extending the scope of the Museum's collecting in several new directions. The breadth of his sympathies can be seen from the fact that he reversed the Museum's disparagement of what today we would call ``progressive' literature: Robert Cowtan, in his Memories of the British Museum (1872) uses the expression ``books of a sceptical tendency', and tells us that, before the advent of Panizzi, the acquisition of even copyright material of this nature had been discouraged. German books were an integral part of Panizzi's plans from the outset: for instance, in October 1837, soon after his appointment as Keeper, he was advising the Trustees of his wish ``that the works of the German Reformers and their adversaries ought to be particularly collected in this library'. Though himself a Roman Catholic, he was indeed to make the library's German Reformation collection one of the most important in the world. Similarly, he fostered planned growth in the other areas of the German collections identified in surveys as weak, perhaps most notably in the field of belles-lettres, but also in many others such as collections of laws and official publications.

1.57 He had the great good fortune, almost at the outset of his keepership, to find a German bookseller of quite exceptional talent and efficiency, whose enthusiastic collaboration in building up the library's current and antiquarian holdings of German (and indeed, European) printed books proved of crucial importance to Panizzi's plans. This man was Adolph Asher (1800-1853), a Berlin bookseller, who had a London agent, David Nutt, and from 1831 a London office, but most of whose business with the Museum was carried on in direct correspondence with Panizzi and his co-selectors. Panizzi and Asher became friends, but their closeness was occasionally threatened by the Panizzi's readiness to suspect sharp practice in the minutiae of Asher's accounting. Panizzi was a considerable expert on antiquarian book-prices, and never knowingly allowed the Museum to spend what he considered sixpence too much: nothing escaped his eagle eye. After Asher's death, the Museum continued to use his firm as its principal agent for German books, indeed until shortly after the Second World War, though German accessions never came exclusively from that source.

1.58 Panizzi was capable of inspiring enthusiastic support amongst his staff, such as John Winter Jones (1805-1881), who was to succeed him as Keeper of Printed Books from 1856 to 1866, and Thomas Watts (1811-1869), who also rose to be Keeper in succession to Winter Jones from 1866 to 1869. Both assisted him in compiling his crucial 1843 survey of holdings, and Watts in particular, who was a fine linguist, was no doubt responsible for much of the detailed work on the development of the German collections under Panizzi, though surviving records reveal little of activity below the rank of Keeper, and Panizzi tends to get all the credit for outstandingly good selection which should by rights be shared. The Panizzi papers in the British Library archives consist largely of incoming letters to him, with fortunately a large number from Asher, but of Panizzi's own letters only occasional drafts of replies and reports survive. Nevertheless, with their aid and that of the acquisitions registers (kept from 1837 to 1849) and invoices (of which little before 1837 survives, but which thereafter continue to the present day), as well as other sources such as the printed Returns of the British Museum to the House of Commons (from 1843), it is possible to reconstruct in some detail the growth of the collections, including those of German books.

1.59 From the late 1820s, foreign books, including German both current and antiquarian, were bought mainly from a whole variety of London booksellers, though, apart from continuations of serial works in the Banks (and, later, King's) Collection, little seems to have been selected outside material of reference interest for the various departments of the Museum. Purchases at auction were made using booksellers as agents, a practice which continues to the present in the British Library. After becoming Keeper, Panizzi bought current and recent German books, including back runs of periodicals which now became a feature of his policy, from Bossange (then apparently the Museum's main suppliers of foreign books), Black & Armstrong (subsequently Black, who were to be the principal suppliers of current German books throughout the 1840s), Baillière, Schloss, Senior, Nutt, and others, while antiquarian German books came from Pickering, Rodd, Crozier, and others. It might be noted that from July 1843 a facsimilist (at first John Harris, who also worked for collectors such as Thomas Grenville) was regularly employed to supply pen copies of missing leaves in antiquarian accessions, a practice which continued at least until the end of the 19th century.

1.60 Current books were selected across the whole range of subjects, at a scholarly level, and antiquarian books, from incunables onwards, to fill identified gaps and to build up subjects hitherto neglected. Recent university dissertations began to be acquired on a large scale, as they were to be throughout the century, though few of these were catalogued. Purchasing of printed music and maps also began, with a seriousness underlined by the initiation in 1841 of special catalogues of both genres. Unusually, however, Panizzi failed to persuade the Trustees to embark on a programme of large-scale purchasing of foreign newspapers: only a handful of German titles were maintained throughout the remaining century.

1.61 Asher was personally in contact with Panizzi by letter before his formal offer to the Trustees, dated London, 4 July 1839, to supply them with current German books on approval, on advantageous terms, plus antiquarian books and catalogues of forthcoming sales in Germany. The Trustees' immediate refusal failed to deter him, but it took fully two years until he succeeded in making a direct sale to the Museum, from a priced list dated July 1841, from which books to the value of £88 were selected (and invoiced in November), including books in German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. The German works were mainly of the 18th and 19th centuries, and included Zedler's Universal-Lexicon (1732-1754, the copy which stood for so many years up to 1998 on the open shelves of the North Library at Bloomsbury and now stands on the open shelves in the Rare Books and Music Reading Room at St Pancras) and Krünitz's Oeconomische Encyclopädie (1773-1839; continuations were sent subsequently). This was the beginning of Asher's immensely fruitful contribution to the systematic growth of the German collections which took place under Panizzi, establishing a tradition maintained in principle if not always in practice until the present day.

1.62 The Museum continued to buy heavily from its existing suppliers, and Asher's part of the German business grew gradually, but from the start seems to have covered both antiquarian and recent books, with the exception initially of post-1840 monographs. His attempt, in 1842, to supplement the Museum's collection of Bibles from the sale of Stuttgart duplicates came to nothing when these were bought en bloc by a Cologne bookseller (Heberle). But Panizzi was able to buy (for £1,786) large numbers of Bibles and other theological literature, including German Bibles from the 15th century onwards in Latin, German, Low German and a variety of other languages, at the London sale in 1844 of the collection of the Duke of Sussex, an acquisition largely responsible for the overall strength of the Museum's very significant Bible holdings; the same sale brought many other important German books, for instance 31 books from the 15th-century press of Ulrich Zel at Cologne. By 1845, Asher was regularly selling the Museum considerable numbers of German books: for example, one of two invoices in May 1845, mainly for German books of the 16th to the 19th centuries, ran to almost 1,000 items.

1.63 Towards the end of 1845, Asher began negotiating with Panizzi over books from the forthcoming sale of the Kuppitsch Collection, formed over many years by the Vienna bookseller Matthäus Kuppitsch (1797-1849) and bought by Asher for 17,500 florins shortly before Kuppitsch's death: Panizzi had been present when Asher examined them in Vienna. The books (including in addition a number from the collection of Henri Ternaux-Compans which Asher had purchased for £400, perhaps also a small amount of material from other sources) were to be described in a catalogue issued in the name of the Halle University bookseller Lippert and inviting offers from interested purchasers, the deadline for written bids to be in March 1846. The catalogue (like several of Asher's catalogues, in French), which does not distinguish between Kuppitsch and Ternaux books, was later used as a source by Goedeke (`HK' in vol. 2) because of the high proportion of otherwise unrecorded early, especially 16th-century, books it contains (see below 2.106).

1.64 But Asher had allowed Panizzi to select what he wanted from the collection before the catalogue became generally available. As early as October 1845, while he was still in the early stages of compiling the catalogue, Asher was sending books from it on approval to London. Rumours began to circulate in Berlin that the British Museum was to buy the entire collection, and Asher, who did not contradict them, reported to Panizzi: ``Professor Heyse has named the room in which the collection is arranged `part of the British Museum' '. A few of Panizzi's earliest selections, including the Engelische Comedien und Tragedien of 1620-1630 and the so-called Prayerbook of Maximilian (Hore virginis Marie, Augsburg 1514, on vellum, £135), were deliberately omitted from the catalogue by Asher. Thereafter he began sending Panizzi the sheets of the catalogue as they were printed, offering him first refusal of everything he wanted for the Museum. At the same time he sent sheets to the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and said he would then allow Berlin and Vienna to make their selection, but it was clear that Panizzi had nearly absolute priority. It was agreed that Asher would fix prices, send what Panizzi selected on approval before the public auction, and consider any lowering of individual prices which Panizzi might suggest.

1.65 Of the 7,750 items in the catalogue, Panizzi selected at least two-thirds, for which the Museum paid not less than £ 1500 (see below 2.106). The Museum's purchases created a sensation in Germany, and Asher praised Panizzi's selections, telling him: ``There is no library out of Germany which can boast of anything like the German works the British Museum possesses thanks to you'.

1.66 Amongst Asher's other British customers of some years' standing had been a Trustee of the Museum, Thomas Grenville (1755-1846), originally a Member of Parliament and diplomat, then from 1800 Chief Justice of Eyre, a sinecure whose income he had largely devoted to book-collecting. Panizzi had cultivated his friendship since 1829, and in his turn Grenville was to support Panizzi's cause amongst the Trustees. At his death in 1846 he bequeathed his entire collection of over 20,000 vols, for which it was estimated he had paid a total of £50,000, beautifully bound, to the British Museum (see below 2.107 -2.109). The Museum found space for this magnificent bequest in 1847, which has been kept together at the pressmark G. The books were not stamped, to preserve their beauty unblemished, until considerations of security finally overcame those of aesthetics in the 1970s. Grenville had collected especially early printing, first editions of the classics (notably Homer), rare editions of Spanish and Italian poetry (notably Ariosto), books on vellum, works on British history and monarchs, and early voyages and travels (see below 2.107-2.109).

1.67 By the second half of the 1840s, Asher seems to have become the main (though not exclusive) supplier of the Museum's German antiquarian purchases from all centuries of printing, of which there were many thousands. He also sold Hebrew books to the Museum, and in 1846 had drawn to the Museum's attention the collection of 5,700 vols of printed books and 800 MSS belonging to Heimann Joseph Michael of Hamburg, who had died in that year; this, he said, was finer and more complete than the Oppenheim Collection at Oxford. In 1848, the Museum selected 3,970 of the printed works in 4,420 vols, of which large numbers were printed in Germany; but the Trustees declined to purchase any of the Michael manuscripts, and they were bought by the Bodleian Library. Joseph Zedner, who had joined the Museum staff in 1846 on the recommendation of Asher, was highly influential in the acquisition and cataloguing of Hebrew books, and in 1867 was to publish the first catalogue of the Museum's Hebrew printed books, in which books from over sixty German places of printing are recorded. The supplementary catalogues of Hebrew books published in 1894 and in 1994 recording further accessions to those dates certainly contain a great deal of additional material from Germany, but it is hard to quantify this, as there are no indexes of printers.

1.68 Zedner also presented a collection of political broadsides and other ephemeral pieces from the Berlin Revolution of 1848. This was supplemented from the official side by the gift of proclamations and other documents from the King of Prussia's printer Rudolph Decker, and by other material sold by Asher. (Decker also presented, by order of the King, his printing of the Oeuvres de Frédéric le Grand, limited edition, 1846-1857, and the elephant folio edition of Luther's New Testament, produced in 80 copies for the great Exhibition of 1851.) Both Asher and Panizzi recognised the research value of ephemera, and the collections are strong in such material. For example, Asher sold the Museum many pamphlets and broadsides of the Thirty Years' War in this period.

1.69 In 1849, Asher sold the first library of Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853), a client of his, who needed to raise money to meet the debts of his sculptor brother. The collection aroused great interest, being rich in German, English, Spanish and Italian belles-lettres, but Asher created something of a scandal by his business methods: as with the Kuppitsch Collection, he had disposed of important parts of Tieck's books before the official sale, in this case partly to Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia (who paid 2,000 Thalers for a section of the library he allowed Tieck to retain, on the understanding it would pass to the Royal Library in Berlin on his death), and once again to the British Museum (see below 2.10 -2.11). The catalogue (which is said to have included books from the Ternaux-Compans collection, like the Kuppitsch catalogue) was compiled by Albert Cohn, who had already been for twelve years a much-valued employee of Asher, for whom he had collated the Michael Hebrew books, and who was eventually to take over the antiquarian business after Asher's death. In May, Asher reported to Panizzi: ``I consider it my duty to offer you the first picking of the Tieck collection as I did in the instance of the Kuppitsch library & upon the same terms': i.e. sheets of the catalogue would be dispatched to London as soon as they were printed; prices would be determined by Asher, to be approved or reduced by the Museum; and the books were to be shipped to arrive in London at least three weeks before the date of the sale, 10 December. He thought the value of the books not already in the Museum's collections was ``not more than £800', and when Panizzi reported this to the Trustees, they gave him carte blanche to buy what he wanted.

1.70 The Museum seems to have benefited from remarkably reasonable prices fixed by Asher, who subsequently confessed himself amazed at the high prices the remainder fetched in Berlin. But his reputation took some knocks: Henry Stevens, the American bookseller who supplied the Museum with the bulk of its American books in the second half of the 19th century, as well as some important German antiquarian items, recounted how he had seen cases of Tieck books in London before the sale, which he dubbed ``a sham'. Asher's rather precarious health also suffered severely from the ``terrible work' (his words) of auctioneer, and he was to die suddenly in Venice in September 1853. Asher had appeared as one of the many witnesses called before the Royal Commission whose Report was published in 1850, and had given evidence in excellent English, including much information on his supply of German material to the Museum. Until that date this had comprised books and serials of all periods except post-1840 monographs, but he seems to have been supplying at least some of the latter also from about 1849. He sent books from the lists of desiderata drawn up by Watts, his own printed catalogues, and books he selected from other booksellers' catalogues as not being present in the Museum, often using the paid spare-time assistance of members of the library staff for checking. (Asher's successor Albert Cohn wrote in 1872 that the Museum had used Kayser to make lists of desiderata of books dating from 1833 onwards, but that the same exercise for 1750-1832 had never been undertaken: there were of course no sources for comprehensive lists of pre-1750 books.) Nevertheless, so impressed was Asher with Watts's lists of desiderata that he sometimes lithographed them, without indication of source, for circulation to German libraries as book-selection aids, and to booksellers to solicit offers.

1.71 It is not surprising that none of these lists is to be found in the British Library (perhaps some German library's archives may hold one or two), but it is a matter of the greatest regret that the Museum did not keep as a record any of Asher's own printed sale catalogues, of which there had been many and from which the British Museum had selected so many thousands of German antiquarian books, and of course so much else of fundamental importance to the growth of the European collections. Books from most of the important continental sales of his day had found their way into these catalogues, and in addition Asher had often made the Museum special offers of individual rarities, sometimes in large numbers. Asher also secured for sale many duplicates from major continental libraries, of which a good proportion (for example, from Munich) came to London. He sent old and rare books to London on approval, and gave discounts of 30 per cent on recent antiquarian books and 15 per cent on current books and serials. He told the Royal Commission he thought the Museum was subscribing to all the most important German scientific periodicals, and said ``There is no library out of Germany that can at all be brought into comparison, with respect to German books, with the British Museum'.

1.72 In his last years, though lack of space for printed books in Bloomsbury reduced the numbers of acquisitions for a time, he sold much else to the Museum, notably in 1850 for 200 guineas the wonderful collection of 322 German autograph-albums formed by Erhard Christoph Bezzel (1727-1801), which, together with other albums acquired by the Department of Manuscripts, make the London collection one of the most important extant, particularly of Nuremberg and Altdorf albums.

1.73 After Asher's death, despite an almost immediate offer from Franz Thimm, who had established himself in London in 1847 as ``German and foreign bookseller' and had once worked for both Asher and Nutt, to supply German books to the Museum at 20 per cent discount, Panizzi resolved to continue with Asher & Co. ``so long as I find the same intelligence, zeal, and honesty as I found in Mr. Asher'. The firm's advice also led to the presence on the staff from 1855 to 1870 of Emanuel Deutsch, a Talmudic scholar with special knowledge of early German. Business with Berlin continued much as before, with antiquarian German (and Hebrew) books coming regularly from the old firm, but other sources were appearing on the scene as Panizzi entered his last decade in the Museum as Principal Librarian (1856-1866).

1.74 In 1854 the Museum bought from Asher & Co. for £ 201 numbers of astronomical and mathematical works from the collection of Heinrich Christian Schumacher (1780-1850), Professor of Astronomy at Copenhagen, and at the end of 1856 for £137 over 2,000 antiquarian books, mainly on moral philosophy, from the J. Heymannsche Buchhandlung in Glogau: both these collections had a high German content. In 1858, a collection of 436 editions of works by Martin Luther printed between 1516 and 1558 was purchased for £45 from Dr Pertz of the Royal Library, Berlin, presumably duplicates from that institution. Panizzi knew Pertz personally, the two having met in London in 1844, and both had dealt extensively with Asher. Also in 1858, a copy of Froschauer's New Testament (Zürich 1545) came from the London bookseller Joseph Lilly at £21; 63 incunables (German and Dutch) from the Augsburg sale of Munich duplicates; and in November the same year a collection of German liturgies and psalmbooks in 560 vols was purchased for £120 from the London-based theologian Ernest de Bunsen, an acquisition the Trustees had had to turn down in 1854 because of lack of space and funds: the opening of the new round Reading Room and its associated bookstacks in 1857 had, at least temporarily, cured the space problem, and high levels of purchasing could be resumed. The task of supplying current German books was still shared between Asher & Co. and other firms, such as Nutt and Black at this time, selection being made from Hinrichs and from the Börsenblatt lists.

1.75 There were particular German acquisitions the Trustees failed to make, in the late 1840s and early 1850s mainly because of lack of space. In 1844 Asher had tried unsuccessfully to sell the Museum the Satzmann Collection of 2,300 printers' and publishers' devices, and in 1845 Colonel Oesfeld's collection of maps. In 1847, the Meusebach Collection went to the Royal Library at Berlin, despite Asher's description of it as ``second only to the late Kuppitsch Library' and his assurance that, if the Museum bought between 80 and 150 of its books it would become ``the completest and finest German library in the world'. After his death, Asher's firm inspected, but failed to persuade Panizzi to try and acquire, the Zeisberger Collection, valued by the Royal Library, Berlin, at £750, and described as comparable in richness, but not extent, with the Meusebach Collection, with particular strengths in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1854, the library of K. W. L. Heyse was bought by Albert Cohn and offered to Panizzi, but rejected, like the Zeisberger books, for want of space. One thousand Heyse books went to the Royal Library, the remainder being auctioned, and there are only isolated Heyse books in the British Library (for instance, the Geistliche und weltliche Poemata of Anna Owena Hoyers, Amsterdam 1650, and a few others which had become part of the Maltzahn Collection).

1.76 Speculation on what might have been, however, pales into insignificance in the light of the wonderful riches of the Museum's acquisitions from just after the mid-century until the decrease in funds of 1886, culminating, as far as German books are concerned, in the spectacular purchases from the Maltzahn Collection starting in 1879. Steady purchasing of most current German literature of research potential, including systematic selection of official publications, a good representation of lower-level literature, music, maps, even ephemera, make the London holdings of this period of the 19th century an area of particular strength; gaps from the early fifties were made good subsequently.

1.77 There was a curious episode from the early 1850s to around 1890, when the workings of what was called ``international copyright' brought the Museum gratis some works of foreign publishers who wanted copyright protection in Britain. Between 1846 and 1860, conventions had been concluded with a number of German states (Prussia, Saxony, Brunswick, Thuringia, Hanover, Oldenburg, Anhalt, Hamburg) and with France, Belgium, Spain and Sardinia. The total number of volumes from all sources acquired by this method was about 20,000, plus a smaller number of serial parts. The proportion and nature of the German component in these figures is not available, but is generally held to consist of works of little importance, with the notable exception of musical scores, since, as well as contemporary salon music, highly important works of composers such as Wagner and Brahms tered the Museum by this method.

1.78 An anonymous article on the British Museum Library in The Edinburgh review of January 1859, in fact written by Coventry Patmore (1823-1896), a member of the staff, gave evidence of the remarkable development of the collections over the previous half-century. The library was now, he said, second only to Paris in the number of volumes it held: 800,000 in Paris, 560,000 in London; not counting unbound periodical parts, this probably represented over one million items. Third, fourth and fifth were now St. Petersburg (520,000), Berlin (500,000), and Munich (480,000): 23 years earlier, the Museum had been only seventh, with 235,000 vols. Patmore detailed some specific areas of growth and excellence, noting particularly that the holdings in modern European languages were now the best outside the bounds of their respective countries. Of German books he praised ``a very much finer collection of old German poetry than is to be found in any collection in Germany', presumably thinking primarily of the Kuppitsch rarities, but also gave examples of more mainstream successes: in 1842 the catalogue had held but 135 entries under Luther and none under Hans Sachs, whereas in 1858 these figures had risen to 1,035 and 123 respectively; in 1817 the catalogue had held one work of Schiller (in English) and none of Goethe, whereas now there were 226 by Schiller, of which 66 were printed before 1813, and 264 by Goethe, of which 67 before 1813.

1.79 Around the time of Patmore's article, the library's acquisitions policy was truly flourishing, with a prominent role for both current and antiquarian German books. There was a steady stream of antiquarian accessions, from the 15th century onwards, of a notably broad spectrum of literature, bought from a variety of sources at home and abroad. In an account like this, only a few acquisitions of coherent groups of material or of books from specific collections can be presented as


1.80 In 1859, Henry Stevens, the Museum's American agent, sold it the second German Bible printed in America (Germantown 1763) and T. J. van Braght's Der blutige Schau-Platz (Ephrata 1748). He was also to provide 19th-century Pennsylvania state papers printed in German, and, in 1880, a 1757 Germantown edition in German of the Pennsylvania conference with the Indians. However, apart from a few early 19th-century German-American Bibles, Stevens seems not to have supplied contemporaneous popular American literature in German. Also in 1859, a further 211 works of Luther were purchased from Thomas Kerslake. In 1861, the Museum bought a Hebrew Bible with manuscript notes by Melanchthon (Basel 1546), and in the same year, from Quaritch at £200, a copy of J. S. Kerner, Hortus sempervirens (Stuttgart 1796-1831), 12 vols containing 852 watercolours, one of only two known complete copies, the other being in the Académie de France. Also at this time Thomas & William Boone sold the Museum material from the Libri Sale (library of Guglielmo Libri),

 of which the German books included
works by Kepler.

1.81 In 1862, the Museum bought via Sotheby's (presumably acting as agents) some maps, nearly all of the 19th century, from the library of Alexander von Humboldt (d. 1859). This had been bequeathed to Humboldt's servant, was purchased by Albert Cohn in 1860, when its contents, strong in physics, botany and exploration, were described as comprising 14,000 vols plus 4,000 scientific treatises, and also numbers of charts; it was again sold (for £4,000) to Henry Stevens, who was set to auction it in over 11,000 lots in 1863. After the third day of sale, however, books yet to be sold were destroyed by a fire. The Museum had purchased (again via Sotheby's) some 800 items at £322, almost all books of the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s on a variety of subjects, from the over 3,000 lots described in the A-F section of the catalogue, of which a marked copy, with prices, is kept at S.C.1011. The residue of this disastrous sale was purchased by Quaritch and sold in 1871: the Museum then bought two more items only. In 1863, some 5,000 German medical dissertations, mainly from Jena University in the 17th and 18th centuries, were purchased from Baillière (placed at shelfmark 7306), and 464 tracts of the Thirty Years' War came from Asher & Co. at 1s.6d. each. At this time also, the Museum acquired editions of German and Italian madrigals sold as duplicates from the Royal Library, Berlin. In 1864, 156 books by, and relating to, Goethe came from Calvary in Berlin: this bookseller supplied many more rare Goethe items in 1866, 1867 and 1870, making a total of over 400 items, and occasionally other antiquarian books, such as German translations of Shakespeare, and items from the Museum's desiderata lists; but his regular business with the Museum consisted in supplying, from 1861 until 1896, German university dissertations and Schulprogramme, of which the Museum thus acquired many thousands: his very first invoice covered over 5,000. Also in 1864, the Museum bought a Regensburg Missal (Bamberg 1518; on vellum) from Boone at £80.

1.82 In 1865, Luther's Septembertestament (Wittenberg 1522) came from Asher at 12 guineas, together with the 1498 Augsburg Tristan at £28. In 1866/67, the bookseller J. A. Sprecher of Chur sold the Museum 68 works of the 16th to 19th centuries in Romansch, and more in 1871, making the holdings then, in the words of the 1872 Report to Parliament, ``the most complete collection existing of publications in this singular Romance language'; even more of the same came from Sprecher in 1874, 1876 and 1878, and in 1875 a collection of books of the late 16th century onwards relating to the Grisons (Grau-


1.83 In 1867/68, over 650 incunables (not only German), duplicates from Munich, came from Asher for about £550, many of them from suppressed monasteries. Also in 1868, Asher supplied, for £43.5s., 692 vols of the Tauchnitz Collection of British Authors; in 1870, amongst much other antiquarian material, 18 works of Hans Sachs, as well as 420 Reformation tracts from the catalogue of Adolf Weigel at Leipzig now known as a reference source under the name of its compiler Arnold Kuczynski (catalogue at 4999.bbb.44); and in 1871, one of thirty hand-coloured copies of Adolf Menzel's Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung (1851-1857) for £80.


1.84 Though the Franco-Prussian War caused some disruption in the supply of current German books, in 1871/72 the Museum nevertheless managed to acquire 5,600 new monographs for £ 633, plus £208 spent on works in progress and £205 on periodicals. It also acquired very large amounts of the ephemeral material produced on both sides in the war, including many German caricatures. Also in 1871, 122 Orationes funebres et epicedia illustria of the 16th to 18th centuries, mainly printed in Germany, came from Logan in Edinburgh for £25 (placed at 12301.dd.1-8); and a collection of German antiquarian material from the 15th century onwards from the Librairie Tross in Paris, including a 1594 songbook of the Bohemian Brethren and a collection of 122 German broadside wall-calendars. The latter, mainly of the late 17th and 18th centuries, were printed for the most part in Nuremberg, Augsburg and Bamberg, many possibly coming originally from W. Drugulin's Historischer Bilderatlas of 1863, a collection from which the Museum seems to have acquired nothing at that time. In 1872, four blockbooks, including an Ars moriendi at £1,072, and some early Mainz broadsides were purchased through Asher & Co. from the Weigel sale of 27 May in Leipzig, at which the Museum spent £ 2,799 in all. In 1873, the László Waltherr Collection of some 4,000 Hungarian pamphlets of the period 1770-1863 was purchased for £100 from List & Francke via Asher, and contains many items in German. The same year saw the purchase, also from Asher, of a selection of books in European languages including German, from the 16th century onwards, from the collection of S. A. Sobolevsky, mainly travel, topography, and history, and including a few printed in German in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1874, the Museum purchased for £ 3.15 s. from W. C. Hazlitt of London 144 Strasbourg funeral elegies of the years 1612-1668, a collection that had once belonged to Richard Heber, and a considerable bargain in view of the scholarly interest such material was to arouse over a century later.

1.85 Albert Cohn, who had become Asher's business partner just before the latter's death and at first continued the firm with other collaborators as Asher & Co., divided it in July 1874: the modern bookselling business and London branch (by now at 13 Bedford Street) was sold, and continued under Leonhard Simion and Adolf Behrend as a main supplier of modern German books to the Museum under the old Asher name, also occasionally selling antiquarian books as agent for Museum selections from other booksellers' catalogues; Cohn set up under his own name as a seller of antiquarian books and publisher, and was in his way as remarkable and learned a supplier as Adolph Asher, his teacher, had been. As the cataloguer of Tieck's library for the 1849 sale he had won the aged author's admiration and was introduced by him to the relations between early English and German drama, an interest which had culminated in Cohn's book on Shakespeare in Germany in the 16th and 17th centuries (1861). He also began a huge and comprehensive Shakespeare bibliography, but at his death in 1905 it was, at 40,000 entries, still incomplete.

1.86 Asher & Co. was now undoubtedly the most important of the Museum's modern agents, supplying, as well as German books selected from the trade lists, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Scandinavian, Slavonic, Hungarian and Modern Greek, and having its own agents in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and Madrid. At around this time, Asher & Co. gave the Museum a 15 per cent discount on new books, and shared the task of supplying serials principally with Nutt, Dulau, and Baillière. Albert Cohn, now able to concentrate on antiquarian books, particularly German and French, maintained a file of pre-1700 books in German in the British Museum to prevent him from offering duplicates. The Museum's own desiderata lists of older material were drawn up from a number of sources, including Hain's Repertorium, Kayser's Bücher-Lexikon, and the subject bibliographies of Wilhelm Engelmann. Cohn's regular sales of masses of important and interesting German books to London continued the Asher tradition unbroken until the turn of the century, indeed as an independent dealer he dominated the field for the Museum until the 1890s in a way Asher & Co. had ceased to do in recent years before the division of the firm.

1.87 Cohn's relations with the British Museum were more difficult than Asher's, however. Panizzi's successor, first as Keeper of Printed Books (1856-1866), then as Principal Librarian (1866-1873), his former close colleague and supporter John Winter Jones, and his other stalwart lieutenant Thomas Watts (Keeper 1866-1869), had continued to act in Panizzi's spirit, though curiously all these passionate acquirers of literature omitted to report any notable accessions of printed books to Parliament during the years 1850 to 1867; not even the exceptionally expensive Caxton of 1490 (the second edition of Pseudo-Bonaventura's Speculum vitae Christi, purchased in 1864 for £1,000) figured in the official reports.

1.88 Under the Keepership of Printed Books of William B. Rye (1869-1875) the momentum of foreign purchasing was maintained, though he complained that fewer antiquarian items were being submitted on approval than in Asher's day; in his turn, Cohn complained at the Museum's slowness in returning unwanted books and in marking sale catalogues. Without further evidence, it is hard to tell whether Karl Dziatzko was justified in claiming in 1881 that too little staff time had been spent on research in recent years and too much on routine work (a perennial conflict in large research libraries), but there does seem to have been a real loss in efficiency in this period. Under Rye's successor George Bullen (1875-1890) the Museum's tardiness in processing books submitted on approval reached a shameful low point, and after the Maltzahn books (see below 2.112), Cohn submitted no more by this method. In 1884 he wrote to Bullen, ``You have no idea what the Library is losing by the slow dispatch of business', and on several occasions complained bitterly of the financial difficulties this caused him. Bullen's less than enthusiastic dealings with Cohn were symptomatic: the Principal Librarian Edward Augustus (later Sir Edward) Bond (1873-1888; formerly Keeper of Manuscripts), according to Bullen, ``thinks that we spend too much money on old German books'. In addition to narrow horizons in high places was to come the substantial cut in the overall Government grant for acquisitions in 1886, so that the continued growth of the German collections, albeit at a reduced rate, seems all the more remarkable: only a small selection of the antiquarian accessions can be specified here.

1.89 In January 1875, Cohn sold the Museum for just under £600 some 2,000 books from the collection of 16th-century German books formed by A. F. H. Schneider of Berlin, a teacher at the Königliche Realschule. This comprised mainly Reformation theology in contemporary editions, some unique and many rare, with works by several of the most important authors of the period, including a batch of 100 works by and about Thomas Müntzer and the Anabaptists (``neither Berlin nor Wolfenbüttel can boast of anything approaching it', said Cohn), an especially good series of works of Caspar Schwenckfeld, his friends and opponents, and several important Protestant catechisms, on which Schneider was an expert. Berlin had wanted to choose certain items from this collection, but Schneider would not allow it to be broken up, whereas the Museum seems to have taken everything except duplicates of editions already in London: it had previously held no Müntzer editions, for instance, but already had 29 of Schneider's Schwenckfelds.

1.90 More than 500 Strasbourg proclamations, 1518-1790, came from Cohn in the same year (£50), and some other early broadsides including one from Augsburg on a self-firing gun (1518) and the amazing Figurensatz gryphon printed by Michael Meder in Stralsund in 1682. In 1876, Cohn supplied 130 Nuremberg broadsides of the 17th and 18th centuries on money, over 20 Bibles in German of the same period, together with much else. In 1878 came a collection of printed music of the 16th and 17th centuries, including much by German composers, and Cohn also supplied more than 500 works from the November 1880 auction of the collection of the musicologist Dr Franz Gehring, including many rare or unique German editions of the 15th and 16th centuries. Incunables in particular were a constant and numerous feature of Cohn's sales to the Museum, supplied against a desiderata list based on Hain. Amongst the hundreds he supplied were, in 1879, 47 of which those in German came ``principally from monasteries at Bamberg'.

1.91 German antiquarian material did come from other suppliers in this period, though on a smaller scale. These included Henry Stevens, who in 1875 sold the Museum some works on the discovery of America and early voyages in German editions, and, in 1881 and 1882, several rare early German Bibles. From Pickering in 1877 came a collection of German and Dutch pamphlets of the 17th and 18th centuries on English affairs. In 1880, from the sale of Prof. Joseph Henry Green, friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, came works by Fichte, Hegel, Herder, Kant, Schelling, and Schleiermacher, with manuscript annotations by the poet. In 1877, Trübner, the Museum's chief agent for orientalia, began supplying the Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft Yokohama (1873 ff.), an example of the way the Museum's world-wide collecting profile facilitated the acquisition of works by German expatriates from countries near and far. In 1878, a small collection of German Masonic songbooks came from Professor Carli Zoeller (London), ``Musical Director of the 7th Hussars' and music-dealer.

1.92 The published catalogue of the marvellous collection of German literature of the 15th to the 18th centuries formed by Baron Wendelin von Maltzahn bears the date 1875, though a copy of part one, bearing the printed date 1873, and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, reached the Museum early in 1874. Rye undertook a sample check against British Museum holdings and found that three-quarters of these Maltzahn books were not present; he thought they ``would admirably supplement the Kuppitsch collection'. Three years later, after the second and third parts of the catalogue, covering the 17th and 18th centuries, had appeared, Cohn wrote to the Museum saying he believed the Maltzahn Collection would be ``the very last opportunity to enrich your German collections by a number of important early books, many of them almost unique'. Amongst numerous rarities of all sorts they included a large number of song-texts (Lieddrucke), mainly from the collection of F. H. von der Hagen which had been sold in Berlin in 1857, which would make the Museum outstandingly strong in this genre if added to the Kuppitsch songs. Encouraged by the Museum's manifest interest, Cohn eventually bought the whole collection, and seems to have been sending instalments to the Museum on approval by late 1878.

1.93 A number of invoices of 1879 and 1880 included Maltzahn books amongst other items and without quoting catalogue numbers, so that it is hardly possible to determine exactly what came then and at what price; but from August 1880 until November 1885 a whole series of Cohn invoices including Maltzahn books do cite catalogue numbers. It is certain that, of the 5,500 items in the catalogue, the Museum bought over 3,000. These include the 123 occasional verse publications of Simon Dach on which Bullen withheld a decision to purchase from July 1883 until November 1885, which constitutes but one example of the Museum's scandalous delay in making both selections and payment. In mid-1884, Cohn threatened to appeal directly to the Trustees if outstanding invoices were not paid, and in January 1885 wrote to Bullen: ``I have kept the Maltzahn books for the Museum ever since 1878', and reminded him that his predecessor Rye had promised to deal with them as speedily as possible. In May that year he added, ``I wish I had never had the sentimentality of reserving all those scarce books to the Museum for years. I would have recovered the money invested in them years ago, and more of it than you are paying me for them now'. This hardly praiseworthy episode in the history of the Department of Printed Books did, however, secure for the Museum a quantity of the rarest items of German literary history, particularly of the 16th to 18th centuries (see below 2.112).

1.94 Other German antiquarian acquisitions of the 1880s included much more from Cohn, for instance a steady stream of incunables, including in 1882 a Benedictine breviary on vellum (G. Stuchs, Nuremberg 1493) and items from the Heinrich Klemm sale in March 1889 (not merely incunables, but also part 3 of Luther's Old Testament, Wittenberg 1524, in a modern binding made from wood from the piles of Trajan's Roman bridge at Mainz, and a German calendar printed in Germantown, 1745), as well as German music including books from the sale of Frederik Muller's collection in 1881. In 1886 Cohn's books included 62 tracts of the 17th century on comets, in 1888 some Goethe items including his Strasbourg thesis of 1771, and 48 items from the Karl Goedeke/Erhard Schultz sale in Leipzig including S. Schaidenreisser's German prose translation of the Odyssey (Augsburg 1538).

1.95 Cohn's supplies were perhaps a little patchy through the 1880s, no doubt partly due to the Maltzahn problems: in 1882 Bullen refused a collection of 142 German libretti and told Cohn to send no more books until he (Bullen) knew he could deal with them; and possibly partly because of the combined effect of Bullen's tardiness and Bond's lack of sympathy. The 40 per cent cut in funds from 1887, however, was decisive. Thereafter the excellence of the Museum's selection from what came on to the market remained in place, but the sheer volume of antiquarian accessions undoubtedly declined, from all sources. Bond was succeeded as Principal Librarian by another former Keeper of Manuscripts, Edward (Sir Edward) Maunde Thompson in 1888, and Bullen by the more active Richard Garnett in 1890.

1.96 For whatever reason, the 1890s present a livelier picture, if now on a much smaller scale, than the 1880s, as far as German books are concerned, though in 1899, Cohn was still having difficulty in extracting payment from the Museum, this time for some books ordered by Garnett before his retirement in that year, one outstanding invoice being over two years old. An area of collecting which definitely flourished from the later 1880s into the next century was that of German music, both current and antiquarian, no doubt due to the vigorous policy pursued by William Barclay Squire, head of the Music Room from 1883 to 1920. In the 1890s, the last decade of his life, Cohn continued to supply German antiquarian books from all centuries of printing, ranging from a broadside challenge of Magnus von Hapsberg on behalf of Sigismund, Archduke of Austria, and the oath of the Swabian Confederacy, both printed by Conrad Fyner at Urach (1480 and 1488 respectively), through Ulrich Pinder's beautiful Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz Marie (Nuremberg 1505), the first edition of Alciati's Emblemata (Augsburg 1531), six editions of Paracelsus in German, Goethe's Von deutscher Baukunst (1773) and Die Fischerin (1782, including the first printing of Erlkönig; a copy from the collection of Gustav Loeper which had been sold in 1888), to material of the early 19th century. In this period, Cohn also sold the Museum a quantity of early Spanish and Catalan material. The last Cohn invoice, in the name of his heirs, is dated 14 May 1901.

1.97 All this time, the firm of Asher, which still had a London office, had continued supplying current German publications selected from Hinrichs, the Oesterreichische Bibliographie, and other sources, as well as serial continuations (despite the fact that this particular task was shared with various other booksellers, single Asher invoices contain up to 400 different serial titles), and more recent antiquarian books, often selected from other booksellers' catalogues. Asher's occasional supply of earlier books included in 1889 numerous Goethe items originating from the Gustav Loeper collection, including the Neue Lieder (1770), a copy of which the Museum had inexplicably failed to buy from the Maltzahn Collection.

1.98 Despite the fact that average prices for newly-published German monographs seem to have decreased during the 19th century, coverage of current German books was affected by the reduction in funds, not least because serial subscriptions were maintained in the face of what Garnett reported in 1889 as nearly a trebling in the annual cost of French and German periodicals since 1872. In 1895, the Trustees ruled that ``in the selection of foreign books, only such as can be recognised as works of permanent value in the literature of any particular country should, as a rule, be chosen'. The result was neglect of certain areas, such as, most notably, science and technology (the precise effect on acquisitions policy of the removal of the natural history collections to South Kensington remains to be determined), but also academic dissertations, avant-garde literature, livres d'artiste, political pamphlets, some new disciplines like psychology, and lower-level fiction, both at the time and through the first decades of the 20th century. Many gaps in most of these areas, with the exception of dissertations, were filled during the early years of the British Library when funds were plentiful, the addition of the Patent Office Library in 1966 having already supplied the most glaring deficiencies in science and technology.

1.99 By the 1890s, the Museum was decisively and permanently diversifying its supply of antiquarian German books, and ceasing to rely largely on one principal source. Purchases at London sales had been, and were to remain, a constant source of antiquarian books, though the German component tended to be small. But there was an increased number of purchases made directly from foreign booksellers and sales, which was to remain the strategy, with wartime interruptions, into the era of the British Library. Again, only a small selection of the 1890s purchases can be mentioned. From 1890 until 1896, much antiquarian material, especially ephemera, came from the Berlin bookseller Georg Lissa, including a fine collection of Nuremberg New-Year greeting broadsides of the 17th to the early 19th centuries, 225 proclamations from Danzig (1645-1791, unfortunately destroyed during the Second World War), the Augsburg 1609 edition of Fortunatus, 52 occasional poems relating to families from Lauban 1734-1817, poems in the Nuremberg dialect by J. C. Grübel 1794-1807, and 87 market songs 1805-1814. In 1890 from Nijhoff in the Netherlands came 42 editions of the Imitatio Christi, in 1895 over 1,000 more from the Edmund Waterton Sale at Sotheby's in London, and in 1896 another 165 from Ludwig Rosenthal in Munich, further enhancing the library's fine collection, which includes many German editions (those in German are placed at IX.Ger., those in Latin, from whatever country of origin, at IX.Lat.). Also in 1890, from J. Hess in Ellwangen came 38 books in Romansch, with more to follow in 1891 and 1894. In 1892 from Rosenthal came several editions, some from Germany, of the Index librorum prohibitorum, from Max Harrwitz in Berlin Basedow's Elementarwerk (1774), and from Adolf Weigel in Leipzig first editions of Brentano's Gockel, Hinkel und Gackeleia and Gottfried Keller's Der grüne Heinrich; in 1894 from Max Spirgatis the Ingolstadt 1544 Eulenspiegel, and in 1894/95 a collection of ephemeral material from the Vienna Revolution of 1848, partly purchased from Nijhoff and partly donated by Lady Arthur Russell.

1.100 The position at the beginning of the 20th century was as follows: current German books, which from 1901 onwards fall outside the scope of this survey, continued to be supplied to specific order from bibliographies of new publications, mainly by Asher, who also supplied mainly 19th-century antiquarian books to special order, as well as sharing the task of supplying serial continuations with other booksellers such as Dulau and Baillière; other German antiquarian books came, on a much reduced scale, from a whole variety of sources at home and abroad. The same applied, mutatis mutandis, to Austrian and Swiss-German books.

1.101 The most constant component of German antiquarian accessions in the closing years of the 19th century and the opening decades of the 20th was incunables, which now tended to displace purchases from other periods of book-production, partly because funds no longer stretched in all directions, but no doubt also in response to the scholarly effort being devoted to the preparation of the Museum's catalogue of 15th-century books: the compilation of special catalogues is usually an added stimulus to acquisition. But the preoccupation with incunables of so many collectors had long been shared institutionally, and had brought the Museum large numbers, either directly with constituent private collections down to the time of Grenville, or through purchase (many thousands in the course of the 19th century), making what is today the largest collection of 15th-century books in the world (in terms of editions if not of copies).

1.102 Production of special catalogues of sections of the European collections had begun in 1884 with English books to 1640, and the first volume of the catalogue of incunables, covering the earliest German presses, appeared in 1908. The second volume, also devoted to Germany, came out in 1912, and the third, which included German-speaking Switzerland and Austro-Hungary, in 1913. The foundations of this still continuing undertaking were laid by Robert Proctor (1868-1903), a brilliant bibliographer who joined the Museum staff in 1893 and had brought out An index to the early printed books in the British Museum in 1898, devising the so-called `Proctor order' for incunable presses, which sequences places of printing chronologically, and their printers within them also chronologically. Proctor also began a catalogue of foreign books 1501-1520, with full descriptions of the types used, to be in four projected volumes, but at his untimely death had finished only the first, for Germany (1903); the second volume, covering Switzerland and Austria, appeared from the pen of Frank Isaac in 1938 (see below 3.3).

1.103 The series of short-title catalogues of foreign

holdings to 1600 began in 1921 with Spanish books, and was eventually followed by French, Portuguese, Spanish-American, German, Netherlandish and Italian books. Catalogues of 17th-century books from Italy, Germany and Spain have followed, and a catalogue of Hungarian books to 1850. Both the production and the existence of these special catalogues have undoubtedly acted as a spur to the acquisition of relevant antiquarian books, whenever financial circumstances allowed.

1.104 Suppliers of German incunables in the early years of the 20th century included Jacques and (especially) Ludwig Rosenthal of Munich and Martin Breslauer of Berlin, as well as a variety of London auctioneers. The Keeper of Printed Books from 1899 to 1912 was George Fortescue, and his reports to Parliament of important accessions very much concentrate on 15th-century books, accurately reflecting the shift in the balance of acquisitions during his time; only music retained its wider time-span. The small amount of post-15th-century German antiquarian material acquired now included 123 programmes of Jesuit plays performed at Regensburg 1645-1769, bought from Bailey Brothers of London in 1907, and the Petrus Apianus Cosmographia (Landshut 1524; with volvelles) from Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles of London in 1908. The bequest of Alfred Henry Huth in 1911, which allowed the Museum Trustees to select 50 MSS and printed books, and the subsequent series of Huth sales at Sotheby's, at which substantial purchases were made, again brought in the main important 15th-century books, like the German blockbook Ars memorandi of c. 1470 from the Bequest and the Strasbourg Hug Schapler of 1500 from the third sale in 1913, but also the Erfurt Eulenspiegel of 1532 (1913).

1.105 Also in 1911 came the deposit on loan to the Museum of the Royal Music Library, which was the Hanoverian court collection, much augmented by George III and Queen Charlotte, who were great music-lovers. This consists of some 1,000 MSS (including operas by Agostino Steffani and Handel's own collection of his autographs in 97 vols) and 3,000 vols of printed books and music, much of it German. The loan was converted into a most magnificent gift by Queen Elizabeth in 1957.

1.106 The philatelic library of 4,000 books, many German, formed by James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford, was bequeathed to the Museum in 1913, and admirably supports the substantial holdings of postage stamps of the world (the Tapling Collection came in 1892, and the Post Office's Bern Collection, on loan, in 1964).

1.107 Donations from institutions and individuals were of course constantly made to the British Museum library from its earliest days, but amongst these the overall proportion of German books is small, perhaps unsurprisingly. Foreign institutions of learning and official bodies have often donated their own publications, authors their works, and grateful users of the Reading Room the fruits of their studies. Amongst the last group should be mentioned the Museum's possibly most famous reader, Karl Marx, who donated copies of the second edition of Das Kapital (Hamburg 1872, in parts) and the French translation (Paris 1872-1873, in sheets); he also presented vol. 1 of the Russian translation (St. Petersburg 1872), of which the second volume was to come as a donation from Friedrich Engels and Marx's daughter Eleanor, the third from N. F. Daniel'son.


1.108 The supply of current and recent German books did not cease altogether during the First World War, though it was much reduced. After Asher's last batch of German books sent direct from Berlin in July 1914, the firm found a route through neutral countries, and the Museum was given a special licence by the Home Office (vetted in practice by the Board of Trade) to import enemy products. Early in 1915, Asher resumed regular supplies of serial continuations (392 titles on the first invoice) using the London address for billing, and from May 1917 appeared in the guise of Scheltema & Holkema, Amsterdam; not until autumn 1919 did the true name and the Berlin address reappear. Until 1917, the firm of Dulau, which had been sharing the supply of continuations since the 1860s, also found ways of providing ``German war books', both substantial and ephemeral. Many of these, and of Asher's non-serial supplies, were selected from the Wöchentliches Verzeichnis; for instance, in 1915 Dulau supplied, amongst much else, both Ernst von Wildenbruch's Deutschland, sei wach! (Berlin 1915) and Ludwig Wilser's Die Überlegenheit der germanischen Rasse (Stuttgart 1915), and in 1916 Kriegszeit. Künstlerflugblätter no. 1-59. From late 1918, Dulau was also supplying current Swiss publications selected from the Swiss bibliography.

1.109 Few German antiquarian books were purchased during the war, all from English sales. They included music (especially Bach and Handel) from the William Hayman Cummings Sale, and 17 German incunables from the George Dunn Sale, both in 1917. In 1918, the Museum obtained the earliest 1513 issue of Ptolemy's Geographia (Strasbourg) from Stevens, by exchange for duplicates. The first post-war antiquarian purchase from Germany, albeit small and showing evidence of rampant German inflation, came in October 1919 from Leo Liepmannssohn of Berlin.

1.110 The inter-war period saw a couple of spectacular non-German purchases which overshadowed, and partially impoverished, everything else: a perfect copy of the Shakespeare first folio at £12,000 in 1922; and the 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus from the Soviet Government for £100,000 in 1934. The purchase grant for books was not decreased during the Depression of the early thirties, but devaluation of the pound cancelled out any increases, and economies were directed towards foreign purchasing both current and antiquarian, to try and preserve existing periodical subscriptions and important new monographs, though numbers were by now severely reduced: in 1935 some 6,500 foreign monographs (current and antiquarian together) were purchased, whereas over the period 1846-1875 the average annual figure had been 19,500. In 1935/36, 90 per cent of the purchase grant was spent on current material, German books accounting for a total of £3,348 (French £1,347, American £735, Italian £721).

1.111 For most of the inter-war period German antiquarian accessions were thus very few in number, by comparison with earlier periods, and the smaller sums expended sporadically still tended to concentrate on the 15th century. Nevertheless books came from a wide variety of sources, including private individuals. In 1920 a collection of German hymnbooks and works on hymnology was purchased from the Rev. James Mearns; the next year brought a gift of liturgical works by John Wickham Legg (14 MSS and 650 printed books, including some German). In 1923 Dr F. Schwarz of the Stadtbibliothek Danzig sold the Museum 31 German tracts, mainly of the 17th century, and in 1928 (from Wilhelm Kaldeck of Vienna) came some first editions of Beethoven and Schubert; more of the same arrived in 1936.

1.112 Other German accessions of various kinds included the first work of Paracelsus (Nuremberg 1525), of whom the Museum has a notably rich representation, purchased in London for £16 in 1929; and the bequest in 1931 of the James Hilton collection of chronograms, comprising 250 vols, including many tract volumes, mostly of German origin and of the 17th and 18th centuries, with numerous occasional publications of some rarity (not kept together). However, the purchase at £66,000 in 1937 from the estate of Thomas James Wise of the Ashley Library of early editions of English literature, for which only the first £6,000 could be paid at once, leaving a commitment to pay six annual instalments of £10,000, virtually wiped out other antiquarian purchases for that period.

1.113 Although the Trustees had given formal approval in 1895 to the practice of ``employing assistants who have special knowledge of the literature of particular countries to select for purchase', it was not until after the First World War that the Department of Printed Books began to give more substantial recognition to such specialisms amongst members of the staff, who had hitherto often had to cover a wide spectrum of languages and periods of book-production. Given the growth in publishing and the size of the library, this was perhaps an inevitable development. For German books, this movement eventually gave rise (in 1976, under the British Library) to a German Section comprising curators, for selection and cataloguing, plus support staff. More recent developments are tending to group curatorial skills in Germanic cultures, mainly for selection and information work, with more centralised support staff, including cataloguers.

1.114 Between the wars, current German publications continued to be purchased from Asher and others (such as Dulau and Kegan Paul), but the Museum had begun to consider the question of whether to continue to duplicate the acquisitions of special (specifically, medical) libraries in London. During the 1920s, subscriptions to a number of German medical and technical periodicals were cancelled. In general, current specialist foreign science and technology were left to others to collect, though, in view of the ormous strength of the Museum's holdings of earlier material in these areas, their history remained a responsibility. When the Patent Office Library was incorporated in the British Museum Library in 1966, current science and technology (but not clinical medicine) again became collecting priorities, and in recent years, as a result of cooperative acquisitions schemes, the British Library has moved towards relinquishing responsibility for parts of certain subjects such as law and fine arts.

1.115 The Museum's keen interest in the developing political situation in Germany in the 1930s is evidenced by the expanded list of German newspapers Asher then supplied, including Vorwärts (to 1933), the Völkischer Beobachter (from 1934), and Der Angriff (from 1935). Current books, still selected from the Deutsche Nationalbibliographie and Le livre en Suisse, included major ideological works like Gottfried Benn's Der neue Staat und die Intellektuellen, ordered on its publication in 1933. In the early 1930s a short-lived ``Fine Printing Fund' had allowed the acquisition of the Ernst Ludwig Presse's Shakespeare (Darmstadt; from Asher) and several products of the Bremer Presse. In April 1933 the address of the latter's supplier Hans Goltz (Munich) was transformed from 46 Briennerstraße into 46 Adolf Hitlerstraße, and, more seriously, by August that year Asher had moved from Berlin to Den Haag (a year later to Den Haag-Scheveningen). Current German literature continued to come regularly from that source until April 1940, but some Asher invoices had to remain unpaid until the end of the war. Most purchasing was similarly interrupted during the war years, for instance the last invoice from Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga in Moscow (which in September 1940 had supplied the Moscow 1939 edition of Marx's Grundrisse) was dated July 1942. Only a few American books continued to be supplied via the London office of Stevens throughout the war.

1.116 The British Museum felt more direct effects of the war, however. Although a reading room service was maintained throughout, the evacuation of valuable books was begun on 24 August 1939, at first to the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth; some later instalments went to the Bodleian Library at Oxford and to a quarry near Bath. In September 1940 a bomb destroyed or damaged 1,400 books in the King's Library (which was unfortunately not moved, to the Bodleian, until 1943); in October 1940 about 30,000 vols of newspapers (mainly late 19th-century and early 20th-century British provincial papers) were destroyed in the Newspaper Library at Colindale; and finally in May 1941 one of the four main bookstacks around the Reading Room was destroyed by incendiary bombs, with the loss of well over 120,000 vols.

1.117 The areas of the collections to suffer most included theology, with liturgies (particularly Latin liturgies of the 16th and 17th centuries) and sermons badly affected, law, medicine (mostly of the late 18th century onwards), archaeology, costume, numismatics, fine arts, ceramics, music (secondary literature), sport, useful arts, exhibition catalogues of the 19th and 20th centuries, politics and government, architecture; and periodicals including yearbooks, annuals, guides, and journals on medicine, literature, philology, theatre, bibliography, home economy, and fashion. Because the placing system did not distinguish by language, there were German books in all these categories, but again because of the way the collections had been shelved, parts of all these groups survived elsewhere in the library. It is estimated that the wartime losses amounted to some 200,000 items overall.

1.118 Only a few parts of the German losses can be even roughly quantified. In theology, over 3,500 works were destroyed, especially liturgies and hymnbooks, and works and sermons by many individuals, including notably many by August Hermann Francke; perhaps less than one quarter have been replaced, either in the original or on microfilm. In law, over 6,000 works were destroyed, mostly of the 19th century, though also smaller numbers of the 17th to 20th centuries, including dissertations; perhaps one quarter have been replaced. Of German art books, including architecture, some archaeology, and catalogues of exhibitions and particular collections, all mainly of the 19th century, over 4,000 works were destroyed, of which less than half has been replaced. Of German ``useful arts' (mainly handicrafts, including cookery, but also some technology), again principally of the 19th century, perhaps less than one quarter of the 1,600 destroyed works has been replaced. Of German sports and games (including chess), over 1,100 works of all periods were destroyed, of which less than half have been replaced.

1.119 The task of replacing destroyed books began almost at once: lists of the lost books arranged by subject and language were drawn up, which much facilitated the work. As early as September 1941, complete runs of German journals such as the Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, the Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, and the Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung were replaced from Blackwell's of Oxford. Many other British booksellers participated in this work, in fact a much wider range than had been used before, and if modern English books predominated, foreign and earlier books were certainly included also. Other replacements came from paper salvage drives and as gifts from institutions at home and (eventually) abroad; among foreign libraries to donate material was the University Library at Basel. In March 1946 the Museum paid the Ministry of Works £150 for ``books removed from the German Embassy to replace lost copies'. After the war, the systematic search for replacements, which for a time absorbed nearly all non-current funds, also widened the range of German antiquarian booksellers dealt with by the Museum. After some decades, however, diminishing returns caused the library to seek microform replacements for most modern books, of which many German examples were ordered from the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek Berlin and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich.

1.120 In May 1945, the Museum was amazed and delighted to be approached by Dr Otto Liebstaedter, who had become a partner in the firm of Asher in 1929 and latterly its director. He had heroically saved for the Museum all the German books ordered but not despatched at the time of the invasion of Holland, stored them for 63 months and moved them to safer places no less than five times. These included monographs (like Theodor Seibert, Wie sieht uns der Engländer?, Berlin 1940) and serial parts of 1940 and 1941. Special arrangements were now required to obtain books from Germany and Austria, organised by the Enemy Publications Committee of the Foreign Office, with His Majesty's Stationery Office acting for the British Museum, and Dr Liebstaedter as technical advisor travelling in Germany. HMSO thus supplied publications of the war period and after, as well as the Deutsche Nationalbibliographie, until 1950. Asher, now of Amsterdam, sent rather small numbers of German and Austrian monographs and serial continuations until late 1949; in 1948 and 1949 numerous replacements of German works on law and art also came from that source.

1.121 By this time, however, it was becoming clear that other arrangements were required to ensure a more efficient supply of current German and Austrian books. In 1948 the Control Commission for Germany and Austria had refused permission for Dr Liebstaedter to travel to Vienna to acquire Austrian wartime publications, and in March that year the Museum determined to switch its main agency to new suppliers, after more than 100 years with Asher. So ended a magnificent history of collaboration which had brought the Museum much of the great strength of its German collection, particularly the broad coverage of current literature from the 1840s onwards, and large parts of the outstanding collections of earlier books, purchased from the 1840s to the late 1880s. From now on, current German books were mainly supplied by C. F. Fleischer of Frankfurt a. M. and Friedrich Kohlhoff of Oberursel (later by the latter alone), Austrian books by R. Lechner (Walter Krieg) of Vienna, and Swiss books by A. Francke of Bern (who had already been supplying books to order from Das Schweizer Buch since January 1946). After the setting up of the German Democratic Republic, books published there, of which the library has notably rich collections, came at first on exchange via the Tauschstelle, Öffentliche Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek, Unter den Linden, Berlin, via Blackwell's of Oxford, and later also by purchase mainly from Collett's London bookshop.

1.122 The immediate post-war period also brought the Museum, from the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Forces, very large numbers of Nazi books seized from public libraries in Germany, mainly from the period 1933-1945, but including some ideologically objectionable works of earlier date. These range from substantial works to tracts aimed at the widest readership, and exemplify the penetration of racist ideology throughout the country's publishing culture.

1.123 Another confiscated library from Germany, that of the General Staff College at Hanover, known as the Hanover Military Library, provided numbers of (mainly but not exclusively) German works on military history, the largest numbers being of the 19th century, but including many important works of military theory of earlier periods and some 18th-century army lists. Many of these books, including parts of 19th-century serials, were distributed amongst the existing collections as replacements for war-destroyed holdings, and cannot now be identified; the remaining c. 2,000 non-duplicate items were placed at shelfmark M.L. and entered in the general catalogue and the German special catalogues. A number of illustrated books from this source passed to the National Army Museum via the Department of Prints and Drawings.

1.124 In 1946 the Museum purchased the library of printed music and books on music of all periods, including the 20th century, which had been collected by Paul Hirsch (1881-1951); exiled from Frankfurt, he had brought it out of Germany in 1936, and it had meanwhile been stored and made accessible in Cambridge University Library. The well over 20,000 items of which this library consists include a strong German component (all placed at shelfmark Hirsch). There are substantial numbers of works of theory, opera libretti, works on dance, first and early editions of Viennese composers of the period 1760 to 1830 (making the Museum's holdings of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert extremely strong), Wagner scores, much German song, operatic vocal scores of the 19th and 20th centuries, both early and modern secondary literature, and complete sets of important modern periodicals. Many books on music destroyed in the war were replaced by Hirsch copies. In 1968, Hirsch's widow Olga was to bequeath to the library her important collection of decorated papers dating from the early 17th century onwards, including many German examples, particularly of the 18th century.

1.125 Regular purchasing of antiquarian books after the war was dominated for some time by the need to maximise replacements. As the selection of antiquarian books outside the replacement programme gradually resumed, German books new to the collections also began to creep in, for instance a collection of Cologne decrees on coinage dating from the 15th century to the late 18th. In April 1948, eight tracts of Hendrik Niclas printed by Nikolaus Bohmberg at Cologne, 1573-1580, were purchased from F. S. Ferguson (London) for £70, and in July 1949 came four Goethe items from a Hauswedell auction. From now on, the library was to place bids directly at German auctions without using agents. In 1950, the Cranach Press Hamlet (Weimar 1929) came from Bernard Quaritch (London). Smaller quantities of German books were also purchased in this period individually from a variety of German exiles in Britain, whose presence has continued to enrich what British booksellers have had to offer from after the Nazi takeover in 1933 to the present day.

1.126 In 1951, 83 vols of printed books (169 works, of which 40 were incunables and over 80 of the 16th century) and 12 MSS were purchased for £95,000 from the library of Thomas William Coke (1752-1842), 3rd Earl of Leicester at Holkham Hall, with the aid of a special grant of £74,500; the three German incunables included a blockbook Biblia pauperum and the Mainz Psalter of 1459 (Fust & Schöffer), on vellum. Also in 1951, some 186 vols formerly owned by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), were presented by the Pilgrim Trust, many containing manuscript notes by him which considerably expand the record of the intellectual history of this important receptor of contemporary German philosophy (placed at C.126.a.1-l.11); in his copy of the Frankfurt 1638 German version of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia in the revision by Martin Opitz, whose verses he thought ``superior in compactness and polish to the original', he wrote: ``Would I were rich enough to procure a handsome authentic Russia leather binding for this, my Renard the Fox & a few other jewels'.

1.127 In 1957 a collection of books on the Jesuits from the period 1596 to 1904, mainly German and bound in 87 vols, was purchased from Moritz Grolig in Vienna (placed at 4789.a-f). In April 1958, about 140 books, including 70 incunables, were purchased from the library of Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth, with the aid of a special grant of £65,000. In 1959, a further collection of some 800 vols from Holkham Hall was purchased, many printed on the continent (including Germany) in the 17th century (placed at 1492 a.1-t.1). A collection of fine bindings given to the library by Henry Davis in 1968 includes a few notable German examples, for instance a Jena binding of c. 1592 by Lucas Weischner, elaborately tooled in gold and decorated with coloured paint, a dedication copy to the Emperor Rudolph II of E. Reusner's Opus genealogicum Catholicum (Frankfurt 1592), with a portrait of Charles V on the upper cover and the Imperial arms on the lower cover and fore-edge.

1.128 The second half of the 20th century has been rather uniform in the way acquisitions policy has been applied in the case of German books, both current and antiquarian, though a few exceptions are worthy of note. The main determinant remains finance. In periods of affluence, like the first fifteen or so years of the British Library after its foundation in 1973, antiquarian books were purchased in large numbers from all periods of printing: in two peak years in the 1980s £100,000 was spent per annum on German antiquarian books, which were selected from those on offer from up to 80 booksellers at home and abroad, from Brazil to Namibia, though the highest numbers came from Germany. In lean periods, like that of the 1990s, when cuts in public expenditure coincided with the expense of moving to the new library buildings at St. Pancras, little or no antiquarian material could be bought, in an attempt to preserve essential supplies of current German books, especially periodical subscriptions (though many of these had to be cancelled).

1.129 Two areas of current accessions going somewhat beyond the norm hitherto should be mentioned. From around 1950, a huge increase in the number of official and semi-official publications acquired from most foreign countries, including both Germanies, Austria and Switzerland, was made possible by the generosity of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, which supplied British official publications in exchange at no cost to the library, and many more foreign donations were solicited. This expansion was reversed when HMSO, in the 1980s, the years leading up to its recent privatisation, began to charge the British Library for its supplies, and the British Library itself decided to remove little-used official serials from its stock to save storage space and costs. (At the height of the expansion, an attempt was made to apply new ``case' pressmarks to early editions of official texts still on open shelves in the general library, but the task was not completed and applied inconsistently; the effects were further complicated by the choice of the prefix ``D' for the new pressmarks, which has also been added to the pressmarks of many works of all kinds destroyed in the last War.) Then, the incorporation of the Patent Office Library in 1966 meant the resumption of large-scale acquisition of current German material in science and technology, as well as the numerically vast collection of German patents. The British Library's lending operation in Boston Spa, Yorkshire, also involves large-scale acquisition of current German serial publications, especially in science and technology, while it acquires foreign monographs only in response to demand.

1.130 The Patent Office Library brought with it not merely its responsibilities for current science and technology, but large numbers of older German publications in these fields, particularly of the 19th and 20th centuries, which, in supplementing the British Museum's holdings, have given it particular strengths in subjects neglected since the late 19th century: it has been suggested that 95 per cent of German scientific and technological material of the years 1880-1920 in the Patent Office Library was not already present in the British Museum. The Patent Office Library also contained smaller numbers of German scientific and technological publications of the 16th to the 18th centuries, many of them of great rarity. The finest books from this source have been placed at shelfmark C.112. All the earlier publications, and most of the 19th-century ones, have by now been added to the General Catalogue.

1.131 In 1981, responsibility for the India Office Library and Records was transferred to the British Library from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This collection is chiefly devoted to India and other oriental subjects, including voyages and natural history, with material in a variety of languages. As far as German is concerned, there is a negligible holding of early books, in fact no really substantial representation before the period from about 1850 to 1930. In 1983, the National Sound Archive became part of the British Library; it has very extensive numbers of commercial and private sound recordings of German music of all kinds and periods, and 20th-century political and literary recordings.

1.132 The collecting of 15th-century German books continued at a less hectic pace than a hundred years before, and since the early 1960s some sixty editions have been added, including a block-printed indulgence of Sixtus IV (1482), a safe-conduct of Alexander Dorsprunner in three settings on one sheet (Nuremberg c. 1496), and the Dialogus Salomonis et Marcolphi (Erfurt c. 1483). There were six German incunables and six books of the 16th century in the fine selection acquired in 1977/78, partly by gift from John Ehrman and partly from the sale of the Broxbourne Library, the collection formed by Albert Ehrman.

1.133 Other areas of German antiquarian acquisitions which, by contrast, had been neglected ever since the 1880s have also been particularly selected retrospectively in the second half of the 20th. Certainly from the 1970s gaps have been filled in avant-garde literature (particularly Expressionism) and art (for instance a copy of the limited luxury edition of Die Aktion, Berlin 1914-1917, and the Viennese periodical Der Architekt, 1895-1915), politics (particularly late 19th- and early 20th-century Socialism), psychology (for instance Hermann Rorschach's Psychodiagnostik, Bern 1921, and a series of multigraphed reports of seminars of Carl Gustav Jung, 1925-1942, in English or German), and popular fiction. More recent gaps in holdings of the mid-20th century, for instance in exile literature, have also been filled as far as possible. Many commercially-produced facsimiles of earlier German material have also been purchased as gap-fillers (though not the microfilms of the Faber du Faur and Jantz Collections).

1.134 But in general, German antiquarian books have been selected to fill gaps in all subjects and of all dates. Only a few of the many thousands of items acquired during this very active period can be mentioned as examples. These range from, in the 16th century: the first complete German Livy, with woodcuts by Conrad Faber (Mainz 1523), the first edition of Luther's translation of the Psalms (Wittenberg 1524), Sebastian Franck's Paradoxa (Ulm 1534), a song by Erasmus Alberus with music by Johann Walter, Von den Zeichen des Jüngsten Tags (Wittenberg 1548), the first German translation of parts of the Elements of Euclid (Augsburg 1555), a collection of 72 editions of religious songs, mainly from South German presses of the mid-century, Conrad Porta's Jungfrawen Spiegel (Eisleben 1580), Johann Pomarius's Christlicher junger Herren Ehrenschild (Magdeburg 1582); in the 17th century: a collection of 90 pieces of occasional verse from Leipzig (1608-1630), Johannes Kepler's Antwort auf H. Röslin (Prague 1609), a Basel 1617 edition of the Sempacher Schlacht ballad, G. R. Weckherlin's description of a christening festival at the court in Stuttgart (Tübingen 1618; Weckherlin's state and private papers were to be acquired, as part of the Trumbull Papers, in 1989), five illustrated broadsides from the sale of the Adam Collection of Goslar, six rare works of Johann Scheffler, 1666-1673, and a small selection of books from the library of Wolfgang Enge(l)brecht, Count of Auersperg sold at Sotheby's in 1982, including several Frankfurt Messrelationen; in the 18th century: the first German translation of Swift's Gulliver's travels (Hamburg 1727-1728), the Oden der Deutschen Gesellschaft zu Leipzig, ed. by Gottsched (1728-1738), Johann Jacob Breitinger's Critische Dichtkunst (Zürich 1740), Lessing's Der Eremite (Stuttgart 1749), C. F. Weisse's Der Kinderfreund (Leipzig 1776-1782), Franz Stiasny's Sammlung einiger Lieder für die Jugend bei Industrialarbeiten (Prague 1789), and a German ABC published in Germantown in 1796; to, in the 19th century: first editions of works by Kleist, Chamisso, Büchner, Mörike, Gottfried Keller, and of Georg Weerth's Schnapphahnski (Hamburg 1849), the Bericht of the Fourth Congress of the International Working Men's Association in Basel, written by Karl Marx (Basel 1869), J. G. Mann's Die ausländischen Arzney-Pflanzen (Stuttgart 1830; from the De Belder Sale of botanical books at Sotheby's), the hitherto missing part 2, comprising lithographed plates of birds, of W. C. H. Peters's Naturwissenschaftliche Reise nach Mossambique (Berlin 1852-1882), Nietzsche contra Wagner (Leipzig 1889), and the first published composition of Richard Strauss (Munich 1879).

1.135 Three substantial acquisitions of Anglo-German interest conclude this historical survey. In 1992, thanks to generous grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Kulturstiftung der Länder, the British Library acquired from William B. Todd and his wife the Todd-Bowden collection of literature in English published by the firm of Tauchnitz, at first in Leipzig, latterly in Stuttgart, from 1841 to 1955. This comprises over 6,750 vols, only 256 of which proved to be duplicates of copies already in the 935-strong representation of Tauchnitz editions acquired before 1868 through Asher, making the British Library with Coburg the richest collection of this material. In 1994, what was then thought to be the only surviving textually complete copy of the first published edition (1526) of the English translation of the New Testament by William Tyndale (1494?-1536), printed at Worms by Peter Schöffer the younger, was purchased from Bristol Baptist College for £1,000,000; it lacks the titlepage. Only one other copy, with 71 leaves missing, was then known, in St. Paul's Cathedral; but in 1996 a complete copy, including the titlepage, was discovered in the Württembergische Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart. The translation was made from the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, with recourse also to the Vulgate, Erasmus's Latin version, and Luther's German New Testament of 1522, and has a grandeur and beauty which has indelibly influenced the language, chiefly through the Authorised Version of 1611, which absorbed much of it, together with Tyndale's unpublished version of the Old Testament. The British Library holds many continental editions of English texts by refugees like Tyndale, and this New Testament from Germany crowns the whole collection.

1.136 Finally, in 1997, the British Library was able to buy, for £10,000, the surviving library of a German Lutheran parish church and its associated schools in London, the Georgengemeinde founded in Goodman's Fields in 1762. Now that the congregation has shrunk to the point where St. George's Church has been declared redundant, it is appropriate that the books of one of the once-thriving German communities in London should be preserved in the national library. Their historical interest is enhanced by the inclusion of several hitherto unrecorded 18th-century German imprints from London presses (see below 2.113-2.118).

Quelle: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände in Deutschland. Digitalisiert von Günter Kükenshöner.
Hrsg. von Bernhard Fabian. Hildesheim: Olms Neue Medien 2003.