The traditional book location on Franckeplatz on the corner of Steinweg will be called »Waisenhaus Bookshop« again from 21 September 2021, continuing a tradition of over 300 years that began with August Hermann Francke in 1698. Foundation Director Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke symbolically handed over the historical signet of the Orphanage Bookshop and referred to the special tradition: »The book location founded by August Hermann Francke with library, printing house, publishing house and bookshop is unique. The Orphanage Bookshop is one of the oldest bookshops still in existence in Germany. I am pleased that the historic name is kept alive in this tradition-rich place.«
The orphanage's bookshop dates back to the founding privilege granted by Brandenburg's Elector Friedrich III in 1698 for Francke's institutions. The founder of the foundation received permission from his sovereign to set up commercial enterprises together with an orphanage, including the bookshop. This later operated under the name »Bookshop of the Orphanage« and was an integral part of the multi-faceted educational institution from the very beginning. For more than 200 years, the bookshop was located directly in the orphanage on the entrance floor. In 1925 it then moved to its current home at Franckeplatz 5, a 16th century building on the corner of Steinweg. Before Francke acquired it, it was famous/infamous as the "Raubschiff" inn. From 1931, the bookshop continued as an independent limited company, but remained at its location under the traditional name. The imposing building, the last example of the historic townscape of Glaucha, was lovingly restored until 2012 and also upgraded for bookselling.
The Treuhand had sold the business operations of the bookshop together with the historical name »Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses« (Bookshop of the Orphanage) during the Wende period. When the bookshop was transferred to the new operator Nils Wagner, a young dedicated bookseller from Halle, in 2020, it was initially not possible to seamlessly continue the traditional name for legal reasons. However, since this name has not been used for a shop since then, it could now be saved for the bookshop at the founding location.
Despite the Corona pandemic, bookseller Nils Wagner has created a modern book place at the tradition-steeped location, which not only offers children, parents and grandparents, students, scientists or simply the curious an extensive assortment of novels and children's books to regional literature and specialised literature in the humanities. It enriches the cultural life of our city with many events and offers. In the spirit of the founder, he is a committed and reliable partner for the libraries on the foundation grounds and enriches the event programme of the Francke Foundations and their partners in many ways. Most recently, Wagner presented local authors in a convivial format together with the neighbouring noodle shop Tranquebar. »Author readings with an audience will remain a flagship of our bookshop,« promises the bookseller and already has new reading pleasure in mind: in October, the latest volume from the series »Forschungen zur hallischen Stadtgeschichte« (Research on Halle's City History) is to be presented and already on 28 September, Halle author Simone Trieder will present the illustrated book »Sinti in der DDR«.