DFG grants research project on alchemical practice at the Halle Orphanage in the 18th Century

Thanks to the promised funding by the DFG, a research project relevant to cultural, religious and pharmaceutical history can be carried out at the Francke Foundations.

Reading Alchemist in his Laboratory, etching (detail)
Alchemist in his Laboratory, etching (detail)

At the beginning of February 2022, the Francke Foundations received approval from the DFG to fund a three-year research project that will investigate the relationship between alchemy and Pietism using the example of the production of medicines at the Halle Orphanage in the 18th century. The applicant and head of the Research Centre, where the project will be located, Prof. Dr. Holger Zaunstöck, is delighted because this will enable a previously unexploited treasure trove of sources to be researched and brought to light, thus revealing new aspects of the history of Pietism. The extensive pharmacy-historical source corpus of the Francke Foundations is being analyzed for the first time by the project researcher Claudia Weiß with regard to alchemical practice and its argumentative embedding in Pietism. This includes numerous handwritten sources (laboratory reports, alchemical manuscripts, drug formulations, etc.) as well as an extensive collection of alchemical printed materials from the early modern period, some of which are rare.