Completed Projects

Completed cataloguing and editing projects

Partly with equity and partly with external funding and in collaboration with external partners the Francke Foundations aim to develop the archive and library holdings by means of numerous projects. The results of these projects are finding aids and catalogues, which are made accessible either in the series “Hallesche Quellenpublikationen und Repertorien” (Halle source publications and repertories) or through this website.

The completed projects listed here are arranged in descending chronological order. The projects funded by the German Research Foundation are described first.

GEPRIS: Projects of the Francke Foundations funded by the German Research Foundation

The project »Verzeichnis der im deutschen Sprachraum erschienenen Drucke des 18. Jahrhunderts (VD 18)« (Directory of 18th Century Prints Published in the German Language Area), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), aims to record, index and digitise all prints published in the German language area as well as all prints in the German language, regardless of their place of publication.

Since the start of the project in 2009, the University and State Library of Saxony-Anhalt (ULB) has been one of the leading libraries in Germany in the realisation of this national project. The funding phase, which runs from 2019 to 2021, had now been set up by the ULB for the first time as a cooperative project and included the holdings of two other libraries in Halle, the Marienbibliothek and the Library of the Francke Foundations.

The Library of the Francke Foundations owns about 1,700 unique and rare prints of the 18th century, which were processed in the ULB during the course of the project: This included cataloguing, digitising and structuring the digital images. The digital copies and metadata are presented both as separate entries within the collection »Alte Drucke« in the Digital Collections of the Study Centre August Hermann Francke and in the Share_it Repository of the ULB.

The metadata and digital representations were continuously added to and presented in the Digital Collections of the Study Centre over the course of the project.

To mark the occasion of the project, the Francke Foundations, in cooperation with the Saxony-Anhalt University and State Library, presented the special exhibition »Invitation to the 18th Century. Experiencing book worlds digitally« at the Historisches Waisenhaus from 18 November 2021 to 13 February 2022. The exhibition explained the project, visualized the workflow from cataloging to digitization to presentation on the WWW, and showed selected prints of this period from the holdings of the three Halle libraries. The exhibition can also be experienced in an online version.

Based at the Francke Foundations was a 6-year research project, funded by the German Research Foundation, titled »Halle pastors, German settlers and Lutheran congregations in North America. Critical edition and scholarly exploration of letters and official journals 1740-1820.« A cooperative consisting of Prof. Dr. Mark Häberlein, Chair of Modern History at the University of Bamberg, Prof. Dr. em. Hermann Wellenreuther (†) , Department of Medieval and Modern History at the University of Göttingen, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke, Director of the Francke Foundations, supervises this project. The project funding ended on 31.10.2019. As "work in progress", the eight-volume edition has been published in the series »Hallesche Quellenpublikationen und Repertorien« by the Publishing house of the Francke Foundations til 2023.

Starting from the observation that the study of the history of the Lutheran church in North America during the decades before and after the founding of the United States has thus far been focused on the journals and correspondence of Henry Melchior Mühlenberg (1711-87), this project aimed at transcribing and editing all preserved official letters and journals written by Muhlenberg’s colleagues, that is, all Lutheran pastors dispatched from Halle to Pennsylvania between 1745 and 1786.

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Project members:
Dr. Wolfgang Splitter (01.10.2013-31.10.2019)
Markus Berger (01.10.2013-30.09.2016), Jan-Hendrik Evers (01.10.2013-30.09.2016), Katharina Prager (01.11.2014-31.10.2016), Nikolaus Schröder (01.11.2014-31.01.2017), Lara Grünberg (01.03.2017-31.10.2019)
Project duration: 1.11.2013 to 31.10.2019;  2019 to 2023 publication of the volumes


The project, which was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation), focused on approximately 1,500 handwritten ego-documents of the early modern period from the archives of the Francke Foundations, which have emerged since the end of the 17th century at the orphanage in Halle in the context of the establishing Pietism, the most important Protestant reform movement since the Reformation. These are, on the one hand, self testimonies of August Hermann Francke, the founder of the Halle orphanage, his colleagues and other contact persons, and, on the other hand, self testimonies that were created in the context of the missionary work of the Hallesch orphanage in India (so-called Danish-Hallesch mission) and the establishment of Lutheran congregations in North America. In the first three-year project phase, approximately 1,500 ego documents were digitised and indexed, and autobiographies, curricula vitae and writing calendars were transcribed and made available in the Digital Collections of the Study Centre.

The project continued from 1 April 2021 to 31 January 2022. In addition to the ego documents, around 460 biographical sources, especially curricula vitae and thanatographies, from the archives of the Francke Foundations from the period 1690 to 1813 were digitised, indexed and in some cases transcribed.  

A workshop on the project took place from 21 to 23 July 2021.

The digitized and indexed sources were successively published in the course of the project in the Digital Collections of the August Hermann Francke Study Centre. The classification "ego/life documents" can be used to narrow down the search to these documents.

The sources offer a variety of starting points for research into Halle Pietism in its local, supra-regional and global contexts of interaction, for research into religious practices and group formations as well as autobiographical and biographical writing in the 18th century.

Project head: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Scientific collaborator: Dr. Karsten Hommel
Student and scientific assistants: David Löblich, Sabrina Mögelin (01.04.2018-30.09.2021), Désirée Schergun (01.04.2018-30.06.2019)
archival project support: Dr. Jürgen Gröschl

Project duration: 01.04.2018–31.01.2022


The August Hermann Francke Study Centre with its sections of Library and Archive preserves the majority of printed and unprinted sources as to the founder of the Francke Foundations, the theologian and paedagogue August Hermann Francke (1663-1727). The project aimed to make electronic data collections and catalogues as well as editions, which have been developed in recent years in the August Hermann Francke Study Centre and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Pietism Studies of the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg available on a modular research platform under the provisions of Open Content in a “Francke Portal” on the website of the Study Centre, develop these further and systematically enhanced them with digital copies of printed and unprinted sources. On the digital information and research platform the source and data sets are presented by means of eight interlinked modules: (1) Portraits, (2) Diaries and egodocuments, (3) Diary inserts, (4) Bibliography of writings, (5) Edited writings, sermons and letters, (6) Epistolary, (7) Secondary literature, and (8) Francke’s private library. The Francke Portal will improve the scholarly supply of information about interdisciplinary research on Pietism and virtually all historically oriented disciplines on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and intensify research about August Hermann Francke and Halle Pietism. The Francke portal has been online since 2 June 2014 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the context of the programme to support outstanding research libraries. The Francke Portal has been developed and enhanced further after the funding of tne DFG.

Online-Research in the Francke-Portal

Project management: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Scientific collaborator: Dr. Karsten Hommel
Student assistants: Anne Harnisch, Irina Schuchardt; Jürgen Schiller
Project duration: 1.3.2013 bis 28.2.2017

2. Pietist Communication Networks: Cataloguing Pietist correspondence in the main archive of the Francke Foundations and in the University and Research Library Erfurt-Gotha (DFG-funded project)

Halle Pietism generated an almost global echo during the eighteenth century. This was facilitated thanks to well-organised, far reaching communication networks. At their centre lay the exchange of letters between August Hermann Francke, his employees, companions and successors. This 3-year project, funded by the German Research Foundation, entitled “Pietist Communication Networks: Opening up Pietist correspondence in the main archive of the Francke Foundations in Halle and in the University and Research Library Erfurt-Gotha,” assumes the intentions Francke proposed as to the intended general reformation of the world are reflected in these exchanges of letters. The correspondence of Halle Pietism includes the exchanges with academic, church and state institutions in Halle, Berlin and the rest of Prussia as well as the cooperation with partners in other European and non-European nations. It extends from the first generation of Halle Pietists to 1769, the very year Gotthilf August Francke, who had succeeded his father as a director, passed away. Prior to the establishment stage of Pietism and partially accompanying it during its early days we come across exchanges of letters with spiritualist and separatist-minded individuals, in part stemming from Francke’s and his staff’s personal contacts and partly from estates from spiritualist writers collected in Halle and now kept at the main archive of the Francke Foundations. In this respect, the correspondence network portrays the emergence, the establishment and the impact of Halle Pietism, providing an insight into a spectrum of universally oriented subjects. As the Gotha Research Library of the University and Research Library Erfurt-Gotha house a singular collection of letters, documenting the early days of emerging Pietism as well as the establishment phase of Halle Pietism, while decisively supplementing the archival materials in the Halle Archive, the project described the letters kept at the main archive of the Francke Foundations and those kept at the Research Library Gotha dating from between ca. 1660 and 1769 in a combined database, both in form and content.

The description of this correspondence will be beneficial to all historically oriented scholars working on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and can lead to further research issues within the individual disciplines and through interdisciplinary collaboration.

Project management: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Project supervision: Dr. Jürgen Gröschl
Project members: Dr. Karsten Hommel, Dr. Erika Pabst
Student assistant: Eric Nagel
Project duration: 1 November 2008 – 31 December 2012

3. Reconstruction, Cataloguing and Provenance Inventory of Pietist Libraries

The project, funded by the German Research Foundation, aimed at reconstructing, cataloguing and provenance inventorising the private libraries of renowned Pietists who had bequeathed their collections of books to the Library of the Halle Orphanage, later the Francke Foundations, between 1698 and 1739.
Important private libraries, for instance the extensive library of Freiherr Carl Hildebrand von Canstein (1667-1719) and the library of the Slavist Heinrich Milde (1697-1739), included in the estate inventories, were reconstructed in the course the first phase (1 January 2007 – 30 June 2009) of the project; those titles available in the Francke Foundations’ Library were catalogued in the Common Library Network (GBV, Gemeinsamen Bibliotheksverbund) and their provenance, verified by means of autopsy, was listed. The libraries of Paul Anton (1661-1730) and Justus Lüders (ca. 1656-1708), both supporters of Halle Pietism, were the focal point during the project’s second phase (1 October 2009 – 30 June 2011). Titles no longer detectable in the holdings of the Francke Foundations’ Library are catalogued in a separate database. The autographs of estate donors are available in digital form.
As the Pietists not only intended to create an ecclesiastical reform but also aimed at a comprehensive reform of all fields of public life, their book collections demonstrate thematically and chronologically wide-span interests. Especially collectors such as Friedrich Breckling (1629-1711) and Heinrich Milde possessed extremely rare works printed in Dutch or Slavic. Carl Hildebrand Freiherr von Canstein owned one of the largest universally oriented private libraries of the early modern period comprising important legal, historical, and theological works. Moreover, his estate benefitting the Halle orphanage contributed especially to the fact that the Library of the Orphanage developed into a universal modern library open to the public. Therefore, cataloguing the Pietist libraries provides valuable material to all historically oriented disciplines.

Project management: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Project supervision: Anke Mies
Project members: Anke Fiebiger, Mirjam Frank (scientific assistant)
Project duration: 1 January 2007 – 30 June 2011

4. The Freylinghausen Hymnal – Edition and Comments

The aim of this project: to develop a critical edition of the Freylinghausen book of hymns, with a detailed commentary, comprising to be the first scholarly edition of hymns of its kind.
Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen (1670-1739), the theologian, teacher, song writer and an important representative of Halle Pietism, published two collections of hymns: Geistreiches Gesangbuch (Spiritual Hymns, 19 editions, Halle 1704-59) and Neues Geistreiches Gesangbuch (New Spiritual Hymns, 4 editions, Halle 1714-33). The publisher himself considered both editions as parts of a whole which Gotthilf August Francke condensed in a single tome (Geistreiches Gesangbuch; 1771 2nd edition of this complete edition). The Freylinghausen hymnal contains more than 1,500 lyrics and ca. 600 hymns, rendering Freylinghausen’s anthology the most important song collection of Pietism.
By means of the critical edition of Freylinghausen’s hymnal one of the key works of the early modern Evangelical hymnal literature is rendered available to the philological as well as to musicological and hymnological church history research and teaching, and to church music practice.
The commentary (Vol. III), set up as an essential complement to the edition (Vols. I and II), is conceived as a kind of compendium of hymns in early eighteenth-century Germany, which received an important innovative impetus from Pietist Halle which continues to play a role today. By submitting already available and to be anticipated results of interdisciplinary research on “Freylinghausen” and the dimensions of his literary, music historical and theological piety, the richness of Pietist hymn culture is shown here by way of an example.


Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Geistreiches Gesangbuch. Edition und Kommentar. Im Auftrag der Franckeschen Stiftungen zu Halle hrsg. von Dianne Marie McMullen und Wolfgang Miersemann.

  • Bd. I/1: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Geist=reiches Gesang=Buch (Halle, vierte Ausgabe 1708). Teil 1: Text [Lied 1–395]. Tübingen 2004.
  • Bd. I/2: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Geist=reiches Gesang=Buch (Halle, vierte Ausgabe 1708). Teil 2: Text [Lied 396–758 / Melodien-Büchlein]. Tübingen 2006.
  • Bd. I/3: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Geist=reiches Gesang=Buch (Halle, vierte Ausgabe 1708),Teil 3: Apparat. Bearb. von Dianne Marie McMullen, Wolfgang Miersemann und Rainer Heyink. Mit einer Bibliographie des Freylinghausenschen Gesangbuches von Oswald Bill. Berlin/Boston 2013.
  • Bd. II/1: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Neues Geist=reiches Gesang=Buch (Halle 1714), Teil 1: Text [Lied 1–434]. Tübingen 2009.
  • Bd. II/2: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Neues Geist=reiches Gesang=Buch (Halle 1714). Teil 2: Text [Lied 435–815]. Berlin/New York 2010.
  • Bd. II/3: Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen: Neues Geist=reiches Gesang=Buch (Halle 1714), Teil 3: Apparat. Bearb. von Dianne Marie McMullen, Rainer Heyink und Wolfgang Miersemann. Mit einem Autorenregister sowie einem Text- und Melodienregister zum Gesamtwerk. Berlin/Boston 2020.

Project Management:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke

Project Team Members:
Dr. Wolfgang Miersemann
Prof. Dr. Dianne Marie McMullen
PD Dr. Rainer Heyink
Dr. Christiane Hausmann
Birgit Grosche
Dr. Matthias Paul
Reinhard Radecker
Marcus Heidecke M.A

Project Duration:

Commentary volume „Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen (1670–1739) und sein Geistreiches Gesangbuch. Zu Entstehung und Inhalt der bedeutendsten Liedsammlung des Pietismus“ in planning stage.

The first missionary enterprise in Protestant church history, known as the Danish-Halle Mission, celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2006. The predominant part of the extensive written tradition is now preserved at the Archive of the Francke Foundations. In a 3-year project, supported by the German Research Foundation, the more than 34,000 letters, journals and reports have been individually recorded and made available in a database on the Internet.

Project leader: Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke
Project supervision: Dr. Britta Klosterberg, Dr. Jürgen Gröschl
Project members: Dr. Karsten Hommel, Dr. Erika Pabst
Student assistants Jan Brademann, Andreas Otte
Project consultant: Hildegard Bessler
Project duration: 1 January 2003 – 31 October 2005

The research project entitled “Pupils, teachers and everyday life in the schools of the Francke Foundations: From the beginning until the demise of the second director” was funded by the German Research Foundation. The aim of the project was to describe all sources relevant to the history of education and paedagogy kept at the archive of the Francke Foundations as to the period between the founding of the Halle Orphanage by August Hermann Francke (1695) and the end of Gotthilf August Francke’s directorate (1769). Furthermore, the development of the schools of the Halle orphanage and their paedagogical practice during the first two thirds of the eighteenth century should be explored in more detail.
The first complete inventory of the School Archive as from 1993 comprised a prerequisite for this research project. The primary sources of the School Archive provide information on the social as well as the geographic provenance of pupils and tutors of the Francke Foundations, and their future life after leaving the institutions. Regular protocols concerning teacher and administrative conferences, house books written by inspectors, regulations, works of pupils, lesson plans and books, account books, food orders and blueprints for construction plans present us with detailed insights into former school activities and daily life.
As part of the research project the relevant social and personal history data of individual sources were recorded in databases. In the online version one can find personal information on 16,605 orphans, pupils and teachers. In addition, transcriptions were composed of the central sources: the register of orphans, the register of tutors (Informatoren), conference books. In preparation for this project, the edition of the register of orphans (Waisenmatrikel 1695-1749) was already published. Dissertation projects have also emerged from the project.

Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Juliane Jacobi, University of Potsdam; Prof. Dr. Peter Menck, Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke, Francke Foundations
Research assistants: Silke Brockerhoff MA; Dr. Axel Oberschelp
Project duration: 1999-2003

Man hatte von ihm gute Hoffnung ...”. Das Waisenalbum der Franckeschen Stiftungen 1695–1749. Edited by Juliane Jacobi and Thomas J. Müller-Bahlke. Tübingen 1998. (Hallesche Quellenpublikationen und Repertorien; 3).
Axel Oberschelp, Das hallesche Waisenhaus und seine Lehre im 18. Jahrhundert. Lernen und Lehren im Kontext einer frühneuzeitlichen Bildungskonzeption. Tübingen 2006. (Hallesche Forschungen; 19).
Zwischen christlicher Tradition und Aufbruch in die Moderne. Das Hallesche Waisenhaus im bildungsgeschichtlichen Kontext. Edited by Juliane Jacobi. Tübingen 2007. (Hallesche Forschungen; 22).

From 1993 on, the library of the Halle professor of theology Friedrich August Gotttreu Tholuck (1799-1877), one of the outstanding figures of the revival movement during the nineteenth century, has been kept as a deposit of the Evangelical Seminary in the library of the Francke Foundations. As part of a DFG-funded project concerning the development of specialist library holdings this specialist theological library comprising more than 10,000 titles was included in the transregional catalogue of the Common Library Network (GBV) and thus made accessible to research.
The August Tholuck Library is a theological library focussing on Biblical studies, church and dogma history, the history of Christianity and of religious and academic life during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The titles predominantly derive from the nineteenth century (ca. 65%) and eighteenth century (ca. 23.5%). The library bears witness to the theological scholarship of the revival movement and, together with the Tholuck archive, also stored at the Francke Foundations, conveys an accurate picture of academic theological research during the first half of the nineteenth century. Tholuck also acquired the work of authors active during the Reformation period as well as works by the Pietists and Enlightenment theologians of the eighteenth century.
The Tholuck library ideally complements the historical collection of the Francke Foundations’ Library. The literature on eighteenth-century Pietism in the main part of the Library and the writings on the nineteenth-century revival movement in the Tholuck Library are united at a single library location.

Project management: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Project researecher: Gerald Reeke
Project duration: 2000–2002

An extensive collection of sources with regard to the history of Halle Pietism is preserved as the Francke Estate (Francke-Nachlass) at the State Library in Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. The documents of this estate were originally part of the collections of source material kept at the Archive of the Francke Foundations in Halle and is directly related to the sources in Halle. A project funded by the German Research Foundation was the first to facilitate a complete inventory of the entire Francke Estate in Berlin to be composed in the archives of the Francke Foundations. In this way, a very central source inventory of the history of Pietism was made available to research, in addition to what is known from the Halle archival data.
The Francke Estate in Berlin comprises 11,147 documents, mainly letters. Reports, discussions, journal excerpts, as well as notes complete the source collection.The rules for the cataloguing and describing of estates and autographs formed the methodological basis of the inventory.
As a result of the 2-year project a 3-tome finding aid with a separate index volume and an online database was created.
The work was carried out in coordination with the manuscript department in Berlin. The data were taken over by the Kalliope cataloguing system of manuscripts.

Project leader: Dr. Thomas Müller-Bahlke
Project supervision: Dr. Jürgen Gröschl
Project members: Oliver Behn, Matthias Finke, Clemens Köhn, Hildegard Beßler
Project duration: 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2001

The goal of the project, funded by the state of Saxony-Anhalt, was to digitize 65 Czech-language prints from the 16th to 18th centuries, totaling 25,325 pages, from the holdings of the Library of the Francke Foundations.

The project was developed on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the printing of the Bohemian Bible in Halle, an anniversary that is in a line of tradition with the other major Bible anniversary in the state of Saxony-Anhalt: 500 years of the September Testament in Martin Luther's translation.

August Hermann Francke's endeavor was to provide the oppressed Lutherans in Bohemia and Moravia as well as the exiles in Barby on the Elbe and in Lusatia with books in their native language. Under Francke's co-worker Heinrich Milde (1676-1739), who was responsible for the Eastern European contacts of Halle's orphanage and the care of Bohemian exiles, Halle developed into an important printing house of religious literature in Czech language. An edition of the New Testament appeared as early as 1709. Between 1715 and 1724, further Czech books were then printed, with a total of more than 39,000 copies said to have been printed. The culmination of Milde's publishing activity was the printing of the Czech Bible in 1722, modeled on the Kralice Bible of 1613. Copies were secretly distributed in Bohemia and Moravia and even reached the Baltic States and Russia.

In addition, Milde himself collected books in Czech, which he had acquired on his travels in Bohemia or had received as gifts from the Bohemian exiles. Milde had a habit of writing notes in his books. Thus we learn with whom he was in contact, whom he met on his travels through Bohemia, what books exiled Bohemians from Barby gave him, and much more. In this respect, these handwritten notes make each print unique.

The Czech books printed in Halle and the books from Milde's possession are in the Library of the Francke Foundations and represent a unique corpus of sources on Bohemian history and emigration. These prints were digitized and made accessible worldwide in the Digital Collections of the Study Center. These are ten prints published in Halle in the 18th century and 55 books in Czech language from the 16th-18th centuries from Heinrich Milde's private library, which he bequeathed in his will to the library of the orphanage, now the Library of the Francke Foundations.

Project management: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Research Assistant: Sabrina Mögelin
Library project support: Anke Mies

Project duration: 01.07.2022–31.012.2022

The Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, the heartland of the Reformation, houses numerous large and small libraries containing historical book collections, such as the library of the Halle Orphanage founded by August Hermann Francke at the end of the seventeenth century, which at present comprises the library of the Francke Foundations. August Hermann Francke’s work in Halle aimed at further developing and completing Martin Luther’s matter of concern: the Christian reform of all classes and all levels of education, including the establishment of a public library. This library now consists of ca. 8,000 printed works dating from the sixteenth century, several including interesting hand-written notes, even by Luther himself. In the course of this 2-year project, which during its first year was funded by the State Administration Office of Saxony-Anhalt and the Evangelical Church of Central Germany, the prints were listed in the transregional catalogue of the Common Library Network (GBV) including all identifiable provenances. In this way, not only knowledge concerning the writings of the Reformation was extended to the State of Saxony-Anhalt, but additionally a solid foundation will be laid as to the preparation of an exhibition to be set up in cooperation with the Marienbibliothek in Halle, which the Francke Foundations shall present within the context of the Luther Decade 2016-17.

Project leader: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Project supervision: Anke Mies
Researcher: Mirjam Juliane Pohl

Based on the printed 1770 auction catalogue, the book titles included in the private library of August Hermann Francke and his son Gotthilf August Francke have been determined as part and parcel of a project funded by the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt. They were recorded in a database that has been integrated into the Francke Portal. By means of reconstructing the private library of father and son Francke not only scholars but also interested laymen are presented with an insight into their world of thought, their religious, educational and social interests and world-wide contacts, as reflected in the titles, the languages and the printing sites of the books.

Project leader: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Project supervision: Anke Mies
Researcher: Dr. Christoph Schmitt-Maaß
Project Duration: 01 July 2012 to 30 September 2013