Information on the holdings of the archives and library

[Translate to Englisch:] Archivmagazin

Technical information on the archives

The culture-historical archive of the Francke Foundations looks back on a 300-year history. Its holdings reflect the rise and fall of Halle Pietism as well as the rich history of the Francke Foundations. The predominant part of the archive dates from the heyday of Halle Pietism during the first half of the eighteenth century. In addition to the historical archive section extensive collections especially document the recent history of the Foundations. The archive also preserves estates as well as deposits presented by individuals and institutions. The archive collection currently includes 660 meters of files and manuscripts, 3,311 drawings and maps, 270 palm leaf manuscripts, 24,617 images, 11,513 newspaper clippings and 840 posters.
In addition to using the card catalogues and finding aids, to be consulted in the Study Centre’s Catalogue Room, a search in databases allows the user access to the Archive’s holdings. Their presentation on the Internet is one of the Archive’s priority tasks. These databases result from long-term projects to make the holdings accessible to the researchers and the broader public. The Archive mainly performs these tasks in externally funded projects.
The Archive’s holdings are subdivided into several sections, each with its own internal classification:

The main archive developed from the Library’s old manuscript collection. It contains the extensive correspondence of the Foundations’ administrators with partners around the world, as well as August Hermann Francke’s personal diaries. Moreover, it includes a large number of manuscripts presented to the institutions in the course of centuries by way of donations. Chronologically, this archival section focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The earliest documents, however, date from the High Middle Ages. The records of the first Protestant mission to the Jews under J. H. Callenberg can be found here as a closed portfolio.

Finding aids
Inventories: alphabetical author index for each individual document; alphabetic receiver index for each individual document; chronological index; location and local index.

Online finding aids
Archival database

The Mission Archive is subdivided into an India and a North America section. It includes extensive archival materials as to theological work overseas, supervised by the Halle Orphanage. Chronologically the material ranges from the start of the first Protestant Mission under Ziegenbalg in the beginning of the eighteenth century until well into the nineteenth century.

Finding aids
Inventories: alphabetical author index for each individual document; alphabetic receiver index for each individual document. For the Georgia collection a printed inventory and reader is available. Transregional overview of records relating to the India Mission

Online finding aids
Archival records of the Danish-Halle Mission

The Economic and Administrative Archive mainly holds internal records and documents kept from the outset for reasons of legal backup, and today present us with diverse source material as to the Francke Foundations’ entity acquited in the course of centuries. Chronologically this collection begins with the founding of the Orphanage and extends into the twentieth century.

Finding aids
Inventories with index of keywords

Online finding aids
Archival database

The School Archive holds archival material from the numerous educational institutions of the Francke Foundations. Whereas the basic records can mainly be found in the Economic and Administrative Archive, the school records were later archived separately. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries chronologically shape this collection to come to an end in 1946.

Finding aids
Overview of records; card index; systematic index.

Online finding aids
Archival database
Students Matriculation Book of the Latin School (German)
Students Matriculation Book of the Royal Paedagogium (German)
Database “Francke's schools" (German)

The Archive of Blueprints and Maps holds a variety of drawings and illustrations, which are especially related to the ongoing construction activity of the Francke Foundations. In addition to the respective records in the Economic and Administrative Archive the history of almost all the Foundations’ buildings can be reconstructed with the help of these sources. All periods of the Foundations’ history until the twentieth century are chronologically documented in this collection.

Finding aids
Card index for each individual sheet

Online finding aids
Archival database

The Palmleaf Manuscript Archive is the largest collection of its kind in Europe and holds c.270 manuscripts with more than 35,000 single sheets. It includes Bible translations, sermons as well as other texts the Halle missionaries wrote in the Indian languages Tamil and Telugu that were sent to Europe. Here they were initially kept at the Orphanage’s Cabinet of Art and Natural History before being archived as a separate manuscript collection. Chronologically this collection is limited to the first half of the eighteenth century.


Finding aids
Catalogue of Tamil manuscripts

Online finding aids
Palmleaf and paper manuscripts in Tamil (catalogue in German and in English)
Palmleaf manuscripts in Telugu (catalogue in English)

The Image Archive for a small part consists of historical paintings and engravings and, for the most part, of almost 16,100 illustrations acquired in the course of the Foundations’ recent history and supplemented in increasing numbers. This primarily includes portraits of students, teachers and other associates of the Foundations as well as images of the Foundations’ buildings, parts of buildings and their inventory. Increasingly, current events in the Foundations are documented by means of photographs and archived here.

Finding aids
Local database in the Reading Room

The Press Archive contains newspaper clippings concerning events related to the Francke Foundations.

Finding aids
Local database in the Reading Room

The Archive holds for instance the estates of former directors of the Francke Foundations, such as the Niemeyer family, related to August Hermann Francke. Letters, travel notes and congratulatory texts, especially from the period of the directorate of August Hermann Niemeyer (1754-1828) have been preserved. Correspondence, reports and notes dating from between 1739 and 1825 also include the Knapp Family Estate, twice presenting the director by means of Johann Georg Knapp (1705-1771) in office between 1769 and 1771 and Georg Christian Knapp (1753-1825) in office between 1799 and 1825.
Diaries, letters and sermons are part of the estate of the theologian Friedrich August Gottreu Tholuck (1799-1877), which is preserved as a deposit. Professor in Berlin since 1823, he was appointed at the University of Halle three years later. Here he preached, lectured, delivered written comments and served as a chaplain. Tholuck is regarded as an exponent of the revival movement in the nineteenth century. This deposit also includes the estate of the theologian Martin Kahler (1835-1912).
The Archive of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Leipzig, which is deposited in the Foundation Archive, contains documents dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and related to missionary work in India, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia and other mission fields.
Also a deposit, the Dr. Johannes Lepsius Archive is kept in the Foundations’ Archive.
The Luckner estate includes manuscripts, correspondence and acquired objects from Felix Graf von Luckner (1881-1966), who earned great merit by way of his commitment to international understanding after World War I and for saving Halle from destruction at the end of the World War II.

Finding aids
Find books, card indexes

Online finding aids
Archival database
Finding aid for the holdings of the archive of the Leipzig Missionary Work

[Translate to Englisch:] Kulissenmagazin

Library specifications

The Francke Foundations’ Historic Library, founded by Francke for “those studying at the Orphanage” (“Die im Waysen-Haus Studirenden”) at the end of the seventeenth century, comprises an important collection of antiquarian holdings. The books deal with all fields of knowledge, but strongly focus on the religious and cultural history of the early modern period. The books are housed in the earliest surviving purposely-built secular library in Germany, constructed in 1726-28 (History). The Historic Library hall with its original eighteenth-century furniture forms the building’s central part. Here the collections were shelved in book cases arranged as scenes in a theater, the so-called Kulissenbibliothekor Scenery Library.
The focus of library work concerns the efforts to make the collections accessible and to develop a digital library.

Holdings
At present the library holdings include the following:

  • Main collection: approximately 57,000 volumes
  • Special collections: 74,000 volumes (of which 37,000 as a deposit)
  • Reference library: approximately 37,000 volumes
  • School programme collection: 29,000 volumes
  • Bötticher portrait collection: 12,958 sheets
  • Map collection: 1,762 maps

The library’s holdings are subdivided into various inventory groups each with their own classification.