Nickel, Holger

Die Inkunabeln der Ratsschulbibliothek Zwickau

Geschichte und Bestand der Sammlung mit einem Anhang zu den Einblattdrucken des Stadtarchivs Zwickau

17.0 x 24.5 cm, 240 p., 14 illustrations b/w, 5 illustrations color, 16 Tafeln, hardback
49,00 €

ISBN: 9783954901944
Table of Contents

Short Description

Prints from the early period of letterpress printing (incunables) are seperately stored in libraries and generally reviewed and explored seperately, since modern rules of cataloguing are not suitable for publications, that originate from a time when rules of bookdesign were not commonly agreed upon. In the Ratsschulbibliothek of Zwickau incunables were never stored seperately, so that, before an incunable could be included in the catalogue, its whereabouts in the stock had to be determined . Through this catalogue libraries and interested researchers get a clear picture of the amount and content of the collection of early prints, as well as information about their provenance and heritage.


The catalogue opens up a part of the stock of one of the oldest libraries in Saxony the Ratsschulbibliothek in Zwickau which was first mentioned in 1498. Todays stock of incunables originates mainly from three sources: The medieval Franciscan monastery, the collection of the city´s Stadtschreiber, Stephan Roth ( deceased 1546) and the acquisitions of the headmaster Christian Daum ( deceased 1687). The „Ratsschule“ looked after the stock from the first half of the 16th century and kept the respective appearances of the parts. The stock of the Ratsschulbibliothek offers insights into the books that were of interest to a monastery of mendicant friars, a member of the urban patrician class, who had a lively booktrade going on the side and was a sympathizer of the reformation and temporarily Luther, as well as an intellectual and maybe even a savior of cultural heritage during the years of the Thirty Years War and after. The stock of more than 1150 incunables never intended to have representative treasures or marvellously designed books, moreover it mirrors the everyday needs and habits of the respective owners. As would be exspected for an outstanding city of Saxony, Leipzig stood in the foreground as place of printing and the historic bindings show the history of acquisition: Bindings from Leipzig envelop imports from all over german-speaking areas, as well as Italy and thereby prove the importance of Leipzig as an exhibition and book-trading city in the region. Further the special editions of the Leipzig university. The stock, which can be unanimously allocated to the Franciscans allows comparisons with the libraries of other monasteries from Saxony, however it must be said that the monastery in the most populous city of Saxony had a special importance. In the year 1492 a Provinzkapitel had to be there arranged.

The book makes the prints accesible according to the usual methods of the cataloguing of incunables and introduces some very rare Kleindrucke. Special attention was paid to the determination of the bindings: To develop trade routes and identify early manufactures of bindings in Saxony, maybe even in nearby Bohemia, which was not yet a seperate state at that time. Further the data had to be validated, which are paramount to the research since the work of Konrad Haebler in the 1920's. The close connection of a late-medieval bookowner with the cities gentry allows some insights into the local history of certain buildings, for example the Marienkirche. For the first time broadsheets, located in the city archive, informing about administrative decisions of the emperor and prince regnants concerning Zwickau, had been assessed and reviewed.

Biographical Note

Born in 1941, residing in the later East-Berlin, high school graduation in West-Berlin (Evangelisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster), from 1960 until 1961 studies of German philology, history and dramatics. After the Berlin Wall was built assistant librarian at the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek. From 1963 until 1967 studies in library science and latin at the Humboldt University, 1967 until 1969 alternative military service, from 1969 research librarian at the incunables division (GW). 1976 doctoral thesis about „Die Inkunabeln der Ratsschulbibliothek Zwickau. Entstehung, Geschichte und Bestand der Sammlung“ at the Humboldt-University. Since 1989 head of the incunables department, 1990 head of division at the GW at the Handschiftenabteilung of the Staatsbibliothek . 2006 retirement. Afterwards several publications on the subjects of incunabula and bookbindings.


13th century, c 1200 to c 1299 (110) || 14th century, c 1300 to c 1399 (103) || 16th century, c 1500 to c 1599 (150) || Bibliothek (19) || Book design (92) || Exhibition catalogues & specific collections (210) || Fine arts: treatments & subjects (401) || Inkunabeln (2) || Typography & lettering (6) || Zwickau || c 1000 CE to c 1500 (376)