Manuscripts Department - Collections

Size of collections

Status on the day: 31.12.2019:

Collections: 12 653 vol./items, including:

:: medieval manuscripts with fragments – circa 3000,

:: oriental manuscripts - circa 340,

:: Greek manuscripts - 41,

:: Cyrillic manuscripts - 11,

:: collection of autographs - over 17 000.

Reference collection consists of, inter alia:

:: universal publications,

:: critical editions of source texts,

:: manuscripts catalogues from various libraries,

:: literature on manuscripts,

:: facsimile editions of manuscripts from Polish and foreign collections.


Only few percents of all manuscripts held within WUL’s collections have printed, published mainly in 19th and 20th century, catalog descriptions, often of very different value. To make access to them easier and to help with processing of collection, register of publications regarding manuscripts held in Manuscripts Department is maintained. Great help provides handwritten catalogs of manuscripts.

Former University Library

For collections of former University of Wroclaw Library fundamental are two elaborations:

:: Two-volumed, handwritten catalog by Johann Christoph Friedrich (1775-1836), first custodian of manuscripts collection (Catalogus codicum scriptorum, qui in Bibliotheca Regia ac Academica Wratislaviensi servantur, call number Akc.1967/1), edited in years 1821-1823, with indices and later supplemented by next librarians.

Catalog of manuscripts of former University Library, so called Friedrich's catalog

:: At the beginning of 20th century also handwritten catalog was created by Otto Günthera (born: 1861), Josepha Klappera and Karla Rothera (19/20th century) (call number Akc.1967/2, Vol.1-26), known as Goeber's Catalog. Main difficulty, when using this catalog, is absence of indices, that is only partially recompensed by indices of J.Ch.Friedrich’s catalog.
Catalog of manuscripts of former University Library, so called Goeber's catalog
More information

:: In 1938 was printed first part of catalog Verzeichnis der Handschriften im Deutschen Reich. Teil 1: Die Handschriften der Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Breslau. Band 1, but during war time, great portion of unpublished part of this catalog has been lost. It was recompensed in 1982 by catalog created by Konstanty Klemens Jażdżewski: Catalogus manu scriptorum codicum medii aevi Latinorum signa 180-260 comprehendens.

In many times, very helpful are stored in Manuscripts Department: register of incipits and collective provenances cards from former University of Wroclaw Library in topographic order.

Besides medieval manuscripts, that are core of collection from former University of Wroclaw Library, it is also rich in legacies (mainly letters). In 1986 Inwentarz zbioru korespondencji i autografów [Biblioteka Uniwersytecka we Wrocławiu], T.1-2 (Register of correspondence and autographs collections [Wroclaw University Library], Vol. 1-2) was prepared in Manuscripts Department (typescript is also hold there). When using this elaboration, it is helpful to support search with Register of correspondence in alphabetical order.

Register of correspondence and autographs collections from former University of Wroclaw Library

Former City Library

There are two handwritten catalogs, that describe collections of former City Library of Wroclaw: for Rehdiger’s collection M.A.Guttmann-H.Markgraf’s catalog (call number Akc.1967/3, three volumes with indices), that was initiated by Moritz Adolph Guttmann (1800-?) in 40s of 19th century, and since 1890 it was continued by Hermann Markgraf.

Thomas Rediger's catalog of manuscripts

At the beginning of 20th century work on new catalog was started. It was planed, that this catalog will include all collections from former City Library, and not only ones from St. Elizabeth Church. But this 13-volumed publication is uncompleted and lacks many materials, also descriptions concentrate mostly on visual characteristic of manuscripts. This catalog also lacks indices. Because of all of this, still very helpful are registers from M.A. Guttmanna and H. Markgrafa catalog, but they are limited only to Rehdiger’s collection.

Catalog of manuscripts of former City Library

In use there is also Register of manuscripts authors from former City Library of Wroclaw in alphabetical order and Inventory register of collections former City Library of Wroclaw.

For collections from libraries of St. Mary Magdalene Church and St. Bernard Church are still in use older, handwritten catalogs, that unfortunately lack indices and only represent deployment of collections on shelves:

:: Catalog der Handschriften der Magdalenen-Kirchen-Bibliothek mit zu Grunde Legung der früheren im Jahre 1729 angefertigten gemacht und dictirt von dem zeitigen Bibliothecar Dr. Carl Schoenborn Director des Magdalenen-Gymnasiums. Breslau 1847. (call number Akc.1967/4 and Akc.1967/5) and

:: Verzeichniss der in der Kirchen-Bibliothek zu St.Bernhardin in Breslau aufbewahrten Handschriften 1847 (call number Akc.1967/6).

Among preserved handwritten catalogs of former City Library of Wroclaw, worth mentioning is also catalog of correspondence from 16th (call number Akc.1967/8, Vol.1-4 with index) and 17th century (call number Akc.1967/9, Vol. 1-2 with index), that contain register of circa 6000 letters: original, copies and printed one.

In Manuscripts Department there are also several catalogs of albums from collections of former City Library of Wroclaw:

:: catalog of albums from No. 151 to 188 (call number Akc.1967/12); probably part of larger publication;

:: Verzeichniss über die Sammlung von Stammbüchern in der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau (call number Akc.1967/14);

:: Verzeichniss der nachstehend citierten Stammbücher der Stadtbibliothek Breslau (call number Akc.1967/13, T.1-2);

:: Katalog der Stammbücher der Stadtbibliothek Breslau. Band 1: Nummer 1-230 (call number Akc.1967/11).

Other elaborations created by librarians:

:: Register zu der Autographen-Sammlung der Stadtbibliothek zu Breslau. (call number Akc.1967/15)

And two manuscripts catalog by S.B.Klose:

:: Katalog zu den Handschriften Klose. Klosesche Handschriftensammlung Hs. Kl.1-248. (call number Akc.1967/17) i

:: Katalog der S.B.Kloseschen Handschriften-Sammlung, umfassend Hs. Kl.1 bis 248. (call number Akc.1967/16).

In Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Potsdam) there are several descriptions of manuscripts from former University of Wroclaw Library and City Library. They were created during the catalog process of collections of both libraries at the beginning of 20th century. After publishing on microfiches they will be very helpful during processing of WUL’s collections

Restricted collections

Accession index of WUL’s Manuscripts Department

Relatively poorly examined is collection of manuscripts originated from different Silesian and Upper Lusatian libraries (so called restricted collections, accession), which has been included into WUL’s collections after the Second World War.

In the most cases, only short descriptions in register type are available. They are written in four volumes of Accession that include entries since 1947 till present day. In use there is also paper name-subject index to Accession’s collection in an alphabetical order, but it bases only on entries in accession books.

When using electronic version of accession index one has to remember, that when searching for codex by its call number, number after slash must consists of four digits. In cases, when it is shorter, it should be supplemented by digit “0”, e.g. Akc 1949/0005.

When searching via “subject” or “description”, first the beginning letter of searched term should be chosen, and then search engine can be used.

Accession collection, besides of Library of Grammar School in Zgorzelec, also called Milich’s Library, doesn’t have any completed nor partial modern catalog. Only part of manuscripts from that collection (mostly from middle ages) has older printed catalogs, like materials from church of Sts. Peter and Paul from Legnica or Upper Lusatian Scientific Society from Zgorzelec.

The only collection from Restricted collections that has modern catalog description is The Milich’s Library . Its modern manuscripts were processed in 1990 by Leon Górecki, and manuscripts from middle ages (planned for three volumes) were cataloged in two volume publication (published in 1998 and 2004):

  • Katalog rękopisów obejmujący sygnatury 6268-6790 : dawny zbiór Biblioteki J. G. Milicha w Zgorzelcu : rękopisy nowożytne / Leon Górecki. Wrocław, 1990

  • Catalogus codicum medii aevi manuscriptorum qui in Bibliotheca Universitatis Wratislaviensis asservantur signa 6055 - 6124 comprehendens : (Codices Milichiani, vol. 1) / composuerunt Stanisław Kądzielski et Wojciech Mrozowicz, quibus auxilium tulerunt Jan Gromadzki, Jan Przytulski et Hanna Strzelecka-Ascher ; Bibliotheca Universitatis Wratislaviensis. Wratislaviae, 1998

  • Catalogus codicum medii aevi manuscriptorum qui in Bibliotheca Universitatis Wratislaviensis asservantur signa 6125 - 6181 comprehendens : (Codices Milichiani, vol. 2) / composuerunt Stanisław Kądzielski et Jan Przytulski, quibus auxilium tulerunt Wojciech Mrozowicz et Hanna Strzelecka-Ascher ; Bibliotheca Universitatis Wratislaviensis. Wratislaviae, 2004

That condition is consequence of lack of possibility to determine origin of part of collection as well as its provenience and thematic variety; lack of knowledge about exact content of collection and fact, that most of collection originated from 16th to 19th centuries, when manuscript lost its prime role as source- and cultural knowledge for researchers.

Catalog of manuscripts from the former Frankfurt (Oder) University Library

The catalog of manuscripts from the former Frankfurt (Oder) University Library contains a list of works from 3 collections:

  • founded in 1506 Frankfurt (Oder) University Library (Viadrina), (p. 42-45),

  • legacy of Johann Karl Konrad Oelrichs (1722-1799), lawyer, professor of the Academic Gymnasium in Szczecin, (p. 40-42),

  • legacy of Wolf Balthasar Adolf Steinwehr (1704-1771), theologian, professor of history, philosophy and law at the University of Frankfurt, (p. 5-40),

These collections have been moved to Wroclaw in 1811 as a result of the merger of the University of Frankfurt (Viadrina) with the Wroclaw's Leopoldina.

The manuscripts from these collections concentrate on the history of Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia and contain mostly materials from the XVI-XVIII century, i.a. acts from the noble councils.
The letter "z" in a circle indicates the codex in the WUL's collection.
For the Steinwehr collection, call numbers start with the abbreviation "Akc."

Card index of Manuscripts Department's microfilms

Card index of Manuscripts Department's microfilms consists of about 3,000 call numbers. It provides readers with information regarding which of the codices have been microfilmed, and whether it has a negative and positive, or only one of these copies. On the catalog card number of microfilm is also displayed.
First microfilms were created in the 50s of the twentieth century in the National Library. In the 60s they were already created in the WUL's Reprographic and Digitization Unit.
Currently we are abandoning this method of protecting of the collection, for the digitization and presentation in the Digital Library.
Microfilms from the Manuscript Department can be used in the Special Collections Reading Room.
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