Convents – Manuscripts and Incunabula
Realised in cooperation with: Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv
Prof. Dr. Eva Schlotheuber (Heinrich Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)
'Schriftlichkeit in süddeutschen Frauenklöstern' (written documents of south-German convents) is the title of a cooperation project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the framework of the action programme 'libraries and archives allied with research' (Bibliotheken und Archive im Verbund mit der Forschung). The programmatically new approach allows a close cooperation between the cataloguing, digitisation and scholarly research of the medieval manuscripts, the written documents serving pragmatic purposes and deeds from selected south-German convents. The project is carried out in cooperation between the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Bavaria Main Public Archive) and Prof. Dr. Eva Schlotheuber (formerly Westfälische Wilhelms-University, now Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf).
The excellent state of the library and archive collections of the Dominicans of Altenhohenau, the Bridgettine nunnery of Altomünster, the Munich Clarist congregation (St. Jakob am Anger) and the Franciscans (Pütrichhaus), as well as the Benedictines in Neuburg/ Danube for the first time allows to reconstruct and to evaluate the educational and bibliographic profile of the female congregations on the basis of the manuscripts, archive collections and incunabula. The criteria used are the structure of the book collections regarding both content and acquisition, transcription activities, linguistic competence and authorship of the women, the relationship between text and images, the reception of 'modern' literature and the exchange with laymen. The equally comprehensively surviving collections of internal documents serving pragmatic purposes (convent diaries, convent chronicles, account books, urbaria, cartularia, books of tradition notes, etc.) furthermore offers a valuable insight in the internal situation of the convents, their administrative structures and archive organisation. Finally and importantly, the 'pragmatic documents' represent one of the scarce segments of surviving written heritage which was written by the women themselves.
In the course of the three years' duration of the project approximately 150 Latin and German manuscripts and fragments held by the BSB will be digitized, and 71 of these manuscripts, for which only descriptions written in the 19th century are available, will be newly catalogued.