Logo of the MDZ: Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum, Digitale Bibliothek. Navigate to main page

Cimelia of the Staatliche Bibliothek Ansbach

The court library of the Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach, which was already based on collections from the 16th and 17th centuries, was the predecessor of the present Ansbach State Library (still also known as Ansbach Castle Library). The book collection of George Frederick of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1539-1603), for example, whose father George the Pious (1484-1543) was a penfriend of Martin Luther and, moreover, co-signer of the Confessio Augustana, reflected his pronounced interests and preferences for theological works, Latin classics, and historical chronicles. Renowned private libraries and the highly valuable library of Christiane Charlotte (1694-1729), a Württemberg princess at the Ansbach court, completed the collection. In addition, all members of the princely household had to pay a graduated contribution to the library fund upon taking up their positions. Already open to the public since 1720, the library still guards its margravial foundation deed of 1738, which stipulated that it should 'never be divided' and that it should be 'a permanent adornment of Ansbach'. Unfortunately, this was not fulfilled, as the 'noble jewel' suffered heavy losses as a result of the abdication of the last margrave Carl Alexander, the transfer of the Hohenzollern principalities to Prussia, and the forced removal of the most valuable parts of the library to Erlangen University Library. Revival set in due to the highly constructive cooperation with the Historical Society of Middle Franconia in the mid-19th century. Today, valuable collection items, incunabula, and manuscripts are once again to be found among the approx. 135,000 volumes. After several relocations within the Ansbach Residence, a new era began for the library in 1988: it moved into lavishly restored rooms in the former Margrave Theater, which had previously been a riding hall and, until the middle of the last century, a movie theater. The spacious reading room with its surrounding gallery offers space not only for core collection and reference holdings, but also for the daily press, periodicals, recent acquisitions, and the regional collection about Middle Franconia. The seating niches and beautifully situated workstations facing the meadows of the river Rezat are popular and also in demand as a meeting place. As the last object preserved from the princely chamber of art ('Kunstkammer'), a bust of Voltaire smiles at the goings-on in the library's reading room; he described his standards for literature with the words that 'every kind of writing is permitted, except for the boring kind.'