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Library von Alvensleben

With a current stock of about 6000 volumes and over 13,000 titles, the Alvensleben Library is considered one of the most important private libraries in Germany founded during the Renaissance period. In its core, the library is based upon the book collection of the humanist and reformer Joachim I von Alvensleben (1514-1588).

About the collection

The so-called Kapellenbibliothek was formed by merging the theological and church-historical books. Its holdings were later further increased by Gebhard XXI von Alvensleben-Erxleben I (1556-1624) and his descendants and eventually comprised about 2100 volumes. In 1936, the Erxleben I and II branches of the family then divided the books among themselves. About 900 books of the collection went to the library of Erxleben II, 1200 to Erxleben I. Most of the latter were lost in the post-war turmoil, only about 450 books were recovered and restituted to the family.

The remaining books formed the private library of Joachim I von Alvensleben (Erxleben II), the later Lehnsbibliothek, which he and his descendants furthered. In 1709, at the request of Johann Friedrich II von Alvensleben (1657-1728), the collection was moved to his newly built Hundisburg Castle. When the family had to give up Hundisburg Castle and estate in 1811, the library was returned to Erxleben II. There. the collection got its own library building in 1905.


In June 1945, about 4650 volumes of the Lehnsbibliothek and 900 volumes of the Kapellenbibliothek were evacuated to Lower Saxony. Kept on loan at the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel since 1976, they were reunited in their home region with the preserved holdings of the Kapellenbibliothek in 2012.


Books and Digital Reproductions

The holdings of the Library von Alvensleben can be researched in Ha:Lit and OPAC.