Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Stammbuch Spillner

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family registers

'Alba Amicorum' were created during the Reformation in the university environment, when students asked their academic teachers in for entries in their (text-)books. Various traditions of the nobility, such as the use of guest books, genealogical tables, tournament or gender books soon found their way into the practice of academic autograph albums in the 16th and early 17th centuries.

Autograph albums were maintained by Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians, Polish and Hungarian people. At the beginning they were mostly autograph collections of famous reformers. Even in the 18th century, autograph books were more of a fashion among Protestants than Catholics. Up until the first decades of the 19th century, these autograph books were mainly used by students. The autographs of the professors and others, who were seen as authorities, not only served in the culture of remebrance but were, in a sense, letters of recommendation when the university changed. Submitting an album was a great way to get in touch with potential patrons and protectors.

Autograph books are usually in book form, but are also available as  loose sheets collected in book-shaped cassettes. The entry usually  consists of a text section, a dedication formula as well as the name,  faculty and place of origin of the registrant together with the location  and date. In the 18th century, a separate industry developed for  decorating with graphics, drawings etc. The autograph book fashion trend  expired in the 19th century. Poetry albums can be seen as the end of  the development. The autograph book, album and poetry album are  historical documents in the same way. Cultural assets that reflect the  current trends and allow conclusions to be drawn about the mentality and  moral standards of the writers.

The ULB Saxony-Anhalt mainly  collects albums with regional references. In 2016 and 2017, for example,  the library purchased over 100 autograph books from inhabitants of  Halle from the collection of Dr. Hans Stula, of which about 60 copies  were shown in a special exhibition from November 17, 2017 to January 14,  2018 in the Saline Museum in Halle.

A small introduction created  on the occasion of the exhibition - recording of an interview with the  open channel from Wettin with Dr. Julia Knödler.

Video on Youtube   

Literature on family registers

autograph books already documented in the library catalogue

digitized autograph books - with validation in OPAC

autograph books without validation in the OPAC