Friedrich Schiller is the namesake of the supporting association and the »Schiller Museum« which was founded prior to the establishment of the archive. The historically central holdings of the Marbach Institute stem from Schiller. Though his written estate has been preserved since the year 1889 in Weimar, all manner of written documents from, to and about Schiller were already being collected in Marbach since 1859 on. In the course of decades past and up to the present day, the amount of collected written documents has been continually increasing with the aid of endowments and acquisitions. Next to the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar, the German Literature Archive preserves the most substantial written records of Schiller.
Manuscripts of Schiller’s works are a great rarity; nevertheless, a complete handwritten manuscript of the ballad Der Graf von Habsburg, fragments, plans and manuscripts for various dramas (for example, Don Carlos, Wallenstein, Wilhelm Tell) and also the famous drama plan are located in Marbach. Letters to and from Schiller are present and in abundance. Highlights include not only many remarkable individual letters, but also the large correspondences with Körner and Cotta and familial correspondence. Other noteworthy letters include those from Herder, Hölderlin, or Wilhelm von Humboldt addressed to Schiller. More remote biographically and historically influential documents belong to the holdings, including, among other items, personal notes from Schiller’s time at the Karlsschule, foreign testimonies, familial papers, entire estates that belonged to Schiller’s relatives and even imitations of Schiller autographs (the so-called Gerstenbergk forgeries).
In addition to all this, the historical editions of his writings, books Schiller possessed, comprehensive collections of newspaper clips, a number of paintings, furniture pieces, articles of clothing and every day objects from Schiller’s estate and that of his family are to be counted among the Marbach Schiller holdings. Regarding the portraits, the bust of Dannecker as well as the portrait of Ludovike Simanowitz deserve special emphasis.