Next to portraits, further biographical and historically influential representations in images form the core of the archival holdings, which comprise over 450,000 pieces: images from living places, graves and monuments, illustrations, dust jackets and their drafts, photos from scenes and posters. A particularly comprehensive focal point of the collection is the display of bundles of photos and albums from the estates of authors and from the archives of publishing houses with more than 360,000 individual photographs.
Objects selected from the estates flank the collection: besides writing instruments from Gänsekiel to the typewriter to the laptop, furniture pieces and above all so-called »mementos« are included, all of which possess particular relevance for the lives and work of their prior owners. Other specific features of these holdings can be viewed in the works of art collected by the authors themselves, or, in the case of Mörike or Rilke, pieces of visual art they created, and a music collection containing approximately 5,000 prints of sheet music and handwritten music.
The implied diversity facilitates relevant research on inquiries pertaining to artistic and cultural history, as well as to philology and pictorial science, scientific history and the politics of publishers. In addition, the holdings form a foundation for exhibitions and serve—in analog and digital form—as a picture library for replications. The holdings were being indexed in conventional card catalogs until 1998; since 1999 they have been indexed in the Kallías database.
Petra Bergdolt, Dr. Sabine Fischer, Rosemarie Kutschis, Elke Schwandner