Krzysztof Soliński

Subsequent donations and legacies of greater importance

A great advantage of the Wschowa library comprises the fact that its book collection increased naturally — with the Herberger’s fund for book
purchases, the latest publications were obtained on an ongoing basis. Donations were another source of the book collection growth. Apart from
the vast amount of individual book donations, the library also received some large legacies.


According to Lauterbach’s account, Cellarius (born in 1628 in Oleśnica), a pastor in Oborniki Śląskie (Obernigk),42 handed over as many as
200 volumes43 to the Kripplein Christi Library in 1664–1676. It must have taken place after 1664.44 Cellarius inherited the book collection after
his predecessor, Caspar Clodwigius (who served as a pastor in Oborniki Śląskie in 1654–1664). Clodwigius used to sign books on the inside of the front board: Ex Bibliotheca Casparis Clodwigij P[astoris] A[nn]o 1650 (fig. 5).

Those inscriptions were scratched out and replaced with: Ex Bibliotheca Eleazari Cellarii P[astoris] Obernicensis A[nn]o 1659 (fig. 6). On the same page, in the upper left corner, there is the volume’s numerus currens. The portion of the Kripplein Christi book collection housed in the National Library includes 91 volumes of old prints originating from this legacy, 26 of which carry ownership inscriptions of Cellarius or Clodwigius. The highest known volume number is 119.


Pastor Lauterbach bequeathed his entire legacy in his will, drawn up not long before he died (24 June 1728).45 With a few ownership inscriptions present in the legacy (books and manuscripts), it is mostly the pastor’s notes inside the volumes that distinguish his property. The book collection includes a significant assemblage of bound-with funeralia and nuptialia, as well as dissertations, invariably with lists of contents
enclosed on protection leaves. Their enormous value is evidenced by the fact that all the volumes were taken on deposit by the Royal State
Archive in Poznań. 


Müller (1671 – post 1736), the Latin school’s rector in 1700–1702, handed over at least 118 volumes, including manuscripts, in 1736. All volumes carry ownerships inscriptions: Ex Bibliotheca Sam[uelis] Müllers Rect[oris] Fraustad[iensis], Ex legato Sam[uelis] Mülleri Rect[oris] Fr[austadiensis] emeriti 1736, most commonly on the title leaf (fig. 7). At least 12 volumes originating from this legacy were housed in the Wschowa deposit in Poznań. Numerous prints comprise only subsequent copies of works already housed in the library. Attention should be drawn to Proverbia Salomonis per loannem Campensem... Latinitate donata (Kraków, Florian Ungler, post 10 March 1534), regrettably the copy is incomplete.


The son of Ernest Bensheim and a Wschowa attorney, Bensheim (1698–1735), who died on 20 November 1735, bequeathed to the library his entire book collection.46 It consisted of at least 124 volumes (including manuscripts).

All the volumes carry ownership inscriptions, mostly accompanied by the following note on the front endpapers: Ex legato Bensheimii Praetoris
Fraustadiensis Anno 1736 (fig. 8). Earlier notes can also be found, for example: Sum ex Bibliotheca Joannis Ernesti Bensheimi Jur. Practici Vschovensis 1727.47

The book collection includes artificially created assemblages: Disputationes luridicae and Miscellanea luridica. At least 38 volumes originating from this legacy were taken on deposit in Poznań. The copies are often interleaved, having numerous notes of the attorney. Attention is drawn to books in the Polish and French languages. Particularly noteworthy are: Bartłomiej Groicki’s Porządek sądowy spraw mieyskich (Kraków, Łazarz Andrysowic, 1559), Artykuły prawa Maydeburskiego (idem), Ustawa płacey v sądow (idem, 1558), Postępek około karania na gardle (idem, 1559), Jan Pisarski’s Mowca Polski... tom wtory (Kalisz, the Jesuits’ print, 1676), Zarty abo krotofilne facecye z historyi... wybrane (Toruń, Jan Christian Laurer, 1717). 

As both legacies arrived at the library in the same year, in part they received ownership inscriptions on front endpapers written by the same hand. It can also be noticed that the book collections have been interspersed. Within the Bensheim book collection there are numerous books of Jonasz Deutschlaender (†1664), a Wschowa alderman, whose daughter, Rosina, was the wife of Andreas Gryphius and deacon Florian Klepperbein (1652–1712). At times, however, some of the books carry (mistakenly?) the ownership inscription of Müller. 

Minor donations worth mentioning include legacies from Michael Vetter (†1710), pastor in Golssen (prints and manuscripts); Johannes Schnatzinger (†1691), Latin school’s rector (periodicals); and Christoph Adam Kühn (the 17th century), a doctor (medicine and alchemy works, including incunables).

Depositum Fraustadt (Dep. Frst.)

The Depositum Fraustadt (Wschowa Deposit) in the Staatsarchiv Posen (1881–1919), i.e. the State Archive in Poznań, and subsequently in the State Archive Library in Poznań (1919–1945?) constitutes a significant stage in the library history for the book collection in question. Given the tragic fate that befell the Archive in Poznań and its library on 29 January 1945,48 the only sources — obviously apart from a mercifully preserved portion of the book collection — comprise information in studies developed in 1881–1945.

The two already mentioned publications, namely “Bibljoteka Archiwum Państwowego 1869–1929” by Feliks Pohorecki and “Valerius Herberger und seine Zeit...”49 by Franz Lüdtke and Wilhelm Bickerich, are of particular importance.

From this paper’s perspective, the first publication reveals invaluable information on the book collection’s handover date, its size, recording method and existing card catalogues. In addition, it lists nearly all of the incunables, 50 for which a detailed catalogue of 17 items was drawn up. Today, it constitutes a valued source for the purposes of estimating wartime losses.

The compilation also tells us that St. Augustine’s De civitate Dei (Venezia, Gabriel di Pietro, 1475 – in losses IBP†269) was the oldest item in the book collection. The second publication provides information on the Herberger and Lauterbach legacies, quoting the deposit’s call numbers. Thanks to Pohorecki study, it is known today that the book collection was handed over upon the State Archive Directorate’s request of 5 October 1881 (the document no longer exists), and the handover took place on 9 November 1881. As no documents survived that could advise on the method of allocating the books for the purpose of creating a deposit, the book collection itself remains the sole source of relevant information.

Noticeably, it was the volumes that presented the greatest value for researchers, due to factors such as year of publication, publishing format,
binding and provenience, that were mainly taken on deposit. These are also criteria that can possibly substantiate the separation of multi-volume publications — an issue that should be examined in more depth.

The following may be concluded:

  • The library was stripped bare of nearly all the mementos of Pastor Valerius Herberger (manuscripts and prints with his handwritten notes and dedications for him);
  • All the incunables were taken from the library;
  • The entire rich assemblage of funeralia and nuptialia, regarding mostly Silesia, Greater Poland and Pomerania, which represented the actual value of the library, was taken away;
  • All volumes with appealing binding (including volumes bound with parts of the 15th century manuscripts and incunables) were taken away.

Therefore, the information provided by Edward Chwalewik asserting that the “Prussians robbed the Kripplein Christi Library of the most valuable things51” should arguably be understood in this vein.

Particularly puzzling is the aforementioned fact that voluminous publications were separated. Having analysed the preserved materials, it can
be concluded that multi-volume works were complemented with individual volumes from different editions. This is markedly apparent in the
case of Martin Luther’s works, housed in the library in various editions. 

Volumes with bindings of greater value (the 16th century, skilled workmanship) or which were more appealing (e.g. parts of illuminated manuscripts re-used), as well as volumes with herbergeriana were also selected. 

This part of the book collection was inventoried in the Staatsarchiv Posen, with numerus currens from 1 to 724 assigned. An identical number
was written on a paper label stuck onto the lower part of the book spine. Resembling postage marks and with blue framing, such labels came in several versions. They were specific to the Archive in Poznań — the same labels were also stuck onto the records.
Those stickers soon started to crumble or detach (acid paper, bone glue not sticking to parchment), so they were replaced by a number written directly on the book spine, where such a label had used to be stuck. Now and then, this number was carelessly and often unintelligibly inscribed inside a volume, on its endpaper or title leaf. This has led to many of today’s issues with identification, at times making it even impossible (fig. 9a–b). Sparse volumes were marked with stamps: “Konigl. Preuss. Staats-Archiv Posen” or “Kgl. Staats-Archiv Posen.”



42 H. Banke, Geschichteder evangelischen Kirchengemeinde Obernigk, Breslau 1935, pp. 23–24 —www. [accessed 29.12.2016].
43 S. F. Lauterbach, op. cit., p. 446.
44 H. Banke, op. cit., pp. 23–24.

45 K. Konrad, “S. F. Lauterbach, der fraustädtische Geschichtsschreiber“, Grenzmärkische Heimat-blätter 1926, vol. 2, pp. 5–6.

46 Archiwum Państwowe w Zielonej Górze, Akta Miasta Wschowa, Wpisy do ksiąg wójtowsko-ławniczych odnośnie realizacji testamentów mieszczańskich, sygn. 500, kk. 418–419. [State Archive in Zielona Góra, Town Records of Wschowa, Entries into the records of Vogtassessors
courts regarding the execution of burgher wills], call no. 500, ff. 418–419.].
47 Call no. SD XVII.3.24482.

48 K. Kaczmarczyk, “Archiwum Państwowe w Poznaniu w czasie okupacji niemieckiej”, Archeion 1948, vol. 17, p. 95 — [accessed 10.11.2016] and J. Baumgart, Polityka
niemieckich władz okupacyjnych wobec księgozbiorów w Wielkopolsce w czasie drugiej wojny światowej (1939–1945), [1948, typescript in the National Library], Tablica strat księgozbiorów Wielkopolski (Table of Book Collection Losses in Wielkopolska), leaf 2.
49 F. Pohorecki, “Bibljoteka Archiwum Państwowego 1869–1929”, op. cit., pp. 82–87; F. Lüdtke, W. Bickerich, “Valerius Herberger und seine Zeit..”, op. cit., pp. 71–116.

50 Notwithstanding the meticulousness with which it was prepared, one incunable was missed out: A. Persius Flaccus, Satirae, [Leipzig, ca 1497/1500] (IBP 4264). Dep. Frst. 511, current call no. SD Inc.F.01291 adl. Furthermore, the items 8 in the compilation Diurnale romanum,
and 11 — Hugo de s. Caro’s Speculum ecclesiae turned out to be the 16th century prints, thus the total number of incunables in the library accounted to 16.
51 E. Chwalewik, Zbiory polskie, archiwa, bibljoteki, gabinety, galerje, muzea i inne zbiory pamiątek przeszłości w ojczyźnie i na obczyźnie, Warszawa 1927, vol. 2, p. 529.