The Gotha Perthes Collection

The Perthes Collection is one of the most important cartographic-geographical archives in continental Europe and holds the records of the publishing house Justus Perthes Gotha and both of its successors. The unique feature of the collection is the extensive collection of correspondence, work journals, manuscripts, map drafts, and a large number of printed maps from other publishers. The materials allows deep insights into the interior of three extraordinary and influential European cartographic publishing houses, as well as into the development of various earth sciences.

The Perthes Collection is part of the Gotha Research Library. It preserves the records of the publishing house Justus Perthes Gotha, founded in 1785, and its two successors (VEB Hermann Haack Geographisch-Kartographische Anstalt Gotha and Justus Perthes Geographische Verlagsanstalt Darmstadt). With the support of the "Kulturstiftung der Länder," the collection was acquired by the Free State of Thuringia in 2003 and incorporated into the Gotha Research Library. The collection comprises a geographic and cartographic library consisting of 120,000 volumes, an archive with approximately 800 linear meters of records, and a collection of 185,000 maps.

Parts of the collection – especially a significant portion of the maps of Africa and Asia as well as the company's own production – are available in the Digital Historical Library Erfurt/Gotha. By searching with the abbreviation SPA (Sammlung Perthes Archiv), SPB (Sammlung Perthes Bibliothek) and SPK (Sammlung Perthes Karten), you can filter out digitized materials from the Perthes Collection.

Printed works and books belonging to the library of the publishing house can also be searched and ordered by using the Online Catalogue of the Erfurt University Library. Moreover, holdings of the editorship of the journal Petermann‘s Geographische Mittheilungen are indexed in the union catalogue Kalliope.


Digital Resources

Digitized Holdings

Archival Materials

The archive holds approx. 800 linear meters of archival materials. Containing the records of the publishing houses Justus Perthes Gotha, Justus Perthes Darmstadt and VEB Hermann Haack Geographisch-Kartographische Anstalt Gotha, it also includes:

  • Editorial materials related to Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen (Correspondence, partial records of cartographers, geographers and explorers of the 19th and 20th centuries)
  • Company and family archives (Administrative documents of the publishing house, private documents of the family, Records of the family foundations)
  • Employees and friends of the publishing house (Correspondence, partial records of the employees and authors who worked with Perthes, collections on individual products of the publishing house)
  • Photo library of the company and the family
  • Editorial materials related to the Almanach de Gotha (Archival records of genealogical-statistical publications: Gothaischer Hofkalender, Almanach de Gotha, Genealogische Taschenbücher as well as heraldic collections)

Already catalogued holdings as well as finding aids are accessible via the national Kalliope Union Catalogue

For further questions, information and the provision of archival materials, please contact:

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Opening Hours

Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm

Please pre-book your research appointments via e-mail.
Books are available for use in the reading room of the Gotha Research Library at Friedenstein Castle. The books are usually provided within two working days. Archival materials are available for use in the reading room at the Perthes Forum.


Sammlung Perthes Gotha
Justus-Perthes-Straße 5
99867 Gotha

Website of the Perthes Collection (Gotha Research Library)