| Forschungskolleg Transkulturelle Studien, Forschungszentrum Gotha, SPF Wissen. Räume. Medien., Forschung

A Treasury of Cartography – 20 Years of the Gotha Perthes Collection at the Gotha Research Library

It is a treasure trove of cartography – the Gotha Perthes Collection. It was acquired 20 years ago by the Free State of Thuringia in 2003 with the support of the "Kulturstiftung der Länder" and integrated into the Gotha Research Library of the University of Erfurt. Reason enough for us to bring the collection closer to the public in 2023 and to tell its exciting story – among other things with a series in the blog of the Gotha Research Library.

Ahnensaal im Perthes Forum Gotha
Ahnensaal Perthes Forum Gotha

The Gotha Perthes Collection brings together the historical records of three scientific publishers: the Justus Perthes Gotha publishing house, the "Geographische Verlagsanstalt Justus Perthes Darmstadt" and the "VEB Hermann Haack Geographisch-Kartographische Anstalt Gotha". As the only map publishing archive preserved on the European continent, it contains unique source material on the development of cartography and geography in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the unity and interconnectedness of its holdings, the collection documents the last phase of the Age of Discovery, during which the interior of the non-European continents and the polar regions were explored.

The maps, atlases and journals published by Perthes, above all "Stielers Handatlas" and "Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen", shaped the scientific image of the earth well into the 20th century and popularized it for a broad public. Genealogical-statistical publications formed the second focus of the publishing profile, especially the "Almanach de Gotha"/"Gothaischer Hofkalender" as the authoritative biographical encyclopedia of the European nobility.

Episode one of our series on the Gotha Perthes Collection has now appeared on the Gotha Research Library  blog – also to be read in the Gotha edition of the newspapers "Thüringer Allgemeine" and "Thüringische Landeszeitung". Further episodes can also be read there in the course of the year.

link to the blog post (in German only)

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Petra Weigel
Dr. Petra Weigel
Curator of the Perthes Collection
(Gotha Research Library)
Gotha Research Library (Gotha, Schlossplatz 1)
Office hours
by arrangement