Content, scope and grouping of the collection
Printed funeral sermons permeate the entire holdings of the Gotha Research Library. However, they are concentrated in the funeral sermon collection (shelf mark LP). More than 40 mostly thick anthologies contain over 9,000 individual prints from the 16th to 19th centuries. They are mainly printed in German, the epigraphs (Epicedia) in Latin.
The collection and catalogue moved from the Gymnasium Library to the Ducal Library in 1834. At the suggestion of the regional deputies, it was acquired in 1756 by Duke Friedrich III of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1699–1772) via the bookseller Mevius for the Gymnasium Library. The original provenance has not yet been determined, but certain indications suggest a basic collection that grew in Gotha and into which smaller provenances have flowed. These include around 30 volumes with the bookplate inscription of the Erfurt professor of medicine Georg Christoph Petri von Hartenfels (1633–1718). The names Magnus Saul (father) and Friedrich Magnus Saul (son) ("Saul Collection") and the name of the privy councillor Anna Sophia Hülsemann, probably the wife of the Gotha privy councillor Heinrich Ernst Hülsemann (1680–1733), are mentioned in connection with the entire collection.
Remarkable are the memorial volumes, some of them elaborately designed, on princes and princesses of the Central German region and the ducal house of Gotha.
The collection of funeral sermons is enriched with numerous other occasional writings, especially from the central and northern German region, including baptismal and wedding sermons, sermons on holidays, blasphemy and lies, sermons on fire, plague and weather, and sermons held at conversion to the Protestant faith.
The funeral sermons of the 16th and 17th centuries are fully recorded online (including VD16 and VD17); the funeral sermons of the 18th century are only partially complete. Funeral sermons not yet recorded online must be researched via the Alphabetical Catalogue of Funeral Sermons, which has been digitalised and can be searched online.