University of Erfurt

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The Castle Library of Friedrichswerth

Castle Friedrichswerth and its Library

Duke Friedrich I of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg built 1677-1689, 15 km north-west from Gotha, a summer residence with park on the place of an old water castle. When and where the library was kept in the castle, is not yet known. The traditional catalogue suggests that it was listed during the reign of Duke August of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (reigned from 1804-1822). It was erected in nine cabinets that were numbered by the letters A to letter K (except H, I). The library was representative, in large part, bound in brown calf leather, "with gold". The books have the shelfmarks listed in the catalogue.

Character and Structure of the Castle Library

The collection included 639 titles. It contained political, historiographical and topographical works, travelogues as well as tragedies and comedies predominantly in French - works that are typical of a noble library of the 18th Century. Whether the library was really used or just served as a representative or courtly attribute of a palace and was just part of the fitment, has not been investigated so far. After all Friedrichswerth was the main meeting place between 1739 and 1759 for the "Ordre des Hermites de bonne humeur" of the Gotha court, a "secular variant of the Masonic Association" (Raschke) surrounding Duchess Luise Dorothea and her maid of honor Franziska von Buchenwald.

The Catalogue of the Castle Library

The Katalog der Bibliothek (FB Gotha Chart. B 1545) is divided into two parts, in location and as an alphabetical catalogue. It was probably created at the handover of the library on May 27th 1808 by Heinrich Friedrich Christian Bertuch. Each catalogue page has two columns, the first column contains the title, the first grammatical order word is underlined, the author of the book and place of publication and year. In the second column the number is listed within each cabinet, by letter.

Used Literature


  • Laß, Heiko: Jagd- und Lustschlösser. Kunst und Kultur zweier landesherrlicher Bauaufgaben, dargestellt an thüringischen Bauten des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Petersberg 2006.
  • Osten, Jenny von der: Luise Dorothee. Herzogin von Sachsen-Gotha. 1732-1767. Leipzig 1893.
  • Patze, Hans (Hrsg.): Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands. Bd. 9. Stuttgart 1989.
  • Raschke, Bärbel: Französische Aufklärung bei Hofe: Luise Dorothea von Sachsen-Gotha (1710-1767). In: Espagne, Michel; Greiling, Werner (Hrsg.): Frankreichfreunde. Mittler des französisch-deutschen Kulturtransfers (1750-1850). Leipzig 1996, S. 23-38.

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