University of Erfurt

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The Castle Library of Molsdorf

About the Castle Library of Molsdorf

Abbildung: Porträt Gustav Adolph von Gotters

The stock of the castle library Molsdorf leads mainly back to the Books legacy of Count Gustav Adolf von Gotter (1692-1762). Von Gotter came from a respected middle class family of Gotha. After his study of law at Jena and Halle von Gotter first was a diplomat in the service of the Gotha, later at the Vienna and Berlin court. In particular, the influence he had gained during his years of service in Berlin, which was reflected by a good relationship towards Friedrich II of Prussia, yet marked by distance, was not insignificant for the Thuringian small state. In addition to his membership in the hermitic religious movement, founded 1739 at the Gotha court, von Gotter also maintained connections to the Masonic movement.

Origin, Extent and Morphology of the Private Library

Von Gotter acquired the estate Molsdorf in 1734 and had it rebuilt into a baroque palace. The library was housed on the upper floor of the castle. The library was adorned by the portraits of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Christian Wolff and Johann Gustav Reinbeck. The books were placed sorted by subject and size, and were provided with a shelfmark in the front cover. Few books have the autograph Gustav Adolf von Gotter. The collection of the castle library Molsdorf comprised 2,188 volumes.

Character and Structure of the Private Library

The castle library Molsdorf is a collection of contemporary literature, in which the French language, followed by the German language, predominates. Through his diplomatic activity Gustav Adolf von Gotter entertained a wide range of contacts, which are reflected in his collection of books. His interest was particularly pronounced in philosophical, philological and historical literature, which accounted for more than half of the private library.

The Catalogue of the Private Library

The catalogue of the castle library Molsdorf (Chart. A 1097) was created by the Gotha librarian Gottfried Christian Freiesleben (1716-1774) in 1762 in accordance with the catalogue system of the French bookseller Gabriel Martin (1678-1761) by subject, beginning with theology, followed by law, medicine, philosophy, philology and history. Within the groups the works were ordered according to the folio, quarto, octavo, and duodecimo formats. After the subject groups the manuscripts were listed. At the end of the catalogue is an alphabetical index.
To the Catalogue of the Castle Library Molsdorf.

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