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Universitätsbibliothek » Music, Theatre and Film Department

Music, Theatre and Film Department

Mus. S20/79

General information on the department and collection principle

The Music and Theatre department is one of the four special departments of the Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main. Its significant tasks are

  • Providing the City's population and university members with literature on music and theatre and with printed scores
  • Collecting comprehensive literature on special subject areas Theatre and Film Studies (1950-2013 special collection area for the national literature supply in Germany, financially supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
  • Archiving and indexing Frankfurt's theatre material and collections from Frankfurt musicians

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Reference library Reading Room with ca. 10 000 volumes (bibliographies, lexica, manuals etc.)
Reference stacks with ca. 20.000 volumes (periodicals)
Printed scores: approx. 130.000 with annual acquisitions of ca. 650 items
Books with annual acquisition of ca. 2.500 items
Current periodicals: ca. 500
Stage scripts ca. 30.000 items, annual acquisition ca. 100 items
Programmes of German-speaking stages since ca. 1970, ca. 22.500 items

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Historical collections and archives

  • Music manuscripts (16th-20th century): ca. 6000 items (without church music and opera collection)
  • Frankfurt church music: (17th -18 th century): hand-written material about 1.550 works (of which 800 cantatas by G. Ph.Telemann), ca. 100 prints
  • Frankfurt Opera Collection (end of 18th-20th century): material of ca. 950 stage works, 276 metres of scores and parts, from 1950 also figurines and scene photos
  • Letter/autograph collection (17th-20th century): ca. 10.000 letters of musicians
  • Porträtsammlung (17th-20th century): ca. 30.000 portraits of musicians, singers, actors (photos, lithographs, etchings, reproductions)
  • Collection of opera leaflets and concert programmes (18th-20th century): ca. 150.000 items from numerous cities and countries
  • Libretto collection (18th-20th century): ca. 3.500 libretti
  • Poster collection (19th-20th century Jh.): ca. 2.000 posters
  • Literary archives: bequests of musicians, musicologists, stage directors: Julius Stockhausen, Engelbert Humperdinck, Wolfram Humperdinck, Hans Meißner, Albert Richard Mohr, Richard Weichert etc.

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Holdings catalogues

  • Electronic catalogue (OPAC) for books, scores, sound carriers and all periodicals
  • General systematic holdings catalogue up till acquisition year 1995
  • Alphabetical catalogue of music scripts
  • Frankfurt church music: Joachim Schlichte: thematic catalogue of church music scripts of the 17th and 18th century, Frankfurt 1979
  • Frankfurt Opera Collection: Robert Didion and Joachim Schlichte: thematic catalogue of the opera collection, Frankfurt 1990

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User Information

Orders for the Music and Theatre Reading Room can be made with the regular reading room order forms or online. Orders are ready for pick-up within 1/2-2 days depending on the holdings location.

Use of manuscripts and literary archives have to be applied for in writing and is only permissible for academic reasons. The Music and Theatre Department maintains a user book for these holdings (please bring your personal identity card or UB user card with you).

Immediate access to the CD-ROMs in the reading room providing the user produces his personal identity card or his UB user card. Reproductions can be ordered for a fee. A pre-payment will requested if the order amounts to more than 25,00 €. Prices are calculated according to the price list for special services.

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History of the Holdings

1. Stadtbibliothek (City Library) church music manuscripts and opera collection

1484    The patrician Ludwig von Marburg zum Paradies bequeathed his private library to the City of Frankfurt which was later united with the book collection of the Ratskanzlei and, together, formed the founding stock of the City Library.
1529    the library was taken over by the Franciscans in the Barfüßerkloster after reformatory disruptions
1668    The Ratsbibliothek was joined up with the former Barfüßerkloster
1897    the City Library took over the church music manuscripts and prints (17/18th century) from the archives of the "Allgemeinen Almosenkasten" and the "Weißfrauen- und Katharinenstift".
1904    stocks of the older theatre library were taken over before the old theatre was demolished (494 items of opera material).
1924    a further part of opera material (274 items) could be added.
1984    once again material from the Städtische Bühnen was incorporated (168 opera items, 330 orchestra music items, 132 theatre music items, 20 ballett music items).

2. The Rothschild Library

Hannah-Louise von Rothschild privately financed the founding of a public library which was to serve the sciences and to educate the public generally. The basic stocks formed the private libraries from Carl von Rothschild (1890), Louise von Rothschild (1894), Hannah Louise von Rothschild (1891) and Adolf von Rothschild (1900 Paris). The fields of music and theatre - along with the history of art - were classed as special subjects; modern European languages and literature were the focal points of the library. Dr. Christian Berghoeffer (1859-1938) was appointed director of the library. He closely followed Carl von Rothschild's "important intellectual interests" when building up the library and made sure that his acquisitions filled up the stocks in Frankfurt libraries.

In 1902 the contract made between the Rothschild Library and the City of Frankfurt am Main stipulated that history of art and modern languages and literature should be collected. In the years after the wars lack of money meant that the collection on the history of art was much reduced, which in turn benefited the music and theatre collections.

Berghoeffer preferred to acquire source publications and (DDT, DTÖ, PäM) and complete works (Orlando di Lasso, Händel, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelsohn, Loewe) which could only be bought by private people in exceptional cases.

Inflation at the end of the 20ies meant that the library could not be financed by the endowment anymore so it became the property of the City of Frankfurt. The Music and Theatre Collection has been cultivated in co-ordination with the City Library since 1928. In 1929 the musico-historical museum of F.N. Manskopf was integrated into the library.

After the Second World War the stocks of the Rothschild Library were taken over by the Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek.

3. Manskopf's Musico-Historical Museum

The Frankfurt Wine Dealer, Friedrich Nicolas Manskopf (1869-1928), started to collect memorabilia of musicians and actors as early as his school days in Frankfurt and later, during his visits abroad (1887-88 Lyon, 1989-90 London, 1891-93 Paris): autographs, letters, printed portraits, caricatures and photographs, theatre playbills, concert programmes, posters and curios like Beethoven's watering can, which he apparently used to cool his hands after playing the piano, or an umbrella which once belonged to Franz Liszt. In 1892 the collection amounted to some 15.000 pieces and two years later the number had doubled to 30.000 pieces.

When Manskopf returned to Frankfurt in 1893 he turned his house (Untermainkai 27) into a private museum. He organized exhibitions on individual musicians or on themes and provided exhibits for foreign music and theatre exhibitions ( for example: in Paris 1896, Bergamo 1897, London 1900). His own exhibitions covered Berlioz, Verdi, Mozart, Caruso, Beethoven, Humperdinck, Brahms, Paganini, Spohr, Richard Strauss;, Liszt, Johann Strauss. Nicolas Manskopf died on 2nd July 1928 four years after he removed the museum to his parents' house (Untermainkai 54). His heirs presented this magnificent collection to the City of Frankfurt which was then integrated into the Rothschild Library. In the 30ies Albert Richard Mohr, a musicologist, worked voluntarily at the library and faithfully maintained the public's awareness of the collection by organising exhibitions and concerts. Since 1947 it is an inherent part of the Music and Theatre Department at the Universitätsbibliothek .

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Literature on the department

Bibliotheca Publica Francofurtensis. 500 hundred years Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main / ed. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, Frankfurt 1984, vol. 1, p.286-295 and p. 314-317.

Hartmut Schaefer and Werner Wenzel: Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main, Music and Theatre Department. In: Theatre Collections in the Federal Republic of Germany and Berlin (West), Berlin 1985, S. 49-54.

Hartmut Schaefer: Music and Theatre stocks of the Rothschild Library in Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt 1988, S. 123-143.

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Exhibition catalogues

Friedrich Nicolas Manskopf 1869-1928, Frankfurt 1978.

Composers in Frankfurt am Main:
1. volume: From Telemann up to present day, Frankfurt 1979.
2. volume: From 16th century up to present day, Frankfurt 1981.

Mozart and his operas in Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt 1980.

Stage and scenery of Frankfurt Expressionism, Frankfurt 1985.

Albert Richard Mohr und his collection in the Stadt-und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt 1992.

Hundred Years Hänsel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck, Frankfurt 1994.

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