Transnational Access: Martinus-Bibliothek Mainz (Partner JGU Mainz)

Martinus-Bibliothek – Wissenschaftliche Diözesanbibliothek/Martinus-Bibliothek – Academic and Regional Library of the Diocese of Mainz (Partner of JGU Mainz)

Free Access to Physical and Virtual Sources

This library is offering free access to physical and virtual sources under the guidance of experts in the framework of ReIReS.



The Martinus-Bibliothek – Academic and Regional Library of the Diocese of Mainz – is a modern theological academic library. It holds over 300.000 volumes and 200 journals.

The main focus nowadays is on theology, philosophy, church history, church history especially of the Diocese and former Archdiocese of Mainz, and humanities related to the main subjects. The library collections also include medieval and 16th to 19th century manuscripts, incunabula and a large old rare book collection of all kind of science areas.

Beside presenting the modern theological-philosophical literature the Martinus-Bibliothek preserves the handwritten and printed cultural heritage of the (arch-) diocese and the region. In addition the library holds a large collection of classified, but uncatalogued, literature on the regional ecclesiastical and general history.

History and Collections

The Martinus-Bibliothek – Academic and Regional Library of the Diocese of Mainz was founded in 1662 by Archbishop and Elector Johann Philipp von Schönborn as seminary library. Donating his own library Schönborns cousin Johann von Heppenheim gen. von Saal helped to equip the new library.

During its over 350 years academic book collections either of deceased priests and auxialiary bishops or other academics were donated to the Martinus-Bibliothek leading to a collection of all kind of science areas. Since 1968 the Martinus-Bibliothek is located in the “Arnsburger Hof” near the Mainz cathedral after changing different locations in Mainz during the last centuries. The library is open to the public since then.


Due to constant donations of academic book collections of all science areas and kind of interests in the last centuries the Martinus-Bibliothek had got their characteristical collections, e.g. controversial theology (Aux. Bishop A. G. Volusius “† 1679), canon law (M. Starck † 1708; Aux. Bishop Philipp Behlen † 1777), history (Aux. Bishop Stephan Alexander Würdtwein † 1796), French and German Enlightenment (Franz Xaver Turin †1810), history of Mainz (J. P. Schunck † 1814), classical philology (J. B. Steinmetz † 1851) and law (George Philipps †1872). In addition the library preserves some manuscripts and a lot rare books of the Jesuits noviciate, the St. Peter collegiate and Augustine monastery because of the secularization of 1803.

Manuscripts and Incunabula

The Martinus-Bibliothek holds 270 manuscripts, 300 fragments and 500 graphics.

In addition the library owns a collection of 1000 incunabula and post-incunabula.

The medieval manuscripts had been catalogued by the manuscript census Rhineland-Palatinate (Handschriftencensus Rheinland-Pfalz) according to the state of the art academic standards of the German National Research Council (DFG). The catalogue is available online here for research.

Furthermore the old manuscript catalogue of the Martinus-Bibliothek containing all manuscripts up to the 19th century is presented on the starting website of Handschriftencensus Rheinland-Pfalz / Martinus-Bibliothek and available online here as well.

A new incunabula catalogue is in preparation. There is a handwritten incunabula catalogue in the library. But some incunabula could be found yet in the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke (GW; up to now 369) available online here  (Browsing: Index and Holdings of Martinus-Bibliothek => Register => Bestände => Mainz Bisch (Martinus-Bibliothek) and / or in the Incunabula Short Titel Catalogue (ISTC) available online here (Browsing: Country: Institution => Germany: Mainz PriesterSem / MartinusB ; up to now 356.

The Schlosser Library

An outstanding collection is the Schlosser Library of Johann Friedrich Heinrich (Fritz) Schlosser. Donated to Bishop Wilhelm Emanuel von Ketteler and the seminary of Mainz the Martinus-Bibliothek got 1866 one of Germany’s most important private academic library in the early 19th century.

Member of Frankfurt’s upper bourgeois society, Johann Friedrich Heinrich (Fritz) Schlosser (1780–1851) was a relative and the lawyer of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. His unique collection presents catholic romanticism, historism and German and world literature defined by Goethe as well as other science areas like history, art, art history, law, medicine, natural sciences. Schlosser’s handwritten library catalogue of 77 volumes mention a lot of special highlights, characteristic and bibliophile examples as well as signs of collecting habits, his private and political connections and close friendships as well as his wide spread of interests. This catalogue still needs to be researched in view of different perspectives implied above.

Special highlights can be found in this catalogue, such as manuscripts and incunabula, e.g. the illustrated fragment “Christus und die minnende Seele” (1496), the sketchbook of Franz Pforr (1794) and the Koberger-Bible (1483) and the Liber chronica of Hartmann Schedel (1493).

Due to his private connection to and reverence for Goethe, Schlosser’s library also holds one copy of the “Tiefurther Journal” – presumably the copy of Goethe’s mother – and Goethe’s Farbenlehre including the coloured plates as well as rare prints and first editions of Goethe’s works, which Schlosser had partially already taken from his father’s library, received from Goethe (note: “G.d.H.V” = “Geschenk des Herrn Verfassers”/ gift of the author) and mostly bought himself, because Goethe donated only those on which Schlosser worked for him. Works of other classical and romantic authors could be also found because of private relations and close friendships to them, e.g. the Brentano family. Furthermore baroque works e.g. Abraham a Sancta Clara could be also found. In addition world literature of several ancient and modern languages held in Schlossers Library like Greek, Latin, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Modern Greek, Armenian and Gaelic titles.

Both world history and regional history were focused on by Schlosser. Travel literature of different centuries supplemented his collection. An incunabula of Marco Polo’s report can be found as well as travel reports of the 18th century. Schlosser’s interest in the Middle Ages is proved, e.g. in co-founding the “Monumenta Germaniae Historica”, in collecting works of the early German studies – e.g. Laßberg or incunabula and early prints, for example the popular works of the Straßburg printer Matthias Hupfuff (1500).

A lot of art and art history works from the 16th to the 19th century enlarged the collection by the works of Vitruv or Sulpice Boisserée’s Cologne cathedral book.

For his library he bought the essential works of philosophy from the beginnings to his time, he also contributed his own writings – e.g. a handwritten transcript of one of Schelling’s lectures – as well as inherited some works of his fathers library – e.g. Rousseau’s “Du contract social form 1762”. Schlosser scarcely collected theological literature of his own time, but instead he was very interested in spiritual and liturgical literature as well as editions of the church fathers and scholastics. In addition Schlosser supplemented his collection by Luther’s works and those of other reformers. Furthermore a large Judaica collection, e.g. a handwritten Purim play, and Islamic items e.g. the first printed edition of 1694 of an Arabic and early printed German Koran are part of his library.

His interests in state and constitutional law are shown e.g. by the medieval German “Sachsenspiegel”, but also by Roman, medieval and early modern era legal sources and works on law and political science up to the first half of the 19th century, e.g. Pufendorf.

Although the focus of the library is on the humanities, according to the bourgeois traditional education, medicine and natural science are also among the collected subjects, e.g. Isaac Newton’s “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia mathematica” (second print of the London edition of 1687).

The Schlosser Library Today

Today the library has running projects to virtually reconstruct the Schlosser Library using the catalogues available in the Martinus Library, to record them and to develop their content. The Bibliography of Middle High German Literature in Early German Studies Editions from the Fritz Schlosser Collection is a project of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Mainz with the Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftlichen Forschungszentrum of the Universities of Trier and Mainz: Bibliography of the mediaevistic editions of the collection Schlosser at the Martinus-Bibliothek Mainz [Link:]

On the other hand, the Martinus Library makes available the holdings of the Schlosser Library for use in science and research.

Exhibitions and Research

The Martinus-Bibliothek organizes a lot of exhibitions presenting their own collections under different topics. In addition there are a lot of projects and cooperation with e.g. the University of Mainz, the Academy of Science and Literature in Mainz, the Leibniz-Institute of European History in Mainz and the University Library of Heidelberg – Bibliotheca Laureshamensis, and other national and international academic institutions, museums and libraries.

A very active and ongoing research on the Martinus-Bibliothek holdings are shown for example by fundings of The German National Research Council (DFG) for the “Auxiliary Bishop Stephan Alexander Würdtwein publishing project” making the reconstruction of his private academic library, which is held by the Martinus-Bibliothek, possible. Würdtwein was an important researcher on regional history. Information on him and the project is available here. [Link:]. Furthermore a project on legal activities of Auxiliary Bishop Philipp Behlen is also funded by The German National Research Council (DFG). Many researchers from all over the world come to the Martinus-Bibliothek to work on their large collections on manuscripts, fragments, incunabula, and old rare books, e.g. on the manuscripts and Editio Moguntina of Ramon Llull or on the Hrabanus Maurus bifolium of de rerum naturis.

Cf. as a synthesis of recent research: Bibliotheca S. Martini Moguntina. Alte Bücher – Neue Funde, ed. Helmut Hinkel (Mainz / Würzburg 2012).

Further Research Projects Could be on:

  • Manuscript research, e.g. on:
  • Medieval liturgy at the cathedral and the collegiate and monastic churches of Mainz
  • Medieval chant in Mainz
  • Vernacular prayer books from the Middle Age and the modern era
  • Local liturgies after the Council of Trent
  • Raimundus Lullus, esp. his medieval Catalan reception and the first modern edition of his writings
  • Schlosser’s library catalogue of 77 volumes
  • Early German Studies literature
  • Reconstruction of different private academic libraries
  • Mainz mediation theology (Vermittlungstheologie)
  • Reformatory early works
  • Reconstruction of the Enlightenment library of Franz Xaver Turin
  • Catholic Social Teaching / Bishop W.E. von Ketteler

Bibliography (Selection)

Arnold, Claus: Zwischen „liberal“ und „ultramontan“. Friedrich Schneider und der Katholizismus seiner Zeit, in: Hinkel 2008, p. 13–36.

Hinkel, Helmut (ed.): Goethekult und katholische Romantik: Fritz Schlosser (1780–1851), Mainz 2002.

Hinkel, Helmut (ed.): Nibelungen Schnipsel, Neues vom alten Epos zwischen Mainz und Worms, Mainz 2004.

Hinkel, Helmut (ed.): Friedrich Schneider: ein Mainzer Kulturprälat 1836–1907, Mainz 2008.

Hinkel, Helmut (ed.): Bibliotheca S. Martini Moguntina. Alte Bücher – Neue Funde, Mainz/Würzburg 2012.

Hinkel, Helmut: Fides Moguntina: Studien zur Mainzer Kirchengeschichte, Mainz 2013.

Lehnardt, Andreas: Mittelalterliche hebräische und aramäische Einbandfragmente in der Martinus-Bibliothek, in: Hinkel 2012, p. 117–136.

Pelgen, Franz Stephan: Patronage und Loyalität – Stephan Alexander Würdtwein und die Grafen von Ostein. Zugleich ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der gräflich-osteinschen Familienbibliothek, in: Mainzer Zeitschrift 106/107, Mainz 2011/2012, p. 53–130.

Pelgen, Franz Stephan: Stephan Alexander Würdtwein (1722–1796) in der Mainzer Martinus-Bibliothek, in: Hinkel 2012, p. 279–310.

Schipper, William: The Mainz Martinus-Bibliothek Bifolium (D/378) of Hrabanus’s de rerum naturis and its Relatives, in: Hinkel 2012, p. 87–103

Staub, Kurt Hans/Blank, Maike unter Mitarbeit von Zeynep Yildiz und Christoph Winterer: Aus der und über die Inkunabelsammlung der Martinus-Bibliothek, in: Hinkel 2012, p. 139–164.

Winterer, Christoph: Die mittelalterlichen Handschriften der Martinus-Bibliothek, in: Hinkel 2012, p. 31–46.


  • Access to the digital and physical materials and instruments, files and databases available through the provider (with respect of the authorial and intellectual property rights);
  • Contact to experts that assist them in dealing with the services of the provider institution and in using these services for the proper development of their research pro-ject;
  • Support in dealing with the services of the provider institution and in using these services for the proper development of their research project.


Grebenstraße 8
D-55116 Mainz


Alexandra Nusser M. A.

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz Logo

Image: Martinus-Bibliothek, 13/681, Photo: Daniel Moisa.