Music Department with Mendessohn archives National Library Berlin Prussian cultural heritage

Unter den Linden 8, 10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 266 435201 (office)
Fax: +49 (0)30 266 335201
Direction: Dr. Martina Rebmann


The Schumann estate in the music department of the Berlin State Library

The music department of the Royal Library (later the Prussian State Library) was founded in 1842. The foundation was laid by the music collections of Halle music director Johann Friedrich Naue and Berlin scholar George Poelchau. With numerous autographs of Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Telemann manuscripts and printed music and theoretica of the 16th and 17th century, a considerable stock has been built. More outstanding acquisitions followed, such as the Beethoven autographs from the Schindler estate, opera scores and performance materials of the Royal Opera House. From different collections valuable manuscripts collections were added, such as works by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Weber.

In 1890, Clara Schumann gave the estate of her husband as a depository to the Royal Library and in 1904 it was acquired by the library with the generous support of the Berlin publishing house bookseller Hermann Paetel.

Among the 15 manuscripts were as important compositions of Robert Schumann as for example "Symphony No. 3" ("Rhenische"), the opera "Genoveva," his most successful oratorio "Das Paradies und die Peri", the three volumes of songs from 1840 and last but not least the 28 volumes of correspondence.

3. Sinfonie, Beginn des 4. Satzes, autogr. R. Schumann 12
Symphony No. 3, beginning oft he 4th movement, autogr. R. Schumann 12

At the same time the Berlin music publisher Adolph Fürstner (1833-1908) gave the manuscript of Schumann's "Manfred" composition to the Royal Library and two years later the collection was expanded to include such important works as "Violin Concerto" and "Symphony No. 4", that could be purchased from the heirs of Schumann’s friend, violinist Joseph Joachim. The eldest daughter, Marie Schumann, finally decided to sell the estate of her parents to the Prussian State Library in 1924.

Through the auction house Liepmannssohn engraing templates of the "Spanische Liebeslieder" Op. 138 and the autograph of the "Piano Sonata No. 2" of the "Drei Klaviersonaten für die Jugend" Op. 118 were purchased. Finally, the Schumann collection was supplemented in 1940 by purchase of the three household books and individual items from the private use of Schumann, from his grandon Ferdinand Schumann.
The music department of the Berlin State Library has 45 volumes with compositions by Robert Schumann in the autograph, three financial books (plus index volume of Ferdinand Schumann) and a cassette with items from the personal use of Schumann. Through war-related outsourcing of the stocks during the Second World War, two autographs and 28 volumes of family correspondence ended up in Biblioteka Jagiellonska Krakow, where they are today.

In the Berlin collection there are still 13 volumes of Clara Schumann's compositions in autograph, seven volumes of correspondence with letters to Clara and the legendary "Blumentagebuch," which she kept from 1857 to 1859 for Johannes Brahms.

Also, the estate of Woldemar Bargiel, the half brother of Clara Schumann, is located in the music department. It was acquired in 2007 from Bargiel’s granddaughter, Elisabeth Schmiedel, and serves as great material for the Schumann research. (Signature 55 Nachl 59).

Several collections gather more than 1,000 letters of Robert and Clara Schumann, who are largely covered in the database Kalliope where they can be researched.

Further collections of letters are referred to in special catalogs of the music department and can be obtained, these letters will also gradually be incorporated into Calliope.

The Department of Music honored Robert Schumann in June 2010 on the occasion of his 200th Birthday with a small exhibition, where a selection of 22 manuscripts were shown and also items from his personal use were presented, some of them for the first time to the public. For this purpose, a catalog was published.

In 2011, the Berlin State Library celebrated its 350 anniversary.


In a guest exhibition at the German Historical Museum, entitled "350 Jahre Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin" 46 relics from the collections of the special departments were be shown. The music department also presented a Schumann autograph.

(Text: Marina Schieke-Gordienko, Consultant for Music, Berlin State Library – Prussian cultural heritage, Department of Music with Mendelssohn Archive, translated by Katharina Ma)


Die von uns eingesetzten und einsetzbaren Cookies stellen wir Ihnen unter dem Link Cookie-Einstellungen in der Datenschutzerklärung vor. Voreingestellt werden nur zulässige Cookies, für die wir keine Einwilligung benötigen. Weiteren funktionellen Cookies können Sie gesondert in den Cookie-Einstellungen oder durch Bestätigung des Buttons "Akzeptieren" zustimmen.