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Inventory Reception and Documentation of the Linz Jacob Boehme Archive

The structured project , “Bestandsaufnahme und Documentation des Linzer Jacob Boehme Archivs” which lasted for a total of three years – from 1st July 2001 until the 30th of June 2004 – was carried out by the "Embassy of the Free Mind" (Amsterdam) and the "International Jacob Boehme Society" in Goerlitz.

The subject of this project was the so-called Linzer Jacob Boehme Archive, an extensive collection of scripts and printed documents dated from the 17th Century up to the 20th Century, which are found today at four different locations. The basis of the archive was started during the 1630’s by the first Boehme publisher Abraham van Beyerland with collected Boehme scripts and early Boehme copies, an inventory, which in the following centuries continually grew with further documents, especially an extensive correspondence of the “Angels-brothers and -sisters”, a community of radical pietists, orientated towards the settings of Johann Georg Gichtel and Johann Wilhelm Ueberfeld. During the course of its history, the archive was moved many times and at the beginning of the 20th century, the archive was located in Linz on the Rhein. During World War II, it was confiscated by the Gestapo and transported to Berlin, where it was provisionally recorded. Towards the end of the war and in the postwar time, the archive finally reached its modern locations, the Oberlausitzische Bilbliothek der Wissenschaften (OLB) in Goerlitz, Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuettel, University Library in Wroclaw and the BPH in Amsterdam.

The goal of the project, headed by Dr. Gilly (Basel / Amsterdam), was the academic development of the archive, meaning, on the one matter, the exact bibliographic recordings of the inventory as it existed in Linz before 1941, and, on the other matter, the historical documentation of the inventory, under which especially the historical description of the Boehme–scripts as the essential component of the archive is interpreted, from its arrival in Holland up to its establishment in the Libraries Wolfenbuettel and Wroclaw.

A pleasurable by-product of the archive / library work was the discovery of many unknown early modern transcriptions, amongst them two pieces stand out: The first one is an early copy of two Boehme-letters, dated back to the first half of the 17th century. This discovery was introduced in October 2002 in the Baroque House, Neißstr. 30 in Goerlitz as the “Exhibit of the Month”. With this discovery, Goerlitz has at least one early manuscript from Böhme’s writings at its disposal. The second is an existing 72 page fragmentary manuscript with copies of, until now, unknown letters from Abraham von Franckenberg (1593 – 1652), one of the first Boehme-biographers and the author of religious tracts. The numbers of the known Franckenberg-letters, which were published in the year 1995 as the framework of a critical edition, have increased more than 50% with this discovery. 
The inventory has been made available per internet for enquiries. Address: 
Vereinte Nationale Forschungsbibliothek