Department of German Philology, Didactics of German Language and Literature, University of Göttingen
Room 0.143/0.147 • Waldweg 26
37073 Göttingen

Public exhibition: no
Access / tours: by appointment

Contact: Prof. Dr. Christoph Bräuer
Tel.: 0551 39-21469

It is extremely rare for books for children and young people to be the focus of collections at university libraries, which explains why sources on the culture of children’s literature of past centuries are not widely available. But the University of Göttingen holds two such collections of historical works for children and young people, the Vordemann and Seifert Collections, as well as the Dahrendorf Library, and further extends its holdings of contemporary literature for children and young adults on an ongoing basis.

The Vordemann Collection, which was received by the university as a donation in the 1960s, goes back to the Einbeck protestant church superintendent Karl Vordemann (1850 – 1931). Consisting of approximately 1,000 volumes, the collection is remarkable not for its size but for the fact that it covers a period of some 200 years up to World War I, bringing together philanthropic literature, rare nature study textbooks and literature of the 19th century. In 2008, the Department of German Philology further acquired the Seifert Collection, an assemblage of very high value in academic terms and one of the most significant of its kind in the German-speaking world. Some 11,500 books covering the entire range of children’s literature reflect its development from the very beginnings up to the early 1990s. We owe the collection’s unique quality above all to the collecting passion of Jürgen Seifert (1928 – 2005), Professor of Political Science in Hanover, who acquired not only beautiful volumes but also items of mass production, such as magazines. In line with Seifert’s professional interests, one focus of the collection is literature for children and young people influenced by proletarian and National Socialist thinking.

Summer 2012 saw the further acquisition of the working library of German studies educationalist Malte Dahrendorf (1928 – 2008), authoritative scholar on books for the young. Complete with Dahrendorf’s handwritten notes, this collection includes some 3,000 items of primary and research literature documenting writing for children and young adults and its research over the past 80 years.

The two collections and Dahrendorf’s library are housed in a so-called Teaching Library, along with current literature for children and young people. There, students, researchers and all interested people can read and work with the items directly, on site.

Judith Wassiltschenko

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