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Western European Studies

Guide to Library Resources in Literature and History for the Duke Center for European Studies (DUCES)

Welcome to the European Studies Guide!



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European Studies Links

Collection Description

Collecting research materials from and about Europe in all European languages has long been a high priority at both Duke University Libraries and at the University Library at UNC Chapel Hill. The European collections support vibrant programs in all disciplines, including business and economics, cultural and visual studies, history of science and medicine, history, literary study, music, philosophy, political science, public policy, and religion. In addition to supporting individual academic departments, the European Collections are also part of the life of two European Studies Centers (UNC is a Title VI Center), two Medieval and Renaissance Centers, the National Humanities Center, and two other TRLN (Triangle Research Libraries Network) institutions: North Carolina Central University (an HBCU), and North Carolina State University.

The European Studies resources in the Humanities and Social Sciences provide a rich context for research in French, German, and Italian. The Duke and UNC Libraries subscribe to thousands of periodicals, annuals, and irregular series from and about Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. In addition, the libraries hold many complete runs of historic serial titles. The collections include films and videos from and about Europe, and several large microform sets covering European topics, especially on Great Britain and Germany, as well as large biographical archives and US government archival collections on European countries. New collection development efforts important for European Studies include Linguistics, Film and Visual Studies, Jewish Studies, Islamic Studies, Minority Literatures in Europe, and expanded coverage of contemporary authors, especially for France, Germany, and Italy. The Duke Libraries are a depository for documents published by the European Union, and Duke and UNC Libraries collect government documents and statistics from individual European countries, as well as publications by many international organizations (ILO, OECD, and more).

Duke and UNC Libraries have well-funded approval plans for humanities collections in general, and for European as well as Medieval Studies in particular. Over the past three years the UNC library has received substantial Mellon funding to enhance the already strong collections in the History of Medicine, British History, and Medieval Women. Duke Libraries have benefited from a special Duke Provost fund used to acquire historic electronic journal back files and digital libraries of primary documents. Duke subscribes to all the major indexes and databases for Western European Studies, and study of materials from France, German and Italy.

The librarians at Duke and UNC work together on defining and monitoring a German Studies and French and Francophone Studies approval plans; the Italian approval plans are administered separately at this time.Our goals are to provide a core collection “on hand” at each institution while also providing the maximum number of unique titles in the triangle. Duke and UNC are the first libraries in the US to streamline inclusion of e-books in the approval plan “shipments.” The libraries, with support from TRLN, are proactively researching e-book licensing, pricing and platform issues in order to provide the best e-tools and collection services for the future, and to stay ahead of the impact that e-books will have on collection budgets. Both Duke and UNC Libraries provide customized collection development for new courses, purchase on demand, and generally stay in close touch with the department to provide for specialized research needs.

Duke and UNC are major research libraries that belong to key national academic library consortia. Locally Duke and UNC are part of the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN), a consortium that enables collaborative approaches to collection development and user services. The libraries are also members of consortia of interest to European Studies, most importantly: CIFNAL, the Collaborative Initiative for French and North American Libraries and GNARP, the German North American Resources Partnership – under the administration of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Interlibrary loan and document delivery services provide rapid access to materials not available at Duke and UNC. Duke has recently joined Borrow Direct for greater and more efficient access to materials from Borrow Direct libraries. The European Studies librarians work closely with ILL staff to obtain materials not held in the United States, and with staff in information technology, acquisitions, and cataloging for access issues. Other significant library initiatives include the establishment of scholarly communications offices, the creation of digital production centers, the creation of institutional repositories, the provision of Open Access publishing platforms (where the Duke German Department piloted the publication of the journal “Andererseits”), and scanning on demand services through TRLN, with deposit in the Internet Archive.

Special Collections

The following overview provides some detail on the depth of the combined Duke and UNC Special Collections holdings by century, to show the rich environment and material base for archival research for graduate student and faculty. More detailed information about named collections is contained in online and print Finding Aids:

1000-1500: The libraries preserve a core collection of early German and Latin manuscripts of German origin which are noted for their historical provenance and for their illuminations. Among the holdings are Latin manuscripts from France; divinity subjects (hymnology, some reformation, etc.), and emblem books

1500-1600: The libraries preserve significant materials from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Incunabula collections include, for example, both the Latin and German editions of Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Chronicarum (1493). Popularly known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, this is one of the most celebrated early histories of the world and is famed for its innovative woodcut illustrations. The libraries have considerable sixteenth century divinity collections which are particularly strong in materials related to Catholic Literature, Martin Luther and the Reformation. Holdings also include sources on the History of Medicine and Facsimiles of German manuscripts.

1600-1800: The collections include substantial numbers of items for : Alchemy, Chemistry & Magic; Art and Illumination; Athanasius Kircher Collection; Bibliography and the History of the Book; Divinity: Lutheranism, Christian Hebraica, Hymnology, New Testament Studies; Emblem books; German Dissertations (uncataloged); History of Medicine for  16th-20th centuries; Illustrated Festival and Funeral Books; the Jantz Collection (one of the largest German literature collections from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in North America) Jantz Broadside Collection; Jantz Graphic Arts Collections (print collection); Literary Works (poetry, drama, fiction, utopian literature, literary annuals, age of Goethe, Faust legend and fairy tales, etc.); Philosophy; Renaissance and Humanism; Science and Exploration; Viennese 18th C Music (Strauss, etc.). The Estienne Collection: Estienne Collection-Dynasty of scholar-printers from the 16th and 17th centuries working in Paris and Geneva. The RBC received 300 volumes on the occasion of the Library’s 3rd millionth volume.Significant works in the collection include Robert Estienne's 1531 Latinae Linguae Thesaurus;  the Folio Greek Testament Novum Iesu Christi D.N. Testamentum (Paris: R. Estienne 15 June 1550); Calvin’s Institutio Christianae religionis, in libros quatuor nunc primum digesta (Geneva: R. Estienne, 16 August 1559); Henri Estienne’s [Graece] Thesaurus Graecae linguae (Geneva:  1572); and what is known as “The Stephanus Plato”  -- the first complete edition of Plato’s works – Opera quae extant omnia (Geneva:  H. Estienne, 1578). The Mazarinades Collection: The Mazarinades Collection contains over 1,000 pamphlets and songs published against Cardinal Mazarin during the Frond (civil war) in France, 1648-1653. The William Henry Hoyt Collection of French History: Consists of monographs as well as numerous pamphlets and newspapers relating principally to the French Revolution and Napoleonic eras.  Presented to the University Library beginning in 1953 by attorney and historian William Henry Hoyt, the Collection originally consisted of 5,000 volumes, the rarest of which are housed in the Rare Books Collection.  Contemporary historical works, as well as scares and valuable books dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, comprise this large and useful collection. There are Political pamphlets 1650-1700 (many uncatalogued), historic titles on Travel & colonialism. French in the Americas (Haiti and New Orleans), and French political caricature serials circa 1850-1940

1800-1900: In the nineteenth century the libraries hold broad materials related to the German experience internationally. The collections include substantial holdings in: German American Imprints and German American Family Papers (Particularly strong on German communities of the American South); German American Newspapers; Viennese Economics (Morgenstern and Menger Papers); Henkel Family Priting; History of Medicine (incl. Gottschalk Collection at UNC); Literature (literary annuals, Jewish); German-Judaica; Music (general publications and music publishing in Vienna from the late 18th century through the 19th century and Viennese musical life in the 19th century); British and American Literature in translation (UNC Dickens and Ticknor & Fields Collections); History of Science and Medicine. French Revolution Pamphlets: A collection of pamphlets and serial issues published during and after the French Revolution. Collection is located in the Rare Book Room.

1900-1945: Collections for the beginning 20th century boast large holdings in materials in political and cultural expressions. Collections include: Archaeology and Stuart Maya Collections; Avant-Garde; Beats Collections; Bowman Gray Collection of World Wars I & II Broadsides, Posters, Postcards, and Propaganda (includes all sides of conflict); German Newspapers (Jewish, labor, regional, political); German Speculative and Utopian Fiction; German-American Newspapers; German-Judaica; History of Medicine; J. Walter Thompson Company Advertising Collection (including personal papers); Jewish Culture Collection (literature, Zionism, religion, biography); Literature (Jewish, Stefan George circle collection, fine printing); Nazi Propaganda Collection; British Propaganda Leaflets in German; Political Posters (German Broadside Collection); Papers & Manuscripts (Jantz Papers; Heschel Papers (1907-1972); Borchardt Papers; Hans Baron Papers; Frederick Herzog Papers; Weinmann Papers, Theodor Wilhelm Papers; William Stern Papers); Peetz Photographs; Political Caricature Serials.

Some of the collections span the centuries: The Jantz Collection consisting of some 3,500 titles in German Baroque literature, complemented by over 7,000 titles reflecting Dr. Harold Jantz's other scholarly interests, namely German Americana of all periods, English-German literary relations, the Age of Goethe, Rosicruciana and Occulta.The Viennese Collection: Printed materials relating the social and political history of Vienna, as well as its art and architecture. This collection complements the private library of the late Viennese musicologist Alexander Weinmann (1901-1987), which is held in the Music Library. This latter collection consists of some 8,000 pieces from his private research collection. Emphases are music publishing in Vienna from the late 18th century through the 19th century and Viennese musical life in the 19th century. There is a large component of sheet music, including a number of first editions. Supplementing the Weinmann Collection is the Peter Riethus Collection consisting of some 1,200 books and scores from the estate of Peter Riethus of Vienna. This collection contains many out-of-print biographical and historical titles concerning Vienna and Central Europe. The Guido Mazzoni Collection: The collection consists of some 55,000 mostly Italian pamphlets, theatrical works, librettos, programs, catalogs dating from the 16th to the 20th century. It includes some World War II fascist propaganda, and, most importantly, one of the largest extant collections of "per nozze," being essays, studies or small works published on the occasion of a marriage.The Lanson Collection: The collection was purchased from Professor Gustave Lanson, noted French scholar and critic in 1927. The collection consists of 11, 000 titles, many being standard works of modern French authors, as well as an extensive reprint collection of articles by Lanson and other French literary scholars.

Heidi Madden and Libby Chenault, 2015