- Wiesbaden, Harrasowitz Verlag, 2020 240x170 mm. X, 451 pp. Ill. Hardcover.
The book ownership of educated citizens and members of the lower and middle clergy has hardly been considered in library and provenance research so far. Christina Schmitz dedicates her exemplary study to academic libraries in the 17th century in Mainz. Instead of archival sources, an autoptic examination of the surviving books forms the basis of the research. This way, 48 book owners with 1,341 works in 733 volumes could be identified and thus some private libraries and owner biographies reconstructed, some of which would otherwise have remained completely unknown. The collections display astonishing characteristics that distinguish them from princely and scholarly libraries, and reveal network-like structures through the passing on of books, in which the Mainz monasteries represent central nodes. In this context, the study primarily examines the role of the Jesuits, which is characterised by a targeted policy of education and book acquisition as well as an active solicitation of legacies and gifts of books. The study shows what possibilities book archaeological analysis offers when using new methods and questions, not only for an anthropological library history.