The stock of the Music Collection, comprising a total of around 15,000 bibliographical items, was built up by the musicologists Elmar Arro and Fritz Feldmann in the former Research Centre of Musical History at the J. G. Herder Research Council, initially located in Kiel, and later in Hamburg. After Fritz Feldmann retired in 1973, the collection was passed to the library of the Herder Institute and installed here separately. A specific feature of the music collection is that its regional focus extends beyond the narrow collection area of East Central Europe to include works on music theory and sheet music from all regions of East Europe. A not insignificant section refers to the historical eastern territories of Germany; individual areas of these are represented to differing extents. Silesia plays a dominant role here.
Large parts of the music collection were initially electronically catalogued and thus able to be researched online through the use of project funds of the DFG, and later using the Herder Institute's own funds.
In the case of Slavic sheet music, particularly worthy of mention are the complete works of Chopin, Dvorák, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev and Medtner, and numerous (hand-written) scores. Many other composers are represented through a large number of compositions. The collection of music theory, with approximately 7,000 titles, includes many treatises that appear rarely, if at all, in German libraries.
The Boetticher Collection is a collection of books left to the Institute in 1952 in a donation by General a. D. Friedrich von Boetticher, the heir to the library of the genealogist and doctor from Bautzen, Walter von Boetticher (1853-1945). The collection of 230 bibliographical items (including numerous titles in several volumes) does not represent the complete original library of Walter von Boetticher. However, it includes rather self-contained stock on the history and cultural history of Upper Lusatia, without, however, taking into account Sorbian or Sorbian-language aspects. Works on the history of Upper Lusatia, including legal, church and art history, form the core of the collection. Written works from the 19th century are dominant; rare books from the 18th century are more strongly represented than literature from the 20th century. One rarity is the complete Lausitzische Magazin (25 volumes since 1768) and the Neue Lausitzische Magazin (from 1822 to 1941).
The Feodor Sommer Archive, left to the Research Library in 1976 on permanent loan, is a collection of around 500 volumes of books and periodicals, consisting almost exclusively of writings from and about Silesia, the heart of which is formed by the complete works of the Silesian regional writer Fedor Sommer (1864-1930). The collection can be traced back to work by the Silesian sponsorship initiative and the professor of the Pedagogical Academy in Dortmund, Prof. A. Perlick. The Feodor Sommer Archive is of enormous value for the cultural history of the Bolkow region.
The extensive private collection of Polish Samizdat publications (so-called drugi obieg) was bought up by Prof. Przemyslaw Urbanczyk PhD in 2008. This is a collection of around 1,100 monographs and periodicals of the Polish underground, primarily from the start of the 1980s.
The collection of the Viennese scientist Prof. Dr. Ludwig Igálffy von Igály (born 25.11.1924), systematically expanded over decades and acquired with the support of the DFG from funds of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft in 2005, addresses questions of family history, studies on individual locations and families from Silesia, as well as Silesia's relations with Bohemia, Moravia and Austria. Over 3,000 files on noble families from Silesia and other Austrian hereditary lands, as well as significant remainders from the Bratronice castle archive in Bohemia of the Vernier von Rougement family can be researched in our Document Collection (DSHI 140 Schlesien 230).
The knights of Courland, Livonia, Estonia and Saaremaa gave their extensive libraries as deposits in 2006. They particularly supplement the Baltic stocks of the research library for the 19th century and contain numerous rare books. Amongst other things, these include a special library on Courland, the library of the legal historian and genealogist Astaf von Transehe-Roseneck (1865-1946) that involves Livonia, as well as the library of Georg von Krusenstjern (1899-1989), which primarily covers local history and genealogy for the whole of the Baltic.
The part of the bequest of Prof. Dietrich André Loeber (1923-2004) taken over by the Research Library includes, amongst other things, extensive material on Baltic legal and press history after 1945, and particularly in the years 1988/1989.
The bequest from Prof. Ernests Blese/Ernestus Blesse (1892-1964) includes, amongst other things, material on Baltic toponymy and philology and literature.
The bequest from Karlis Brambats (*1924), with its musicological focus, includes numerous titles on ethnomusicology, particularly that of Latvia.
The Gaigalaitis Estate is a legacy of the Lithuanian politician and theologist Professor Doctor Vilius Gaigalaitis (1870-1945), who taught at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Kaunas and, among other achievements, established “Sandora”, the Library of Unification. The estate contains journals, monographs and pamphlets, mainly in German, a number of which concern East Prussia, Lithuania, (church-affiliated) schools, clubs and societies in Prussia. The majority of the materials concern issues related to Protestant theology.
Around 3,000 bibliographic items arrived in the research library in 2000 from the Reklaitis Lithuanian Archive (LAR) of the art historian Dr. Povilas Reklaitis (1922-1999). They include numerous rare books, both old printed works from the 17th and 18th centuries as well as extremely rare minor works and grey literature from more recent times, and works published in Lithuanian exile after 1945.
There are numerous rare works in the stocks of the Research Library. These include early prints, editions that exist almost nowhere else, signed editions, manuscripts and hand-written scores. They are separately located and specially secured in the library storeroom.