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Holdings of the Document Collection

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Holdings of the Document Collection of the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe


The document collection is a collection archive with a focus on the Baltic region. With around 1,300 continuous meters of shelved documents, it is one of the most extensive collections on the history of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to be found outside of the countries themselves. The document collection contains estates, family and company archives, municipal archives, as well as archives from institutions, clubs and societies, including that of the Herder Research Council and the Herder Institute itself. In addition, various individual pieces (“small acquisitions”) relating to East Central European history are collected here. In terms of the timeframes it covers, the archive, which is made up of around 400 separate collections, spans from the High Middle Ages to the present day. The type of archived material is very heterogenous, for example, it includes certificates and deeds, documents relating to regional history, administrative records, correspondence, memoirs, posters, family registers, employment documents, scientific material collections, and personal notes of individuals.

Content Material/Research


Academic dissertations
Alba amicorum
ca 1,300 linear meters Archival materials
Letter collections
Letters (Correspondence)

Research online

Descriptions of superordinate collections

Descriptions of subordinate collections

Links to external collections

Carl-Schirren-Archiv   Website
Archives of the German-Baltic Genealogical Society   Website
National Archives of Estonia   Website
Latvian State Historical Archives   Website


Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe – Institute of the Leibniz Association
ISIL: DE-2718

Gisonenweg 5-7
35037 Marburg

Document Collection
ISIL: DE-1988

Opening times:
Mon–Thu 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Fri 8 a.m.–3 p.m.


Referenced/represented regions

Baltic StatesCurlandCzech RepublicEast PrussiaEstoniaGermanyLatviaLithuaniaLivoniaPolandProvince Pommerania (Prussia)PrussiaRussiaSilesiaSlovakiaWest Prussia...


BiographyDiplomaticsEarly Middle AgesEarly modern ageEastern studiesHigh Middle AgesHistoryHistory, ModernInstitutional historyLate Middle AgesMigrationWorld War, 1914-1918World War, 1939-1945...

Referenced/represented time period

13th until 21th century


Administrative history and institutional historyEconomic History and SciencesHistory of ScienceLiterary History and Literary StudiesNobility historyPolitical History and Political SciencePopulation history and migration historySocial history and social sciences...




The work of the document collection (archive) began in 1950/1951 with the founding of the Herder Institute and the Herder Research Council. Since then, its function has been to collect and store in one place archival material on the history of East Central Europe, much of which found its way to Germany during the upheaval of the Second World War. Due to issues of space, the holdings of the collection were stored at the Hessian State Archive in Marburg (1963-1973) under the supervision of Kurt Dülfer. In 1973, the Herder Institute moved into a new building and it was decided that the depot at the Hessian State Archive be dissolved. Since 1994, the focus of the document collection has been the history of Livonia, Estonia and Courland as well as Estonian and Latvian history. Around 60% of existing stock deals with these areas. Today, with around 1,300 meters of shelved materials, the document collection stands as the largest archive on Baltic history within the German-speaking world.


Time Event: 13th century until today
Place/Area: Germany  Baltic States  Silesia  Poland


Time Event: 1951 until today
Creator of the collection: Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe - Scientific collections, Document collection +

Context Material


CSABA JÁNOS KENÉZ PETER WÖRSTER: Archivbestände zur Geschichte Est-, Liv- und Kurlands in der Dokumentesammlung des Herder-Instituts Marburg/Lahn 2000. [PPN: 09098627X]   OPAC   HeBIS Discovery System (HDS)

PETER WÖRSTER: Die Dokumentesammlung des Herder-Instituts Marburg - vor allem ein Archiv zur baltischen Geschichte 2012. [PPN: 392635984]   HeBIS Discovery System (HDS)

DOROTHEE M. GOEZE, PETER WÖRSTER, DENNIS HORMUTH (Hrsg.): Baltische Geschichte im Archiv : Aus den Schätzen der Dokumentesammlung des Herder-Instituts Marburg, Marburg [2017]. [PPN: 404433286]   OPAC   HeBIS Discovery System (HDS)


Hereditas Baltica – HerBalt – “Virtual Reading Room” for Baltic Archive Records   Website

Record Information

ID: DE-2718/HI000008
Record Type: Group/Holding
List title: Holdings of the Document Collection
Title: Holdings of the Document Collection of the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe
Short Title: Holdings of the Document Collection
Repository Name: Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Document collection [ISIL: DE-1988]  +
Source/Rights: Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe – Institute of the Leibniz Association [ISIL: DE-2718]  +
Image: Document, Document Collection, Photo: Claudia Junghänel, Wolfgang Schekanski, 2015, Rights of use: Herder Institute, Marburg
Author: Hormuth, Dennis
Author: Dutka, Natalya
Reviser/Editor: Bergholde-Wolf, Agnese
Export date: 2019-03-05


Letters from the Nolcken family archive before they were indexed – Document Collection – DSHI_120_OL_Münnich_Nolcken, Photo: Claudia Junghänel, 2015, Rights of use: Herder Institute, Marburg
Baltic archive films, Document Collection, Photo: Wolfgang Schekanski, 2005, Rights of use: Herder Institute, Marburg