Holdings and Collections

Established from Fontane’s literary estate, the Theodor Fontane Archive commands over a comprehensive inventory of manuscripts, documents and realia. It has been continuously augmented through acquisitions and expanded through reception testimonials. Moreover we command over a continuously expanding library with nearly all literature from and to Fontane. Collections, loans as well as estates and pre-death estates out of Fontane’s social sphere and significant Fontane researchers round out our inventory.

The entire holdings are accessible, in conjunction with our user services, for research purposes. Moreover, we will be making the completely digitized inventory of manuscripts successively available in our digital manuscript collection. Research of primary and secondary literature from and about Fontane is possible with the online Fontane bibliography from Wolfgang Rasch.


The archive‘s collection of manuscripts springs from Theodor Fontane’s estate, to the extent that Brandenburg’s provincial government (Brandenburgische Provinzialverwaltung) could acquire it in 1935. It encompasses working manuscripts, records, as well as life testimonies, like journals and housekeeping books. It further contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of letters to and from Fontane including numerous circuitous letters (Umkreisbriefe) from his milieu. Additionally, we possess some 12,000 pages of transcripts and copies of partially lost manuscripts.

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Fontane's Manuscripts: digital

The Theodor Fontane Archive has digitised all of its manuscripts. The holdings of the digital manuscript collection will be made successively available on the internet.

Digital Manuscripts


The Theodor Fontane Archive’s collection Areas encompasses all editions of Theodor Fontane’s work, translations, filmizations and musical renderings of the works, reception testimonies, as well as the entire research literature to Fontane and his work. Besides monographs, anthologies, essays and dissertations, we collect grey literature such as off prints, society notes, institutional documents, private prints, scripts, unpublished research articles etc.

Further Information

Fontane Bibliography Online

The Fontane Bibliography, compiled from Wolfgang Rasch and published in 2006, is available in an up-to-date and expanded form as an online databank.

Fontane Bibliography Online


Archive's Collections

Aside from the part of Friederich Fontane’s publisher archive relevant to Theodor Fontane, we conserve, among other things, the greatest part of Fontane’s reference library, a collection of news clippings resulting from Friedrich Fontane’s collecting activity, the “Fontane-Collection Christian Andree” as well as further archival collections.   

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Picture and Media Collection

The Archive holds a collection of circa 1,500 photo documents (photographs, paintings, prints), for example, portraits of Fontane in various stages of life and his family members. We also possess a collection of films and audio documents.

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Library Collections

Multiple collections with volumes from private collectors belong to the holdings of the library: among others Paul Conrad, Kurt Schreinert or Bernhard Bartsch. The testimonies of these private research activities and collecting passion are kept as separate collections to maintain their respective contexts.

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Permanent Loans, Estates, Missing Holdings

Permanent Loans

The Theodor Fontane Archive preserves not only significant permanent loans, from among others, the Humboldt University Library and the Central and Regional Library Berlin (ZLB), but also deposits from private owners.

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Estates out of Fontane’s milieu as well as significant Fontane researchers – like Renate Böchenstein, Helmuth Nünberger and Gotthard Erler – expand the holdings of the Theodor Fontane Archiv.

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Missing Holdings

Numerous objects in the collection in the Theodor Fontane Archive were, until today, lost inexplicably in the last months of the war. A complete overview of the missing holdings can be found hier:

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