European Library Travel and the Enlightenment

By:
Dr. Thomas Walker
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Closely tied to Enlightenment ideals of the scientific method and its relatively universal understanding of the world were the published accounts of visits to libraries throughout Europe in the latter half of the Eighteenth Century. This paper demonstrates that contemporary library travel accounts had value to researchers of the time and are now uniquely rich sources for modern cultural historians. Of special interest to library historians, these works contribute to a better understanding of the nature of large and small collections alike, including those of monasteries, universities, government entities, schools, and prominent individuals. Of note are the travel diaries, scientific travel accounts, and library travel guides by Johann Christoph Aretin, Christoph Friedrich Nicolai, Georg Wilhelm Zapf, Johann Georg Keyssler, Friedrich Karl Gottlob Hirsching, and Philipp Wilhelm Gercken. Such works normally addressed such characteristics as a library’s collection scope, subject strengths, notable holdings, arrangement, and historical background. Taken together, they provide us with an excellent eighteenth-century perspective of the European library landscape.


Keywords: Library Travel, Libraries, Enlightenment
Stream: Libraries
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Thomas Walker

Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Trained as a pianist, musicologist, and librarian, Thomas Walker obtained degrees at the University of Colorado, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. With additional studies and work in Germany and Austria, he has published articles in leading academic journals about scholarly communication, the history of libraries, bibliography, and classification. Since 1992, he has been a faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, having served several years at the latter as Associate Dean and Interim Dean. His teaching areas include the history of books and printing, research services in libraries, information science, and research in the humanities and social sciences. He is currently working on a book related to the library travels of Adalbert Blumenschein, an eighteenth-century priest/librarian who visited almost 400 libraries in Austria, Germany, and Italy.

Ref: B07P0160