Klostersturm and Secularization in Central Europe: What Happened to the Libraries?

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Jeffrey Garrett


Unlike the secularization of church property--including libraries--in England during the Reformation, the far greater secularization of church and monastery libraries that took place in Catholic Europe between 1773 and the early-to-mid 1800s has received little attention in Anglo-American historiography. This essay presents an overview of mostly German-language scholarship, including many older studies, dealing with the dissolution and disposition of monastery libraries across German-speaking Europe during these decades. It also considers research suggesting that modern library science arose from efforts to manage the flood of books that came into state possession during these years.

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Bibliographic Essays
Author Biography

Jeffrey Garrett, Northwestern University

Librarian emeritus