Brief Inventory of Illuminated Manuscripts until 1600 and Incunabula
in the Library of
the Augustiner-Chorherrenstiftes Herzogenburg in Niederösterreich

Version 2 (November 2009)

Armand Tif, Martin Roland
in collaboration with Maria Theisen and Alois Haidinger

English translation by Kathryn Martin (University of Pittsburgh)

Online publication through the generous permission of the head librarian of the
Stiftsbibliothek Herzogenburg (Augustiner Chorherren)


Introduction to the Illuminated Manuscripts until 1600

On the Collegiate Library and the Manuscript Catalogues

The Herzogenburg Priory was founded in 1112 by Ulrich, Bishop of Passau, and was relocated to its current site in 1244.  The chapter and its library survived the Reformation, as well as the dissolution of the monasteries under Josef II, without any notable casualties. Nevertheless, the current inventory of manuscripts is not particularly extensive, but it is diverse.  While Winner's list includes the numerous modern works through Nr. 434, only about 100 codices actually date from the Middle Ages. 

It is remarkable that hardly any manuscripts from the time prior to the mid-fourteenth century have been preserved that can be conclusively shown to have belonged to the old inventory of the library.  This is based on the ownership annotations, which were inserted in the books quite diligently in the fifteenth century.  Up until roughly shelfmark 90, the extant codices form the core of a very pastorally- (practically, theologically-) aligned library.  In this inventory there are numerous rather small liturgical books between about Cod. 60 and Cod. 90.  However, several originate from the neighboring Dürnstein Priory and found their way into the library of Herzogenburg only after the dissolution of Dürnstein in 1788.

In between Cod. 90 and Cod. 110, an inventory has been kept that discusses, first and foremost, all of the purchases during the eighteenth century, including the cimelia of the collection.  The modern material dominates from Cod. 111 onward, with only a smattering of medieval manuscripts, and this portion of the inventory documents the development of the spiritual life in the monastery from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.  Finally, the manuscript library experienced a notable expansion through the acquisition of the Schlossbibliothek Walpersdorf in 1905, which included, among other things, several medieval codices, primarily in the German language.


The manuscript inventory has ultimately been cataloged three times:
Winner's Katalog der Handschriften der Stiftsbibliothek Herzogenburg (St. Pölten: 1976 (masch.)) records the complete list of extant manuscripts while Hope Mayo's Herzogenburg: Descriptive Inventories of Manuscripts Microfilmed for the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library 3 (Collegeville, MN: 1985) limits its scope to the medieval manuscripts.  Finally, the dated codices are described in Franz Lackner's Datierte Handschriften in niederösterreichischen Archiven und Bibliotheken bis zum Jahre 1600 (Vienna: 1988, 30–58, 101–104).

Introduction to the Illuminated Incunabula

On the Collegiate Library and the Incunabula Catalogue

In respect to the history of the library, the incunabula inventory of the library of Herzogenburg Priory shows considerable differences to the aforementioned manuscript inventory.  Primarily, it is conspicuous that the ownership notations of Herzogenburg in the illuminated incunabula (Inc. 62 and Inc. 123/2) cannot be dated to prior than the sixteenth century.  Whether the library already owned these printed works in the fifteenth century cannot be confidently ascertained.  And, since the majority of the early notations of provenance are from other collections, it is probable that the incunabula are instead modern acquisitions.  Amongst the previous owners, one can list the monastic houses of Säusenstein (Cistercian), Lilienfeld (Cistercian), Melk (Benedictine) and Dürnstein (Augustinian canons), as well as the theologian Johannes Plümel (Dean of the liberal arts at Ingolstadt University at the turn of the sixteenth century).  Thus, the library notations from Herzogenburg are primarily from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In 1887 the collegiate library owned a total of 253 incunabula.  However, many of these incunabula were sold during periods of crisis in the twentieth century, so that the current inventory contains only slightly more than 150 examples (For further information, refer to the remarks of Ulrich Mauterer and Christoph Steiner, as well as of Wolfgang Payrich).

The indexing of the titles and printings was carried out by Franz Reininger and was published in 1908.  The information contained therein served as the basis for the inventory's record in the Census of Incunabula in Austria, which has revised and corrected Reininger's index based on the most current information.  Both catalogues were used as the bibliographical basis for this indexing, which inventoried the book decoration for the first time.


Reininger, Franz.  "Die Wiegendrucke der Stiftsbibliothek Herzogenburg," Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Vereins für Bibliothekswesen 12 (1908), 109127.

Census of Incunabula in Austria