Bequests and Estates

A partial estate of Rebecka Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Gustav Dirichlet, comprising more than 1000 letters, became the property of Kassel University Library on July 1, 2019. Information on the estate - press release

Kassel University Library is in charge of more than 90 estates and partial estates as well as more than 20,000 autographs. These collections originate partly from the historical heritage of the Old State Library of the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel, partly from new acquisitions (donations, purchases, deposits) that entered the collection after the Second World War. As a rule, they have strong local and regional historical connections and cover a wide range of topics and time periods.

So far, 75 estates and more than 10,000 individual authors from the Kassel holdings are searchable in KALLIOPE. Further estates and newly created recordings of individual letters will be added successively.

The following estates from the holdings of the State Library are particularly noteworthy because of their scope and importance.


This estate encompasses more than 1,000 letters, the existence of which had been known only to a select group of specialists for a long time. These are predominantly private correspondences of Rebecka Dirichlet, née Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1811-1858), sister of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Fanny Hensel, and of her husband, the well-known mathematician Gustav (Lejeune) Dirichlet (1805-1859). The corpus covers the period from about 1822 to 1858. [Read more]

Louis Spohr

The partial estate of Louis Spohr (1784-1859) undoubtedly stands out among the musicians' estates in the holdings of the Landesbibliothek. It contains mainly music prints, life testimonies, autograph letters and a collection of program notes documenting the Europe-wide performance of his music (call number: 2° Ms. Mus. 1500). [Read more]

Franz Rosenzweig

Franz Rosenzweig (1886-1929), born in Kassel, is one of the most important philosophers of religion in the German language. In 2006, with public and private support, the university was able to acquire a valuable partial estate from the estate of his daughter-in-law Ursula. It involves several thousand objects (letters, copies of letters, photographs and other documents), which had previously been largely unknown to the community of Rosenzweig researchers. [Read more]

Hans Jürgen von der Wense

The writer, composer and polymath Hans Jürgen von der Wense (1894-1966) published only a few short texts, essays and musical pieces throughout his life. However, he left an extensive estate of letters, translations, literary and musical sketches, 35mm photographs, and collections of texts on the country and its people. [Read more]