Image materials in personal papers

Even though in the area of personal papers and autographs the collection of materials is focused predominantly on written sources on the intellectual, social and cultural life and work of a person, personal papers in particular frequently also contain complementary image materials.

Drawings may represent the integral core of the work and life of a person, or drawings may have arisen selectively from a spontaneous idea. In between, the copious materials from around 1,100 sets of personal papers offer manifold variants which can be discovered only by targeted research. Some examples from the broad collection will follow, without claiming to be exhaustive.

Drawings can be expected to be found in the personal papers of representatives of the relevant professions. Thus, for example the personal papers of painters and illustrators frequently contain pencil or quill drawings, drawings coloured with watercolours or watercolour paintings. Personal papers of visual artists contain drafts of their works or photographs. Architects have kept study sheets, construction drawings, layouts and drawings of buildings, monuments or construction details. Drawings or photographs are also found in the personal papers of explorers or scientific researchers.

Coloured drawings by caricaturists, such as Franz Graf von Pocci, can be found beyond their own papers also in other persons' estates, due to their broad social impact.

Among the representatives of professional occupations, there are artistically gifted autodidacts, such as the author Paul Heyse with a plurality of sketch books of persons, topographic views and landscapes, predominantly in Italy.

Frequently, personal papers also contain photographs of the persons and of their social environment, sometimes also portrait drawings or oil paintings, to complement the written sources. Topic-related collections frequently offer image material on individual fields of scholarship.

Collections of reproductions can likewise contain valuable image material for research purposes. Among these, there are xylographs, copper engravings or images of original photographs in secondary publications, which can be contained in personal papers or collections.

Detailed information about this can be gathered from the various registers of the personal papers or by enquiry to the Division of Literary Archives and Autographs.

Further information about personal papers