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Karl Lamprecht (1856 – 1915) was one of the most famous and renowned German historians at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. He studied history in Leipzig and Göttingen, habilitated in 1880 in Bonn and worked at the university in Bonn afterwards - at first as a private lecturer and since 1888 as an extraordinarius. He taught history at the University of Marburg in 1890 and from 1891 until his death in 1915 at the University of Leipzig.
In his research and publications, especially in "Deutsche Geschichte" (12 vols, 1891-1909) Lamprecht emphasised the importance of cultural history and material conditions for a systematic development of nations and societies. As a consequence, a dispute over methods in historical science arose in Germany in which numerous historians sided against Lamprecht's views. They emphasised the primacy of political and personal history in the tradition of Leopold von Ranke. Today, Karl Lamprecht is considered to be the founder of social and economic history. Further important fields of his activity were regional history, teaching methods of the university and foreign cultural policy.
Karl Lamprecht left a multitude of important scientific and private documents after his death in 1915. His papers were brought to "Schloss Walbeck" (district of Geldern) in 1920 where his older daughter Marianne was living with her husband Walther Friedrich Klein-Walbeck. In 1931 and 1933 small parts of Karl Lamprecht papers were sent to the institute of universal history (Institut für Universalgeschichte) in Leipzig, where they were either burnt or severely damaged during the Second World War. Parts of the remaining papers in Walbeck were also damaged during this time due to firebombs and water.
After Marianne Klein-Walbeck's (nee Lamprecht) death in 1946, most of the papers came into possession of her younger sister Else Rose-Schütz (nee Lamprecht). The rest remained in "Schloss Walbeck" together with the Klein-Walbeck’s family archive. Bonn University and State Library received Karl Lamprecht’s papers in three tranches between 1957 and 2012.
The main part of the Karl Lamprecht papers in the possession of Else Rose-Schütz (tranche 1) was sold to Bonn University and State Library in 1957, whilst a very small part remained in family hand. The papers which remained in Klein-Walbeck (tranche 2) were entrusted to the archive of Kleve ("Kreisarchiv Kleve")" as deposit. In 2010 this part was given to Bonn University and State Library. Only the documents which belong to the family archive Klein-Walbeck in terms of content and provenance stayed in the archive of Kleve.
In 2012 ULB Bonn received the letters that were still in family hand (tranche 3).
In a two-year project supported by the German Research Foundation DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) all documents of the Karl Lamprecht papers were catalogued in HANS and are to be found in Kalliope. In addition, two thirds of the documents will be digitised and presented in the digital collections of the ULB.
Translation: Victoria Milhan