German History Collections

Find out more about German History Collections in the IHR Wohl Library. We collect historical sources and guides to finding and using sources for both the individual German states and Germany as a whole. 


We hold vast number of resources on German history ranging from the Middle Ages to the reunification, and the collection is still growing. Half the collection consists of material from the numerous German states, making this library an outstanding place to locate research material for both general and regional German History. Our focus is on primary sources with supplementary guides, bibliographies, reference works and periodicals. For instance we hold several complete sets of series published by national and local record societies such as Archive for Reformation History and the Findbücher zu Beständen des Bundesarchivs going back from 1903 and 1970. The holdings are particular strong in medieval history, religious and reformation history, as well as in 19th century history. Not at least sources for nineteenth-century political history are very extensive including nearly 80 volumes of Otto von Bismarck’s collected works of political writing. Moreover, the library holds an almost complete set of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) on open access, which is the most significant collection of medieval sources for German and European history. 

Highlights from the Collections

Specific Periods

Organised chronologically as follows:

  • EG.2 Medieval Germany
  • EG.3 German history 1517-1648
  • EG.4 German history 1648-1789
  • EG.5 German history 1789-1870
  • EG.6 German history 1870-1918
  • EG.7 German history 1918-1945
  • EG.8 German history 1945- 

Each period is then organized by type of source material:

  • General 
  • Constitutional & Legal
  • Government & Administration 
  • Foreign relations (between German States) 
  • Religious 
  • Economic & Social & Cultural
  • Miscellaneous

The general material is at the beginning (EG.20) followed by Constitutional & Legal works (EG.21) etc.


The journals cover both general and specific local subjects. German History and Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters are examples of the former and for the latter we find Hansische Geschichtsblätter.

Journals on German history will also be in other sections such as E.9 (general European history) examples include Historische Zeitschrift and Zeitschrift für Historische Forschungand in ER.9 (Religious history) Revue d’Histoire ecclésiastique

Regional and Local Collections

Within the local collection the material is also subdivided by the topic of the material: General, Constitutional & Legal, Government/administration & Political, Religious, Economic & Social History and Miscellaneous.    

  • EGL.1 General works
  • EGL.10 Brandenburg/Prussia to 1701
  • EGL.11 Prussia 1701-1947
  • EGL.12 Brandenburg from 1947
  • EGL.13-EGL.134 Berlin
  • EGL.135-EGL.141 Potsdam, incl. neighbouring towns
  • EGL.15-EGL.17 East & West Prussia to 1920 [afterwards Poland]
  • EGL.18-EGL.20 Pomerania to 1945 [afterwards Mecklenburg Poland]            
  • EGL.21-EGL.23 Mecklenburg [for Rostock see also EGL.42]
  • EGL.24 Posen 968-1316 [afterwards Poland]
  • EGL.25 Posen 1815-1918 [afterwards Poland]
  • EGL.26-EGL.28 Silesia 1137-1920 [afterwards Poland]
  • EGL.29-EGL.32 Saxony
  • EGL.33-EGL.36 Anhalt [Saxony-Anhalt from 1952]
  • EGL.37-EGL.39 Thuringia
  • EGL.40-EGL.41 Schleswig and Holstein [see also Denmark]
  • EGL.42-EGL.44 Hansa Towns (incl. Bremen, Hamburg, Lübeck, for Rostock see also EGL.22)
  • EGL.45 Braunschweig: Duchy, etc., to 1946 [see EGL.50 for local history]
  • EGL.46 Hanover: Duchy/Electorate/Kingdom to 1946 [see EGL.52 for local history]
  • EGL.47 Oldenburg to 1946
  • EGL.48 Schaumburg-Lippe to 1946
  • EGL.49-EGL.55 Lower Saxony from 1946
  • EGL.56-EGL.626 (Prussian) North Rhine to 1946
  • EGL.627-EGL.632 Westphalia to 1946, incl. Lippe-Detmold
  • EGL.633-EGL.69 North Rhine-Westphalia from 1946
  • EGL.70-EGL.741 Hesse, incl. Hesse-Marburg, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Darmstadt, Nassau, Hesse-Nassau, Waldeck
  • EGL.742-EGL.747 Palatinate to 1815
  • EGL.748-EGL.753 Rhineland-Palatinate (Bavaria) from 1815 to 1945
  • EGL.754-EGL.791 Rhineland-Palatinate from 1945
  • EGL.792-EGL.799 Saarland
  • EGL.80-EGL.841 Baden to 1951
  • EGL.842-EGL.847 Württemberg to 1951
  • EGL.848-EGL.853 Hohenzollern
  • EGL.854-EGL.891 Swabia, Duchy/Kreis to 1805
  • EGL.892-EGL.897 Baden-Württemberg from 1952
  • EGL.90-EGL.97 Bavaria

Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH)

The MGH is the most significant collection of medieval sources for German and European history. It is shelved at classkmark EGM, organized by series:

  • EGM/A Antiquitates
  • EGM/D Diplomata
  • EGM/E Epistolæ
  • EGM/L Leges
  • EGM/M Miscellaneous series
  • EGM/S Scriptores
  • EGM/T Schriften

Further information can be found on the Monumenta Germaniae Historica guide.

International Relations Collection

The sections on diplomatic history within this collection have been divided into four chronological groups: pre-1870 (IR.4), 1870-1919 (IR.5), 1919-1945 (IR.6-IR.7) and post-1945 (IR.8). Major parts of the collection relate to debates on the origins of the wars, peace negotiations or the Nuremberg trials.

Subsections within the International Relations collection explicitly devoted to Germany:

  • IR.41/Ger Diplomatic History: General Collected Sources: Germany
  • IR.42/Ger Diplomatic History: General Secondary Works: Germany
  • IR.513 Diplomatic History: 1870 – 1919: Collections of Diplomatic Papers: Germany
  • IR.523 Diplomatic History: 1870 – 1919: Autobiographies, Memoirs, Speeches, etc.: Germany
  • IR.548 Diplomatic History: 1870 – 1919: Immediate Origins of World War One
  • IR.549 Diplomatic History: 1870 – 1919: 1914 – 1918
  • IR.64 Diplomatic History: From 1919 to Present Day: War Guilt Controversy
  • IR.65 Diplomatic History: From 1919 to Present Day: Peace Conference & Treaties
  • IR.712 Diplomatic History: 1919 – 1945: Collections of Diplomatic Papers: Germany
  • IR.722 Diplomatic History: 1919 – 1945: Autobiographies, Memoirs, Speeches, etc.: Germany
  • IR.81/Ger Diplomatic History: Since 1945: Collections of Diplomatic Papers: Germany
  • IR.82/Ger Diplomatic History: Since 1945: Autobiographies, Memoirs, Speeches, etc.
  • IR.84 Diplomatic History: Since 1945: Nuremburg Trials

See International Relations collections guide for further information.

Other Collections

Related IHR collections

Due to the interdependency of German history with the histories of other countries the holdings cross over with several other collections in the IHR:

Other libraries and institutions

Further Help

Contact us if you would like help on finding or using our collections, or if you have any comments or suggestions about the content of this guide. We are happy to help.

You can also book a tour or training session.