Library Collections

Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies

Germanic Collections


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University are world-renowned research institutions with libraries that have long collaborated together closely in order to create one of the top five German collections in the United States. Librarians at Carolina and Duke with expertise in German Studies regularly monitor and augment already substantial approval plans in order to ensure that both institutions have up-to-date core collections in German Studies and the maximum number of unique titles relevant for interdisciplinary research with a German-language focus. Both Libraries frequently customize their collection development in order to accommodate for new courses and specialized research needs among faculty and graduate students.

More generally, the European Studies resources in the humanities and social sciences held at Carolina and Duke provide a rich context for German Studies research. The Carolina and Duke Libraries subscribe to thousands of periodicals, annuals, and irregular series from and about Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia, as well as Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. In addition, the Libraries hold many complete runs of historic serial titles. The combined collections include films and videos from and about Europe, and several large microform sets covering European topics, especially on Great Britain and Germany, as well as large biographical archives and US government archival collections on European countries. New collection development efforts important for German Studies include disciplines like Linguistics, Film and Visual Studies, Jewish Studies, Islamic Studies, Minority Literatures in Europe, and expanded coverage of contemporary authors. The Duke Libraries are a depository for documents published by the European Union, and Duke and UNC Libraries collect government documents and statistics from individual European countries, as well as publications by many international organizations. The composite European collections are also integral for Carolina's Center for European Studies (a Title VI Center) and Duke's Council for European Studies, as well as Carolina's Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies and Duke's Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Duke and UNC Libraries have well-funded approval plans for humanities collections in general, and for European as well as Medieval Studies in particular. Over the past three years the UNC library has received substantial Mellon funding to enhance its already strong collections in, for example, the History of Medicine and Medieval Women. Duke Libraries have benefited from a special Duke Provost fund for acquiring historic electronic journal back files and digital libraries of primary documents.

New directions in collection development include support for emerging teaching and research areas like: Modernism, Sound Studies, History of Medicine, Area Studies and International Research in German about all world regions, Crime Fiction, Comics and Graphic Novels, Literary Works in Translation, and Film. Another emerging research area are Digital Humanities Projects that allow for purchase of materials like primary sources, maps and data, multiple work editions, ephemera, visual materials and more. The Carolina Duke Program in Graduate Studies together with Universität Duisburg-Essen has spearheaded since 2010 andererseits: Yearbook of Transatlantic German Studies, an open access cooperation in online publishing in German Studies. Carolina has an established Digital Library initiatives with rigorous support from UNC Libraries and UNC's renowned School of Library Science. Carolina and Duke are the first libraries in the US to streamline inclusion of e-books in their approval plans. The Libraries subscribe to over 2,000 databases combined, and Carolina-Duke faculty and students have access to a large number of indexes and journal article databases, historic newspapers and journal archives, e-books, e-book collections and digital libraries. For literature the list includes the Modern Language Association, The Annual Bibliography of English Language & Literature, Literature Criticism Online, American Theological Library Association, the International Medieval Bibliography, and many others. Comparable core sets of databases are available across disciplines.  The over 140 specialized databases focused on European sources include the following German-language resources:

  • BDSL-online;
  • DigiZeitschriften;
  • Germanisitik Online;
  • IBZ Online;
  • Internationale Bibliographie zur deutschen Klassik;
  • KLGonline;
  • Digitale Bibliothek Deutscher Klassiker;
  • Electronic Enlightenment;
  • Kindlers Literatur Lexikon; and
  • Historical-Critical Works editions in e-format.

Faculty and students in the Carolina-Duke program can use electronic resources (through authentication) at both institutions on site as well as remotely.

Library Instruction

With the rapid technological transformation of libraries and their holdings, Carolina and Duke librarians regularly offer graduate students and faculty instruction on how to navigate this complex research environment. While instruction does include an introduction to the print universe not yet available digitally, the libraries also provide support for innovative use of technology in research and teaching. Instruction includes advanced classes on digital tools such as: RefworksEndnoteZotero, Adobe LightboxFilemaker, text-mining, data, visualization, mining oral histories, introduction to Open Access Journal publishing platforms, scholarly communications, and more. The Libraries are also developing a curriculum for Digital Humanities projects and they also support graduate students with writing grant applications and designing research trips for archival research abroad.

Regional Collaborations

Carolina's and Duke's Libraries belong to key regional and national academic library consortia. Within the region, Carolina and Duke are part of the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN), a consortium of ten research libraries located in North Carolina's Research Triangle that have combined holdings exceeding 20 million volumes. Carolina and Duke are also members of consortia of interest to European Studies, most importantly GNARP, the German North American Resources Partnership – under the administration of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Interlibrary loan and document delivery services provide rapid access to materials not available at Duke and UNC. European Studies librarians work closely with interlibrary loan staff in order to obtain materials not held in the United States as well as with staff in information technology, acquisitions, and cataloging for facilitating access to hard-to-find materials. Other significant library initiatives include the establishment of scholarly communications offices, the creation of digital production centers, the creation of institutional repositories, the provision of Open Access publishing platforms, and scanning on demand services with deposit in the Internet Archive.

German Studies Research Guides

Carolina and Duke librarians remain on top of the existing resources available for scholars of German literature, film and culture in the Libraries holdings and have compiled extensive online guidelines to compliment the hands-on instruction in library research. Guidelines of interest to students in the Carolina Duke Graduate Program include: 

Duke's Guide to German Studies for the Carolina Duke Graduate Program in German Studies
Duke's Guide to German Cinema Resources
Carolina's Guide to German Studies 


Heidi Madden PhD MLS
Librarian for Western European Studies
Adjunct Assistant Professor of German Studies
Duke University,  Box 90195
Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-5984

Joanneke Elliott
African Studies and West European Studies Librarian
UNC University Libraries
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PO Box 3902
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8890
(919) 962-3700

Special Collections

Library workshops also include introductions to archival research and working with primary documents.  Special collections libraries at Carolina and Duke also host scholars from institutions in the US and abroad. The following overview provides some detail on the depth of the combined Carolina and Duke Special Collections holdings by century in order to show the rich local environment and material base for archival research. More detailed information about named collections is contained in online and print Finding Aids:

1000-1500: The libraries preserve a core collection of early German and Latin manuscripts of German origin which are noted for their historical provenance and for their illuminations.

1500-1600: The Libraries preserve significant materials from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Incunabula collections include, for example, both the Latin and German editions of Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Chronicarum (1493). Popularly known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, this is one of the most celebrated early histories of the world and is famed for its innovative woodcut illustrations. The libraries have considerable sixteenth century divinity collections which are particularly strong in materials related to Catholic Literature, Martin Luther and the Reformation. Holdings also include sources on the History of Medicine and Facsimiles of German manuscripts.

1600-1800: The collections include substantial numbers of items in:

  • Alchemy;
  • Chemistry & Magic;
  • Art and Illumination;
  • Athanasius Kircher Collection;
  • Bibliography and the History of the Book;
  • Divinity: Lutheranism, Christian Hebraica, Hymnology, New Testament Studies;
  • Emblem books;
  • German Dissertations (uncataloged);
  • History of Medicine for  16th-20th centuries;
  • Illustrated Festival and Funeral Books;
  • The Jantz Collection (one of the largest German literature collections from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in North America);
  • The Jantz Broadside Collection;
  • The Jantz Graphic Arts Collections (print collection);
  • Literary Works (poetry, drama, fiction, utopian literature, literary annuals, age of Goethe, Faust legend and fairy tales, etc.);
  • Philosophy;
  • Renaissance and Humanism;
  • Science and Exploration;
  • Viennese 18th-century Music (Strauss, etc.).

1800-1900: In the nineteenth century the libraries hold broad materials related to the international German experience. The collections include substantial holdings in:

  • German-American Imprints and German-American Family Papers (Particularly strong on German communities of the American South);
  • German-American Newspapers;
  • Viennese Economics (Morgenstern and Menger Papers);
  • Henkel Family Printing;
  • History of Medicine (including UNC's Gottschalk Collection);
  • Literature (literary annuals, Jewish);
  • German-Judaica;
  • Music (general publications and music publishing in Vienna from the late 18th through the 19th centuries and Viennese musical life in the 19th century);
  • British and American Literature in translation (UNC's Dickens and Ticknor & Fields Collections);
  • History of Science and Medicine.

1900-1945: Collections for the beginning 20th century boast large holdings in materials in political and cultural expressions. Collections include:

  • Archeology and the Stuart Maya Collections;
  • Avant-Garde;
  • Beats Collections;
  • Bowman Gray Collection of World Wars I & II Broadsides, Posters, Postcards, and Propaganda (includes all sides of conflict);
  • German Newspapers (Jewish, labor, regional, political);
  • German Speculative and Utopian Fiction;
  • German-American Newspapers;
  • German-Judaica;
  • History of Medicine;
  • J. Walter Thompson Company Advertising Collection (including personal papers);
  • Jewish Culture Collection (literature, Zionism, religion, biography);
  • Literature (Jewish, Stefan George Circle collection, fine printing);
  • Nazi Propaganda Collection;
  • British Propaganda Leaflets in German;
  • Political Posters (German Broadside Collection);
  • Papers & Manuscripts (Jantz Papers; Heschel Papers (1907-1972); Borchardt Papers; Hans Baron Papers; Frederick Herzog Papers; Weinmann Papers, Theodor Wilhelm Papers; William Stern Papers);
  • Peetz Photographs;
  • Political Caricature Serials.

For more information about special collections, visit the David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library.