Jill Bepler

Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel

PhD in German Studies from the University of Bristol, GB. Head of the Fellowship and Conference programmes of the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, an independent research library specialising in medieval and early modern cultural history. Main areas of research and publications: history of aristocratic travel and collecting in 17th century; history of funerary publications; dynastic women’s libraries; the cultural role of the early modern German consort.

Item of Interest
Wrangel’s family Bible was printed in the Lüneburg publishing house in 1635. The title engraving shows scenes of war and peace. At the top is a city in flames out of which a victorious army is leading citizens in chains. The inscription above the city reads “Germania desolata” with the biblical verse: “Let no man rejoice over me, a widow, and forsaken of many, who for the sins of my children am left desolate; because they departed from the law of God.” (Baruch, 4 v.12). The book is bound in black velvet with silver clasps and rich ornaments. Wrangel recorded in it the births of his children in the cities that were the sites of his activities. His last entry is on the death of his wife in Stockholm in March 1673. The Bible left the collection upon the division of Wrangel’s estate, but was recovered for the Skokloster collections “by diligence and careful enquiry” by his grandson, who required in his own entry on the title page that it be kept there in perpetuity.

Wrangel’s family Bible

I am also interested in the reconstruction of aristocratic women’s libraries and the history of their reading practice in the German-speaking territories in the 16th and 17th centuries. In connection with the Skokloster library I would be interested in researching more about the books that belonged to Anna Maria von Haugwitz, Karl Gustav von Wrangel’s wife. This would involved verifying the titles in the inventory of her books listed in Wrangel’s own estate documents and studying her surviving letters.

Contact: bepler@hab.de