Monacensia at the Hildebrandhaus
The Monacensia at the Hildebrandhaus is a lively space for literature. Part of the Munich City Library, it is located in sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand’s former villa and includes the literary archives of the city of Munich, as well as a research library focusing on the cultural life of the city. With the complete literary estates of Klaus and Erika Mann, over 800 letters and manuscripts from Thomas Mann, as well as numerous archival documents from Golo, Monika, Michael and Elisabeth Mann, the Monacensia is an internationally renowned research center for all things related to the Mann family.
Thomas Mann spent nearly half of his life in the Bavarian capital. For almost 40 years, the city of Munich played a vital role in his life and work, and from there he wrote the works that established his world renown: the novels Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, and the novella Death in Venice, as well as the first two volumes of the tetralogy, Joseph and his Brothers.
Thomas Mann donated the handwritten manuscript of his first and only drama, Fiorenza (1906) to the newly founded Manuscript Department of the Munich City Library (1924), handing it personally to Hans Ludwig Held, the then City Library Director.
Thanks to a bequest from Golo Mann, the Monacensia acquired his brother Klaus’ literary estate in 1972, and his sister Erika’s literary estate in 1976. Monacensia’s holdings include: valuable personal documents of the time, such as Klaus Mann’s diaries, numerous letters and photographs, important biographical documents and manuscripts. The two estates of Klaus and Erika Mann alone comprise around 90,000 pages. The literary estate of Elisabeth Mann-Borgese followed in 2005, as a bequest from her daughter Dominica Borgese, and in 2006, a partial estate of Michael Mann. The estates of the “Mann Children” were supplemented by omnibus volumes from Monika and Golo Mann.
The Monacensia Today
As the literary memory of the city of Munich, the Monacensia is dedicated to fostering exchange between the past and present. The collection of the literature archive currently comprises around 300 literary estates and omnibus volumes, as well as collections of renowned writers with a close connection to Munich. These include Herbert Achternbusch, Cyrus Atabay, Waldemar Bonsels, Carry Brachvogel, Lena Christ, Gisela Elsner, Therese Giehse, Oskar Maria Graf, Gert Heidenreich, Annette Kolb, Dagmar Nick, Oskar Panizza, Franziska zu Reventlow, Ludwig Thoma, Frank Wedekind and many more. The focus of the literary archive includes: the collection of the Schwabing ‘bohemians’ around 1900, exile, folk art, cabaret and contemporary literature. The Monacensia allows scholars and journalists access to the literary estates for their work, thus enabling new insights into the city, society and the world from the perspective of literature.
A separate open access library is dedicated to literary works by and about the Mann family. It collects selected editions of works, volumes of letters, diaries, biographies and illustrated books, recent secondary literature, annuals, study and monograph series. Sound stations with original sound recordings provide a vibrant impression of Thomas Mann and his family. All translations of Thomas Mann’s works from the Monacensia collection are accessible in two galleries.
Resources and Program
The Monacensia in the Hildebrandhaus presents its collections and research to the public through a carefully curated program. This includes permanent and special exhibitions, publications, guided tours, readings, talks, lectures, conferences and seminars. The time frame for the permanent exhibition, Literary Munich in Thomas Mann’s Day: from Bohemia to Exile, are the years between 1894-1933, when Thomas Mann lived in Munich. Free guided tours of the exhibition are offered regularly. In cooperation with the Museum Education Center, guided tours and workshops are aimed specifically at school classes.
With the project monacensia-digital, the letters, manuscripts and biographical documents of Erika and Klaus Mann, including the diaries of Klaus Mann, as well as Monika Mann’s archive holdings are freely available to the public in digital form without restriction. A total of 52,650 individual pages have been digitized to date. The project was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
Funding and Partners
The Monacensia at the Hildebrandhaus is an institution of the Munich City Library, which is under the authority of the Cultural Department of the City of Munich.
The non-profit association Freunde der Monacensia e.V. supports the projects of the Monacensia conceptually and financially.