Recognised as an area of excellence since the library's foundation, regional documentation (Alsace-related material) occupies an important position; acquisitions in this field have always been systematic, and the BNU still aims to achieve fully comprehensive coverage of printed and audiovisual material closely or more loosely related to the region.
Originally, acquisitions had the two-fold aim of reconstituting the collections destroyed during the 1870 Franco-Prussian war and ensuring the collection of ordinary documentation. It was the 28 000 items in the library of the Strasbourg printer and bookseller Frédéric-Charles Heitz, acquired by the 'Alsace and Lorrain section', that constituted the core of the BNU's regional collection. The statutory deposit of publications printed in Alsace and the Moselle département and a substantial budget for acquisitions increased the number of monographs and periodicals in the regional collection to about 50 000 in 1918. Once Alsace was returned to France after the war, regional documentation continued to be gathered with the same intention of comprehensiveness for the Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin départements.
The collections of Alsace-related material include more particularly a number of individual collections, often the result of donations, such as the archives of the De Turckheim family, Albert Schweitzer's library, manuscripts and correspondence of Alsatian writers such as Emile Erckmann, Nathan Katz, and - among contemporary writers - Claude Vigée. Note should also be made of a collection art books, the deposit by the society of writers in Alsace and Lorraine (Société des Ecrivains d'Alsace et de Lorraine) of its members' publications, and a particularly large collection of press titles. Many of these items are fragile, and there have been a number of microfilming campaigns to conserve more than 1 000 titles permanently and to allow readers to consult them.
The regional collection currently contains about 130 000 monographs, 2 500 titles of active periodicals, and 35 000 engravings (some of which may be consulted in the BNU's digital library). Acquisitions also include multimedia documents about Alsace, maps and plans. The statutory deposit of documents printed in Alsace also makes it possible to include in the collection a number of specialised documents such as posters; postcards, leaflets, etc, most of which are of regional interest.
One of the BNU's vital contributions to the enhancement of the collection of Alsace-related material and to research on Alsace consists of adding to the Alsace Bibliography (Bibliographie Alsacienne), a bibliographical publication that dates back to 1918, and managed successively by the Faculty of Letters (until 1936), the Archives of the Bas-Rhin département (until 1964), and the BNU since 1965; its main value lies in the fact that it flags articles that would otherwise be invisible to researchers. It is based on the listing of the contents of about 400 titles of periodicals and on an exchange network that promote its aim of comprehensiveness. The Alsace Bibliography from 1983 to date can be searched online.
Regional documentation also benefits from heritage acquisitions, personal collections, and iconographic collections.
Discover the portal of Alsatica (Portal of knowledge in Alsace)
tel.: +33 (0)3 88 25 28 44
Alsatian library of the Crédit Mutuel bank [in French]
Humanist Library in Sélestat [in French]
Colmar municipal library
Mulhouse municipal library [also in English]
Archives of the 'Wissenschaftliches Institut der Elsass-Lothringer im Reich' [parent site also in English]
Erwin-von-Steinbach Stiftung e. V. [parent site also in English]
Institut d'Histoire d'Alsace de l'Université de Strasbourg [in French]
Literaturarchiv Saar-Lor-Lux-Elsass [in German]
Société des Ecrivains d'Alsace-Lorraine [in French]
Portals and projects
Portal of knowledge in Alsace 'Alsatica' [in French]
Online historical atlas of Alsace [in French]