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Estate of Egyptologist Adolf Erman Accessible Digitally

The Bremen State and University Library (SuUB) is finalizing a major digitalization project: The estate of the founder of modern Egyptology, Adolf Erman, is significant for the history of science and now accessible digitally free of charge.

The project started many years ago: In 1966, Anna Maria Schaal, the daughter of Adolf Erman (1854 to 1937), handed the collection over to the Bremen State and University Library (SuUB). As part of a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the SuUB has cataloged and indexed the more than 5,000 documents into the Kalliope Union Catalog database. Subsequently, all of the collection was digitalized.

The scientist’s extensive estate reflects how Egyptology transformed from a romantic preoccupation to a modern study of antiquity, which is linked to Erman’s life and work. The collection contains primarily letters and postcards to Adolf Erman written by various authors from all over the world from the fields of science, museums, monument preservation, and administration. The mail covers the period from 1875 to 1937. Occasionally, rubbings – i.e. reproductions of inscriptions by means of mechanical rubbing on paper – or photos are attached to the letters, more often newspaper clippings and business cards. There are also some lecture notes, exercise books, collections of excerpts, and preliminary studies for Erman’s own work. In addition, the collection contains various personal documents, such as certificates of appointments, nominations, and awards.

Further Information:

The SuUB digital collections now contain the estate of Adolf Erman, which is significant for the history of science and accessible digitally free of charge at:  (in German only)


Anke Winsmann
Bremen State and University Library (SuUB)
Public Relations
Email: winsmannprotect me ?!suub.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Old document with handwritten text and seal
Excerpt from a letter by Jean Capart of the Fondation Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth (Brussels) to Adolf Erman.