Finally I got my act together and got up early enough to drag my bonesack into town. Visiting the local Staatsarchiv, filling in some form sheets; wandering down the street and entering the Diözesanarchiv for the same procedure; time to have a cup of chocolate and pay a visit to the Stadtbücherei.
Back in the diocesal archive I was handed a box with the literary remains of a 19th century colleague, he had a nice handwriting. He collected a lot of excerpts from first hand sources regarding the history of the monastery and the village, but for me that would really go too far now. I just had a glance at his unbound diary and at a stack of letters still in original envelopes, stored it all in the box again and gave it back. The scientific archivist in charge – we “know” each other very distantly and I treated him with utmost respect – assured me that there is nothing else to search for: They simply have no stock or portfolio of archivalia from the monastery – all this went to the juridical successor after 1803 and that was in this case (and most often elsewhere) the brand new Bavarian State. So its the Staatsarchiv again.
There I received a nicely written instrument on pergament which told me nothing new: They founded the monastery, yoh! Used a really fat sigillum. Book number 523 also told me nothing new. But number 524 brought a nice surprise: Close to the end, folio 140 seq., the administrator tells about the monastery’s rights regarding sheep – and this piece was never used before in the very small in number secondary literature: The colleagues were too lazy to go through the boring file. I submitted an application for digitalization of the pages in question and next week I’ll get a jpg.file on CD.
Dr. H.-E. is in charge here and she is a very friendly and competent historian and archivist, it is a real pleasure to work with her. When she realizes that one has it together, she thinks even harder and comes up with literature one would not have thought of – and obviously DID not.
She was proud to show me a newly installed system, visitors now can use internal databases directly for research. She did some retrieval and came up with a book I forgot Jeanne wrote and all of a sudden I was back on the evening of the exhibition and after all the “important” speakers and hot air pumps finally had shut up, we stood around and she told me about the difficulties and the printing, less than four years ago ? I realized the alarmed look on Dr. H.-E.’s face, pulled my shit together and explained shortly that I knew the author. Terrible idea to bring her in an embarassing situation. I left, maybe a little rushed.
Perchance I flipped through yesterday’s local newspaper while waiting for my box in the diocesal archive and came upon the notice of Dr. B.’s death. He died on the 20th of February in his 97th year. On the 25th he would have turned 98. I was sure he’d make the hundred. He spent the last months in a home for assisted living (if this is the right translation for betreutes Wohnen), because he had really troubles walking. Since I learned to know him a little closer he could not stand right up, it was simply too late to replace joints. His span of awake alertness over time became smaller, he needed more rests. When he was awake, he was quick and sometimes witty, always the master of his own situation. Independence is the word that would describe him best.
I wunder what the library will do to his collections, what the heirs will do to his unique library. Some years ago I asked him about this situation and he simply saied “It agglomerates, it disaggregates”:
Es ballt sich zusammen, es zerteilt sich: Das gilt für alles.
Tomorow I will visit bat country. Early. Wish me luck.