Research Project

Topography of book printers, book-sellers, publishers, etc. in the Austrian Monarchy (1750-1850). Head of project: Peter R. Frank.

The most ambitious research project being carried under the auspices of the Society for Book Research in Austria is the "Topography of the Book Trade in the Habsburg Monarchy" (initiated by Peter R. Frank, collaborator Johannes Frimmel), which has been supported by a grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) over the past three years.
The project’s survey of the book trade in various cities and regions is structured by a constant pattern of data collection. The time frame is 1750-1850. Ideally, the following data are collected by local experts for each region and language: Location, name of the firm, data on the firm's existence, activities of the firm (publishing, book-selling, book-printing, art and music dealers, book-binding, lithography, lending library, paper mill, type-founding, etc.), biographical data of owners, predecessors, successors to the firms; headquarters, branches, and commission agents as well as further optional details: languages, kinds of products (periodicals, newspapers, almanacs, calendars, series, etc.), special printing types (Hebrew, Cyrillic, and others).
Furthermore, there is an index of sources and archival materials which will facilitate further research, catalogues and bibliographies, as well as the literature on individual firms. The notes provide facts about the firms’ histories, addresses, incidents of censorship and much more. The print version offers general descriptions of significant firms, with references to the firms’ histories and to publishing production.
Thus far a total of approximately 3,000 enterprises located throughout the territory of the Habsburg monarchy have been documented. The survey for Vienna as the most important publishing centre of the Habsburg monarchy has been completed, and the information collected has been stored in the database. Much hitherto unknown information on to the state of publishing and publishers in Vienna has been uncovered during research work in archives and libraries. For the first time, for example, fields of the trade which have aroused little scholarly interest are also a major focus. In the course of the project, information has been systematically collected on things such as book binding, copper plate printing, lithography and type founding.
There is now also basic data on printers, book-sellers and lithographers for the entire Hungarian area including Upper Hungary (today Slovakia), Croatia and Transylvania. The Hungarian paper mills which until now have been known to researchers are also accessible in the database through references to their water-marks. The documentation for Prague, which was the second most important book-trading city of the monarchy from 1750-1850, has now been completed. However, some addenda will be required. The information on enterprises in Brno/Brünn has been entered into the database as well. Most of the material for Galicia is available. Among the Austrian federal states, the complete data on Styria with the important centre of Graz has already been entered into the database. "Buchwesen in Wien 1750-1850", the first volume of the series "Topographie des Buchwesens in der Habsburgermonarchie 1750-1850" ("Topography of the Book Trade in the Habsburg Monarchy 1750-1850") will be published in the Otto Harrassowitz Verlag in Wiesbaden either this year or next.

© 2017 Gesellschaft für Buchforschung in Österreich