Collection Description

Although our holdings are fully digitised, not all collections and postcards are freely accessible on the internet – partly for legal reasons, but also because they have not yet been catalogued. To offer you an overview of our collection, we present our holdings below:

Collection Prof. Dr. Sabine Giesbrecht

Smaller collections

  • – Collection Heinz Andrejewski
  • – Collection Prof. Dr. Johannes Kohstall
  • – World War album Marie R.
  • – World War album Gretchen G.
  • – Collection Gisela Hassmann-Kube – Gustav Eichler
  • – Collection Anon. 1
  • – Separate volumes of the Giesbrecht Collection
  • – Special collections (parts of various collections)
  • – Sculptor Carl von Mering’s postcard correspondence

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Collection Prof. Dr. Sabine Giesbrecht

Status: fully digitised, partially indexed, more detailed processing ongoing, freely accessible online except for items posing possible legal problems

Collection focal points: music-related images (song postcards, portraits and images of musicians, musical instruments, venues, dance, music in social context, etc.), propaganda, advertising, gender, local history of Osnabrück 

Time range: from the 1890s to about 1945

Size: approx. 19.000 postcards (as of 25th August 2020)

Collection not completed [alternativ: Collection is still open to donations]

Original order: Own system of shelfmarks (recorded in the database as “old shelfmarks”)

In the course of the redesign of the database IDs: os_ub_0000001 to os_ub_0016469 were assigned for the postcard stock available up to that point in the order of the original category system. Postcards added at a later date are recorded upon receipt.

Collection history: Dr. Sabine Giesbrecht, Professor of music history at the University of Osnabrück, began her collection around 1980 with the search for historical illustrations for a textbook project. The collection quickly grew beyond this project and numerous scholarly publications followed, each of which added new aspects to the collection. At first most of the postcards were acquired at flea markets and antique shops. Now the collector buys almost all postcards from online dealers. The collection has also been extended through donations from numerous people (see list of donors). From 2001 onwards, the collection was continuously digitised and put on the internet in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Bernd Enders and the Centre for Digital Teaching at the University of Osnabrück (virtUOS). In 2010 Giesbrecht donated her collection to the University Foundation of Osnabrück. Since then it has been kept in the University of Osnabrück’s library. 

Thanks to a funding initiative by the Sievert Foundation for Science and Culture from 2015 to 2018, the old database was replaced by a new system and greatly expanded. The old scans were replaced by new, high resolution and double-sided reproductions. Currently (2020 to 2022) the Giesbrecht Collection is being indexed in detail and researched by a project funded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of the State of Lower Saxony. 

Literature on the collection: Giesbrecht, Sabine: The Digital Picture Postcard Archive of the University of Osnabrück. Music and Society from the Imperial Period to the End of World War II, in: Arbeitskreis Bild Druck Papier. Conference proceedings Dresden 2005, ed. by Christa Pieske et al., Münster et al., 2006, pp. 156-161.

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Smaller collections

Heinz Andrejewski Collection 

Status: fully digitised, fully indexed, freely accessible online 

Collection focal points: portrait or autograph postcards of musicians and artists, correspondence with musicians, topographic postcards

Time range: from the 1910s to about 1945, one postcard from the 1970s

Size: 150 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: not reconstructable, the categories of the collection and the order of the postcards were determined by Dietrich Helms based on the order in which the collection was received. 

IDs: os_ub_0019699 to os_ub_0019848 

Collection history: The postcards were collected by the travelling musician Robert Heinrich (Heinz) Andrejewski (born in Bernburg 09.02.1889, died in Leipzig 23.08.1966) from the 1910s until the 1970s. Several postcards depict Andrejewski and the ensembles in which he worked, others mainly colleagues he met during his career. Holes made by pins in some postcards show that they also served as wall decoration. Some of the postcards described were used to arrange engagements. The collection was donated to the archive in 2019 by the musician’s granddaughter, Petra Andrejewski (Moritzburg). 

Literature on the collection: Talea Hurtig-Scharf: Heinz Andrejewski – Everyday Life of a Travelling Musician, Osnabrück, unpublished. Master thesis 2021.

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Collection Prof. Dr. Johannes Kohstall 

Status: completely digitised, only a small part of the material is indexed, not freely accessible online 

Main focus of the collection: topographic postcards, World War I, artist postcards, motif postcards

Time range: from the 1910s to the 1970s

Size: 540 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: The collection is in four albums and a tear-off booklet. The original order in which the collection was donated has been preserved. 

IDs: os_ub_0017082 to os_ub_0017609 and os_ub_0018080 to os_ub_0018091

Collection history: The collection was compiled by various (probably mainly female) members of the Kohstall family from Lower Saxony and mainly comprises their own correspondence. 

Album 1 (os_ub_0017082 to os_ub_0017186): topographic postcards, a small number of artist and motif postcards, mainly from England (London) and the Netherlands, but also Italy, France and Germany, mostly from the 1920s, mostly blank.

Album 2 (os_ub_0017274 to os_ub_0017517): Collection of Theresia (Teta) Kohstall, née Lohmann, from 1910 up to the 1940s, some postcards, photos and newspaper cuttings up to about 1945 loosely attached, mostly inscribed, motif postcards, artist postcards, topographical postcards, handwritten category “war year 1914” (p. 31).

Album 3 (os_ub_0017518 to os_ub_0017534): probably collection of Maria Kohstall (teacher in Hamburg), from 1919 to 1923, mostly inscribed, artist’s postcards.

Album 4 (os_ub_0017535 to os_ub_0017609): collection of Sophie-Marie Kohstall, from 1970 to 1980, mostly inscribed, topographical postcards mainly of exotic places.

Album 5 (os_ub_0018080 to os_ub_018091): Booklet with 12 blank postcards of the French city of Lille, 1910s or early 1920s.

The collection was donated to the archive by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Johannes Kohstall in two tranches in 2017 and 2018. 

Literature on the collection:

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World War album Marie R.

Status: completely digitised, not indexed, not freely accessible online 

Collection focal points: First World War and post-war period, topographic postcards and private photographs

Time range: 1916 to 1920, 1954

Size: 76 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: The collection is in an album. The original order in which the collection was donated has been preserved.

IDs: os_ub_0018100 to os_ub_0018175

Collection history: The collection consists mainly of postcards that Marie R. received from her husband during the First World War. It consists mainly of private photographs of her husband, which were mounted on postcard cardboard. Further postcards of the home front and the referendum on the membership of Schleswig 1920. The collection was acquired by Prof. Dr. Dietrich Helms at an antique fair in Düsseldorf in 2017 and donated to the archive. 

Literature on the collection:

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World War album Gretchen Gröttrup

Status: completely digitised, not indexed, not freely accessible online

Collection focal points: First World War, private photos

Time range: approx. 1914-1918

Size: 69 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: The collection is in an album. The original order in which the collection was donated has been preserved.

IDs: os_ub_0018176 to os_ub_0018244

Collection history: The collection consists of postcards that the merchant’s daughter Gretchen Gröttrup (Leer, East Frisia) compiled as a girl during the First World War. It is a mixture of photograph and postcard album and consists mainly of personal photographs, which were either printed on postcard cardboard or cut out by the collector and pasted onto blank cards and Gröttrup textile trade business cards. Gretchen Gröttup married Ernst Wiemer and together they continued to run her parents’ textile business in Leer in the Mühlenstraße. The album is from the estate of her son Arnold Wiemer (born 1922, died ?). After the death of his wife Hanna Wiemer, née Leding (born 1930 in Groothusen / Krummhörn, died ?1916), it was donated to the archive in 2016 by their son Dr. Ernst Wiemer, Leer. 

Literature on the collection:

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Collection Gisela Hassmann-Kube – Gustav Eichler

Status: completely digitised, not indexed, not freely accessible online

Main focus of the collection: mixed topographic postcards, artist postcards, motif postcards

Time range: 1900 to the late 1960s

Size: 141 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: donated to the archive in no particular order.

IDs: os_ub_0017052 to os_ub_0017081, os_ub_0019214 to os_ub_0019316, os_ub_0020702 to os_ub_0020710 

Collection history: Collection of postcards from the family of Gustav Eichler (teacher) and especially from his daughter Gisela Hassmann-Kube (teacher in Freiburg) from her childhood and youth. The collection, which was donated to the archive in several instalments in 2017, 2018 and 2020 by Mrs. Hassmann-Kube, also includes a coloured picture postcard from Egypt dating back to 1900. 

Literature on the collection:

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Collection Anon. 1 (Anonymus/Anonyma 1)

Status: completely digitised, not indexed, not freely accessible online

Main focus of the collection: mainly topographic postcards, artist postcards, motif postcards

Time range: mainly the first two decades of the 20th century

Size: 534 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: The box containing the collection was sifted through several times before it was given to the archive. The current order reflects the order in which we received the postcards when they were donated.

IDs: os_ub_0018245 to os_ub_0018778

Collection history: The collection was donated to Prof. Dr. Sabine Giesbrecht by a person who wishes to remain unnamed. According to Mrs. Giesbrecht, the collection was found in a cardboard box in the household waste. Mrs. Giesbrecht took some postcards which could not be identified so far for her own collection. The original extent of the collection is no longer retraceable. The collection contains postcards from many European countries, mainly to Hungarian addressees. As the addressees are very different, it is presumably not an exchange of correspondence, but a specifically intended collection, probably started in Hungary. The latest postcards (from the 1970s) are two views of Osnabrück Castle. Other, older postcards, e.g. from the Osnabrück area, suggest that the collection was continued at a location in or around Osnabrück. 

Literature on the collection:

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Selected items of the Giesbrecht Collection

Status: completely digitised, not indexed, not freely accessible online

Main focus of the collection: topographic postcards, First World War, still life, landscapes, erotica

Time range: mainly before 1930

Size: 467 postcards 

Collection completed

Original order: The subcategories reflect the different envelopes in which the postcards were donated to the archive. The names are taken from the archives. We have named the bundles as follows: 

– Correspondence Heeger, Brückner, Heisler, Küster and Hiermann (24 postcards, os_ub_0018779 to os_ub_0018802)

– Landscape series (48 postcards, os_ub_0018803 to os_ub_0018850)

– World War, persons (82 postcards, os_ub_0018851 to os_ub_0018932)

– World War, field post (dated and inscribed) (63 postcards, os_ub_0018933 to os_ub_0018995)

– Landscapes, still life (52 postcards, os_ub_0018996 to os_ub_0019047)

– Correspondence Mering and Eberhardt (46 postcards, os_ub_0019048 to os_ub_0019093)

– Town views before 1914 (77 postcards, os_ub_0019094 to os_ub_0019170)

– Various blank postcards (43 postcards, os_ub_0019171 to os_ub_0019213)

– Correspondence Röthig (32 postcards, os_ub_0017610 to os_ub_0017641)

IDs: os_ub_0018779 to os_ub_0019213 and os_ub_0017610 to os_ub_0017641

Collection history: In this category you will find postcards from smaller collections which were handed to Mrs. Giesbrecht as gifts at various times. Mrs. Giesbrecht has included a selection from these gifts in her collection. Which postcards these are can be reconstructed in part by the names of the donors or bequeathers. The postcards deposited here were not included in the collection because they did not meet the criteria (the time frame up to 1945 or the main focus of the collection). Nevertheless, some of the postcards contain very interesting motifs, so that we decided to digitise them also. The postcards from the correspondence of the Rhenish sculptor Mering (see special collections) are of particular historico-cultural interest.

Literature on the collection:

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Special Collections

Postcard correspondence of the sculptor Carl von Mering

Status: fully digitised, not indexed, not freely accessible online, not fully researched

Main focus of the collection: topographic postcards, artist postcards, motif postcards

Time range: mainly the beginning of the 20th century

Size: approx. 100 postcards (exact size not yet researched)

Collection completed

Original order: No longer reconstructable. See collection history

IDs: various unrelated IDs within the Giesbrecht Collection, outside in the separate lots os_ub_0019048 to os_ub_0019093, probably there are more postcards from this collection in other separate lots. 

Collection history: These are postcards from the correspondence of the artist and sculptor Carl von Mering and his wife Clara, née Eberhardt.  

Many postcards date from the time before their marriage. 

The postcards are not listed here as an independent collection, as they are now scattered across various collections. Carl von Mering‘s granddaughter, Christa Lippold, gave the postcards from the Merings‘ correspondence to Prof. Giesbrecht. She took numerous postcards and arranged them in different categories of her collection. The remaining postcards were handed over to the archive in 2018, together with other selected items. Only during the re-digitisation did the connections become apparent. Thanks to the new cataloguing, the postcards can now, to a large extent, be brought together again by searching for the name of the donor, Christa Lippold. However, a review of the remaining selected collections revealed that there are still postcards from this context that do not bear the donor’s name. A future project must provide clarity here. 

Literature on the collection

Christa Lippold: My Grandfather Carl von Mering. http://von-mering.de/index.php/vorfahren/308-mein-grossvater-carl-von-mering (Version of 16 July 2017)

Wikipedia article “Carl von Mering”, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Mering