Prints in the William A. Speck Collection
A selection of prints and ephemera from the William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana, probably the largest outside of Germany devoted to the poet.
The William A. Speck Collection of Goetheana, probably the largest outside of Germany devoted to the poet, counts among its holdings a large collection of prints. These are divided into three series, Portraits, Views, and Illustrations. The first series contains portraits of people Goethe met or knew as well as many portraits of the poet himself, arranged alphabetically. Views, depicting places Goethe lived or visited, is arranged by country according to national borders of the 1930s. Illustrations, the shortest series, brings together illustrations of Goethe’s poems, plays, and prose. These files were built strictly as subject collections, and material of the most ephemeral character stands side by side with such items as Piranesi’s views of Rome. Goethe’s travels are also documented by a small map collection.
History of the Collection
Much of this material was gathered by a private collector in Berlin, Karl Berg (1851-1922), and was purchased from his widow in 1928.
Some 4,000 prints in 42 regular and oversize boxes and 13 broadside drawers. Currently, only a portion of the William A. Speck Collection is available online.