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Durham University

University Library

Meissen Collection

  • The largest gathered, German-language collection of theology in Britain, extending to approximately 15,500 titles; the collection of materials is almost exclusively a German-language one: a very small number of titles, relating to German Protestantism, are in other languages (including English).
  • Particular strengths are the theology, history, and practical life of the Protestant Church in Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • The Meissen Library Collection includes many kinds of books that would not normally be available outside Germany (such as sermons and pastoralia), and it provides the potential for some unrivalled insights into the nature of German Christianity at some key moments in its history, for example the Deutsche Christen and the experience of the church under communism.


The Meissen Library Collection is not yet fully catalogued; catalogue records for some of its contents only are available via Durham University's main Library Catalogue.

All items acquired for the Collection since 2014 are available via the main Library Catalogue and earlier items are in the process of being added as well. (A listing of the more than 5,400 items, which are already available via the main Library Catalogue with full catalogue records, is available.)

Meanwhile, please also use the following search box to search for brief details of many other items acquired for, and part of, the Collection prior to 2014:


The Meissen Library Collection is housed on level 1 of the Bill Bryson Library. Please ask at the Help and Information Point if you require directions or assistance.


The Collection is available for consultation during University Library opening hours. Non-members of the University should call at the Bill Bryson Library reception point during staffed hours and bring photographic ID. If you need further information please email us or phone the Library on 0191 334 3042.

Further Information

  • The Meissen Library Collection has its origin in the gift of the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (EKD), the German Protestant Church, to the Church of England, consequent on the 1991 Meissen agreement between the two churches. German Protestant studies.
  • Previously part of Durham Cathedral Library, and housed in rooms in the Cathedral precinct, the Collection was transferred in November 2012 to Durham University's Bill Bryson Library, where it is being catalogued and to which new and antiquarian acquisitions and donations are being added.
  • To suggest further acquisitions of new book titles for the Meissen Library Collection, please contact Christine Purcell at Durham University Library, with details of any items you would like to propose.
  • A discursive account of the nature and importance of the Meissen Library Collection is provided in: Ulrich Lincoln, 'Books, People, and Theology: German Protestantism Finding a Home in England', German Studies Library Group Newsletter, 47 (Winter 2015), 7-13.