Philippe Schmid

MA University of Basel



Contact Details

Thesis Title: Collecting and Community in Early Modern Germany
Supervisor: Professor Andrew Pettegree and Dr Graeme Kemp


Research Interests

My dissertation studies book collecting culture from a communal perspective. I focus on urban communities in early modern Germany, looking at collectors from Leipzig, Berlin and Lübeck. Book auctions were introduced in the empire during the second half of the 17th century. Official regulation required booksellers to print catalogues in advance of the auction, giving scholars an invaluable tool of analysis. I will study these catalogues, making use of their data to understand the social and economic conditions of book collecting in early modern cities. The sellers, buyers and regulators of the book market built a tightly-knit social network in these urban communities. This is documented in a lively private correspondence, which allows a window into the lives of many unknown collectors. Local memory culture reveals a more intimate side of bibliophile life, since auctions were often held in the private homes of the heirs of the deceased. The family household was indeed the core unit of book consumption, as my study will argue. However, the Republic of Letters had its own say in the world of books. Scholars wrote guides on how collections should be built, where books could be found and how a library should be structured. These guidelines were slowly changing after the middle of the 18th century, when new public institutions were emerging as keepers of the written legacy, and the Enlightenment introduced new forms of reading texts.


AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship, SGSAH (2018–2021)
School of History Maintenance Scholarship, University of St Andrews (2018–2021)
Maintenance Scholarship, University of St Andrews (2018–2021)
Digital Humanities Fellowship, Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel (2017–2018)
Erasmus Scholarship, Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich (2015–2016)


‘Catalogues in Catalogues: Imitation and Competition in Early Modern Book Collecting’, in G. Kemp, A. Pettegree and A. der Weduwen (eds.), Book Trade Catalogues in Early Modern Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2019), forthcoming.