Files, maps, plans, documents, books and much more on the history of Brandenburg-Prussia are stored in the Prussian Secret State Archives. The archival records are divided into various holdings, bequests and collections. Books are located primarily in the service library. In order to facilitate your search of the archive’s holdings, this page provides information on databases and other sources that can be used to find archival and library materials.
The archive database is an important tool for finding archival records. Every search should therefore begin with a look in the archive database. A word of advice: Many archival records are not yet listed in the archive database, so be sure to search with the other finding aids available in the research room of the Prussian Secret State Archives.
The archive database provides an overview of all holdings of the Prussian Secret State Archives. It provides information on the time period and scope, as well as the type and number of finding aids available for each collection.
For some of the collections, there are also online catalogs that list the archival records they contain. The finding aids for other collections can currently only be consulted in the research rooms of the Prussian Secret State Archives. more (German content)
Digitized Archival Records
View archival records at home? The Prussian Secret State Archives is in the process of digitizing its holdings and makes more archival material available for viewing online each year. We are committed to meeting the changing requirements and possibilities of a digital knowledge society.
The Prussian Secret State Archives began digitizing selected holdings, bequests and collections in 2012 to make them available online. In addition to the archive database, the archive’s digital research room will also include digitized copies of archival records for online viewing that were once only accessible on site in the archive. That means, our digital research room is not just for finding relevant archival records but now offers a selection of digitized records for online viewing, as well. The digitization of archival materials for the digital research room will be ongoing in the coming years. Digital reproductions made available by the Prussian Secret State Archives belong to the public domain, unless otherwise indicated. more (German content)
For Additional Information:
The service library of the Prussian Secret State Archives is a specialized scientific library with approximately 185,000 volumes in its stacks. It holds 180 current periodicals. In addition, there is a reference library of 4000 volumes in the research reading room, organized according to the Regensburg Union Classification (RVK).
The scope of the service library collection includes the history of Brandenburg-Prussia, its predecessor states, territorial parts and provinces, as well as the auxiliary sciences of history. The library is one of the best stocked libraries on the subject of Prussian history. In addition to important publications of recent research, the library holdings include historical Berlin newspapers, address books, state calendars, gray literature (publications published outside the book trade), school programs, biographical documents (funeral sermons, wedding songs of the 16th to 18th centuries), first prints of the Königsberg Offizin and other rarities.
The service library's online catalog identifies printed materials that are incorporated into the archival collections. The printed materials were integrated in the context of the administrative activities of the respective authorities.
Books from the service library can be requested and viewed in the research rooms of the Prussian Secret State Archives. more (German content)
From nobility to forced labor, some topics remain highly relevant to society across centuries. For research on many such topics, sources are available in the Prussian Secret State Archives – for others, there are not. Arranged by topics and keywords, you will find references to relevant holdings, bequests and collections, as well as suggestions for avenues of research and links to other institutions.
The territory of Brandenburg-Prussia underwent major changes between the 12th and 20th centuries – with lasting effects for today's archival research. In addition to the holdings of the Prussian Secret State Archives, those of other state archives must also be consulted, as a rule. The geographical index will tell you which holdings and archives to consult in each individual case. The historical atlas helps you to trace the territorial changes of Brandenburg-Prussia.
Reference to Indices:
Literature on the Holdings
Numerous publications on the holdings, bequests and collections of the Prussian Secret State Archives facilitate research in its archival materials. They provide information about history, internal structure and avenues of research. Insofar, they are indispensable for an in-depth study of the archive’s holdings – not only for archival staff, but for researchers, as well.
A number of works on the holdings, bequests and collections of the Prussian Secret State Archives have resulted from research and cataloging activities of the archive, as well as from many years of maintaining its holdings. Some of these publications concern individual holdings or groups of holdings, while others focus on specific topics.
The bibliographical references to the holdings of the Prussian Secret State Archives are arranged according to key departments and systematic groups. The overviews of the holdings of the Prussian Secret State Archives, which can be found under the rubric "Prussian Secret State Archives in General", are particularly important. They are the basis for the overview in the archive database. The structure of our holdings has changed considerably over the decades (and centuries) – just how much can be seen in the overviews. Even document locations in the older literature can usually be identified using the holdings overviews. more (German content)