Wilhelmine of Prussia, Margravine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Wilhelmine of Prussia (1709-1748), Margravine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, was the eldest sister of King Frederick II of Prussia. Highly cultivated and deeply interested in the sciences, she formed a small book collection in her Berlin years. In Bayreuth, she continued to collect books from at least 1737. When the Baruthian “Landesuniversität” was founded in Erlangen, she bequeathed in her will her private library to the newly established university. In 1749, in the year following her death, the collection was brought to Erlangen.
The catalogue lists 4,226 volumes, almost all in French. It is mainly historical literature, with a strong focus on ancient and early modern history. There are hardly any books on the middle ages. The majority of the volumes are historical sources, biographies, or memoirs. Apart from most of the Greek and Roman classics in French translation and French belles lettres from the Renaissance era up to Wilhemine′s own lifetime, the collection comprises theological and philosophical works, in particular philosophy of religion and church history. Only very few books deal with science or medicine. As for geography, there is only travel writing, remarkably without a single book on Franconia. Only a few bibles and a book on the architecture of castles are in German.
Most of the volumes are bound in brown calf with the gilt-stamped supra libros of the Princess – her initials FSW (Friederike Sophie Wilhelmine) below the Prussian royal crown.