Amalthea Signum Publishing House

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Amalthea Signum Publishing House
legal form GmbH
founding 1917
Seat AustriaAustria Vienna
management Katarzyna Lutecka
Branch Book publisher

The Amalthea Signum Verlag is an Austrian book publisher based in Vienna .

Amalthea Verlag was founded in 1917 by Heinrich Studer with headquarters in Vienna, Leipzig and Zurich . The name stands for the Greek mythical figure Amaltheia . Austrian history is considered to be the publishing house's successful domain. Today more than ever, biographies and autobiographies from politics, music and theater are also a focus. On average, Amalthea publishes 30–40 titles per year.



In the summer of 1917, in the middle of World War I , the 28-year-old Swiss lawyer Heinrich Studer founded Amalthea Verlag in Leipzig. Shortly thereafter, he moved the company headquarters to Vienna. On March 5, 1918, according to the decree of the Imperial and Royal Lieutenancy of Lower Austria, he was granted the concession to run a bookstore, limited to the publishing of works of aesthetic literature to the exclusion of an open shop in Vienna. From the beginning, Heinrich Studer published an annual publishing almanac. From that Studer was in addition to the simple issue also a few copies on handmade paper print and in half vellum or full leather binding, Full parchment in half. The last almanac was published in 1957 on the 40th anniversary of the publisher's existence.

Arthur Trebitsch , the poet Benno Geiger , the kuk court actor Harry Walden , Alfred Grünewald , Hermann Bahr , Adalbert Stifter and Franz Theodor Csokor were among the first authors of the publishing house . The publisher specialized in splendid editions and published large-format luxury editions with multicolored color prints, such as Swiss landscapes by Lovis Corinth with five original lithographs that were created in the summer of 1924.

Crisis time

A few weeks after moving from Leipzig to Vienna, the publishing house moved one house further. In August 1921, the publishing house again relocated to the third district of Vienna and finally to Argentinierstrasse in 1928. In July 1922, the sole owner Studer changed the company name from "Amalthea Verlag" to "Amalthea Verlag owner Dr. Heinrich Studer ”. By 1931 the publishing house had 30 employees. In the interwar period, Amalthea Verlag was one of the most productive Austrian publishing companies. As early as autumn 1926, he was able to refer to around 180 works in a total print run of around 700,000 volumes. By 1947 the production had grown to 600 publishing titles.

But the publisher made little profit. The reasons for this crisis of the publishing house, which finally culminated in the settlement in 1932 and Studer resigned his mandate on the board of the association of Austrian book, art and music dealers, was the economic situation, which hit the German-speaking book trade hard overall. Sales of expensive books suffered in particular, and Amalthea Verlag had specialized in luxury editions. The publisher also felt the competition from the so-called popular editions, which is why the Amalthea Verlag had to reduce the prices of its old stocks by 40–60% in order to remain competitive. Studer finally gave up his aversion to popular spending and brought Oskar von Wertheimer's Cleopatra and Max Ronges War and Industrial Espionage onto the market at a price of 3.75 RM each . The previous retail price was RM 13.50 and RM 16.00 respectively. Wertheimer's Cleopatra is one of the publisher's greatest sales successes. First published in 1930, the historical novel was translated into ten languages ​​and had a total print run of over 500,000 copies.


In the first few years of activity, Studer, who, according to his own statement , was pursuing an anti-Marxist cultural policy, changed his original program with mainly fiction by Austrian and Swiss authors and focused on historical works for the upper classes. He designed two series, the Amalthea Library and the Small Amalthea Library. In the Amalthea library, richly illustrated monographs of literary and cultural history by authors such as Hermann Bahr , Benedetto Croce , Richard von Schaukal and the classic Viennese music venues by Karl Kobald have been published. The Small Amalthea Library was a collection of the most important works of art in world literature, provided with pictures and graphics by well-known artists, e.g. B. Anacreontic songs in a selection based on Eduard Mörike with eight original lithographs by Otto Friedrich . In 1923 the publishing house opened another series: Amalthea-Damen-Brevier, which was subtitled “Gemini of Love”.

Music biographies were a focus in the publishing program. The classics included Mozart by Erich Schenk and Beethoven by Karl Kobald. The program soon also included historical novels and rulers' biographies such as the first biography of Empress Elisabeth by Egon Caesar Conte Corti (1938). Autobiographies were another focus of the program. In 1926 the spirit and face of Bolshevism of René Fülöp Miller caused a sensation . Winston S. Churchill published Die Weltkrisis 1916 to 1918 with Amalthea , translated by Count Hans Czernin and C. Zell.

In 1924 the publishing house took over the Wiener Drucke, which dealt with the culture of old Austria and old Vienna, including the Old Vienna Calendar and a Nestroy volume edited by Egon Friedell .

One of Studer's publishing achievements was the German-Italian edition of Dante's Divine Comedy on the 600th anniversary of the poet's death, the price of which in the spring of 1924 was 5 million crowns in the all-parchment edition . In comparison, a novel cost an average of 30,000 crowns. The edition was decorated with book decorations and 60 original watercolors by Franz von Bayros . The luxury edition in semi-parchment was limited to 1100 numbered copies hand-signed by the artist.

The publishing house had considerable income from translation rights until the early 1930s, especially from the USA, which declined significantly as a result of the economic crisis . Eugen Lennhoff's successful title Die Freemaurer appeared in a Spanish and a Czech edition. In 1932 the same author and Oskar Posner published the International Freemasons Lexicon . In August 2000, the publisher issued a new edition of what was probably the most successful Amalthea title, edited by Dieter A. Binder .

Second World War

The publisher published the magazine Belvedere , a monthly for art lovers and collectors, initially edited by Heinrich Studer, and since the 1930s by Alfred Stix , the then director of the Albertina . The magazine was discontinued during World War II .

After the annexation of Austria in March 1938, the Gestapo in Leipzig and Vienna destroyed works by Jewish and monarchist authors as well as titles on Russia. In an air raid on Leipzig on December 4, 1943, the publishing house lost its retention warehouse. The publisher's archive, Studer's private library with over a thousand volumes and his apartment in Vienna fell victim to fire and looting.

In 1940 the company moved to Schwarzenbergplatz. The publishing house stayed at this address until Studer's death in January 1961.

Change of ownership

In October 1962, the company was transferred to the right-wing Munich publisher Herbert Fleissner . In 1966, the headquarters were moved from Schwarzenbergplatz to the nearby Heumarkt opposite the city park. The historical furnishings of today's publishing rooms offer a true-to-original picture of the lifestyle of late historicism . From the stucco and wood paneling to the chandeliers , wallpaper, carpets and furniture, all details correspond to the original furnishings. Satire was added as a new program segment.

Takeover of Signum Verlag

In 2002, Amalthea took over Signum Verlag, which was founded in 1978 in Vienna as the in-house publisher of the Federation of Industrialists and specialized in non-fiction and specialist books for economics and politics, including their series on sales management. Since 2002 the GmbH has been operating as "Amalthea Signum Verlag".

Program focus

Brigitte Sinhuber-Harenberg , who was already responsible for the program and the activities of the Amalthea Verlag from Munich, managed it independently from her return to Vienna from 2005 to 2014. The program has been significantly expanded during this time. Amalthea still has the self-imposed claim to be a specifically Austrian publisher, which is primarily committed to conveying Austrian culture and history to a young audience with continuously publishing authors such as Georg Markus , Brigitte Hamann , Gerhard Tötschinger , Dietmar Grieser , Martina Winkelhofer , Sigrid-Maria Großering . Brigitte Sinhuber-Harenberg places particular emphasis on capturing the memories of important Austrian personalities such as Otto Schenk , Peter Weck , Erni Mangold , Peter Simonischek , Maria Happel , Heinz Marecek , Helmut Zilk , Felix Dvorak , Clemens Unterreiner . The Austrian tradition is also preserved in the cabaret sector with classics such as the books by Karl Farkas , Hugo Wiener , Helmut Qualtinger - since October 2014 these have also been available as comics and graphic novels adapted by Reinhard Trinkler and Christian Qualtinger - and more recently with the bestsellers by Michael Niavarani , Gunkl , Florian Scheuba , Joesi Prokopetz .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Katarzyna Lutecka takes over management from Amalthea. In: September 7, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017 .