Archive of the University of Vienna

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Exterior view of the archive of the University of Vienna in 2008 after the renovation of the building

The university archive of the University of Vienna is responsible for the preservation, indexing and provision of the historical tradition of the university and the university history collections for the purposes of university administration, academic research and teaching as well as for the perception of legitimate personal interests.


A publica libraria was also provided for in the letter of 12 March 1365 . This was subsequently greatly increased by numerous legacies and became the basis of the old Libreye . The parchment signed by Duke Rudolf IV and his brothers on March 12, 1365 was never overridden.
Permanent collection of the archive of the University of Vienna (former refectory of the Jesuits)

In 1388 the first Archa universitatis was acquired.

The rectors deposited the university's legal documents and seals in this iron-reinforced archive chest. In modern times, professors from the theological and legal faculties were entrusted with the office of university archivist.

The oldest comprehensive inventory and finding aid dates from 1708. With Karl Schrauf, the first full-time professional archivist and historian was hired in 1875, who brought together the historical holdings of the various bodies and made them accessible to research.

The university archive, including the official library (formerly the rector's library) and the permanent collection (“university museum”), has become a service and research center for university and scientific history.

Today the archive is part of the library and archive service facility of the University of Vienna.

Since January 1, 1997, the headquarters of the Austrian Society for the History of Science have been located in the university archive .

The “Old University” location in Postgasse

In 1384 the University of Vienna moved into its first own building, the Collegium ducale in the old university quarter by the Stubentor . At the southeast corner of this college - in the Postgasse 9 area - was the St. Benedict's Chapel, where the most important documents and files were kept in an archive chest in the early days of studying in Vienna. In 1628 the university administration was relocated to Sonnenfelsgasse 19. From here they finally moved in 1884 to the new university palace Heinrich von Ferstels am Ring, where the university archive in the corridor to the auditorium was to be located for a maximum of almost a hundred years.

On the 600th birthday of the Alma Mater (1965), however, the then Minister of Education promised to rededicate the university to its old headquarters.

Since 1980 the archive of the University of Vienna has been located in the wing of the Old University that housed the Vienna University Library until 1884. The building complex was built as an academic college in the course of the 17th century by the Jesuits , who dominated the teaching of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty from 1623 to 1773.

The medieval previous building, the Herzogskolleg , had served as the seat of the Alma Mater Rudolphina since 1384 . The aforementioned chapel , dedicated to St. Benedict , in which the archives of the medieval university were kept, was also located here.

Archival material

Register of the University of Vienna, 1377ff. Today's oldest, permanent university in the German-speaking area enjoyed a great boom soon after it was established. In the 15th century it had the highest number of students in the Roman-German Empire.
Insignia for the poet's crown of the Collegium poetarum

The letter of foundation of the University of Vienna dated March 12, 1365 with the signature of Duke Rudolf IV and his brothers, the corresponding papal confirmation bulls since Pope Urban V and the confirmation documents issued by the subsequent rulers, which document the scope of the university privileges, the statutes of the The entire university, the faculties and academic nations as well as numerous pen letters from medieval bursa (student houses) and scholarships form the heart of the old holdings. In addition to these documents, which are important for legal security, status and economic fundamentals, the numerous matriculation volumes (1377 ff.) Form one of the main historical sources for the personnel history of Viennese studies from the Middle Ages to the end of the monarchy.

Students and lecturers are recorded here by name alike. Together with the inscription sheets (Nationale) that extended up to 1968, the archive has a complete “student record” of all faculties for a period of more than 600 years. It provides the basis for personal and social history studies and in particular for the central topic of international academic migration.

Since the Middle Ages, the rectors, the deans and the procurators of the Academic Nations have kept records and files that include: a. Provide information about the resolutions of the committees, the courses, the examination and graduation system, the economic issues of the university, the reforms of the university organization and the study system. The University of Vienna has a largely closed tradition from the 14th to the end of the 20th century. The extensive doctorate, habilitation and appointment files of all faculties are used particularly frequently. But the holdings of the 20th century also offer a wealth of material for contemporary historical research, which, with the exception of the files of the Law Faculty, which were partially burned in 1945, is largely available without loss. Many diploma theses and dissertations are based on it, but also more extensive research projects, such as the Senate project Studies on Anatomical Science in Vienna 1938–1945 or the collective publication Willing Science .

In addition to the historical files of the university institutions, the archive looks after numerous collections that supplement the official records. In addition to the approximately 100,000 volumes of the science and university history library, which emerged from the former rectorate library and several legacies, this includes 80 professorial bequests, collections of certificates, autographs, pictures, paintings, medals , microfilms (security filming), seals and seals (stamp ), Plans etc. The exhibits of the former Vienna University Museum have also been incorporated into the archive.

In the baroque hall of the archive - the former refectory of the Jesuit College - numerous valuable objects are presented as part of the permanent collection on the history of the University of Vienna, including the papal and princely letters of the University of Vienna from 1365, the so-called Celtis box, an artistically painted wooden shrine for the safekeeping of the Coronation insignia for the coronation of poets (1508), the oldest Viennese rector's scepter (1558), Anton Bruckner's university act including the dedication copy of the First Symphony (1891), mass models of university buildings, weapons and drums from academic bids (1683, 1848), figurines and historical university costumes other.


With publications, lectures and exhibitions, the archive takes an active part in the work of the university and the history of science and supports relevant research projects. A reading room and specialist advice service is provided for archive users, and written information is also provided.

Former and current academic staff (selection)


  • Thomas Maisel: old registry, service or research facility? The expansion of the archive of the University of Vienna into the “central archive” of the Alma Mater Rudolphina. In: Communications from the Austrian Society for the History of Science 30 (2013) pp. 13–33.
  • Kurt Mühlberger : Scientific institutions and their archives in Austria. Role, tasks and perspectives. In: Contributions to the history and development of the Central European university archives. Ed. László Szögi (Budapest 2000) 19–32
  • Kurt Mühlberger (Ed.): Archive practice and historical research. Central European university and college archives. History, inventory, problems and research opportunities (= series of publications of the University Archives, University of Vienna ; 6). Vienna 1992.
  • Kurt Mühlberger, Marija Wakounig: From the consistorial archive to the central archive of the University of Vienna. The reorganization and expansion of the archives of the University of Vienna in the 19th century under the influence of Theodor von Sickel. In: Scrinium 35 (1986) 190-213.
  • Paul Uiblein: Medieval studies at the Vienna Artist Faculty. Commentary on the Acta Facultatis Artium universitatis Vindobonensis 1385–1416 (= series of publications of the University Archives , University of Vienna ; 4). 2nd edition, Vienna 1995.

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Coordinates: 48 ° 12 '34 "  N , 16 ° 22' 44"  E