Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen

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Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen
- StiASG -

Stiftsarchiv (armory wing)
Stiftsarchiv (armory wing)
Archive type Church archive
Coordinates 47 ° 25 '26.6 "  N , 9 ° 22' 40.1"  O Coordinates: 47 ° 25 '26.6 "  N , 9 ° 22' 40.1"  E ; CH1903:  746307  /  254391
place St. Gallen
Visitor address Government building
Klosterhof 1
9001 St.Gallen
founding approx. 770
ISIL CH-000233-X
carrier Canton of St. Gallen / Part of the Catholic denomination of the Canton of St. Gallen
Website Stiftsarchiv

The St. Gallen Abbey Archive is the archive of the former prince abbey of St. Gallen and contains the secular and ecclesiastical legal documents and administrative files of the St. Gallen Abbey from around 720 until its abolition in 1805 . The archive and is now the joint property of the canton and the Catholic denomination, in total it contains around 20,000 original documents, over 2,500 handwritten books and countless files, as well as maps and plans and a collection of seals. Of these, over 700 traditional parchment documents ( deeds of gift) as well as almost 100 Carolingian (around two thirds of the Carolingian documents existing today) and Ottonian ruler's diplomas come from before the year 1000.

Archives holdings

Based on the notes on the back of the documents (so-called dorsal notes) made by the first tangible monastery archivist Waldo , it can be assumed that the archive has existed uninterruptedly since at least the 770s. Only a very few, such as that of the Milan State Archives, can be compared with this early collection, which is unique north of the Alps . For the period of the first millennium AD with few sources, these documents are important for the area of ​​today's cantons of St. Gallen , both Appenzell , Thurgau , Schaffhausen , Zurich , Aargau , both Basel, Bern , for Alsace , for southern Germany ( Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria ) and for Vorarlberg . The archive holdings include a total of over 1000 first mentions of cities, villages and hamlets in these areas.

Up until the French Revolution , the monastery archives contained the most important part of historical sources and testimonies for large areas of what is now the canton of St. Gallen and some neighboring regions. For this period it largely fulfills the function of a state archive. The Abbey Library, on the other hand, is spatially, legally and administratively separate from the archive, as it was in the monastery period, and houses the collection of theological, scientific and literary manuscripts of the St. Gallen Abbey , which goes back just as far .

The second main holdings of the monastery archive are the archives of the Pfäfers Abbey (founded around 750), which was closed in 1838, including its library, which was decimated by a fire in the 17th century and still has around 40 manuscripts, some of which are early medieval. The holdings of the St. Wiborada women's monastery in St. Georgen (abolished in 1834), which is dependent on St. Gallen, can be found alongside the holdings of the St. Johann im Thurtal monastery (incorporated into the St. Gallen abbey in 1555).

The most important codices are: in the St. Gallen archive the fraternization book and the profession book from the 9th century; in the Pfäfers archive the Carolingian “Liber Viventium” (Book of the Living), the “Liber Aureus” (Golden Book) and a richly illuminated copy book (“Vidimus Heider”) made under Abbot Johannes Heider in 1590.

Among the newer holdings of the St. Gallen Archives are the diaries and accounts of the prince abbots, which range from Abbot Bernhard Müller (Abbot 1594–1630) to Abbot Beda Angehrn (Abbot 1767–1796). They represent first-class sources for all possible areas of history, especially for art history. The estate of the last St. Gallen abbot Pankraz Vorster (abbot 1796–1805, died 1829), with his diary and an extensive collection of letters and files, is also in the monastery archive as a deposit of the Catholic administration.

The tradition of such a rich inventory is due solely to the fact that it has been carefully kept uninterrupted through the centuries of the abbey's history, today in a fire and burglar-proof, favorable room climatic conditions (avoidance of moisture) offering cultural property protection space.


Exhibition hall of the monastery archive

The archive is located in the north wing (armory wing ) of the government building in the monastery district. The archive also has an exhibition hall for changing exhibitions and a permanent exhibition.


The most important tasks of the monastery archive are the indexing and provision of its documents for historical research as well as answering scientific inquiries. Temporary exhibitions and publications will try to introduce other interested groups to the historical sources of St. Gallen history.

The monastery archive is jointly carried by the legal successors of the St. Gallen monastery, the canton and the Catholic denomination. The archive is subordinate to the Department of the Interior as an independent office.

The archive holds seminars for universities or guided tours for a broader group of interested parties on registration. Especially groups from localities that are first mentioned in the monastery archive are frequent guests. The archive publishes the Edition Chartularium Sangallense .

The archives in the reading room are open to experts and laypeople for research purposes. The archivists advise the archive users within a reasonable amount of time and provide them with the relevant archive material for study . Advice and use of the archive are free, but the research work is to be carried out by the user himself.

The documents in the Abbey Archives and in the Abbey Library in St. Gallen were declared World Document Heritage in 2017 . The north wing is part of the St. Gallen World Heritage Site .

Collegiate archivists


  • Albert Bruckner : The beginnings of the St. Gallen monastery archive. In: Festschrift Binz, Basel 1935, pp. 119–31.
  • Johannes Häne: Inventory of the St. Gallen Abbey Archives . In: Inventories of the Swiss Archives, Bern 1898.
  • Franz Perret : On the distinguished importance of the St.Gallen Abbey Archives 1200 years ago. In: Gallusstadt 1971, St. Gallen 1971, pp. 81-99. ( Available online )
  • Rafael Wagner: Armarium Sangallense. The St. Gallen monastery archive and its treasures. In: Traverse 21/1, 2016, pp. 123–132. ( Available online )
  • Werner Vogler : The Stiftsarchiv St. Gallen. A focal point of occidental tradition. In: Librarium. Journal of the Swiss Bibliophile Society / Revue de la Société Suisse des Bibliophiles 31/2, 1988, pp. 97-105. ( Available online )
  • Werner Vogler: The estate of the last St.Gallen abbot as a deposit in the St.Gallen monastery archive. In: Communications from the Association of Swiss Archivists 34, 1982, pp. 17-20. ( Available online )
  • Werner Vogler: The St. Gallen Abbey District. World cultural asset and focus of occidental tradition . In: Gallusstadt 1991, St. Gallen 1991, pp. 65-80. ( Available online )
  • Werner Vogler: Treasures from the St. Gallen Abbey Archives in images and texts , St. Gallen 1987.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Vogler, 1988, p. 97.
  2. a b Wagner, 2016, p. 123.
  3. a b Vogler, 1987, p. 7.
  4. a b Wagner, 2016, p. 125.
  5. Perret, 1971, p. 81.
  6. Wagner, 2016, p. 127.
  7. Vogler, 1987, p. 7f.
  8. Vogler, 1982.
  9. Vogler, 1988, p. 105.
  10. ^ Exhibition hall , on Stifts, accessed on May 29, 2020.
  11. sGS 271.3 - Agreement on the ownership and management of the St.Gallen Abbey Archives of June 2 , 1953 , on, accessed on May 29, 2020.
  12. See organizational chart: Department of the Interior , on, accessed on May 29, 2020.
  13. Documentary heritage of the former Abbey of Saint Gall in the Abbey Archives and the Abbey Library of Saint Gall , UNESCO Memory of the World, accessed June 26, 2019.