Concordia Seminary Library houses a world-class collection of primary and secondary resources on the Lutheran Reformation, including thousands of 16th-18th century publications, microforms of primary sources, and specialized reference works on the era, its major and minor figures, and their writings. The library also houses the unique book and microform holdings of the Center for Reformation Research. The collections support the seminary’s graduate programs, especially in historical theology, and provide resources for scholars worldwide.
Center for Reformation Research
The Center for Reformation Research began as the Foundation for Reformation Research in the early 1960s. In its early years, faculty members from Concordia Seminary and other scholars traveled to libraries in Europe and the North American continent to film source documents of the Reformation. In the July 1974 issue of the Foundation’s Newsletter that announced the change of name to Center for Reformation Research, it was noted that the microfilm collection numbered some 12,000 printed works and ca. 500,000 manuscripts. The latter are comprised primarily of letters and documents in the Philipp of Hesse archives, a collection unique to the Center. Over the years the Center has been related to and has served as the administrative headquarters of the American Society for Reformation Research, the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, and the St. Louis Area Colloquium on Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies.
Center for Reformation Research – library: crr location (ref)
Housed in the seminary library’s Bente Room is the ca. 3000-volume reference library of the CRR, comprised primarily of Reformation bibliography and history. Items in the collection are identified by the location acronym crr before the call number on the catalog record.
Concordia Seminary Main Collection – library cosl location (stck)
The late medieval through the 17th century component of the theological collection (LC classification BR 300-500) contains over 6000 volumes, well over half of which are primary and secondary resources related to the Lutheran Reformation. The location acronym is cosl.
Concordia Seminary Rare Book Collection – library: cosl location (rare)
The rare book collection, ca. 5700 volumes, is strong in early Luther, Melanchthon, and other Reformers, works by opponents of the Reformation, Lutheran Confessional documents, and other materials continuing through the period of orthodoxy (Gerhard, Calov, Chemnitz). Notable also are early printed Bibles, first editions of the Lutheran Confessions, the 3-volume Bible commentary by A. Calov from the library of J. S. Bach, and 75 incunabula (works printed before 1501). Items in the collection are identified by the notation (rare) following the call number on the catalog record.
The rare book collection includes several specific groupings that can be browsed by call number or series search.
Works written by Luther and printed during his lifetime; many are first editions.
Search call number prefix: LUTH
Manuscripts from the 12th century through post-Reformation era publications (many first & early editions of Luther). The collection was once owned by CSL faculty member and first Lutheran Hour speaker, Walter A. Maier
Search call number prefix: MAIER
Reformation works once owned by Matthias Haffenreffer, son-in-law to Johannes Brenz (1499-1570): includes works from Reformation and period of orthodoxy, including works by Brenz and some of Luther, e.g., Jena and Wittenberg editions
Search call number prefix: HAFF
The collection, purchased from a private collector in 2001, is strong in Luther and early printed Bibles and includes autograph manuscripts by, e.g., Melanchthon and Spangenberg.
Search series: Smithey Collection
Center for Reformation Research
Philipp of Hesse Archives:
Includes the political archives of Philipp of Hesse (500 reels).
Searchable in the catalog under the series: Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg
also: Index to the Philipp of Hesse Archives:
Politisches Archiv des Landgraffen Philipp des Grossmütigen von Hessen
Call number: CD1373 H4 P65 1954 crr (ref)
Resources from the Renaissance era – Reformation and Humanism:
Some 1400 reels represent a broad cross-section of publications from the Renaissance in European and American libraries.
French Political Pamphlets from Collections in the Newberry Library
28 reels of pamphlets from 1588-1653
Niedersächsische Staatsarchiv Hannover
12 reels of 16th century documents
29 reels consisting of correspondence, biographical notices, annals, and assorted documents on French Protestantism, including such names as Bucer, W. Musculus, Beza, Capito.
Concordia Seminary Library
Documents of the Lutheran Reformation in Germany.
Title list: http://www.brill.com/sites/default/files/ftp/downloads/31920_Titlelist.pdf
Broad collection of Reformation era pamphlets, “primarily concerned with the early Reformation movement and its propaganda, with the Peasant’s War, the threat presented by the expansion of the Turks, and various conflicts among the Western European countries.”
(N.B. download is 17.80MB)
Encompasses “the diversity of the manifestations of the Italian Reformation.” (Library owns selected titles.) Complete title list:http://www.brill.com/sites/default/files/ftp/downloads/31891_Titlelist.pdf
This collection includes works by the major Heidelberg figures, including, Bouquin, Erastus, Olevianus, Ursanus, and Zanchi. It also includes works on the development and reception of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Covers Irenical Theology in Heidelberg 1583-1622. (Library owns selected titles.)
Complete title list: http://www.brill.com/sites/default/files/ftp/downloads/31885_Titlelist.pdf
Flugschriftensammlung Gustav Freytag:
Set of 6,265 German pamphlets from the 15th through the 17th century. Once owned by Gustav Freytag, the pamphlets are now at the university library in Frankfurt aM. Although the subject areas are quite eclectic (twenty-four in all), including such subjects as mining and popular medicine, several subjects are of interest to Reformation and Humanist scholars: The Church before the Reformation, Luther, Huttites, Reformers and their Opposition, Humanists, Erasmus, and Hans Sachs. There is also a section on the Thirty Years’ War.
Both the seminary library and the Institute have an index to this set of fiche, a 1966 reprint of the 1925 original.
Call number: Z2222 H7 1966 [cosl (stck) ; crr (ref)] The 1925 original printing of the index is available online in two PDF documents at
The Anabaptist, Mennonite, and Spiritualist Reformation – The Radical Reformation:
This set is divided into three parts: (1) Dutch Anabaptism & Mennonitism; (2) German, Swiss, Austrian, and Bohemian Radical Reformation & Anabaptism; and (3) a small number of writings from the English Radical Reformation. The scope of the works include general history, various Bible editions, confessions of faith, hymnbooks, and polemical writings. Important members of the movement such as Menno Simons and Andreas Karlstadt are represented.
Title list: http://www.brill.com/sites/default/files/ftp/downloads/31644_Titlelist.pdf
Simmler Collection of Manuscripts & Books (uncataloged, but printed finding tools available)
A church history source collection of manuscripts, documents, and books primarily from the 16th century. (microfiche in CSL collection; microfilm in CRR)
Standard reference works / bibliographies
Verzeichnis der im deutschen Sprachbereich erschienenen Drucke des XVI. Jahrhunderts.
(commonly known as VD 16)
call number: Z1014 V47 1983 (bib)
Deutsche Drucke des Barock 1600-1720 in der Herzog Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
call number: Z2222 H47 1977 (bib)
Benzing, Joseph. Lutherbibliographie
call number: Z8528 B4 1989 (2nd ed.) (ref) ; Z8525 B4 -1st ed. (stck)
Additional Reformation bibliographies: browse Z7830 in all collections
Additional Luther bibliographies: browse Z8528 in all collections[All quotations are IDC fiche collections from http://www.idcpublishers.com/.]