Reformation Resources from Concordia Seminary Library

Reformation Resources

The Concordia Seminary library houses a world-class collection of primary and secondary resources on the Lutheran Reformation, including thousands of 16th- and 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.

The Center for Reformation Research houses a 3,000-volume reference library of Reformation bibliography and history, a collection of more than 12,000 printed works and 500,000 manuscripts related to the Reformation including the letters and documents in the Philipp of Hesse archives.

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Center for Reformation Research – library: crr location (ref)

Housed in the Seminary library’s Bente Room is the ca. 3,000-volume reference library of the Center for Reformation Research, 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 more than 6,000 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. 5,700 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 three-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.

Luther Collection:
Works written by Luther and printed during his lifetime; many are first editions.
Search call number prefix: LUTH

Maier Collection:
Manuscripts from the 12th century through post-Reformation era publications (many first and early editions of Luther). The collection was once owned by Seminary faculty member and first Lutheran Hour speaker, Walter A. Maier.
Search call number prefix: MAIER

Haffenreffer Collection:
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

Smithey Collection:
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 1,400 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
Some 28 reels of pamphlets from 1588-1653

Niedersächsische Staatsarchiv Hannover
Some 12 reels of 16
th-century documents

Thesaurus Baumianus
Some 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

Lutheran Reformation:
Documents of the Lutheran Reformation in Germany.
Title list:

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.”
Title list:
(N.B. download is 17.80MB)

Italian Reformation:
Encompasses “the diversity of the manifestations of the Italian Reformation.” (Library owns selected titles.) Complete title list:

Heidelberg Reformation:
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. Title lists:


Irenical Theology:
Covers Irenical Theology in Heidelberg 1583-1622. (Library owns selected titles.)
Complete title list:

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 (24 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 and Mennonitism; (2) German, Swiss, Austrian and Bohemian Radical Reformation and 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, hymn books and polemical writings. Important members of the movement such as Menno Simons and Andreas Karlstadt are represented.
Title list:

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