A group of 18 very rare catalogues issued by this intrepid German bookseller and publisher.

18 vols. Small 8vo, various orig. wrappers or self-bound. Bamberg & Würzberg: 1809-1818.

Joseph Martin Goebhardt (1709-57) founded this bookselling company about 1747,the year he issued his first catalogue. He was succeeded by his son Tobias (1734-94), who capitalized on the demand for Italian and French works, regardless of their contents or the controversy they might cause with German censors. The Goebhardts were among the first in Germany to publish works by Diderot, d’Alembert, Helvetius, etc. Their considerable trade and publication of foreign books made them one of the primary conduits of French-German cultural exchange in the mid-18th century. This caused Bamberg’s censors to investigate them, but they seem to have escaped punishment after Tobias pretended to be unfamiliar with French. Notably, the family served as the official supplier of scholarly books to Bamberg’s university.

Tobias’s son Joseph Anton Goebhardt (n.d.) became the head of the company in 1802. Goebhardt was the first publisher of Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807), but soon afterwards the business began to fail, and control was ceded to Joseph’s brother-in-law, Franz Ignaz Heinrich von Hefner (1756-1846), who later sold it to Carl Christian Ettlinger, a local competitor.

The present catalogues, each with hundreds of listings, were compiled towards the end of the firm’s existence. This includes a complete set of the monthly catalogues published serially for the year 1817, devoted to literature; it is interesting to note that the Goebhardts maintained their tradition of dealing in French literature. Another set comprises the four issues of the firm’s “Literarischer Anzeiger” for 1818, offering newly published German works.

A very interesting collection of scarce German bookseller catalogues from the early 19th century. These come from the Wittelsbach library at Tegernsee, the “summer home” library of the royal family of Bavaria. We are unaware of any institutions or collections outside of Germany with significant runs of Goebhardt catalogues. Sporadic and inoffensive foxing.

❧ Kalliope-Verbund database & M. Häberlein & M. Schmölz-Häberlein, “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Network in Bamberg” in Bavarian Studies in History and Culture (website), accessed 7 January 2021.

Price: $1,500.00

Item ID: 7482