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date: 14 November 2019

Album amicorum [Lat.: ‘book of friendship’; Ger. Stammbuch]locked

  • Chris L. Heesakkers

Extract

[Lat.: ‘book of friendship’; Ger. Stammbuch]

Bound collection of autographs, writings, paintings and drawings collected by the owner from his friends and acquaintances. The earliest detailed study of the album amicorum (Michael Lilienthal’s Königsberg dissertation, 1712) traced its origins to peerages with genealogical information, which is believed to have played some role in tournaments. Lilienthal added, however, that no examples of such peerages were known to exist at the time of writing; he also noted that the emergence of the album amicorum seemed to be closely connected with the beginning of the Reformation. The Keil brothers (1893) adopted Lilienthal’s theory, according to which the albums originated from lost peerages, but they disregarded the rest of his observations. Many scholars followed this view uncritically, but in 1910 the theory was challenged by Rosenheim, who rightly pointed out that the earliest known albums did not, in fact, include coats of arms and that they came from academic circles in Germany, in particular Wittenberg. After Nickson (...

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