New Archival Materials on the Rossitten Bird Observatory at the Archives of the MPG

October 22, 2019

On the High Dune near Pillkoppen” -
motif of the postcard series of the Rossitten Bird Observatory

As for so many Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes, the file collections of the Rossitten Bird Observatory on the Curonian Spit have largely been lost in the course of World War II. Only small remnants have survived. However, several transfers of records from the MPI for Ornithology/MPI of Animal Behavior in Radolfzell (the successor Institute of the Rossitten Bird Observatory), have enriched the local collections of Department I, Rep. 48: Rossitten Bird Observatory, by quite a few archival materials.

These primarily include bird watching reports, manuscripts and prints of ornithological works (by E. Schüz, among others), individual documents on the research work and administration of the Institute, as well as records and inventory lists referring to the Observatory’s relocation at the end of World War II. The bound annual reports from 1901 until 1940 were also among the records transferred. Containing a chronological presentation of the most important activities of the Observatory, they form a valuable addition to the archival collections. They have been separated and integrated into the collections of Department IX, Rep. 5 (Activity Reports). Finally, the transferred records comprised a few photographs and a photo album showing pictures of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the Rossitten Bird Observatory in 1926. Just like the largest part of the individual photos, the album has been transferred to Department VI (Photographic Collections).

Among the records transferred, the picture-postcard series of the Rossitten Bird Observatory deserves particular mention. Besides motifs of birds and the Observatory, it shows various landscapes and scenes from daily life and work on the Curonian Spit. The exchange of letters between Ernst Schüz, Manager of the Rossitten Bird Observatory, and Rudolf Kuhk, staff member, as well as the existing bird watching journals were already part of the previously indexed collections of Department I, Rep. 48.

The online finding aid for the collections of Department I, Rep. 48 is researchable on our homepage and can be found in our overview of collections: https://www.archiv-berlin.mpg.de/archivgut

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