« Back to website

Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut
Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Roof view froma distance

Formal Indexing of Robert Lehmann-Nitsche’s Papers

Duration1 September 2007 to 31 March 2009
CoordinationDr. Gregor Wolff

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation [DFG])

Select an item

1. Co-applicant


2. Project Group


IAI staff

  • Gudun Schumacher   
  • Olga Andreesen    

former IAI staff


3. Short description

Point of departure

The Ibero-American Institute possesses the greater part of the posthumous papers of the anthropologist Robert Lehmann-Nitsche (1872-1938). Lehmann-Nitsche, born in Radomitz (Posen), lived and worked from 1897 to 1930 in Argentina where, among other things, he was head of the Museo de la Plata’s anthropology section. As professor for (physical) anthropology at the University of La Plata and the University of Buenos Aires, he played a major role in this discipline’s establishment at the institutional level. On his research trips, and above all in Argentina’s urban centers, he investigated the mythology, ethnology and linguistics of the indigenous peoples as well as their folklore, in particular the “gaucho culture” of the La Plata area. After retiring in 1930 he returned to Germany, where he died in 1938. His posthumous papers consist of published and unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, notebooks, notes (individual pages), newspaper clippings, sketches, personal documents, photos, photo albums, photo negatives and postcard albums as well as various collections (e.g. calling cards, offprints, placards). Also among the posthumous papers is a collection of important popular literature, the so-called Biblioteca Criolla, which has been incorporated into the holdings of the Ibero-American Institute’s library.


By indexing Robert Lehmann-Nitsche’s papers, IAI hopes to make the documents and materials contained therein accessible to national and international research projects, thus helping to strengthen Germany’s standing as a key site for undertaking research in the social sciences and humanities. It is only through the formal indexing of unpublished collections that the competitive advantages of German libraries, with their unique regional holdings, can be made apparent. It was in this spirit and on basis of the “Regeln zur Erschliessung von Nachlässen und Autographen” (“Cataloguing Rules for Indexing Personal Papers, Manuscripts and Autographs” [RNA]) that the papers were formally indexed and registered by both the Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund (Commom Library Network [GBV]) and Kalliope.


Task Schedule

Formal indexing of the papers took place within the framework of the work program approved by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation [DFG]) and it unfolded in six phases.


Phase 1: manuscripts and notebooks.

Phase 2: correspondence (circa 6000 letters, telegrams and postcards).

Phase 3: loose-leaf notes and personal documents (certificates, awards, invoices and newspaper clippings).

Phase 4: albums (one postcard album, three albums with newspaper clippings, one album with Christmas cards) and collections (placards, playbills, offprints, calling cards, banknotes and newspaper clippings).

Phase 5: 1600 photographs and 510 picture postcards.

Phase 6: review of the entry words and shelving status as well as further research on the papers and their provenance at other Berlin institutions.

Expected Results

Robert Lehmann-Nitsche’s papers were formally indexed for the first time and registered internationally through the Ibero-American Institute’s scholarly online public access catalogue, thus creating a unique point of departure for numerous research projects.


4. Products



  • „Al Pueblo Argentino de 2010!“

    “Al Pueblo Argentino de 2010!” It was with this 1910 dedication to the Argentinian people of the year 2010 that the German anthropologist and folklorist Robert Lehmann-Nitsche (1872-1938) consecrated the first volume of his series Folklore argentino. With impressive photo, audio and textual sources, Lehmann-Nitsche documented the process of Argentina’s formation of national identity—and simultaneous cultural commingling—at the start of the twentieth century, against the backdrop of European immigration and nascent industrialization and urbanization but a national identity that was also being impacted by the persecution and displacement of the indigenous population. His collection of popular literature, known by the name “Biblioteca Criolla,” is regarded as unique in the world.


    The exhibition “Al Pueblo Argentino de 2010! Cultures in Motion” (at the IAI from 2 July to 21 August 2009 and in Buenos Aires in August 2010) presents this period of radical change in Argentina as rendered in Lehmann-Nitsche’s documentation.

Additional Products

2021 || Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut Preussischer Kulturbesitz