The Deutsche Tagebucharchiv (DTA) was founded in January 1998 by Frauke von Troschke. She was familiar with the Italian example in Pieve Santo Stefano and had discovered that Germany had no institution devoted to the collection of personal memoirs. The small town of Emmendingen (15 km to the north of Freiburg, which has a large university) provided office space in the Old Historic Town Hall next to the market place.
Who we are
The Deutsche Tagebucharchiv is a registered non-profit association of public interest and is led by an elected volunteer executive board consisting of a president, a vice-president and a treasurer. Basic financing is more or less “secured” on the membership fees, on donations , on the rent-free office space and minor public grants.
The Deutsche Tagebucharchiv collects diaries, memoirs and letters, but also family chronicles, family reference books, where autobiography plays a part.
What we hold and what we do
Since the foundation of the Deutsche Tagebucharchiv a permanent stream of submissions from all parts of Germany and even from abroad has come in. More than 16.000 documents by about 3.500 authors have been filed and registered (as of 2016). The contents can differ from a very small booklet with drawings up to a box full of letters, even 100 diaries written by only one person.
A contract is made with all submitters. An attempt is made to find out as much personal information as possible about the author (date and place of birth, CV and profession).
The group of ca. 30 local volunteers take care of archiving, copying, exhibitions, public readings, guided tours, database, website, brochures, secretarial work…
In Emmendingen all the texts are read. The reading group consists of 40-50 people (including external readers) who meet once a month to present the texts they have read. The readers have volunteered for this work because of their interest in biography. The group consists of both old and young. An exact note is taken of the content and a multi-paged questionnaire is filled out for each item – main subject matters: e.g. childhood and youth, education, profession, teachers, parents, conflicts in the family, social conflicts, illnesses, flight and expulsion at the end of the Second World War, experiences as prisoners of war and many more.
A note is also taken of the relevant dates concerning the diary: first the time described in the diary and secondly the author’s dates . And then a note is taken of the place names in the text and what well-known personalities and events are mentioned. All information that the readers have noted in the questionnaires is collected in an electronic database so that research for subjects and subject combinations are possible.
Our major intention is to make all our documents available for scientific research purposes in our online catalogue; a considerable part of the documents are available for full text search.
In our special yearly event “Journey through Time” the archives offer the occasion of insight into the content of the documents and the chance to talk about them. More public readings for example in response to the 50th Franco-German Elysée Treaty anniversary or an invitation to the Literaturhaus in Stuttgart provide an opportunity to read from our collection.
An advisory board representing various scientific disciplines from several German universities supports the activities of the archives and suggests new research projects.
Museum im Deutschen Tagebucharchiv
A long-term plan to create a small museum for the exhibition of outstanding documents and special themes was realized by the end of 2014.