Adalbert Riedl collection of prayer and song leaflets
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Adalbert Riedl was a teacher, politician, museum director, collector, and folklorist from the Austrian state of Burgenland, a region with strong ties to today's Hungary. Born in 1898 in the town of Kobersdorf, Burgenland, he attended the Teacher Training Institute (Lehrerbildungsanstalt) in what is today Györ, Hungary (German name, Raab), graduating in 1916. He began his career as an elementary school teacher in 1920 in the town of Weppersdorf-Tschurndorf. From 1923 to 1932, he taught at the elementary school in Markt Sankt Martin, establishing in that town a local museum of folklore and folk song. During this period (1926-1932), he also served as chairman of the Catholic Teachers' Association (Katholischen Lehrervereins).
Riedl entered politics in 1932 as the first secretary of the Christian Social Party of Burgenland (Christlichsoziale Partei-Burgenland), and became a representative of the CSP-Österreichs in the same year. In 1934, Riedl became a deputy in the Bundestag, the new Austro-fascist legislative body. Also in 1934, he became a member of both the National Council for Culture (Bundeskulturrates) and the Burgenland Chamber of Agriculture (Burgenländischen Landwirtschaftskammer), and he became national advertising manager of the Fatherland Front (Vaterländischen Front) political party. However, with the Nazi occupation of Austria beginning in 1938, Riedl was ousted from all political positions and spent 1938-1939 in detention at Dachau concentration camp.
In 1940, Riedl returned to Austria and joined the staff of the Burgenland State Museum (Landesmuseum Burgenland) in Eisenstadt as an assistant, where he rose through the ranks to become interim director in 1945 and permanent director in 1950. He retired from the museum in 1963. During this period and afterward, Riedl wrote several books on the topic of Burgenland folkore including Burgenländische Volkslieder (1950), Lieder, Reime und Spiele der Kinder im Burgenland (1957), Lied-flugblattdrucke aus dem Burgenland (1958), Die Hirtenzunft im Burgenland: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte des Hirtenwesens im burgenländischen Raum (1962). Additionally, from 1946 to 1976, Riedl served as the first president of the Austrian Society of the Red Cross (Österreichischen Gesellschaft vom Roten Kreuz) in Eisenstadt. He died in Eisenstadt, Burgenland in 1978.
Sources: German language Wikipedia, the website of the Austrian Parliament, and Leopold Schmidt, "Adalbert Riedl zum 60. Geburtstag: Ein Leben für Volkskunde und Volksbildung im Burgenland" in Burgenländische Heimatblätter 20, no.3 (1958): 97-101.
The Adalbert Riedl collection contains nearly 700 titles, mostly prayers and religious songs in leaflet or chapbook form. The inclusion of a number of duplicates or slight variants brings the total number of pieces to about 800. The bulk of the collection was printed in the 19th century. There are also pieces from the 18th century and some from the early-to-mid 20th century. The pieces are primarily small format printed works, ranging from a single sheet to multiple pages, and many include printed or engraved illustrations. Additionally, there is a collection of 28 printed leaflets bound into a single volume (Sammelband) and a small number of manuscripts in German Kurrentschrift. The items are primarily in the German language, many printed in Fraktur, and a small number are in Hungarian, as well as Croatian, Czech, Slovakian, and Slovenian.
It is not clear whether the collection's organization comes from Riedl or from a University of Pennsylvania librarian after the collection was purchased in 1969. Copy of a 1970 letter to Riedl from a Penn bibliographer states "We would also be glad for any guide you wish to give about best organization and assortment of the material. It is neat and in good condition. The three categories which appear obvious are (1) Gebete [prayers], (2) Lieder [songs], and Miscellaneous. Are there any further divisions or subdivisions which you would like to advocate?" There is no evidence of a response from Riedl. Nonetheless, this organization has been maintained, as has its subdivision into works with known place of publication; works with date but no known place of publication; and works with neither date nor place of publication. Following the divisions of prayers, songs, and miscellaneous, is the collection of bound leaflets and the materials in manuscript. The known places of publication include cities throughout the former Austrian-Hungarian Empire and German lands, including today's Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Northern Italy, the Netherlands, and Slovakia. The content is primarily religious and devotional, with a smaller amount of secular material as well.
Marks, smudges, wear and remnants of binding stitches remain as evidence that many of these pieces were once bound into larger collections of leaflets. The condition of the pieces ranges from nearly pristine to heavily damaged; flabby paper with high rag content to that which is highly acidic and brittle. Some pieces have inscriptions.
Sold by Dr. Adalbert Riedl in 1969.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- John Anderies
- Finding Aid Date
- 15 December 2014
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.