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Album amicorum of Johannes Böhm

In Latin, German, and French, illustrated manuscript on paper
Austria (Vienna), 1668-1671; Italy (Padua), 1671-1672; Germany (Zittau), 1816, 1868

TM 1120

371 folios on paper, watermark not fully visible but includes letters ‘P’ and ‘M’, modern foliation in pencil, 1-371, a few leaves cancelled, ONE FULL-PAGE PEN AND INK DRAWING (f. 220) and THREE FULL-PAGE WATERCOLOR ILLUSTRATIONS highlighted with gold (ff. 283, 312, 334), water stains on ff. 1-20, some foxing, ink erosion on f. 7, small worm holes on ff. 369-371, overall in good condition. CONTEMPORARY BINDING of black Morocco, both covers gold-tooled with a central flower stamp, fleurons in the corners and a single fillet along the edge, front cover also with the monogram “I.B.B.M.” and the date “1668,” flat spine gold-tooled with flowers and fillets, edges gilt and gauffered with flower stems, leather worn in the corners, spine and joints partly restored, in overall good condition. Dimensions 94 x 142 mm.

An album amicorum, or friendship album, of a medical professor with an impressive entourage­­­ who contributed to his album. The entries provide rich insight into seventeenth-century social networking. The charming pen and ink drawing of an antique ruin by David Eckolt, made in Vienna in 1668, is a highlight of the volume (f. 220). Unusual is the multi-generational function of the present album, begun in the seventeenth century, then continued in the nineteenth century, and into the early twentieth century with the insertion of cuttings of reproductions of a moralized Bible manuscript, making it a fascinating witness to life in different time periods.


1. This is the album amicorum of Johannes Böhm (1641-1727) from Morunga-Borussus (Mohrungen in East Prussia, today Morag in Poland). He identifies himself on f. 1, and the entries from his friends refer to him as a professor. An engraved portrait of Böhm, now in the Wellcome Collection in London, identifies him as a physician in Venice, at the age of 86 in 1727 (Online Resources).

The entries for Böhm were made in Vienna in 1668-1671, including all four illustrations, and in Padua in 1671-1672. Our manuscript reveals that he was a 27-year-old medical professor in Vienna when he began his album amicorum in 1668 (the date on the album’s cover), and that from 1671 he held a professorial position in the famous medical school of Padua. He appears not to have published, and his reputation is based on his teaching and practice. His album, which he opened to friends, colleagues, and students, is an important witness to his life, and more broadly to the medical circles in Vienna and Padua in the seventeenth century.

The medical school in Padua was founded in 1222 and specialized in epidemiology and anatomy. It reached its apogee in epidemiology in 1537 when Andrea Vesalius was named professor and undertook to correct the errors of Galen. 

2. The nineteenth-century entries were made for someone from his family in Germany, in Zittau in 1816 and 1868. The album stayed in the family at least until 1868.


f. 1, Fautorum et amicorum dulcis recordatio, incipit, “Duas ob causas, aliorum inscribimus libris rogati ... et qui vera amicitia illius fuerint conjuncti. Symbolum. Christus spes mea. Joannes Boehm. Morunga-Borussus”; [ff. 1v-6v, blank];

The album, “A sweet reminder of your supporters and friends,” begins with an inscription copied by its owner, Johannes Böhm (Boehm): “For two reasons we inscribe in other books when asked; first so that they will remember the owners of the books and inform them to their posterity in which places and at what time they were employed. Secondly, that they may have certain testimonies by whom they have lived intimately, and who have been conjoined to them by true friendship.” This statement can be found in other album amicorum, where it is sometimes ascribed to Melanchthon (Tournoy, 2012). 

ff. 7-369v, [Böhm’s album contains 53 entries (the other leaves are blank)], f. 7, Hieronymus Trigimelica Robertus, Padua, 1672, professor of medicine (Comte Girolamo Trigimelica); f. 11, Isac<...?>, 1816; f. 12, Friedrich(?) Willhelm Bursens(?) of Dresden, Zittau, 1816; f. 20, Jacobus Cadenedus, Scotus, doctor of philosophy and medicine, professor, 1672; f. 46, “Parce tempori”, Padua, 1672; f. 143, Marius Ginellus, professor, Padua, 1672; f. 149v-150v, 1868; f. 189v, Georg Sebastian Jung (1643-1681), Leibmedicus, Vienna, 1671; f. 191, Conrad Busskind, Zittau, 1868; f. 192, Zittau, 1868; f. 195, G. Lins(?), 1868; f. 215, Dominicus de M<?>, Padua, 1672; f. 217, Antonius de Marchetti (1640-1730), professor of anatomy, Padua, 1672; ff. 219v-220, David Eckolt, Vienna, 1668 (published medical books in 1660s, one on diabetes); f. 233v, Johann Jacob Pisani, Vienna, 1671; f. 234, Wolfgang Christoph Plöckner, Viennese doctor, signed in “Padua Antenori” referring to the mythical founder of Padua, 1672; f. 242, Jonas Schrimpf, Counselor at the Imperial Court of Saxony, Vienna, 1671; f. 243, Johannes David Portz or Portzius of Bacharach in Prussia, doctor of philosophy and medicine, Vienna, 1671, who published Vini Rhenani in specie Bacharacensis Anatomia Chymica, 1672; f. 245, Johann Paul Sauer, pharmacist, (1626-1679), Vienna, 1671; f. 249v, Jacobus Barnerus of Elbing, Padua, 1672; doctor of philosophy and medicine in the medical school in Leipzig, who wrote several books between 1670 and 1690, and is the subject of the book by Becke (see following entry); f. 251, David von den Becke, Padua, 1671; author of Barnerus leviter et amie Castigatus, 1675; f. 259, text in German (1868?); f. 266, Thomas Otto Marquart, doctor of theology, medicine and philosophy, Padua, 1672; mentioned by Becke; f. 267, Gottfried Schultz of Breslau, doctor of philosophy and medicine, Padua, 1672; f. 267v, Johann Philipp Hochstetter of Nördling, doctor of medicine, d. 1679, Padua, 1672; f. 268, Gottfried David of Remagen in Prussia, doctor of philosophy and theology, and Christian Sartorius, doctor of philosophy and medicine, Padua, 1672; f. 268v, Theodorus Zacharias Nies(?) of Dortmund in Westphalia, doctor of philosophy and medicine, Padua, 1672; f. 269, Paul Henrich Fuch of Erfurt, student in medicine, Padua, 1672; f. 270, Johann Christopher Verdier of Klagenfurt, student in medicine and philosophy, Padua, 1672; f. 272v, Jacobus Guilielmus Imhoff of Nuremberg (1651-1728) Padua, 1671; prolific author on genealogies. Having completed his studies, he took a grand tour of France, Germany and Italy from 1670-1673 (see his entry in the Deutsche Biographie, Online Resources); f. 273, Johann Fabricius of Altdorf, (1644-1729), theologian, Padua, 1671; f. 274, Johann Jacob Tetzel, Padua, 1672; f. 274v, Ferdinand Frideric Pock, Vienna, 1671; he was dean of the faculty of medicine in Vienna, 1691-1692 and 1698-1699; f. 282v, Christian Ermann of Lund, student in pharmacology, Vienna, 1671; f. 288v, George Säger Borrus(?) of Bartenbein, student in pharmacology, Vienna, 1671; f. 293, Johann <...> Burg(?), Vienna; f. 311v, Johan Fridericus Dalon(?), student in pharmacology, Vienna, 1671; f. 329, Heinrich Caspar, Vienna, 1670; ff. 333v-334, Paulus Kelbel of Pirna near Meissen, student, Vienna, 1668; f. 336, Johann Gottfried Becker, Vienna, 1668; f. 338, Michael Schippentar from the duchy of Courland and Semigallia (incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1726), student in pharmacology, Vienna, 1668; f. 340v, Christian Chish(?) from Senftenberg near Meissen, student in pharmacology, Vienna, 1668; f. 342, Carolus Offred, Padua, 1672; author of several medical texts; f. 344, George Streng Stüel, Vienna, 1671; theologian; f. 345, Johann Böeckh, Vienna, 1671; f. 346v, Rennard or Renaud Busskind, (Zittau, 1868); f. 347v, Rennard or Renaud Busskind, Zittau, 1868; f. 348v, Franz Buschkiel, Zittau, 1868; f. 349v, L. Buschkiel, Zittau, 1868; f. 350v, Robert Rachlitz, Zittau, 1868; ff. 352v-357v, (1868?); ff. 368-369v, D.(?) (1868).


f. 220, Pen and ink drawing of an antique ruin architecture with the motto “GRADATIM” (step by step), made by David Eckolt in Vienna in 1668, as identified by the inscription on the facing page;

f. 283, Free-standing palm tree by Christian Ermann, made in Vienna in 1671, as identified by the inscription on the facing page;

f. 312, Mythological figures in an Arcadian landscape, with the inscription “Das Feuer alle Metall bezwingt, das Studium in die Höhe schwingt” by Frideric (?) in Vienna in 1671, as identified by the inscriptions on the facing page and above the image;

f. 334, Heart in distress, with the inscription “Deus est pressis subsidium,” by Paulus Kelbel in Vienna in 1668, as identified by the inscription on the facing page;

ff. 318, 319, 320, 321, Chromolithographic reproductions pasted in of medieval miniatures in the style of the Bible moralisée (dating from the 1260s); these must be a late addition to the volume; f. 318, Psalm 87, David and a Messenger; f. 319, interpretation of Psalm 87, with a lady and two men or boys, illustrating charity, and then a lady in prayer, illustrating prayer or meditation on the Passion; f. 320, Psalm 88, David, God, and the Heavens; f. 321, Two Friars and the Devil, illustrating steadfast faith in God.

The images are all from the moralized Bible volume know in Paris, BnF, MS lat.11560, from the Psalter, all from the same page, reproduced in Gallica:


The likelihood is that a later owner cut these illustrations from a facsimile publication of the Bible moralisée but we have not yet identified which one.  The earliest full reproduction was by A. de Laborde, A Bible Moralisée Illustrée, Conservée à Oxford, Paris et Londres. Reproduction Intégrale du Manuscrit du XIIIe Siècle, Accompagnée de Planches Tirées de Bibles Similaires et d'une Notice. And: Etude sur la Bible Moralisée Illustrée. 5 vols. Paris 1911-1927.  These are the last insertions into the album and demonstrate how such family heirlooms continued to be personalized through the centuries, reflecting different personalized interests and distinct cultural settings.

Album amicorum (friendship album), were volumes in which young aristocrats collected entries from their friends, relatives, and acquaintances that they met during travels and studies. On their pages friends would offer proverbs, sayings, quotes, poems, wishes, often in Latin, but also in other languages, and sometimes drawings or watercolors, signed with a date and current location. Members of the nobility used them as heraldic notebooks containing watercolors of shields and mottos (hence their name in German, “Stammbuch”). The album amicorum was popular in Germany from the sixteenth until the nineteenth century, mainly among male aristocrats and university students.  Although originally recording origins and genealogy, the primary function of the album amicorum was to document relationships in time and distance for posterity.  As one would today with a social media account, the owner would display his album to show his expanded social network and wide circle of friends (see Karr Schmidt, Online Resources).

At first, inscriptions by friends, acquaintances, teachers, and family members were made on the spare pages of printed books, then on copies of emblem books, and finally on books printed sometimes with borders for album use. By the seventeenth century, the oblong format was preferred, and blank copy books, often with lavish gold tooling, could be bought for this purpose.  Public collections with important holdings of German Alba Amicorum are the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin, the Staatsbibliothek in Bamberg, the Sachsische Landesbibliothek -- Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek in Dresden, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, and the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. The Royal Library in The Hague is the major repository of Dutch examples. The British Library in London has a huge collection of albums, purchased en bloc in 1850 from the estate of Erhard Christoph Bezzel, a scholar of Nuremberg history (especially Egerton MSS 1178-1498; later supplemented as Egerton MSS 1536-1607). Princeton University Library has an autograph collection of more than 200 examples dating from the mid-nineteenth century (see below).

The genre of album amicorum is central in modern cross-disciplinary research studying texts, reception, and collecting in cultural and social contexts and the history of mentality; see especially the comprehensive study by Werner Wilhelm Schnabel published in 2003. Our manuscript would also be very interesting for paleographical study, since it includes many different securely localized and dated hands.


Fechner, Jörg-Ulrich, ed. Stammbücher als kulturhistorische Quellen, Wolfenbütteler Forschungen, 11, Munich, 1981.

Keil, Robert and Richard. Die deutschen Stammbücher des sechzehnten bis neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. Ernst und Scherz, Weisheit und Schwank in Original-Mittheilungen zur deutschen Kultur-Geschichte, Berlin, 1893; reprint Hildesheim, 1975.

Klose, W. “Stammbücher–eine kulturhistorische Betrachtung,” Bibliothek und Wissenschaft 16 (1982), pp. 41-67.

Kurras, Lotte. Zu gutem Gedenken. Kulturhistorische Miniaturen aus Stammbüchern des Germanischen Nationalmuseums 1570-1770, Munich, 1987.

Lilienthal, M. Schediasma critico-literarium de philiothecis varioque earundum usu et abusu, vulgo von Stamm-Büchern, Königsberg, 1712; rev. Wittenberg, 1740; repr. in Fechner, 1981, pp. 237-298 [the first study of Alba Amicorum].

Nickson, M. A. E. Early Autograph Albums in the British Museum, London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1970.

Rosenheim, Max. The album amicorum, Oxford, 1910.

Schnabel, W.W. Das Stammbuch: Konstitution und Geschichte einer textsortenbezogenen Sammelform bis ins erste Drittel des 18. Jahrhunderts, Berlin, 2003.

Schünemann, Hugo. “Stammbücher,” Schrifttumsberichte zur Genealogie und zu ihren Nachbargebieten 2 (1965), pp. 67-108.

Taegert, Werner. Edler Schatzholden Erinnerns. Bilder in Stammbüchern der Staatsbibliothek Bamberg aus vier Jahrhunderten, Bamberg, 1995.

Thomassen, Kees, ed. Alba amicorum. Vijf eeuwen vriendscap op papier gezet. Het album amicorum en het poëziealbum in de Nederlanden, Maarssen/The Hague, 1990.

Tournoy, Gilbert. “Latin Inscriptions by Justus Lipsius in Alba amicorum,” Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Monasteriensis; Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies, eds. Astrid Steiner-Weber and Karl A. E. Enenkel, Münster, 2012, pp. 563-571.

Online Resources

Portrait of Johannes Böhm, Wellcome Library no. 1191i

Imhof, Jacob Wilhelm von

Album Amicorum of the 16th-17th Centuries https://hob.gseis.ucla.edu/Resources/Knipprath_Reference.html

“Repertorium Alborum Amicorum”

Suzanne Karr Schmidt, “Eighteenth-Century Social Networking,” October 20, 2021

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