St Catherine´s Hospital in Regensburg


The Katharinenspital holds an exceptionally well preserved stock of archive material, which goes as far back as the 12th century. As Bürgerspital (hospital for the citizens), the Katharinenspital was Regensburg’s central hospital and welfare institution. This explains the numerous donations as well as its ownership of various estates in the whole region. The estates Aschach, Höhenberg and Amhof can be taken as representative examples. The supervisory rights of both the diocesan chapter and the town council, as well as dry and fireproof vaults and the evacuation of the archives in times of crisis are responsible for this almost complete transmission of historical material.


The constitution of the Spital, which was the legal and administrative precondition for complete transmission, remained basically unchanged over the course of the past eight centuries. Reformation and the Peace of Westphalia made it an institution based on equal representation on a council. The supervisory rights for the Spitalarchiv were finally handed over to the Dalbergstaat in 1802 and to the kingdom of Bavaria in 1810/1823. Whereas the former Bürgerspitäler (hospitals for the citizens) were put under local supervision and administration everywhere else, the Katharinenspital has remained an independent foundation supervised by the government of the Upper Palatinate to the present day. This is due to the historical and confessional development of Regensburg, and is responsible for the continued existence of the Spital´’s constitution, council and archive. The eight members of the council are supervising the administration of the hospital.


The archives of the Katharinenspital have always served as archive, filing department and administration section and have been able to keep its large possessions far beyond the times of secularization because the hospital was a charitable foundation. The agrarian reform of the mid-nineteenth century finally created the legal preconditions to hand the real estates over to their former tenants. Thus, the administration’s perspective of the archives changed: The legal importance of the older written material decreased, whereas its historical importance increased. Another fact that contributed to the preservation of the Spitalarchiv is that a selection of “valuable” documents and titles never took place. This would have probably meant a depreciation and maybe even a final loss of the remaining archive material.


Especially the decision of the general archivist Carl Theodor Gemeiner against moving of the Spitalarchiv in Regensburg’s town hall guaranteed its preservation, because the administrations of town and state conducted major macula up to the mid-nineteenth century. Several hospital masters rendered the development of the archive material a great service by making repertoires and regests. The hospital did not only preserve its own written material, but it also bought documents concerning the hospital and thus protected them destruction. It might sound ironic, but the Katharinenspital’s archive material only survived the turbulent 19th century because no archivists had access to the material. The hospital masters appreciated the historical importance and, eventually, also the material value of the archive and the collections step. By now, both archive and collections are essential and inalienable part of the Katharinenspitalstiftung’s assets. The rules of the archive and the foundation and the foundation’s statutes demand that these be properly administrated by experts. With the foundation of the University of Regensburg, the interest in the archive material, which is important for town and region, has increased.



By Artur Dirmeier, Continued by Kathrin Pindl



Bishop Hartwig II signs a document for the Johannesspital, the later Katharinenspital: systematic administration and archival storage begins.

1204–1226 Bishop Konrad IV, Count of Frontenhausen, is imperial chancellor, town lord, and founder of the hospital.
1226 Constitution of the hospital: supervisory rights are handed over to the cathedral chapter and to the citizens.
13th/14th century Documents, old letter book, rental, part-rentals, book of privileges, Regelhandschrift (statute manuscript).
1359ff. Spitalschreiber (clerk for the hospital).
1398 Archive chest gets protected by two locks.
1412–1439 Administration and archive are organized by Ulrich Obser von Brackenheim, the Spitalschreiber.
Written material systematically collected in five volumes; registration of the document stock, which is at the same time given geometric shelf marks; the pay for this work is two pounds of pfennigs. Obser comments on this that the eternal life earned through this work is a far more valuable form of remuneration:
“Und solt ich es umb lon haben getan, ich hiet wol verdient zwelf pfund Regensburger pfenning und mer nach disem leben das ewig leben. Amen.”
Obser later becomes hospital master.
– New letter book, 1414–1544
– Rental and Salbuch (documents that describe every property owned by a (ecclesiastic) landlord, and his rights) Regensburg, 1412
– Rental and Salbuch Dungau, 1423
– Rental and Salbuch Nordgau, 1423
– Rental and Salbuch Ingolstadt on the Isar, 1414.
1434 The scriptorium in the so-called Krondorf is established. The Salbücher, letter books and catalogues are kept there.
1439 Ulrich Obser becomes hospital master and Michael Fink the hospital clerk.
1486 Regensburg becomes part of Bavaria, the Spitalarchiv is moved to the Ungeldhaus (tax house) of the Imperial Town.
15th century The document archive is in the hands of single ministers of the Imperial Town: Notangst (1419), Reich (1455), Trainer (1455/67), Graner (1486).
1525 The Spitalarchiv is evacuated to the town hall of the Imperial Town, precautions that are taken because of the Peasants’ War.
1538 Two hospital master posts are set up, a secular and a ecclesiastical one.
Ungeldschreiber (tax authorities) Christoph Glockengießer, Erhard Niedermayer and Hans Ilpeck write a document catalogue by order of Regensburg’s chapter and council. One copy is sent to every hospital master.
Ungeldschreiber and schoolmasters receive 70 guilders for this work.
1542 Binding of account books, manuals and the master’s hand-book.
1542 Imperial Town converts to Protestantism in the course of the Reformation.
1553 Bavarian civil code is bought for 4 shillings and 6 Regensburg pfennigs.
1554 Binding of the Bavarian civil code.
1570 100 Rechenpfennig (means for calculation) are bought.

A contract between Bishop David of Regensburg and the treasurer and council of Regensburg is made do preserve the documents in a safe place (excerpt):

“Und dieweil auch vor dieser Zeit des Spitals brieffliche Urkundten verwahrungsweiß einem erbaren Rhat zugestelt worden, sollen dieselbe brieffliche Urkundten und Documenten dem Spital zugehörig an einem sichern Orth behalten und unter zwey Schlossen an der Thür, Kasten und Truhen, dergestalt, daß zu dem einen Schloß die geistliche Banck und zu dem andern die weltliche Banck einen Schlüssel habe, verwahrt werden.”

1579 Doorframe for the new Briefgewölbe (vaulted room for storing the Spital’s letters).
1582 Reprint of the Bavarian civil code is bought for 3 shillings and 5 Regensburg pfennigs.
1587 Clerk is supported by an apprentice.
1590 Restoration of the seal is done by goldsmith Hans Rager from Regensburg.
1593 Division of the documentary archive since 1525 is reported:
1. Displaced and shifted documents are located in the Spitalarchiv.
2. The “best” documents are kept in a vault under the town hall.
1611 Scriptorium is plastered in red and white and a stove is installed.
1615 Files of the hospital are brought to Regensburg’s town hall. A report of this is sent to Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria.
around 1630 Ingolstadt’s rental and Salbuch are copied.
1630 Registrator Georg Dieterlin copies Regensburg’s rental and Salbuch.
1639 The great seal of the hospital ist manufactured by goldsmith Hans Georg Bahro.
1643 The archive’s vault in the town hall is cleaned and whitewashed:
“dann ainem, der aus dem gewölb und meiner herrn rathaus die bücher und acta den staub davon abgebuzt, pro honorario entricht 2 Schilling 10 Pfennig.”
1643 Register of the hospital’s goods, volume 2, letters K–Z.
1643 40 account books are handed back to the hospital.
1662 The roof of the Briefgewölbe is tiled.
1666 The Spitalarchiv is handed back.
1668/69 New archive building: vaulted ceiling, flagstone floor, barred bindows, window- and doorframes of stone, slatted roof. Having been slammed shut by mistake, the door has to be re-opened by a locksmith. The archive is decorated with stucco and angels’ heads. The Spital paid a sculptor 1 guilder for the moulds for the angels’ heads.
Installation of an iron door (1670), renovation of the roof above the archives (1673).
1671 Mouseholes behind the desks in the scriptorium are plastered shut.
1681 The hospital’s clerk Abraham von Röthen has been taking down the minutes from the Spital’s council without being paid since 1668 and now receives a one-off gratuity of 18 guilders.
1681 Keeping of baptismal and death registers, a new volume was bought for 2 guilders 24 pfennigs.
1701–1714 War of Spanish Succession, Stadtamhof is captured by imperial troops (August 11th, 1711):
– The hospital is looted.
– Archive of the hospital is “scattered, torn apart and lost”.
– The hospital’s cash box is stolen.
1706 “Ordinatio Conradina” (from 1226) is handed over to the cathedral dean von Neuhaus; it has been missing ever since.
1710 Inventory of the scriptorium:
Two tables, a small chest of drawers, a money box, an arm-chair, four chairs, two iron handcuffs with chain, a small box with the hospital’s seals, a paper press, later in the archive a small and a large cash box.
1720 Painter Franz Joseph Mettich of Stadtamhof paints the archway under the archive with red and white oil paint (⇒ colours of the Imperial Town of Regensburg).
1745 List of documents “Dic mihi”, a broad copy of the list of documents from 1538.
1762 Johann Christoph Püchelberger, the hospital’s clerk, complains of the disorder in the hospital registry and creates catalogues of each of the four registry boxes.
1772 Registry catalogues by Johann Christoph Püchelberger are differentiated between the archive for documents and the record office:
– Registry catalogue 1 (Lit. A–GG)
– Registry catalogue 2 (Lit. HH–OOO)
– Registry catalogue 3 (8 compartments of script books; A–Z)
– Registry catalogue 4 (15 compartments)
– Complete catalogue
1774 Salbuch Nordgau by Johann Christoph Püchelberger.
1774 Desk and repository in the scriptorium are painted with green oil paint.
1800 Inventory of the scriptorium and the office room:
big desk with five drawers, a bureau, a cross-barred file box (hazel-coloured), two big cross-barred file boxes with 30 or 36 drawers of alphabetical order (blue), big cross-barred file box without drawers but with a further attached box (blue), file box with real estate registers and Salbücher (blie), box stool with steps, hanging cupboard containing official minutes (oak), desk and lectern, bookcase for files with 14 shelves (blue), four chairs covered with leather, one arm chair with armrest (sorted out), picture of Jesus Christ with a black and golden decorated frame, two iron handcuffs with chains, a “fiddle” (instrument of torture), the civil code of the Electorate of Bavaria bound in pig leather, a paper press, a seal press, a pair of paper scissors, two rulers, one counting board (oak), a tin dish, an old hand-brush, table for the feudalia, a golden framed mirror, a round table (oak), four old leather arm-chairs.
Inventory of the archive:
A large and a small iron money box, (in another category:) a small seal box, a large hospital signet without inscription, a large hospital signet with inscription, a small silver hospital signet with inscription, a penknife, a wooden club, a seal with a silver case.
1802 The new desks and drawers are painted silver by George Moser; the archive ist whitewashed, new drawers are made.
1803–1823 General archivist Carl Theodor Gemeiner is head of the hospital’s archive, but the keys to the archive are not handed out to him.
1803: the foundational administration of the hospital is declared invalid, but is renewed in 1823.
1811 “Codex chronologico diplomaticus hospitalis s. Catharinae” by Thomas Ried (copies of medieval hospital documents (today in the Bavarian Main State Archives, Munich) Gemeiner’s box 49 of bequest).
1812 Franz Joseph von Samet, the imperial archivist, visited the Spitalarchiv.
1813 Imperial Archive to Gemeiner:
“… solches dem Landesdirektionsrath, Archivar Gemeiner zuzustellen und denselben hiedurch, sich der Oberaufsicht dieses Spitalarchivs zu unterziehen, da es ein wesentlicher Bestandteil des zu bildenden Kommunalarchivs seiner Natur nach werden muß.”
Gemeiner decides that the archive collection will remain in the Katharinenspital.
1816 Thomas Ried’s “Codex chronologico diplomaticus episcopatus Ratisbonenis” is bought.
1829 Imperial Archive demands documents about the emperor and the king for an project edition (Monumenta Boica), but assures that they will be returned undamaged.
1831 File register by Spitalaktuar (stenographer) Rothfischer.
1862 File register by hospital master J. B. Götz and Spitalaktuar F. B. Fischl, files and account books are kept in simple shelves in the office and vaults, document stock is in the archive vaults of 1668 (today these are the offices of the nursing management).
1895/97 Archive system in two repertories: hospital master Karl Pongratz distinguishes between archive and record office. Pongratz sets up 1809 as the temporal dividing line between archive an record office; the old documents and files are kept in the registry boxes III, IV, V and VI, the younger files and record books are in the boxes I, II, VII, VIII, IX, X and XI.
1895/97 Archive and record office are placed together in the protestant prayer room an their arrangement made according to the repertories of Pongratz.
1944/45 During World War II the Spitalarchiv is evacuated and stored in the forester’s house Ziegelhütte.
1968 The University of Regensburg is founded and takes up research and teaching.
1971 Hospital council decides that the archive is to remain in the Katharinenspital.
– Archive stacks are newly equipped.
– A new reading room is opened.












Renovation and installation of safety devices for the archives, the archive statutes and the regulations for users come into force.

Establishment of the Academic Advisory Board of the Archives of St Catherine´s Hospital.

Launch of the scholarly publication series "Regensburger Beiträge zur Regionalgeschichte" (Regensburg Contributions to Regional History).

Launch of the scholarly publication series "Studien zur Geschichte des Spital-, Wohlfahrts- und Gesundheitswesen" (Studies on the History of Hospitals, Welfare and Health Care).

Move of the Foundation's archive and collections from the administration building into the newly adapted archive building in the former brewmaster's house.

St Catherine´s Hospital plans to celebrate the 800th anniversary of its constitution.




Kathrin Pindl I Head of Corporate Research

Phone: +49 (0)941 / 83005-187
Fax: +49 (0)941 / 83005-999
E-mail: I
Postal Address:
Archiv der St. Katharinenspitalstiftung
z. Hd. Kathrin Pindl
Am Brückenfuß 1-3
D-93059 Regensburg