Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

  • What does the archive contain?  

The archive contains files left by Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald, head of the paleoanthropology department at the Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg between 1968 and 1982, when he died. Koenigswald spent the thirties and fourties at Java in the former dutch colony Netherlands Indies.
He resumed earlier searches for fossil remains of Pithecanthropus initially undertaken by Eugène Dubois in the 19th century. And he was successful! Koenigswald left in the department letters, publications, fotographies and other files on the study of the fossils of Pithecanthropus (today: Homo erectus) found at Java. These files have been collected and arranged in an archive in 1999.

  • How do I work with the catalogue?

The archive consists of four sections: correspondence, publications of Koenigswald, fotographies, and other files relating directly to javanese fossil sites and Koenigswalds studies of the fossils as well as other hominid finds.
The first section contains around 2,000 letters mainly directed to G. H. R. von Koenigswald. A minor part consists of copies of letters written by himself. Some correspondences lasted for several decades and cover also the time he spent at Java. The second section contains publications, unpublished drafts and manuscripts of Koenigswald - in total about 300. The thrid section contains all kinds of files relating to sites on Java and elsewhere and Koenigswald's studies of the fossils. The contents of every section is described separately in each part of the catalogue. In the fourth section about 80 of Koenigswald's photographies are collected.

The catalogue is arranged in exactly the same way as the archive. You may use it as a map and carry out first investigations - e. g. check whether particular files may be in the archive, whether Koenigswald corresponded with a particular person etc.

  • How can I get access to the files?

The web catalogue should serve mainly for your first orientation. It does not contain files like scanned letters or so. Thus, you may learn, whether at all and where particular files are kept in the archive. We ask for your understanding that we cannot give direct access to the archive via web. However, studies can be done personally in the archive.

Should you now wish to check the von Koenigswald archive, please send your application consisting of  a short outline of your project and a short curriculum to the following address:   

Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg
Dept. Paleoanthropology and Quarternary Paleontology
Archiv von Koenigswald
Senckenberganlage 25
D-60325 Frankfurt am Main