Print sample collection Haller

Bern, two centuries ago

A treasure of Bernese history – this was how Hans Bloesch praised over 100 tomes containing Haller print samples. Bloesch, head librarian of Berne city and university library, discovered the collection in the attic of Münstergasse library in the 1920s. The collection contains print orders from 1800 to 1859, which the publishing house executed for church and state, for trade and commerce, for the Bernese entertainment industry, and for private customers.

Bloesch disassembled approximately 20 tomes from the years 1800 to 1824 and restructured them both thematically and chronologically. Moreover, he extracted print samples from later tomes and integrated them into his newly established system of order and classification. He planned for an inventory of the system, which he did not manage to realise. Until the year 2019, the majority of the print samples were glued chronologically on top of each other and side by side in tomes with heavily compromised binding.

Cataloging project

The collection, which is of great importance to the city of Bern, was cataloged and conserved from 2017 to 2019 and is now available to the public. From tiny business cards to posters in world format, the collection contains a large variety of loose, folded, and bound print products. The samples ranging from plyboard-like materials to extremely delicate paper were all highly contaminated and partly mouldy. Overall, approximately 80’000 highly contaminated print samples were cleaned, indexed and made available for consultation in a special reading room of Münstergasse library. A selection of circus and show posters, advertisements and coffee packaging were restored, digitised and uploaded to, the platform for Swiss prints.
The print samples collection Haller is recorded in the catalogue swisscollections,  where requests for consultation in the special reading room can be made. The exhibition Diesmal etwas ganz Neues !!! Druckbelege Haller – Zeitkapsel aus dem 19. Jahrhundert at Münstergasse library is now immortalised in our virtual exhibition. And here you will gain insights into extraordinary discoveries at various stages of the project.
In autumn 2020 a publication by edition taberna kritika on the visual poetry of the collection print samples Haller is scheduled to appear. Furthermore, a reissue of the booklet Lustiges und nützliches ABC- und Lesebuch [A funny and useful ABC- and reading book] by the publisher vatter&vatter is in planning.

The project was patronized generously by

Burgergemeinde Bern
Ernst Göhner Stiftung
Sophie und Karl Binding Stiftung
Fondation Johanna Dürmüller-Bol

Logos von fünf beteiligte Stiftungen