You can obtain an initial overview of the documents held by the foundation via the collection overview. For many questions, additional research into relevant source material in other archives is recommended. You can obtain a brief overview of archives with Adenauer collections here. In addition to the files, the archive holds a large number of life documents, including school reports, ID cards and certificates.
Konrad Adenauer was a favourite subject for cartoonists Just a few strokes were enough for the chancellor’s distinctive face to be recognised. Adenauer appreciated a “good” cartoon: He had the Federal Press Office send him the latest publications and mostly took the criticism with good humour. After his death the approximately 9,700 prints of Adenauer cartoons from the press which had been collected during his lifetime were supplemented by small donations from private individuals and cartoonists. The collection is fully catalogued and for the most part provides information on when and where the cartoons were published.
The archive includes an extensive collection of around 10,000 individual photos of events from Konrad Adenauer’s life as well as 200 photo albums, mainly from his time as chancellor. These collections allow the various stages of Adenauer’s life to be documented photographically, even if photos have not survived for every single event. The collection is fully indexed and is being digitalised on an ongoing basis. At the same time, the records are catalogued in the digital database and the people depicted are identified. This enables us to improve searches for key words and depicted secondary actors. Even during Adenauer’s lifetime, the collection of photos grew to a considerable size, as professional photographers, press agencies, private individuals and event organisers sent him photos of trips abroad, election speeches and other events. This means that the Foundation Chancellor Adenauer House owns the photographic prints but generally not the rights. Even though we can only make a small part of our collections available for use, we are happy to put you in touch with the rights holders where possible.
This collection contains films that belonged to Konrad Adenauer, contemporary film and sound recordings by and about him (e.g. newsreels), but also his considerable collection of tapes and records of classical music. In addition, the archive collects films and television programmes about Konrad Adenauer produced after his death until the present day. As with the photographs, the Foundation Chancellor Adenauer House generally does not own the rights to the recordings but archives them primarily for documentation purposes.
The archive looks after Konrad Adenauer’s legacy library. Around 3,500 books have been preserved, which Adenauer acquired out of his own interest, received as gifts on occasions such as birthdays or were sent to him by the authors themselves. The library covers almost every genre, although the main points of interest such as gardening, literature and art are apparent. The handwritten dedications found in many of the publications are of special interest to scholars. All the titles and dedications can be researched in a digital database as well as their original location in Adenauer’s home. However, which books Adenauer read and what he thought of them can only be verified for a few copies by corresponding markings by the reader or by correspondence with the authors.
In addition to the press reports available in the estate files, the archive has a collection of press articles, newspapers and magazines with Adenauer reports that has grown over the years. This is mainly in chronological order and is available for use on site. A collection of (anniversary) coins, medals and stamps with Adenauer motifs is also constantly being expanded through generous donations from private individuals.
The archive looks after the inventory remaining in Konrad Adenauer’s home, which - like the house, garden pavilion and garden - is listed. The approximately 600 pieces of art and furnishings are fully catalogued digitally and documented photographically.
In addition to other art and furnishings, the extensive collection also includes the medals and (state) gifts awarded to Konrad Adenauer. The gifts which Adenauer received as Federal Chancellor became his private property. Some of them remained in the Federal Chancellery, others were passed on (e.g. to museums) or he took them home with him. Nowadays, the handling of state gifts is much more strictly regulated. As Adenauer’s heirs donated his estate to the nation, the gifts are once again in the hands of the federal government. The collection is continuously being catalogued in more detailed in the digital database in order to meet the increasing number of requests from individuals and museums.
You can find a selection of artefacts in the Our Originals section.
In addition to the political files, the draft files for Adenauer’s memoirs and his private documents remained in the foundation as a deposit of the family. In recent years, all Rhöndorf documents have been transferred to the foundation so these are also available for use. They include building and administrative documents relating to the house in Rhöndorf, private correspondence with the family, including letters of condolence on the death of family members and documents relating to Adenauer’s inventions. In addition to the actual Adenauer estate, the archive also maintains small supplementary partial estates and deposits from relatives, friends and private employees of Adenauer. These include the already published diary of his son Paul, letters from Adenauer to Dora Pferdmenges and stenography pads written by his private secretary. Depending on the status of cataloguing, additional collections can also be viewed within the framework of the Federal Archives Act.
The Adenauerhaus lends items for special exhibitions. Interested parties can gain an initial insight into the house’s “treasures” via the section Our Originals. We will be happy to assist you in researching objects for the theme of your planned exhibition. We will send your institution our loan conditions on request. It is not possible to loan original documents or photos for reasons of conservation. We are happy to provide you with digital copies for reproduction.