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MS Ger 149

Kasten, Hans, collector. Hans Kasten papers on Johann Georg Heinrich Tinius, 1780-1953: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Ger 149
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Kasten, Hans, collector.
Title: Hans Kasten papers on Johann Georg Heinrich Tinius,
Date(s): 1780-1953.
Quantity: 1 collection (2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in German and Latin.
Abstract: Papers relating to the German pastor Johann Georg Heinrich Tinius, who was convicted of murder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Purchased with the Morse fund, 1961.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Michael W. Austin

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Hans Kasten Papers on Johann Georg Heinrich Tinius, 1780-1953 (MS Ger 149). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Johann Georg Heinrich Tinius (1764-1846) was a pastor in Poserna, Prussia. He was also an ardent bibliophile, whose desire to increase his collection of some 60,000 works on theology and linguistics far exceeded his income, and in 1813 he was indicted on charges of murdering two wealthy citizens of Leipzig, ostensibly for their money. He was imprisoned in 1814 pending conviction, but, due to wartime and political upheavals in Saxony and Prussia, was not sentenced until 1823. He thereafter served another 12 years and was released from prison at the age of 71, much to popular alarm. Throughout his life he strenuously maintained his innocence. His case, an example of "bibliomania", has been of lasting interest to psychologists and other scholars, both in Germany and abroad.
The 20th-century German scholar and bibliographer Hans Kasten scoured local archives and spent considerable time and expense in reproducing what records on Tinius he could find. It is thought that many if not all of these archives were destroyed or lost during the Second World War; hence, Kasten's collection may be the most comprehensive documentation on the Tinius case in existence. Kasten published a bibliography of works about Tinius in 1943.


Arranged into the following series: Arranged chronologically within series; when no date is available, arranged alphabetically by title at the end of series. Dates and places refer to those in or on the documents cited, not dates and places of reproduction.

Scope and Contents

Consists of biographical and bibliographical material collected by Kasten for his study of the life and works of Tinius, consisting mainly of typescript and photostat copies of letters by Tinius, memoirs, and biographies, along with Kasten's notes, clippings, offprints, and bibliographies. Extant in the collection are 5 original autograph letters by Tinius, 1805-1841, and 1 volume of official manuscript records relating to his case, 1813.

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