Elhe taifin i jakôci aniya duin biyai ice de. śun be jetere nirugan, Libri sin. 22-2
Already in times of Andreas Müller (1630?-1694), two items in Manchu language were to be found in the library’s collection, the first one being Ferdinand Verbiest’s (1623-1688) Prediction of the solar eclipse on 29th April 1669 (Typus eclipsis solis anno Christi 1669, Elhe taifin i jakôci aniya duin biyai ice de. śun be jetere nirugan = 康熙八年四月初一日癸亥朔日食圖 , Imperatoris Cam Hy octavo, die primo lunae 4ae, id est, die 29mo Aprilis ad Meridianum Pekinensem, Libri sin. 22-2), and the second item, a transcript of an imperial letters patent for the ancestors of Adam Schall of 1651, Diploma sinico-tartaricum pro J.A. Schalii parentibus et Majoribus, Ser.issimo et Pot.mo Electorri Brandenburgico …, apograph from Andreas Müller of July 19th 1683 (Ms. sin. 23 = Manchu version of Ms. sin. 22-1).
More than a century later Julius Klaproth (1783-1835) mentions further Manchurian books in his Verzeichniss der chinesischen und mandshuischen Bücher und Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, Paris: Kgl. Druckerei 1822. He notices, that after Christian Mentzel’s death in 1702 the library’s Chinese collections didn’t grow. It was only in 1810 that he, Klaproth himself, sent some Chinese, Manchurian and Mongolian books to the library. And later on, he exchanged some of his duplicates with the library. In this way the library got a complete Manchurian reference collection, so that only the library in Paris was comparable to the Berlin collection.
Wilhelm Schott’s supplementary catalogue Verzeichniss der chinesischen und mandschu-tungusischen Bücher und Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, Berlin: Kgl. Akademie der Wissenschaften 1840, mentions two Manchurian titles (in Schott’s words, „einige wenige“, p. III, p. 111, nr. XXXVII, the first five booklets of a translation of the New Testament, namely, the Gospels According to Mark and Luke, Paul’s Letters, the Apocalypse, and the Gospel According to Matthew into Manchu, Musei ejen Isus heristos i tutabuha ice hese, the translator is Stephan Lipovzov [1770-1841], Libri sin. 850, 859, 860, 863, 891, 892, unfortunately the items seem to were lost during World War II), as well as Tondo unenggi Fan gung ni wen ji bithe, Libri sin. 32 (today kept at Kraków), Schott p. 96, nr. IV.
Systematic acquisition started only in the early 20th century. In 1901, F(riedrich) W(ilhelm) K(arl) Müller (1863-1930), senior director at the then Museum of Ethnology, purchased books for the library in Peking, putting together the Müller collection (“Sammlung Müller”, shelf mark Slg. Müller). Shortly afterwards, the Peking collection (“Pekinger Sammlung”, shelf mark Pekinger Slg.) came into the library, at first as a depository of the wartime administration, incorporated into the library’s holdings since the end of 1909. Two years later, in 1911, the acquisition of the Moellendorff collection (“Sammlung Moellendorff”, shelf mark Slg. Moellendorff), i.e. the library of Paul Georg von Moellendorff [1848-1901] effected a important growth of the Manchu collection. Erich Hauer (1878-1936), associate professor for Manchu studies at the Berlin University, arranged the acquisition of further 18 missing titles, and in 1933 Walter Simon (1893-1981) in Peking again purchased Manchu titles for the then Royal Library. For that year Hermann Hülle (1870-1940) lists 1.227 volumes of printed books (Hülle, however, gives no number of titles), 37 manuscripts and 2 scrolls in the Manchu language.
In 1943, the Manchu Collection of the former Prussian State Library comprised about 2.650 volumes of around 150 printed books, 180 volumes of 38 Manchu manuscripts, and 3 scrolls. Unfortunately – just as in the case of the old Chinese collection – a substantial part of the pre-WWII Manchu holdings, which had to be relocated due to the war, was not returned to Berlin. One smaller part was returned to the Oriental Department of the former East Berlin Staatsbibliothek (since 1969: Asia-Africa-Department), another part to Marburg (former West Germany), and later to the East Asia Department of the Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz in Berlin (West). These, altogether 114 titles, were rejoined in Berlin in the 1990ies. Today, about 100 titles of the old Manchu collection are housed in the Biblioteka Jagiellonska in Kraków, Poland. The remaining 15 titles are destroyed or must be considered lost.