Johannes Hevelius’ book collection in the light of the 1688 auction catalogue
Johannes Hevelius (1611–1687), a famous astronomer from Gdańsk, was also a collector and owner of a printing house in the city. He had a rich library collection, which helped him in his scholarly work. Some of his property, including the printing house and a large part of his book collection, was destroyed by the fire that broke out on the night of 26–27 September 1679. The surviving part of Hevelius’ private library as well as his post-1679 acquisitions have so far been documented by a manuscript catalogue kept at the Bibliothèque de l’Observatoire in Paris. After the astronomer’s death, his legacy became fragmented with time. A similar fate befell the book collection, which was auctioned in Gdańsk in 1688. The only copy of the printed auction catalogue for this collection is currently held by the University Library in Erlangen (Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen-Nürnberg). It lists 1715 titles of printed works and manuscripts in 1471 volumes as well as several astronomical instruments. It was a typical scholarly collection, dominated by books on astronomy, mathematics, mechanics and philosophy of nature by Hevelius’ European contemporaries, as well as the most important works dealing with these disciplines written from Antiquity until the 17th century. It was complemented by books on disciplines like law, history, theology, literature and literary studies.