Découvrez les bibliothèques de la Ville de Genève
Toute l'offre culturelle


  • La Bibliothèque de Genève déploie sur 4 sites un patrimoine écrit, imprimé, musical et iconographique unique qu’elle sélectionne, protège, valorise et transmet au grand public comme au public scientifique.
  • Site internet de la Bibliothèque de Genève


  • Les Bibliothèques municipales sont des lieux de rencontre, de découverte et de partage qui vous proposent de nombreux documents à emprunter ainsi que des activités gratuites pour petit-e-s et grand-e-s.
  • Site Internet des Bibliothèques municipales


  • Les musées d’art et d’histoire, le Musée d’ethnographie et le Museum d’histoire naturelle, les Conservatoires et Jardin botaniques et le Fond municipal d’art contemporain proposent un accès à leur bibliothèque scientifique .
  • Site internet


  • Vous avez une question et vous souhaitez une réponse personnalisée? Le réseau des bibliothèques genevoises vous offre, en moins de trois jours, un résultat fiable et des sources identifiées.
  • Service Interroge

Historique

Most of our collections of archives, manuscripts, and autographs have been extensively inventoried. The traditional paper inventories as well as manual files are available in the Salle Senebier. They are gradually being added to the Odyssée database.

Caroline Boissier-Butini, extrait de son 5e concerto en ré pour alto, première moitié du 19e siècle (BGE, Ms. mus. 101, f. 9v°)

The head of the Department of manuscripts and the library’s archivists are on hand to help you in your search and consultation of documents. They will happily reply to your specific queries in person or by email. Consultation of these documents is only permitted in the Salle Senebier.

Personal archives

The Bibliothèque de Genève conserves some 600 collections of the records of celebrities, families, or communities. All of these archives are listed in the Odyssée database.

The Odyssée database files will describe a group of archives, a collection of manuscripts, even an isolated document, either exhaustively and in detail, or summarily, referring readers to a detailed inventory that is available in one or more of the typewritten catalogues of the Salle Senebier (the reading room of the Department of rare books). These catalogues are in the process of being digitized or retroconverted in the Odyssée database. Finally, some collections or groups of documents have not yet been inventoried.

The descriptions comply with the ISAD (G) (International Standard Archival Description, general section, developed by the International Council of Archives), to which indexing and internal management fields have been added. The information is encoded with EAD (Encoded Archival Description) tags using an XML editor.
The number of description levels varies depending on the complexity of the collections.

Barbara Roth-Lochner and Didier Grange: Autour des normes de description : un partenariat entre Archives publiques et collections de fonds privés, Journal of Archival Organization 3, 2-3 (2005), 125-138.

Typewritten catalogues and files

The catalogues, over 50 typewritten volumes, can be consulted in the Salle Senebier. They are complemented by name indexes in the form of manual files, notably a cumulative index of authors’ names and the addressees of letters (nearly 130,000 files). There also exist file indexes listing the names of the authors of works, as well as a rudimentary index of contents.
The inventories and indexes are gradually being integrated in the Odyssée database.

Printed inventories

See also the Odyssée database for a number of the collections below

Altamira
Léopold Micheli. Inventaire de la collection Edouard Favre (Altamira records). Excerpt from the Bulletin hispanique. Bordeaux and Paris, 1914.

Bonnet, Charles
Jean-Daniel Candaux. Catalogue de la correspondance de Charles Bonnet conservée à la Bibliothèque de Genève. Geneva, Bibliothèque de Genève, 1993.

Court, Antoine
Francis Waddington. “Inventaire des manuscrits d'Antoine Court conservés à la Bibliothèque de Genève,” Bulletin de la Société d'histoire du protestantisme français, XIe année (1862), 80-104.

Dunant, Henry
Philippe Monnier. “Henry Dunant à la Bibliothèque de Genève,” De l'utopie à la réalité, acts of the Henry Dunant conference held in Geneva at the Athénée and the Oratoire chapel on 3, 4 and 5 May 1985. Geneva, Société Henry Dunant, 1988, 57-71.

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques
Fernand Aubert. Catalogue des manuscrits de Jean-Jacques Rousseau qui se trouvent à Genève. Geneva, 1938. Revised and enlarged excerpt of the Annales de la Société J.-J. Rousseau, vol. XXIV, 1935.

Spir, African
Fabrizio Frigerio. Catalogue raisonné of the African Spir collection. Geneva, Bibliothèque publique et universitaire, 1990.

Töpffer, Rodolphe
A. de Suzannet. Catalogue des manuscrits, livres imprimés et lettres autographes composant la Bibliothèque de la petite Chardière. Œuvres de Rodolphe Töpffer. Lausanne, Imprimerie centrale, 1943.

Tronchin
Frédéric Gardy. Catalogue de la partie des archives Tronchin acquise par la Société du Musée historique de la Réformation. Geneva, Jullien, 1946.

Comité genevois pour le protestantisme français
Philippe M. Monnier. “Les archives du Comité genevois pour le protestantisme français,” Bulletin de la Société d'histoire du protestantisme français, 1973, 575-596.

Collections of medieval and modern manuscripts

The Bibliothèque de Genève conserves a number of magnificent examples of handwritten books dating from before the introduction of the printing press, including religious works (Bibles, Gospel books, missals, books of hours), literature, philosophy, history (stories from classic authors, Ovid, Cicero, Sallust), science, and law, all of them copied in codices or more rarely on scrolls. Often they are superbly decorated with illuminations. These manuscripts have various provenances, and sometimes form collections that were assembled by Genevan scholars, professors, or collectors, like the manuscripts making up the Petau collection, which the pastor and professor Ami Lullin (1695-1756) bequeathed to the Bibliothèque; or the Arabic manuscripts of Jean Humbert (1792-1851), the professor of Arab at the Académie.

Andrea Benincasa, carte nautique de la côte de la Méditerranée occidentale, faisant partie d'un atlas de portulans, Ancône, 1476. BGE, Ms. latin 81, f. 5v°-6.

Medieval manuscripts in French
Paule Hochuli Dubuis, Bibliothèque de Genève, Catalogue des manuscrits français 1-198. Genève, 2011, 5e édition.

Medieval and modern manuscripts in Latin
Isabelle Jeger, Bibliothèque de Genève, Catalogue des manuscrits latins 1-376, Genève, 2016

Facsimiles and description of medieval manuscripts from the Bibliothèque de Genève
e-codices, virtual library of manuscripts in Switzerland

Printed catalogues
Jean Senebier, Catalogue raisonné des manuscrits conservés dans la Bibliothèque de la Ville et République de Genève. Genève, 1779.

It is the oldest printed catalogue of the manuscript collection; today it can be considered a historical document.

Bernard Gagnebin, Bertrand Bouvier, Esther Starobinsky, Anouar Louca. L’Enluminure de Charlemagne à François Ier. Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève. Genève, Musée Rath, 1976.

Hippolyte Aubert. Notices sur les manuscrits Petau conservés à la Bibliothèque de Genève (Fonds Ami Lullin).Paris, 1911. (Excerpt from the Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Chartes, vol. LXX, LXXI, LXXII).

Anouar Louca. Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève, Catalogue des manuscrits arabes. Genève, BPU, 1968. A new edition of this catalogue enlarged with the Persian and Ottoman Turk manuscript catalogue of Edeltraut von der Schmitt. Catalogue des manuscrits orientaux de la Bibliothèque publique et universitaire, Genève. Berne P. Lang, 2005.

Mahmoud Lameï.  Les manuscrits illustrés orientaux dans les institutions publiques en Suisse. I. Les bibliothèques universitaires de Lausanne et Genève", Asiatische Studien / Etudes Asiatiques, LIV 3 2000, p. 499-595.
François Huot. Les manuscrits liturgiques du canton de Genève. Fribourg, Editions universitaires, 1990.

Henri Omont. Catalogue des manuscrits grecs des bibliothèques de Suisse. Leipzig, Otto Harrassowitz, 1886.
A new catalogue of the Bibliothèque de Genève’s Greek manuscripts is planned.

Sven Stelling-Michaud. Catalogue des manuscrits juridiques (droit canon et droit romain) de la fin du XIIe au XIVe siècle conservés en Suisse. Genève, Librairie Droz, 1954.

Roland Marti. Beschreibung der slavischen Handschriften in der Schweiz. Berne, Peter Lang, 1991 (Slavica Helvetica, 40).

Enea Balmas et Mario Dal Corso. I Manoscritti Valdesi di Ginevra. Turin, 1977.

Facsimiles of medieval manuscripts
The Bibliothèque de Genève is creating an interesting collection of facsimile medieval manuscripts. Extremely well made, these facsimile editions sometimes even reproduce codicological elements of the originals. They serve as excellent teaching aids in medieval studies.

Facsimile editions are excluded from circulation. However, you can ask to consult them at any time in the Salle Senebier.

Paule Hochuli Dubuis. A selection of facsimile editions of medieval manuscripts and several manuscripts from late antiquity that are conserved at the Bibliothèque de Genève, 2007 (FR)

Papyri

The Bibliothèque de Genève has an important collection of Egyptian papyri featuring texts in a number of languages (Greek, Latin, Demotic, Coptic, etc.). These pieces have been digitized and catalogued in a database by a team directed by Professor Paul Schubert of the Université de Genève, with the generous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation. Their work, the first version of which was completed in 2003, continues and is regularly updated.

The Papyri of Geneva database

Papyrus grec d'Egypte, contrat de vente de blé avec paiement anticipé passé entre Thômas et Paulos, 6e siècle (BGE, P. gen. inv. 71 v°)

Bibliothèque’s administrative records

The Bibliothèque’s administrative records are made up of admissions registries and acquisitions files, old catalogues, management reports, correspondence, account books, registries of readers, personnel files, etc. The oldest document is a catalogue dating from 1572, the Catalogus librorum Bibliothecae Genevensis. The latest document dates from… today! The BGE archives are indeed growing day by day.

Consultation of recent records is subject to the Public records law of Geneva (LArch) of 1 December 2000, and the Law on public information, access to documents, and protection of personal data (LIPAD) of 5 October 2001.

A detailed inventory of an important part of these historical records was completed in 2000, when the institution was still called the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire (BPU, Public and university library). It is the reason why the inventory bears the name BPU Archives. It exists in a typewritten 3-volume set and can be consulted in the Salle Senebier (call number: Arch. BPU Fg 40 a, b, c).

Table of contents of the BPU Archives catalogue (FR)

The current management of records is called the BGE Archives, following the change of institutional name that occurred in 2006.

Philippe M. Monnier. "Les archives de la Bibliothèque de Genève: une source pour l'histoire culturelle genevoise". Bulletin de la Société d'histoire et d'archéologie de Genève, 2000-2001. Genève, 2004, p. 69-79

Paule Hochuli Dubuis
Assistant curator
mss.bge(at)ville-ge.ch
T: +41 22 418 28 66

Promenade des Bastions 1
1211 Genève 4

T: +41 22 418 28 00
F: +41 22 418 28 01
info.bge(at)ville-ge[dot]ch



Les manuscrits suisses: Le carnaval dans un livre d'heures

Les manuscrits choisis racontent chacun un bout de l'histoire des moines et des laïques du Moyen-Âge en Suisse et en Europe. Episode deux: Les magnifiques enluminures d'un livre liturgique témoignent du calendrier de la vie quotidienne