PHOTO BOOKS 1918 TO 1945



“Autopsie” and “Autopsy” is a project to develop and research in detail German photo books of the time between 1918 to 1945. At a later stage photo books from additional periods, other countries photo books - and their different periods will be added.

A number of book collectors, librarians, photo historian and researchers, booksellers and other interested parties have helped and participated in this efforts. Some of the results have already been published in “Autopsie. German-language Photo Books 1918-1945”, in two volumes (Göttingen: Steidl Verlag). The first volume was released in April 2012, the second volume in early 2013.

In addition this database ><, makes the project results available complete as published with most - if not all - possible bibliographical and book attributes and related technical information. In contrast to most library databases this database presents each book with exemplary views of the book attributes and design and - if possible - of content pages.

The database has emerged from a private collection database. It will continuously be revised, unified and completed in order to conform to bibliographic standards and includes the latest information on each book and images. However, since this is specifically a database for photo publications, certain additional information required will set it apart from some of the library standards. Corrections and additions by the user are therefore welcome and will be catered by This contact possibilities is also found in the individual directory entries.

For the database >< no full text search is available at this time. Instead, there is the option to search within categories. The criteria are: Photographer, Author / Editor, Title, Publisher, Year of Publication, Printer, Designers, Series. The records about the individual books follow an uniform structure (all data is based on the publication “Autopsie”; information from other sources is supplemented and shown in brackets). Different editions and editions with different book attributes and different print-runs of the same title, have in each case their own entry.

Above the text block of each entry is an unique assigned reference number, that can be used accordingly when referencing this database (“Autopsie 12345”). In accordance with the importance of their share of number of published photo books, the photographer - or the photographers agency or estate - are mentioned below “Photographer” first. Under “Author” the name of the author or authors follows. Other functions such as editors, preface, foreword, etc. are shown separately. Under “Title”, the title and subtitle of the book is in accordance with the relevant bibliographic standard taken from the title page of the book - not the book cover. Under “Series” is noted whether the book belongs to a series of books.

Under “Place / Publisher / Year” the publisher’s place, name and year of publication are listed. Followed by the number of the edition, how many copies have been printed (if known in 1.000s.), Were ever possible the original retail price is mentioned. The size is indicated by height and width (in cm) and the number of pages (if possible also unnumbered pages), and differentiated by text and image pages. The number of illustrations refers to information in the book or the count at “Autopsyie”. If no different printing colors and techniques named, it is black and white illustrations in letterpress.

Under “Book Attributes” the type of cover and the existence of dust jacket and slipcase are named, where this is substantiated by actual existing copies. As for the bindings one must remember that at times before World War II the total print run was often bound in different binding quotas, and there could be differences in colors and materials within the edition. In the database, however, only those copies are included as a cover version in which this deviation is clear and significant. With regard to the dust jacket it should be noted that for most - if not all - company publications these were omitted, because these books were not sold by the trade and therefore not used as display in shop windows - for which dust jacket were the “advertising page” for the book. As for the slipcase the rule is that at the time almost all large-format books have been shipped in simple cardboard slipcases, most with no information, some times with a stamped short version of the books title or the particular type of binding, these, however, have rarely survived.

Furthermore, the various production companies of the book (printer of text, printer of illustration, bookbinder and paper supplier) are mentioned, provided that this can be found in the imprint of the book details.

Under “Designer” the graphic designer or typographer are listed who has been responsible for the complete book layout / or cover / or dust jacket. Under “Additional images”, the photographers, agencies and archives are named, who contributed additional photographs to the book. In addition, if applicable foreign language texts or captions are noted below. Under “Notes” we have listed any special features of the book which cannot be traced from the standard information. Under “Reference” list the most relevant reference lists in which the photo book is mentioned - including the specific page number. A search name for these reference books used is listed in the bar under “Reference”.

Finally, the information provided will always include images of the dust jacket, cover, slipcase (when applicable) and if possibly in some cases with selected double pages from the book.

The above mentioned book “Autopsie” refers to:

Manfred Heiting / Roland Jaeger (Ed.):
Autopsy. German-Language Photo Books
1918 to 1945. Volume 1;
Göttingen: Steidl Verlag, 2012
ISBN 978-3-86930-412-0

Manfred Heiting / Roland Jaeger (Ed.):
Autopsy. German-Language Photo Books
1918 to 1945. Volume 2;
Göttingen: Steidl Verlag, 2012
ISBN 978-3-89630-433-5