The BBF portal provides Open Access editions of selected historical texts on education.

The BBF is currently making two substantial editions of letters available for research on its platform: the complete edition of the letters of kindergarten founder Friedrich Fröbel and the correspondence between the pedagogue and philosopher Eduard Spranger and Käthe Hadlich. Additionally, the travel diary of a Berlin schoolgirl from the BBF archive has been edited there. Further editions are in preparation. The texts have been edited in accordance with the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), which ensures their long-term availability.


Complete Edition of Letters by Friedrich Fröbel

Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852) is known as the founder of kindergartens and he is without doubt a classical figure in pedagogy, part of his legacy, known Berlin Legacy, lies in the BBF Archive.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has funded a project for the edition comprising not only the letters at the BBF, but all 1800 known letters written by Fröbel. The edition aimed to inspiring and promoting research by making new, in many cases unknown sources accessible. While many collections of correspondences were already published in the past, they are in many cases incomplete and do not live up to editing standards.

This edition of the complete letters was edited by Professor Dr. Helmut Heiland (Fröbel Research Unit at the University of Duisburg-Essen) and the BBF. It sheds light on Fröbel‘s life in many details and offers deeper insights into his work. Owing to Fröbel’s general tendency to integrate autobiographical elements in his letters, his self-image is portrayed and relevant nuances are revealed.The entire corpus of letters provides a substantial source for research into Fröbel‘s pedagogy and it complements his published work respectively his edited work particularly regarding the periods of his life when he published little or not at all.


Correspondence Between Eduard Spranger and Käthe Hadlich

Eduard Spranger (1882–1963) was a philosopher, pedagogue and psychologist. He played a crucial role in the establishment of pedagogy as an academic discipline in its own right and he influenced teacher education in Germany. He is known to be one of the most distinctive representatives of humanities-oriented pedagogy (Geisteswissenschaftliche Pädagogik) and he had a sustained impact on pedagogical discussion in the first half of the 20th century.

Spranger considered written communication to be a central element of his lifestyle. Käthe Hadlich (1872–1960) was one of his most important partners in correspondence. Nearly all of the topics and lifespheres relevant to Spranger are mentioned in their correspondence. Because of its scope and details, the correspondence can be seen as a kind of diary. It represents the central medium of Spranger’s self-reflection, which he himself considered to be fundamental to his scientific work.

More than 4,500 letters and postcards from the correspondence between Spranger and Hadlich have survived, spanning the years 1903 to 1960. The German Research Foundation (DFG) funded a research project to transcribe the correspondence, chaired by Professor Dr. Werner Sacher (Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg). Subject to further funding from the DFG, the entire correspondence was processed pursuant to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) directives and made available in an openly accessible online edition. The edition was edited by Professor Dr. Karin Priem (University of Luxembourg) and Professor Dr. Klaus-Peter Horn (Georg-August-University of Göttingen) as well as the BBF.


Travel Diary of Schoolgirl Charlotte Lepke

In this travel diary, the 13-year-old Berlin schoolgirl Charlotte Lepke (married name Bartlitz, 1887–1980) describes her experiences on a two-week hiking trip to the Giant Mountains in 1901. 

In 1901, Charlotte Lepke was selected as one of the most accomplished students in her class from a total of 15 Berlin municipal schools to embark on a hiking excursion through the Giant Mountains as part of a "Berlin vacation colony." The trip was sponsored by art collector and patron James Simon (1851–1932), whose identity initially remained unknown to the children.

The hiking trip, led by Teacher Charlotte Effer, lasted from July 8 to 21, 1901. It began with a fitness hike in the Grunewald forest on July 2, 1901. In addition to an ascent of the Schneekoppe, the highest peak in the Erzgebirge, the students also visited nearby towns such as Warmbrunn, Hermsdorf, and Hirschberg.

The two-volume diary is part of the legacy of Charlotte Bartlitz kept in the BBF archive. It was digitized and edited as part of a student project at the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, with the assistance of BBF staff.