The Master Builders' Ledgers from Augsburg

City Accounts from Augsburg

Historians from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz edit medieval ledgers from Augsburg

The Augsburg Master Builders’ ledgers, named after the councilors in charge of the accounts for the Imperial City of Augsburg, are an exceptional serial source of national importance. The books record almost completely the expenditures and part of the revenues of the city and council of Augsburg year on year from 1320 to 1800. More precisely they render account for building activities of the city as well as the salaries paid to the employees of the city, plus expenditure in connection with diplomatic missions, emissaries etc. Income came from rent and taxation. However taxes were collected independently and interested scholars would have to delve into the separate tax accounts. The city’s medieval archive holds among other source material

  • Builder’s Ledgers 1320 ff.
  • Books of Taxes 1346 ff.
  • Justiciary archives from 1302 ff

The Master Builders’ ledgers are not only an excellent source for issues relating to economic and administrative history. The  also shed light on the social and cultural affairs of the city. The great adherence to tradition and sheer uniformity of the entries make the ledgers a particularly suitable source to show where the Augsburg councilors spent money over the long term, such as for maintenance of public buildings, social expenditures, and municipal staff.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has awarded Professor Jörg Rogge of the Medieval History work group at the Department of History at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) a grant of EUR 400,000 for an annotated digital edition of the Augsburg Master Builders’ ledgers. The project will be conducted at the Research Unit: Historical Cultural Sciences at Mainz University. During the next three years, Rogge and three researchers will inventory the medieval ledgers from Augsburg for the period 1320 to 1466. The handwritten entries are being transcribed and transferred to a modern data entry format. There will also be a commentary on relevant issues. Additional information about persons, places, institutions, and further facts will be discussed in the development of the Master Builders’ ledgers published online year by year.

The Master Builders’ ledgers will be presented online in collaboration with the Trier Center for Digital Humanities and the Mainz University Library. The goal of the project is to make the edited ledgers searchable and freely available online. This is an innovative form of processing and presenting these medieval ledgers that will greatly facilitate the systematic analysis of this unique resource.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Jörg Rogge 
Project team members: Simone Würz M.A., Sarah Schrade M.A., Dr. Stefan Grathoff.
Further persons involved are: Claudine Moulin (University of Trier), Andreas Brandtner (Mainz University Library)
The project will run from  June 2014 – May 2017



Blick in der Schatzkammer (where the featured photo is posted)

History of Augsburg CoverGeschichte der Stadt Augsburg
By Wolfram Baer, Josef Becker and Gunther Gottlieb
Theiss 1985
ISBN-10: 3806202834
ISBN-13: 978-3806202830

History of  Augsburg CoverGeschichte Augsburgs von Bernd Roeck
C.H.Beck; Auflage 2005
ISBN-10: 3406531970
ISBN-13: 978-3406531972









The history of the city has also been extensively told in two series of local history publications:

Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der Stadt Augsburg (30 volumes)

Beiträge zur Geschicte der Stadt Augsburg (3 volumes)