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Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv, Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv

Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv – Information in brief

The Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv (AVA) keeps the written records of the central services in charge of interior administration during the days of the Habsburg monarchy starting from the 16th century, on a total of 12 700 linear metres of shelves; it also houses a collection of maps and plans as well as about 5 000 acts and charters.

Adelsakt Friedrich von Schiller 1802 © OESTA

The origins of the Allgemeine Verwaltungsarchiv date back to 1749 when the past records of the aulic chancelleries were brought together upon the foundation of the "Directorium in publicis et cameralibus".

The fire at the Palace of Justice in July 1927 considerably reduced the holdings of the Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchivs.
The holdings of today’s Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv consist of the following groups of records: home affairs, justice, education and religion, agriculture, trade and transport, archives of noble families, estates (Bach, Ferstel, Beck etc.), family archives (especially those of the Harrach, Trauttmansdorff, Paar and Hohenwart families) and the collection of maps and plans.

In 2003 the "Audiovisual Collection" was added, it is a group of holdings consisting mainly of the collections of photographs of the Federal Press Service (about 67 000 pictures) transferred to the Austrian State Archives in that year.

The Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv also includes the copying and photo office. Since the summer of 2006, the Austrian State Archives have been in a position to meet the requests of users for digitised copies. Moreover, selected "cimeliae" (rarities, gems) from individual departments are digitised. Furthermore, the Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv is in charge of loan agreements with the Austrian State Archives.

Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv – Information in brief

The Hofkammerarchiv is the archive of the Aulic Chancellery, the central financial authority of the Habsburg empire (1527 to 1848); it was first mentioned in writing in 1578 and is thus the oldest central archive in Vienna.

The Hofkammerarchiv holds a special position in the history of Austrian archives because from 1832 to 1856, the renowned Austrian writer Franz Grillparzer (1791 to 1872) was its director. His office on the second floor, including the original furniture and the high desk at which Grillparzer wrote a number of his dramas, is open for visits.

The Finanzarchiv, i.e. the archive of the Ministry of Finance, replacing the Aulic Chancellery in 1848, was only founded in 1892. It is where the records of the Ministry of Finance for the period 1848 to 1918 and the common Imperial Ministry of Finance (1868 to 1918) are kept. In 1945 the two archives were merged in one department of the Austrian State Archives.

The holdings of the Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv (FHKA) go far beyond the scope of financial administration of the court and state, including trade, mining, construction, transport and settlement.

The archival holdings of the Hofkammerarchiv document the financial emoluments to public servants of the court and state, artists, scholars and scientists, thus making the department a veritable mine of information from the perspectives of personal histories, cultural studies and history of science.

Aquarellierte Darstellung der Fassade des Hofkammerarchivs, Johannesgasse © OESTA

The Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv department is structured along the following lines: files of the central administrative divisions of the Imperial and Royal (k. k.) Hofkammer and the k. k. Ministry of Finance, Alte Hofkammer – Hoffinanz (Old Aulic Chancellery – Court Finances), Neue Hofkammer (New Aulic Chancellery), Hofkammer – Sammlungen und Selekte (Aulic Chancellery – collections and selected records), k. k. Finanzministerium – Allgemeine Abteilungen (Imperial and Royal Ministry of Finance – general divisions), Finanzarchiv – Sonderbestände (Financial Archives – special holdings), k. u. k. Gemeinsames Finanzministerium (Imperial and Royal Common Ministry of Finance).

The holdings of the Finanz- und Hofkammerarchiv comprise roughly 33 000 metres of shelves with 50 000 bundles and boxes, 23 000 account books, 3 600 acts and charters, the oldest of which dates back to 1170, and 13 000 maps and plans.