Launch of the Josef Guggenmos development project

with funds from the German Research Foundation

On October 1, 2020, a project for the cataloguing of the estate of Josef Guggenmos in the International Youth Library was launched. The project is financed by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), is scheduled to run for about 3 years with a contributuion from the International Youth Library, and aims to order the large estate (about 200 archive boxes) of the poet and to catalog it in the autograph portal Kalliope. It is expected that the estate will be open for scholarly work from 2023 onwards.

Josef Guggenmos (1922-2003) has had a decisive influence on the canon of German-language children's poetry since 1960. As a nature lyricist, he often chose animals as protagonists in his children's poems. However, he also wrote haikus, aphorisms and nonsense poems; language sound and play are further guiding themes of his work. In 1967, Guggenmos made his breakthrough as a children's poet with the publication of his book and thus the poem Was denkt die Maus am Donnerstag? (What does the mouse think about on Thursdays?). His poems have been reprinted many times, set to music, awarded prizes, and are still present in numerous schoolbooks today.

Extensive insights into the working methods and biography of Josef Guggenmos can be gained from the estate material: The estate contains special documents such as early handwritten letters and manuscripts from the war and post-war period. On walks and travels, Guggenmos recorded drafts of poems in notebooks, many of which are preserved in the estate. In his filing boxes, he noted when and where each poem was sent to, where it was published, and what fees he received for it.

Numerous correspondences from this period with publishing houses, literary magazines and radio stations give an idea of how intensively he worked on the publication of his poems, short stories and plays for children, how the literary market of his time functioned and how an original poet could also become a well-known poet.