The Luxembourgish historian Gilbert Trausch stands in the focus of this research project that aims to bring together historiography on Luxembourg and on Europe as well as intellectual and material practices of an historian of the 20th century. A joint venture between the Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH) and the Institut d’Histoire (IHist) of the University of Luxembourg, the project will explore Trausch’s works and his working methods as well as his private library, which will be inventoried and reconstructed in a virtual space.
In 2019, the Trausch family proposed to donate the roughly 20 000 orphanated scientific books of the late Gilbert Trausch’s private library to the University of Luxembourg. Out of this initiative, the Project Gilbert Trausch (PGT) was set up by the C2DH and the IHist. Thanks to the support by the André Losch Foundation four different parts of the PGT could be financed.
The project is organised in four complementary sub-projects: 1) a digital archaeology which aims to reconstruct the library as it appears in the house in a virtual space; 2) an anthropology of historiography “before the computer”; 3) a project of a historiographical nature; 4) a library inventory and documentation with a view to integration into the Luxembourg Learning Centre (LLC) of the University.
The team Geodesy and Geospatial Engineering of the Department of Engineering (DoE) of the University of Luxembourg is digitally reconstructing the library in the house of Trausch. Their goal is a three dimensional building model and website in which the public will be able to discover the private library of Gilbert Trausch and the content of some of his books and notes in a virtual tour.
The most pioneering part of the PGT focusses on Trausch’s professional library; it aims to describe the library as the tool and the working practice of a historian in the 20th century. Beyond the library but linked to it, other material aspects of the historian’s work will be studied: note taking, classifications and references, correspondence between historians, drafts, erasures and corrections of historical texts. The project will allow to take forward historical research not only on an historian committed in the study of medieval and modern history but also on systematic practices in the field of contemporary history: It will explore the question of knowing how the material tools of the historian have made “viable” the profession and have influenced the practices of the historian, the questions of research as well as of the interpretations and narrations produced by the historian.
The third part of the project, more classic for its content, studies the role of the historian Gilbert Trausch in national and European historiography. The innovative side of this research consists in linking the results of the study on the private library and material practices of Gilbert Trausch and in the approach, particularly interesting for the study of Luxembourg historiography, by analysing the overlapping of multiple professional and social cultural identities of the historian. The studies of these two research sub-projects are based on the digital survey of the library and its virtual reconstruction as well as on the handwritten papers of Gilbert Trausch.
Finally the library of the University of Luxembourg will decontaminate, clean and transport into its readings rooms a part of the books of Gilbert Trausch categorising them and giving them distinct shelf marks in the catalogue.