The Deutsche Tagebucharchiv (DTA, German Archives for Diaries) collects and stores autobiographical documents from the German-speaking world, to ensure these are not lost to history. It was founded in January 1998 by Frauke von Troschke after she discovered that Germany lacked an institution devoted to the compilation of personal memoirs.
The DTA is a registered non-profit association of public interest and is led by an elected volunteer executive board consisting of a president, a vice-president, a treasurer and up to three more committee members.
The primary objective of the DTA is to collect unpublished autobiographical texts — including diaries, memoirs, letters — written by “ordinary” people of all social classes. The archive preserves these documents and makes them available for both researchers and the general public. DTA ego-documents range from the mid-1700s up to the present time, and comprise a stock of 21,795 archival documents written by 4,657 authors.
The association operates with only a couple of paid employees, and their budget relies heavily on donations, membership contributions, and minor project grants, as thus far it receives no permanent public funding.
University-affiliated researchers make use of the archive’s collection for their projects, but significant studying of primary sources is also carried out by journalists, writers, and even high school students and teachers.
- DTA produces publications, e.g. for our annual Public Readings usually in November.
- The annual brochure Lebensspuren contains brief summaries of the approximately 200-250 submissions they receive each year. They are meant to acknowledge the submitters’ courage and confidence to hand their documents over to the DTA.
- Four times a year DTA publishes a newsletter with up-to-date information from the association for our members and friends.
- In 2014, DTA opened a small museum for the exhibition of „Lebenslust – Lebenslast – Lebenskunst – Tagebücher erzählen” (“life’s passions – life’s burdens – art of living – tales from diaries”) to celebrate the DTA’s 20th anniversary.