Accessing Past Secrets

Archival Practices in the Swiss Republics

Early modern archives were sites of public as well as secret information. This subproject investigates what measures early modern republics took to store and protect state secrets over time. How did the presence of such records affect the spatial organisation of the archives? Who was allowed to access the arcana imperii, and which political and social possibilities were attached to this privilege? These and other questions will be researched on the basis of both archival and printed records from selected Swiss city and rural cantons. The temporal focus will be on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with special attention to the period from 1680 to 1720, when many public archives within the Confederacy were substantially reorganised in the context of growing political tensions and the emergence of new printed media.

Conducted by Jan Haugner

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