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A forgotten German printer and his global connections 1887-1939


  • Edel Sheridan-Quantz Freelance geography translator, researcher and author, Hannover, Germany.




In the second half of the 19th century, printing was an important sector in the North German city of Hannover. The city was the world leader in the industrial production of account books; the product itself had been invented there. It is all the more surprising that the fourth-largest printing works in the city in the 1920s should have been almost entirely forgotten by the early 21st century. As a Jewish-owned firm, the family business of A. Molling & Comp. had been forced to sell during the Nazi dictatorship and its owners emigrated in the late 1930s. In the absence of the more obvious sources such as company records, much of the history of the firm could only be traced through its products. Unusually for Hannover, as well as printing colour advertising and packaging for many well-known companies, Molling had specialised in children’s picture books, which were marketed worldwide. Editions of their books were sold as far afield as Indonesia, Estonia, South America and the USA. This article presents a brief account of the firm, highlighting the analysis of surviving products to trace the ramifications of Molling’s international contacts, including work for world-famous companies such as Raphael Tuck of London. The study is of interest to historical geographers, economic and urban historians and book historians. The research fills a gap not only in the specific, local historical geography of Hannover, but also in our knowledge of aspects of globalisation in the early twentieth century.


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Niedersächsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Hann. 210 Acc. 2004/25 Nr. 1070

Stadtarchiv Hannover, Wegeakte 3212

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Molling Katalog 1903

Molling Katalog 1904 (with supplementary list for 1905)

Sheridan-Quantz, E. 2010. ‘Saxa loquuntur’ – A. Molling & Comp. of Hannover, printer and publisher 1887-1939. Leipziger Jahrbuch zur Buchgeschichte. 19, pp. 195-273

Sheridan-Quantz, E. 2011a. A. Molling & Comp. und Kling-Klang. Das tönende Bilderbuch – Ausklang einer Firmengeschichte. Aus dem Antiquariat, pp. 266-272.

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