The National University Library (BNU) in Strasbourg was founded after the fire that destroyed the old libraries of the Protestant seminary and the City of Strasbourg during the war in 1870. 300 000 volumes and 3 500 manuscripts were reduced to ashes. The disaster produced instant mobilisation, and the scale of the response to the appeal for donations launched throughout the German empire and the wider world was impressive. By 1873, the "Kaiserliche Universtäts und Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg", installed temporarily in the Château des Rohan, contained more than 200 000 volumes.

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