: In his autobiographical accounts, Johann Wolfgang Goethe emphasizes the vital role that his father’s collections of books and art had for his own Bildung . In fact, the library of Johann Caspar Goethe (1710–1782) played a vital role in Goethe’s education and early studies while also attesting to his family background and status. However, soon after Johann Caspar’s death, his library was dissolved – and whereas Johann Wolfgang Goethe and other family members integrated some of the books into their own collections, the majority of objects were sold and dispersed. Today, a handwritten catalog commissioned by Goethe’s mother, Catharina Elisabeth Goethe, just before the sale (in 1793/1794), is a critical tool for reconstructing the collection. This article describes the history of Johann Caspar Goethe’s library, its dispersal as well as the efforts to reconstruct the collection. As the retrieval of the original copies from Johann Caspar’s library and the re-establishment of the original collection were impossible, the Freies Deutsches Hochstift has managed to collect equivalent titles and editions in order to restore a library that allows visitors to the Goethe-Haus in Frankfurt to learn about Goethe’s family background, the cultural setting of his upbringing, and early influences on his education.