Most of the books in the Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlung date back to the time about 1747.
Heinrich XI Reuss Prince of Obergreiz (1722–1800) collected a great number of theological, historical and scientific literature as well as encyclopaedias and literary journals. There are also travel accounts, richly illustrated books, many of them about architecture and gardening, and, above all, a collection of books from the French Enlightenment. In the late 18th century, writings about the French Revolution were added.
As the House of Reuss was forced to renounce its power as a consequence of the Revolution in November 1918, the Sommerpalais became a museum in the early 1920s. Therefore, the collection of books in Greiz was combined with the greater part of the library of the Gymnasium Rutheneum in Gera that was founded by a former Prince of Reuss. In this way, the library was enlarged by humanist works and writings by ancient authors from the early time of printing.
Nowadays, the collection of the Staatliche Bücher- und Kupferstichsammlung encompasses about 40,000 books from the 16th to the 21st centuries.