In North American Libraries

(An Incomplete List Compiled for the WESS Germanists Discussion Group Meeting in June, 2002)

Compiled by Gail P. Hueting (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) (rev. 02/01/2005)


1.  B. Traven Collection

Library or institution: University of California Riverside Library

Type of special collection:  Subject, extent

Extent:  341 entries by Traven and 117 about him in OPAC, plus extensive archives.

Brief description of collection:

The B. Traven collection of manuscripts and first editions in English, German, and Spanish is a major resource on this enigmatic writer who published under as many as thirty names.  Beside books and manuscripts of more than 68 stories (many unpublished), it contains magazines, photographs, criticism, videos, correspondence, screenplays,  and ephemera, along with the personal archives of a number of scholars working on Traven.

Website: http://library.ucr.edu/spcol/traven.shtml

Contact person: Peter Briscoe, CDO (briscoe@citrus.urc.edu, phone (909) 787-3703; Melissa Conway, Head Special Collections (mconway@citrus.ucr.edu), phone (909) 787-3233

2. The Collection of German Literature

Library or institution: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Type of collection:  Subject, rarity

Extent :  ca. 30,000 titles

Brief description of collection:  The Collection of German Literature, one of the oldest special collections at Yale, contains first editions and other rare literary texts in German from approximately 1600 to 1850, with scattered holdings of earlier authors and a few specialized gatherings of twentieth-century material. The areas of greatest strength are the seventeenth century and Goethe.  Yale sought out William A. Speck, a German-American pharmacist from Haverstraw, N.Y., who by 1913 had amassed the largest private Goethe library outside Germany. The collection was acquired for Yale, and Speck served as its curator for the rest of his life, adding books and manuscripts with funds provided largely by the university. When he died in 1928, the Speck Collection had tripled in size to embrace some 20,000 books and as many prints, manuscripts, broadsides, and miscellaneous materials.

Website:  http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/blgycgl.htm

Contact person: Christa Sammons, curator

3.  Eisenhower Communiques

Library or institution: L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library, Brigham Young University

Type of collection: Provenance, subject

Extent:  Daily communiques from June 6, 1944 to May 7, 1945, ca. 800-1,000 leaves (typescript copies)

Brief description of collection:  Daily news of Allied operations in Europe as cleared by General Eisenhower for war correspondents and the media. Typescript copies, some on  pre-printed forms (Daily Battle Communiques of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe - SHAEF).  These were prepared by Lt. Col. D. Reed Jordan.  It is one of only three extant copies of the full run of Eisenhower's communiques, available elsewhere neither in printed nor in digital format.  While these communiques were delivered to the media day by day from D-Day to VE Day, nobody apparently thought to keep them as a complete set except the communique writer himself. The collection is in a BYU queue to be digitized.

Contact person:  Richard Hacken (hacken@byu.edu)

4. European Emblem Books

Library or institution: Rare Book Room and Special Collections Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Type of collection:  Format, rarity

Extent:  650 orignal works, 400 microform or reprint editions

Brief description of collection:   Collection of  illustrated books from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century. In a stricter sense, an emblem book consists of illustrations with an accompanying motto, or short verse, as well as a brief explanatory selection of prose. A broader interpretation includes many other types of illustrated books.  The emblem books at the University of Illinois include both the more narrowly defined emblem book, as well  as emblematized fables, Dance of Death books, and books illustrating triumphs that contain numerous and prominent emblems.  A catalog of the collection is Thomas McGeary and N. Frederick Nash, Emblem Books at the University of Illinois Library:  A Biliographic Catalog (Boston:  G.K. Hall, 1993).  The German emblem books are being digitized.

Website:  htp://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/emblems

Contact person:  Barbara Jones (jones5@uiuc.edu), phone (217) 333-3777

5.  Fischer Manuscripts

Library or institution: Manuscripts Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University

Type of special collection:  Publisher’s archives

Extent:  ca. 5,641 items

Brief description of collection:  The Fischer mss., ca. 1888-1975, consist of the correspondence and manuscripts from the files of German publisher S. Fischer. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author and where available includes carbon copies or transcripts of Fischer's correspondence with the particular author. Correspondents include Ingeborg Bachmann, Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Albert Schweitzer, Thornton Wilder, and 88 other authors. For a guide to the collection see I.U. Bookman, no. 14 (Mar. 1982)

Contact person:  Manuscripts Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, phone (812) 855-2452.

6.  Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies

Library or institution: Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University

Type of special collection:  Subject, format

Extent: 4,100 testimonies (over 10,000 recorded hours of videotape)

Brief description of collection: In 1979, a grassroots organization, the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, began videotaping Holocaust survivors and witnesses in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1981, the original collection of testimonies was deposited at Yale University, and the Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies opened its doors to the public the following year.  Since then, the Archive has worked to record, collect, and preserve Holocaust witness testimonies, and to make its collection available to researchers, educators, and the general public. The Archive and its affiliates continue to record the testimonies of willing individuals with first-hand experience of the Nazi persecutions, including those in hiding, survivors, bystanders, resistants, and liberators. Guide to Yale University Library Holocaust Video Testimonies, 2nd ed., was published in (1994).

Website: http://www.library.yale.edu/testimonies/

Contact person: Fortunoff Video Archive (fortunoff.archive@yale.edu), phone (203) 432-1879

7.  The Frances Ellis Collection of North American German Textbooks

Library or institution: Special Collections , Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Type of special collection: Subject, provenance

Extent:  Over 1,100 cataloged items and several hundred more awaiting cataloging

Brief description of collection:  This collection consists of textbooks (elementary though college) in German language, literature, and culture published by North American presses (and  a few school departments and individuals) or (in a few cases) written by North American authors but published outside of North America.  The collection focuses on materials published prior to 1970 but accepts as later materials as well.  The initial core of the collection (some 400 items) was assembled by Professor Frances H. Ellis of Indiana University.  After her death in 1981 it was brought to Madison by Prof. Valters H. Nollendorfs and increased substantially.  Whereas a few items are transfers from other collections on campus, the vast majority have been acquired by gift.

Contact person:  John B. Dillon, European Humanities Bibliographer (jdillon@library.wisc.edu), phone: (608) 262-0342; Jill K. Rosenshield, Special Collections (jrosenshield@library.wisc.edu), phone (608) 265-2750

7.  Gerhard Mayer Collection of Rainer Maria Rilke

Library or institution: Rare Book Room and Special Collections Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Type of collection:  Subject, provenance

Extent:   Ca. 2,800 items.

Brief description of collection:   Primary and secondary works relating to Rainer Maria Rilke, collected by Dr. Gerhard Mayer of Champaign, Ill.  The primary works include many deluxe and illustrated editions.  The secondary works consist of books and articles from around the world.  

Contact person: Barbara Jones (jones5@uiuc.edu), phone 217-333-3777

8.  German-Americana Collection

Library or institution:  University of Cincinnati Libraries, Special Collections

Type of collection:  Subject

Extent:  over 6,000 items

Brief description of collection: One of the nation’s largest collections of books, pamphlets, documents, journals, newspapers and manuscripts pertaining to German-American history, literature, and culture, with particular emphasis on the German heritage of the Ohio Valley.

Website:  http://www.archives.uc.edu/german/

Contact person:  Don Heinrich Tolzmann (don.tolzmann@uc.edu), phone (513) 556-1955, fax: (513) 556-2113

9.  The Greenleaf Library

Library or institution: Main Library, Northwestern University

Type of special collection:  Provenance, many rare volumes

Extent:  20,326 volumes

Brief description of collection:  One of the great private libraries of Germany, assembled by Ministerialrat Johannes Schulze (1786-1869) and purchased for the Northwestern University Library with the backing of University trustee Luther L. Greenleaf, by Daniel Bonbright, Professor of Latin and from 1858, Northwestern's librarian. Formed the core of the University's collection and includes numerous rarities, such as books from the early days of European printing of Greek and Latin classics; a copy of the first serious work on the Kabbalah written in German; the only copy in North America of the major philosophical work of Isaak von Sinclair; a complete set of Martin Schrettinger's treatise on library science; thirteen incunabula, many notable works of Dutch provenance, signed works by the theologian Konstantin von Tischendorf and the linguist and fairytale collector, Wilhelm Grimm.

Website: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/collections/german/evanstonberlin.html

Contact person:  Jeffrey Garrett, Acting Associate University Librarian for Collection Management (jgarrett@northwestern.edu); Kristine Thorsen, Acting Bibliographer for Western Languages & Literatures (kat162@northwestern.edu)

10 . The Harold Jantz Collection

Library or institution: Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University
Type of collection: Provenance, subject, age

Extent: 3,500 titles on German Baroque Literature and an additional ca. 7,000 volumes of post-Baroque imprints.

Brief description of collection:  German Baroque Literature, German-Americana of all periods; the Age of Goethe; American-German and English-German literary relations; Rosicruciana and Occulta.  Also included are 168 Baroque-era manuscripts, some of which deal with alchemy, astrology, and Rosicrucianism.   Harold Stein Jantz (1907-1987) was a renowned bibliophile and Age of Goethe scholar.  Duke acquired the bulk of the Baroque literature collection in 1976. This part was microfilmed by Research Publications in the 1970s. The German Americana and other materials that Dr. Jantz had collected came to Duke after his death. The Baroque literature in the Jantz Collection is among the largest of such resources in the United States and complements the Curt von Faber du Faur Collection at Yale University.  The particular strength of that part of the Jantz Collection is its many literary works, especially those of “forgotten” authors.

Contact person:  Dr. Linda McCurdy (Linda.mccurdy@duke.edu),  phone: (919) 660-5822


11.  Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize

Library or institution:  Goethe-Institut Chicago

Type of special collection:  Prize winners and entries

Extent:  209 volumes.

Brief description of collection: The prize was established in 1996. Each year literary translations of German books by American publishers are submitted to a jury, which selects the winning translation. The award is given in Chicago, hosted by the German Consul General of Chicago. The winner receives €10,000 and a three-month stay at the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin (LCB).  The collection includes the all Wolff Prize entries and their German originals. The list may be accessed through the website .

Website: http://www.goethe.de/uk/chi/wolff.htm

Contact person: Connie Edwards (Librarian@goethe-chicago.org)

12.  International Dada Archive

Library or institution:  University of Iowa Libraries

Type of special collection:  Subject

Extent:  46,000+ titles (including analytics) in the archive's online catalog

Brief description of collection:  Founded in 1979 as part of the Dada Archive and Research Center, the International Dada Archive is a scholarly resource for the study of the historic Dada movement. The Archive has compiled a comprehensive collection of textual documentation relating to Dada. The collection of the International Dada Archive is scattered throughout the University of Iowa Libraries; most of its holdings are in either the Main Library or the Art Library. The collection includes books, articles, microfilmed manuscript collections, videorecordings, sound recordings, and a few computer files. The primary access to the entire collection is through an online catalog containing approximately 47,000 titles (the International Online Bibliography of Dada).

The Archive has microfilmed a number public and private manuscript collections containing material on the Dada movement and on individual Dadaists. Detailed finding aids exist for each of these microfilmed collections.

Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/

Contact person: Timothy Shipe (timothy-shipe@uiowa.edu), phone  (319) 335-5824

13.  Leopold von Ranke Library        

Library or institution:  Syracuse University Libraries     

Type of special collection:  Provenance, subject   

Extent:  ca. 17,000 volumes, ca. 4000 pamphlets, ca. 430 manuscripts.         

Brief description of collection:  Syracuse University purchased the library of the German historian Leopold von Ranke in 1887. It includes historical and general books and journals from the 16th to the 19th century in seventeen languages.  Its significance lies in its character as the library of a working scholar (rather than a bibliophile).

Contact person:  Department of Special Collections (arents1@library.syr.edu) , phone (315) 443-2697.


14.  Linckesche Leihbibliothek (Lincke Collection)

Library or institution: Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago

Type of special collection:  Provenance, genre, age

Extent:  ca. 8,500 titles in 15,000 volumes

Brief description of collection:  The Linckesche Leihbibliothek was a rental library founded in 1791 in Leipzig by the bookdealer and publisher W. Lincke. In 1930, the University of Chicago acquired (from the Leipzig bookseller Otto Harrassowitz) a collection that had been part of the Linckesche Leihbibliothek und Buchhandlung. The collection provides an extraordinary record of popular literature published in German between 1775 and 1875 (principally 1820 to 1850). Of the German works, only a small percentage are by noted literary figures, the remainder being by authors of popular literature of the day. Approximately 30% of the volumes are translations into German, largely from English (including Walter Scott) and French (including Balzac); also included are works translated from Swedish, Danish, Dutch, and eight other European languages.

Website:  http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/lincke.html

Contact person:  Special Collections Research Center (SpecialCollections@lib.uchicago.edu), phone (773) 702-8705


15.  Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature Collection

Library or institution: Washington University in St. Louis

Type of collection:  Publishers’ donations

Extent: covers German literature from 1980 onwards

Brief description of collection:  Since 1980, approximately 140 publishers from German-speaking countries, including Suhrkamp, Rowohlt, S. Fischer and Piper from German-speaking countries have been donating every year approximately 900 volumes of their latest publications in German literature. Suhrkamp Verlag established its own Suhrkamp/Insel collection as part of the contemporary German literature collection. An annotated bibliography is compiled every year by the Dept. of Germanic Languages and Literatures which is available in print or online.

Website:  http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~german/libraries.shtml; annual bibliography, http://artsci.wustl.edu/~german/annualbib.html

Contact person:   Prof. Paul Michael Lützeler ), director (jahrbuch@artsci.wustl.edu, phone (314) 935-4784, fax (314) 935-7255; Hannelore M. Spence (hmspence@artsci.wustl.edu), phone (314) 935-4276

16.  National Socialist Literature

Library or institution:  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library

Type of special collection:  Subject

Extent:  ca. 2,000 volumes

Brief description of collection:  Books that were available to the German public during the Third Reich, especially those published from 1941 to 1944.  It is part of a collection of 17,000 volumes acquired through UIUC’s participation in the Cooperative Acquisitions Project for Wartime Publications.  In addition to fiction, drama, and poetry, it includes history and political propaganda and popular music.  Many Feldposthefte (designed to be sent to soldiers) are included.

Contact person:  Gail Hueting (ghueting@uiuc.edu); Tom Kilton (t-kilton@uiuc.edu

17.  Nazi Collection

Library or institution: Ball State University

Type of special collection:  Subject

Extent:  ca. 650 volumes

Brief description of collection: Primary German language publications, printed during the 1930s and 1940s, documenting National Socialism during the era of the Third Reich in German history.  Includes numerous Nazi ideological treatises and propaganda items.  A small number of photographs and artifacts.  All published items can be found in WebCat, the Libraries' online catalog.

Website: http://www.bsu.edu/library/units/archives

Contact person: John Straw (jstraw@gw.bsu.edu), phone (765) 285-5078

18.  Nazi Period Materials

Library or institution: Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University,

Type of collection:  Subject

Extent: 1,550 rare monographs, journals, pictorial material, 2,858 technical and scientific reports. 

Description: Rare monographs, journals, pictorial material and propaganda pieces, as well as official NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei) documents published in Germany during the Third Reich. Some of it was rescued by U.S. military personnel from various school libraries after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 and came to Duke through the efforts of Political Science Prof. Taylor Cole (1905-1991).  Complementary rare materials were purchased or received as gifts in the years since then.  Some materials came to Duke via the Library of Congress. The collection consists of rare monographs, journals, pictorial material and propaganda. The titles can be accessed through Duke’s online catalog by using the subject entry:  “Nazi Period ….” (see http://www.lib.duke.edu/online_catalog.html). There is also a set of technical and scientific reports detailing German research of that time period.  These reports are not separately cataloged; however, a list exists, and they represent a unique and rich source of information on the subject.  

Contact person: Dr. Linda McCurdy (Linda.mccurdy@duke.edu),  phone (919) 660-5822

19.  Rosa Luxemburg Collection

Library or institution: Hoover Institution Archives

Type of collection:  Archival

Extent: 4 archival boxes

Brief description of collection: Handwritten letters from and to Rosa Luxemburg, obtained from her secretary Mathilde Jacob in the late thirties. This is one example of many such collections at the Hoover Institution.  See register of papers online, address below.

Website:  Most of the Hoover Archives' finding aids are available online at http://www.oac.cdlib.org/dynaweb/ead/hoover

Contact person:  Carol Leadenham, Reference Archivist, (leadenham@hoover.stanford.edu), phone (650) 723-3563

20.  Weinmann Collection

Library or institution: Duke University, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University

Type of collection:  Provenance, format, age

Extent:  Nearly 5,000 pieces of published sheet music, early publishers' catalogs and 7,000 manuscripts and working papers

Brief description of the collection: The private library of the late Viennese musicologist and bibliographer Alexander Weinmann (1901-1987) is one of the world's major archives of late eighteenth to early twentieth century Austrian music publishing.  It was purchased in two parts in the mid-1980s.  Other parts of his collection are at the Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek and at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. The collection contains sheet music and other print materials relating to Austrian music dating from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century.  A collection of some 1,700 volumes from the estate of Austrian book dealer Peter Riethus was acquired in two parts in 1989-1990 to complement the Weinmann Collection. Riethus’s materials contain mostly Central European musical biography and history. Access to the materials held at Duke is through the online catalog  (http://lib.duke.edu/online_catalog.html) with an author heading: “Duke University. Library. Weinmann Collection.”

Website: Finding aid to the 7,000 manuscripts and working papers is at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/dynaweb/findaids/weinmann/@Generic__BookView

Contact person: Dr. John Druesedow, Director, Music Library, Duke University (john.drusedow@duke.edu), phone (919) 660-5952


Libraries with Collective Descriptions and Web Pages

A.  Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University

Archival German collections pertaining to the political and economic history of the 20th century, including the two world wars and the history of the GDR.

Many Hoover Archives' finding aids are available online at http://www.oac.cdlib.org/dynaweb/ead/hoover

Contact person: Carol Leadenham, Reference Archivist (leadenham@hoover.stanford.edu), phone  (650) 723-3563

B.  Johns Hopkins University

German literature collections


Contact persons: Sue Waterman (waterman@jhu.edu) , phone

John Buchtel (jbuchtel@jhu.edu), phone 410-516-8662

C.  University of Wisconsin-Madison

European Special Collections


D.  University of Waterloo

Archival collections relating to the German-Canadian heritage in Ontario are included in