Cambridge University Library

Manuscripts

Two major manuscript collections which might be of interest to the Germanist are the Stefan Heym Archive and the Schnitzler Papers:

The Stefan Heym Archive

Frontpost: Nachrichten für Deutsche Soldaten, April Nr.3, 1945 (Heym Archive)

Frontpost: Nachrichten für Deutsche Soldaten, April Nr. 3, 1945 (Heym Archive)

With the acquisition of the Stefan Heym Archive in 1992 the University Library gained a collection of international renown.

Stefan Heym was a German-Jewish writer born in Chemnitz in 1913. He had a varied life but one thing that remained constant was his criticism of "the powers that be". He was Germany's youngest literary exile from Nazi oppression. In 1935 he emigrated to America and published one of his most successful novels, Hostages, there in 1942. Heym served as an American soldier during World War II. As well as being at the spearhead of the Normandy invasion, he wrote propagandist radio broadcasts for Radio Luxembourg and newspapers for the German civilian population. Heym returned to Germany in 1953 because of the McCarthy purges and settled in East Berlin. Despite being a committed socialist Heym was openly critical of the system in the GDR, a position which brought him into conflict with the authorities. After reunification, at the age of 81, Heym was elected to the Bundestag as a member for the PDS (successor to the East German ruling party the SED). He died in 2001.

The Stefan Heym Archive contains an astonishing amount of material. The earliest literary manuscript in the collection is from 1931 but the significant date for the archive is 1942 when, due to the success of Hostages, Heym was financially secure enough to keep everything related to his life as a writer. The archive is a not only a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the development of Heym's fiction but also for those interested in Heym as a self-translator, a journalist and a politician. Moreover, there is a wealth of information for the social historian interested in the politico-cultural development of the GDR. The archive contains all of Heym's literary manuscripts and many editions of his printed works, together with translations into a wide range of languages. In addition, there is a large amount of Heym's correspondence as well as press clippings, audio cassettes, video cassettes and miscellanea such as photographs and wartime pamphlets.

A catalogue of the majority of the collection is available and can be consulted in the Rare Books Room.

The Schnitzler Papers

Arthur Schnitzler's letter to Sigmund Freud, 06.05.1906 (MS.Schnitzler.B31a)
Arthur Schnitzler, Letter to Sigmund Freud, 06.05.1906 (MS.Schnitzler.B31a)

 Arthur Schnitzler, Letter to Sigmund Freud,  06.05.1906 (MS.Schnitzler.B31a)

Cambridge University Library preserves a large part of the manuscripts and correspondence of Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1932), the Austrian author and dramatist famous for his psychological dramas and novellas. The collection came to the Library in 1938 when the annexation of Austria meant that Schnitzler's papers could very likely have fallen into the hands of the Nazis and been destroyed. The transfer resulted from the efforts of a Cambridge student and later fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Eric A. Blackall (1914-1989), who was studying for a PhD in Vienna at the time. With the help of the British Consulate, he put the papers under British protection and organised their formal donation and transportation to Cambridge.

Schnitzler meticulously preserved and ordered his papers: he collected all his drafts, ideas and sketches. He arranged his literary manuscripts into folders, the contents of which are noted on the covers in his own handwriting. The archive at Cambridge contains the most important of Schnitzler's literary manuscripts, still kept in the original annotated folders. It also contains some of his vast correspondence with leading writers and artists of the time, including Hugo von Hofmannsthal among many others.

The other main repository for Schnitzler's papers is the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, which holds some literary manuscripts as well as Schnitzler's diaries and the majority of his correspondence. As a result of a cooperative cataloguing project between Cambridge University Library and the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach the Schnitzler Papers are now searchable via the online catalogue Kallias. Arthur Schnitzler also maintained a press cuttings collection concerning his life and writings, which is held at the University of Exeter.

To access the papers held in Cambridge University Library, or for more information, please enquire in the Manuscripts Reading Room.