skip to page content | skip to main navigation
summary
 SOCRATES  E-JOURNALS  SITE SEARCH  ASK US  TEXTONLY SULAIR HOME  SU HOME
 Catalog and Search Tools  Research Help   Libraries and Collections  Services  How To ...  About SULAIR

 

Printer-Friendly Printer-Friendly     

Germanic Collections

About Germanic Collections at Stanford, by Peter R. Frank, Curator Emeritus (1967-1990) of Germanic Collections at Stanford. From Festschrift for Elmer Grieder, Stanford, 1974. Abridged version.

Summing up the first ten years of the Stanford University, President David Starr Jordan wrote to Mrs. Stanford in March 1902: "...We have the best college work in the world, even though we do not have very much else. We do a real university work, in the German sense, and more will come in time..." University work in the German sense - with Graduate Studies and seminars, and a specific "Wissenschaftsgeist" both in Humanities and Sciences this still ultimate goal for many American universities. Between 1820 and 1920 - after G. Ticknor, E. Everett, J. Cogswell and G. Bancroft arrived in Göttingen - at least 9,000 Americans studied at such German universities as Göttingen, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle and Heidelberg. German universities were considered "model institutions." It was what later, has been called the "German century" of American Higher Education. Although the foundation of the Stanford University was a special case, the impact of the "German Century" was evident heard in the West, too. President Jordan, by no means uncritical of Germany and German attitudes, was impressed, as were so many of his American contemporaries, by the success of German scholarship and scientific methods. And obviously he knew German literature well. His very first "works," published in the student weekly Cornell Era were English translations of poems by Voss, Gleim, Schubart, Schlegel, Goethe and Heine (the Loreley). Another connection with Central Europe was the Peace Movement, for which Jordan was a pacemaker in America. He appreciated and supported the efforts of the Austrian Countess Bertha von Suttner, and Alfred H. Fried, both winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. (The Alfred H. Fried Collection came to Stanford in the late 1920's and is now kept, together with the relevant Jordan papers, in the Hoover Institution).

The unique use of a motto in German on the presidential seal of an American university, Stanford University, was the result of Mr. Jordan's admiration for Ulrich von Hutten, a German Knight-Errant and Humanist at the turn of the 15th century. As early as 1886, Mr. Jordan had written an article on Ulrich von Hutten in The Current, and there he used the German translation by D. F. Strauss of an original Latin sentence: "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" (which means: The winds of freedom are blowing), which later became the motto. One even can find it now on such university forms as budget accounts.

Of some thirty full and associate professors of the first Stanford faculty, half of them had studied in Germany, among them the German-born E. Flugel, later Head of the English Department, an eminent Chaucer-scholar, co-editor of Anglia and founder of its Beihefte, Professor Matzke, Head of the Romance Languages Department, and Professor Angell, head of the Psychology Department, and a student of U. Wundt. Andrew Dickson White, the famous historian, who later became minister and then Ambassador to Germany, once gave lectures on European History at Stanford. When a professor of philosophy was to be appointed, Mrs. Stanford simply recommended acquiring one of first reputation from Germany, "as I learn Harvard has done."

Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that there has been a broad and lively interest in German topics at Stanford from the very beginning. Since statistics for area studies in such fields as Art, Music, History, Philosophy and others are not easily available, the enrollment in the German Department may serve as a general indicator. Starting with 11 majors in the first academic year 1891-92, the figure rose to 55 in 1896, and reached the peak with 101 majors (and About 650 students attending courses in the department) in 1905-06. The first low point came in the aftermath of World War I, in 1923-24, with 5 majors (but 862 students attending courses), surpassed with only 2 majors in 1944-45. In 1967-68 a new high was reached with 89 majors, a figure which has dropped again. But still about 600 students attend courses in German Studies year after year.

As illustrative as these figures might be, they reflect what the faculty had to offer and what attracted the students. In the first academic years, from 1891-92 on, the students had ample opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of "German" topics. In Education, for example, Professor E. Barnes (Ph.D. Zurich) undertook a comparative study of European school systems (among them Germany and Switzerland), he gave courses on Rousseau and Pestalozzi and Herbartian Pedagogy.

A lecture on Kant was given, which became a standard up to today, whereas Hegel had to wait until 1931-32, to be treated extensively in a seminar. In 1900-01, Professor A. E. Lovejoy lectured about German philosophy since Kant, and William James based his General Introduction to Philosophy in 1904-05 on Paulsen's Introduction. In psychology, Professor Angell required Ziehen's and Wundt's works for his courses, and for most seminars the knowledge of German was compulsory. It was not until 1924-25, however, that Professor C. P. Stone gave his courses on Freudian psychology, which were repeated regularly until the forties. In Economics and social sciences, Professor E. A. Ross dealt in his lecture on pure economics with Menger and Böhm-Bawerk, the Austrian marginal utility school; in statistical sociology with Schäffle and Gumplovicz. In his lecture on socialism he treated French and German socialism. Listed third after the classical languages, Greek and Latin, the German Department in the first academic year offered 11 courses and seminars (in 1973-74, about 100 courses were announced in German Studies). Although the early faculty did not have many internationally known, "brilliant" Germanists, it had inspiring teachers such as J. Goebel (1891-1905 at Stanford). Goebel lectured on Goethe and his era, and many other topics. He was also interested in German-American matters. (This topic came up again in 1929-30 by a course given by C. v. Klenze, German influences on American cultures, and again in my seminars on Stereotypes and prejudices, "the" Germans and "the" Americans. in 1971 and 1973.) The Department showed great flexibility in the thirties, with the Professors B. Q. Morgan and K. Reinhardt and the then instructors, W. Strothmann and A. E. Sokol, teaching not only regular courses about Germany, the country and its people, but also about Austria and Switzerland. This work was the first indication of a German Studies program. In 1922, B. Q. Morgan's standard work A Critical Bibliography of German Literature in English was published by the Stanford University Press (a second enlarged and revised edition was published in 1938). Professor Morgan also started courses about the Art of Translation a forerunner of the Program of Translation and Interpretation in German Studies. Naturally, B. Q. Morgan encouraged the library to collect German texts in English translation - thus the extensive holdings in this area. Beginning in 1934-35, there was also some emphasis on Austrian literature (with lectures by Professor Sokol and Professor Arnold). About that time Professor Reinhardt introduced courses in Scandinavian languages and literature.

The History Department was involved in teaching and research of German and Central European History from the beginning. This emphasis was reinforced by the foundation of the Hoover Institution in 1919, which contains the second largest collection of contemporary material - aside from the Library of Congress.

The numbers of guest lecturers from German universities from 1891 to 1914 is impressive. After World War I, more famous scholars came to Stanford as visiting professors: from 1925 to 1929 the Austrian historian A. F. Pribam, then J. Redlich (Political Science) and finally Moritz Schlick, the philosopher from the Vienna Circle. From 1928 on, the German literary historian, F. von der Leyen, taught twice at Stanford, followed by J. Petersen, R. F. Arnold and A. Closs. During World War II and afterwards, the emigrees K. Vietor, the philosopher M. Geiger, the eminent psychologist K. Lewin, the economist F. A. Hayek and the historian H. Holborn were visiting professors at Stanford.

Several prominent members of the Stanford faculty came from Central Europe: in 1933, Felix Bloch, the physicist and Nobel Prize winner, later Hermann Fraenkel, the well-known classical scholar, and after World War II, Lorenz Eitner, Head of the Art Department, to name only a few. Thus, connections with Central Europe and Smith Germany were not a distant affair, but a lively experience. The possibility for Stanford undergraduates (since 1963-64) to spend some time in the new Overseas Campuses, at Stanford-in-Germany near Stuttgart, at Stanford-in-Austria in Vienna, and for graduates to participate in programs first in Hamburg, then in Bonn/Köln and now also in West-Berlin opened new channels for an encounter with Central European history culture and ways of life.

It is in this context that the German holdings at Stanford University Libraries have to be seen. It began with a coup: in 1895, at a time when Stanford was in a financial crisis and almost no money was available for the library, the private library of the late Professor Rudolf Hildebrand, Leipzig, was acquired for $5,500. Considering the time and the circumstances of this acquisition, it was an enormous amount of money for Stanford to come up with. It was the largest single collection purchased by the library up to this time, and it still is one of the largest purchases ever made by Stanford.

There was also a comic interlude when those librarians concerned with the Hildebrand acquisition wisely avoided to consult Mrs. Stanford. Aside from the faculty, where almost all members pledged to contribute, they tried to solicit money from the trustees and Mrs. Stanford's personal friends. When Mrs. Stanford learned about this matter, she furiously cabled to President Jordan: "...I cannot consent to purchase that German library..." But fortunately it was too late, and the 4,605 volumes and 1,052 pamphlets were purchased, or, how it was soon disguised: presented as a "gift" to the library. The unpaid remnant of the money was raised as late as November 1897, at a Kirmes, where Mrs. Jordan, wife of the president, and Mr. Nash, the librarian, directed and participated in a farce, "The Train Robber." Professor Goebel's good offices were instrumental in acquiring the Hildebrand Collection for Stanford. However, when the Collection arrived, he seemed to consider at least parts of it as his private library and kept it in his house. When he had to leave Stanford in 1905, some carloads were needed to bring these books, long overdue, back to the library.

With the acquisition of the Hildebrand Collection, Stanford had a solid foundation of books mainly in the field of German literature and languages. Since Hildebrand was co-editor of the famous Grimm's Deutsches Wörterbuch, his library was a true "Gelehrtenbibliothek." It contained not only many rare and sought after items, books and periodicals from the Reformation and Baroque Period, but also editions of the German Classics up to the end of the 19th century, and a wealth of secondary literature.

Concluding from the Accession-Books and the Reports of the Librarian, the holdings in German History were limited for some time to a few standard works, mostly in English, such as Carlyle's History of Frederick the Great (acquired in 1891, when Mommsen's History of Rome was also bought). Dahlmann-Waitz was bought in 1895, and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in 1899/1900. But faculty and graduate students had access to the rich holdings and treasures of the Sutro Library, San Francisco,and since Adolph Sutro was German born, European and Central European history was well represented in his library.

The impact of German Science can be heavily felt up to World War II and still thereafter, when again and again large sets and periodicals such as the Journal fur praktische Chemie, the Mathematische Annalen (purchased 1898-99), die Fortschritte der Physik (purchased 1906-07), or the 69 vols. of Palaeontographica were listed among or as the most important acquisitions. Thus, Stanford also has an excellent collection of German periodicals and sets in the field of science.

How close the ties between Stanford and Germany were may be illustrated by another example. In 1910, the Lane Medical Library was incorporated in the Stanford Library System. Professor Adolph Barkan, born in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, who had studied at the University of Vienna and later joined the faculty of the Medical School, inaugurated and promoted there the Library of the History of Medicine, which became one of the finest collections of its kind. In 1922, Professor Barkan acquired the private collection of Professor Ernst Seidel of Meissen, who wanted to build a hospital with the proceeds to help the blind German veterans from World War I. Thus a famous collection of early manuscripts and books, mainly of Oriental origin, came to Stanford. And Professor Barkan was successful in interesting Professor K. F. J. Sudhoff, Leipzig, founder of the modern scientific history of medicine and truly the first man in this field, to advise Stanford in further acquisitions. For years , a full card catalog of the Stanford Collection on the History of Medicine was kept not only here but also in Leipzig, and additional acquisitions were made by Professor Sudhoff and his successor, Professor Riekbiehl.

When the Hoover Library on War (now: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace) was founded in 1919, one of the most important research institutions for contemporary history became part of Stanford. Collecting material covering Central Europe mainly from 1471 on, the library contains, aside from the main stock of books, many ephemera such as posters and broadsheets, secret government material, manuscripts (e.g. the original diaries of J. Goebbels and H. Himmler), a wealth of German regional newspapers, aside from such collections ad the A. Fried Collection, the library of K. Kautsky, the Thompson Collection and others. This material, together with the holdings of the University Library, gives Stanford an unusual strength in the field of modern and recent Central European history.

Whereas the treasures of the Hoover Institution are recognized internationally, other treasures at Stanford, which reflect major aspects of the German cultural heritage, are regrettably unknown even at Stanford itself. For example, the Memorial Library of Music in the Special Collections and the Archive of Recorded Sound, with about 100,000 records and tapes comprise one of the five large collections in this field in this country. The Memorial Library of Music, part of the libraries' Special Collections, was established in the memory of the American soldiers who died in World War II. It contains, for example, the autographs of one of the earliest Bach Suites, Beethoven's In Questa Tomba Oscura, Brahms' Tragic Ouverture, Schubert's Lied in Grünen and the famous Rosamunden-Ouverture and Johann Strauss' Eine Nacht in Venedig, to mention only a few. The Archive, on the other hand, has a wealth of early recordings, with famous performances of German conductors, instrumental soloists and singers. There is also a tape with the voice of Franz Joseph I, his opening remarks for an exhibition, and, on the darker sides records of speeches of Hitler. Both the records and the manuscripts supplement the holdings of an excellent Music Library.

How important German Studies were considered to be here at Stanford, can be traced back to the appropriations for books in the years 1907-08 to 1910-11, where German material ranked fourth and fifth (among 29 fields, after general Literature, History and English Lit erature and Philology). This ratio might even look better if one considers, that many works in General Literature and History came from Germans.

And a recent study about books cataloged in 1971 at Stanford University Libraries found the following figures: books in German language ranking third with 13% after books in English (50.8%) and books in Spanish and Portuguese (together 14%); after place of publication, Germany, Austria and Switzerland ranking second (with 13.6%) after the United States (37.6%) and before Latin America (12.5%), the United Kingdom (9.2g), France (6.9%), Eastern Europe (5.8%), USSR (3.5%)and several other countries. At that time, this percentage reflected also roughly the ranking in books ordered by the Stanford University Libraries.

In less than sixty years after its foundation, the Stanford University Library had grown to be a noteworthy academic library, with some fine and even outstanding collections. But at the end of World Star II the overall picture was not bright. The holdings were grossly unequal, extensive in some areas, in others simply neglected with she most awkward gaps and lacunae. Although German history of the 19th century was a favorite topic at Stanford, it was not until 1968, for example, that the Collected Works of J. v. Miller, Clausewitz or Ranke, the important collection of letters by H. A. Treitschke were purchased. It was obvious that the acquisition policy was outdated and inadequate in many respects.

The gap between the demands of the faculty and the actual holdings of the library became especially heavily felt when the university grew rather rapidly after World War II. In 1971, Professor G. H. Knoles, then Chairman of the Department of History, could state: "His (Professor P. Paret's) coming made it possible for us to offer a continuous series of courses in German history from the Reformation with Lew Spitz to the 20th century with Gordon Craig. This probably makes our department the strongest in the country in the field of German history..." The German Department changed from the combined Modern European Languages to German Languages and Literature, and finally to German Studies, formally adopting new or revived programs such as Deutsche Geistesgeschichte and a program in translation and interpretation.

Other departments and programs, newly established, such as Comparative Literature, Humanities Special Program and Religious Studies, Linguistics, Art, and the new interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Program (to list only a few), they all posed special demands on German material. And there were professors with specific research interests, Professors Boehninger and J. Flores in the literature of the German Democratic Republic, Professors W. H. Sokel and, E. Lohner in German Expressionism, P. Paret in European Military History, L. W. Spitz in Renaissance and Reformation, H. Weiler and Peter Foulkes in reforms in higher education, expecting that "their" areas had to be covered well by the library. In the early sixties Professors G. Craig, W. Vucinich and G. Wright from the History Department administered surveys of library needs (and holdings) in the area of Central Europe, thus breaking the ground for the necessary change in the acquisition policy. The result of this survey was summed up in a statement by Professor Gordon Craig in 1964:


"In History we really are dependent on what is in the library. We don't need machines or equipment; what we need most of all are books and magazines and collections of local journals, satirical magazines. In the field of history, we have [at Stanford] a pretty fair selection of secondary materials, books. In official papers and documents, we are in fair shape, but there are astonishing holes. And in the level of scholarly magazines, we have only the obvious, and not all of those. The reasons for this are readily apparent. If you depend on professors to work for your library, it will be spotty, with good collections in the professor's specialty, and nothing else. This problem can only be checked by having an adequate staff and by spending a lot of money."


But a remedy was already underway. As early as November 1946 a survey of library resources and services was undertaken by Dr. Louis R. Wilson and Dr. R. H. Swank, emphasizing the need for a systematic program of collection development. In the 1950-51 Annual Report of the Director of the Libraries, new concepts are surfacing: "...We are now trying to vitalize the Unlversity Library... First, the library should organize and coordinate the selection of books...The collections should be organized not only physically, but also bibliographically for effective use... The professional library staff, augmented by an efficient non-professional staff, should become bibliographic specialists of high caliber. In their own right as librarians, they should deserve to stand as colleagues with the faculty ..." Since Mr. Grieder came to Stanford 1949-50, one may assume that this statement already reflects his ideas.

Mr. Grieder finally was instrumental in the creation and pursuit of a new book selection agency in 1963, the Resources Development Program, headed by him from the beginning. This Resources Development Program was in itself a mixture of German and American traits, namely the "Referentenwesen" (the topic-specialists as they are known in German libraries),and the Area Studies Program, significant at American universities. This Resources Development Program started out at Stanford with three language groups: Romance Languages (Dr. Paul Kann), Germanic Languages (Gabor Erdelyi) and Slavic Languages (Peter Kudrik).

Four things worked together for rapid and steady success: firstly, sufficient funds; secondly, some highly cooperative and competent faculty members; thirdly, the wave of reprints and again an ample supply of out-of-print books; and last but not least, knowledgeable curators and assistants - in the German field Gabor Erdelyi (1963-65), Dr. Martin Wierschin (1966-67), Dr. Peter R. Frank (1967 - ), and Mrs. Karen Apton, an assistant to these curators, among others. Now an opportunity existed to screen the material corresponding to the need of faculty and students, and round up the holdings. The know-how and resourcefulness of the curators and assistants have made it not only possible to get long-wanted items, but to get many of them inexpensively. This alone saved the library thousands of dollars over the years.

One of the first projects was to buy about 400 books by writers from the German Democratic Republic (or East Germany, as it was called then), for a course given by Professor H. Boehninger. In 1963, this topic was still a rare bird in American universities. And in the climate of the Cold War, it was a controversial matter too. Funds were made available in Stuttgart, Germany, and the books were purchased from Pinkus, a dealer in Zurich, Switzerland.

I arrived at Stanford in October 1967 and vividly recall the hot sky of a California fall. Only a few weeks later an outstanding Austrian Collection was offered by Fritz Hailer of Berg near Munich. The collection was to be sold in two installments, together about 3,000 volumes and 1,260 broadsheets and leaflets, for a total of about $28,000. Since the "gift" of the Hildebrand Collection in 1895, this was to be the Second large German Collection bought by the Stanford University Library.

The collection consisted mainly of duplicates from the famous Max von Portheim Collection (now housed at the Vienna City Library). It was especially strong in rare material of the period of Maria Theresia and Joseph II., the A ustrian Enlightenment, but also for the Wars of Liberation, the Revolution of 1848-49 and the "Gründerzeit." Included in this collection were books from other sources, Th. v.Karajan, M. Grolig and Archduke Rainer, among others. Although I had a fair knowledge of the period, I was at that time by no means an expert. However, I realized at once the great value and importance of this Collection. After a preliminary discussion with Rutherford D. Rogers, director of Libraries, and Mr. Grieder, consultation with professors from the German and History Departments (who highly recommended the purchase), I telephoned Haller in the middle of the night, ascertained that the library was still available, and secured it for Stanford. Within the next few days, no fewer than three other libraries sent in their orders to Hailer.

When the books, periodicals, pamphlets and broadsheets arrived in March and May 1968, we unpacked them day after day. Most of them had the characteristic book plate of Max von Portheim. We found masses of "Broschüren-Literatur" of the Josephinian era, elegant prints by Degen, the "Austrian Bodoni," and by Trattner, the noble pirate-printer; standard works such as Die Österreichische Monarchie in Wort und Bild as well as popular novels by E. Breier and A. v. Sacher-Masoch; and books with the characteristic binding of the "Historizismus" and the Austrian Art Nouveau. At this point, I acutely felt the difference between a liar of books being offered and the actual material at hand; the menu - promising at best - versus a full, opulent dinner.

As with the Hildebrand Collection in the German field, the Portheim Collection gave Stanford at once one of the best Austriaca collections in this country, with many items present only in this library. (A large part of the collection is therefore kept in Special Collections.) Since books, fortunately or unfortunately, represent an investment that does not increase by interest accrual, we tried to supplement this collection systematically with source material and secondary literature. Despite some recent research, the oscillating phenomenon of Josephinism - with its religious and political struggles and reforms, the rise of the bourgeoisie, a truly popular literature, the music of Haydn and Mozart, and a classical and folk theater - is still a challenge for interdisciplinary research. Hopefully it will start at Stanford some day.

Another opportunity came in 1973, with an offer from Kraus in Liechtenstein of Swiss material. A quick search revealed that neither Berkeley nor Stanford had even much elementary material, such as the Eidgenössischen Abschiede...and similar items. Since Berkeley, aside from its German Collection, was traditionally interested in the Nordic area, it seemed reasonable for Stanford to supplement its German and Austrian collections with a Swiss "branch," in order to have a well covered Central European collection. We bought some 18 items (almost all of them multi-volume sets with 30 to 80 volumes) for about $7,000. It consists of complete runs of documents, the major historical bibliographies, periodicals and the important publications of regional and local historical societies. As it had been done before with the Federal Republic of Germany and with Austria (and, in some respect with the German Democratic Republic), we immediately established relationship with officials of the Swiss government to secure government documents, the Bulletin from the Swiss Embassy in Washington, the publications of Pro Helvetia and other materials for the library.

Aside from these purchases of larger collections, there were other buying opportunities. On a trip to Volkoff & Hohenlohe of Pasadena, I found rare theological, political and historical works from the period of the Re formation and the Baroque, also a sizable collection of about 3,000 Schulschriften, and long runs of "Programme" from more than 200 German and Austrian schools.- When Mr. Joseph Rubinstein moved from San Francisco to Berkeley, he sold part of his stock. We were able to acquire such periodicals as the Gundlingiana and Meusel's Magazin in addition to a number of books for quite a reasonable price. The most striking experience, however, was a private "book sale" by the young heiress of a Vienna-born architect. She asked me first to assess the books. I offered to bring catalogs and the Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise along in order to assure her that the suggested prices were fair. Then she suddenly changed her mind and insisted that a San Francisco book dealer should make the estimates instead. After this was done she sold some books to us, and I doubt that Stanford will ever get titles such as Hohberg's Georgica Curiosa Aucta or Abraham a Santa Clara's Reimb Dich... at a lower price.

Since the start of the Resources Development Program one of the most effective ways of buying material for the library his been buying trips of the curators in Europe, mostly in Central Europe. Urgently needed items may never show up in a catalog since antiquarian lists do not show the entire stock of a dealer. Furthermore, more and more antiquarian dealers are disinclined to answer "Search and Quote" requests. The various buying trips (G. Erdelyi 1964-65, Peter R. Frank 1970 and later, in connection with teaching appointments) turned out to be most successful. A passage in the Annual Report for 1965 of the Director of the Libraries may have surprised many people at the library: "... this has been a most profitable venture in more ways than one. Numerous titles have been obtained that were considered unavailable. Prices paid are significantly lower - not infrequently 50-80%... Moreover, valuable and lasting relationships were established with dealers, libraries, and other agencies that are essential for this library in building up its collections."

The curators went to Europe well prepared, thanks to the cooperation of the assistants, part-time help of students and some departments in preparing want lists. Standard bibliographies such as G. Franz, Bücherkunde zur deutschen Geschichte, the Marbacher list Deutsche Literatur vom Humanismus bis zur Gegenwart or the Rock Austria-list had been checked in advance. This preparation and the desiderata-lists saved all involved dealers and institutions, curators and assistants - considerable time and made the work so effective.

The question whether Blanket Order plans are serving the best interests of a library is much disputed again nowadays. Stanford entered a Blanket Order/Approval Plan for material from the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Austria and Switzerland with Otto Harrassowitz in Wiesbaden in 1967, and it has worked out fairly well. One of the great advantages of this program is that the actual books can be inspected and selected here at Stanford and can be sent back if we don't want them. Together with the marked national bibliographies, which Harrassowitz sends us beforehand, allowing additional selections and ordering, we are sure to get a good coverage for all recent material.

Although the curators have to rely in many cases on the advice, suggestions and help from both faculty members and students, there still is always ample opportunity for their own initiative. Closely observing the trend of research in German universities, and also the trend of interests at Stanford, we developed over the years what might be called an "anticipatory acquisition policy."

Changes in German Studies were very often implemented first in German speaking coun tries, e.g., the change in literary studies from interpretation to a sociological approach. It was foreseeable that these changes would sooner or later have an impact on German Studies in the United States. We acquired therefore at an early date, when the material was still available and not too expensive, numerous older books and of course the new publications which were relevant to this kind of study. Another case was the feminist movement in Central Europe, where hardly anything was available at Stanford. We bought early journals such as Die Frau or the Jahrbuch der Deutschen Frauenvereine, but also the standard works by G. Bäumer and Marianne Weber, and older material such, as Hippel's or Brandes' treatises, works by women authors and biographies of women. This material is readily available for courses now given atStanford. Still another example are Judaica, of interest to Religious Studies, History, Political Science and many other departments. Compared with the original holdings, all these purchases (and several others, e.g. in social and economic history) have developed over the years to sizable and good collections. But fortunately, not all books have to be bought. Many items come in either by exchange (official and semi-official documents, dissertations, and so on) or as gifts. The university seemed to have established an exchange program with Central European libraries from the beginning, because dissertations have poured in for a long time. They had piled up in masses and were shelved - still uncataloged - in the basement of the new Meyer Undergraduate Library. In 1968, we finally started to screen and sort this wealth of German dissertations (roughly estimated about 80,000 to 100,000 items!), a task which needed a full year, up to June 1969. The earliest dissertation, properly in Classics, was from Leipzig, 1834. Several of the dissertations turned out to be from later famous scholars: from G. Hertz, M. Scheler, P. Tillich, A. Weber, V. Valentin, H. Fraenkel, H. Zimmer, and others. Some contained otherwise not available source material, editions of texts or documents, and many of them were monographic studies on authors and topics, where little else is available. These dissertations, since cataloged, considerably strengthened our apparatus of secondary literature in many areas.

Among the "German" gifts within the last decade, the most notable were from Professor G. E. Steinke, Henry von Witzleben, and through the good services of the latter, the beautiful library of the late Bruno Adriani, Carmel, mostly art books and French editions, but also rare prints from the "George-Kreis." Remarkable was also the gift by Mrs. Moore, in memory of her parents, Wilhelm and Alice Weiss, of about 1,200 books, 300 of them for Special Collections. I still remember the rainy, stormy day when I drove over to Berkeley to a house at the foot of the hills. Mrs. Moore showed me the way to the first floor and opened the door to a room of moderate size. There was suddenly a touch of the Old World: Biedermeier furniture, and on the shelves, in small octavo, the first editions of Wieland, Goethe, Schiller and Jean Paul, among others. When the library came to Stanford, I discovered a copy of a letter in a book about the Silesian Armee-Abteilung Woyrsch, where Mr. Weiss had served as an officer during World War I. The letter, written in Amsterdam 1933 or 1934, was sent to a comrade in arms, then a high ranking officer in the new German army. It challenged the treatment of Jews, many of whom had fought for their country. The silence of the small library room with the editions of German classics, now the copy of a noble, moving letter: German history of the last decades, bewilderingly alive again.

A library is not simply an institution which mechanically orders a nd buys books. Many purchases, and certainly the expensive ones, are given a great deal of consideration: do the faculty and the students really need this work? Will it be used at Stanford? Could it not be borrowed via interlibrary loan from the University of California at Berkeley Library, or elsewhere? Is the price justified? Although Stanford has the Faber du Faur Baroque Collection on microfilm, we decided against spending $15,000 for the microfilms of the Harold Jantz Collection, since Berkeley purchased it. There was the case of a collection of letters by R. F. Redlich (who once taught at Stanford as visiting professor), which were considered for a joint purchase of Stanford Libraries and the Hoover Institution. Finally it was decided against it, because it was felt that at that time the amount of money was needed more urgently for other projects. And there were occasions where we saved the library money rather unwillingly. A sad example is the collection Deutsche Staats-und Verfassungsgeschichte 1562-1860, parts of the library Graf L. Thun-Hohenstein, Teschen, offered for about $11,000 by F. Hailer in 1968. The checking of the difficult material and the consultation with the faculty took possible a few days too long - alas, the library was sold when our cable arrived.

"A library resembles the ocean in that each contains hidden treasure" (G. W. Nagel). As the ocean grows, it becomes more and pore difficult to find these treasures. A case in point is the Hildebrand Collection, which was first a special collection, then was distributed to the proper classes and shelved among other books. Proudly announced in the Annual Register for a long period, then mentioned only with the German courses, it finally disappeared from the lists altogether. Today only a few insiders know about this important collection at Stanford, and the catalog of the Hildebrand Collection was not even listed in Down's American Library Resources. Whereas the old concept of libraries, especially on the European continent, was to collect books and keep them safe for future generations (with the librarian often in the role of a zealous bodyguard), a new concept sees the library open and in a double role: not only acquiring books, but also propagating the collections and facilitating the access to them. Since curators and assistants have the best knowledge of their respective collections, they are consulted regularly by faculty members, students and outside visitors. To make the collections better known not only at Stanford, but also outside, a more aggressive approach seemed to be necessary resulting in the publication of bibliographies, lists, articles, bibliographical courses and exhibitions.

As a joint enterprise of the Stanford University Libraries and the Hoover Institution, G. Erdelyi and A. Peterson published, a very thorough checklist of currently received serials, German Periodical Publications (Stanford 1967). A revised second edition had been planned by A. Peterson and Peter R. Frank to include also old material, but it had to be postponed in favor of a first Union List of Serials, published as a computer printout in four volumes in 1974.

Important additions to the German collection or older material, which had "disappeared" in the "ocean of books," were presented in numerous articles by Mr. Grieder and myself in the Stanford Library Bulletin, articles dealt with the "Portheim Collection" March 22 and May 3, 1968), German Baroque Books (July 2, 1970),a new important reference tool (November 10, 1972), and the acquisition of Swiss material (February 9, 1974), among others. Since it has hardly been recognized that Stanford also has an extraordinary collection of German periodicals, with many old and rare items, I felt compelled to report about this (February 6 and 20, 1970). The Austriaca Collection has been described at greater length in volume 4 of Austriaca-Americana (Wien 1974). A further step was to inform both Mr. Ash and Mr. Downs about special holdings and catalogs of German material at Stanford, in order to have them included in further editions of Subject Collections and American Library Resources. And since 1968, faculty members and students who are interested in German materials were regularly informed by a Monthly List, which contained a selection of newly arrived books. These lists together with the Annual Report of the Curator documented in great detail the activities and achievements of RDP-German since 1963.

... As President Jordan had predicted in his letter in March 1902 to Mrs. Stanford, the Stanford University became, in less than 100 years, in many fields a first ranking institution for higher education, for teaching and research. The library, on the other hand, was able to enlarge its holdings from one million volumes after World War II to a stunning four million volumes in the 70's. What is not so strikingly evident and cannot be measured by these figures is the increase of quality of this material. It is fair to say that German topics and holdings were among the areas which profited most from this growth. This development is due to the clear and far-sighted concept of Collection Building, the creation of the Resources Development Program under the direction of Elmer M. Grieder, the hard work and the esprit du corps of all involved. Although German is no longer in the "Ivy League" in Courses and Degrees (as it was with Greek and Latin in 1891) and has to share its place with numerous other departments including many new ones, the interest of faculty and students in Central European topics and questions, the interest in the results of scientific and technological research done over there is strong, as it has been traditionally at Stanford. We can expect it will stay this way for years to come, as long as Die Luft der Freiheit weht.

 

 

Last modified: May 22, 2009

     
© Stanford University. Stanford, CA 94305. (650) 723-2300. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints