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Hermann Broch archive

Call Number: YCGL MSS 1

Scope and Contents

The Hermann Broch Archive contains correspondence; manuscripts of books, plays, poems, articles and essays, book reviews, short stories; writings of others; personal papers; photographs; and videocassettes which document aspects of the life and career of Hermann Broch, Austrian author. The material spans the years 1872 to 1990s, with the bulk falling between 1930 and 1951.

The papers are housed in eighty boxes and are organized into six series. Writings and Correspondence are the largest series. Writings of Others, Personal Papers, Photographs, and Addition make up the rest of the collection. Oversize and Restricted Papers are placed at the end.

Hermann Broch was a prolific letter writer. His correspondence covers many subjects--from very personal matters of the heart to philosophical, political, and psychological concepts. A perusal of his correspondence record from 1945 to 1948 (Box 61, folder 1528) reveals the staggering number of letters he wrote daily. Broch had many friends and acquaintances and wrote to them frequently. In his personal correspondence, he was often open and gregarious and, at times, complained bitterly about his fate as an author. His writing style involved the production of multiple carbon copies for most manuscript drafts, which were later sent out to publishers and friends for comment. This process generated considerable correspondence. Broch had the ability to elicit strong loyalties from his friends--especially from his many women friends. Regular correspondence was vital in maintaining these relationships. When he ran out of typing paper, such as during his lengthy hospital stay in Princeton in 1948-49, Broch frequently wrote on the unused portion of correspondence he had received. Thus, numerous pages of manuscript drafts are written on the verso sides of personal letters.

Series I, Correspondence (Boxes 1-20), covers the period 1907-86 and is organized into three subseries: Correspondence of Hermann Broch, Correspondence of Kahler Family, and Other Correspondence. Correspondence of Hermann Broch consists of letters between the author and family members, friends, associates, publishers, and other organizations. Major correspondents include Emma von Allesch, the Bollingen Foundation, Franziska Broch, Hermann Friedrich Broch de Rothermann, Da?niel and Daisy Bro?dy, Joseph Bunzel, Henry and Marion Canby, Curt von Faber du Faur, Paul Federn, Fischer Verlag, Egon Fritz-Vietta, Christian Gauss, Trude Geiringer, Alvin Johnson, Erich and Alice Lowey Kahler, Edith Jonas Levy, Edith Ludovyk-Gyömröi, Edwin and Willa Muir, the New School for Social Research, Pantheon Books, Rhein-Verlag, the Rockefeller Foundation, Frances Colby Rogers, Irma Rothstein, Hans Sahl, Frank Thiess, Friedrich Torberg, Jean Starr Untermeyer, Hermann Weigand, Willi Weismann Verlag, Kurt and Helen Wolff, and Volkmar von Züllsdorf.

The second subseries, Correspondence of Kahler Family, contains the correspondence of Erich and Alice Lowey Kahler, and to a lesser extent of Erich's mother Antoinette, with friends and colleagues of Hermann Broch concerning the author. Major correspondents include Hannah Arendt, Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch, Hermann Friedrich Broch de Rothermann, Da?niel Bro?dy, Henry and Marion Canby, Curt von Faber du Faur, Christian Gauss, Trude Geiringer, Alvin Johnson, Edith Jonas Levy, Robert Pick, and Jean Starr Untermeyer.

The third subseries, Other Correspondence, represents third-party correspondence between various friends and colleagues of Hermann Broch other than the Kahler family concerning the author. Major correspondents include Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch, Da?niel Bro?dy, Joseph Bunzel, Henry and Marion Canby, Curt von Faber du Faur, Alvin Johnson, Erich Kahler, Edith Jonas Levy, Robert Pick, Jean Starr Untermeyer, Hermann Weigand, and Kurt and Helene Wolff.

Some correspondence in Series I is present only in photocopy. When this occurs with well-known individuals, the word "photocopies" is written in parentheses on the folder to indicate the lack of originals. Correspondence is also found in Series IV, Personal Papers. These letters document the formation of the subscription fund for Broch's death mask (Box 62, folders 1530-93) and the recommendation process of Broch for the Nobel Prize for Literature (Box 64, folders 1617-37). Two folders of correspondence record the sale of Broch's personal library after his death (Box 64, folders 1614-15).

Series II, Writings (Boxes 21-58), covers the period 1913-88 and is organized into four subseries: Books, Plays, Poems, and Shorter Works. The Books subseries consists of research notes, early studies, manuscript drafts, galley proofs, page proofs, advertisements, publicity, book reviews, scrapbooks, English and French translations, translator's notes, critical synopses and commentaries, radio, television, and film dramatizations, and tape recordings and transcriptions. The majority of Broch's book-length works are well represented from their initial stages through to completion, such as the triology Die Schlafwandler (1930-32), Die unbekannte Grösse (1933), Bergroman (1935-51) with its three incomplete versions and various published formats, Der Tod des Vergil (1945), Die Schuldlosen (1950), and the posthumously published Massenpsychologie (1959), which grew out of several earlier essays. Hofmannsthal und seine Zeit (1948), commissioned as an essay, almost became a book, whereas "Filsmann" (1932) never progressed beyond a fragmentary draft. The epistolary diary, Tagebuch in Briefen an Ea von Allesch, based on correspondence between Broch and Emma von Allesch, was edited by H. F. Broch de Rothermann around 1970. As a lark, Broch, his fiancée, and several of their friends entered into a writing project in 1909, in which each member contributed one chapter toward a novel. Sonja oder ueber unsere Kraft represents Broch's contribution.

Plays consists of works written or adapted for the stage. Die Entsühnung (1934) was the author's most serious attempt at dramatic writing. The work was initially well received, but suffered a short run due to Nazi censure. Box 69, folder 1741 contains a commemorative album of photographs by Trude Geiringer of Die Entsühnung's premiere performance. Late in life, Broch collaborated with his son to produce the light-hearted farce Aus der Luft gegriffen (ca. 1950). The one-woman play Die Erzählung der Magd Zerline (ca. 1983) was adapted from Broch's novel, Die Schuldlosen, by Klaus Michael Grüber and enjoyed considerable success in Germany, France, and Japan during the 1980s. "Es bleibt alles beim Alten: Schwank mit Musik" is a draft of a play that was never completed.

The Poems subseries is composed primarily of Broch's collected poems, compiled and edited in 1953 by Erich Kahler under the title Gesammelte Gedichte for the Rhein-Verlag edition of Broch's works. Loose poems are arranged alphabetically by first line in folders 1013-35. Many exist in multiple typescript copies which were sent to friends and have eventually found their way to Yale.

The Shorter Works subseries is organized into three subseries: "Articles and Essays," "Book Reviews," and "Short Stories." Broch produced over 150 separate articles and essays, covering a wide range of subjects. This section constitutes ninety percent of the subseries. Major topics include authoritarianism, civil rights, civilization, culture, democracy, dictators, ethics, fascism, history, literature, logic, mass psychology, mathematics, metaphysics, philosophy, political exiles, politics, psychology, sociology, values, and the theory of knowledge. Some of the best-known essays are "Adolf Hitler's Farewell Address," "Bemerkungen zur Utopie einer 'International Bill of Rights and of Responsibilities,'" "Geist und Zeitgeist," "Logik einer zerfallenden Welt," and "Proposal for a Law to Protect Human Dignity." The subseries also contains obituaries written by Broch for Antoinette Kahler, Robert Musil, Jacques Schiffrin, and Clotilde Schweiger. "Book Reviews" contains Broch's critical views on selected books by Austrian and German authors, published for the most part between 1919 and 1921. "Short Stories" consists of eight stories by Broch written during the 1930s and '40s.

Series III, Writings of Others (Boxes 59-60), covers the period 1901-89 and is organized into two subseries: Writings about Broch and General. The first subseries consists of articles and essays on Broch or his works by Hannah Arendt, Erich Kahler, Jean Starr Untermeyer, Hermann Weigand, and many more. The second subseries is primarily composed of articles and essays on an assortment of literary topics by various authors, including Paul Federn, Broch's psychoanalyst, and Erich Kahler.

Series IV, Personal Papers (Boxes 61-68), covers the period 1886-1990 and is organized into two subseries: Hermann Broch and Other. The first subseries contains biographical and bibliographical information. To be found here are documents relating to Broch's birth, education, activity as a textile manufacturer, engagement, wedding, military service, release from prison, emigration, hospitalization, and death. Also included here are Broch's reading notes from the courses he took at the university in Vienna, a notebook recording his correspondence for the years 1945-48, and various sorts of financial records. Other files relate to the sale of Broch's library, efforts to have him nominated for a Nobel Prize, and the solicitation of funds for a death mask of Broch. The second subseries contains materials on various family members and friends, such as biographical sketches of Emma von Allesch, H. F. Broch de Rothermann, Trude Fleischmann, and Ruth Norden, death announcements for Franziska Broch von Rothermann, Da?niel Bro?dy, Marion Canby, Victor Polzer, and Willi Weismann, various personal identification documents from the Nazi period, an interview with Jean Starr Untermeyer concerning her translation of Der Tod des Virgil, and a lecture by H. F. Broch de Rothermann.

Series V, Photographs (Boxes 69-72), covers the period 1872-1986 and is organized into two subseries: Hermann Broch and Other. The first series contains photographs of Hermann Broch in single and group shots from early childhood until shortly before his death, photographs of Broch by Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch, Trude Fleischmann, and Trude Geiringer, photographs of drawings of Broch, Broch residences, and various Broch memorials, including six busts, one death mask, two monuments, and three tablets. There are also photographs of the dedication of the Broch Museum in Teesdorf, Austria, in February 1967, and stills from productions of two of Broch's plays, Die Entsühnung (in 1934) and Aus der Luft gegriffen (in 1981). The second subseries contains photographs of various family members and friends, including Broch's parents, Josef and Johanna Broch, his first wife, Franziska Broch von Rothermann, his son, Hermann Friedrich Broch de Rothermann, Alvin Johnson, Antoinette, Erich, and Alice Lowey Kahler, and Jean Starr Untermeyer.

Series VI, Addition (Boxes 75-80), contains materials dated 1925-1990s and is organized into five subseries, paralleling organization of Series I-V. Correspondence, subdivided into Correspondence of Hermann Broch and Correspondence of Kahler family, contains several hundred letters from Broch to Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch; correspondence with people also represented in Series I, including Da?niel Bro?dy, Paul Federn, Alice Loewy Kahler, Erich Kahler, Hanna Loewy, Suhrkamp Verlag, and Jean Untermeyer; and some additional correspondents and unidentified letters. Writings contains Broch's autobiographical "Psychische Selbstbiographie" and "Nachtrag zu meiner Psychischen Selbstbiographie," two autograph manuscript poems, and materials supplementing works represented in Series II, including a videocassette and posters relating to productions of Die Erzählung der Magd Zerline, corrected proofs for Die Schlafwandler and Die Schuldlosen, and papers relating to Tagebuch in Briefen an Ea von Allesch. Writings of Others, subdivided into Writings about Broch and General, includes writings about Broch by Erich and Alice Lowey Kahler as well as academic dissertations and other scholarly articles about Broch, circa 1960s-1990s. Personal Papers includes an autograph book with inscriptions to Broch, 1925-1926, a photocopy of Broch’s death certificate, and clippings and ephemera relating to him, most 1980s-1990s. Photographs, subdivided into Hermann Broch and Other, includes Broch family photographs, a photograph of Erich and Alice Lowey Kahler, and unidentified images. The Addition Series incorporates formerly restricted materials opened to researchers in 2000.

Oversize (Boxes 73-74, 79 roll) covers the period 1906-87 and contains materials from Series II, III, IV, and VI. It includes dust jackets, book reviews, a scrapbook, galley proofs, posters, clippings, patents, a drawing of Broch by Rudolph von Ripper, and a list of subscribers for Hermann Broch's death mask.


  • 1872-1990s
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1951


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 61 and 75 (videocassettes), and 82 (audiocassettes): Use of originals is restricted. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

The following formerly restricted papers were opened to researchers on January 1, 2000: letters to Paul Federn; letters to/from Jadwiga Judd; letter to Erich Kahler; letters to/from Jean Starr Untermeyer; "Psychische Selbstbiographie" and "Nachtrag zu meiner Psychischen Selbstbiographie"; and Suhrkamp Verlag correspondence (1980-1986) and royalty statements (1975-1987). Formerly housed in boxes 75 and 75a, folders 1807-1813, these materials were integrated into Series VI, Addition, in 2011.

Conditions Governing Use

The Hermann Broch Archive is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in Series I-V came to Yale University in July 1951, in accordance with Broch's wishes and through the executor of his estate, Henry Seidel Canby. Since then, other materials have been received from family members, friends, and associates, including Broch's second wife, Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch, his son, H. F. Broch de Rothermann, Henry and Marion Canby, Trude Geiringer, Erich and Alice Loewy Kahler, Edith Jonas Levy, Robert Pick, Jean Starr Untermeyer, and Hermann and Mary Weigand.

Materials in Series VI, Addition, were gifts of Alice Loewy Kahler, H. F. Broch de Rothermann, Sachiko Yoshizawa Broch de Rothermann, Jane M. Roberts, and Theodore J. Ziolkowski, 1991-2001; and were purchased from Alice Loewy Kahler, on the Beinecke German Literature Collection Fund, 1990; Hanna Loewy, on the Beinecke German Literature Collection Fund and the Hadumoth Cnefelius Fund, 1994-1999; Moirandat Company, on the Beinecke German Literature Collection Fund and the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 1999-2001; J. A. Stargardt Autographenhandlung, on the Beinecke German Literature Collection Fund and the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 1995; and Eberhard Koestler, on the H. F. Broch de Rothermann Memorial Fund, 2003.


Organized into six series: I. Correspondence, 1907-1986. II. Writings, 1913-1988. III. Writings of Others, 1901-1989. IV. Personal Papers, 1886-1990. V. Photographs, 1872-1986. VI. Addition, 1925-1990s.

Associated Materials

For additional archival materials concerning Hermann Broch, see the H. F. Broch de Rothermann Papers (YCGL MSS 2) at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


37.54 Linear Feet ((82 boxes) + 2 art storage items, 1 roll)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Hermann Broch Archive contains correspondence; manuscripts of books, plays, poems, articles and essays, book reviews, and short stories; writings of others; personal papers; photographs; and videocassettes.

HERMANN BROCH (1886-1951)

Hermann Broch, author of Die Schlafwandler and Der Tod des Vergil, was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Vienna on November 1, 1886. The son of a textile industrialist, Broch studied textile engineering as a young man and gradually assumed management of the family business. Although he performed successfully in this capacity and became a respected member of the industrial community, his real interests lay in the intellectual-cultural sphere. From 1925 to 1930 he was enrolled at the University of Vienna, taking courses in mathematics and philosophy. With the sale of the factory in 1927, Broch relinquished his business obligations and dedicated himself to a life of writing.

During the 1930s Broch produced a considerable number of writings, including the novel trilogy Die Schlafwandler (1930-32), Die unbekannte Grösse (1933), the first version of the incomplete novel Bergroman (1935-36), numerous articles, essays, and poems, as well as a play, Die Entsühnung (1934). After a brief incarceration by the Nazis in 1938, he left Austria, traveling first to Scotland and then to the United States.

In America, Broch became friends with other academic and literary exiles, including Hannah Arendt, Albert Einstein, and Erich Kahler. These years brought financial hardship. Broch's publications, although well received in American literary circles, could not be marketed in Europe during the war. Without a remunerative academic position, he lived primarily from occasional fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Bollingen foundations. Between 1942 and 1948, Broch rented quarters in the home of Erich and Alice Loewy Kahler in Princeton. While there, he completed his novel, Der Tod des Vergil (1945). During his years in exile, theory of knowledge and mass physchology were dominant themes in much of Broch's expository writing. He also continued to produce political essays, taking a strong stand against Fascism and war and for the preservation of human rights and democracy.

In December 1909, Broch married Franziska von Rothermann. From this marriage, which lasted a little over thirteen years, Hermann Friedrich Broch de Rothermann was born. In December 1949, Broch married Annemarie Meier-Graefe. The last two years of Broch's life were spent in New Haven, where he died on May 30, 1951.

For further biographical information, see Hermann Broch in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten (1966) by Manfred Durzak and Hermann Broch: Eine Biographie (1985) by Paul Michael Lützeler.

Nicknames within the Hermann Broch Archive

KEY: Nickname / Full Name

"Armand" / Hermann Friedrich Broch de Rothermann

"Buch," "Bouchi" / Annemarie Meier-Graefe Broch (second wife of Hermann Broch)

"Bru" / Bruder, used by Erich Kahler and HB when writing to each other. Hermann Broch also uses it on the rare occasions when he writes to his real brother Fritz.

"Ea" / Emma von Allesch

"Fanny" / Franciska von Rothermann (first wife of Hermann Broch)

"Fine" / Josephine Kahler

"Jeanerl" / Jean Starr Untermeyer

"Lady" / Marion Ponsonby Gause Canby

"Libru" / lieber Bruder, same as Bru

"Lili" / Alice Loewy Kahler

"Mama" / Antoinette von Kahler (mother of Erich Kahler)

"Pitz" / H. F. Broch de Rothermann

"Sachi" / Sachiko Yoshizawa Broch (second wife of Hermann Friedrich Broch de Rothermann)

Processing Information

Non-book printed materials relating to Broch and his works after the author's death in 1951 may be found in the Vertical File of the Yale Collection of German Literature. Subjects include ephemera relating to Broch's centenary and other anniversaries, recent clippings about Broch, scholarly articles in both printed and typescript form, and proofs of the Lützeler edition of Broch's works and of recent works relating to Broch. At this writing, the collection also includes numerous printed translations of Broch's works, not catalogued in Yale's ORBIS system. See the curator for further information. Historical Sound Recordings at Yale University holds several phonograph records relating to Broch's works. These include a radio dramatization of the play Die Entsühnung by a cast of twenty, solo readings from the novels Die Schlafwandler and Der Tod des Vergil by Wolfgang Stendar, and a reading by Broch himself from Der Versucher. Broch's death mask by Peter Lipman-Wulf, and his bust by Irma Rothstein, are catalogued in the Art Objects Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Photocopies of letters from Thomas Mann to Hermann Broch (Oct 30, 1939, Sept 24, 1941, Dec 27, 1941, and Jun 7, 1944), formerly housed in Folder 244, were removed at the request of the curator in April 2001, when the originals were located in the Deutsches Literatur Archive in Marbach, Germany. A letter from Thomas Mann to Whom it may concern (Sept 24, 1941), was also removed: the original is located at the Musil Archive, Tubingen.

Series VI, Addition, consists of materials acquired since 1991, formerly classed as Uncat Zg Ms 8, Uncat Zg Ms 18, Uncat Zg Ms 19, Uncat Zg Ms 26, Uncat Zg Ms 28, Uncat Zg Ms 29, Uncat Zg Ms 34, Uncat Zg Ms 85, and Zg Broch. This series was processed in 2011 at a baseline level, in subseries paralleling organization of the main series of the Archive. Within each subseries, folder titles assigned by creators or during accessioning by the Library have been preserved, followed by related unsorted or unidentified material. In 2013, printed ephemera and photographs formerly classed as Uncat Mss 90 were added to Series VI.

Guide to the Hermann Broch Archive
by T. Michael Womack
February 1991
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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