Curt von Faber du Faur papers
Scope and Contents
- circa 1936-1966
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
9.68 Linear Feet (27 boxes)
Curt von Faber du Faur (1890-1966)
“I was an officer in the German Army, from 1909-1919. Left January 1919, studied History of Art and German Literature at Munich and Giessen. Settled as an antiquarian in Munich 1923. Transferred my home to Florence, Italy, 1931. Lived there farming olives, wheat and wine. Wrote criticism and articles for “Frankfurter Zeitung”. Emigrated to America, March, 1939. Was book collector since 1911. Offered my collection as a loan to Harvard University where it stood from 1939 to 1944. Lectured at Harvard. Sold the collection to Yale 1944. Became Research Associate, 1944, Research Professor February 1951.”
A few facts may be added to this modest autobiographical sketch. On his father’s side, Faber was descended from a distinguished military family and also from the French jurist and poet, Guy de Faur, seigneur de Pibrac (1529-84), a friend of Ronsard. Faber’s mother was descended from the Cottas, publishers to Goethe and numerous other writers.
In the army, Faber held the rank of lieutenant; his discharge came about because of illness. After graduate study in Munich and Giessen, he was awarded his PhD in art history by the latter university. His dissertation, on a late fifteenth-century south German engraver and painter, was published as Der Hausbuchmeister (Berlin, Gloria-Verlag, 1921).
During the 1920s, he was in contact with the circle around the poet Stefan George, where he met his future wife, Emma Schabert, née Mock, widow of Rufus Blake. Their marriage took place in 1928. (The Yale Collection of German Literature counts among its holdings Faber’s heavily annotated copies of George’s poetry cycles.)
Faber’s career as an antiquarian bookseller was distinguished. In 1923 he and Dr. Georg Karl founded the firm Karl & Faber in Munich, which grew to be one of Germany’s major auction houses for antiquarian books and art. The firm still does business, after several name changes, as Hartung & Hartung. Among the early catalogs published by the Karl & Faber was Sammlung Victor Manheimer. Deutsche Barockliteratur von Opitz bis Brockes (Katalog 27, 1927), which Faber wrote with Karl Wolfskehl.
While “farming olives, wheat and wine” in Italy in the 1930s, Faber also wrote and published a volume of poetry and three Expressionist plays: Uffizien. 14 Gedichte (Florence, 1933); Das grüne Blut. Dramatisches Gedicht (Munich, 1936); Der Abfall. Dramatisches Gedicht (Munich, 1937), and St. Satyros. Dramatisches Gedicht (Munich, 1937).
Oral tradition at Yale has always maintained that Curt von Faber du Faur abandoned Harvard in favor of Yale because Harvard did not grant him faculty rank. (In the retained administrative files of the Yale Collection of German Literature, there is a folder of material documenting the actual negotiations between Yale and Faber.) At Yale, his initial appointment was as Research Associate in German Literature and Bibliography and Associate Curator of the German Literature Collection (Carl Schreiber was still curator of the Speck Collection at that time). By 1951 he had been promoted to Research Professor in German Literature and Bibliography and by 1955 he was sole curator of the library collection. During these years he held visiting lectureships at Columbia University (1949/50) and in the Middlebury College summer school (1951).
Faber was a fellow of Davenport College at Yale and a trustee of the Yale Library Associates. His major honors included the Yale Medal (1964), the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of German ( Bundesverdienstkreuz, 1965), and the gold Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institut (1966). He was a member of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung in Darmstadt. Among his friends were Richard Alewyn, Ernst Hauswedell, Paul Hindemith, Thornton Wilder, and Karl Wolfskehl.
Through his collecting, writing, and teaching, Curt von Faber du Faur envigorated the study of seventeenth-century German literature in the United States. The two-volume bibliography of his book collection was for a long time a standard bibliographical reference in the field of German baroque literature; its discursive chapter introductions still serve as a general introduction to the field. See “The Legacy of Curt Faber du Faur to the United States” (Colloquia Germanica 25 , 195–209) by Blake Lee Spahr, probably Faber’s most prominent student.
The following items, gifts of Jan Thacher, 1997, were added in 2011 August: Thacher, Jan, The Cotta Legacy: the Doris von Schmeling Thacher Collection, VHS cassette, second copy; and Faber du Faur, Moriz von, "Damals, gestern und heute," series of articles, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 1953 January 6-March 12, photocopy. Also added in 2011 August: Negative microfilm copy of a collection of letters to Wolfgang Liepe congratulating him on his 70th birthday, source unknown.
- Audiovisual materials
- Authors, German
- Baroque literature -- Germany
- Book collecting
- Faber du Faur, Curt von, 1890-1966
- German literature -- 18th century
- German literature -- 19th century
- German literature -- 20th Century
- German literature -- Early modern, 1500-1700
- Yale University -- Faculty
- Guide to the Curt von Faber du Faur Papers
- by Christa Sammons
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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