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Thomas Mann collection

Call Number: YCGL MSS 5

Scope and Contents

The roots of Yale's Thomas Mann collection can be traced to Mann's lecture tour of the United States in April, 1937. At that time he first met Joseph Warner Angell and Agnes E. Meyer, who, along with Mann and his English translator, Helen Lowe-Porter, have provided the major blocks of the Thomas Mann material now held by Yale. In 1937, Joseph Angell, then a graduate student at Yale, approached Mann with the plan of establishing an archive of the novelist's life work. Mann's enthusiasm for the proposal grew markedly after their first personal encounter, and he subsequently turned over to Angell some 38 autograph manuscripts for the purpose of founding a collection within the Yale University Library. With Mann's generous support, Joseph Angell supplemented this nucleus with first editions and translations of Mann's works, secondary literature on Mann, and printed sources used by him. By 1938 Yale's president, Charles Seymour, was able to announce the establishment of a Thomas Mann collection; an exhibit was staged in the Rare Book Room, and the collection was officially opened in February with a lecture by Mann. This event stimulated new donations, notably from Mann, now living in exile in the United States; from his American publisher Alfred A. Knopf; from Wilmarth S. Lewis; and from the Yale Library Associates. After he left Yale, Joseph Angell continued to serve as advisor to the collection, overseeing its expansion and the publication of one of its treasures, the rejected pages from the lost autograph manuscript of Der Zauberberg.

On his 1937 lecture tour Mann also met Agnes E. Meyer, who became one of his closest friends and most ardent supporters during his United States exile. Starting in 1957 Agnes Meyer gave to Yale her extensive and important correspondence with Mann, and her notes on their conversations, as well as a few manuscripts by Mann and miscellaneous related materials. Mann's letters to Meyer were edited by Hans R. Vaget and published in 1992 by the Fischer Verlag.

In 1957 Yale purchased the major portion of Helen Lowe-Porter's Thomas Mann papers, including typescripts of her translations of many of the novels, often accompanied by the German typescript prepared for her by Mann. Also included were numerous essays and lectures in English and German versions; a voluminous file of clippings by and about Mann; and some of Helen Lowe- Porter's letters from the novelist. Additional letters from Mann to Helen Lowe-Porter were given to Yale by her daughter, Patricia Lowe Pitzele, in 1969.

The first section of this Register lists Thomas Mann's writings, including translations by Helen Lowe-Porter, in a single alphabetical sequence. Translations, fragments, untitled drafts, and differently titled versions of a single work are collected under the bibliographically accepted title as cited by Hans Buergin in Das Werk Thomas Manns (Frankfurt/Main, 1959). A title appearing on the manuscript is here recorded in capital letters, while a title supplied from Buergin or another source is enclosed in square brackets. In the physical description of the manuscripts, "leaf" designates a single piece of paper, which may contain from 1 to 4 pages of text. The following abbreviations have been used: TM - Thomas Mann KM - Katia Mann HLP - Helen Lowe-Porter AEM - Agnes E. Meyer JWA - Joseph Warner Angell TLS - Typed letter, signed TL - Typed letter ALS - Autograph letter, signed APCS - Autograph post card, signed TPCS - Typed post card, signed ACS - Autograph card, signed ANS - Autograph note, signed tel. - telegram Christa Sammons, May 1980


  • 1894 - 1990


Language of Materials

Most material written in German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Thomas Mann Collection 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

Gifts of Thomas Mann, 1937; Alfred Vagts, 1938; Agnes E. Meyer, 1957; and others. Purchase from Helen Lowe-Porter, 1957. See further information in Description of the Collection, below.


8.5 Linear Feet ((20 boxes) + 2 portfolios)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Thomas Mann Collection consists of manuscripts, letters, photographs, and printed materials relating to the life and work of Mann and his wife, Katia.

Processing Information

This finding aid, created before the advent of computer-generated files, has been converted into a ASCII data file by means of scanning and Optical Character Recognition software. While attempts have been made to retain the complete information from the original document, a number of format changes have been made to present the structure of this archive in accordance with current practice.

Guide to the Thomas Mann Collection
Under Revision
by Christa Sammons
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.