Saved From Europe: The Kallir Family Collection of Austrian and German Literature

October 24 - November 27, 2012

The Kallir Family Collection represents selections from the personal library of Otto Nirenstein Kallir, best known as an art collector and dealer and proprietor of the Galerie St. Etienne in New York City, but also known as a highly respected publisher and book collector. The collection, which was donated to Wesleyan in honor of Barbara Kallir, Wesleyan Class of 1983, centers around German-language literature from the late-19th and early-20th centuries, with a strong focus on Austrian and Jewish authors.  The authors most heavily represented within the Kallir collection are Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Rainer Maria Rilke, Thomas Mann, Richard Beer-Hofmann, and Joseph Roth.  Many other well-known authors appear in the collection as well.  The fact that over two dozen of the books are inscribed by their authors to either Otto or to his wife Fanny attests to the personal connections they had to many leading writers of the day.  The collection ranges from valuable and rare fine-press limited editions, such as those by the Bremer-Presse, to small Insel-Verlag publications and other trade editions.  Unique and personal materials within the collection include an autograph manuscript of Max Mell’s Ein altes deutsches Weihnachtsspiel, a publisher’s proof copy of Joseph Roth’s novel Die Geschichte von der 1002. Nacht heavily corrected and cut by the author, and Richard Beer-Hofmann’s own album of photographs of his beloved wife Paula.  These kinds of materials, as well as author’s inscriptions, rare periodicals such as Poetischer Flugblätter (highlighting contemporary Austrian and German poets), and political pamphlets written by Thomas Mann, give readers a glimpse into the German-speaking literary world of the early twentieth-century.

The opening event of the exhibition will be held on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at the Olin Memorial Library in the Smith Reading Room, with a reception beginning at 4:30pm, and a short talk by Professor Ulrich Plass about the collection at 5:00pm.  The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the German Studies Department, Special Collections & Archives, Olin Library, and Friends of the Library.