The New Hannah Arendt Papers Website06-10-2021
While her personal library is at Bard College, Hannah Arendt left her personal papers to the Library of Congress. For years those papers have been available in-person at the library and, in part, over the web via an outdated, clunky, and incomplete digital interface. This week the Library of Congress launched its new website for the Hannah Arendt Papers. It is a pleasure to use. Most importantly, it allows for the first time access to nearly all of the papers in Arendt’s archive. This is a huge accomplishment and a boon for researchers and interested Arendtians. Spend some time surfing the site and reading Arendt’s papers. You can also join a webinar on Wednesday June 16th featuring Barbara Bair, the librarian who shepherd this project to completion, as well as presentations by Arendt scholars on how they use the Arendt Papers in their research.
The papers of author, educator, political philosopher, and public intellectual Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) constitute a large and diverse collection (25,000 items; 82,597 images) reflecting a complex career. The collection spans the years 1898 to 1977, with the bulk of the material beginning in 1948, three years before Arendt’s naturalization as an American citizen. The papers contain correspondence, articles, lectures, speeches, book manuscripts, transcripts of Adolf Eichmann’s trial proceedings, notes, printed matter pertaining to Arendt’s writings, family and personal materials, evidence of Arendt’s network of fellow intellectuals, editors, writers, and theorists, and documentation of her academic affiliations and courses taught.
The Library of Congress received the Hannah Arendt Papers as a gift and bequest from Arendt in various installments from 1965 to 2000. Small additions have been subsequently received, including those made by Klaus Loewald in 1981, Roger Errera in 1994, and Jochen Kölsch, International Verbindungen, 2007.
Rich in manuscripts and correspondence for Arendt’s productive years as a writer and lecturer after World War II, the papers are sparse before the mid-1940s because of Arendt’s forced departure from Nazi Germany in 1933 and her escape from occupied France in 1941. Documentation for the first part of her life includes a few notebooks and writings; several official and private records relating mainly to her divorce, family history, and emigration; and a small group of personal correspondence with her second husband, Heinrich Blücher, some of whose letters and unpublished writings can be found in the Family Papers series. Much of the material is in German and other European languages.