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Thoma, Herbert Hans Karl (1899-1975)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0367 HTH
Held at: Institute of Modern Languages
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Full title: Thoma, Herbert Hans Karl (1899-1975)
Date(s): 1913-1975
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 4 boxes
Name of creator(s): Thoma | Herbert Hans Karl | 1877-1975 | German scholar
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Herbert Thoma was born in Munich on 31 March 1899. He was the son of Karl Thoma-Höfele, a painter who was related to the writer Ludwig Thoma. Herbert did his military service in 1917 and then entered Munich University to read German, English, History and Philosophy. In 1920-21 he was assistant to Hermann Paul but was supervised for his doctorate (submitted 1922) by Carl von Kraus, the great German medievalist and philologist. His doctoral thesis on Rittertreue was published in 1923 (see below).

After leaving the University he went to work for the Süddeutsche Monatshefte, which ceased publication in 1936. In 1939 he left Germany for the United Kingdom to join his fiancée Susi Bauer, who had fled from the Nazi persecution of the Jews several years previously. Thoma was able to leave Germany on the pretext of travelling to England to research the early German manuscripts in British libraries as a supplement to the work of Robert Priebsch. To give plausibility to his trip, however, he was obliged to leave behind him all his personal and professional papers. Ironically, these were subsequently destroyed in the Allied bombing of Munich.

Once settled in England, Thoma married Susi Bauer and through the good offices of herself and a group of fellow exiles he was approached by academics, including Professor Frederick Norman of the Department of German at King's College London, and persuaded to become an assistant in this Department in 1947. In 1948 he was appointed Lecturer and in 1950 became a Recognised Teacher in the University of London. In 1959 he was appointed Senior Lecturer. He lectured in medieval German language and literature generally but his special research field was early German glosses, on which he became a leading authority. He retired from King's College in 1967 but remained research-active until his death on 18 September 1975.


Scope and content/abstract:

Professional papers of Herbert Hans Karl Thoma, 1913-1975, comprising:
Teaching papers including Thoma's lecture notes on on Old High and Middle German Language, Literature, and Palaeography [1950s], Thoma's notes on lectures by Prof Carl von Krauss, University of Münich, 1913-1915; King's College London, Department of German, examination questions on Germanic language and literature, with annotations by Thoma on marking schemes, candidates names and marks [1950s]; correspondence and papers on supervision of postgraduate student W F Tullasiewicz, with copy of his thesis on the Kaiserchronik
Unpublished research papers, 1961-1965 and undated, including the cataloguing project commissioned by the Bavarian State Library on the manuscripts in the monastic library at Ottobeuren; glosses to Hartmann von Aue's Eric and Iwein; biblical glosses and studies on German word endings,
Published research papers, 1951-1975, including: the work on early German manuscripts in London (principally the British Museum) which was the supplement to Robert Priebsch's great work; entries for Merker-Stammler's Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturgeschichte; medieval manuscripts of the Carmina Burana and the Nibelungenlied in the British Museum; early German manuscripts in the Vatican Library and the libraries of Munich. with an article on John of Neumarkt and Heinrich Frauenlob in Festschrift for Professor Frederick Norman (retired 1965) .
Correspondence, 1950-1975; correspondents include letters and postcards from Professors Bernhard Bischoff, Arthur Hatto, Carl von Kraus and Paul Salmon
Personal notes and press cuttings on A E Housman, 1937-1943

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and German

System of arrangement:

The papers are divided into four classes: Teaching, Research, Correspondence and A E Housman

Conditions governing access:

Researchers should apply to consult material at least forty-eight hours in advance by letter, facsimile, e-mail or telephone. The Library staff need a name and contact number, a concise and clear idea of the nature of the enquiry and a date and time for consultation.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies may be made, although this is at the discretion of the Librarian and is dependent on the nature of the material.

Finding aids:

List available in the Library.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated to IGS by Dr Kurt Ostberg, 1995-96.

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Jennifer Hogarth, revised by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000 and National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Revised Apr 2002

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