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Closs/Priebsch Family Papers

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0367 ACO/ECT/HCL/RPR
Held at: Institute of Modern Languages
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Full title: Closs/Priebsch Family Papers
Date(s): 1899-1990
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 65 boxes
Name of creator(s): Closs | August | 1898-1990 | Professor of German, University of Bristol
Closs | Hannah Margaret Mary | d 1953 | art critic and novelist
Priebsch | Robert | 1866-1935 | Professor of German, University of London
Traugott | Elizabeth Closs- | English scholar
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

August Closs was born in Upper Austria in 1898, and received his education in Berlin, Vienna, Graz and University College London (UCL), where he studied under the medievalist and palaeographer Robert Priebsch. Under Priebsch's tuition Closs developed his skills in palaeography and a love of medieval literature. In 1929 Closs became a lecturer at the University of Sheffield, and in 1930 he returned to UCL as a lecturer in the Department of German. In 1932 he was appointed Reader in German at Bristol University as successor to James Boyd. He held the post of Professor and Head of Department until his retirement in 1964.

His particular research interest was in poetry, especially the German love lyrik, where his studies included Gottfried's Tristan and Isolt and the poetry of Goethe and Hölderlin. His first important piece of research was on the theme of Dame World "Weltlohn", published in 1934. Closs played a leading role in the post World War Two twinning of Bristol and Hannover.

In 1931 Closs married Hannah Priebsch, only child of his former mentor, Robert Priebsch, an eminent art critic and successful novelist. Their daughter Elizabeth took a PhD at Berkley, California, in 1964, married an American, Professor Traugott, and is now Professor of Linguistics and English at Stanford University

Closs continued to research and publish right up to his death in 1990. Like his father-in-law he was a great collector. He and Hannah inherited Robert Priebsch's library of rare and first editions, and added to it. Closs also collected manuscripts and autograph letters. The Library is housed at the IGS under the title 'The Priebsch-Closs Collection'.

Robert Priebsch: Born Tannwald, Bohemia, June 1866; educated at the Gymnasium, Prague, the Universities of Leipzig, Prague, Berlin, Strasbourg and Graz; Lecturer in English Language, University College Liverpool, 1896; Professor of German, University College London, 1898; Professor of German Language and Literature, University of London, 1902-1931, Emeritus Professor from 1931; died May 1935
Publications: Diu Vrône Botschaft ze der Christenheit, [Graz: Styria, 1895]; Deutsche handschriften in England , (Erlangen: F. Junge, 1896-1901); Die Heilige Regel für ein vollkommenes Leben: eine Cisterzienserarbeit des XIII. Jahrhunderts (Berlin: Weidmann, 1909); The Heliand manuscript : Cotton Caligula A. VII in the British museum, (Oxford: The Clarendon press, 1925); Johan ûz dem virgiere : eine spätmhd. ritterdichtung nach flämischer quelle, nebst dem faksimileabdruck des flämischen volksbuches Joncker Jan wt den vergiere ; herausgegeben und eingeleitet von dr. Robert Priebsch ... mit einer tafel in manuldruck , (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1931); The German language (with W E Collinson), (London: Faber, 1934).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of August Closs and his family, comprising:
August Closs: Personal Papers
Correspondence with Hannah and Elizabeth Closs (later Closs-Traugott);
Diaries, 1915-1928;
General Correspondence: correspondents include Stefan Andres, 1960-1972; Anthony Blunt, 1976; Albert Einstein, 1930; T S Eliot, 1953; E M Forster, 1955; Sigmund Freud, 1930; John Galsworthy, 1928-1932; Bernt von Heiseler, 1953-1965; Arno and Anita Holz, 1922-1932; F R Leavis, 1948-1953; Thomas Mann, 1929; Christoph Meckl, 1962; J R R Tolkien, 1955;
Correspondence with UK/US based academics: correspondents include F W Bateson, 1956; Jethro Bithell, 1951-1957; Lord David Cecil, 1955; W E Collinson, 1944-1968; David Duckworth, 1972-1989; H G Fiedler, 1936-1944; Stanley Goodman, 1941-1942; G P Gooch, 1946-1963; Brian Keith-Smith, 1966-1982; Sir John Kingman, 1985-1988; Victor Lange, 1951-1973; Eudo C Mason, 1951-1963; Estelle Morgan, 1953-1987; Irene Morris, 1955-1957; Roy Pascal, 1948-1978; Ronald Peacock, 1945-1959; F P Pickering, 1937-1958; Siegbert and Helga Prawer, 1952-1987; Edna Purdie, 1953-1964; Hans S Reiss, 1964-1989; Hermann Salinger, 1963-1966; Paul and Vivian Salmon; David Scrase, 1964-1989; Ernst Stahl, 1963-1969; Ellisabeth and F J Stopp, 1946-1973; John Joseph Stoudt, 1945-1963; H M Waidson, 1960-1978; L A Willoughby, 1952-1977; Roy A Wisbey, 1980-1988; W E Yuill, 1967-1978; E H Zeydel, 1942-1961;
Correspondence with German/Austrian/Swiss based academics: correspondents include Ernst Alker, 1952-1972; Felix Braun, 1942-1948; Hans Egon Holthusen, 1950-1961; Heinz Kindermann, 1949-1974; Frans Koch, 1946-1957; Manfred Lurker, 1968-1972; Horst Oppel, 1946-1985; Arthur Pfeiffer, 1953-1957; Hans Pyritz, 1933-1956; Kurt Schäfer, 1982-1986;
Correspondence with other European based academics: correspondents include Jan Aler, 1946-1959 and Erik Lunding, 1953-1969;
Correspondence with individual academics, Hans Bähr, Roger Loomis, Eirwen and Idris Parry, Friedrich Heinz and the Humboldt Gesellschaft;
War diaries of Max Closs;
Correspondence with L P Hartley, 1955-1972, and letters between Closs and publishers on the publication of the correspondence;
Corrspondence, photos and papers on Theodor Däubler, 1930-1947 and undated;
Correspondence and articles relating to Herman Pongs, 1946-1978;
Notes, articles and reviews by Closs on German literature, 1915-1990;
Papers relating to Bristol University, including correspondence and papers on award of Honorary D.Litt, 1987;
Correspondence and papers on the Bristol/Hannover Link 1947-1987, particularly 40th anniversary celebrations, 1987;
Correspondence with publishers on royalty payments, 1949-1983;

Robert Preibsch papers, 1899-1934, including correspondence, notes on German literature and palaeography, correspondence about the Priebsch/Closs Collection;

Hannah Closs papers 1934-1952, including correspondence, reviews and articles, writings on art, reviews of her work, obituaries and tributes;

Elizabth Closs-Traugott papers, 1951-1988, including correspondence, notes for lectures, articles and reviews, and press cuttings;

Acquired Papers:
Medieval manuscripts: Das Leiden Christi, mss booklet describing a vision by a nun of the Passion of Christ [15th century], Pseudo-Clemens Romanus, early 9th century west German fragment; Heinrich Seuse: Buch der ewigen Weisheit six loose fragments [14th century], Predigten, by German wandering preacher, in Latin, c 1450; wooden cover with pressed calf leather, bearing arms of Pope Paul III Farinesi;
Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century material: Hexenprozesse three folio booklets - original records of witchcraft trials of Catharina Stroblin, 1617; Appolonia Nueberin, 1623, bill to cover costs of difficulties caused by and rewards offered for executed magical persons during the years 1617, 1628, 1629 by Hans Schölern; title deed to land and farm sold by Nette, servant of Graf Dietrich von Plesse to a nunnery, Low German, 1516;
Autograph letters and mss including poems Bittschrift by Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, [undated], and Friedrich von Bodenstadt [undated]; letters from Wilhelm von Humboldt [c 1799], Theodor Storm, 1867, Friedrich and Caroline de la Motte Fourque, 1814, 1927, Eduard Devrient, 1839, August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben, 1864, Friedrich Schlegrl, [undated], Ludolf Wienbarg, 1839, Christina G Rosetti, 1865, James Martineau - letter to J S Mill on the University of London, 1841, Stefan Zweig, 1909, Henriette Hendel-Schütz, 1807, Friedrich Karl von Savigny, 1856.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and German

System of arrangement:

Papers arranged in five classes; August Closs Papers (Ref ACO), Robert Priebsch Papers (Ref RPR), Hannah Closs Papers (Ref HCL), Elizabeth Closs-Traugott Papers (ECT) and Acquired Papers

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:

Box List

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Bequeathed to IGS by Professor Closs, 1990.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled 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:
May 2002

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