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REICH, Dorothy (1921-2001)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0505 PP23
Held at: Royal Holloway, University of London
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Full title: REICH, Dorothy (1921-2001)
Date(s): Created 1892-1981
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 4 boxes or 0.04m3
Name of creator(s): Reich | Dorothy | fl 1932-1970 | German scholar
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dorothy Reich (née Knight) was born on the 6th August 1921, the daughter of a civil servant. She entered Bedford College in 1941 to study German with French and graduated with a first class honours degree in German in 1944. She was awarded a University Scholarship to do postgraduate work in German but had to spend 2 years doing National Service with the ATS Intelligence. On her release she returned to Bedford College to undertake her MA thesis on 'Bodmer's contribution to the knowledge and appreciation of Medieval Literature'. Having completed her MA in 1949 Reich spent a year as a teaching assistant in the German Department at Glasgow University before returning to London to take up the position of Assistant Lecturer at King's College in October 1950. While working Reich began to study part time for a PhD under the supervision of Professor Edna Purdie (PP/4). In 1953 she became an Assistant Lecturer at Bedford College and was promoted to the position of Lecturer in 1955. In 1959 she married Thomas Henry Reich. All that is known about her after this date is that she edited the 6th edition of 'A History of German Literature' in 1970. Publications: editor of 'Laokoon' by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (Oxford University Press, London, 1965); editor of sixth edition of 'A history of German literature' (Blackwood, London, 1970).


Scope and content/abstract:

The material in Dorothy Reich's personal papers covers the years from 1892 to 1981, although the majority relates to the 1950s and 1960s. Her papers include a great deal of material created by Professor Edna Purdie, her teacher and colleague. This is partly due to the fact that on Purdie's death in 1968, Reich took over the editing of 'A History of German Literature' by J.G. Robertson who had also been a Professor of German at Bedford College. Reich's papers therefore include a great deal of material relating to the 3rd and 4th editions of the book edited by Purdie. However, the papers also include material created by Purdie which is unrelated to the publication of the book. The material relating to the revisions of 'A History of German Literature' includes Edna Purdie's correspondence with W.I. Lucas, Professor of German at the University of Southampton, who contributed towards the revisions of the book, and Dr Mary Bearne who assisted Purdie with the section on the Early New High German period. There are also letters from the book's publishers, Blackwood and Sons, about the date of publication for the third edition and correspondence in German between Purdie and the German publishers, Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, regarding a translation of the book into German. There is an extensive collection of handwritten notes and typed manuscripts relating to the revision of the book, including annotated copies of previously published editions. There is also material relating to Henry Handel Richardson, which would have also come into Dorothy Reich's possession through Edna Purdie. Henry Handel Richardson was the wife of J.G. Robertson and was a friend of Purdie's. Her real name was Ethel Florence Lindsey Richardson and she was an Australian author. 'Myself When Young' was her autobiography which she was in the process of writing when she died in 1946. The book was finished by her secretary Olga Roncoroni, with the help of Edna Purdie, and published in 1948. The other material relating to Handel Richardson concerns the publication of a book edited by Purdie and Roncoroni entitled 'Henry Handel Richardson; some personal impressions'. The collection includes material relating to Purdie's career at Bedford College, including papers and correspondence relating to both her teaching and research activities, as well as social aspects of her time at the College, such as her membership of the Wine Association. There are also a number of copies of lectures and publications on the subject of German Literature, which are presumed to have been collected by Purdie. There is a small collection of papers that appears to have been created by J.G. Robertson between 1900 and 1930. These include lectures he gave as well as manuscripts and notes for 'A History of the Romantic Movement', and notes relating to some of his other research topics.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English, with some German

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as noted in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Open to all registered users of the Royal Holloway, University of London Archives.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be supplied, subject to the condition of the original. Requests to publish original material should be directed to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

Handlist available in the Royal Holloway, University of London Archives reading room. Detailed listing also available via online catalogue at

Archival Information

Archival history:

Presented to Bedford College Archives in [1984]. The papers were transferred from the Bedford College Archives when the College merged with Royal Holloway in 1985.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

The College Archives hold the papers of Professor Edna Purdie (PP4), which hold material relating to Dorothy Reich.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

See chapter on the German Department in 'Bedford College: Memories of 150 years', Ed. J. Mordaunt Crook (RHBNC 2001)

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Mariam Yamin.

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

Date(s) of descriptions:
August 2001

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