Wollheim Papers

Scope and Content

Papers of Richard Wollheim. Includes correspondence on various personal and professional matters; research notes; drafts of his novels (published and unpublished; drafts of his autobiography (published posthumously as "Germs"); drafts of his published essays and reviews; drafts of lectures and conference papers, including the "Thread of Life" series and the Mellon lectures.

Administrative / Biographical History

Richard Arthur Wollheim was born in London on 5 May 1923, the second son of Eric Wollheim (b. 1879) and Constance, ne Baker (b. 1891). Although of German Jewish descent, Wollheim was raised to be Christian and later became an atheist. He was educated at Westminster School and at Balliol College, Oxford. His university studies were interrupted by the Second World War; he joined the Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1942, participated in the Normandy landings, and was captured by the Germans in August 1944, but managed to escape within a few days. After the war he returned to Balliol and achieved first-class degrees in history (1946) and philosophy, politics, and economics (1948). He joined the philosophy department at UCL in 1949 initially as an assistant lecturer. He became Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic and head of department in 1963. After retiring from University College in 1982 he moved to the United States, first as professor at Columbia University, from 1982 to 1985, and then as professor at the University of California, Berkeley, until 2002. He was also visiting professor in philosophy and the humanities at the University of California, Davis (198996).

Wollheim married Anne Barbara Denise Toynbee (19202004) on 15 August 1950. They had twin sons, Bruno and Rupert. The marriage was dissolved in 1967, and two years later he married Mary Day Lanier, a potter. They had one daughter, Emilia. He died after a short illness at his home in London on 4 November 2003. He was survived by Mary Day and his three children.

Source: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented by the Wollheim family, Jan 2005.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available on the online catalogue.