MARX, Karl, 1818-1883, communist, economist and philosopher

Scope and Content

Two letters from Karl Marx to (Christian Johann) Heinrich Heine, written in Brussels in Mar 1845 and Apr 1846, the first requesting material from Heine for a radical periodical published by one of his friends [possibly the Deutsch-französische Jahrbücher (German-French Yearbooks) for which Marx was co-editor at that time], and the second concerning Heine's book on Ludwig Börne, the leader of the German radicals in Paris ( Ludwig Börne, eine Denkschrift , written in 1840).

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1818 in Trier, Prussia; studied at the University of Bonn, 1835-1836, and the University of Berlin, 1836-1841; contributor to and editor of the Cologne liberal democratic newspaper, the Rheinische Zeitung , 1842; following marriage to Jenny von Westphalen, moved to Paris, where he became a revolutionary and communist; co-editor, with Arnold Ruge, of a new review, the Deutsch-französische Jahrbücher (German-French Yearbooks), 1843-1845, during which time he met Friedrich Engels; expelled from France, 1845, moved to Belgium, and renounced Prussian nationality; wrote and published Die heilige Familie (1845) with Engels; in Jun 1847 joined a secret society in London, the League of the Just, which afterwards became the Communist League, for whom he and Engels wrote a pamphlet entitled The Communist Manifesto , (1848); returned to Prussia, 1848, where he founded the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1849, and used the newspaper to urge a constitutional democracy and war with Russia; became leader of the Workers' Union and organized the first Rhineland Democratic Congress in August 1848; banished in May 1849, and moved to London; European correspondent for the New York Tribune , 1851-1862, though for the most part he and his family lived in poverty; published his first book on economic theory, Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy), 1859; member of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association, 1864-1876; published Das Kapital, Berlin 1867 (the second and third volumes, unfinished by Marx, were edited by Engels and published in 1885 and 1894); died 1883.


Two items.

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Other Finding Aids

On-line catalogue available.

Archivist's Note

Sources: Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 1995); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives.Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

The Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Netherlands, holds correspondence and papers of Karl Marx, 1835-1883.

Conditions Governing Use

No copyright restrictions. No documents may be photocopied.

Custodial History

Previously listed as SR (ARC) 1.

Related Material

The BLPES holds further material relating to Marx in the papers of Percy Henry Collick, the papers of the Independent Labour Party and in Coll Misc 0412.


Letter 1 reproduced in facsimile and translated in A momento of the British Library of Political and Economic Science , (LSE, 1978). Both letters are printed in Archiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterwegung , 8 (1919).

Geographical Names