Papers of Edward Conze

Scope and Content

Handwritten, typed and printed manuscripts of work by Edward Conze which were given to his friend Vera Calvert (neé Baker). They include early philosophical work, translations and explanations of Buddhist work and teaching curricula.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Conze, was born Eberhard Julius Dietrich Conze, in London in 1904 while he father was a German Vice Consul. He studied in Tübingen, Heidelberg, Kiel, Cologne and Hamburg. In 1928 he published his dissertation, "Der Begriff der Metaphysik bei Franciscu Suarez", and was awarded a doctorate in philosophy from Cologne University. He continued post-graduate research in Germany but being a member of the Communist Party he fled to England when the Nazis came to power in 1933.
He continued to lecture on philosophy and psychology but also became interested in Buddhism. In the 1940s he moved to Oxford where he began to work on Sanskrit texts from the Prajñāpāramitā tradition and continued to work on Buddhist texts for the rest of his life.
In 1979, Conze self-published two volumes of memoirs entitled Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic. Conze produced a third volume which contained material considered to be too inflammatory or libellous to be published while the subjects were alive. No copy of the third volume is known to exist.

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

The papers were donated by Barbara Simmonds, step-daughter of Vera Calvert in April 2020.

Archivist's Note

The material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2020.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These papers were acquired by Vera Calvert (neé Baker). Some show evidence of having been given by Conze to Calvert. These remained in the family's possession until 2020.

Related Material

The Library Collections hold several books and pamphlets by Conze. Details can be found here .

Geographical Names