History and Development of German Studies

Scope and Content

This archive was created and accumulated as a result of a project initiated in the mid-1960s by Professor Frederick Norman of Kings College London, who suggested that the that Conference of University Teachers of German (CUTG) in Great Britain and Ireland compile a history of German Studies teaching in the UK. The CUTG charged Hugh D. Sacker, then on the academic staff of London University, with carrying out this research, and the core of the material in this archive was sent in response to the appeal he made to university German departments nationwide in 1965-1966 for scholars’ reminiscences and historical accounts of German Studies teaching at their institutions. Sacker left the material he gathered in the course of this project at the Institute of Germanic Studies when he left London in c. 1970. It contains correspondence and papers of sub-committee convened by HDS (1965-1967), including replies from the Universities of Aberdeen, Bangor (University College of North Wales), Birmingham, Cambridge, Trinity College Dublin, Durham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Reading, St Andrews, Sheffield, Glasgow, King's College London, University College London, Liverpool, Birkbeck College London, Royal Holloway College London, Queen Mary College London, and Keele; open reel tapes with accompanying transcripts of recordings of personal accounts on the history of German Studies, subjects include Professor Frederick Norman, Oliver Edwards, F H Sandbach (on his father F E Sandbach, Professor of German, University of Birmingham) and L W Forster.

Professor John Flood, as Secretary of the CUTG, persuaded Günther Kloss (University of Manchester) to continue interviewing retired Germanists after HDS's departure from London and abandonment of the project, but on GK's death the material he had gathered was not deposited in the archive and the project was never completed. However, Professor Flood himself, as Deputy Director of the IGS, continued to add material relating to the history of German Studies, and so in addition to the core material gathered by Hugh Sacker, the archive includes a number of other items which shed light on individual university German departments, German Studies scholars and the teaching of German Studies in UK HE institutions more generally.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Conference of University Teachers of German (CUTG) was founded in 1932, with the aim of of meeting annually 'to discuss matters pertaining to the study of German in all its branches, to promote the study thereof, to encourage research, and generally to foster high standards of competence among university teachers of German'. Membership is open to any person who holds a full-time or part-time teaching or research appointment within the field of or including German Studies at a university in Great Britain or Ireland, or at a college within such a university.

Since 1967 the CUTG has published an annual survey of Research in Germanic Studies. In 1986 the Conference established a fund for Postgraduate Travelling Scholarships; further initiatives in recent years include the CUTG website (1996), the CUTG-sponsored e-mail discussion list german-studies (1998), a series of annual publications of proceedings from the meetings of the Conference, and further funds to support Publication Scholarships and an annual Essay Prize.

Hugh Sacker was born in Stourbridge, Worcestershire, to Fred Sacker, an industrialist, and his wife, May (nee Potts). Hugh was educated at Christ’s Hospital school in Horsham, West Sussex. After doing military service in 1943-47 in Palestine, he studied medieval German literature at Cambridge. He held a lectureship at University College London in the 1950s and early 1960s before he moved in 1965 to Bedford College London. He left in about 1968 to go to Australia but returned to Britain in 1970; he was appointed Professor at Trinity College Dublin in about 1971 and retired early in 1975. His principal publications were An Introduction to Wolfram’s ‘Parzival’ (Cambridge: CUP, 1963), Selected Poems of Walther von der Vogelweide (Oxford: Blackwell, 1965), An Introductory Middle High German Text: Hartmann von Aue’s ‘Der arme Heinrich’ as printed by C. H. Myller (London: Harrap, 1964) and The Nibelungenlied: An Interpretative Commentary, with D. G. Mowatt (Toronto: Toronto UP, 1967). Sacker took early retirement in 1975 and settled in Knockandarragh in Ireland.


Series 1: University German departments: historical accounts and reminiscences

Series 2: Individual German Studies scholars: reminiscences

Series 3: oral history recordings by individual German Studies scholars

Series 4: Miscellaneous articles, reports and other publications relating to the history of German Studies teaching

Access Information

Open. At least 48 hours' notice is required for research visits.

Acquisition Information

The original deposit was presented by Hugh D. Sacker. Institute of Germanic Studies Assistant Director John Flood and other IGS staff added further material.

Other Finding Aids

Box listed to file level. A pdf version is attached to this description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Paper records and open reel audio tapes

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Special Collections Reading Room staff, who will need a minimum of 48 hours to process requests. Some of the material in this collection is still in copyright; where there is no waiver and the copyright has not been assigned to the University, responsibility for gaining permission to use such material rests with the user.

Appraisal Information

December 2015: this fonds was reviewed and the following changes were made: correspondence with L.A. Willoughby was moved to fonds WW; the records of the Conference of University Teachers of German were transferred to a new fonds (CUTG) and a new fonds for the papers of Professor R.J.McClean was created (RJM). In addition, the papers of the University of London's Board of Examiners and Board of Studies in Germanic Languages and Literature and the records of the German Studies related Research Assessment Exercise carried out by the Universities Funding Council and its successor organisations have been moved to the IGS fonds.

25 October 2017:

Following items were selected for destruction: 1) file of London University, Senate meeting minutes dated 1902-1914 as they are duplicates of records held in UoL/ST/2/1. 2) Report of the Higher Education Sub-Committee from the minutes of the Technical Education Board of the London County Council from 1901, as these minutes can be found at the London Metropolitan Archives (reference TEB/4-15). 3) Copies of publications held by Senate House Library were destroyed (eg. 1926 edition of Monatshefte für deutsche Sprache und Padagogik, W.H. Brufold 'First Steps in German Fifty Years Ago' (MHRA, 1965), University of Toronto Quarterly Reprint, Oct 1965, The Germanic Review, Vol 23, Feb 1948. 4) All duplicates of material within the HGS archive. 5) QMC Bulletin for June 1977 (containing an article on the retirement of Professor Arthur Hatto (accession no 1976/77) as Bulletins 1964-1982 are held at Queen Mary College UoL.

A file of University of North Staffordshire papers was offered to University of Keele. The agenda and minutes of meetings of the Senior Common Room as well as Senior Common Room accounts and estimates were accepted by their archivist, but not the Council and Senate meeting minutes (1952 and 1956) or four copies of The Keele Gazette (1955-1960), which were destroyed.

December 2017:

3 pamphlets were selected for offering to the library;

2 volumes of research notes by John Knight Bostock (lecturer/reader in German at Oxford University) were offered to the Taylor Institution Library at the University of Oxford. For information about the UoL exam papers in German from 1931 to 1995, some of which were originally accessioned as part of this collection, see the Appraisal section of the CLD of IGS fonds.

January 2018:

Typescript with col. maps and plans, of an application the reopening of the University of Cologne (1945-1946), deposited by W.W. Holland (Acc No 1989/90) was removed from HGS in order to create a new fonds.

Letter from Eduard Rosenbaum [LSE librarian from 1938] to Claus Bock (1977), with attached letter from Franz Muncker (1907), and a separate letter to Herr Dr Rosenbaum (possibly Eduard, but not confirmed) from unknown sender (1968) were removed from HGS: check whether LSE has Rosenbaum's papers and possibly offer to them. Or create a new fonds.

Records relating to Maurice O'Connell Walshe, Head of the Department of German at Nottingham University and former Deputy Director of the IGS, were removed from HGS as they were identified as a potential new fonds (accession no 1997/87.20). They consist of 2 notebooks "Geschichte der deutschen Literatur", incomplete annotated typescripts in small ringback folders, in German, parts II and Ill only, undated - not clear whether lectures or the text of a proposed book; and 2 typescript essays by Walshe on Buddhism: "A Buddhist Approach to Meditation" 3p, "A Buddhist Approach to Social Ethics" 3p; and 2 printed booklets by Walshe: "The Middle Way", published by the Buddhist Publication Society, No.99 in the series Bodhi Leaves, 1984; "Buddhism and Death", published by the English Sangha Trust as No.3 in the series Sangha Guides, 1970 (c1974-1980) (accession no 1997/87.20). An 2 additional letters to Walshe (from Renée Brand dated 1952, and from Manfred Mayrhofer dated 1957) were added to this file.

A small file of correspondence to and from L.W. Forster was removed from HGS to be added to the LWF archive.

A file of lecture notes dated c.1956-1962 belonging to Frederick Norman (lecturer in German at Kings College, UoL), previously in Box 5, were removed from HGS as it was identified as a potential new fonds; a photocopy of a letter from Frederick Norman to Professor Ingo Reifenstein, dated 1/10/1966 and written from Freiburg im Breisgau (1966) (accession no 1973/74) was added to this material.

The original manuscript and the typescript copy made for posthumous delivery by Professor John Flood (and annotated by him) of an intercollegiate lecture on "The Monastic Background of Old High German Literature" by Professor Kenneth C. King (1966-1972) (accession no 1997/98.22) were removed from HGS as it was identified as a potential new fonds.

A typed inventory of the correspondence of J Bithell at University of Leeds (1967) was removed from HGS and will be compared with inventory in JBI.

2 letters of LA Willoughby were removed from HGS and added to WW.

A letter from Margaret Fitzgerald Richey to Eduard Sievers (1929) was removed and will be offered to RHUL.

A letter from Gertrud Bing of the Warburg Institute to Eddy [no surname given] (1949) was removed and will be offered to the Warburg.

A folder of correspondence to Hermann Georg Fiedler (1906-1943) was removed and will be offered to the Taylor Institution, Oxford.

Following items were selected for destruction: photocopy of chronology of life of H.G. Adler (1910-1988) (previously in box 5); photocopies of articles about the history of Germanic Studies from journals and books in the Germanic Studies Library (e.g. Germanic Review, Deutschunterricht für Ausländer, Hermathena); brochure on German Studies at the University of Lancaster (1980); UCL calendars: photocopies of schedules of language classes at UCL (1853-1902); photocopy of letter from Col. E.F.J. Payne (Secretary of the Schopenhauer Society) to Mr A.C. Landor, dated 8 February 1953, commenting on Landor's article in German Life and Letters (in which Landor suggested Schopenhauer hated women) (accession no 1977/78); a postcard from Hermann Schneider to M. O'C. Walshe (1952); transcript of a speech given by the West German ambassador on the awarding of the Schlegel-Tieck prize to Geoffrey Skelton (1974); 2 letters between Walter Wagner and Professor Gilbert (1967); 3 letters between John Flood and Eva Kampmann-Carossa and Clair Baier, concerning Benjamin Joseph Morse and when he died (1981); a memorandum of the University of Reading concerning German and Philosophy course combinations (1949).

Custodial History

Original core of material collected by Hugh D. Sacker.