Professor Stefan Radt’s Other Book Collection
Stefan Lorenz Radt, the respected and popular professor of Greek language and literature, died on 22 November 2017 at the age of 90. On his death, he bequeathed his extensive collection of books to the University Library. As a result, roughly 350 linear metres of books, journals and academic documents were transferred in September 2018 from the Radt family home in Onnen to the repository at the Zernike campus. A few dozen old editions are stored in the vault of the Special Collections department in the University of Groningen Library.
As is to be expected, approximately 80% of the collection consists of classical literature, in many different editions. However, an email from a German PhD student focused our attention on another part of the collection, which concerns German literature. This researcher, Daniela Aharon, is currently working on her thesis on the ‘Jugendkulturbewegung’ (JKB).
The Jugendkulturbewegung was a radical youth movement that was active in university cities such as Vienna, Munich and Berlin, particularly in the years 1913–1914. The movement organized discussion groups, published a magazine (Der Anfang), and was allied to the ‘Freie Studentenschaft’. Fritz Radt and Jula Radt-Cohn, Stefan’s parents, were both active in this movement, as were Fritz’s sister Grethe and the well-known culture philosopher Walter Benjamin (1892–1940). Together, they formed a close group of friends. Jula Cohn (1894–1982), an active sculptor, also visited meetings (‘salons’) held by the artist Sabine Lepsius (1864–1942), where she met the well-known German poet Stefan George (1868–1933).
George had many admirers and followers, and Jula was very enthusiastic about him. She collected his work, imitated his handwriting, and named her son after him.
It is with this family history in mind that we are now cataloguing Stefan Radt’s book collection. Indeed, many of the books in his collection originally belonged to Jula. She has written her name and sometimes that of the person who gave her the book in the characteristic ‘George style’ in these books. Some of these are special editions, numbered and published as a limited edition. These books are stored in the vault of the Special Collections department in the library, where they may be viewed on request.
The books that originally belonged to Jula are also listed as a separate collection in the catalogue. As we have not yet finished cataloguing the whole of the collection, the number of hits will continue to increase. Of course, the same also applies to Stefan Radt’s core collection.
Two Specific Searches in our Catalogue SmartCat:
Prof. Radt also stipulated in his will that any duplicates in the collection may be donated to the members of the department of Greek and Latin language and culture, the department of German language and literature and the staff of the University Library. We will make sure that these donations take place as soon as possible.
Prof. Radt’s extensive academic archive still needs to be catalogued. One of the files in this archive is labelled ‘Verwey-George correspondence’. The Dutch poet Albert Verwey (1865–1937), who received an honorary doctorate from the University of Groningen in 1914, was a great admirer of Stefan George. Stefan Radt played an important role in the publication of the correspondence between George and Verwey, which was published under the title Albert Verwey en Stefan George: de documenten van hun vriendschap (‘Albert Verwey and Stefan George: the documents of their friendship’). Prof. Radt’s archive undoubtedly contains many more treasures for researchers. He who seeks shall find. You are most welcome to join us in our hunt.
With thanks to Daniela Aharon
|Last modified:||17 August 2022 6.17 p.m.|