Skip to main content

Hermann Collitz papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0014
Hermann Collitz he accepted the newly established chair in Germanic Philology at Johns Hopkins University in 1907. The papers span the period 1846-1935 and consist of correspondence; photographs; newspaper clippings; course outlines and examinations; committee minutes and reports; reprints, dissertations and public lectures of other authors collected by Collitz; drafts, typescripts and reprints of articles by Collitz; notes and notebooks; research notes; lectures and articles. A considerable part of the collection is in German.

Dates

  • 1846-1935

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

12.61 Cubic Feet (2 letter size document boxes, 22 legal size document boxes, 1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches), 7 pamphlet boxes (7.25 x 4 x 10 inches))

Biographical Note

Hermann Collitz was born in Germany at Bleckede in Hanover on February 4, 1855. He received his early education at the Gymnasium Johanneum in Lunberg and in 1875 he entered the University of Gottingen where he devoted himself particularly to the classical languages and Sanskrit, but giving considerable attention to Iranian, the Slavic and Germanic languages. He took his A.M. in 1879 at Gottingen and subsequently his Ph.D. At Gottingen August Fick, Professor of Comparative Philology, had a decided influence on Collitz's studies. From 1879-82 he pursued his studies in Indo-European linguistics at the University of Berlin. In 1883 he took up the post of Assistant Librarian at the University of Halle where he was also made Instructor in Comparative Philology at the newly founded Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia. In connection with the graduate courses which he gave at Bryn Mawr College, his studies centered more and more around Comparative German Philology, and probably for this reason he was invited to represent German Philology at the Congress of Arts and Sciences held in conjunction with the Universal Exposition at St. Louis in 1904.

In 1907 he accepted the newly established chair in Germanic Philology at Johns Hopkins University. Germanic Philology, as Collitz conceived it , consisted of a comparative study of the Germanic languages in connection with such Indo-European languages as Sanskrit, Greek and Latin; and a comparison of early Germanic languages such as Gothic, Old High German, Old Norse, Old Frisian and Old Saxon, with special attention to Low German. Johns Hopkins University was probably the only university in the United States where such courses in Low German and Frisian were offered with some regularity. In 1911 Collitz attended, as a delegate of the Johns Hopkins University, the centennial celebration of the University of Christiania (Oslo). In 1916 the University of Chicago conferred on him the honorary degree of LHD. He was a member of the Linguistic Society of America of which he was elected President for 1925; and that same year he was also President of the Modern Language Association. For a number of years he served as Editor of the Germanic Section of Modern Language Notes. He was Editor of Hesperia, Associate Editor of the American Journal of Philology, and Cooperative Editor of the Journal of English and Germanic Philology. Collitz retired from the Johns Hopkins University in 1927 with the title of Professor Emeritus of Germanic Philology.

The work of Hermann Collitz covered a wide range of interests as well as an extensive period in the field of linguistics, and the bibliography of his publications is lengthy. During his life he built up the best private library in the United States on comparative and German linguistics.

Hermann Collitz married Klara Hechtenberg on August 13,1904. They had no children. He died in Baltimore on May 13, 1935.

Scope and Contents

The papers span the period 1846-1935 and consist of correspondence; photographs; newspaper clippings; course outlines and examinations; committee minutes and reports; reprints, dissertations and public lectures of other authors collected by Collitz; drafts, typescripts and reprints of articles by Collitz; notes and notebooks; research notes; lectures and articles. A considerable part of the collection is in German.

There is in addition a small collection of business records of Philadelphia and Maryland merchants and bankers dated from 1785-1864, and Cecil County School records from 1833-1856. There is no indication as to when or why Collitz acquired these items.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were acquired 1945-1946 from Klara Hechtenberg Collitz.

Related Materials

For other material on Collitz see the Gildersleeve Papers MS.0005, Lovejoy Papers MS.0038, Miller Papers MS.0143, Phelps Papers MS.0053, and Klara Hechtenberg Collitz Papers MS.0015.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by M.C. Beecheno in 1988.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA