Professor Peter Stern (photo from the Institute archives)

Joseph Peter Maria Stern was born in 1920 into a Catholic-Jewish family in Prague. Most of his schooling was in Czechoslovakia, except for one year in Bavaria. He escaped to the UK via Poland in 1939 and after some time in a Czech squadron in the RAF, completed first his undergraduate degree, then his doctorate at the University of Cambridge. He went on to become one of the most distinguished German Studies scholars of his generation, serving as Chair of German at University College London from 1972 until 1986. He was Professor-at-Large at Cornell University between 1976 and 1982 and, from 1981 until 1986, Honorary Director of the Institute of Germanic Studies (now Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies), University of London. He was elected to a Fellowship of the British Academy in 1990. He died in 1991.

The Papers

Research papers of the German Studies scholar Professor J.P. Stern, including around 273 files of drafts of and notes relating to published articles, talks, lectures, book reviews, mainly on 20th-century German literature and philosophy. There is one box of offprints, also 3 boxes of materials, notes and drafts relating to Stern’s last completed publication, The Dear Purchase (1995), 2 boxes of notebooks, and a further box of notebooks and miscellaneous and unidentified material, including lists of the 273 files. There are also 3 volumes of newspaper cuttings relating to Stern’s published articles (1944-1976).

Archival Arrangement


There are 19 boxes and 3 volumes in this collection. Boxes 1-14 contain notes and manuscripts of miscellaneous published articles and talks etc. Each folder in these boxes has retained the original running number given to it by the creator. Boxes 15-19 contain notes relating to Stern’s last major work, The Dear Purchase, and miscellaneous other notebooks. These folders were not numbered by the creator, but have been assigned numbers which start from 1 in each box. The boxes and files within them are in rough chronological order, in accordance with the original order of the archive.

box-list is available.

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