Digitization, Cooperations

Securing and digitising Theodor W. Adorno’s personal papers

Project duration: 2004 – 2020

Theodor Wiesengrund, Letter to Arnold Schönberg, 5 September 1920

The Theodor W. Adorno Archive is an institution of the Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur, the owner of Adorno’s entire unpublished personal papers. Since 2004, the Theodor W. Adorno Archive has been integrated into the Institute of Social Research (Frankfurt am Main), so much a part of Adorno’s biography. The Theodor W. Adorno Archive and Walter Benjamin Archive, which are supported by the same foundation, work closely together. The latter has taken over the continuing process of indexing and securing Adorno’s personal papers.

All Adorno’s papers and recordings are being digitally reproduced and saved as digital files. The reproductions guarantee the continued use of the archival materials, while allowing the originals to be conserved. The vast majority of Theodor W. Adorno’s correspondence is already available as digital reproductions and can be viewed at the digital reading desks in the Walter Benjamin Archive .

At present, the digitised groups from Adorno’s personal papers are as follows: private correspondence (call number: Br): approx. 40,000 sheets; correspondence with broadcasters (Ru): approx. 5,000 sheets; correspondence with publishers (Ve): approx. 7,000 sheets; invitations to lectures (Ei): approx. 5,000 sheets; lecture manuscripts (Vt): approx. 3,500 sheets; seminar records (Pr): approx. 500 sheets; manuscripts of talks (Ge): approx. 3,500 sheets; collection of reviews on Adorno (Za): approx. 3,500 sheets; photos (Fo): approx. 500 items; recordings of and with Adorno (386 sound carriers). The recordings can be heard at the reader computer terminals in the Walter Benjamin Archive.

The future work here includes digitising the following archival groups: correspondence with other institutions and organisations (university positions): approx. 10,000 sheets; daily copies of correspondence: approx. 20,000 sheets; working manuscripts: 54,043 sheets; compositions: 406 sheets; lectures: 12,064 sheets; annotated pages in the bequest library: 14,000 sheets; biographical documents: approx. 300 sheets; manuscripts: 45 note books; printed material: approx. 15,000 sheets; third-party manuscripts: approx. 2,000 sheets; other: approx. 5,000 sheets. After classification and archiving, the archival materials are to be scanned at 360 dpi / 16 Bit and initially stored as TIFF files. From these, additional PDF files will be generated which can be installed on user computers.

Project Management: Oliver Kunisch, Michael Schwarz

In cooperation with the Theodor W. Adorno Archive, Frankfurt am Main

Funded by the Hamburger Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Kultur