Lost Letter from Leopold von Ranke Found!

***This post was previously posted at the RBML Discoveries from the Vault website***

The German historian Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886) is today often regarded as the founder of the science of history as a discipline involving the use of a wide range of documents in historical research. At one time, a very interesting letter from Ranke to his publisher, George Reimer, was displayed in the History Seminar room in the library here, but since 1960 it’s been believed to have been lost.

(see Guy Stanton Ford, “A Ranke Letter,” The Journal of Modern History, 32 [1960] pp. 142-144)

In the letter Ranke offers some suggestions for printing his first work, Geschichten der romanischen und germanischen Völker von 1494 bis 1535, 1. Bd. (Leipzig u. Berlin, 1824), including how to cite passages quoted in his work.

Recently, the letter was re–discovered in the collection of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, a victim of a too-brief catalog entry. Now, fully cataloged, the letter makes its 21st–Century debut here, for all to see. BS

A full transcription in German and an English translation:



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Filed under History of Science, Letters, Manuscripts

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