History of the Centre


On 3 July 1985, Irvin Ehrenpreis, the leading Swift scholar of his generation, died of an accident in the Englisches Seminar at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster. Ehrenpreis had come to Münster regularly as a visiting professor since 1980, and had come to love the city and its university. During the last year of his life, he engaged, together with his friends Hermann J. Real and Heinz J. Vienken, in plans to establish an international research centre for Swift studies at Münster. After his father’s death, David Ehrenpreis, son of the deceased, encouraged Real and Vienken to go ahead with the plans for such a centre, and he gave them a wonderful start by generously donating most of his father’s working papers as well as his seventeenth- and eighteenth-century books, including a most valuable collection of material on Sir William Temple and Swift, to the centre, now named the EHRENPREIS CENTRE FOR SWIFT STUDIES. Besides, the Ehrenpreis Collection at the Centre was supplemented by Real and Vienken’s own extensive compilations and purchases. Only a year later, the Kallich Collection, named after its donor Martin Kallich, added to its attractions, as did the Mayhew Collection, which comprises the late George P. Mayhew’s books and working papers and which was given to the Centre by his daughter, Johanna Mayhew Lessinger, in 1999 and 2008, respectively. The Centre’s most recent acquisition, the research library of the late David Woolley, was made possible in 2005 by a generous grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft as well as the financial support of the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität.