The core of the CAHS Library consists of a private collection of first editions, several signed by Aldous Huxley, and of other rarities, together with a large store of secondary materials. The purchase of this highly valuable collection, which was accumulated by Professor Donald Watt (State University of New York at Geneseo) in long years of dedication, was made possible by a generous donation from the German Fritz Thyssen Foundation. In recognition of Professor Watt's willingness to give away his collection for much less than the estimated price, this section of the CAHS Library is called the Donald Watt Collection.
The CAHS Library also holds xeroxcopies of all the extant typescript states of Island , including the final typescript and the final fair copy, corrected in Huxley's own hand.
Further donations, e.g. manuscripts, typescripts and letters by Aldous Huxley or publications related to him, are of course urgently needed and will be duly acknowledged.
In May 2012 the CAHS library took advantage of the opportunity to acquire a private Huxley collection from Heinz F. Esser, a German Huxley aficionado resident at Steimel (Westerwald). Most of the 145 books and scripts are in a very good condition, and many still have their original dust wrappers. Even better, altogether 80 items are either totally new or at least did not exist in the library in their specific edition or form of publication. Classified according to language, there are 74 English editions (36 new), 67 German (42 new) and 4 French translations (2 new).
Heinz F. Esser had been collecting Huxleyana over the last four decades and was lucky to purchase the literary remains of Herberth E. Herlitschka (1893-1970), Huxley’s German standard translator, in the seventies. Of the seven books signed by Huxley six are inscribed to Herlitschka, e.g., a 1923 edition of Antic Hay with the following remark: “I have not read this book for a long time—but I suspect that it isn’t so bad. / Aldous Huxley 1931” or the German edition of Point Counter Point, entitled Kontrapunkt des Lebens (1930), with original dust wrapper in a de luxe slipcase, with this dedication: “Dear Mr. Herlitschka. Thank you for having had the patience to go through this long book & the skill to make it readable for a new public. / Yours sincerely / Aldous Huxley.” Most rare, because never published, the Esser Collection also contains three German stage scripts prepared by Herlitschka, viz. Das Lächeln der Gioconda (The Gioconda Smile), Die Welt des Lichts (The World of Light) and Das Genie und die Göttin (The Genius and the Goddess).
The CAHS team are particularly proud to have received a copy of the British first edition of Brave New World (Chatto & Windus, 1932) in its well-preserved original dust wrapper (so far we only had a copy without it). On the whole, we will display the new books on a special shelf labelled Heinz F. Esser Collection in appreciation of the original owner’s dedication to Huxley’s literary legacy.
Heinz F. Esser (right) and CAHS Director Prof. Dr. Bernfried Nugel, displaying copies of Brave New World and Heaven and Hell