Martin Bodmer (1899-1971)

MARTIN BODMER (1899-1971)

A Swiss collector and man of letters. was the founder in 1919 of a library of world literature, Bodmeriana, first in Zurich and from 1951 in Geneva. Shortly before his death, the library won public recognition and the rights of a private institution (Foundation Martin Bodmer). The library today holds about 160,000 volumes. It includes 300 manuscripts, 65 papyri on the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Greek and Coptic texts, classical and early texts, 270 incunabula, including a Gutenberg Bible, and 2,000 autographs. It contains valuable collections of Shakespeare, Goethe, and Zurich and Heidelberg studies.

In 1921, established the Gottfried Keller Prize for literary works, still awarded every other year. In 1929 he started publication of the literary magazine Corona, which he organized and edited together with Herbert Steiner until 1943. This journal made possible contacts with famous authors. In Geneva he was vice president of the of the Red Cross. He received honorary degrees from the universities of am Main, Bern, and Geneva. His most important are Bibliothek der Weltliteratur (Zürich, 1947) and Variationen zum Thema Weltliteratur (Frankfurt, 1959).