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Papers of Arthur Koestler

Identifier: Coll-146

Scope and Contents

Consists of inscribed and annotated books from Koestler's library, along with English-language editions and translations of his work into many languages; and Koestler's manuscripts and papers from 1940 to March 1983. Also contains correspondence with or about members of Koestler's family; personal material including diaries, address books, medical files and other personal documents; literary manuscripts including interviews, broadcasts and speeches; correspondence with specific people; personal and fan correspondence; material on specific subjects such as ESP and euthanasia; business and financial papers; literary manuscripts by other authors, including those on Koestler; cuttings, offprints, and pamphlets including articles both by Koestler and on Koestler; non-print material such as photographs, tapes and medals, and records; and, files gifted by publishers Hutchinson comprising of papers and correspondence on particular books.

Additional papers bequeathed in 1993 include personal files which are restricted until 2045; correspondence; reviews; royalty statements 1976-1993; contracts and rights correspondence; personal financial material; and, correspondence on wills, last message, sale of property, and winding up the estate.


  • Creation: 1939-1993


Language of Materials

English French and German

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is currently only partially listed and some parts are restricted or closed under Data Protection regulations. To allow staff time for the necessary screening of material, please contact the repository at least two weeks in advance of your visit.

Some personal files are restricted until 2045.


24 linear metres


Scheme of arrangement is as laid out in old printed catalogue but lower-level arrangement is currently (temporarily) by box.

Custodial History

Most of Koestler's earlier papers were lost when France fell in 1940 and when he left for England.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Koestler Archive came to Edinburgh University Library in 1984 after the University accepted the offer of the Koestler Chair of Parapsychology. Through the efforts of Harold Harris, Koestler's literary executor, and the London Library to which Koestler had left his books, the extensive archive was transferred to EUL's Special Collections department. Other papers relating to Arthur Koestler were bequeathed by Harris in 1993.

Separated Materials

A collection of printed books accompanied the papers and are now managed separately as a discrete collection. It comprises inscribed and annotated books from Koestler's library together with English-language editions and translations of his works into many languages - about 1000 books in all - which were kindly given by the London Library.

State of cataloguing

Lower-level catalogue content has been migrated from a legacy database. Not all lower-level descriptions have been created. Use the numbers prefixed 'MS' as a guide.

Papers of Arthur Koestler
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379