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Papers of Dr Käte Silber

Identifier: Coll-2102

Scope and Contents

This fonds consists of the papers of Dr Käte Silber, a Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Edinburgh between 1963 and 1973, and a specialist on the Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827). It mostly includes some of Käte Silber's correspondence with Eduard Spranger and Fritz Bohnsack, as well as articles, pamphlets, typed documents, letters etc. relating to her life.

  1. Biographical information on Käte Silber, 1973; 1993-1996.
  2. Sixteen letters to Eduard Spranger (typescript copies),1939-1952 (dates of originals).
  3. Letters and cards from Käte Silber to Fritz Bohnsack, 1964-1977.
  4. Material relating to Käte Silber's retirement and congratulations letters, 1973.
  5. Material relating to Käte Silber's funerals in 1979, 1963-1993.
  6. Article by Himmelstein on Käte Silber, in the journal Forum Wissenschaft, March 1990.
  7. Correspondence between Dr Karin MacPherson and Prof. Nick Furness, and Prof. Himmelstein, 1993-2001.


  • Creation: 1963-2001
  • Creation: Original dates of copied letters: 1939-1952


Language of Materials

German, English.

Conditions Governing Access

Mostly open, but some recent material might require the reader to sign a Data Protection Form. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Käte Silber (1902-1979) came to Edinburgh in 1939 as a German Jewish refugee. There, she was first a domestic help for the authors and translators Willa and Edwin Muir, although she was already a known expert on Pestalozzi, taught in Berlin by Eduard Spranger (1882-1963). However her academic career soon progressed, and she was Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Edinburgh from 1963 to 1973. She died on the 10th of January 1979.


1 box

Custodial History

When Käte Silber died in 1979, some of her papers (and in particular, the copies of her correspondence with Eduard Sprangler) were passed on to her former colleague Dr Karin MacPherson, who arranged for them to be donated to Heritage Collections in May 2022.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Library in May 2022. Accession no. SC-Acc-2023-0145.

Related Materials

The academic archive of Käte Silber is held at the Zurich Central Library: Zentralbibliothek Zürich, Nachl. K. Silber 1-6.

Processing Information

Catalogued by Aline Brodin in October 2023, using a handlist provided by the donor.

Papers of Dr Käte Silber, 1963-2001
Aline Brodin
October 2023
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

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