Chicago University, 1932/33

VI.HA Nachl. Becker Rep 92 Nr.7986

134. James Henry Breasted, Director of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago The Cloisters, 5807 Dorchester Ave, Chicago, Illinois, USA an C.H.B., Chicago, 11.3.1932

(Maschinenmanuskript)

My dear colleague,

I received with the greatest pleasure your kind letter of the 13 of February, written at Persepolis. I assure you I appreciate very much a message from you under these circumstances when I know there was so much of interest which you wanted to see. And I am very grateful that you took the time to send me this letter.

Your impressions, communicated while they were very recent and fresh in your mind, are most welcome, and I am very glad to see that you are wholly converted to the desirability of further research at Persepolis. It is indeed a magnificent site, and I am glad that you have seen it, and are able to report at first-hand on the tremendous impressiveness of the surviving remains of this ancient home of Persian power and civilisation.

I am glad also that you are convinced of the efficiency and success of the staff which we have chosen to do this work. I do not see how we could have a better man than Herzfeld, and Krefter also makes a very favorable impression. We are hoping for results of substantial importance from this effort, and the indications gathered from the work already done would lead us to conclude that we are not disappointed.

I hope that you are bringing home the most valuable experiences from your visit in the far orient, though I can understand that under the present circumstances your work must have been exceedingly difficult. I trust that you are returning to your family and friends in the best of health and spirits. We are all watching the political developments in Germany with the deepest interest and the profoundest concern; the worst thing that could happen would be his successful election. I am sure that would make en end of him. But whether the German Republic could survive such a catastrophe is a grave question.

With warmest good wishes to you and your household, in which Mrs. Breasted joins me, and with very pleasant recollections of our last visit there, I remain very faithfully yours

James Henry Breasted

135. C.H.B an Charles Breasted, Chicago. Berlin (?), 10.12.1932

(Maschinenkopie)

Lieber und verehrter Herr Breasted,

der erste Weihnachtsgruß, den ich in diesem Jahr empfing, war der Ihrige. Sie wissen, daß wir Deutsche die Gewohnheit der Christmas-Cards nicht haben, sonst würde sich mein Gruß mit dem Ihrigen gekreuzt haben. So gibt mir Ihre Karte den willkommenen Anlaß, Ihnen einmal wieder einen recht herzlichen und freundschaftlichen Gruß zu schicken, denn ich denke mit unveränderter Sympathie an unser Zusammentreffen zurück und bedauere nur aufrichtig, daß wir uns so selten sehen. Möge es ihnen und Ihrer Gattin im neuen Jahr gut gehen und mögen vor allem auch die großen Arbeiten Ihres Vaters (James Henry B.), die sie betreuen, unter der ungünstigen Weltlage nicht allzu sehr leiden. Mir persönlich liegt namentlich das große Persepolis-Werk am Herzen, und ich stehe grade wieder in Unterhandlung, um noch etwas darüber zu schreiben, um die deutsche Öffentlichkeit auf die großen amerikanischen Leistungen im Interesse der Bildung aufmerksam zu machen. Nun ist ja auch der Schah in Person in Persepolis gewesen, aber ich habe darüber noch keinen Bericht erhalten.

Indem ich Sie bitte, mich auch Ihrem Herrn Vater angelegentlichst zu empfehlen, grüße ich mit den besten Wünschen für Familie und Beruf als Ihr Ihnen aufrichtig ergebener (C.H.B.)

 

136. Charles Breasted an C.H.B. Chicago, 16.1.1933

(Maschinenmanuskript)

My dear Dr. Becker,

Just prior to my recent departure from Tucson, Arizona, where I have been convalescing from a serious operation and illness of the past summer and autumn, I received your letter of December 10 acknowledging receipt of my Christmas Card.

It is characteristically charming and thoughtful of you to take time from your crowded days to write me as you did, and the present letter is intended merely as an expression of my gratitude and appreciation. I wish I might look forward to seeing you in person in Berlin – I was so disappointed that we failed to meet in Persepolis last year where I arrived after your departure – but unfortunately owing to my illness I am not going abroad this year. My father an mother are leaving early in February for an extensive sojourn in the Near East and hope rather late in May or early June to be passing through Berlin on their way home. It is unlikely therefore that I shall have cause to envy them their sight of you at that time.

Again please accept my sincerest thanks for your kind letter, which I assure you earn a great deal to me, and believe me, with friendliest greetings and good wishes.

Cordially yours Charles Breasted

137. Dr. Walter Becker an Charles Breasted. Berlin, 17.3.1933

(Maschinenkopie)

My dear Mr. Breasted,

I want to add to my letter of yesterday a few words about a matter in which w do not want to decide anything without having first conferred with you or your father and the Oriental Institute of Chicago. I am writing to you personally since I learned from your cable that your father is at present in the Near East and since I know that you will be able to answer my question or take necessary steps.

My father, as you know, has owned one of the most valuable and complete collections of books about the field of Arabistic and Islamkunde. As far as I know there is no other equally valuable library in private hands in Germany and only one or two in other European countries, which could be compared to it. As you will be able to imagine this library is of no use to us personally and on the other hand we are, owing of the difficult circumstances of this time and the complete loss of our fortune during the inflation obliged to sell it sometime before too long. We have already several offers from book-dealers in Germany who are very eager to get hold of this unusable valuable collection. A sale to one of these book-dealers would, of course, mean that father’s books would not stay together but would be sold by the dealer separately to different people or institutions. It is natural that we have the desire to keep father’s collection as such, even if it is not any more in our possession, and we would therefore prefer to sell it to some institution, which could keep it as a whole. Unfortunately, owing to the general lack of means, no institution in this country seems to be able at the present moment or within the course of the next year to acquire the whole collection for an adequate price, so that we shall probably be obliged to accept the highest offer of the above-mentioned book-dealers. Before we do so, however, we feel that we should ask you or your father, if by any chance the oriental Institute of Chicago or another American institution of which you know would be at all interested in buying this collection. We would in that case not decide anything definitive about a sale to one of the book-dealers before we have had an offer from America, if by such a sale it would be possible to keep father’s books together.

I have, of course, no idea whether the Chicago Oriental Institute is at all interested in this matter, but if there should be such a possibility, I would be very glad to have any representative of yours examine and estimate the library here; also it would be possible so send you a catalogue. A personal examination by some of your representatives would, however, be preferable and probably unavoidable since one of the main value of this collection besides its completeness lies in the way in which the books are bound and kept. I may add that there are Arabic and considerable number English and French. To give you an approximate idea of the value of the library I may say that according to the estimates that are in our hands so far we should not consider a sale for less then $ 10 000.

I hope, dear Mr. Breasted, that you understand why I am writing to you about this all. My motives are not only our desire to try everything to keep father’s library together the collection of which is part of his life-work, but also the feeling that it could not be fair to decide anything definite about a sale without having informed you and your father beforehand.

I should be very much obliged to you if you would let me know at your earliest convenience if in your eyes there is any chance at all that the Oriental Institute or some other American institution would be interested in the matter.

With kind regards yours sincerely (Walter Becker)

138. Charles Breasted an Walter Becker. Chicago, 20.4.1933

(Maschinenmanuskript)

Dear Dr. Becker,

I have delayed acknowledgement of your very interesting letter from March 17 which reached me while I was still in Arizona convalescing from a serious operation last summer, in order that I might confer with several of our senior scientific staff members at the Oriental Institute headquarters regarding the possibilities of preserving intact your father’s valuable scientific library.

So far as the Oriental Institute is concerned, I regret to report that the acute financial stringency in which we find ourselves and the policy of drastic retrenchment thereby necessitated, absolutely preclude our entertaining the idea of acquiring on any basis all or even a portion of this unique library. Conditions being what they are, the price of $10,000 which you have placed upon the collection, which in normal times would no doubt have been a fair appraisal, is also quite beyond any other university department of oriental languages to which I might refer you in this country. After careful consideration of all possibilities, I am unable to think of any indivual in America whose combined interest and means would enable him to consider this project.

I need hardly assure you of my appreciation of your kind thought of my father and myself in this connection and my profound regret at being unable to send you a my favourable reply. Your letter together with a copy of the present acknowledgement will of course be brought to my father’s attention upon his return to Chicago early in June, but I know that perforce his reactions will concur with my own.

I wish you every success in your disposition of your father’s splendid collection of works, which I agree with you ought to be kept intact as a monument to his lifetime of pre-eminent productivity and achievement.

With every good wish, I remain

Very sincerely yours Charles Breasted,

Executive Secretary

139. Walter Becker an Charles Breasted, Oriental Institute Chicago. Berlin, 21.6.1933

(Maschinenkopie)

Dear Mr. Breasted,

I regret not to have been able to acknowledge your kind letter of April 20th earlier than today. As you will be able to imagine the work concerning the disposition of the library, the house and many other things together with my regular professional work takes every minute of my time now.

We are, of course, very sorry that a sale of the library to your institute is out of question at the present moment. But we want you to know that we are nevertheless extremely grateful to you for going through the trouble of considering it all and giving us the required information.

In the meantime we have had various more or less hopeful negotiations with different people and institutions in this country as well as in Spain, Holland, Palestine and – through a German agent – also in America. And we hope to arrive at some definite agreement within the next few months. The price, owing to the general depression, will have to be considerably lower than the real value of the collection. I expect now that it will be something about 25 000 RM, but I have not kept you informed about further development, since you have said in your letter that the Oriental Institute is unable to acquire on any basis all or even a portion of the collection.

Thanking you again for your kindness, I am, dear Mr. Breasted,

yours sincerely (Walter Becker)

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