Collection ID: LMC 2581
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Collection context


Böll, Heinrich, 1917-1985
The Böll mss. III, 1960-1981, consists of manuscripts and writings of or related to Nobel Prize winning author Heinrich Böll, 1917-1985.
1 Box (1 standard)
English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Böll mss. III, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Heinrich Böll was born in Cologne, Germany, on December 21, 1917. After graduating from the Kaiser-Wilhelm classical secondary school in 1937, he spent about a year as an apprentice for the bookselling company Matth. Lempertz in Bonn and then completed a compulsory term with the national labor service. In summer 1939, Böll began attending Cologne University to study German literature and classical philology, but his studies were cut short with the outbreak of World War II and conscription into the German army that same year. He fought in France, Romania, Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Germany; he was taken as a prisoner of war by the Americans in 1945 and released two years later. Böll and his wife, Annemarie Cech, returned to Cologne to live in a house destroyed by the war. While repairing their abode, Böll began to write again. He wrote short stories from 1946 to 1949 and published his first book, Der Zug war pünktlich, in 1949. He received an invitation to join a postwar group of German authors known as "Group 47," where Böll befriended colleagues such as Hans Werner Richter and Alfred Andersch. His other novels, many of which were translated from their original German, included Wo warst du, Adam? (1951), Und sagte kein einziges Wort (1953), Das Brot der früen Jahre (1955), Billard um halbzehn (1959), Ansichten eines Clowns (1963), and Gruppenbild mit Dame (1971). His works were often critical of the Nazi regime, postwar German society, and religious and social institutions (particulary the Catholic Church) and featured themes of individual alienation. In 1972, Böll was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his "broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization" which had "contributed to a renewal of German literature." Through the tumultuous period of 1970s Germany, he continued to write and advocate for human rights. His later novels included Ehre der Katharina Blum (1974), Fürsorgliche Belagerung (1979), and Das Vermächtnis (1982). His final book, Frauen vor Flusslandschaft: Roman in Dialogen und Selbstgesprächen (1985), was published posthumously. Böll passed away on July 16, 1985, in Merten, Germany (then West Germany) at the age of 67.

Scope and Content:

All of the items are from the files of Böll's American literary agent Joan Daves, 1919-1997. The collection includes writings by Böll with corrections and comments by him. Also present are translations and adaptations of Böll's works to scripts for stage and film.

Acquisition information:
Acquired: 2007
Processing information:

Processed by Staff. Completed in 2013.


The collection is arranged alphabetically by title of writings, followed by an alphabetical list of translations, adaptations, etc.

Physical location:
Lilly - Stacks



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[Item], Böll mss. III, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452