Pressler Kahan Tauchnitz Collection


Pressler Kahan Tauchnitz Collection


This collection of around 9,000 volumes consists of an almost complete set of the Collection of British (and American) Authors series published by the German firm of Bernhard Tauchnitz of Leipzig between 1841 and 1943, as well as later Tauchnitz editions published in Hamburg and Stuttgart in the 1940s and 1950s. Established by Christian Bernhard Tauchnitz (1816-1895), later Baron Tauchnitz, the firm became the foremost publisher of English-language books on the Continent in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Thanks to a series of agreements reached with major British and American authors, Tauchnitz was able to publish editions almost simultaneously with the first British and American editions, or even occasionally in advance of them, with the proviso that the books would not be on sale in Britain or territories of the British Empire. Tauchnitz specialised in producing pocket-sized books in paperback and hardback form, which were unspectacular to look at but well printed. They were usually free of typographical errors and very competitively priced.

Over 5,000 volumes were published in the Collection of British (and American) Authors series until production was stopped during the Second World War after the printing works in Leipzig was destroyed in an air raid. Subsequent attempts to revive the series after the War were short-lived.

This collection was largely formed by the German antiquarian bookseller and publisher Dr Karl H Pressler (1926-2009). It includes copies of different printings of many of the early numbers in the series, including copies of all the first 152 volumes in the series. A few volumes in the collection are from the library of Empress Elisabeth ('Sisi') of Austria (1837-1898). There are also over 100 copies which were formerly part of the library at the Maloja Palace hotel in Engadine, Switzerland. The collection also includes an almost complete set of Tauchnitz's most serious competitor, the Modern Continental Library publications of the Albatross Press, based in Paris, which were largely printed between 1932 and 1939. There are also examples of English-language publishing by other Continental publishers, ephemera related to the Tauchnitz firm, and books belonging to Baron Tauchnitz.


Cataloguing of the collection is in progress; there is also a collection-level record for the collection.


The collection was donated by Mr Michael Kahan in 2011. It has been subsequently augmented with by purchases and further donations.


'Tauchnitz international editions in English, 1841-1955: a bibliographical history', WB Todd & A Bowden, London, 1988 (reprinted 2003)




English literature

American history and literature

Tauchnitz (publishing firm)