to the Thomas Mann Archives
of the ETH Zurich
In 1956, after Thomas Mann's death, Mann's heirs donated his literary estate, personal items and the furniture from his last study, to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. This led the ETH Zurich to found the Thomas Mann Archives.
In 1961 the Thomas Mann Archives established itself in the Bodmerhaus, which had been home to art and literature for hundreds of years. Between 1739 and 1783 the literary figure Johann Jakob Bodmer lived here and was visited by numerous well known foreign visitors including Klopstock, Wieland, Ewald von Kleist and especially by Goethe. During its first years the archive was run by Paul Scherrer. Under Hans Wysling's directorship (1961 until 1993) the Thomas Mann Archives where highly influential in advancing the academic study of Thomas Mann and his work. Since 1994 Thomas Sprecher has been head of the Thomas Mann Archives.
The Thomas Mann Archives house the majority of Thomas Mann's remaining hand written works, which includes manuscripts, diaries, notebooks, letters and documents, not to mention highly informative notes and material covering a variety of his works in their early stages. The Thomas Mann Archives have not only opened up Thomas Mann's estate, whenever possible it has also complimented it. The Thomas Mann Archives have then collected tens of thousands of works, translations, letters, records and other recordings, photographs, microfiche and newspaper articles. Secondary literature is also collated as much as possible.
The exhibition, on show in a number of the Thomas Mann Archive's rooms, displays numerous documents about Thomas Mann's life and work. The most important exhibition room is the memorial room which includes his writing desk, furniture, library, as well as pictures and ornaments all from his Kilchberg study. The Thomas Mann Archives also include material from its archives in external exhibitions, both in this country and abroad.
The Thomas Mann Archives are always available for research and study purposes. The reading room is a place of study for individuals working on the most varied of topics, and functions as a meeting place for all of our visitors irrespective of their geographical origin, or their current subject matter. The Thomas Mann Archives give out advice and information.
The Thomas Mann Archives have acquired important editions, undertaken source research and presented important interpretations. Since 1967 the TMA has published the Thomas-Mann-Studien, is joint publisher of the Thomas Mann Jahrbücher, and is significantly involved in the annotated Frankfurt edition of Thomas Mann's works.
The museum's opening times:
Wednesday: 14:00 - 16:00.
Saturday: 14:00 - 16:00.
For information concerning holiday closures, and opening times on special occasions see: special opening times (PDF).
Guided tours of the museum should be booked through Zurich Tourism.