Finding Aid for the Alberto Muller Schaertlin's The yellow count, 1935-1939

Cataloged by Jonathan Naito with assistance from Jain Fletcher and Laurel McPhee, September 2004; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
UCLA Library Special Collections staff
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
© 2009
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Alberto Muller Schaertlin The yellow count
Date (inclusive): 1935-1939
Collection number: 170/454
Creator: Schaertlin, Alberto Muller
Extent: 335 leaves : paper, ill. ; 274 x 215 mm. bound to 281 x 227 mm.
Abstract: Typescript of an unpublished account of a international swindle, The Yellow Count, with extensive appendices of material relating to the fictional events.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Purchased from J. G. Stanoff, Booksellers, 1970.

Processing Note

Cataloged by Jonathan Naito with assistance from Jain Fletcher and Laurel McPhee, September 2004, in the Center For Primary Research and Training (CFPRT).

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Alberto Muller Schaertlin The yellow count (Collection 170/454). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4230403 


Little is known about Alberto Muller Schaertlin, other than that he seems to have been a man with unfulfilled literary aspirations. Notes inside the front cover indicate he lived in New York City during the 1930s before moving to Los Angeles in the second half of the decade. The second page of material tipped in between the front endpapers claims that the author spent two years in Europe doing research after the manuscript was completed. He registered The Yellow Count with the Author's League of America in 1934, and the Screen Writers Guild in 1940. He may have been of Swiss origin or heritage (Schaertlin enclosed a copy of a letter by Max Graf, the chancellor of the Consulate of Switzerland in Los Angeles, in which the chancellor praises the manuscript, suggesting that it will be popular as a novel and a film in both the United States and Europe.) The materials in the appendix also suggest that Schaertlin was very interested in Japanese imperialism.

Scope and Content

The typescript is the fictional account (with supporting documentation) for the story of Igor de Tilinsky, a Russian who had served in the army during the Russo-Japanese War. Tilinsky claimed to possess a contract drawn up by the Japanese during the war promising 138 million yen in exchange for Russian military secrets. However, the contract stipulated that the sum was to be paid on March 22, 1915; in the years leading up to 1915, Tilinsky and two associates traveled from Odessa to Zurich to London, attempting to make lavish purchases in exchange for future payments from this windfall. Approximately one quarter of the manuscript is devoted to appendices with background material gathered by Schaertlin, apparently during a two-year stay in Europe. The appendices include material on the historical background of Japanese imperialism, typed transcriptions of newspaper articles and legal documents, and photostats of documents from the British Museum. The articles emphasize that the Japanese contract was a hoax, though it is clear that the story also had its believers, especially among those who doubted that the Japanese could have defeated the Russians at Port Arthur without inside information.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Genres and Forms of Material


Related Material

Bound Manuscripts Collection (Collection 170)  . Available at UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.


Layout: Text averages 26 lines per page, with 1-inch top and bottom margins; .5 inch edge margins, and a 1.5 inch gutter.
Script: Typescript
Binding: Burgundy

Tipped in page: carbon copy letter from Max Graf


Tipped in page: note by author about appendices and supplemental research


ff. 1r: holographic note with author's address


ff. 2r: illustrated title page


ff. 3r: typed title page


ff. 4r: table of contents


ff. 5r-6r: author's preface


ff. 7r-251r: typescript of The Yellow Count with holograph corrections and one illustration (28r)


ff. 252r-261r: Appendix I: Japanese Imperialism: an essay and timeline, 2 maps


ff. 262r-311r: Appendix II: Comments of the Press

Scope and Content Note

typescripts of articles related to the Tilinsky affair, including articles from The Whitehall Gazette and English translations of articles from Scheinwerfer, L'Intransigeant, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, and Neues Wiener Tagblatt

ff. 312r-335r: Appendix III. Copies of Documents

Scope and Content Note

English translations of two contracts between the Japanese government and Tilinsky, typescripts of letters between Gyr-Guyer and Tilinsky, typescript of the indictment of General Stössel from The Whitehall Gazette, photostats of pages from The Whitehall Gazette (including one in Japanese), and typescripts of letters from H. Schaufelberger to Schaertlin.