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Guide to the B. Traven Collection, 1917-1989
Special Collections M0570  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Access Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: B. Traven Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1917-1989
    Collection number: Special Collections M0570
    Creator: Klein, H. Arthur, collector.
    Extent: 6 linear feet.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    Gift of the estate of H. Arthur Klein, 1991.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] B. Traven Collection, M0570, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biographical Note

    Herbert Arthur Klein, a journalist and author, and his wife, Mina Cooper Klein, had a life-long fascination with the works of B. Traven. For over fifty years, the Kleins collected many different kinds of material on Traven. They also translated and edited a collection of short stories by Traven, The Kidnapped Saint (Lawrence Hill, 1974).
    Herbert Klein was born around 1907 in New York City. He received his A.B. from Stanford University and his M.A. from Occidental College. In addition, Klein pursued graduate studies at Columbia University, UCLA, Berkeley, and the Berlin Handelshochschule.
    Klein began his career as a newspaperman, moving in 1930 to the Berlin office of the Chicago Tribune. Shortly thereafter he married. A couple of years later, he taught English at the Marxistische Arbeiter Schule in Berlin. Here one of his students first introduced him to the work of B. Traven, who was an especially popular author among German workers. The Kleins left Germany in 1933.
    After returning to the U.S., Klein corresponded with Traven from 1933 to 1935 (about a dozen letters altogether). Mina Klein also wrote Traven a few times and was answered by a Señor Martinez, whom she strongly suspected was Traven. Although the Kleins never met Traven, after his death they did visit his widow, Rosa Elena Luján.
    The Kleins lived most of their lives in Malibu, California, where the air was better for Herbert Klein's health. Mina Klein died in 1979, and Herbert Klein died about ten years later.
    Klein's professional name was H. Arthur Klein. He and his wife wrote, edited, or translated over twenty books. Some of these were popular science and art books, such as The World of Measurements (1974), Peter Bruegel the Elder, Artist of Abundance (1968), and Käthe Kollwitz; Life in Art (1972). The Kleins also translated works by Wilhelm Busch from German into English. Although this collection contains several plans for a study of Traven, only The Kidnapped Saint was ever completed.

    Scope and Content

    This collection includes over fifty years' worth of materials on the author B. Traven collected by Herbert and Mina Klein. The holdings are divided into the following sections, which largely correspond to Herbert Klein's original ordering of the material.

    Access Terms

    Ballio, Tino.
    Bang, Herman, 1857-1912.
    Baumann, Friedel.
    Baumann, Michael L.
    Cheuse, Alan.
    Gray, Robert.
    Hagemann, E.R.( Edward R.), 1921-
    Huston, John.
    Johnson, William Weber, 1909-
    Klein, Mina C.
    Kohner, Paul.
    Küpfer, Peter.
    López Mateos, Esperanza.
    Lujan, Rosa Elena.
    Mermet, Irene.
    Olafson, Robert.
    Raskin, Jonah, 1942-
    Recknagel, Rolf.
    Spota, Luis.
    Stevenson, Philip
    Stone, Judy.
    Traven, B.
    Wieder, Josef.
    Wyatt, Will.
    Büchergilde Gutenberg.
    Lawrence Hill & Co.
    American literature--20th century.
    The B. Traven Newsletter. Der Bücherfreund. The Great Traven Hunt or Erica's Dream. The Kidnapped Saint. Rosa Blanca. Stories by the Man Nobody Knows.

    Scope and Content Note

    Although Herbert and Mina Klein worked together closely on many of the projects described in the collection, almost all of the correspondence and notes are by Herbert Klein, who also seems to have assembled the original files. For simplicity's sake, Herbert Klein is referred to as Klein throughout the collection's description, while his wife is referred to by her full name. Some common abbreviations found throughout the material are BT for B. Traven, HAK for Herbert Arthur Klein, and MCK for Mina Cooper Klein.
    Many of Herbert Arthur Klein's original folder titles were kept in this collection. What Klein labeled as original, especially in his correspondence with B. Traven, was often the carbon copy of his original letter. Moreover Klein often retyped the letters he received from Traven. A few true originals are included here in the Traven-Klein correspondence; where the original is in poor condition, a photocopy follows.
    Prominent persons and institutions mentioned in this collection include:
    • Ballio, Tino
    • Baumann, Friedel
    • Baumann, Michael L.
    • Büchergilde Gutenberg
    • Hagemann, E.R.
    • Johnson, William
    • Klein, Herbert Arthur
    • Klein, Mina Cooper
    • Lawrence Hill & Co.
    • Kohner, Paul
    • Küpfer, Peter
    • López Mateos, Esperanza
    • Luján, Rosa Elena
    • Marut, Ret
    • Mermet, Irene
    • Olafson, Robert
    • Raskin, Jonah
    • Recknagel, Rolf
    • Rosa Blanca (film)
    • Spota, Luis
    • Stevenson, Phil
    • Stone, Judy
    • Traven, B.
    • Wieder, Josef
    • Wyatt, Will