Rare Book Collection

The Carl Menger Collection


Carl Menger, Grundsatze der Volkswirthschaftslehre

Francois Quesnay, Physiocratie

J.-B. Say, Traite d'economie politique

J.S. Mill, Grundsatze der politischen Oekonomie

Karl Marx, Der Produktionsprocess des Kapitals

An excellent collection of approximately 20,000 volumes assembled by Carl Menger, one of the founders of the Austrian school of economics. The Carl Menger collection has three principal features: 1) it represents a substantial collection of classics on economics and social thought; 2) it contains a great range of social science books in related fields written in over a dozen European languages; 3) it includes many books with Menger's own marginal notes, notebooks and correspondence in his own hand, and other documents.

With regard to the first feature, classics on economics and social thought make up sixty percent of the whole collection, and are sorted as Lateinische, Alt-Deutsche, Compendien, Monographien, Englische, Franzosische, and Italienische. The Latin books are sixteenth- and seventeenth-century classics, from Campanella and Erasmus onward. Old German books are mainly the works of German Cameralists. Writers of the Historical school of economics and Menger's contemporaries, Rau, Conrad and Roscher comprise the Compendien. The Monographien section covers classics on economics in a broad sense, including the writings of Carl himself and of his brothers Anton and Max, as well as a first edition of the first volume of Marx's Das Kapital (1867). English economics literature is systematically represented in various editions of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776) and translations of this work, the first edition of the principal writings of Malthus and Ricardo, and Mercantile and Classical works, as well as works by Jevons, another founder of the marginal school. The French material is also substantial, ranging from Bodin, Necker, and Turgot to Walras and the Socialists.

With regard to the second feature, the collection displays a remarkably wide range of interest, from jurisprudence, history, and sociology to ethnology, travels, statistics and periodicals, a result of the lifelong evolution of Menger's thinking and his bibliophilism. The collection is thus useful not only to economists but also to researchers in various other disciplines. It also helps provide an all-round view of Menger and his achievement, culminating in the revised edition of his Grundsatze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (published posthumously), a book regarded as opening the way to a paradigm shift to economic anthropology.

With regard to the third feature, various books in the collection contain marginalia by Menger. The specially bound first edition of his Grundsatze is particularly full of marginal notes, providing important clues about how he intended to revise the work. Innumerable marginal notes are also found in a German translation of the Wealth of Nations (1846) and of Mill's Principles of Political Economy (1864), as well as books from the German Historical school such as Rau's Grundsatzen der Volkswirthschaftslehre (7th ed., 1863) and Roscher's Grundlagen der Nationalokonomie (6th ed., 1866), which served at that time as standard textbooks. These are precious materials for research on the formation and development of Menger's economics.

The collection also contains correspondence from his brother Max and from Conrad, a celebrated economist of the time, notebooks for checking off books, and bills received from antiquarian booksellers. All of these are interesting materials that throw light on his life and the formation of his collection.

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