Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels Papers

Biographical / Historical Note

Marx, Karl: born in Trier, Prussia 1818, died in London 1883; studied law and philosophy, Ph.D. Jena 1841; political editor Rheinische Zeitung Cologne 1842-1843, Deutsch-französische Jahrbücher Paris 1844, extradited from Paris in 1845, went to Brussels and founded in 1846 the Kommunistische Korrespondenzkomitee with Engels, both joined the Bund der Gerechten/Bund der Kommunisten and wrote its 'Kommunistisches Manifest'; editor in chief of Neue Rheinische Zeitung Cologne 1848/49; its suppression and the defeat of the revolution led to permanent exile in London from 1850; earned a living as a political journalist for e.g. New York Daily Tribune; elaborated his criticism of political economy resulting eventually in 'Das Kapital' (vol. I, 1867) to be the scientific justification of modern socialism; took part in the foundation of the International Working Men's Association (IWMA, 'First International') in 1864; member of its General Council and corresponding secretary for Germany until 1872; his conflict with Michail Bakunin, focussing on political organization and parliamentary tactics as means, and proletarian state power as a middle range goal of the workers' movement, led to the end of the IWMA and preformulated the strategy of international social democracy eventually dominant until the First World War.

Engels, Friedrich: born in Barmen, Prussia 1820, died in London 1895; sent to Manchester in 1842 to complete his commercial training in his father's spinning mill, he became familiar with labour and living conditions of the factory workers and made contact with the Chartist movement; convinced communist, he started lifelong friendship with Marx in 1844, shared the latter's political activities and joined the editorial board of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1848; officer of the revolutionary army in Baden 1849 and forced to flee after its defeat; returned to the firm in Manchester first as a clerk, later as an associate, thus able to secure Marx's life in exile by regular financial support; a member of the IWMA since 1864 and wealthy enough to retire, he joined its General Council in 1870 and, as correspondence secretary for Spain and Italy, played in public the main role in the conflict with Bakunist anarchism; his 'Anti-Dühring' 1878 popularized the results of Marx's studies and defined Marxism as opposed to the competing schools of contemporary socialism; after Marx's death he was the undisputed head of the developing Marxist school in international social democracy and influenced it by a vast and widespread correspondence; until his death he spent most of his time editing the unfinished volumes II (1885) and III (1894) of Marx's 'Kapital'.


The original papers were part of the historical party-archives of the SPD. The IISH acquired this collection from the SPD in exile in 1938 with financial support of the Centrale Arbeiders- Verzekerings- en Deposito-Bank (the Centrale). The collection, including the papers of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, August Bebel, Eduard Bernstein, and Wilhelm Liebknecht, was mentioned in the Annual Report of 1938 (p. 37-42). The contract was signed 19 May 1938.


Collection of original documents from the historical party-archives of the SPD, supplemented with photocopies and other documents collected by the IISH in the 1960s and later (see the appendices for more information).

Karl Marx papers: personal documents, including also official records and some financial documents 1835-1882; correspondence with Friedrich Engels [1844]-1883; correspondence, in some cases of both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, with Maltman Barry 1872-1883, Bruno Bauer 1839-1842, Johann Philipp Becker 1860-1881, Sigismund L. Borkheim 1859-1881, Wilhelm Bracke 1869-1879, Adolf Cluss [1851]-1854, Nikolai Daniel'son 1868-1882, Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis 1880-1881, Ernst Dronke [1848]-1882, J. George Eccarius 1850-1872, Wilhelm Eichhoff 1861-1878, August H. Ewerbeck 1845-1852, Edouard Glaser de Willebrord 1869-1876, Sophie von Hatzfeldt 1851-1865, Moses Hess 1845-[1847], Henry M. Hyndman 1880-1881, Hermann Jung 1864-1872, Ludwig Kugelmann 1862-1874, Maurice Lachâtre 1872-1879, Ferdinand Lassalle [1848]-1862, Petr Lavrov 1871-1882, Friedrich Lessner 1862-1868 and n.d., Wilhelm Liebknecht 1850-1881, Sigfrid Meyer 1866-1872, Eugen Oswald 1870-1874, César de Paepe [1865]-1875, Wilhelm Pieper 1851-1859, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon 1846, Arnold Ruge 1842-[1845], Victor Schily 1858-1871, Johann B. von Schweitzer 1864-1868, Georg Weerth 1845-1852, Joseph Weydemeyer [1846]-1865 and many other persons, some of them listed below as correspondents of Engels; correspondence with members of his family; manuscripts of 'Differenz der demokritischen und epikureischen Naturphilosophie' 1839-1841, parts of 'Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie. Einleitung' 1843, 'Nationalökonomie und Philosophie' 1844, 'Die Deutsche Ideologie' 1845-1846, an outline of 'Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei' [1847], economical manuscripts 1857-1859, parts of 'Das Kapital' including corrections in a published copy and additional notes for the second edition of the first volume 1863-1881, 'Randglossen zum Programm der deutschen Arbeiterpartei' 1875 and other texts; nearly 200 notebooks with excerpts from books and other publications on economical, historical, philosophical and various other scientific subjects 1840-1882; notes 1850-1882. Marx family papers: personal documents, correspondence, some manuscripts, notes and other documents of his wife Jenny Marx-von Westphalen, his daughters Eleanor, Jenny and Laura and of other relatives.

Friedrich Engels papers: personal documents including also official records and financial documents 1820-1895; correspondence with Karl Marx 1848-1883 and with family members of Karl Marx; correspondence with Victor Adler [1888]-1895, August Bebel 1873-1895, Julie Bebel 1887-[1894], Eduard Bernstein 1879-1895, Enrico Bignami 1871-1880, Wilhelm Blos 1873-1890, Charles Bonnier [1889]-1894, William Burns [1863]-1895, Theodor F. Cuno 1871-1883, J.H.W. Dietz 1883-1894, Eugène Dupont [1870]-1875, Richard Fischer 1890-1895, Edouard Fortin 1883-1893, Jules Guesde 1887-1893, George Harney 1846-1895, Carl Hirsch [1877]-1895, Karl Kautsky 1880-1895, Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky 1884-1894, Antonio Labriola 1890-1895, Paul Lafargue 1868-1895, Natalie Liebknecht 1870-1895, Pasquale Martignetti 1883-1895, Franz Mehring 1884-1895, Još Mesa 1872-1891, Rudolf Meyer 1879-1895, Georgij V. Plechanov 1893-1895, Hermann Schlüter 1884-1895, Conrad Schmidt 1887-1895, Paul Singer 1887-1894, Friedrich A. Sorge 1872-1895, Paul Stumpf 1866-1895, Filippo Turati 1891-1895, Walery Wroblewsky 1872-[1894] and many other persons, some of them listed above as correspondents of Marx; correspondence with members of his family; manuscripts of 'Ueber die wahren Sozialisten' [1847], 'Dialektik der Natur' 1873-1882, an outline of 'Zum Bauernkrieg' [1876], preliminary studies of the 'Anti-Dühring' 1876-1877, preliminary studies of 'Die Rolle der Gewalt in der Geschichte' [1888] and other texts and of additions and corrective notes to the second and third volume of Marx's 'Das Kapital' (edited by Friedrich Engels) 1883-1895; excerpts from books and other publications (1836-) 1845-[1893]; notes [1849]-1895. Papers originating from and pertinent to both, Marx and Engels: files concerning the actions of the municipality of Elberfeld against communism 1845-1847, the Kommunistenbund 1848-1852, the Deutsche Flüchtlings-Komitee 1849-1850, the publishing of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung 1850, Carl Vogt 1853-1864 and the Marx-Engels Archiv [1894]-1924; issues of periodicals containing publications of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 1838-1902; clippings containing reviews of publications by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and articles on other subjects; pamphlets, leaflets, prospectuses and other printed material; manuscripts by Eduard Bernstein and other persons, in some cases with additional notes by Karl Marx [1838-1896]; correspondence between other persons related to the activities or the archives of Marx and Engels (1820) 1846-1895.

NB. Part of the of the papers of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels at the RCChIDNI in Moscow.

NB. Only the original documents of the IISH were scanned and published online in 2015; the descriptions of these invno’s contain links to the scans [pdf] or [view]. The NB’s contain additional information, including the old (“Original”) numbers. Other invno’s can only be consulted in the reading room of the IISH.

Processing Information

Inventory made in the 1960s, updated by Ursula Balzer in 2003; introduction written by Götz Langkau in 2003.

Revised for purposes of digitization by Eva van Oene in 2015.

Alternative Form of Material

Complete papers digitized as part of the Centrale Project 2012-2016.

62 security microfilms (Centrale).

Photocopies of original documents