The Swedenborg Collection
THE SWEDENBORG COLLECTION holds the most extensive collection of Swedenborg editions in Europe. The Collection consists of editions of Swedenborg’s works in their original languages of Swedish and Latin; in English translation; and translations into upwards of forty other languages, from German to Gujarati, Bulgarian to Braille. The majority of Swedenborg’s existing manuscripts are located in Sweden at the library of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Diocesan Library of Linköping; but the Swedenborg Collection conveniently holds a complete set of photolithographic reproductions that have been of great use to editors and translators over the last century in their preparation of new volumes. In addition to editions of Swedenborg’s writings, the Swedenborg Collection also consists of biographies of Swedenborg, again in English and many other languages.
Where possible, the Society acquires every new edition of Swedenborg’s works, and we are soon to publish a complete bibliography of the printed works of Swedenborg.
Interestingly, the Swedenborg Collection is catalogued and shelved according to a system based upon the previous bibliography by James Hyde, the books being arranged in the order of which Swedenborg published or composed his works. The glass-fronted cabinets open a window on to the fluctuations and fads of Swedenborgian publishing and depict the ever-changing clamours and claims that have been made upon Swedenborg’s literary corpus—his early scientific and poetical works rest largely in just one cabinet, his theological writings stretch across seven. There are over 120 editions of Heaven and Hell—Swedenborg’s most popular work—in English alone, half of them in paperback or pocket-sized formats. The multi-volumed Arcana Caelestia takes up even more room; contrastingly, however, the vast majority of its editions are weighty and imperious-looking hardbacks.
This collection consists of approximately 5000 books and is housed in the Wynter Room.
The Swedenborg Collection is currently catalogued by card index at Swedenborg House, but if you are interested in a particular edition of Swedenborg (in whatever language), it is likely that we will have it. Norman Ryder’s A Descriptive Bibliography of the Works of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) can also serve as a catalogue as he notes under each entry whether a copy is housed at the Swedenborg Society (SOC) or in the library of the General Conference (GEN).