A History and Description of the Holdings
The Howard V. and Edna H. Hong Kierkegaard Library began as the private collection of its founders who used it to support their work translating the writings of Søren Kierkegaard from Danish into English. In 1976, the Hongs gave the Library to St. Olaf College with the understanding that it would exist as a study and publication center, a place where students and scholars of varied experience could come and have access to materials in an environment enhancing their intellectual work. The sixth floor of Holland Hall was the first home of the Library at St. Olaf. In 1992, the collection moved to its present location in the Special Collections area of the original Rolvaag Memorial Library building which was renovated for use by the Hong Kierkegaard Library.
The book collection numbers approximately 19,500 volumes and the periodical and newspaper article files over 6,000 items with new acquisitions added regularly in all languages. The Library also includes microfilm copies of Kierkegaard manuscripts held by the Royal Library in Copenhagen and materials in other formats such as microfiches, cassette tapes, CD’s, and videos. All materials are non-circulating and remain in the Library.
Materials published before 1856
Pre-1856: An important part of the collection is a replication of Kierkegaard’s personal library, based on contemporary records, which consists mainly of Danish and German editions read by Kierkegaard. Titles are also included which Kierkegaard might have seen or owned before his death in 1855 (Pre-1856 indicates this section).
Materials published after 1855
Kierk 1: primary sources in all languages, i.e., Kierkegaard as author
Kierk 2: secondary critical materials with substantial sections about Kierkegaard
Diss: materials by and about related thinkers including contemporaries of Kierkegaard, thinkers who influenced his thought, and later thinkers who were affected by Kierkegaard’s ideas.
Ref: reference materials regarding Kierkegaard studies, language study and translation, philosophy, religion, etc. Danica: works documenting Danish culture, literature, and history.
Article File: includes original and copied articles arranged by author with local title and subject access for most titles. Includes articles about Kierkegaard and Kierkegaard studies, book reviews, some lectures etc.
Newspaper Article File: includes articles in the popular press about Kierkegaard, reviews of books etc. Currently the file is mainly from Danish newspapers over the past 40 years.
Archives: includes documentary materials related to the history of the Library and Kierkegaard studies, as well as biographical materials about Howard and Edna Hong.
The Library adds between 200 and 400 new titles every year. We encourage the donation of books and articles on Kierkegaard and related thinkers to add to our collections and to share with other libraries and scholars. Gift books are so indicated with a special donor bookplate.
Donating to the Library: The Kierkegaard Library welcomes the donations of books, articles, and financial gifts including materials in all languages and scholars’ own publications. Contact Gordon Marino or Eileen Shimota if you would like to make a donation.