As an academic with a strong Cambridge connection, it is perhaps unsurprising that Cambridge University Library has a fairly extensive collection of books by and about Bertrand Russell. Rather more surprising perhaps is the fact that we have a substantial number of works by Russell in translation. The Library holds many Russell translations published in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, which were usually acquired by donation and which were interspersed within the general intake. Then there was a hiatus until relatively recently, when the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation resumed donations. These new acquisitions stand together in a small special collection in CCC.64.1- and can all be consulted in the Rare Books Reading Room.
The translations in this special collection currently number over 60 volumes. They are in a wide variety of languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and Italian, as well as Chinese and Japanese. According to LibrarySearch, which allows for quick identification of titles by language, the Library also has a single Russell translation in each of Catalan, Galician, Hebrew, Hindi and Slovak.
For the most part, the UL is the only library in the UK to hold copies of these books. The foreign language editions often include substantial critical introductions by a native speaker, sometimes – but not always – the translator. They are also useful source material for those interested in translation studies. The Library sometimes has two or three different translations of the same text in one language.
The University Library is grateful to the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation for its generous donation.