Marx documents inscribed on UNESCO Register

Announcement, IISH, Amsterdam
The only surviving handwritten page of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto (1848) and the first edition of volume I of Das Kapital (1867), with the author’s handwritten corrections in the margins, were inscribed on the prestigious UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

These documents, which have been preserved at the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam since 1938, are among the most influential pieces of writing in world history and played a major role in the development of the socialist and communist as well as other revolutionary movements. Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital in close collaboration with Friedrich Engels. His work has had an enduring influence across large parts of the world.

According to Henk Wals, director of the IISG, ‘The inclusion of these documents in the Memory of the World Register underscores the importance that the IISG has placed on the conservation and preservation of social and economic historical sources, many of which are in fragile condition, for more than 77 years now. The IISG conducts research into the global history of work, workers and labour relations, and its collection includes materials representing diverse schools of thought and ideologies in this area. Whether or not we ourselves agree with Marx’s ideas, the fact is that they have left an indelible mark on thinking about labour relations and economics and still shape the daily reality of billions of people to this day. Without Marx, the world would be a very different place. That’s why we are so pleased with UNESCO’s decision to list these documents in the Register.’

Memory of the World is a UNESCO programme that facilitates countries in the conservation and provision of ongoing access to documentary heritage. The Register serves as a showcase for this programme, containing documentary heritage of exceptional universal value such as the Diaries of Anne Frank and the Archives of the Dutch East India Company. For further information, see the website of the National UNESCO Committee.