The Zurich James Joyce Foundation was established in 1985 with a view to keeping alive the memory and work of the Irish writer James Joyce for the literary world in general, and above all for Zurich, where he spent some important creative years and where he died.
In the early seventies, Jury’s Hotel in Dame Street, in the old part of Dublin, had to make way for civic development and the Victorian interior of Jury’s Antique Bar was put up for auction. Joyce had known this bar in his youth, and it is mentioned in his works (“Barmaid in Jury’s” in Ulysses). The interior was brought to Zurich, where it was reopened in Pelikanstrasse as the James Joyce Pub in 1978. In the next year it served as official meeting place for participants of the 7th International James Joyce Symposium, thus connecting Joyce’s name once again with the Bahnhofstrasse, which had already featured in a poem he had written in 1918.
A few years later, when Fritz Senn’s collection of Joyceana — probably the most comprehensive of its kind in Europe — was in danger of being scattered across the Atlantic, it became clear that an ideal solution would be to open it to scholars and the public at large as an active research center. Renée Wolf, then Secretary of the UBS Jubilee Foundation, initiated the idea of a Zurich James Joyce Foundation, and with the commitment of former UBS chairman Dr. Robert Holzach, it was formally established in spring 1985. The former Union Bank of Switzerland provided the necessary initial statutory capital and covered the expenses for the upkeep of the Institute for the first six years of its existence. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Holzach, who encouraged leading industrialists as well as the Canton of Zurich to make substantial contributions, the Foundation is now financially independent.
The Foundation’s official opening hours are from 10 to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday and by appointment.
Ruth Frehner, Frances Ilmberger, Fritz Senn, Ursula Zeller