Heinrich Harrer

Seven Years in Tibet Incredible Heinrich Harrer Archive

Seven Years in Tibet Incredible Heinrich Harrer Archive

HEINRICH HARRER, Autograph Inscription Signed, to Walter “Toppy” Edwards, in Seven Years in Tibet (New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1954), with dust jacket. 314 pp., 6" x 8.75". Dust jacket has some edge tears and a 4.5" tear on the front. Also includes HEINRICH HARRER, Autograph Letter Signed, to Mary Edwards, January 29, 1998, 2pp., 8.25" x 11.625"; HEINRICH HARRER, black-and-white photograph of Harrer with Sir John Hunt and Fred Rössuer at an international race in 1956, inscribed to “Toppy” Edwards and signed “Heinrich,” 5.625" x 3.875"; an unused postcard from the Heinrich Harrer Museum; and a typescript entitled “Delight in Big Adventure: Heinrich Harrer, man and explorer,” translated in 1952, 14 pp., 8.5" x 11".

The volume is inscribed “To Mr. Edwards with my very best wishes from H. Harrer,” followed by an inscription in Tibetan, both dated “Washington, Oct. 1954.” Below that inscription is another: “March 1955. In the meantime I have the pleasure and privilege to call above ‘Mr.’ my friend ‘Toppy’. / Heinrich.”

In the 1998 letter to Mary Edwards, Harrer wrote, “I’m sorry to hear that Toppy passed away, he was always a friend and very helpful.” He also reflected on the 1997 film adaptation of his Seven Years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt, “The movie has not much to do with my character – but it is very helpful for the Tibetan cause.”

The autobiographical travel account Seven Years in Tibet was translated into 53 languages. It became a bestseller in the United States in 1954, selling three million copies. It served as the basis for two films both titled after the autobiographical travel book. The first was a seventy-six-minute documentary that includes movies Harrer filmed in Tibet during his stay and scenes reconstructed by Harrer. The second was a feature film starring Brad Pitt as Harrer and David Thewlis as Peter Aufschnaiter.


Heinrich Harrer (1912-2006) was born in Austria and studied geography and sports at Karl-Franzens University in Graz. He was scheduled to participate in the Alpine skiing competition in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany, but the Austrian Alpine skiing team boycotted the event. He was passionate about mountain climbing and was one of a team of four to be the first to climb the North Face of the Eiger in the Swiss Alps. Harrer joined the fascist paramilitary group Sturmabteilung in 1933, the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1938, and the Nazi Party later that year, but later regretted doing so, characterizing his participation as a youthful mistake. While planning for a climb in British India in 1939, Harrer was arrested as an enemy alien soon after World War II began. After several failed attempts at escape, Harrer and six others escaped in April 1944 and entered Tibet the next month. Eventually, he and Peter Aufschnaiter reached Lhasa in January 1946. In 1948, Harrer became an official of the Tibetan government, translating foreign news and acting as Court photographer. He became the tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama (b. 1935), and the two became lifelong friends. When Harrer returned to Austria in 1952, he published Seven Years in Tibet (1952) and Lost Lhasa (1953). He settled in Austria and later in Liechtenstein but participated in mountaineering expeditions in Alaska, South America, Africa, and Oceania. Harrer returned to Tibet in 1982 and published Return to Tibet in 1985.

Walter Meayers “Toppy” Edwards (1908-1994) was born in England and attended Lindisfarne College. He came to the United States in 1930 and became a naturalized American citizen in 1936. He worked as a photographer with various news agencies and then as a photographer and illustrations editor with National Geographic magazine. He was a member of the Explorer’s Club in New York City. In 1937, he married Mary Woodward Worrall.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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Item: 67365

Price: $3,000.00
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