The “Arnold-Lissance-Archive” stranded at the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Vienna in 1985, after its creator Arnold Lissance, a Vienna born translator who emigrated to the US in 1930, had worked on this “Translator’s Dictionary” for over 25 years. The dictionary, once published, would cater to the specific needs of translators by providing words in their respective contexts. With his approach, he anticipated later developments in text linguistics and the contemporary notion of considering texts and not words as units of translation. However, Lissance never found a publisher for his over 200.000 index cards in alphabetical order. The set-up of the archive itself – Lissance’s plan to organize it thematically was devalued as ‘intuitively’ – turned out to be an obstacle which made not only publication, but later on also (user-friendly) digitalization impossible.  Since its arrival in Vienna, it has merely led to a few publications in the late 1980s and has also not been, as envisaged by the creator, expanded or used by students. 

This contribution aims at reconstructing the creation and aims of this archive and tracing its path of from being one translator’s treasure to its present state as a bulky reminder of the pre-digital age. The contributors base their research on the archive itself, Lissance’s correspondence with the Vienna institute as well as the respective secondary literature.