Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Theodore Fred Abel papers, 1930-1984

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0003
Bib ID 4078375 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Abel, Theodore, 1896-1988
Title Theodore Fred Abel papers, 1930-1984
Physical Description 2 linear feet (4 boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located on-site.



Cataloged in full.


Scope and Content

Typescript diaries, with holograph correction detailing Theodore Abel's daily personal and professional life with his comments on local, national and world events. Recorded are his daily activities and his thoughts on all aspects of the human conditions: history, literature, the arts, religion, science, politics, sociology, etc. The journals are rich in details about the Columbia University Sociology Department and related departments.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located on-site.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Theodore Fred Abel papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

The Inventory of the Theodore Fred Abel papers [Collection No. 50000] located at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University contains diaries, other writings, and printed matter related to sociological theory and world politics. The collection also includes autobiographical sketches (biograms) by members of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) [National Socialist German Workers' Party], relating to their reasons for becoming national socialists, collected by Abel as research material for his book Why Hitler Came into Power: An Answer Based on the Original Life Stories of Six Hundred of His Followers (1938).

Alternate Form Available

Original typescript in the author's possession.

Type of reproduction--Photocopy

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Journal processed BRC 03/--/86.

Revision Description

2009-06-26 File created.

2011-11-14 EAD created by PTL

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

2020-08-19 In response to recurring reference queries, added Related Materials note. cml

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Diaries -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Abel, Theodore, 1896-1988 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. Department of Sociology Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Germany Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
National socialism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sociologists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sociology Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World politics -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical sketch

Born in Lodz, Poland on 24 November 1896; immigrated to U.S. by 1925; died March 23, 1988, in Albuquerque, NM. Sociology professor. Abel received his M.A. degree in 1925 and his Ph.D. degree in 1929 from Columbia University. He began his career as an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1925, moving to Columbia University in New York as an associate professor of sociology from 1929 to 1950. He became a full professor of sociology at Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1950, retiring in 1967. His first book was "Protestant Home Missions to Catholic Immigrants", published by the Institute of Social and Religious Research in 1933, and his last book, a collection of essays"Reflections of an Unorthodox Christian" (1986). He was a member of the Eastern Sociological Society (president, 1957), and he was fluent in German, Russian, and French.

In 1934 Theodore Abel traveled to Germany representing Columbia University and offering a prize for autobiographies of members of the National Socialist movement. He received hundreds of essays which enabled him to theorize about how the National Socialist movement managed to gain and retain power. Over the years many people have drawn on these essays. Of particular value is his presentation of the life histories of various Germans: a worker; a soldier; an anti-Semite; a middle-class youth; a farmer; and a bank clerk; all of whom explain in their own words why they joined the NSDAP.

Recently, Thomas Childers has noted how the past half-century of research and writing on Nazi Germany has verified Abel's original insights into the broad appeal of the National Socialist movement. Some of Abels' Books are: "Protestant Home Missions to Catholic Immigrants", Harper, 1933; "Why Hitler Came Power", Prentice-Hall, 1938 (Editor) "Freedom and Control in Modern Society", Van Nostrand, 1954; "Systematic Sociology in Germany", Octagon, 1966; "The Nazi Movement, Atherton", 1967; "The Foundation of Sociological Theory", Random House, 1970; "Reflections of an Unorthodox Christian, Privately published, 1986.