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Using the Collection
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Series I: Unclassified Papers
Series II: Classified Papers
At a Glance
Selected items cataloged; much of the collection is classified by subject and arranged in numbered folders. The collection is divided into two series.
Scope and Content
Correspondence, manuscripts, typescripts, notes, photographs, and printed materials. Included are letters from the leaders and members of the Society for Ethical Culture which Adler founded in 1876; the ethical movement abroad; religious and political figures; and extensive correspondence with his family, particularly his wife, Helen Goldmark Adler, to whom Adler wrote long, detailed letters about his activities. The family letters date back to his parents' generation when they were still living in Germany and many are in German and Hebrew. Among the correspondents are Louis D. Brandeis, John Dewey, Abraham Geiger, Charles Evans Hughes, William James, Jacob Riis, and Lillian Wald. There is a series of typescript copies of letters to and from Adler which were probably prepared for Adler's wife and daughter Eleanor as working copies for a projected life and letters of Adler. Both have made annotations on the copies, The manuscripts and typescripts span Adler's life. Included are childhood and school days poems and essays, and later manuscripts for published and unpublished lectures, articles, essays, books, notes, diaries, and random jottings on a wide range of topics: ethics, morality, philosophy, theology, Bible, Judaism, politics, social reform, arts and letters. There is a full set of lecture notes for his courses at Columbia University. In addition to his voluminous diary entires, he also kept records of conversations with individuals he met over the years.
Also included are records for the Society for Ethical Culture and its schools.
There is an incomplete index of personal names for Classification 200 only.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
The following boxes are located off-site: 6-86. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Felix Adler papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material-- at Columbia
Horace L. Friess Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Algernon D. Black Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Alternate Form Available
Josephine Shaw letters are on: microfilm.
Ownership and Custodial History
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Horace L. Friess, 1974 and Mrs. Ruth Adler Freiss Gutmann, 1976-78 and 1981.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Papers: Source of acquisition--Friess, Mr. and Mrs. Horace L. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1974.
Papers: Source of acquisition--Gutmann, Ruth Adler Friess. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1977.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers Processed BRC 04/24/74.
Papers Processed JL-W 03/--/84.
2009-06-26 File created.
2012-10-02 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
2021-08-06 Name Index for General Classification (200) was reformatted by CCR.
History / Biographical Note
Felix Adler (Columbia A.B., 1870), religious leader and educator, taught courses in social and political ethics at Columbia between 1902 and 1933.