Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Max M. Laserson Papers, 1900-1951

Summary Information


Max M. Laserson Papers consist of correspondence and writings of Max Matthasia Laserson (Moisei Iakovlevich Laserson), philosopher, jurist, politician and public figure.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0743
Bib ID 4079008 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Laserson, Max M., 1887-1951
Title Max M. Laserson Papers, 1900-1951
Physical Description 3 linear feet (4 manuscript boxes, 2 tall manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 1 flat box )
Language(s) English , Latvian , German , Yiddish , Russian , French , Hebrew .

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material 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.



This collection is arranged in six series.



The bulk of the collection comprises Max Laserson's professional and personal correspondence and his writings. There are also some documents, materials related to his teaching at Columbia University, and a photograph. Papers include materials in English, French, German, Hebrew, Latvian, Russian and Yiddish languages.

Correspondence with various people and organizations includes letters from European and American professors, lawyers, public figures, prominent people such as Julius Genss, Oskar Gruzenberg, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Mark Vishniak and others, as well as correspondence with universities, Jewish organizations and agencies, Zionist associations, publishers, state institutions, etc.

Laserson's writings include published and unpublished articles, books, some lectures, talks and reports. His works cover a variety of subjects, such as law and philosophy, minorities rights in Latvia and Estonia, Jewry in Latvia and Estonia, Mandate of Palestine, constitution of Israel, Soviet foreign policy, and others.

Max M. Laserson's name has several variations – he is often referred to as Moisei (Maksim) Iakovlevich Laserson, Max Matthasia Laserson, Matasiia Zusmanovich Laserson, Matisiia Iakovlevich Laserson, or Maks Iakovlevich Laserson.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material 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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Max M. Laserson papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.


No further accruals are expected.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 07/--/89.

The collection was processed and finding aid written by Katia Davidenko in 2019.

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:"
College teachers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Genss, Julius, 1887-1957 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gruzenberg, O. O. (Oskar Osipovich), 1866-1940 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
International law Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Israel Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jabotinsky, Vladimir, 1880-1940 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jews -- Latvia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Larsons, M. J. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Laserson, Max M., 1887-1951 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Law Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Minorities -- Civil rights -- Latvia Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Philosophy Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Vishni︠a︡k, M. V. (Mark Venʹi︠a︡minovich), 1883-1977 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
World politics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Zionism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Max M. Laserson, philosopher, jurist, professor, politician and public figure, was born in Mitau (Latvia) February 1 (Jan. 20), 1887. He studied and lectured at many universities in Europe and United States, was at one time a member of the Latvian Parliament and an official in the Kerensky Provisional government in Russia.

In 1911 Max Laserson graduated from the Faculty of Law of the St. Petersburg Imperial University where he obtained his Doctor of Law (LL.D.) degree. He also studied at Berlin University (1912-1913), Heidelberg University (1913) and Tartu University (1914-1916; Magister of Constitutional Law).

Max Laserson was assistant professor of constitutional and public law at Petrograd University (1916-1920), professor of legal theory and international law at the Riga Graduate School of Economics (1924-1934), co-founder of the Tel Aviv School of Law and Economics (1935), professor of legal philosophy and international law there (1935-1939), lecturer in Contemporary Civilization and Legal Philosophy at Columbia University.

In 1917 Laserson joined the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Provisional Government. From 1922 to 1932 (1931?) he was a deputy (Zionist-Socialist party) of the Latvian Parliament where he served as secretary of the Public Law and Constitutional Committee (1925-1932) and was a member of the International Association for the Protection of Minority Rights (Hague).

Laserson left Latvia and went to Mandatory Palestine in 1934 and then in 1939 he moved to United States where worked as a consultant for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 1944-1946. Since 1944 visiting professor at Columbia University and lecturer there in contemporary civilization and legal philosophy.

Author of books and articles in various languages concerning state law, general and international law, theory and philosophy of law; wrote several books on Russia including "The American Impact on Russia, 1784-1917" and "Poland and Russia, 1919-1945 " (co-authored with James T. Shotwell). Contributor to reviews and journals in the field.

Max M. Laserson died on 29 November 1951, aged 64, in New York.