|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Selected items cataloged; remainder arranged.
Correspondence, documents, portraits and photographs of the Deutsches Haus. The correspondence files consist of General Correspondence for the letters K-M, 1929-1943 and a special group which relate to the founding of the Haus in 1929. There are letters and tributes from many well known people on the occasion of the opening of the Haus. There are also correspondence documenting its function as an information center for German Studies. Among the correspondence are: Max Brod, George Eastman, Kuno Francke, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Thomas Mann, Edwin Markham, Andrew Mellon, Max Planck, Arthur Schnitzler, Jakob Wasserman, Arnold Zweig, and Stephan Zweig
Also included is the guest register of the Deutsches Haus, 1911-1975, containing the signatures of numerous visitors to the Haus, with occasional invitations and announcements of activities pasted in, as well as photographs of a spring 1971 party. In addition there are a few letters of congratulations on the reopening of the Haus in 1967 and photographs of one of its buildings on West 117th Street. There is one oversize folder of photographs and portraits.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located on-site.
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); Columbia University Deutsches Haus records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Additional records about Deutsches Haus can be found in Central Files (UA#0001), Historical subject files (UA#0002), Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs records (UA#0083), and Columbia University Library Office files (UA#0214). Photographs of exhibitions, events and the Haus can be found in Historical photograph collection (UA#0003) and Office of Public Affairs photograph collection (UA#0109).
No additions are expected.
Ownership and Custodial History
Transferred from Deutsches Haus, 1967.
Transferred from Columbiana, 1986.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Entered in AMC 08/29/90.
2020-03-16 PDF replaced with full finding aid (JR).
History / Biographical Note
Established at Columbia University in 1911, Deutsches Haus was the first foreign language house at an American University.In 1910, Edward D. Adams, president of the Germanistic Society of America, made a gift to the University of the Deutsches Haus. The private residence at 419 West 117th was purchased by the University in the spring of 1911. After a summer of construction and preparation, the Haus opened in September 1911, with Rudolf Tombo, Jr., Associate Professor of German as Director and a generous library of contemporary German literature. A bureau of academic information was established which cooperated with the University of Berlin.
As a consequence of World War I, Deutsches Haus was closed in 1917. At President Butler's suggestion, the former residence of late Talcott Williams, Emeritus Director of the School of Journalism, was purchased by the Trustees and became the second Deutsches Haus. Now under the administration of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Professor Frederick W.J. Heuser was appointed director and the Haus opened in January 1929.
Operation of Deutsches Haus ceased again during World War II, but returned with a full program in the 1950s. It continued to serve as an information bureau and curated library, which would host book exhibits. By the 1950s, the library contained more than 10,000 volumes, both in German and English on German history, politics, economics, music, art, and literature.
Deutsches Haus was founded in 1910 at 419 West 117th Street as a center for German Studies; closed in April 1917; reestablished in January 1929 at 423 West 117th Street; moved to 548 West 113th Street in 1967 and to 420 West 116th Street in 1975.