Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Columbia University Deutsches Haus records, 1911-1975

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0255
Bib ID 4079666 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University. Deutsches Haus
Title Columbia University Deutsches Haus records, 1911-1975
Physical Description 0.83 Linear Feet (2 document boxes)
Language(s) English , German .

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.



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.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Columbia University Deutsches Haus records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

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

Processing Information

Entered in AMC 08/29/90.

Revision Description

2020-03-16 PDF replaced with full finding aid (JR).

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:"
Announcements Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Guest registers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Invitations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Brod, Max, 1884-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Eastman, George, 1854-1932 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
German language Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
German literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Germany -- Civilization Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Germany -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical 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.