Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars records

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Collection Data

The Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars was formed in New York City in 1933 by American academicians for the purpose of employing refugee German scholars in American institutions. Many of these refugee scholars were Jews displaced by the National Socialist government. The collection consists chiefly of grant files on refugee scholars who applied for aid from the Committee. The records also include correspondence with other refugee and philanthropic organizations and with the educational institutions which accepted refugee scholars.
Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1927 - 1949
Library locations
Manuscripts and Archives Division
Shelf locator: MssCol 922
Bentwich, Norman, 1883-1971
Chamberlain, Joseph P. (Joseph Perkins), 1873-1951
Drury, Betty
Duggan, Stephen, 1870-1950
Farrand, Livingston, 1867-1939
Flexner, Bernard, 1865-1945
Foerster, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1869-1966
Friedrich, Carl J. (Carl Joachim), 1901-1984
Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971
Murrow, Edward R.
Seelye, Laurens Hickok, 1889-
Shapley, Harlow, 1885-1972
Stein, Fred M
Veblen, Oswald, 1880-1960
Antisemitism -- Germany
College teachers -- Selection and appointment
Expatriation -- Germany
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
Jewish refugees
Jews -- Employment
Jews -- Legal status, laws, etc -- Germany
Jews -- Persecutions
Learned institutions and societies
National socialism -- Germany
Political refugees
Religious refugees
Universities and colleges
World War, 1939-1945 -- Refugees
College teachers
Germany -- Emigration and immigration -- History -- 1933-1945
Germany -- History -- 1933-1945
United States -- Education (Higher)
United States -- Emigration and immigration
Biographical/historical: The Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars was formed in New York City in 1933 for the purpose of employing refugee German scholars in American institutions. Many of the refugee scholars were Jews displaced by the National Socialist government. The Committee came into existence through the efforts of a small group of academics and philanthropists in New York City. In May of 1933, Alfred E. Cohn, Bernard Flexner, and Fred M. Stein contacted Stephen Duggan, the director of the Institute of International Education, to discuss the possibility of creating an organization to assist German scholars fleeing to the United States. These four men formed the organizing committee that became the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars. Felix Warburg and Alan Gregg served as advisors to the organizers and helped gain support from other refugee and philanthropic organizations. Livingston Farrand became Chairman of the Committee; Stephen Duggan became its Secretary, and after the death of Farrand, its Chairman; and Fred M. Stein became its Treasurer. Edward R. Murrow served as Assistant Secretary until 1935, followed by John H. Whyte (1935-1937), Betty Drury (1937-1944) and finally, by Francis Fenton Park (1945). Professor Nelson P. Meade and Professor L.C. Dunn were added to Messers. Farrand, Stein and Duggan to form an Executive Committee. The Committee was in operation for twelve years and served to raise funds on behalf of refugee scholars. Relief was not made directly to the scholars, rather, funds were made available through a program of grants-in-aid to colleges, universities, and other institutions and later through fellowships that served mainly artists and writers. These funds were provided mainly through foundations, although many individuals did make significant contributions. In 1938, as Nazi aggression spread throughout Europe, the Committee broadened the scope of its mission to include refugee scholars from all countries overrun by the Nazi armies. The Committee changed its name to the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars, in order to reflect this new mission. Over the course of twelve years, the Committee provided grants for 335 scholars and assisted many others through references to other assistance organizations. The Committee disbanded in 1945. Sources Duggan, Stephen and Betty Drury. The Rescue of Science and Learning. New York : The Macmillan Company, 1948.
Content: The records of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars include documentation on both the structure and activities of the Committee and the individuals who successfully or unsuccessfully sought aid. In all, some 6,000 displaced scholars and professional persons from Europe appealed to the Committee. Of that number 335 were granted assistance through the Committee. The correspondence with and about these refugee scholars accounts for the largest and most important portion of the collection. Supplementing the grant files are correspondence files with educational and research institutions. This correspondence gives the story from the point of view of the American academy and the interest in hiring individual scholars as well as attitudes toward the European influence on higher education. Every major educational institution in the United States is represented in these files. The Emergency Committee was by no means the only one devoted to the assistance of refugee scholars. The record of cooperation both with organizations already in existence and those organized for the specific purpose of assisting in the placement of refugees in the particular professions can found in the correspondence with other refugee organizations. Turning to the internal organization of the Committee, the most important files are the correspondence and papers generated by the Executive Committee which served to raise funds and select scholars to be aided. In addition, after 1940 the Committee was selected to serve as the central exchange for information and advice upon the whole problem of displaced foreign scholar. The minutes and annual reports of the Committee along with the financial reports of the disposition of funds and the contributions received complete the record. While the majority of the collection is in English, some materials in German, French, Spanish, shorthand, and other languages are present. A member of the Committee, most likely Betty Drury, provided English translations of some of the foreign language correspondence.
Physical Description
Extent: 98.46 linear feet (222 boxes)
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b16682094
MSS Unit ID: 922
Archives collections id: archives_collections_922
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 2e833c60-39c6-0136-fa78-27984ce09210
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