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Wilhelm Levison Collection

Identifier: AR 3906

Scope and Content Note

The Wilhelm Levison Collection is arranged in 4 series and includes personal documents, correspondence, flyers, circulars and announcements.

The collection documents Wilhelm Levison's personal life through family documents and correspondence. The biggest part of the collection contains circulars, announcements and declarations of the Grossloge (of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith) collected by Josef Freundlich.

The first series contains personal documents. It consists of correspondence regarding private, but mostly work-related letters, documents with personal information on Wilhelm Levison and his parents and a biography that focuses on his professional life. There are also documents regarding education of daughters in general.

Series II contains correspondence concerning the genealogy of his wife, Ella(?) Freundlich. It consists of certificates and correspondence regarding requests for documents on his wife's genealogy.

Series III contains documents from the early time of National Socialism, mostly circulars from the University of Bonn.

Series IV contains circulars and protocols of the Grossloge, (presumably the Grossloge fuer Deutschland of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith) collected by member Josef Freundlich, Wilhelm Levison's father-in-law.


  • 1823-1977
  • Majority of material found in 1930s


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Reserve" button.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Wilhelm Levison (1876-1947) was a German historian from Duesseldorf, Germany. His family was originally from Siegburg, Germany. He studied History and Classical Philology at the Universities of Bonn and Berlin and then started to work for the publication series Monumenta Germaniae Historica under Bruno Kusch (1857-1940). In 1903 he became a lecturer at the University of Bonn in "History of the medieval ages" and "Auxiliary Historic Sciences." In 1909 he was given the title of Professor and in 1931 he was made a Doctor of letters honoris causa by the University of Durham, England. He requested to emigrate in 1935, but was denied and sent into retirement. He was able to leave for Durham in 1939. His work mainly concerned shedding light on the Dark Ages. In Bonn there is a street named after him: the Wilhelm-Levison-Strasse.


0.5 Linear Feet


The Wilhelm Levison Collection contains personal correspondence and documents concerning the years 1933-1935 at the University of Bonn and the years 1921-1928 in the 'Grossloge.'

Related Material

See also "The Levison family of Siegburg and related families." (ME 240) and Wilhelm Levison (1876-1947): ein jüdisches Forscherleben zwischen wissenschaftlicher Anerkennung und politischem Exil by Matthias Becher (st 5289)

Another related collection is the William and Charlotte Engel Levison Collection (AR 25001).

Processing Information

This collection was processed in preparation for online publication of the EAD finding aid. Several changes were made to the original order to group together documents with similar content. These changes were: the letter from Hermann Leubsdorf (VI,1) and the postcard of Dr. Hermann Schapira (VI,6) were moved from the original “Varia”-folder to the “Correspondence” folder. The letter from Levi Levison (VI,2) and the newspaper article about Simmern (VI,7) were moved from the original "Varia" folder to the "Personal" folder. The photocopy of the letter from Samuel Buerger and the reply from Dr. Feilchenfeld were moved to the oversized folder OS 30.

Guide to the Papers of Wilhelm Levison (1876-1947) 1823-1977 AR 3906
Processed by Philipp Thater
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from WilhelmLevison.xml

Revision Statements

  • August 14, 2012 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States