Skip to main content

George L. Mosse Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25137

Scope and Content Note

The papers of George L. Mosse provide a significant amount of information on the work and life of a historian of the origins of fascism and Nazism, Jewish history and German-Jewish cultural coexistence, George L. Mosse (1918-1999). The most valuable part of the collection is the correspondence of George L. Mosse. It contains both letters he received and copies of those he sent. The correspondence (Series III) with publishers documents various stages of creation of his books, while his personal correspondence with friends and colleagues reveals his thoughts on many historiographical issues, as well as insights into the academic life of a distinguished scholar and devoted educator.

Another significant resource documenting George L. Mosse's academic pursuits are drafts and manuscripts of his books, articles, and lectures. These are preserved together with research notes and index cards George L. Mosse used for his research (Series II). This kind of material can help in understanding George L. Mosse research methods and techniques. George L. Mosse together with Walter Lacquer edited the Journal for Contemporary History and this collection contains its editorial correspondence and drafts of articles both accepted and rejected spanning almost forty years of its existence from 1961 to 1998 (Series III). This part of the collection captures important trends and developments in scholarship on the history of the twentieth century, and particularly on the origins of fascism and Nazism. The historiographical shifts are also reflected in the vast collection of off-prints that George L. Mosse accumulated throughout his long career.

The collection includes some material on the Mosse family, however, personal correspondence with family members and artifacts that would have strong ties to individual family members are rather rare. Some information on George L. Mosse's family can be found in correspondence he had with various scholars interested in the history of this family.

Dates

  • 1878-2001

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, Italian, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Dutch, and Latin.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access to the following parts of the collection is restricted to those who receive written permission from the trustees of the George L. Mosse Estate: Series III: Correspondence, 1919-2001: Subseries 1-3 (box/folders 30/1-40/41) and subseries 6 (box/folders 51/1-51/259).

Please contact:

Leo Baeck Institute Center for Jewish History 15 West 16th Street New York, NY 10011 lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Access Information

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

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 lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note

George L. Mosse was born Gerhard Lachmann-Mosse in Berlin on September 20, 1918 to a well-to-do Jewish family. His grandfather Rudolf Mosse founded the Mosse Publishing House, and published the major liberal newspaper in Germany the Berliner Tageblatt, as well as the Berliner Morgenzeitung, Volkszeitung, and the 8-Uhr Abendblatt. Rudolf Mosse was a pioneer in the business of modern international advertising, and owned several advertisement companies in Europe. George L. Mosse's father, Hans Lachmann, married Felicia Mosse, the only daughter of Rudolf Mosse. They had three children, Rudolf, Hilde and Gerhard (George), who was the youngest. After the death of Rudolf Mosse in 1922 Hans Lachmann-Mosse took over the firm. The Mosse family owned several estates, one of which was Schenkendorf, the family country residence that had a particular significance for George L. Mosse, who often recalled happy childhood memories of time spent at Schenkendorf. The Mosse publishing enterprise was one of the earliest targets of Nazi political harassment both before and after the Nazis came to power in 1933. The family left Germany the day after Hitler was appointed Chancellor, although George L. Mosse, away at school in southern Germany, did not leave until March 31, 1933. The family advertising enterprises located outside Germany-particularly in Switzerland-provided some financial means in their exile.

The educational career of George L. Mosse started at the boarding school Schule Schloß Salem near the Bodensee (Lake Constance), continued in 1934 at the Quaker Bootham school in York, England and in the years 1937-1939 at Cambridge. After George L. Mosse immigrated to the United States in 1939, he attended Haverford College, a Quaker college in Pennsylvania, and received his B.A. degree from the hands of the former president Herbert Hoover at Haverford in 1941. He then pursued his interest in English Protestant history at Harvard, where he studied with the medievalist Charles Howard McIlwain and received the PhD degree in 1946. His dissertation dealt with the struggle for sovereignty between king and Parliament in the early seventeenth century and was published under the title The struggle for sovereignty in England, from the reign of Queen Elizabeth to the Petition of Right in 1950.

In 1944 George L. Mosse joined the Army Specialized Training Program at the State University of Iowa where he lectured for soldiers who were scheduled to take part in the post-war U.S. occupation of Europe. A year later he became a member of the History Department faculty and was assigned to a newly established core course on the history of Western civilization, established just in time for the return of large numbers of veterans from WWII. He became a keen proponent and public advocate of this program and several times publicly defended its importance in the press. He was instrumental in developing its curriculum and helped its implementation at other institutions of higher education. His lectures were well attended and George L. Mosse became a popular teacher and in demand speaker in Iowa and the Midwest.

In 1955 George L. Mosse left the State University of Iowa to take a position as associate professor of European history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was recruited to build up the European history program. He served on the faculty until his retirement in 1988, first as the first Bascom Professor of European History, and later as the Bascom Weinstein Professor of History and Jewish Studies. In addition, George L. Mosse taught at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem from 1969 to 1985, and held the Koebner Chair between the years 1978 and 1985. Among many other appointments and honors he received in his retirement years was appointment to the A.D. White Professorship-at-Large at Cornell University.

Lecturing and contact with students were very important to George L. Mosse and he traveled and lectured extensively within the United States and abroad from Poland to Australia to South Africa and often in Germany where he embraced the new liberal democratic regime. He enjoyed particular popularity in Italy, where he gave many lectures, interviews to popular magazines, and attended many conferences. George L. Mosse held several visiting professorships, including: Stanford University (1963-1964); Hebrew University (1969-1985); Kaplan Center for Jewish Research, Capetown University (1980); University of Amsterdam (1980); Ecole des Hautes Études, Paris (1986); Cambridge University (1990-1994). In 1994 he was the first Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

While George L. Mosse's early scholarship focused on the study of English constitutional history, Puritanism, and the Reformation, after his arrival at the University of Wisconsin his interest shifted towards modern German history and the history of Anti-Semitism. In 1964 George L. Mosse's seminal volume The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich was published. This work gave a new perspective on the study of the genesis of Nazism and right-wing movements in general. This book was followed by several others that challenged the conventional approaches to the origins of Nazism and fascism: Nazi Culture (1966), The Nationalization of the Masses (1975), and Toward the Final Solution (1977). His Fallen Soldiers investigated the cult of the war dead in Western Europe during and after the First World War. He was also interested in the history of German-Jewish relations and cultural co-habitation. Anson Rabinbach in his obituary in Aufbau (February 19, 1999) characterized George L. Mosse's German Jews beyond Judaism as his most personal book.

George L. Mosse always paid close attention to popular culture, behaviors and mentalities within a broader European cultural landscape. This became even more apparent when his focus shifted once again. In the 1980s George L. Mosse analyzed the concepts and perceptions of beauty, sexuality, and policies of public and social hygiene, in particular the political implications of perceived deviations from the norms of nineteenth century middle class society. His research resulted in two books, Nationalism and Sexuality (1985) and The Image of Man(1996).

George L. Mosse authored more than twenty-five books, including his autobiography Confronting History (2000). He published a great number of articles in academic journals and contributed to many volumes of essays. He was also a founding editor of the influential Journal of Contemporary History together with Walter Lacquer.

The academic achievements of George L. Mosse were recognized by five honorary doctorates: Doctor of Literature (Litt.D.) from Carthage College (1973); Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (1987); Doctor of Philosophy honoris causa from Università degli Studi di Camerino (1995); Universität-Gesamthochschule-Siegen (1998); and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1999). He was also awarded the Award for Scholarly Distinction of the American Historical Association, the Leo Baeck Medal, the Premio Aqui Storia, the Premio Prezzolini, and the Goethe Institute's Goethe-Medaille.

After the war the Mosse family attempted to recover their German property, and in the 1950's, they were successful in obtaining restitution of Mosse family properties located in the western sector. However, since most of the real estate was located in the Soviet occupied zone - later the German Democratic Republic - their efforts were only partially successful. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and conditions for the restitution of family properties became more favorable, George L. Mosse was the only living direct heir of the family, although he shared equally restitution with the heirs of his brother Rudolf and the foundation set up to honor his sister Hilde. The family was restituted the Schenkendorf estate (which had served after the war as a military base) as well as other properties, and George Mosse attended the dedication of the Mosse media center in the building that formerly housed the offices of the Mosse Publishing House.

George L. Mosse died on January 22, 1999 in Madison. In his will he generously endowed a program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and stipulated that this money be used for furthering academic exchange and collaboration between the departments of history at the University of Wisconsin and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also left funds in support of gay and lesbian studies, and scholarships in Jewish and modern European history. Among other beneficiaries were The Leo Baeck Institute in New York, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Gay and Lesbian Studies department at the University of Amsterdam, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The authors of the finding aid would like to thank John Tortorice, partner of George L. Mosse, for his comments on the Biographical Note.

Curriculum Vitae

September 20, 1918
Born in Berlin, Germany
1937-1939
Attended University of Cambridge
1941
Received B.S., Haverford College
1946
Received Ph.D., Harvard University
1944-1955
Instructor to Associate Professor, State University of Iowa
1955-1965
Associate Professor to Professor, University of Wisconsin
1963-1964
Visiting Professor, Stanford University
1965-1982
John C. Bascom Professor, University of Wisconsin
1969-1978
Visiting Professor, Hebrew University
1972, 1979
Visiting Fellow, History of Ideas Unit, Australian National University
1973
Doctor of Literature (honorary) Carthage College
1977
Visiting Professor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
1978-1985
Koebner Professor of History, Hebrew University
1980
Kaplan Center for Jewish Research, Capetown University
1982-1983
Visiting Professor, University of Munich
1982-1988
Weinstein-Bascom Professor in Jewish Studies, University of Wisconsin
1986
Visiting Professor, Ecole des Hautes Études, Paris
1987
Visiting Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, Hebrew University
1987
D. Litt. (honorary) Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
1988
Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin
1988
Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam
1989, 1992
Visiting Professor, Cornell University
1989
Visiting Professor, Tel Aviv University
1990, 1991, 1994
Visiting Professor, Pembroke College, Cambridge University
1993
A.D. White Professor at Large, Cornell University
1994-1995
Shapiro Visiting Fellow, United States Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.
1995
Dr. L.C. (honorary) Università Degli Studi di Camerino, Camerino, Italy
1998
Dr. L.C. (honorary) Universität-Gesamthochschule, Siegen
January 22, 1999
Death of George L. Mosse

Selected Bibliography

1950
Struggle for Sovereignty in England, from the Reign of Queen Elizabeth to the Petition of Right. New York: Octagon Books, 1950.
1953
The Reformation. New York: Holt, 1953.
1957
The Holy Pretence: A Study in Christianity and Reason of State from William Perkins to John Winthrop. New York: H. Fertig, 1957.
1957
Europe in Review. Readings and Sources since 1500. Edited with introductions by George L. Mosse and others. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1957.
1961
Culture of Western Europe: the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1961.
1964
The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964.
1966
Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural, and Social Life in the Third Reich, Edited by George L. Mosse. New York: Schocken Books, 1966.
1968
with H.G. Koenigsberger Europe in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1968.
1970
Germans and Jews; the Right, the Left, and the Search for a "Third Force" in Pre-Nazi Germany. New York: H. Fertig, 1970.
1974
Jews and Non-Jews in Eastern Europe, 1918-1945. Edited with Bela Vago. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1974.
1975
Nationalization of the Masses; Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany from the Napoleonic Wars through the Third Reich. New York: H. Fertig, 1975
1978
Toward the Final Solution: a History of European Racism. New York: H. Fertig, 1978.
1980
Masses and Man: Nationalist and Fascist Perceptions of Reality. New York, H. Fertig, 1980.
1985
Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe. New York: H. Fertig, 1985.
1990
Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
1993
Confronting the Nation: Jewish and Western Nationalism. Hanover: Published [for] Brandeis University Press by University Press of New England, 1993.
1996
Image of Man: the Creation of Modern Masculinity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
1999
Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism. New York: H. Fertig, 1999.
2000
Confronting History: A Memoir. Madison, University of Wisconsin, 2000.

Extent

65.8 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection documents the life and career of the historian George L. Mosse. It contains material focusing on his work, including papers relating to his writings and lectures, as well as material dealing with his family. In addition, there is extensive correspondence between Mosse and his family, colleagues and friends, publishing companies, universities and other educational institutions, former students, and lawyers concerning restitution of Mosse family property lost after the family fled Nazi persecution. The collection also contains books, videocassettes and film reels, objects, newspaper clippings, and photographs.

Microfilm Index

The collection has been microfilmed (MF 671):
  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/27
  2. Reel 2: 1/28 - 2/7
  3. Reel 3: 2/8 - 3/11
  4. Reel 4: 3/12 - 3/28
  5. Reel 5: 3/29 - 4/22
  6. Reel 6: 4/23 - 4/26
  7. Reel 7: 4/27 - 4/30
  8. Reel 8: 4/31 - 4/34
  9. Reel 9: 5/1 - 5/11
  10. Reel 10: 5/12 - 6/7
  11. Reel 11: 6/8 - 6/36
  12. Reel 12: 6/37 - 8/12
  13. Reel 13: 8/13 - 8/32
  14. Reel 14: 8/33 - 9/20
  15. Reel 15: 9/21 - 10/20
  16. Reel 16: 10/21 - 12/6
  17. Reel 17: 12/7 - 13/14
  18. Reel 18: 13/15 - 14/11
  19. Reel 19: 14/12 - 15/14
  20. Reel 20: 15/15 - 15/32
  21. Reel 21: 15/33 - 16/17
  22. Reel 22: 16/18 - 16/39
  23. Reel 23: 16/40 - 17/26
  24. Reel 24: 17/27 - 18/8
  25. Reel 25: 18/9 - 18/40
  26. Reel 26: 18/41 - 19/17
  27. Reel 27: 19/18 - 19/39
  28. Reel 28: 19/40 - 20/9
  29. Reel 29: 20/10 - 20/26
  30. Reel 30: 20/27 - 21/11
  31. Reel 31: 21/12 - 21/30
  32. Reel 32: 21/31 - 22/11
  33. Reel 33: 22/12 - 22/24
  34. Reel 34: 22/25 - 23/6
  35. Reel 35: 23/7 - 23/22
  36. Reel 36: 23/23 - 24/4
  37. Reel 37: 24/5 - 24/23
  38. Reel 38: 24/24 - 25/6
  39. Reel 39: 25/7 - 25/16
  40. Reel 40: 25/17 - 26/3
  41. Reel 41: 26/4 - 26/11
  42. Reel 42: 26/12 - 26/21
  43. Reel 43: 27/1 - 27/19
  44. Reel 44: 27/20 - 28/1
  45. Reel 45: 28/2 - 28/10
  46. Reel 46: 28/11 - 28/19
  47. Reel 47: 29/1 - 29/11
  48. Reel 48: 29/12 - 30/10
  49. Reel 49: 30/11 - 30/26 Access Restricted
  50. Reel 50: 30/27 - 31/3 Access Restricted
  51. Reel 51: 31/4 - 31/17 Access Restricted
  52. Reel 52: 31/18 - 32/1 Access Restricted
  53. Reel 53: 32/2 - 32/14 Access Restricted
  54. Reel 54: 32/15 - 33/11 Access Restricted
  55. Reel 55: 33/12 - 33/33 Access Restricted
  56. Reel 56: 33/34 - 33/42 Access Restricted
  57. Reel 57: 33/43 - 35/10 Access Restricted
  58. Reel 58: 35/11 - 35/57 Access Restricted
  59. Reel 59: 35/58 - 36/34 Access Restricted
  60. Reel 60: 36/35 - 36/82 Access Restricted
  61. Reel 61: 36/83 - 37/37 Access Restricted
  62. Reel 62: 37/38 - 367/104 Access Restricted
  63. Reel 63: 38/1 - 38/69 Access Restricted
  64. Reel 64: 38/70 - 39/28 Access Restricted
  65. Reel 65: 39/29 - 39/86 Access Restricted
  66. Reel 66: 39/87 - 40/50 Access Restricted
  67. Reel 67: 40/51 - 41/3
  68. Reel 68: 41/4 - 41/45
  69. Reel 69: 41/46 - 42/18
  70. Reel 70: 42/19 - 42/53
  71. Reel 71: 42/54 - 43/35
  72. Reel 72: 43/36 - 43/59
  73. Reel 73: 43/60 - 44/32
  74. Reel 74: 44/33 - 45/1
  75. Reel 75: 45/2 - 45/22
  76. Reel 76: 45/23 - 46/13
  77. Reel 77: 46/14 - 46/35
  78. Reel 78: 46/36 - 47/10
  79. Reel 79: 47/11 - 47/19
  80. Reel 80: 47/20 - 48/2
  81. Reel 81: 48/3 - 48/15
  82. Reel 82: 48/16 - 49/2
  83. Reel 83: 49/3 - 49/11
  84. Reel 84: 49/12 - 50/9
  85. Reel 85: 50/10 - 51/5 Access Restricted
  86. Reel 86: 51/6 - 51/173 Access Restricted
  87. Reel 87: 51/174 - 52/51 Access Restricted
  88. Reel 88: 52/52 - 56/6
  89. Reel 89: 56/7 - 56/11
  90. Reel 90: 57/1 - 57/7
  91. Reel 91: 57/8 - 57/12
  92. Reel 92: 58/1 - 58/6
  93. Reel 93: 59/1 - 59/2
  94. Reel 94: 60/1 - 62/10
  95. Reel 95: 63/1 - 66
  96. Reel 96: 67 - 70
  97. Reel 97: 71 - 72
  98. Reel 98: 73 - 75
  99. Reel 99: 76 - 77
  100. Reel 100: 78/1 - 78/7
  101. Reel 101: 78/8 - 78/14
  102. Reel 102: 78/15 - 78/21
  103. Reel 103: 79/1 - 79/6
  104. Reel 104: 79/7 - 79/15
  105. Reel 105: 79/16 - 80/4
  106. Reel 106: 80/5 - 80/12
  107. Reel 107: 80/13 - 80/19
  108. Reel 108: 80/21 - 81/6
  109. Reel 109: 81/7 - 81/15
  110. Reel 110: 81/16 - 81/20
  111. Reel 111: 82/1 - 82/6
  112. Reel 112: 82/7 - 82/14
  113. Reel 113: 82/15 - 83/1
  114. Reel 114: 83/2 - 83/9
  115. Reel 115: 83/10 - 83/20
  116. Reel 116: 83/21 - 84/5
  117. Reel 117: 84/6 - 84/9
  118. Reel 118: 84/10 - 84/14
  119. Reel 119: 85/1 - 85/7
  120. Reel 120: 85/8 - 85/13
  121. Reel 121: 85/14 - 86/5
  122. Reel 122: 86/6 - 86/11
  123. Reel 123: 86/12 - 86/19
  124. Reel 124: 86/20 - 87/3
  125. Reel 125: 87/4 - 87/13
  126. Reel 126: 87/14 - 87/25 and Arts and Objects Collection

Related Material

The Mosse Family Collection (AR 99) is available at the LBI. Information on George L. Mosse, including audio files of his lectures on WHA Radio, is available on the University of Wisconsin's website at: http://mosseprogram.wisc.edu.

Separated Material

Some photos have been separated and placed in the LBI photo collection. Several books found in this collection have been removed to the LBI Library. Three objects (a lapel pin, a medal, and an impression/death mask of Ernst Toller) have been placed in the LBI art collection.
Title
Guide to the Papers of George L. Mosse (1918-1999), 1780-2001 AR 25137 / MF 671
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia and Stanislav Pejša with the assistance of Iris Homann, Miriam Intrator, and Cornelia Schmitz
Date
© October 2003
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from GLMosse.xml

Revision Statements

  • February 2005:: Access restrictions on Series III: Correspondence added by Stanislav Pejša.
  • March 2005:: Access points added by Dianne Ritchey Oummia.
  • April 24, 2014: : Links to digital objects added in Container List.
  • January 2017: Dao links added for digitized VHS ingest by Eric Fritzler.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States