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Hanns Reissner Collection

Identifier: AR 4147

Scope and Content Note

The Hanns Reissner Collection contains the academic research of Hanns Reissner, with an emphasis on the work and lives of Eduard Gans, Heinrich Heine, and other members of the Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden. The collection includes extensive notes, correspondence, many clippings, a few offprints and drafts of Reissner's unpublished writing.

This collection evidences Hanns Reissner's research into many different areas of general German-Jewish history in his profession as a historian and professor. Series I: Individuals holds numerous drafts of short articles by him on specific persons, together with accompanying research, for the Encyclopedia Judaica. While many of these individuals were of German-Jewish descent, others were American. Further documentation of his research on others' behalf is his correspondence with the LBI, found in the letters of Series III. Here Reissner, who was a Leo Baeck Institute fellow, discusses his research with representatives of the institute and provides them with his professional opinion on research proposals by other scholars. Series II shows his accumulation of research on topics unrelated to his primary interests in Eduard Gans and the Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden.

The bulk of Hanns Reissner's research and writing in this collection focuses on the life of Eduard Gans, the German-Jewish jurist, philosopher and historian. Reissner seemed especially interested in the connection between Gans and the writer Heinrich Heine. Both of them were members of the previously mentioned Verein, and Reissner's research also included other members of the organization. Most of his research notes on these interrelated subjects will be found in Series I. An associated topic of which there are several folders of notes is the proposed establishment of a Jewish settlement on Grand Island in upstate New York by Mordecai Noah, another member of the Verein. Reissner's correspondence with other historians in Series III mentions his research into these subjects as well as the publication of his writings on them. Unpublished typescripts with handwritten corrections and notes are primarily located in Series IV, although his work on Heinrich Heine (Captive Messiah) a work pertaining to Alexander von Humboldt and the Mendelssohn family and a few smaller essays are located with their related research in Series I.

Researchers should note that aside from a few passing remarks in Reissner's correspondence there is no biographical material on the historian in this collection. The collection focuses on his research conducted in the United States and does not refer to his professional work in Germany or India.


  • 1821-1977
  • Majority of material found within 1955-1975


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German and English.

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

Born in Berlin on November 29, 1902, the historian Hanns Reissner emigrated to India in 1939, the United States in 1948, and died in Philadelphia on June 8, 1977.


3 Linear Feet


This collection contains the extensive research of the historian Hanns Reissner. The most prominent subjects of the collection are the philosopher and jurist Eduard Gans and the Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft der Juden, although Reissner's research also addresses many other subjects within the field of both German and American Jewish history. Included in the collection are extensive research notes and correspondence concerning his work, his unpublished manuscripts, clippings and offprints.


The collection is on nine reels of microfilm (MF 1082):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/9
  2. Reel 2: 1/10 - 1/20
  3. Reel 3: 1/21 - 1/30
  4. Reel 4: 1/31 - 2/3
  5. Reel 5: 2/4 - 2/10
  6. Reel 6: 2/11 - 2/17
  7. Reel 7: 2/18 - 3/10
  8. Reel 8: 3/11 - 3/30
  9. Reel 9: 3/31 - 3/43

Related Material

The LBI Library holds several books by Hanns Reissner, among them several published versions of manuscripts found in this archival collection.

Of related interest may be materials on Eduard Gans. The LBI Library includes a number of books both by and about Eduard Gans, and the LBI Archives holds the Eduard Gans Family Collection [AR 24].

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed in May/ June 2010 in preparation of the EAD finding aid. During reprocessing the previous arrangement of series was retained. Several overfilled "miscellaneous" folders were given more precise titles and some were subdivided into individual folders on specific topics.

Guide to the Papers of Hanns Reissner (1902-1977) 1821-1977 AR 4147 / MF 1082
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from HannsReissner.xml

Revision Statements

  • November 2010:: Microfilm inventory added.
  • September 2011:: Links to digital objects added in Container List.
  • December 2014:: Information on Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy letter in 1/18 added to series description.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States