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William and Lotte Nussbaum Collection

Identifier: AR 25599

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists mainly of personal papers of Lotte and William Nussbaum, including personal correspondence, school and education records, restitution materials, scrapbooks, creative writing (poetry, prose, and drama in English and German), notes, and drawings. Also included are a small number of professional papers belonging to William Nussbaum, such as professional correspondence, degree certificates, and publications. Some personal papers of Lotte and William’s son Michael Nussbaum are also included, such as personal correspondence written to him by friends during his undergraduate studies in the 1950s, correspondence with researchers interested in William Nussbaum, and some restitution materials related to the family of Veronika Lipphardt, who became a Michael Nussbaum's friend while she was researching William Nussbaum. There are also a few materials related to Lotte’s mother Toni Frankfurther, including personal correspondence from Toni to other family members, a cookbook, and a handmade children’s book titled “Wo das Brot herkommt” (Where bread comes from). Materials related to the whole family include family trees, photographs, vital documents (birth and marriage certificates), tax and bank records from Germany in 1933, and a transcript of an oral history with Lotte Nussbaum on her 95th birthday.


  • circa 1890s-2009


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

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 "Request" button.

Biographical Note

William Nussbaum was born Wilhelm Nussbaum on April 18, 1896 to Bonum Nussbaum and Veilchen née Kaufmann in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He studied medicine at the Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Berlin, graduating in 1921. He later studied anthropology and conducted research on race, genetics, and heredity. He founded the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für jüdische Erbforschung und Eugenik (the Organization for Jewish Genetic Research and Eugenics), publishing work on Jewish heredity and “race” in Europe until his emigration in 1935.

Lotte Frankfurther was born on December 7, 1901 to Toni née Sternberg and Felix Frankfurther in Berlin. She studied political science and economics, earning a doctorate in 1926 at the University of Freiburg with a dissertation on price control in foreign trade. Lotte and William married on March 5, 1929. The couple lived in Berlin, where William ran a medical practice as a gynecologist. They had two sons, Bernhard (born 1931) and Michael (born 1935).

William immigrated to the United States in late 1935 and eventually found work as a research assistant at Columbia University and as a physician at a children’s camp in the summer of 1936. Lotte and their two sons joined William in August of 1936, and the family settled in Kew Gardens (New York, N.Y.). William became certified to practice obstetrics and gynecology and went on to practice medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, Park East Hospital, and Lexington Hospital in New York City. He became a member and served on the boards of many professional societies for physicians and remained active in his career late into his life.

Michael Nussbaum studied law and settled in Washington, DC.


3.5 Linear Feet (three banker's boxes, one manuscript box, and one oversized folder)


This collection contains the personal papers of physician and Jewish heredity researcher William Nussbaum, his wife Lotte née Frankfurther, their son Michael, and Lotte’s mother Toni Frankfurther. William immigrated to the United States in 1935, and Lotte and their sons joined him a year later to settle in Kew Gardens (New York, N.Y.). Materials include a large amount of personal correspondence, family trees, photographs, restitution materials, education records, scrapbooks, William Nussbaum’s creative writing, a friendship album, a cookbook, a small number of William Nussbaum’s professional certificates and publications, and materials related to research conducted on William Nussbaum.

Digitization Note

The collection was digitized in its entirety. Access is restricted entirely to box 2 folder 13 and selections from box 3 folders 2 and 5 due to privacy concerns. Box 2 folders 19-23 are restricted entirely at the request of the donor. Box 2 folders 10, 18, 24-25 as well as box 3 folders 7-8 and 23 are available onsite only due to copyright concerns.

Related Material

The LBI Archives hold William Nussbaum’s professional papers: The Papers of William Nussbaum (AR 10750). The LBI Photograph Collection holds photographs related to the Nussbaums that can be viewed online: Photographs from the Papers of William Nussbaum.

Separated Material

The following items were separated to the LBI Audio-Visual Collection: An 8-millimeter film reel labeled USA trip 1950, a 16-millimeter film reel labeled Familie 1930, three cassette tapes holding an oral history interview with Lotte Nussbaum, a CD holding audio of Lotte and William Nussbaum from 1981, a CD holding photographs, and an unlabeled, unidentified CD. The following book was separated to the LBI Library: Jubilee: Our First Fifty Years: Kew Garden Synagogue Adath Yeshrun (Kew Gardens, New York: Synagogue Adath Yeshrun, 1990). A printed copy of the pdf of the Fall 2007 edition of AJS Perspectives published by the Association for Jewish Studies was removed. A number of non-unique materials related to Michael Nussbaum’s 2006 trip to Berlin were removed, including city maps, flyers for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and a flyer and clipping related to the 2006 Jüdisches Museum Berlin exhibit “Heimat und Exil.”

Processing Information

Plastic binders and sleeves in which the materials were donated were discarded. Letters were taken out of envelopes and unfolded. All contents of envelopes were kept together with the envelope itself. Duplicates were removed. An enclosure was created to hold Toni Frankfurther’s cookbook. Photographs were placed in archival envelopes, and torn materials were placed in Mylar sleeves.

Guide to the William and Lotte Nussbaum Collection circa 1890s-2009 AR 25599
Processed by Leanora Lange
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Processing made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany. Digitization made possible by the the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Revision Statements

  • June 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.
  • June 2016: Box 2, Folders 19-23 restricted by Emily Andresini at donor's request.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States