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Paul A. Mayer correspondence collection

Identifier: AR 25589

Scope and Content Note

The Paul A. Mayer Collection contains the correspondence and papers of Paul and Margaret Mayer, as well as some papers pertaining to Paul's parents, Ernst and Lisbeth Mayer. Primary topics of the collection, documented both through correspondence and family papers, are the attempts of Ernst and Lisbeth Mayer to emigrate from Germany, Paul and Margaret Mayer's time in England, and the couple's first years in the United States, including Paul Mayer's service in the United States Army during World War II.

Series I holds the collection's correspondence, primarily letters sent to or from Paul or Margaret Mayer. Such letters include several folders of letters with details of Ernst and Lisbeth Mayer's lives, especially focusing on their efforts to leave Germany. The remainder of the series focuses on aspects of Paul and Margaret Mayer's lives, with letters related to their months in England and their immigration to the United States. Most prominent in this series are Paul Mayer's prolific letters to Margaret about his time serving in the U.S. Army, with extensive details of this period in his life, including his specialized training.

The second series of this collection holds family papers, primarily of Paul and Margaret Mayer, but also including one folder of papers of Paul Mayer's parents. The bulk of papers in this series pertains to Paul and Margaret Mayer's immigration to the United States. Others relate to Margaret Mayer's time in Paris and England as well as some related to the couple's voyage to the United States and their wedding. Two folders contain papers related to Paul Mayer's education in Germany, including both his secondary school education and his later legal studies. One folders holds documents related to the years Margarete Mayer (then Koch) spent living in England and Paris, prior to having married Paul Mayer.


  • 1900-1949
  • Majority of material found within 1939-1945


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English, with a small amount of French.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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


Biographical Note

Paul Adolf Mayer was born in Cologne, Germany, the son of the surgeon Ernst Mayer and his wife Elisabeth (called Lisbeth). After attending school in Cologne, Paul Mayer studied law at universities in Geneva (Switzerland), Berlin, and Cologne and became a member of the Cologne High Court (Court of Appeals). In 1933 he was forced to leave his profession, and he joined a leading metal and ore corporation in Germany.

After Kristallnacht Paul Mayer fled Germany with his wife Margaret (also called Margarete or Margo) to England. In May 1940 the couple immigrated to the United States, where they settled in New York City. From 1939-1941 he attempted to assist his parents in leaving Germany, but in December 1941 lost contact with them. In August 1942 Paul Mayer joined the United States Army. From August 1942-July 1944 he received training at several military bases, eventually attending the Army Specialized Training Program for training as a language specialist before being sent to Europe at the end of July 1944. In December 1944 he was sent back to the United States due to a serious medical condition.


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This collection contains the correspondence of Paul A. Mayer. Most of it consists of correspondence with family members. Primary topics of the collection are the attempts of Ernst and Lisbeth Mayer to emigrate from Germany, Paul and Margaret Mayer's correspondence from their time in England, and Paul Mayer's correspondence to Margaret during his service in the United States Army in World War II.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection in August 2014, the collection's folders were organized to group together relevant correspondence. Some of the larger folders of Paul Mayer's correspondence from the army were further subdivided chronologically.

In September 2017 Series II and Series III were added to the collection. Although most of the folder titles of Series II have retained the original titles assigned them by the donor, a few of them have been given more specific titles or were further subdivided during the processing of the archival collection.

Guide to the Papers of Paul A. Mayer 1900-1949 AR 25589
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Paul_A_Mayer_Collection.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 2015:: Links to digital objects added in Container List.
  • September 26, 2017:: Series II added to collection. Collection title changed to Paul A. Mayer Collection.
  • July 13, 2018:: Links to digital objects added to Series II.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States