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Eleanor and Paul Alexander Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 6414

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists mainly of materials collected by Eleanor Alexander reflecting the work of her husband, the historian Paul Alexander, and her father, the lawyer and historian Erich Eyck. The bulk of the collection reflects the career of Paul Alexander from his studies of law in Germany and France until 1935 to his studies of history in the United States and career as a professor of Byzantine history. These materials include correspondence regarding Alexander’s scholarly career, honors, fellowships, and projects; education records such as course schedules, grades, and diplomas; reviews of books written by Alexander; copies of a few of his articles; a syllabus; correspondence with the Warburg Institute and with Harvard University classicist Werner Jaeger; and obituaries, eulogies, and other commemorations of Alexander.

Materials related to Erich Eyck include a biographical sketch, a few vital documents, obituaries, correspondence with Theodor Heuss, articles about Eyck and about his books, and a speech given about him by his son Frank Eyck.

Some materials relate more directly to Eleanor Alexander, such as letters she exchanged with her parents during the 1930s and correspondence regarding commemorations of her husband after his death. A family tree of the Alexander family is also included as well as photocopies of vital records of some of Paul Alexander’s ancestors and a few photographs. Oversize copies of Paul Alexander’s diplomas from Gymnasium and the University of Hamburg as well as his license to practice law in France are also included.

Some materials were bound together by Eleanor Alexander and given titles and short introductions. These items are indicated in the folder titles of the container list with quotation marks that denote the title.

Dates

  • 1860-2004
  • Majority of material found within 1930-1977

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and French.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Biographical Note

Eleanor Eyck was born in Berlin, Germany in 1913 to the lawyer and historian Erich Eyck (1878-1964) and his wife Hedwig (1888-1971). Although he was never formally trained as a historian, Erich Eyck wrote respected accounts of Bismarck and the history of the Weimar Republic.

Eleanor began to study medicine, but this pursuit was interrupted in 1933 when she emigrated to France. While in Paris, France, she met her future husband, Paul Julius Alexander (born in Berlin in 1910). Paul had already earned a doctorate in law from the University of Hamburg and a license to practice law in France when he came to the United States in 1935 to study history at the University of Michigan with the sponsorship of a Jewish fraternity Phi Sigma Delta. The next year, he received a scholarship to attend Harvard University. Eleanor immigrated to the U.S. after spending some time teaching German in London and with family friends in Brazil. She and Paul married in 1938 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Paul earned his PhD in Ancient and Byzantine History from Harvard in 1941, and the couple moved to Washington, D.C, where Paul worked for the Office of Strategic Services. The couple then moved to Geneva, New York, where Paul was a professor of history at Hobart College until 1954. They spent a year in Princeton, New Jersey while Paul was on a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he later taught at Brandeis and the University of California at Berkeley. They had three children, Ann (born 1941), Lawrence (born 1944), and Michael (born 1947). Paul Alexander became a respected scholar of Byzantine history and medieval apocalypticism and served as a member of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences. After his death 1977, Eleanor Alexander set up a memorial fund in his honor. She died in 2009.

Extent

0.75 Linear Feet

Abstract

Eleanor Alexander née Eyck (1913-2009) and her husband Paul Alexander (1910-1977) were both born in Berlin and immigrated to the United States in the 1930s, where Paul Alexander became a respected professor of Byzantine history. This collection mainly documents his education and career. Several folders also contain book reviews and biographical information related to the lawyer and historian Erich Eyck, Eleanor’s father. It also contains correspondence between Eleanor Eyck and her parents from the 1930s, a few photographs, a family tree, and a few materials relating to other family members.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged by individual to whom the materials primarily relate.

Related Material

See also five memoirs by Eleanor Alexander in the LBI Archives’ Memoir Collection: A Tribute to My Mother Hedwig Eyck (1888-1971), Gratiarum Actio, Lecture given at the Goethe Institut San Franscisco, Stories of My Life, and A Bit of Family History.

The LBI Library holds copies of several books by Erich Eyck including Bismarck und das deutsche Reich and Geschichte der Weimarer Republik.

Separated Material

Copies of the following items were removed because they are already available in the LBI Archives: A Tribute to My Mother Hedwig Eyck (1888-1971), Gratiarum Actio, and The World of Franz Kafka. These items can be accessed online.

Processing Information

Duplicates were removed. Materials were rehoused in acid-free archival folders. Oversized materials were placed in oversized folders and boxes. In the cases where articles written by Erich Eyck or Paul Alexander were donated as part of an entire issue of a periodical, only the article and the title page of the publication were retained.
Title
Guide to the Eleanor and Paul Alexander Collection 1860-2004 (bulk 1930-1977) AR 6414
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Leanora Lange
Date
© 2013
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Made possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History."

Revision Statements

  • May 2016:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

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