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Erna Magnus Collection

Identifier: AR 7166

Scope and Content Note

The Erna Magnus Collection contains index cards from Erna Magnus's study of the Hamburg Jewish Community in 1933-1938, during which she researched the contributions of Jewish individuals to Hamburg's city life. The cards are arranged into two series based upon their organization. Series I contains index cards organized by the occupations of the individuals, while Series II holds cards organized alphabetically. The cards cover individuals from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries.

The index cards enumerate the professional, civic and cultural accomplishments of numerous members of the Hamburg Jewish Community. Whether organized by profession or alphabetically the cards include basic biographical data on members of the community as well as their occupation, significant achievements and the source material from which the information was gathered.


  • 1933-1938


Language of Materials

The collection is in German.

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

Erna Magnus was born in Hamburg in 1896, received her Ph.D. from Heidelberg University and worked in social work in Berlin. From 1928-1933 she was a faculty member of the School of Social Work of the Arbeiter Wohlfahrt in Berlin and its chief instructor.

From 1933-1938 Erna Magnus conducted social work and research with the Jewish community of Hamburg. At that time she undertook a study of the contribution of the Jews of Hamburg to the cultural, economic and social life of their city. This study was undertaken at the suggestion and with the support of Fritz Warburg. Material for this study was secured by numerous personal interviews of prominent members of the Jewish community, and was often supported by written documentation. This material was recorded on 5.5 x 8 inch filing cards; these biographical cards were never published.

Erna Magnus came to the United States in 1938 where she conducted research on the work history of household workers for the Social Security Administration. She was also a professor of social welfare and research at the Graduate School of Social Work of Howard University in Washington, D.C. from 1947 to 1966.


2.5 Linear Feet


This collection comprises the research of the social worker Erna Magnus into the professional, cultural and civic activities of members of the Hamburg Jewish Community from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. It is composed entirely of index cards that record biographical and professional data on these individuals.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Other Finding Aid

A previous 2-page finding aid that describes the collection at the series level and provides biographical information on Erna Magnus is present.

Related Material

The John Hopkins University Libraries also include a small collection of Erna Magnus's papers, as part of their Special Collections at Milton S. Eisenhower Library, call number Ms. 42.

Separated Material

A printed copy of ’Stammbaum der Samsonschen Familie’, Hannover, 1912 (family tree of the Samson family covering the years 1733 to 1911) has been removed to the LBI Library [CS 629 S26 B3 1912].

Processing Information

The arrangement of this collection is based on the order already present in the collection and was not changed during the preparation of the EAD finding aid. Some professional categories in Series I were further subdivided, with the subcategories recorded on index card separators and included in the EAD finding aid. All of the card separators are brittle and crumbling; those that still retained information were photocopied during processing of the collection for preservation purposes.

Guide to the Papers of Erna Magnus (1896- ) 1933-1938 AR 7166
Processed by LBI Staff and Dianne Ritchey
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from ErnaMagnus.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 26, 2015 : dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States