James May Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains materials from the life of James May. In particular, it documents via correspondence and clippings his ongoing engagement with his home town of Heilbronn, Germany, starting in the 1960s but particularly in the 1980s. The collection also includes material from May's life, in particular as a prolific writer of letters to the editor on a variety of topics, such as the uncritical reevaluation of Nazi film maker Leni Riefenstahl in the 1990s and early 2000s, to which he fiercely objected.
Other materials include correspondence, including with Hans Walz, who helped save May's parents and sister; personal papers; military materials; restitution files; genealogical materials relating to the family of his mother, Thekla Sänger May; and clippings and documents about his professional life as a textile designer.
- May, James, 1921- (Person)
Language of Materials
This collection is in English and German.
This collection is open to researchers.
James May (1921- ) was born Julius Mai in Heilbronn to Heinrich Mai (Henry May, 1882-1954) (from Würzburg) and Thekla Sänger (1893-1961). He immigrated to the United States, arriving in New York in 1936. May was in the United States Army (Signal Corps) from 1940 to 1949. After his army service, he became an industrial designer, specializing in carpets. In his retirement, May reengaged with his hometown of Heilbronn, and also became a prolific writer of letters to the editor of various newspapers and magazines.
May's mother, Thekla Sänger May, was the founder and chairperson of the "Heilbronner Nachmittage", a social get-together of German refugees held semi-annually at the Beacon Hotel in New York. She was assisted by Walter Strauss and Will Schaber.
May's mother, father, and sister escaped from Germany with the help of Hans Walz. He was the private secretary of Robert Bosch, who was CEO of Robert Bosch GmbH. In 1940, Walz staged an "expulsion" of some of the remaining Jews of Württemberg across the border to France, thus allowing them to escape Nazi Germany and deportation to the east. In 1969, Walz was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.
1 Linear Feet
This collection contains materials from the life of James May (1921- ). In particular, it documents via correspondence and clippings his ongoing engagement with his home town of Heilbronn, Germany, starting in the 1960s but particularly in the 1980s. It also includes other correspondence, personal papers, military materials, restitution files, genealogical materials relating to the family of his mother, Thekla Sänger May, and clippings and documents about his professional life as a textile designer.
This collection was arranged into two series, Heilbronn and General. Folders are arranged alphabetically in each series.
The collection was digitized in its entirety. Access to box 1 folder 1 and box 1 folder 10 is restricted to on-site only due to copyright concerns.
CDs, records, and videos were previously removed to the LBI AV collection.
The following books were removed to the LBI Library:
- Robert Haas: Schrift, Druck, Photographie by Hanna Egger (1983)
- Heilbronn und Hans Franke, by Gerhard Schwingahmmer (1989)
Materials were rehoused and deduplicated. Photographs and slides were placed in appropriate folders. A photocopy of the book "Die Geschichte der Juden in Heilbronn; Festschrift zum 50 jaehrigen Bestehen der Synagoge in Heilbronn" by Oskar Mayer (1927) was discarded. A copy of the book is held by the LBI Library.
- Clippings (information artifacts)
- Genealogical tables
- Heilbronn (Germany)
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
- Jews -- Germany -- History
- Mai family
- May, James, 1921-
- May, Thekla Sänger, 1893-1961
- Restitution -- Germany
- Riefenstahl, Leni
- Righteous Gentiles in the Holocaust
- Sänger family
- Walz, Hans Hermann Rudolf, 1883-1974
- Würzburg (Germany)
- Guide to the James May (1921- ) Collection undated, 1883-2011 AR 5110
- Processed by Kevin Schlottmann
- © 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 Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.
- March 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.
- July 2015: dao links to oversized material added and digitization note updated by Leanora Lange.
- March 2015: dao link to box 1 folder 3 added and digitization information updated by Leanora Lange.