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Alexander Altmann Collection

Identifier: AR 796

Scope and Content Note

The main content of this collection consists of material documenting the research of Alexander Altmann on German and German-Jewish history, particularly the philosophy of Moses Mendelssohn.

The bulk of the collection is found in Series III: Notes and research material. This material consists of notes and photocopied sections of books and manuscripts by Mendelssohn and others with notes written on them by Altmann. The topic of the research material in Series III, Subseries 1 is Moses Mendelssohn. Series III, Subseries 2 covers a variety of historical, philosophical, and religious subjects, largely focused on Germany in the era of Mendelssohn. The correspondence in the collection (Series I) is mostly letters to archives, libraries and scholars written by Altmann during his research, and concern the finding of source materials. A few manuscripts and essays in the collection (Series II) are authored by Altmann. They deal with Jewish theology and Moses Mendelssohn.


  • 1935-1981


Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, French, Hebrew, and Latin.

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`

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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

Alexander Altmann was born in Kaschau (Košice), Slovakia on April 16, 1906. He received a degree in philosophy from the University of Berlin, where he also taught, and he served as a rabbi in Berlin from 1931-1938.

In 1938 he left Nazi-Germany and immigrated to England, where he served as a rabbi in Manchester. Here he founded the Institute of Jewish Studies.

In 1959 he resigned as chairman of this institute for a position at Brandeis University at Waltham, Massachusetts. From 1976 to 1978 he was also a visiting professor at both Harvard University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was an Associate at the Harvard University Center for Jewish Studies until his death on June 6, 1987.

The main topic of his academic research was Jewish philosophy and mysticism, with a focus on Moses Mendelssohn.


1 Linear Feet


The bulk of this collection consists of materials docmenting the research of Alexander Altmann on German and German-Jewish history, particularly the philosophy of Moses Mendelssohn.


Collection is available on two reels of microfilm:

  1. Reel 1: 1/1-1/18
  2. Reel 2: 1/19-1/28

Separated Material

Books have been removed to the LBI library.

Guide to the Papers of Alexander Altmann (1906-1987) 1935-1981 AR 796 / MF 777
Processed by Sven Bossmann
© 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2010-04-02 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States