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Harry J. Marks Collection

Identifier: AR 25563

Scope and Content Note

The Harry J. Marks Collection documents the years this future history professor spent living as a student abroad in Germany during the late 1920s and early 1930s. A prolific letter and diary writer, the collection consists largely of his letters to his family and diaries from this time. The collection also includes correspondence from friends, brief biographical information on him, a few notes and family trees.

With the bulk of the diaries and correspondence dating from Harry J. Marks's time in Germany in the early 1930s, they include both his external commentary to his family on life in Germany at this time as well as his own internal reflections in his diary. As a student studying German history and politics his letters, in Series I, and diary entries, in Series II, often mention events he witnessed or news he read related to the changes in German politics and society, along with his opinions. The mood in the country is often addressed as well. Some notable historic events are mentioned, such as the election of Adolf Hitler, the Reichstag fire, and the elections of March 5, 1933, among many others. Multiple diary entries reference the growing anti-Semitism in the country, the restrictions on the press and politics, and the growing strength of the Nazis.

The correspondence and diaries reflect on more quotidian topics as well, such as Marks's academic interests and efforts and daily life as a student in Heidelberg or Berlin. Included among these are descriptions of lectures, student life and activities, discussions with friends or professors, or potential subjects for papers or further study. Reviews of books, art, and performances are also frequent subjects. Many letters and diary entries additionally include his descriptions of travel in Europe, especially in Germany and Italy. Among the diaries is also an earlier one from a trip with fellow high school students through France in 1926.

In addition to Harry Marks's correspondence with his parents, Series I also holds a small amount of letters of other individuals to him, primarily from friends after he had returned home to the United States. Several relate to the immigration of members of the Meyer family. Aside from diaries Series II also holds biographical material, notes, and family trees of the Hirschbach family.


  • Creation: 1926-2008
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1931-1933


Language of Materials

The collection is in English and 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

Harry J. Marks was born on July 19, 1909 in New York City to Louis and Sophie Marks. From 1915 to 1927 he attended the Fieldston school. In July and August 1926 he visited Europe with classmates and Fieldston faculty. From 1927-1931 he attended Harvard University, graduating in 1931 with an honors thesis on Germany's Social Democratic Party ("The Social Democratic Party of Germany, 1890-1914").

In June 1931 Harry Marks traveled to Germany, first participating in a language course at the University of Heidelberg before continuing on to study at the University of Berlin from September 1931-September 1933. While living in Berlin he also traveled through Germany and Italy.

After returning to the United States, Harry J. Marks continued his studies at Harvard University, receiving his doctoral degree in 1937 with the two-volume dissertation Movements of Reform and Revolution in the Social Democratic Party of Germany from 1890 to 1903 with an Epilogue: 1903-1914. Following his degree he worked for two years with the Works Progress Administration Writers' Project. He spent the next six years teaching history at high schools on Staten Island, New York and in Amherst, Massachusetts. In 1946 he joined the history faculty of the University of Connecticut, where he remained until 1970, when he became professor emeritus.

Harry J. Marks married Sarah Frager in 1935, with whom he had two children. After her death in 1963 he married Kay Maxwell. He died on February 18, 1988.


0.75 Linear Feet


This collection primarily chronicles the time Harry J. Marks, later a professor of history, spent as a graduate student in Germany during the early 1930s. It also includes description of earlier travel and some later correspondence in addition to biographical information and genealogical research. The collection consists primarily of the diaries and correspondence of Harry J. Marks but also includes some letters sent to him, budgeting notes, and family trees of the Hirschbach family.


The collection is arranged in two series:

Related Material

The LBI Archives also include a memoir by Harry Marks: The Rise of the Nazis : a Kind of Personal Memoir 1931-1933 (ME 1558).

Harry Marks's professional archives are placed with the University of Connecticut at the Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Collection Number: MSS 1991-0031.

Separated Material

A book of published train timetables (Koenigs Kursbuch Winter-Fahrpläne 1932/33) was removed from folder 2/2 "Other Papers." In addition, a 3.5 inch floppy disk was removed from the collection to the LBI Audiovisual Collection.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection, it was divided into series based on format.

Guide to the Papers of Harry J. Marks 1926-2008 AR 25563
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2016
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from HarryJMarks.xml

Revision Statements

  • April 2016:: 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