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Fritz Bamberger Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 349

Scope and Content Note

The Fritz Bamberger Collection comprises the papers of scholar Fritz Bamberger, and largely centers on his professional and scholarly activities and accomplishments. This collection includes many newspaper clippings about and by him, various official documents, correspondence, a scrapbook, some family papers and notes. The collection has been organized according to the order already present at processing, separated into three series representing the additions to the original collection.

Biographical details on Fritz Bamberger will be found in various areas of the collection, especially in the many clippings on him. The bulk of these are located in Series II.

Several areas of the collection mention Fritz Bamberger's bibliophilism. Several articles in Series I mention this subject, including an essay on bibliophilism as a form of resistance in Nazi Germany. In Series II the subject is further addressed in the folder of articles on the subject, which include a detailed recounting of Fritz Bamberger's own library as well as in some essays written by him in the 1930s. Some photographs of Series III show Bamberger in his library, and he occasionally mentions the Bibliophilen Freunde of Berlin or its former members in his correspondence with the Strauss family, also located in Series III.

Papers that pertain to Fritz Bamberger's years in Berlin, including his time at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, also will be found in various areas of the collection. In Series I, this consists of programs from the Jüdisches Lehrhaus from the 1930s and several invitations that refer to a celebration of the two-hundredth birthday of Moses Mendelssohn in 1929. Several folders of Series II focus on Bamberger's life in Berlin; these contain official documents that relate to his education and marriage as well as clippings of articles written by him. Series III holds an employment contract from this time as well as comments on his experiences found within his letters to members of the Strauss family.

Material on Fritz Bamberger's later life in Chicago and New York is primarily found in Series II and III. Much information of this kind will be found in the aforementioned Strauss correspondence of Series III, which report on the scholarly work of his later life as well as the changes in his professional life. Series II also holds clippings and a small amount of related correspondence on his experiences as a refugee and as editor of Coronet. Material on his work with the LBI include some articles by him on the institute.

Some papers in Series II contain papers pertaining to his family members. One folder holds items relating to his wife Kate. These encompass professional, health and other official documents. Another folder in this series holds some papers of Max and Amalie Bamberger, including some correspondence of Amalie Bamberger to her children. These papers relate to Fritz Bamberger's attempts to assist his parents in leaving Germany.

Dates

  • 1901-2001
  • Majority of material found within 1955-1980

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English, Spanish and Latin.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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 "Reserve" button.

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

email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note <extptr actuate="onload" altrender="Portrait of Fritz Bamberger (1902-1984)" href="http://digital.cjh.org/webclient/DeliveryManager?pid=1237317" show="embed" title="Portrait of Fritz Bamberger (1902-1984)"/>

Siegfried Fritz Bamberger was born on January 7, 1902 in Frankfurt-am-Main, the son of the businessman Max and Amalie (née Wolf) Bamberger. He grew up in Gelsenkirchen, where the family resided, and attended the Städtische Oberrealschule (Public High School) there. At the University of Berlin he studied philosophy, literature and Oriental languages, and at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums Jewish studies. At the age of 21 he had already earned his doctorate in philosophy and soon thereafter continued as a research fellow and lecturer in philosophy at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums. Later he became director of the Berlin Lehrerbildungsanstalt and head of the school administration of the Berlin Jewish Community. He also taught at and helped to found the Jüdisches Lehrhaus in Berlin. In 1933 he married violinist Käte (later Kate) Schwabe, originally of Aschersleben. They had two children, Michael and Gabrielle.

In 1939 Fritz Bamberger and his wife immigrated to the United States, where they first settled in Chicago. From 1939 until 1942 he taught philosophy and comparative literature at Chicago's College of Jewish Studies. Even after Fritz Bamberger's father, Max Bamberger, died in 1940, Fritz had been in the process of assisting his mother to immigrate to the United States when the American consulates in Germany were closed in July 1941. Amalie Bamberger died in Warsaw in May 1942.

From 1942 until 1961 Fritz Bamberger worked for Coronet magazine, a publication of Esquire, Inc. beginning as a part-time researcher and eventually working his way up through the organization until he became editor-in-chief in 1952. In 1956 he became executive director of Esquire, Inc. In 1952 Kate Bamberger died; Fritz Bamberger would later marry Maria Weinberg in 1963.

In 1962 Fritz Bamberger returned to the world of academia, finding a position at the Hebrew University College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. There he became a professor of intellectual history and a member of the college's Board of Governors in addition to being the assistant to the President. He retired from Hebrew University College in 1979.

In addition to his professional appointments, Fritz Bamberger engaged himself in the work of Jewish research organizations. He was vice-president of the Leo Baeck Institute, on the executive committee of the Frank L. Weil Institute for Studies in Religion and Humanities and vice-chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism's North American Board. In 1982 he received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College. He died in 1984.

Fritz Bamberger was active in Jewish scholarship and published a number of academic works in addition to having been an avid bibliophile. In Berlin he was a member of a bibliophile society, the Bibliophilen Freunde, formed after the former Berliner Bibliophilen-Abend was dissolved by the Nazis. In 1961 Bamberger founded the Society for Jewish Bibliophiles in New York. He had an extensive and reputable collection of books on Spinoza, numbering three thousand volumes, which his family gave to the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion branch in Jerusalem in 1990.

Fritz Bamberger's published works include:
1924
Entstehung des Wertproblems
1929
Moses Mendelssohn
1928-1930
Die Lehren des Judentums
1929-1932
Moses Mendelssohns gesammelte Schriften
1935
Das System des Maimonides
1936
Jüdische Gestalten und ihre Zeit. Eine Geschichte des jüdischen Geistes von Moses bis Mendelssohn
1958
Leo Baeck – The Man and the Idea
1960
Julius Guttman: Philosopher of Judaism
1962
Books are the Best Things
1967
Mendelssohns Begriff vom Judentum
1970
The Mind of Nelson Glück
1974
Exploring a Typology of German Jewry (The Arden House Conference)

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection documents the life and scholarly interests of Fritz Bamberger, scholar and former vice-president of the Leo Baeck Institute. Much of the collection focuses on his professional and scholarly activities. It includes many newspaper clippings and articles, official documents, correspondence, a scrapbook, family papers, a few photographs and notes.

Related Material

The American Jewish Archives include a collection of Fritz Bamberger's papers (Manuscript Collection No. 78). This collection is 0.8 linear feet and consists of his correspondence and research files.

The LBI Library includes a number of articles and books by Fritz Bamberger:
  1. Das System des Maimonides; eine Analyse des More Newuchim vom Gottesbegriff aus Berlin [BM 545 M65 B35]
  2. Die geistige Gestalt Moses Mendelssohns [B 2693 B36]
  3. Julius Guttman: Philosoph des Judentums [BM 755 G85 B2]
  4. Leo Baeck: the man and the idea [LBI DS 135 G3 A263 v.1]
  5. Mendelssohns Begriff vom Judentum [B 2694 J78 B36]
  6. The mind of Nelson Glueck [BM 755 G56 B3]
  7. Books are the best things; an anthology from old Hebrew writings [Z 4 Z9 B3]

Separated Material

Some photographs have been removed to the LBI Photo Collection.

Processing Information

When processing the collection in preparation of the EAD finding aid in 2011, the collection was observed to have been added to several times. These included three distinct kinds of addenda, especially one previously arranged chronologically by the phases of Fritz Bamberger's professional life. These addenda formed the basis of series for the EAD finding aid.
Title
Guide to the Papers of Fritz Bamberger (1902-1984) 1901-2001 AR 349
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
Date
© 2011
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from FritzBamberger.xml

Revision Statements

  • March 2012: Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

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