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Peter H. Amann Collection

Identifier: AR 25371

Scope and Content Note

The Peter Amann Collection consists almost entirely of correspondence files amassed by Peter Amann, noted American historian and son of Paul Amann, a prominent Austrian-Jewish writer and translator. Although most of these files date from Peter’s adult life, when he worked as a professor of history at various American universities, many files, including all of Series I, appear to have been inherited from his mother Dora Amann (née Iranyi) during the 1980s. These files include Dora Amann’s family papers, which, like the rest of the collection, are predominantly composed of correspondence. Much of this correspondence dates to the period before the Anschluss and documents the daily lives of the Iranyi/Israel family. Later exchanges with the Iranyi/Israel family during wartime, while Dora and Paul Amann lived in Paris, document the conditions of Jewish individuals and families in Vienna under the Nazi regime. Other materials inherited from Dora Amann consist of some of Paul Amann’s correspondence, which contains a limited amount of post-war correspondence with prominent literary figures like Christopher Isherwood, Albert Camus, and the estate of Romain Rolland, and correspondence between Ernst Amann and his parents Dora and Paul. Included with the Paul Amann materials are also photocopies from a Swiss archive of Paul Amann’s correspondence with Hermann Hesse, as well as an unpublished memoir, written in English, pertaining to his time as an Austrian soldier during World War I.

The rest of the correspondence has been divided into three groups: family correspondence, professional correspondence, and personal correspondence. The earlier family correspondence is almost entirely comprised of letters exchanged between Peter Amann and his parents. Starting in the mid 1950s, other figures begin to appear in the family correspondence, including Peter’s half-brother Wilhelm (Willi), who settled in Scotland, and Peter’s sister Eva. After the death of Paul Amann in 1959, the family correspondence contains an increasing amount of letters to and from Dora Amann. From the 1970s onward Peter Amann’s children Paula, Sandra, and David also appear regularly. This series does not contain any correspondence with wife Enne Amann’s family; these materials can be accessed in Series IV: Personal correspondence.

The professional correspondence starts during Peter Amann’s graduate studies at the University of Chicago in the 1950s. This series consists of correspondence and application materials for scholarships and fellowships, such as the Fulbright Peter Amann received in 1963, letters exchanged with colleagues and with collaborators on various research and book projects, letters seeking job placement, and letters with scholarly and academic publishers, relating both to proposed and to actual book and research projects. A substantial amount of official correspondence with the administrations of the various universities for which Amann worked, especially the University of Michigan, is also present. Additional materials in this series include diplomas and awards dating from Amann’s high school years in the 1940s through the 1970s, and various writings both academic and fictional, publications, and translations. Many of these writings included in the collection have never been published. A final subseries of professional correspondence pertains to his wife Enne Amann’s career as a folk singer, for which Peter Amann acted as manager during the mid 1960s through the early 1970s.

The final series, personal correspondence, comprises letters and cards exchanged with friends and neighbors, as well as many materials pertaining to personal accommodations, such as lodging and transportation, while abroad for research purposes. The line between personal and professional correspondence is often blurry in the case of letters exchanged with professional colleagues, and therefore many correspondents appear in both the personal and professional series. The original order of the files with regards to dividing personal and professional correspondence was largely kept intact to avoid any destruction of contextual evidence. A variety of other types of correspondence, including letters to newspaper Op-Ed pages and letters to Congressional representatives expressing personal political views, were also included in this series, even if they refer to Peter Amann’s professional credentials.


  • 1919-2009


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, French and German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

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.

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

Peter Amann

Peter Amann was born in 1927 in the Penzig district of Vienna, Austria. His father Paul Amann was a teacher and a noted writer and translator of English and French authors, including Romain Rolland and others. In 1939 Peter Amann fled with his family to France, and eventually reached New York via Portugal in 1941. After a few itinerant years following their arrival in the United States, Peter Amann graduated high school in Ohio and then continued his education at Oberlin College. In 1947 he completed his studies at Oberlin College and married Enne Niemi in Kentucky.

For the next half decade Amann worked various jobs and wrote fiction in New York City and Milwaukee, before settling in Chicago in 1952 to work on a Ph.D. in History at the University of Chicago. Soon afterwards his first child Paula was born, and two other children, Sandra and David, were born within the following 7 years. Aside from an initial stint at Bowdoin College in Maine (1956-1959) and a few years on the faculty of the State University of New York Binghamton (1965-1968), Amann spent his entire professional career at various campuses of the University of Michigan. From 1971-2004 he was a Professor Emeritus of History at the Ann Arbor campus.

Peter Amann is arguably most noted for his major work Revolution and Mass Democracy: The Paris Club Movement in 1848, but he also authored several other well-regarded scholarly books and articles on a variety of topics covering both European and American history. He has been awarded a Fulbright fellowship (1963-1964), a Guggenheim fellowship (1963-1964), and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (1982); for all of these awards he traveled to France for research.

Paul Amann

Paul Amann, born in Prague in 1884, studied German and Romance languages, as well as philosophy, at Karl-Ferdinand-University in Prague, and then at the University of Vienna. He graduated in 1907 as a doctor of philosophy. In 1910 he accepted a position as a teacher at a Gymnasium in Vienna. In 1924 he married Dora Iranyi, a concert singer. From 1911 to 1938, Amann taught at the Gymnasium in Vienna; during World War I, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army. Paul Amann was the author of fiction and non-fiction works and a translator. After the occupation of Austria by the Nazis, Amann immigrated to Paris in 1939 and later to Montpellier. When the war ended in 1945, he immigrated to the United States. During the following years, he taught at various colleges in New York State. He died in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1958.

Dora Amann

Dora Amann, nee Israel, was born in 1894 in Vienna. Along with her immediate family, she converted to Protestantism and changed her name to Iranyi; her extended family kept the name Israel. She received a musical education in Vienna, Uppsala (Sweden), and Norway, and sang professionally. She married Paul Amann, a translator, with whom she had two children, Peter and Eva (later Eva Irrera). In 1939 she emigrated to France and then in 1941 to the United States. After Paul Amann’s death, she spent much of her life in New Paltz, New York, and died in 1993 near Washington, D.C.


7 Linear Feet


This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Peter Amann, mostly correspondence but also including family papers, personal and professional writings, publicity materials relating to Peter Amann’s wife, and other personal documents. These materials reflect his role as a professor, author and prominent American historian as well as providing information about the rest of his family, including his father Paul Amann.


The collection is on eighteen reels of microfilm (MF 1072):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/13
  2. Reel 2: 1/14 - 1/25
  3. Reel 3: 1/26 - 1/40
  4. Reel 4: 1/41 - 2/8
  5. Reel 5: 2/9 - 2/26
  6. Reel 6: 2/27 - 3/4
  7. Reel 7: 3/5 - 3/25
  8. Reel 8: 3/26 - 3/40
  9. Reel 9: 4/1 - 4/16
  10. Reel 10: 4/17 - 5/1
  11. Reel 11: 5/2 - 5/8
  12. Reel 12: 5/9 - 5/23
  13. Reel 13: 5/24 - 6/13
  14. Reel 14: 6/14 - 6/28
  15. Reel 15: 6/29 - 7/2
  16. Reel 16: 7/3 - 7/14
  17. Reel 17: 7/15 - 7/26
  18. Reel 18: 7/27 - 7/38

Related Material

Paul Amann Collection AR 3305; Dora Amann Autobiography ME 1431; Dora Amann’s German Memoirs ME 900.

Guide to the Papers of Peter Amann 1919-2009 AR 25371 / MF 1072
Processed by Timothy Ryan Mendenhall
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • November 2010.: Microfilm inventory added.
  • June 04, 2012 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States