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Edna Ehrlich Collection: Personal Life, Professional Work and Music Interests

Identifier: AR 25697

Scope and Content Note

The Edna Ehrlich Collection: Personal Life, Professional Work and Music Interests is an extension of the Edna Ehrlich Papers (AR 25639). Most of this collection pertains to her personal life in the 1940s as well as to her life in the 2000s, although a small amount of material related to her professional work is also included. In addition, the collection also contains material on her husband Otto Ehrlich and on her interest in promoting the work of Asian composers in America.

The development of the relationship between Edna Gottesman and Otto Ehrlich and Edna Ehrlich’s notes on her husband’s life will be found in several areas of this collection. Series I, which consists both of Edna Ehrlich’s correspondence and papers included with the correspondence, contains many letters between the couple during the early 1940s prior to their marriage; the majority of the letters are love letters between Otto and Edna, where the couple often analyzed their feelings for each other, although a few relate to Edna’s work as his secretary. Included are also papers and essays she wrote for him as his student, as well as coursework written for other professors. Series I additionally contains many letters from other friends and relatives, including from her sister. These letters are primarily personal, relating news and greetings from others, although financial and business correspondence may also be found among the correspondence. Further information about Otto Ehrlich will be found in Edna Ehrlich’s notes and drafts of a memoir about him, among the papers of Series II. Series II additionally includes a family history of the Hellmann and related families, photographs of Edna and Otto Ehrlich and others, and some of her passports.

Edna Ehrlich’s activities during the 2000s are another focal point of this collection. A number of her daily planners will be found in Series III, which record notes on her daily activities from 2002-2015. This series also includes a notebook about her 2006 trip to Russia with her sister and a diary about her friendship and work with the Chinese composer Jin Xiang. Series V contains further material on her efforts to promote Asian music.

A small amount of material relating to Edna Ehrlich’s professional work and writings on economic topics is present in Series IV. This includes articles by her as well as articles by others. Related items such as her collections of business cards, index cards for books on economics, and photographs from a professional conference are also included.


  • 1941-2015
  • Majority of material found within 1941-1944, 1985-2001


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in English, with small amounts of German, and Chinese.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Some folders are not available online due to privacy or copyright.

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

Edna E. Ehrlich was born on January 8, 1919, to Pauline Gottesman née Hellman and Herman I. Gottesman in Beacon, New York. Ehrlich attended Brooklyn College and received her Bachelor of Arts in 1943 and her Master of Arts at Columbia University in 1944, both in economics. She married Otto Ehrlich, an Austrian Jew who fled to the United States, in 1949. She received her doctorate in 1960 from the New School for Social Research and her dissertation, The Role of Banking in Japan's Economic Development, won the New School Graduate Faculty Award.

Ehrlich began working at the Federal Reserve as a staff economist in 1944 and after a series of promotions was named the chief of the Balance of Payments Division in 1962. In 1968, she was promoted to Senior Economist of the Research and Statistics Function, the second woman in the history of the Federal Reserve to be promoted to that office. From 1972-1978 she was the Manager of the International Research Department. She was named International Advisor in the Research and Statistics area in 1978. Ehrlich retired in 1987.

In addition to her work at the Federal Reserve, Ehrlich also served as a consultant to the United Nations in the 1950s on fiscal policies in Asia. During the summers from 1963-1965 Ehrlich and her husband lectured in West Germany on the US balance of payments and international financial problems sponsored by the United States Information Service. From 1985-1986, Ehrlich took a leave of absence from the Federal Reserve to serve as a consultant for the International Monetary Fund on a balance of payments study. Ehrlich also taught as an adjunct professor at both New York University and Columbia University and wrote a number of articles for the Federal Reserve journals, the Monthly Review and the Quarterly Review, as well as outside publications.

Ehrlich also served on a number of professional organizations, including the Women's Economic Roundtable as the Director from 1984-1990, the American Committee on Asian Economic Studies as the Director for Corporate Relations and Public Affairs from 1988 to the early 2000s, the Downtown Economists Club as president from 1978-1980, and the Metropolitan Economics Association as president from 1970-1971. After her retirement, Ehrlich founded her own consulting firm, Ehrlich International Consulting. As a consultant, she conducted interviews with officials in major banks, lectured, wrote articles, and participated in conferences and panels.

Ehrlich also founded the East-West Music Exchange Association in 1996 with Chinese composer Jin Xiang and was its Vice President and Executive Secretary. Ehrlich remained active in the eastern music and economics communities until her death on March 11, 2015.


3 Linear Feet


The Edna Ehrlich Collection: Personal Life, Professional Work and Music Interests is an extension of the Edna Ehrlich Papers (AR 25639). This collection includes material on the beginnings of the relationship of Edna and Otto Ehrlich prior to their marriage, on Edna Ehrlich’s friendships and personal life, and on her work as a promoter of Asian music in New York. It also includes a small amount of papers related to her professional work.

Related Material

This collection is a continuation of the Edna Ehrlich Papers, AR 25639. Related is also the Otto Ehrlich Collection, AR 25192.

Separated Material

Duplicate photocopies were removed from the collection. A publication of the Economic Club of New York that listed all members was also removed during processing of the archival collection, with pertinent pages photocopied and retained in the collection.

Audiocassettes, CDs, a floppy disk, and a slide viewer were removed to the LBI Audiovisual Collection. The audiocassettes include recordings of Otto Ehrlich, other family members, and Otto’s memorial service, while the two CDs contain photographs from a 2008 trip to Croatia and Montenegro.

Processing Information

During processing of the archival collection, folders were gathered together by subject or genre to form series. Many documents and papers were mingled together in folders and were kept in this order in Series I: Correspondence and Papers. Some duplicate photocopies and a publication were removed during processing of the archival collection.

Guide to the Edna Ehrlich Collection: Personal Life, Professional Work and Music Interests 1941-2015 AR 25697
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2018
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Edna_Ehrlich_Collection_Personal_Life_Professional_Work_and_Music_Interests.xml

Revision Statements

  • September 2019:: dao links added.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States