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Samson Schames Collection

Identifier: AR 25924

Scope and Contents

The majority of the Samson Schames Collection is made up of various documents and papers relating to Schames’s exhibitions in different countries. Series I of the collection contains scattered personal papers of Samson Schames, including biographical information as well as photographs. Series II contains information about Schames’s exhibitions mainly in the US and Germany, but also in England, France, and Jerusalem. Included are exhibition brochures, reviews from newspapers or magazines as well as correspondence relating to Schames’s exhibitions.


  • Creation: 1900-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940s-1950s


Language of Materials

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

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

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:

Biographical / Historical

Samson (Siegfried) Schames (1898-1967) hailed from one of the oldest Jewish families in Frankfurt, where he was known as Fritz S. Schames. Trained in the Staedelschule, he worked in graphics, textiles, and oils. After 1934 when Jews were no longer allowed to display their work, he became a member of the newly founded Cultural Association of German Jews and created set designs. In 1939 Schames emigrated to Great Britain, where he joined the Free German Cultural Association in London. At the outbreak of World War II, he was interned as an enemy alien near Liverpool and took this involuntary stay as an opportunity to develop new art techniques in unconventional media, mostly detritus found in the camp. After his release, Schames volunteered for the Civil Defense and recorded his experiences in a series of paintings called Bombed-Out London, depicting the London Blitz. In 1948, Schames and his wife Edith emigrated to New York, where he enjoyed a successful artistic career.


0.25 Linear Feet

1 Folders (1 shared oversized folder in a shared oversized box.)


The collection contains primarily clippings and other published materials (some photocopies) pertaining to Samson Schames’s exhibitions. Also included are photographs of Samson Schames (some with Edith or family members) as well as other personal documents.


The collection is arranged in two series:

  • Series I: Personal Papers, 1900-2004
  • Series II: Galleries and Exhibitions, 1924-2000

Related Materials

Several of Schames’s artworks can be found in the Leo Baeck Institute’s Arts and Objects Collection. A list of museums holding Schames’s paintings can be found in the Leo Baeck Archive, AR 3310.

Separated Materials

A book with an added photocopied note by Edith Schames has been transferred to the LBI library. Schembs, Hans-Otto: Frankfurt wie es Maler sahen; Würzburg, 1989. Pages 202 and 203 depict artwork by Samson Schames, “Opernplatz 1930” and “Strasse im Herbst 1935”. A photocopy of the relevant pages can be found in Series I, Folder 1 of the collection.

Another book that has been transferred to the LBI library is Arsnberg, Paul: Die Geschichte der Frankfurter Juden seit der Französischen Revolution; Darmstadt 1992. Pages 462 to 463 contain a biographical entry for Samson Schames. A photocopy of the relevant pages can be found in Series II, Folder 5 of the collection.

Processing Information

The material has been rearranged into six folders and divided topically into two series.

Guide to the Papers of Samson Schames
Processed by Hannah Kemper
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States