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Eva Schiffer Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25458

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the personal papers of Eva Schiffer (1925-2010), her brother Stefan Georg Schiffer (born 1929), and their parents Ludwig and Olga Schiffer with a focus on their lives in Vienna during the 1930s. The bulk of the collection consists of family photograph albums mainly depicting leisure activities including ski and beach vacations, hiking, and children playing. Some formal portraits are also included. Other materials include passports, other identification papers, notebooks used for school or as diaries, an autograph or friendship album, a diary tracking Stefan Georg Schiffer’s growth as an infant, and postcards and letters sent to Stefan Georg as a child (many of them birthday greetings). A program from a memorial service for Eva Schiffer held in 2011 is also included.

A short biography and an inventory of the collection can be found in folder 1. This inventory is missing some content and no longer exactly matches the arrangement of the collection after processing in September 2013.

Dates

  • 1897-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1925-1938

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in German with a few documents in English and French.

Access Restrictions

This collection is 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 "Request" button.

Biographical Note

Eva Schiffer was born in Vienna, Austria in 1925 as the daughter of the attorney Ludwig Schiffer (1896-1961) and his wife Olga née Grünberger (1895-1984). When the Nazis took over Austria, Eva Schiffer and her brother Stefan Georg Schiffer (born 1929) were sent to Holland to live with friends. Their father was incarcerated at Buchenwald and Dachau, but eventually released thanks to efforts of his wife and their Dutch friends. The Schiffer family was reunited and immigrated to the United States. They lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts while Ludwig Schiffer attended Harvard Law School and Olga Schiffer ran a Viennese coffee house called the Window Shop. After Ludwig Schiffer completed his U.S. law studies, the family moved to New York City. Eva Schiffer studied animal husbandry at Massachusetts State College (later the University of Massachusetts), earning her Bachelor’s degree in 1946 and Master’s degree in 1947. She then earned a PhD in comparative literature at Harvard-Radcliffe in 1962. She taught at the Ohio State University (1947-1950), the University of Colorado Boulder (1967-1968), the University of Freiburg in Germany (1972-1973), and then at the University of Massachusetts Amherst until 1988. After retiring, she became involved in the Amherst municipal government, serving on the Finance Committee (1990-1996) and the Select Board until 2005. Eva Schiffer died on November 10, 2010.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

Overview

This collection contains the personal papers of Eva Schiffer (1925-2010) and her immediate family, focusing almost exclusively on the childhood of Eva and her younger brother Stefan Georg Schiffer in Vienna in the 1930s. The collection consists of family photograph albums, passports, school notebooks, correspondence, an autograph album, a diary documenting the infancy of Stefan Georg Schiffer, and a program from a memorial service for Eva Schiffer.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically by individual or family name.

Digitization Note

This collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.

Related Material

The LBI Archives also holds Eva Schiffer's memoir Sketches. This item can be viewed online: ME 969.

The family story of Olga Schiffer running the Viennese coffee shop called the Window Shop in the 1940s is related in the book The Window Shop: Safe Harbor for Refugees by Ellen Miller, Ilse Heymanm and Dorothy Dahl (New York: iUniverse, 2006). This item is held at the LBI Library.

Separated Material

A clipping of Stefan Georg Schiffer’s hair from when he was just over one year old was removed from the collection during processing.

Processing Information

The photograph albums were interleaved with acid-free paper. Loose photographs and the hair clipping were placed in archival envelopes. Where possible, tape was removed from the backs of photographs.
Title
Guide to the Eva Schiffer Family Collection 1897-2011 (bulk 1925-1938) AR 25458
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Leanora Lange
Date
© 2013
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Made possible by the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources through The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support "Illuminating Hidden Collections at the Center for Jewish History."

Revision Statements

  • July 2017: Added dao links by Sarah Glover.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

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