Felix I. Kauffmann Collection
Scope and Content Note
The Felix I. Kauffmann Collection documents the life and professional work of this publisher and rare book dealer. Included is information on the family publishing house, his military service during World War I, and membership in Jewish organizations. The collection contains his correspondence, official documents such as military, vital and legal papers, curricula vitae, newspaper clippings and articles, and other papers.
Material on Felix Kauffmann's life is prevalent and will be found in each series. Series I contains correspondence, much of which focuses on his role as publisher of Jewish books. Related is also a contract in this series between his father and himself about their firm Kauffmann & Co. It also holds documentation of his service in World War I, recognition for it, and subsequent leadership in the Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten. Various official documents such as birth and marriage certificates, some papers related to his immigration via Portugal and a copy of his Lebenslauf (curriculum vitae) are also present. Kauffmann's position as vice-president of the B'nai B'rith Leo Baeck Lodge in New York City will be found in Series II; this series also includes correspondence with Rabbi Leo Baeck among which is a letter detailing the fate of Kauffmann's publishing firm and its warehouse holdings in Germany. Finally, Series III includes a family tree that shows four generations of the Kauffmann family.
The collection additionally contains other subjects. In Series II are also newspaper clippings and articles on Leo Baeck. Series III holds a few letters from other individuals to Felix Kauffmann and others, including various requests for immigration affidavits. Some clippings related to books and book collections are also present here as is the collection's former item-level inventory.
- Creation: 1877-1965
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1939-1946
- Kauffmann, Felix (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German and English.
Open to researchers.
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
Felix Kauffman was born on February 2, 1878 in Frankfurt am Main, son of the publisher Ignatz Kauffmann and his wife Johanna (née Mayer). He worked voluntarily for the antique firm of Jos. Bauer & Co. in Frankfurt until he began his university studies in fall 1898. From 1898-1901 he studied Oriental studies, philosophy and ancient history at the universities of Strassburg, Berlin, Würzburg and Heidelberg and in the fall of 1901 received a doctorate from the University of Heidelberg with a dissertation on the calculations of the new moon among Karaites. From 1901-1902 he participated in a year of military service in Darmstadt as part of a field artillery regiment and in July 1902 he was given the title of Unteroffizier (sergeant). In 1902 and 1903 he took part in two military exercises in Darmstadt, each lasting eight weeks.
Following his military year, Felix Kauffmann joined his father's publishing company, who specialized in publishing Jewish and Hebrew literature and also dealt in rare books. In 1909 he married Jeanette Kirchheim (called Nettie). The same year he was promoted to Vizewachtmeister (staff sergeant) of the eighteenth army corps.
Upon mobilization of the army in 1914 he joined the field artillery regiment 63 of Frankfurt am Main, where he was responsible for the training of 150 volunteers. In August 1914 he was promoted to the rank of Offizierstellvertreter, and the following month was sent to a regiment on the western front, near Champagne. In 1915 he was promoted to Lieutenant; in 1916 he was battery officer (Batterie-Offizier) in several field regiments. In the final year he was adjutant to Oberst (Colonel) Krahmer-Möllenberg, stationed in Bonn. Felix Kauffmann served in the military until 1918 and was awarded the Iron Cross I and II class, and the Hamburg-Hanseatic Cross; in 1939 he received the Ehrenkreuz für Frontkämpfer (Cross of Honor for Front Combatants).
After the war he returned to his publishing business and was also active in the leadership of the Reichsbund jüdischer Frontsoldaten (Imperial Association of Jewish Front Soldiers), a veterans' organization. In 1936 his wife Jeannette died. In 1941 Felix Kauffmann immigrated to the United States via Portugal, where he settled in New York City. He lost his publishing house's stock of books during the war. During the 1940s he was vice-president of B'nai B'rith's Leo Baeck Lodge. Felix Kauffmann died in 1953 in New York.
0.25 Linear Feet
This collection holds the papers of publisher and rare book dealer Felix I. Kauffmann, and contains documents relating to the family publishing house, his military service in World War I, and membership in Jewish organizations. The collection includes some correspondence with Leo Baeck as well as other correspondence, official documents such as military, vital and legal papers, curricula vitae, newspaper clippings and articles, and other papers.
Other Finding Aid
An eight-page inventory that lists each item in the collection is available and has been retained in the last folder of the collection. Items in this inventory include numbers that refer to each item of the collection.
The collection was digitized and made accessible in its entirety.
During processing three copies of the journal New Palestine were removed from folder 1/6, with photocopies made of the pertinent article and letters to the editor.
This collection's arrangement, and particularly its establishment of series, is based on the collection's former item-level inventory written by Ilse Turnheim in 1965. The former Series I and V are now series I and III; their contents have been further subdivided into multiple folders by prominent topic or format. The former Series II, III, and IV, each of which consisted of a single folder that pertained to Leo Baeck or the Leo Baeck Lodge, have been gathered together into Series II. All items are numbered; these number pertain to the former item-level inventory.
- Baeck, Leo, 1873-1956 (Person)
- Kauffman family (Family)
- Reichsbund Jüdischer Frontsoldaten (Organization)
- B'nai B'rith. Leo Baeck Lodge No. 1531 (New York, N.Y.) (Organization)
Genre / Form
- clippings (information artifacts)
- Genealogical tables
- Official documents
- Guide to the Papers of Felix I. Kauffmann (1878-1953) 1877-1965 AR 2633
- Processed by Dianne Ritchey and Ilse Turnheim
- © 2013
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Digitization made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
- Edition statement
- This version was derived from FelixIKauffmann.xml
- October 2015: dao links and digitization information added by Leanora Lange.