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Alfred Schutz Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25500

Scope and Content Note

The Alfred Schutz Family Collection contains the papers of the family of Alfred Schutz, a social scientist and professor at the New School who focused on phenomenology. Most of the collection consists of the family correspondence. In addition, the collection includes official family papers such as vital, identification or travel records and personal writing such as celebratory poems or diaries.

Series I contains the family correspondence, mostly letters of Alfred, Ilse, Johanna and Otto Schutz. The bulk of it derives from the years in which the family was separated and documents their decision to immigrate to the United States and their difficulties in doing so. Immigration correspondence primarily consists of letters sent to Alfred and Ilse from family members and others. Some folders of immigration letters also include some copies of official documents used in visa applications. The correspondence centers on the immigration activities as well as on family news, since Alfred Schutz was often away from his family on business trips. Letters were written by Alfred and Ilse Schutz especially often, so that they form a picture of the daily events of their later lives. Series IV contains the correspondence of Evelyn Schutz Lang with her parents as a young woman, with letters that describe her years at the University of Rochester, summer breaks, and her post-graduation trip to Europe. Notable is Subseries 2 of Series IV, which holds her translations of the immigration correspondence of Series I. These translations includes commentaries by Evelyn Schutz Lang that assist in their interpretation as well as endnotes that denote items of particular interest in the collection.

Official papers of family members will primarily be found in Series II, organized by family member. Many of these attest to the family's travels prior to reaching the United States, and it seems likely they were collected for immigration purposes. The papers consist of items such as birth, death and marriage certificates, identification papers from Austria or France, travel papers, citizenship and residency certificates or education papers. Ilse Schutz's papers include several folders of material relating to her death and funeral, as well as a few entries in a diary and some notebooks. Johanna and Otto Schutz's papers include some restitution material for the loss of their property.

Some personal writings of Alfred Schutz are located in Series III. These include many poems for his parents and some brief plays, including some from his childhood. In addition, this series includes copies of a journal of his 1937 trip to the United States and of daily calendars and an address book he used in the United States.

A small amount of genealogical correspondence and family trees is present in Series IV.

Users should be aware that Alfred Schutz's academic work on sociological or philosophical themes is not present in this collection, except in passing as the occasional mention in letters. Such material will be found at other institutions; please see the "Related Material" section of this finding aid.


  • Creation: 1868-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1935-1959


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily in German, English and French with a small amount of Hebrew, Spanish, Hungarian and Aramaic.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

"Death of Ilse Schutz – Audiocassette of Funeral Service" (Box 4, Folder 20) is digitized. Follow the link in the Container List to access the digitized material.

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 "Reserve" button.

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

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

Alfred Schütz (spelled Schutz after his immigration to the U.S.) was born on April 13, 1899 in Vienna, Austria, the son of Alfred and Johanna (née Heim) Schütz. His biological father died prior to his birth; his mother remarried his uncle and adoptive father, Otto Schütz, a banker. Alfred Schütz served in World War I and later studied law, sociology and philosophy at the University of Vienna, receiving his doctoral degree in law and social science in 1921. It was while studying there that he came into contact with Hans Kelsen and Ludwig von Mises; he was also a member of the Mises Circle. In 1921 he became executive secretary of the Austrian Bankers' Association. Throughout his life Alfred Schütz would continue to maintain careers both in law as well as in the social sciences, where he became known especially for his work in the area of phenomenological sociology. In 1929 he joined the international banking firm Reitler & Co., a position that would necessitate frequent trips away from home. In 1932 his book Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt was published, a work that focused on phenomenology.

In the early 1920s Alfred Schütz met Ilse Heim, who had studied art history at the University of Vienna. Ilse was the daughter of the banker Leopold and Gisella (née Frankl) Heim. Alfred and Ilse were married in March 1926. They would have two children, Eva Elizabeth (later Evelyn) and Franz Georg (later George).

When the Anschluss of Austria occurred in March 1938, Alfred Schütz was in Paris on a business trip. After much discussion with his wife he brought her and the children to Paris and after some difficulties in acquiring their visas and a trip by Ilse Schütz to the United States in order to assist in resolving the situation, the family finally came to the United States on July 21, 1939. Following their own immigration they assisted Alfred's parents, Johanna and Otto, who arrived in the United States in October 1941. In April 1945 Ilse's mother also joined them, having first emigrated to England.

During the early 1940s Alfred Schutz was employed by several corporations under the control of former partners of Reitler & Co. In April 1943 he became a senior consultant to the Office of Economic Warfare. In 1943 he also began teaching sociology and philosophy at the New School for Social Research. From 1952-1956 he served as chair of the philosophy department of the New School. After 1956 he left his business activities and concentrated on his sociological research and writing. Alfred Schutz died on May 20, 1959.

During his lifetime Alfred Schutz had only one book published, the above-mentioned Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt, although he also wrote many articles. Following her husband's death Ilse Schutz became an advocate for the publication and translation of his many written articles and other work, making his work more widely available, with translations in English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Danish, Italian and Polish. She also became a painter and participated in some exhibitions. Ilse Schutz died in 1990.


6.25 Linear Feet


This collection comprises the family papers of the social scientist Alfred Schutz and his family members, including his wife, parents and daughter. The majority of the collection consists of correspondence, especially concerning family members' immigration. Aside from correspondence, the collection holds official, travel and identification papers and vital records, the creative writing of Alfred Schutz and other family members, and a small amount of material on restitution and genealogy.

Related Material

The LBI Library includes the book Philosophers in exile: The correspondence of Alfred Schutz and Aron Gurwitsch, 1939-1959 [B 3329 S496 A2512].

Yale University has an 18.92 linear feet archival collection on Alfred Schutz (GEN MSS 129).

There is an Alfred Schutz Archive located at Waseda University in Japan.

Papers of Ilse Schutz that relate to her husband's work are available at the Alfred-Schütz-Gedächtnis-Archiv (Sozialwissenschaftliches Archiv Konstanz) at the Universität Konstanz. This institution also includes microfilm copies of the material at Yale University as well as Alfred Schutz's library and a collection of his journal articles.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in June 2012 in preparation for the EAD finding aid. It included a significant amount of original order, which has for the most part been retained. Many of the chronologically-arranged folders in Subseries 1 of Series I were overfilled and have been further subdivided. The nine topical files of Subseries 2 were arranged alphabetically for ease of use. The family papers of Series II had little original order aside from identification of individual, so some order was imposed during processing. Some order was imposed on the writings in Series III, which were organized by subject or format and placed in chronological order. The photocopy of Alfred Schutz's 1937 journal, found with the material of Series III, was placed with its original in Series I. Notes were included in the container list for Series I, Subseries 1 so that materials referenced in Series IV, Subseries 2 can be easily accessed by users.

Guide to the Papers of the Alfred Schutz Family 1868-2005 AR 25500
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from AlfredSchutzFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 6, 2012: Link to digital object for Box 4, Folder 20 added in Container List.
  • December 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