Skip to main content

Bertha Badt-Strauss Collection

Identifier: AR 3945

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists predominantly of both personal and professional correspondence to Bertha Badt-Strauss between the 1940s and late 1960s. The letters, almost exclusively written by male acquaintances of Badt-Strauss, reveal her as being a pivotal point within a small circle of writers, poets and observant Jews, who emigrated from Germany around 1939. Badt-Strauss forwarded information and put people in touch with each other, who either had never met before (Jacob Picard and Siegfried Guggenheim, folder 5: May 6, 1954) or had lost contact after emigration (Jacob Picard and Paul Meyer, folder 5: April 13, 1944). Most important, she proofread their work, provided publishing support, and received – vice versa – information and corrections regarding her own writings. The collection is organized in two series. It also includes writings, poems, few clippings, photographs and obituaries.


  • 1935-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1969


Language of Materials

The collection is in German with some English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Bertha Badt-Strauss was born in Breslau (today's Wrocław, Poland) on December 7, 1885 into a respected, highly religious family of scholars. She studied literature, philosophy, English and Latin in Breslau, Berlin and Munich. After acquiring her PhD (as one of the first women in Prussia) about Annette von Droste-Hülshoff in 1908, Badt-Strauss worked as a scholar and journalist. In 1913 she and her husband Bruno Strauss (a Moses Mendelssohn and Hermann Cohen scholar) moved to Berlin where their son Albrecht was born in 1921. In Berlin, Badt-Strauss published numerous articles, a collective biography of Jewish women, as well as translations and writings of several authors such as Gertrud Marx and Fanny Lewald. She was a religious Jew and became an ardent Zionist. After World War I she collaborated with the group "Jüdische Renaissance" (Jewish Renaissance) to create a unique Jewish culture. She also participated in the German women's movement. In 1939 she immigrated to the United States where her husband – a non-Zionist – had found a job as a professor at Centenary College in Shreveport (Louisiana). There she continued publishing her work in American-Jewish publications.

After the birth of her son Albrecht in 1921, Badt-Strauss developed multiple sclerosis. On February 20, 1970 she died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Bruno Strauss died in 1969.


0.5 Linear Feet


The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence to Bertha Badt-Strauss from various writers and friends between 1940 and 1969. The letters deal with topics related to emigration/immigration, Judaism, Zionism and publishing opportunities in the United States and Mexico. Included are manuscripts, poems, photographs and clippings of Badt-Strauss's correspondents, as well as some of her own writings.

Other Finding Aid

An inventory from the 1960s for the first donation is included in the front of the current folders 2-5 (Series I).

Related Material

The Leo Baeck Institute holds various archival materials pertaining to many Badt-Strauss's correspondents, among them those listed below. The Leo Baeck library contains many of their books.

  1. Eli Elkana: Die kabbalistische Formel (Manuscript, 1949), MS 37
  2. Siegfried Guggenheim Collection 1791-1969, AR 180
  3. Jacob Picard Collection 1882-1992, AR 6016
  4. Caesar Seligmann Collection. 1929-1950, AR 1076
  5. Bertha Badt-Strauss Memoirs: "My World and How it Crashed", The Menora Journal 1951, ME 23

Separated Material

A profile portrait of Dr. Georg Michelsohn (Eli Elkana), Ramath-Gan (Israel), September 1, 1959, with a personal dedication to Badt-Strauss has been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection, F 60019.

Processing Information

The main part of the collection consists of various additions that Albrecht Badt-Strauss (Bertha Badt-Strauss's son) donated between the late 1990s and 2011. The collection was rearranged during processing in July 2015 to incorporate the later additions. A German inventory pertaining to the first donation (folders 2-5) existed since the 1960s. During the 2015 processing this inventory was included in the box at the front of the current folders 2-5. Most of the additional folders include brief contextualization by Albrecht Badt-Strauss to the Leo Baeck Institute regarding the content / 'place of origin' of the donated documents.

Guide to the Papers of Bertha Badt-Strauss 1935-2011 AR 3945
Processed by Kim Dresel
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from BerthaBadt-Strauss.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 2016:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States