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Edna Ehrlich Papers

Identifier: AR 25639

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the papers, photographs, slides, and negatives of Edna Ehrlich, documenting her life as an economist and patron of classical music, from the 1930s to 2014. Ehrlich worked for the Federal Reserve for 43 years and later as a consultant; materials in the collection represent her expertise in Asian banking, pension funds, and balance of payments. Her work is documented through interviews with bank officials, correspondence and reports, presentations, conferences, and events. Ehrlich's personal materials also reflect how tied she was to the world of economics; much of her correspondence is with colleagues and her membership and leadership in economic professional organizations took up much of her spare time. The collection documents her continuing efforts to educate others and educate herself. Not only did she lecture as an adjunct, but guest lectured in Germany and Asia. The collection also reflects on her continuing education and highlights her doctorate work on Japanese banking.

The papers also focus on her interest in Eastern music and Chinese culture, which led to her friendship with Jin Xiang and the foundation of the East-West Music Exchange Association (EWMEA). Ehrlich maintained the files of the EWMEA and Jin Xiang. Ehrlich worked to promote the organization and Jin Xiang through fundraising, concerts, and other publicity.

The collection also reflects on her relationship with her husband, Otto Ehrlich. Edna and Otto Ehrlich travelled significantly throughout Europe and North America and took thousands of photographs and slides of their trips, which often became slide shows and photograph albums. Otto Ehrlich was also interested in classical music and art history, and created notebooks and lecture series with slides to educate the public. The collection also contains personal correspondence between Otto Ehrlich's immediate family in Austria (dating as early as 1898), correspondence with Edna, as well as some of his work as an economist.


  • 1898-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1930-2014


Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, Chinese, Japanese, 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

Edna E. Ehrlich was born on January 8, 1919, to Pauline Gottesman née Hellman and Herman I. Gottesman in Beacon, New York. Ehrlich attended Brooklyn College and received her BA in 1943 and her MA at Columbia University in 1944, both in economics. She married Otto Ehrlich, an Austrian Jew who fled to the United States, in 1949. She received her doctorate in 1960 from the New School for Social Research and her dissertation, The Role of Banking in Japan's Economic Development, won the New School Graduate Faculty Award.

Ehrlich began working at the Federal Reserve as a staff economist in 1944 and after a series of promotions was named as the chief of the Balance of Payments Division in 1962. In 1968, she was promoted to Senior Economist of the Research and Statistics Function, the second woman in the history of the Federal Reserve to be promoted to that office. From 1972-1978 she was the Manager of the International Research Department. She was named International Advisor in the Research and Statistics area in 1978. Ehrlich retired in 1987.

In addition to her work at the Federal Reserve, Ehrlich also served as a consultant to the United Nations in the 1950s on fiscal policies in Asia. During the summers from 1963-1965 Ehrlich and her husband lectured in West Germany on the US balance of payments and international financial problems sponsored by the United States Information Service. From 1985-1986, Ehrlich took a leave of absence from the Federal Reserve to serve as a consultant for the International Monetary Fund on a balance of payments study. Ehrlich also taught as an adjunct professor at both New York University and Columbia University and wrote a number of articles for the Federal Reserve journals, the Monthly Review and the Quarterly Review, as well as outside publications.

Ehrlich also served on a number of professional organizations, including the Women's Economic Roundtable as the Director from 1984-1990, the American Committee on Asian Economic Studies as the Director for Corporate Relations and Public Affairs from 1988 to the early 2000s, the Downtown Economists Club as president from 1978-1980, and the Metropolitan Economics Association as president from 1970-1971. After her retirement, Ehrlich founded her own consulting firm, Ehrlich International Consulting. As a consultant, she conducted interviews with officials in major banks, lectured, wrote articles, and participated in conferences and panels.

Ehrlich also founded the East-West Music Exchange Association in 1996 with Chinese composer Jin Xiang and was its Vice President and Executive Secretary. Ehrlich remained active in the eastern music and economics communities until her death on March 11, 2015.


31.25 Linear Feet (26 record cartons, 1 manuscript box, 9 photograph boxes, 2 flat boxes, and 3 oversized folders.)


The Edna Ehrlich Papers, dating from 1898-2014, document the personal and professional life of Edna Ehrlich, an economist with the Federal Reserve of New York for 43 years. The collection focuses on her work as an economist expert in Asian markets and her relationships with her husband Otto Ehrlich, an economy professor, and her friend Jin Xiang, a Chinese composer. The collection contains personal documents and images relating to the Gottesman and Ehrlich families; Otto Ehrlich's interests in art and musical history; photographs, slides, albums, and other vacation documents from Ehrlich's travels; interviews, writings, and correspondence from her work as a consultant and economist at the Federal Reserve; administrative and concert planning documents for the East-West Music Exchange Association; and Jin Xiang's compositions, concert programs and reviews, and correspondence relating to royalties, organizations, other musicians, and professional opportunities.

Related Material

The LBI holds the Otto Ehrlich Papers (AR 25192) were processed in 2009 and digitized in 2012.

An oral history interview was conducted with Edna Ehrlich in 1995 as part of the Alberta R. Edwards Women Economists Oral History Videotape Collection. The collection is located in the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College.

Separated Material

27 linear feet of monographs relating to Asian economics, economic theory, and musical scores were separated to the Library.

Two linear feet of reel-to-reel tapes with Edna and Otto Ehrlich's lectures relating to their trips, classical music, and economics were separated to the LBI audiovisual collection. 3 CDs of Jin Xiang's music and a floppy disk with information for a concert at the China Institute were also sent to the audiovisual collection.

Medals and pins were separated to the LBI Arts and Objects Collection.

Processing Information

In May 2015, the collection was received and immediately rehoused into archival boxes. No original order was apparent from the initial survey. From June-July 2015, the collection was arranged, described, and refoldered by the archivist and folder titles were supplied. Slides were removed from their metal cases and placed in slide protectors. Glass plate negatives were individually housed and described. Duplicates, playbills, published articles, maps and travel brochures, and tax documents were discarded.

Guide to the Edna Ehrlich Papers 1898-2014 (bulk 1930-2014) AR 25639
Processed by Nicole Greenhouse
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States