Otto Kirchheimer Papers, 1929-1972
- The Otto Kirchheimer Papers contain correspondence with colleagues, publishers and students, book reviews written by Kirchheimer, reviews and offprints published by his colleagues and associates, and research notes on the social and political context of law. Listings of his offprint collection, book reviews, and pamphlets, as well as a list of the books held in Otto Kirchheimer's personal library are in the autobiographical file.
- 4.67 cubic ft.
- German , English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Otto Kirchheimer Papers, 1929-1972. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Kirchheimer Papers.
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The Otto Kirchheimer Papers (1929-1968) are of interest to researchers of constitutional law, criminal justice, and the political and social uses of law, as well as to those interested the the German exile experience. His correspondence shows a great interest in the emerging German nation and its new constitution, influential political parties and trade unions.
Kirchheimer's correspondence reveals a man very much respected by German politicians like Fritz Erler, one-time presidential candidate and Carlo Schmid, former vice-president of the German Bundestag. He remained in contact with Gerhard Schulz, labor leader, Ernst Friesenhahn, federal constitutional judge, and Adolf Arndt, long-time member of the Bundestag. Kirchheimer also corresponded with many other intellectuals world-wide. These include Arthur Bergman, Charles David, Horst Ehmke, Ernst Fraenkel, Arkadij Gurland, Arnold Heidenheimer, Wilhelm Hennis, Gerhard Kramer, Gerhard Loewenberg, Karl Loewenstein, Val Lorwin, Harvey Mansfield, Herbert Marcuse, Franz Neumann, Helge Pross, Helmut Ridder, Richard Schmid, and Rudolf Smend. His correspondence files include two letters from Hannah Arendt and one from Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.
The collection contains correspondence with colleagues, publishers and students (1927-1965). It includes numerous book reviews written by Kirchheimer (1937-1965), reviews and offprints published by his colleagues and associates (1913-1964), as well as extensive research notes on the social and political context of law. The collection also includes much of his personal library. Listings of his offprint collection, book reviews, and pamphlets, as well as a list of the books held in Otto Kirchheimer's personal library are in the autobiographical file.
- Biographical / Historical:
Otto Kirchheimer was born November 11, 1905 in Heilbronn, Germany, fourth son of Julius Kirchheimer and Friederike (Baer) Kirchheimer. He attended school in Heilbronn and Ettenheim, then attended the Universities of Muenster, Berlin, Koeln and Bonn, graduating magna cum laude from the latter in 1928. With his new law degree in hand he became a contributor to Die Gesellschaft and a lecturer in Political Science at German Trade Union Schools. He practiced law in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, leaving Germany in 1933 (he was briefly arrested) because of his Social Democratic Party work.
The next four years were spent in Paris writing and doing research for the International Institute of Social Research. It is here he started rewriting George Rusche's work Punishment and Social Structure for the Institute. This Rusche-Kirchheimer version of Punishment and Social Structure was published in 1939.
In 1937 Kirchheimer arrived in the United States while his wife Hilde, from whom he had been separated for years, and daughter Hanna remained in Europe. His marriage ended a few years later in divorce. While in New York, he continued to work for the International Institute of Social Research (Horchheimer Institute) as a research assistant in law and social science and lecturing in the Institute's program at Columbia University.
In 1943, Kirchheimer moved from New York to Washington, D.C. with his second wife Anne Rosenthal, who later bore his second child, Peter. He took a position as a part-time research analyst at the Research and Analysis Branch of the U. S. Office of Strategic Services. He remained employed with the OSS and later the State Department for thirteen years, eventually directing the total research activities of the Central European Branch. While at the State Department, Kirchheimer accepted part-time teaching positions at American University and Howard University. He left the State Department in 1955 to teach full time, accepting a professorship in the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research.
Kirchheimer stayed at the New School for five years, teaching and writing his second book Political Justice: The Use of Legal Procedures for Political Ends. In 1961, Kirchheimer accepted a position teaching at Columbia and continued to write for political science journals, contributed to books, and prepared position papers for international conferences. On November 22, 1965, while boarding a plane at Dulles airport on his way to teach at Columbia, Otto Kirchheimer suffered a fatal heart attack.
November 11, 1905 Born in Heilbronn to Julias and Frederike (Baer) Kirchheimer 1912-1924 Attended school in Heilbronn, Heidelberg, Ettenheim 1924-1928 Studied at the Universities of Muenster, Berlin, Koeln, Bonn 1928 Law degree (Dr. Jur.) magna cum laude, University of Bonn 19?? Married Hilde Rosenfeld 1930 Daughter, Hanna, born. 1930-1933 Contributed to Die Gesellschaft and lectured on Political Science at German Trade Union School 1932-1933 Practiced law in Berlin 1933-1937 Researcher in the Paris Branch of the International Institute of Social Research (Horkheimer Institute). Worked on Punishment and Social Structure. November 11, 1937 Emigrated to the United States 1937-1942 Researcher in Law and Social Science for the Institute of Social Research. Lectured at Columbia University. 1941 Divorced Hilde Kirchheimer 1941 Married Anne Rosenthal 1943 Visiting lecturer in Sociology at Wellesley College November 16, 1943 U. S. Citizenship granted 1943-1944 Part-time research analyst at the Research and Analysis Branch of the U. S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) 1946 Son, Peter, born 1944-1952 Full-time research analyst at the OS 1952-1956 Chief, Central European Branch, OSS 1951-1952 Lecturer, Political Science, American University 1952-1954 Lecturer, Political Science, Howard University 1954-1955 Visiting Professor on the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research 1955-1961 Professor, Political Science, New School 1961 Completed work on Political Justice 1961-1962 Fulbright Professor, University of Freiburg 1960-1965 Professor, Political Science, Columbia University November 22, 1965 Suffered fatal heart attack
- Acquisition information:
All items were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives by Anne Kirchheimer on August 21, 1981.
The collection is organized as follows:
Series 1: Autobiographical Material, 1942-1968 Series 2: Professional Correspondence, 1927-1965 Series 3: Correspondence with Publishers, 1952-1965 Series 4: Writings, 1937-1964 Series 5: Kirchheimer's Testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, June 29, 1964 Series 6: Reviews of Kirchheimer's Publications, 1939-1965 Series 7: Teaching and Research Notes, undated Series 8: Research Materials, undated Series 9: Writings by Kirchheimer's Professional Colleagues, 1913-1964 Series 10: Political pamphlets, 1913-1969
- Processing information:
Processed by Jo-Ann M. Lindsay (May 1993). Revised by Sandra H. Hawrylchak (September 2005).