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Biographical material includes biographies; personal papers from teaching at the University of Kiel, 1926–31 and University of Manchester, 1933–40; papers from Lowe's 80th birthday (1973); Veblen–Commons Award, 1979; interview with Die Zeit, 1988; correspondence, 1928–91; writings by Lowe, including lectures, speeches, published and unpublished works. Lowe was one of the founders of the New School for Social Research comprised mostly of the German intellectual Émigrés to the USA prior to WWII.
5 cubic ft.
English , German .
Preferred citation:

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Adolph Lowe Papers, 1915-1996. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Lowe Papers).


Scope and Content:

The collection contains relatively little information about Lowe's education and early career, but Lowe was able to take a modest number of documents concerning his schooling and work when he left Germany. This small body of materials was subsequently augmented by scholars who studied Lowe's early work and sent him copies of German government documents and other records that detailed his activities in Germany.

Lowe's academic work in Britain and, in particular, the United States is more amply documented. The collection contains many of the lecture notes that he wrote while teaching at Manchester University and the New School for Social Research and numerous published and unpublished articles and essays. However, some of the writings that Lowe published during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s are not included.

The collection also contains numerous writings Lowe completed while working on Has Freedom a Future? (1989). Most notable are the "notes" that Lowe maintained between the 1960s and 1980s. The notes are in fact a detailed intellectual diary in which Lowe outlined his ideas about the relationship between economic security, equality, and human freedom and responded to the criticisms and suggestions of friends and associates. Simple chronological outlines and reading notes are interspersed throughout.

Lowe was a prolific correspondent, and the collection contains some of the letters that he wrote and received while residing in Great Britain and the United States and almost all of the correspondence he sent and received after his 1983 return to Germany. His letters to and from Robert Heilbroner, a former student, New School for Social Research faculty member, and lifelong friend, amply document their relationship as it existed during Lowe's later years. Many of the other correspondents represented in the collection were also associated with the New School. Among them: Gerhard Colm (1965), Dorothy Dinnerstein (1978, 1984-85, 1987-88), Jonathan Fanton (1983-86, 1988), Mary Henle (1965, 1983-90), Mary Jacker (1983-90, 1992), Alvin Johnson (1965), Hans Jonas (1943, 1964, 1977, 1983-92?), Ira Katznelson (1984-88), Arien Mack (1984, 1988), Marianne Marschak (1983-91), Edward Nell (1981, 1983-85, 1987-88) and Hans Staudinger (1964-66, 1970, 1979-81). Other notable correspondents include Daniel Bell (1987), T.S. Eliot (1947), former student Marion Gräfin Dünhof (Marion Countess Dünhof; 1979-80, 1984-91), Reinhold Niebuhr (1950), Eleanor Roosevelt (1943), and Sir Geoffrey Vickers (1965, 1967-68, 1975-76, 1980, 1982). The correspondence also sheds light upon Lowe's interactions with his daughters Rachel Aubrey and Hanna Lustig and several of his grandchildren.

Other materials of interest include the scholarly writings that Lowe gathered in connection with his research. Many of these articles and essays contain detailed analyses of his own work and were presented to him by their authors; some are in typescript form. Others, among them published and unpublished papers by Robert Heilbroner, Hans Jonas, and Hans Staudinger, address intellectual and social issues with which Lowe was concerned.

Biographical / Historical:

Adolph Lowe was born in Stuttgart, Germany on March 4, 1893 to a middle-class Jewish family. His father, Alexander Löwe, was a merchant, and his mother, Ottilie Mayer Löwe, was a homemaker. After graduating from a gymnasium in Stuttgart, he studied at universities in Munich, Berlin, and Tübingen between 1911 and 1915. In 1914-15, he served in the German Army. In 1919, he married Beatrice Loewenstein. The couple had two daughters, Rachel Lowe Aubrey and Hanna Lowe Lustig.

Löwe received his Dr. Jur. degree from the University of Tübingen in 1918, but his contacts with noted economic historian Lujo Brentano led him to become an economist. He served as an economic advisor to the Weimar government (1918-24), taking posts in the ministries of Demobilization, Labor, and Economic Affairs. While working for the Bureau of Statistics (1924-26), he began his academic career. He joined the faculty of the University of Kiel (1925-31) and established the Institute for Business Cycle Research (1925). He then served as director of research and educational studies (1926-30) and associate professor of economics (1930-31) at the Institute of World Economics. Between 1931 and 1933, he taught political economy at the University of Frankfurt.

In Spring 1933, Löwe was dismissed from his teaching post in accordance with the provisions of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service. He was the first professor of social sciences to be dismissed by the Nazi government. A few months later, he and his wife decided to emigrate after their daughters were dismissed from school because of their "race". The family left for Britain just before the German government revoked the passports of those it defined as Jewish. Lowe, who anglicized the spelling of his name soon after his arrival in Britain, became a Rockefeller Foundation fellow (1933-38) and Manchester University lecturer.

While at Manchester, Lowe had the opportunity to pursue a wide range of intellectual interests. He held a dual appointment in economics and sociology, and his lecture notes reveal that Romantic literature and German history were among the topics covered in his courses. In his first book, Economics and Sociology: A Plea for Co-Operation in the Social Sciences (1935), he encouraged fellow economists to incorporate the insights of other social scientists into their analyses.

Lowe became a naturalized British subject in September 1939 and yearned to contribute to the war effort. However, the British government refused to place former German citizens in war-related government posts. Frustrated at being denied the opportunity to serve his new nation and fearful that he would lose his Manchester University lectureship, he began seeking employment in the United States. After receiving an offer from the New School for Social Research, Lowe and his family moved to New York City. Lowe was a professor of economics at the New School until his retirement in 1978, leaving only to take a one-year appointment at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1953).

While at the New School, Lowe continued to cultivate a broad range of intellectual interests and criticized what he saw as the parochialism of his colleagues. According to former student and close friend Robert Heilbroner, he was convinced that the general rise in affluence, the emergence of mammoth corporate entities benefitting from economies of scale, and increasing government regulation had stripped economists of the ability to predict accurately future developments. Convinced that comprehensive economic planning was essential to the public good, he concluded that the academic study of economics would regain its predictive ability only if it became an instrument of public policy. These arguments were outlined in On Economic Knowledge (1965) and expanded upon in Has Freedom A Future? (1989), in which he criticized what he saw as the hedonism of contemporary society and asserted that only a combination of collective consciousness and economic planning would safeguard individual freedom and social stability.

After Beatrice Lowe's death in 1982, Lowe returned to Germany to live with his daughter Hannah, who had settled in her country of birth several years before. He remained an active reader and writer of scholarly materials and established friendships with a number of young German economists. In 1988, he was the subject of a lengthy interview that appeared in Die Zeit, one of Germany's most highly regarded newspapers. Determined to remain intellectually active, he gave considerable assistance to his biographer, Klaus-Dieter Krohn. He ceased reading and writing shortly before his death on June 4, 1995, in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. This collection consists chiefly of the published and unpublished personal and professional writings of economist Adolph Lowe. It documents his broad intellectual interests, chronicles the evolution of his economic theories, and sheds light upon his broader beliefs about the role of economic theory and economic planning in creating stable and egalitarian societies.

Acquisition information:
The materials in this collection were donated to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives by John Spalek, who had received them from Claus-Dieter Krohn, in February 1996.
Processing information:

Processed in 1999 by Bonita L. Weddle, August 31, 1999; revised by Sandra Hunt Hawrylchak, February 2006.


The collection is organized into seven series.

Physical location:
The materials are located onsite in the department.



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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.


Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Adolph Lowe Papers, 1915-1996. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Lowe Papers).

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