Walter Maria Kotschnig Papers, 1920-1984
- The Walter Maria Kotschnig Papers, 1920-1984, focus on two major aspects of Kotschnig's life, his early career with the International Student Service, 1936-1944, and his diplomatic career with the United States Department of State and the United Nations, 1945-1971, in particular his representation on the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
- 22.5 cubic ft.
- English , German .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Walter Maria Kotschnig Papers 1920-1984. M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Kotschnig 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 Walter Maria Kotschnig Papers, 1920-1984, focus on two major aspects of Kotschnig's life, his early career with the International Student Service, 1936-1944, and his diplomatic career with the United States Department of State and the United Nations, 1945-1971, in particular his representation on the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
The materials in the collection from Kotschnig's years of service with the International Student Service are extensive and include correspondence, manuscripts, publications and minutes of meetings. In addition, Kotschnig's speeches and lectures, which also date predominantly from the years 1936-1944, deal with educational issues as well as with anti-Hitler and anti-National Socialism topics.
Kotschnig's later diplomatic career, both with the U.S. Department of State and the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 1945-1971, is also represented in the collection. The collection contains primarily de-classified items and personal correspondence during these years, however, a collection of over 1000 photographs in the collection document Kotschnig's diplomatic career. Included are photographs of Kotschnig with other dignitaries and heads of state at sessions of the U.N. Economic and Social Council, as well as meetings of the UN Commission to Study War Devastated Areas, 1944-1946, the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), 1956-1965.
- Biographical / Historical:
Walter Maria Kotschnig was born in Judenburg, Austria on April 9, 1901. He attended elementary school (Volksschule) in his hometown of Judenburg and continued his secondary school studies (Realgymnasium) in Graz, Austria, where he headed one of the first student governments organized in Austria. Kotschnig continued his university studies at the University of Graz, moving to the University of Kiel in 1922 where he received his Ph.D. in political science in 1924. In the same year, he married Elined Prys, a psychological consultant from Talgarth, Wales.
In 1925 Kotschnig joined the International Student Service in Geneva, Switzerland, a commitment which lasted nearly twenty years. During the following year, Kotschnig spent three months touring the United States speaking on behalf of the International Student Service. The next year (1927) he became General Secretary of the organization, a position he maintained until 1934, when he became involved with activities of the League of Nations, serving as Director of the High Commission for Refugees from Germany from 1934 to1935.
Because of his outspoken criticisms of Hitler and National Socialism, Kotschnig realized he could not remain in Austria with his family, and in 1936 he immigrated to the United States with his wife and three children. He secured a position as Professor of Comparative Education at Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges in Massachusetts, which he held from 1937 to 1944, but still continued to lecture throughout the country on educational topics, with special emphasis on education in Nazi Germany, as well as on the dangers of National Socialism. During this time, Kotschnig also remained active in the International Student Service and its eventual successor, the World Student Service.
In 1944, Kotschnig began his diplomatic career with his appointment to U.S. government service as a specialist on international organization. In this capacity, he attended the Dumbarton Oaks Conferences in Washington, D.C. (1944) and in San Francisco (1945) in preparation for the establishment of the United Nations, as well as preparatory conferences for the formation of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Over the next three decades, Kotschnig served as Director of the Office of International Economic and Social Affairs (1949-1961), Special Advisor in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (1962-1965), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations (1965-1971). In his capacity of Deputy U.S. Representative on the Economic and Social Council for over twenty-five years, Kotschnig attended 45 out of 49 sessions of the U.N. Economic and Social Council before his retirement in 1971.
In addition to his speaking engagements, Kotschnig also published numerous articles in journals and books. His book publications include: The University in a Changing World (with his wife, 1932); Unemployment in the Learned Professions (1937); and Slaves Need No Leaders (1943). Walter Maria Kotschnig died in Newtown, Pennsylvania on June 23, 1985.
Chronology of Events April 9, 1901 Born in Judenburg, Austria, son of Ignaz and Therese Huber Kotschnig. 1907-1912 Attended elementary school (Volksschule). 1912-1919 Attended secondary school (Realgymnasium) in Graz, Austria 1918-1919 Headed one of the first student governments established in Austria. 1919 Graduated from the Realgymnasium in Graz. 1920-1924 Studied first at the University of Graz, then (1922) the University of Kiel in Germany. 1924 Graduated from the University of Kiel with a Ph.D. in political science. Dec. 10, 1924 Married Elined Prys of Talgarth, Wales, a psychological consultant. 1924-1925 Served as a first assistant at the Institute of World Economics in Kiel. 1925 Joined the staff of the International Student Service in Geneva. 1926 Three-month lecture tour in the United States. Awarded St. Sava Order of Yugoslavia. 1927-1934 General Secretary of the International Student Service. 1929 Awarded the Officers Cross, Civil Service Order of Bulgaria. 1932 Edited with his wife, The University in a Changing World; A Symposium. 1934-1935 Worked in London and Geneva on the staff of the League of Nations as Director of the High Commission for Refugees from Germany, dealing with resettlement problems. 1936 Moved to the United States with his wife and three children. Jan.-Feb. 1936 Series of lectures before the Des Moines Public Education Forums. 1937 Publication of Unemployment in the Learned Professions; an International Study of Occupational and Educational Planning. 1937-1944 Taught at Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges in Massachusetts as a Professor of Comparative Education. 1942 Became an American citizen. 1943 Publication of Slaves Need No Leaders. 1944 Entered United States Government service as a specialist on international organization. 1944-1945 Took part in preparations for the establishment of the United Nations at the Dumbarton Oaks Conferences in Washington (1944) and San Francisco (1945); represented the United States at sessions of the International Labor Organization in Paris (1945). 1945-1947 Became acting chief of the Division of International Organizational Affairs of the State Department in 1945, chief in 1947. 1945 Attended the first preparatory conference for the United Nations Economic and Social Conference in London. Received honorary LLD degree from Rockford College, Illinois. 1946-1947 Served as Acting Executive Secretary to the Preparatory Commission of UNESCO in London (1946); attended UNESCO General Conference meetings in Paris (1946) and Mexico City (1947). 1946-1952 Served as a Trustee of the International Institute of Education. 1946 Became Associate executive secretary and consultant of the U.N. Sub-commission of Economic Reconstruction of Devastated Areas, investigating the physfacet of war damages in Czechoslovakia and in Poland. 1949 Represented the United States at sessions of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, as well as two meetings of the Governing Body of the ILO. 1949-1961 Director of the Office of International Economic and Social Affairs. 1950 Attended the U.N. conference on Technical Assistance in New York; was advisor to the United States delegation to the U.N. General Assembly. 1957 Took active part in the creation of the U.N. Technical Assistance Program. 1962-1965 Special Advisor in the Bureau of International Organization and Affairs. 1962 Awarded the personal rank of Minister by President John F. Kennedy. 1965-1971 Served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. July 1971 Shortly before his retirement, received a personal tribute at the 49th session of the Economic and Social Council, after having attended 45 of the 49 sessions of ECOSOC. 1971 Retirement from public service. June 23, 1985 Died in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Walter M. Kotschnig in March 1981.
The collection is organized into 10 series.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2005 by Sandra H. Hawrylchak.