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Frieda Wunderlich papers

Identifier: NA-0002-01


Frieda Wunderlich (1884-1965) was a member of the University-in-Exile (also known as the Graduate Faculty, and later as the New School for Social Research). A professor, public official and editor of an anti-Nazi magazine in her native Germany, Wunderlich came to the New School in 1933 and continued her social and economic research while teaching into the 1950s. The collection consists of files and topically-themed notebooks.


  • circa 1912-1960s



2.0 Cubic Feet (3 boxes, 4 folders)

Scope and Content of Collection

The Frieda Wunderlich papers is comprised of New School administrative files, personal correspondence, and topically-themed notebooks, presumably labeled by Wunderlich, with identifications such as, Welf[are] State War, Coll[ective] Barg[aining]/Labor Law/NLRB [National Labor Relations Board], and Labor in Politics. These handwritten notes reflect the scope and breadth of her scholarship around social problems, labor markets and resource allocation. Wunderlich's papers include personal correspondence, mostly in German, that predates her emigration to the United States from Germany. The letters may have been written when she was a student, and also possibly date from her time as professor at the Vocational Pedagogic Institute in Berlin. Wunderlich's role as Requirements Committee chairperson and advisor to foreign students, and as professor of Economics and Sociology in the Graduate Faculty, are found here in her New School administrative files. Other correspondence consists of thank-you letters, many from foreign students.

Language of Materials

In English and German.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact:

Biographical Note

Frieda Wunderlich was the only female member of the original group of German Jewish émigrés who formed the University-in-Exile (also known as the Graduate Faculty, and, later, as the New School for Social Research), in 1933. Born in Berlin on November 8th, 1884, she received her doctorate from the University of Freiburg in 1919 with a dissertation on the importance of the applied psychologist Hugo Munsterburg for the national economy. Her activities in Germany showed broad and humanitarian-oriented social and political interests: membership in the Prussian State Parliament and the Berlin City Council; service as a judge of the German Supreme Court for Social Welfare; and, most notably, editorship from 1923-1933 of the anti-Hitler weekly magazine, Soziale Praxis. Her scholarly writing often focused on white collar work, the displacement of laborers by technology, and the conditions for working women--especially the latter. Of the scholarly works, her most important in Germany was probably the theoretically-oriented Productivität (Jena: G. Fischer, 1926). Immediately before coming to New York City, from 1930-1933, Wunderlich was a professor at the Vocational Pedagogic Institute in Berlin.

Once at the New School, Wunderlich's research concentrated on social problems, labor markets and, after 1939, on resource allocation methods used during wartime by totalitarian governments, especially Germany and the USSR. Her work on resource allocation is among her most important after emigrating to the United States. Much of it, as well as her work on other topics, including social and economic policy during the Weimar Republic, was published initially in the New School’s flagship journal, Social Research. From 1938-1940, Wunderlich served as dean of the Graduate Faculty. As a professor, she was active from 1933-1954, teaching courses on economics, labor, and sociology. In addition, she served as the official foreign student advisor to students in the Graduate Faculty. She died on December 19, 1965, in East Orange, New Jersey at the age of 76.

Her memorial in Social Research, written by a close teaching colleague, Julie Meyer, highlights Wunderlich's cool head, warm heart, and extremely meticulous research. Former New School president, Alvin Johnson, commended her for her “far-sighted social policy based on scholarly training in economics” (p.21). Wunderlich's research bears evidence of a multidisciplinary approach, demonstrating an engagement and range of experience in economics, sociology, social work, and politics. Finally, the memorial indicates that Wunderlich left an enduring legacy as one of the first social scientists to focus on the "role and status of women in industrial economies” (p.122).


“Dr. Wunderlich, Taught ‘in Exile’[:] New School Professor Who Left Germany in 1933 Dies.” New York Times, December 31, 1965, p.21.

Rutkoff, Peter and William B. Scott. New School: A History of the New School for Social Research. New York: The Free Press, 1986, p.122.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized in 3 series: 1. Personal correspondence, circa 1912-1936 2. New School administrative files, 1944-1960s III.Notebooks, circa 1940s-circa 1960

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Raymond Fogleman Library to the New School Archives and Special Collections in 2012.

Related Materials

The State University of New York, Albany and the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History both hold collections of Frieda Wunderlich's papers. A photograph of Wunderlich will be found in the New School Archives' Clara Mayer papers. In addition, Wunderlich appears in two home movies made by University in Exile benefactor, Hiram Halle.

Guide to the Frieda Wunderlich papers
Jennifer Ulrich
May 3, 2016
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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