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Robert Heilbroner papers

Identifier: NS-02-14-01


Robert Heilbroner (1919-2005) was first associated with The New School as a research fellow in the 1950s and received his PhD in economics from the New School for Social Research in 1963, during which time he studied under Adolph Lowe. Heilbroner was named Norman Thomas Professor of Economics in 1971. The papers contain correspondence between Heilbroner and Lowe, along with material documenting tributes, and samples of Heilbroner's writings.


  • 1947 - 1995



0.4 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Content of Collection

This collection consists of correspondence, both of a general nature largely concerning Heilbroner's published works, and more substantial correspondence with Adolph Lowe, who died in 1995; and press material relating to conferences and tributes for Heilbroner and Lowe, documenting their personal and professional mentor-protégée relationship. The collection also contains photocopies of a sampling of Heilbroner's numerous articles and book reviews, as well as drafts of these writings.

The general correspondence file consists solely of photocopied correspondence addressed to Heilbroner. Much of it is congratulatory and concerns specific works. The location of the original letters from which the copies were made is now unknown. The Lowe correspondence, which consists almost exclusively of letters from Lowe to Heilbroner, is original correspondence spanning a forty-year friendship.

Access Note

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

Use Note

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

Biographical Note

Robert Heilbroner was born on March 24, 1919 in New York City. He received a BA in philosophy, government and economics from Harvard (1940) and PhD in economics from the New School for Social Research (1963). During World War Two, he served as a Japanese language interpreter in the Pacific. He was first associated with The New School as a research fellow in the 1950s during which time he studied under economist and University-in-Exile professor Adolph Lowe. Self-identified as a “liberal idealist,” he undertook the study of Marxism and the market economy. He was appointed Norman Thomas Professor of Economics in 1971 and often taught courses on the history of economic thought. He authored over twenty books, his most well-known being The worldly philosophers: the lives, times and ideas of the great economic thinkers (1953). Heilbroner died on January 4, 2005 in New York City.


Rutkoff, Peter M., and William B. Scott. 1986. New School: a history of the New School for Social Research. New York: Free Press.

Organization and Arrangement

Files are arranged at folder-level in alphabetical-chronological order.

Custodial History

Correspondence with Adolph Lowe donated by Robert Heilbroner to Fogelman Library, 1990. The provenance of the remainder of the collection is unknown. It is likely that library staff assembled the photocopied book reviews, tributes and published writings to add to the original Lowe correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection transferred from Raymond Fogelman Library, the former social sciences library associated with the university's Graduate Faculty, to the New School Archives and Special Collections upon the Archives' establishment.

Related Materials

Heilbroner material is also found in the following:

Institute of World Affairs records, NS.02.16.01, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Other repositories hold related collections: Reminiscences of Robert Heilbroner: oral history, 1968; Oral History Research Office, Columbia University in New York City.

Correspondence may be found in: Adolph Lowe papers. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York.

Guide to the Robert Heilbroner papers
Jennifer Ulrich
April 4, 2016
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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