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Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research collection

Identifier: NS-02-02-01


The graduate school at the New School was established in 1933 as the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. In its early years, the school was often referred to as the University in Exile. The division's name was changed in 2005 to the New School for Social Research (NSSR). This collection contains material related to the school gathered from a variety of sources by librarians in the Raymond Fogelman Library over a number of years.

Materials include documentation of administrative functions, curriculum development, student and faculty research, fundraising and financial aid. Some materials are restricted. Contact for details.


  • 1926 - 2012



10.2 Cubic Feet (10 boxes, 9 folders)

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the administrative, teaching and research activities of the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, consisting of early by-laws, charters, and constitution; meeting minutes; and reports, particularly of the Degree Requirements Committee headed by original University in Exile member Frieda Wunderlich. Also included are scholarship records, in particular scholarships for foreign students and émigrés. Records include files from Dean Hans Staudinger, among other deans. Of note are Staudinger and other Graduate Faculty members' statements on the role of the Graduate Faculty within the New School (1958). Other administrative records include correspondence, fund raising campaigns and development material, financial reports, statistics and other reports. Students and faculty are further documented by handbooks, orientation guides, flyers, biographies, visiting professorship applications, academic papers, lists of theses, dissertations, and degree recipients. Of note are materials from the establishing of the Theodor Heuss Professorship (1964) and University-in-Exile anniversaries. The departments of Economics, Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology are represented in the form of departmental minutes, exam materials, syllabi, course descriptions, conference materials, student rosters and accreditation materials. Histories and anniversary documents relate to the school and individual departments.

Language of Materials

Primarily in English.

Access Note

Collection is open for research use. Files containing student records are restricted for 50 years from the last date of creation in the file. Files with faculty or other personnel salary, performance reviews, hiring information are restricted for 50 years from creation date of item (or last creation date in file). 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:

Historical note

The graduate school at the New School was established by Alvin Johnson, director of the New School, in 1933, as the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science (often referred to in its early years as the University in Exile). Through his work in Europe editing the Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Johnson became acutely aware of the hostile political climate in Germany. After the Nazis seized power in 1933, Johnson sought a way to provide refuge to Jewish and anti-Nazi scholars, and over the spring of 1933 he launched an intensive fund raising campaign. Ultimately, with most of the funds coming from industrialist Hiram J. Halle and from the Rockefeller Foundation, Johnson succeeded in offering teaching posts at the New School to ten European scholars whose lives and livelihoods were threatened. The initial faculty members, appointed in October 1933, were Karl Brandt, Gerhard Colm, Arthur Feiler, Eduard Heimann, Herman Kantorowiez, Emil Lederer, Hans Speier, Erich von Hornbostel, Max Wertheimer, and Frieda Wunderlich. Later appointments were made in 1938, including Austrian professors Erich Hula, Felix Kaufman, and Ernst Karl Winter, and Italian scholar Nino Levi. Emil Lederer was appointed the first dean of the Graduate Faculty. He was reelected each year until 1937, at which point faculty members were assigned deanship, secretary and other administrative offices on a rotating annual basis. This practice ended with the appointment of Hans Staudinger as dean in 1953.

In June 1934, the University of the State of New York granted a provisional charter to the New School for Social Research, allowing the institution to award MSS (Master of Social Science) and DSS (Doctor of Social Science) degrees. Before completing registration (accreditation) with the State of New York, a Committee of Requirements for Degrees was established in 1934. The Graduate Faculty Constitution and By-laws were ratified in 1935. The Graduate Faculty's absolute charter was granted on January 17, 1941.

Several affiliated centers sprung from the original Graduate Faculty. These included the Institute of World Affairs, established in 1943, which evolved out of the Study Group on Germany, the Peace Research Project, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Totalitarian Communication Project. Although independent from the Graduate Faculty, most of the participants came from the school. In 1953, the Institute of World Affairs was scaled back and renamed the Research Division of the New School for Social Research. Another wartime institution hosted by the New School was the École Libre des Hautes Études, founded by French and Belgian scholars in 1941 to provide refuge to French academics in exile. The École Libre cooperated with the Graduate Faculty in granting visiting professorships, conducting joint seminars, and sharing symposia and courses, but remained an independent unit—a “French university, teaching in French and granting French degrees” (by resolution May 24, 1943).

Soon after it was established, the Graduate Faculty began publishing the academic quarterly Social Research (1934- ). A Board of Publications was elected November 27, 1935. Financial problems plagued the school in 1963, prompting the Board of Trustees to propose shuttering the journal, but aggressive fund raising kept it afloat.

Notable awards and lectures coming directly out of the Graduate Faculty include the Hiram J. Halle Prize in Political and Social Science and Philosophy (1937); the Moskowitz Lectureship on Industrial Economics (1937); the Theodor Heuss Chair, established with funding from the Volkswagen Foundation; the Alvin Johnson Prize Scholarship in the Social Sciences (1945); the Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy (1988); and the Hans Speier Distinguished Visiting Professorship (1993).

As a graduate social science division of the New School, courses of study and formal departments included the disciplines of economics, sociology, political science and jurisprudence, philosophy and psychology. These departments have remained the core fields of study in the Graduate Faculty, now the New School for Social Research, with minor merges and splits, such as Philosophy and Psychology, and Sociology and Anthropology, which separated into distinct departments.

In the 1950s and 1960s, due to continued expansion of its departments and programs and the demands of accreditation reviews, the administrative offices of the Graduate Faculty developed into a more structured organization. In 1957, the Board of Trustees formed a sub-committee of the Educational Policy Committee to address concerns about the continued viability of the Graduate Faculty, prompting Dean Hans Staudinger and several faculty members the following year to submit statements supporting the role of the Graduate Faculty at the New School. By November 16, 1960, the Executive Faculty Council approved the decision to discontinue offering MSS degrees, but continued offering DSS, MA and PhD degrees.

Financial crises and accreditation problems threatened the Graduate Faculty from the late 1950s through the mid-1960s, and again in the late 1970s. While a “Save-the-School Fund” helped stabilize the institution in 1963, in 1977 a few programs failed accreditation review, resulting in the discontinuance of PhD degrees in the Sociology and Philosophy departments. A consortium agreement with the Graduate Center of the City University of New York enabled students to apply CUNY course credits toward a PhD degree at The New School. (Both Sociology and Philosophy PhD degrees were reinstated in the mid- to late-1980s). While departments and programs were scaled back during these periods of crisis, other programs were established and some departments expanded. New programs included the MA degree in Liberal Studies (1965), the Committee on Historical Studies (1984), the Psychoanalytic Studies program (1992), and a PhD degree in Clinical Psychology (1994).

In 1969 the Graduate Faculty moved from its longtime Sixty-six West Twelfth Street location into its own building, formerly a Lane's department store, at Sixty-five Fifth Avenue. In 2005, the Graduate Faculty name changed to the New School for Social Research (NSSR), adopting the name that had initially encompassed both the Adult Division and the Graduate Faculty.


Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research minutes (NS.02.17.02), New School Archives and Special Collections.

Rutkoff, Peter M. and William B. Scott. New School: A History of the New School for Social Research, New York : MacMillan Inc., 1986.

"Our History," The New School for Social Research.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject into 11 series: 1. Administrative and governance; 2. Centers and Institutes; 3. Correspondence; 4. Departments and programs; 5. Development; 6. Faculty and student research; 7. Fellowships and visiting professorships; 8. History; 9. Staudinger, Hans; 10. Publications; 11. Scholarships and financial aid.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection consists of a number of separate accessions. The bulk of the materials were transferred from the Raymond Fogelman Library of the New School for Social Research, collected over many years by librarians. Most of the materials have unknown provenance.

Related Materials

The records described herein (NS.02.02.01) have less certain provenance than the group of records transferred directly from the New School for Social Research Office of the Dean (NS.02.02.03). The bulk of the records in the latter collection (NS.02.02.03) document the New School for Social Research from 1990-2005. The two collections occasionally overlap in time periods and subject matter covered.

Materials originating from and related to the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science will be found in many other collections held by the New School Archives. Of particular interest may be the Alvin S. Johnson papers (NS.01.01.01); Graduate Faculty minutes collection (NS.02.02.02); Institute of World Affairs records (NS.02.16.01); several collections of working papers produced by NSSR institutes and centers (NS.02.23.01 through NS.02.23.05); New School scrapbook collection (NS.03.01.01); New School Bulletin collection (NS.03.01.02); New School Publicity Office records (NS.03.01.05); NSSR financial ledgers and accounting records (NS.03.07.01); and New School course catalogs (NS.05.01.01);

Additionally, the New School Archives holds periodicals published by the Graduate Faculty as an administrative unit and by students and departments within the division. The papers of a number of the original members of the University in Exile are held by the German and Jewish Intellectual Emigre Collection in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives at the University at Albany, State University of New York:

For more information on related materials, write the New School Archives at

Guide to the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research collection
Jennifer Ulrich and Agnes Szanyi
August 8, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • October 29, 2020: Added a file containing Hans Staudinger's draft memo on the 1963 Crisis--found in a mixed box with a note that this document had been in the "Rutkoff" box, referring to a box of files collected by Peter Rutkoff during his research for his book with William B. Scott; also adjusted collection date range.
  • March 7, 2024: Transferred into this collection 3 files of biographical notes and thesis and/or dissertation abstracts from a temporary box that holds Graduate Faculty theses and dissertations.