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Institute of World Affairs records

 Record Group
Identifier: NS-02-16-01

Overview

The Institute of World Affairs (IWA) records document the operations of the Institute and its administrators and researchers. The bulk of the materials originate from its founding in 1942 until its redesignation as the Research Division of the New School for Social Research in 1953, and consist of administrative records such as minutes, correspondence, research proposals and reports, contracts, publishing agreements, and budgets; writings in the form of manuscripts, drafts, notes, and published research material; and research project records, including correspondence, memoranda, interviews and questionnaires, study data and analyses, and graphs. The bulk of the material consists of project files, particularly the records from the Leisure-time project (1947-1953), as well as of projects and studies by researchers and administrators associated with the Institute, including Hans Staudinger, Phyllis Poses, Adolph Lowe, Elizabeth Tood, Lewis Lorwin, Henry G. Aubrey, and Alexander Ringer.

Dates

  • 1938 - 1957
  • Majority of material found within 1942 - 1953

Creator

Language of Materials

English; German

Access Note

Items identifying human research subjects are restricted for 120 years after person's known or estimated birth (or group of persons, like a class). Please contact archivist@newschool.edu 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: archivist@newschool.edu

Historical

Founded in 1943, the Institute of World Affairs (IWA) was modeled after the Kiel Institute in Germany, an international research organization studying the world economy, of which Adolph Lowe and Hans Neisser were former members. The mission statement of the Institute outlines its goal to perform research on international problems and to serve as a clearing house for information on foreign regions and international relations, particularly in light of the shifting balance of global power due to World War II. Over the course of its ten year history, the Institute produced studies and research projects that led to published and unpublished monographs, occasional papers, conferences, and round-table discussions at the New School.

At its founding, the Institute was established as an independent unit of the New School, and took over all collective research projects formerly conducted by the Graduate Faculty (GF). In particular, the Institute developed from two divisions within the GF: 1) the Study Group on Germany, attended by members of the Graduate Faculty including Eduard Heimann, Erich Hula, Karl Mayer, Albert Salomon, Kurt Riezler, Leo Strauss, Horace Kallen, and Felix Kaufmann; and, 2) the Totalitarian Communication Project, organized by Hans Speier and Ernst Kris.

Max Ascoli, an Italian legal philosopher, was involved in the initial planning, fund-raising, and faculty research supervision, until Adolph Lowe became director of Research in 1942. The Institute was governed by the Council of Research, which was chaired by Hans Staudinger. Hans Neisser became acting director in 1950 until the post was taken over by Hans Simons in 1951. Lowe left the Institute in 1953.

The IWA was largely comprised of researchers associated with the "University-in-Exile," including Arnold Brecht, Alfred Kahler, Ernest Hamburger, Eric Hula, Kurt Riezler, and Frieda Wunderlich. The Ibero-American Center was an independent division of the IWA, focused on inter-American relations and headed by Frederick Haussmann.

The Institute sponsored studies in the field of politics, economics, and other interdisciplinary social science research, often focusing on industrialization and labor. Early research papers include: "International Trade in Raw Materials at Various Levels of Employment"; "Germany's Position in European Postwar Reconstruction," by Arnold Brecht, Adolph Lowe, Hans Simons and Hans Staudinger; "Technological Trends and the Flexibility of Labor," by Alfred Kahler; "Changes in the Democratic Process," led by Paul van Zeeland; and "Comparative Administration," by Arnold Brecht.

During World War II, the Institute served as an unofficial office of information for various federal war offices, a relationship that continued after the war had ended. Papers and research materials dating from the 1940s primarily relate to studies of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and postwar reconstruction, and were often created in conjunction with, or on the commission of, U.S. war offices. The major research projects in this latter category include: Former Jewish Communal Property in Germany; Germany's Position in European Postwar Reconstruction; the Propaganda Research Center; the Social and Economic Controls in Germany and Russia project; and the Research Project on Totalitarian Communication.

After the end of the war, the Institute shifted its focus to issues of industrial labor and everyday life, although it continued to produce studies commissioned by the State Department. Post-war studies include: Attitudes of Native Labor toward Industrial Work; The Image of America as Reflected in the Writings of Foreign Observers; and Readability of the European Wireless Files Prepared for Overseas Distribution 19 May-19 July 1953, by the International Press Service, USIA.

The Leisure-Time project was perhaps the most ambitious, and sprawling, post-war research project undertaken by the Institute. Running from 1948 until 1953, the study began as an attempt to analyze the role of leisure time activity in the daily lives of workers in industrial society through a series of in-depth surveys and questionnaires. The project eventually came to be conceived as an inquiry into all aspects of mass democratic culture. Faculty and researchers directly involved in the project included Marie Macario Bestul; Phyllis Poses; Gerda Golder; Elizabeth Todd; Hans Staudinger; Paul Heurath; Seigfried Kracauer; Hilda Weiss; Alexander Ringer; and Laura Himovitch.

In 1951, the Institute fell under the direction of Hans Staudinger and engaged in technical studies for U.S. government departments. Staudinger had a hand in the administration of at least forty-five distinct projects, bringing in $500,000 in funds. Prior funding (1943-1951) reportedly totaled $630,000; coming from Independent Aid, Rockefeller Foundation, the Viking Fund, Hebrew Technical Institute, Rosenwald Foundation, and individual donors.

By 1953, the Institute--which had long operated semi-independently--had been brought into closer relationship with the New School for Social Research, and redesignated as the Research Division. The Institute last appeared in the 1954-1955 Graduate Faculty Bulletin. Economist and sociologist Lewis Lorwin, engaged as a research consultant for the New School during this time, wrote on the history of the IWA in his report, "The Place of Research and Related Activities in the New School for Social Research," describing the Institute as having been started with too large expectations. The ambitious nature of its research agenda, and the collaborative and often sprawling method of research and writing, led to numerous incomplete and under-performing research projects that resulted in few publications or other deliverables.

Sources:

History of the Institute of World Affairs,, 1943, Institute of World Affairs records, NS.02.16.01, box 1, folder 7, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Lorwin, Lewis. The Place of Research and Related Activities in the New School for Social Research, 1953, Institute of World Affairs records, NS.02.16.01, box 12, folder 1, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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

Extent

19 Cubic Feet (16 boxes, 8 folders)

Scope and Contents

These records document the operations and research conducted by the Institute of World Affairs (1943-approximately 1955) at the New School for Social Research, later known as The New School. Records predominantly consist of minutes, correspondence, research proposals and reports, contracts, budgets, typescript and draft manuscripts, and study data and analysis, documenting the activities of the Institute as manager of and participant in various studies, on its own and in collaboration with outside researchers and institutions. Correspondence, reports and other materials document the relationships between investigators and participants, including New School faculty and graduate students, and scholars from other institutions, in addition to the funding institutions and Institute staff administrating projects.

Institute writings include drafts and final copies of project reports, papers, monographs and theses springing from studies. Relationships with publishers are reflected in correspondence, contracts, and royalty statements. Publishers represented include: the University of Chicago Press, Cornell University Press, Hogarth Press, Oxford University Press, Pitman Publishing, and Allen & Unwin.

Records are arranged into three series: Administrative, Correspondence, and Research projects.

Series I contains administrative records, including meeting minutes for the IWA Research Council, conference materials, annual reports, financial records, contracts and agreements between the Institute and publishers, supply inventories, library records, and other materials documenting the operations and administration of the Institute.

Correspondence, Series II, consists of correspondence between individuals and IWA administrators, primarily Adolph Lowe, as well as communication between the Institute and various organizations.

The third series comprises the research project files of the IWA and its faculty, including correspondence, memoranda, proposals, outlines and reports relating to research projects sponsored by the Institute. The bulk of the material originates from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s, and includes studies done in conjunction with, or on the commission of, U.S. war offices, including Germany's Position in European Postwar Reconstruction; the Propaganda Research Center; the Social and Economic Controls in Germany and Russia project; and the Research Project on Totalitarian Communication.

The largest cache of materials relates to the Leisure-time project and Alexander Ringer’s thesis, Musical Attitudes of Metropolitan College Students. Ringer’s study drew upon a series of questionnaires issued to CCNY students regarding their musical taste and listening habits. The Leisure-time project was a major research project involving many of the IWA faculty. Running from 1948 until the 1950s, the study attempted to analyze the role of leisure time activity in industrial society through a series of comprehensive surveys and questionnaires. This subgrouping contains interview and questionnaire materials; time record forms and analyses; proposals, progress reports, and drafts of various area studies and sections. Some of the individual interviews and questionnaire materials have been restricted.

IWA Bibliography

Taken from an internal New School for Social Research memo located in this collection, this bibliography includes a partial list of works published by faculty members associated with the IWA.

The books listed below were published primarily by Cornell University Press, and the Occasional Papers were distributed directly by the Research Division.

Books

Bienstock, Gregory, Solomon M. Schwarz, and Aaron Yugow. Management in Russian Industry and Agriculture (1944) Kris, Ernst and Hans Speier. German Radio Propaganda (1944) Fraenkel, Ernst. Military Occupation and the Rule of Law (1944) Brecht, Arnold. Federalism and Regionalism in Germany: The Division of Prussia (1945) Schechtman, Joseph B. European Population Transfers, 1939-1945 (1946) Ehrmann, Henry W. French Labor from Popular Front to Liberation (1947) Kahler, Alfred, and Eernest Hamburger. Education for an Industrial Age (1948) Poshumous Works of Karl Mannheim. Edited by Adolph Lowe. Moore, Wilbert E. Industrialization and Labor: Social Aspects of Economic Development (1951) Neisser, Hans, and Franco Modigliani. National Incomes and International Trade: A Quantitative Analysis (1953) Hirsch, Julius. New Horizons in Business (1955).

Occasional Papers

Johnson, Alvin, and Ernest Hamburger. "The Economic Problem of Germany" (1946) Neisser, Hans. "The Significance of Foreign Trade for Domestic Employment" (1946) Modigliani, Franco. "Fluctuations in the Savings Ratio: A Problem in Economic Forecasting" (1947) Moore, Wilbert E. "Primitives and Peasants in Industry" (1948) --. "Theoretical Aspects of Industrialization" (1948) Brecht, Arnold. "The New German Constitution" (1949) Aubrey, Henry G. "Deliberate Industrialization" (1949) --. "Small Industry in Economic Development" (1951) Doroghi, Ervin. "Grounds for Divorce in European Countries" (1955) Wagner, Helmut R. "A New Generation of German Labor" (1956)
Taken from an internal New School for Social Research memo, located in this collection, this bibliography includes a partial list of works published by faculty members associated with the IWA.

The books listed below were published primarily by Cornell University Press, and the Occasional Papers were distributed directly by the Research Division.

Books

Bienstock, Gregory, Solomon M. Schwarz, and Aaron Yugow. Management in Russian Industry and Agriculture (1944) Kris, Ernst and Hans Speier. German Radio Propaganda (1944) Fraenkel, Ernst. Military Occupation and the Rule of Law (1944) Brecht, Arnold. Federalism and Regionalism in Germany: The Division of Prussia (1945) Schechtman, Joseph B. European Population Transfers, 1939-1945 (1946) Ehrmann, Henry W. French Labor from Popular Front to Liberation (1947) Kahler, Alfred, and Eernest Hamburger. Education for an Industrial Age (1948) Poshumous Works of Karl Mannheim. Edited by Adolph Lowe. Moore, Wilbert E. Industrialization and Labor: Social Aspects of Economic Development (1951) Neisser, Hans, and Franco Modigliani. National Incomes and International Trade: A Quantitative Analysis (1953) Hirsch, Julius. New Horizons in Business (1955)

Occasional Papers

Johnson, Alvin, and Ernest Hamburger. "The Economic Problem of Germany" (1946) Neisser, Hans. "The Significance of Foreign Trade for Domestic Employment" (1946) Modigliani, Franco. "Fluctuations in the Savings Ratio: A Problem in Economic Forecasting" (1947) Moore, Wilbert E. "Primitives and Peasants in Industry" (1948) --. "Theoretical Aspects of Industrialization" (1948) Brecht, Arnold. "The New German Constitution" (1949) Aubrey, Henry G. "Deliberate Industrialization" (1949) --. "Small Industry in Economic Development" (1951) Doroghi, Ervin. "Grounds for Divorce in European Countries" (1955) Wagner, Helmut R. "A New Generation of German Labor" (1956)

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically in 3 series: I. Administrative; II. Correspondence; III. Research projects.

Other Finding Aids

For selected item-level description and images from the Institute of World Affairs records, see the New School Archives Digital Collections at https://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/NS021601.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These records were transferred to the archives from Raymond Fogelman Library in 2012.

Related Materials

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, State University of New York, Albany, holds the papers of a number of key particiants in the Institute of World Affairs, including Hans Speier, Adoph Lowe, and Hans Staundinger. In addition: Ernst Kris papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress; Ford Foundation Grant Files, New York State Historical Documents, Albany; Hoover Institution Library, Stanford University; Lewis Levitzki Lorwin papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University; Alexander L. Ringer Papers, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Rockefeller Foundation records, RG 1.1-3, Rockefeller Archive Center. In the New School Archives, the New School Photograph collection (NS.04.01.01) includes a photograph of the office for the Institute of World Affairs, circa 1944:
Title
Guide to the Institute of World Affairs records
Status
Completed
Author
Jennifer Ulrich and Aaron Winslow
Date
August 3, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Revision Statements

  • September 1, 2017: New School Archives staff revised collection inventory to reflect addition of 0.4 linear feet of Research Project on Totalitarian Communication records located in 2017.
  • August 1, 2018: New School Archives staff added Studies of the Institute of World Affairs pamphlet to collection.
  • October 29, 2020: New School Archives staff added two student papers.
  • December 15, 2020: Anna Robinson-Sweet added interview questionnaires from Alexander Ringer's study "Musical Attitudes of Metropolitan College Students" the collection inventory.