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Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research minutes

 Record Group
Identifier: NS-02-02-02


The Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, often referred to in its early years as the University in Exile, was established in 1933. This collection consists of minutes from meetings from the time the Graduate Faculty was established through 1968.


  • 1933 - 1968



1.3 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science, often referred to in its early years as the University in Exile, was established in 1933. This collection consists of minutes from meetings from the time the Graduate Faculty was established through 1968. Minutes of the Executive Faculty Meetings (1933-1968) are bound into four volumes. Some of the unbound minutes duplicate these, but the unbound files also include ancillary materials such as drafts, dissertation defense announcements, calendars, schedules, correspondence, reports and agendas. Also included are General Faculty meeting minutes (1961-1965) and minutes of the Meetings of Officers (1958-1960).

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:

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.

By 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 for 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 towards 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.


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

Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research minutes, NS.02.17.02, box 1, folder 2, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically, by committee name

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from Raymond Fogelman Library to The New School Archives and Special Collections, 2013.

Related Materials

Meeting minutes and administrative materials stemming from and related to the Graduate Faculty (later, New School for Social Research) will be found across many other collections in the New School Archives. Of particular relevance are the New School for Social Research Dean's Office records (NS.02.01.02); the Gaduate Faculty collection (NS.02.02.01); and the Office of the President records (NS.01.01.03). The Records of Oversight collection holds minutes of New School Faculty meetings, 1955-1965, that deal with Graduate Faculty business in addition to issues facing the New School more broadly.

Guide to the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research minutes
New School Archives and Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • July 2, 2018: New School Archives staff corrected inclusive dates; corrected and added Other Finding Aids Note.