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Karl Loewenstein Papers

Identifier: MA.00206
Digital Collection: Karl Loewenstein Papers (Selections)
Digital Collection: Karl Loewenstein Papers (Selections)


Materials produced and collected by Karl Loewenstein (1891-1973) over the course of his long career as a political scientist, professor, lawyer, and government advisor. The papers include professional and personal correspondence, manuscripts, lecture notes, reports, memoranda, legal documents, diaries, lecture and interview transcripts, photographs, recordings, and printed material. The bulk of the collection documents Loewenstein's long academic career, which began in Munich and continued at Yale and Amherst (1936-1961) after his emigration to the United States in 1933. His work as an advisor for the Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense of the American Republics (1942-1944) and for the U.S. Office of Military Government for Germany (1945-1946) is also well documented. Notable correspondents included Thomas Mann, Max Weber, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Kollreuter, Theodor Maunz, Otto Crusius, Julien Reinach, Lavinia Mazzucchetti, and Mina Tobler. Pre-1933 materials include correspondence, manuscripts, and family papers. The collection also includes small amounts of material belonging to Loewenstein's wife, Piroska (Rona) Loewenstein, and other family members.


  • Creation: 1822-1977 1908-1973


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Karl Loewenstein Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Karl Loewenstein Papers should be directed to Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Karl Loewenstein was born in Munich, Germany, on November 9, 1891, son of a metalware manufacturer and grandson of a Stuttgart jurist. First guided by his parents toward a career in business, Loewenstein turned to the study of law at age nineteen. He attended the universities of Munich, Heidelberg, Paris, and Berlin and received his law degree from Munich in 1914. During World War I, he served with the German infantry (1915). He later completed preparation for a legal career and was admitted to the Bar in 1918. He went on to obtain his doctorate in civil and ecclesiastical law (1919). Loewenstein practiced law in Munich during the 1920s and, in 1931, became a lecturer (Privatdozent) at the University of Munich School of Law. During 1933, Nazi laws forbidding "non-Aryans" to teach German law led him to resign his position. Nazi-sponsored anti-Semitism also made Loewenstein's legal practice difficult to sustain, and he looked for opportunities to emigrate. Aided by the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars, he obtained an offer of a two-year teaching position at Yale University. Loewenstein arrived in the United States in late 1933, after marrying his Hungarian fiancée (Piroska Rona). A few months before his position at Yale was due to expire, Loewenstein was offered and accepted a position in the political science department at Amherst College (1936-1939). In 1940, Amherst awarded Loewenstein an honorary M.A. and appointed him Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science. He held this position until reaching emeritus status in 1961, teaching political theory, the history of government, and international and comparative law.

In 1941, a Guggenheim Fellowship took him to South America for several months of research on contemporary Latin American politics. His subsequent public lectures and writings on trends in Latin American and European political culture caught the attention of officials at the U.S. Departments of State and Justice seeking to curtail the spread of fascism. In 1942, Loewenstein took partial leave from Amherst College to become a Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General in Washington, D.C. Part of his responsibility was to oversee production of a series of reports and memoranda for the Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense of the American Republics on fascist political organization and activity in Latin America. While at the Department of Justice, Loewenstein was asked by the State Department to act as temporary legal advisor to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) (1943). He also spent several weeks teaching at the Harvard School for Overseas Administration in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1943-1944). Concurrent with these obligations, Loewenstein served on a committee of the American Law Institute organized to draft a "Statement on Essential Human Rights." After the war, Loewenstein was asked by the Justice Department in to serve in the Legal Division of the United States Office of Military Government for Germany. From 1945-1946, he lent his expertise in German law and his familiarity with the German legal community to the effort to "de-Nazify" the administration of German justice. As of September, 1946, his primary activities were once again teaching and writing, but he continued work as an advisor on matters of constitutional and international law. From 1952-1954, he advised the leader of the German Social Democratic Party, Adolf Arndt, as the latter mounted a constitutional challenge to the signing of European Defense treaties by the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1961-1962, while teaching at Kyoto University on a Fulbright Fellowship, Loewenstein became an advisor to the Japanese Constitutional Reform Commission.

Loewenstein was a prolific writer and a tireless promoter of his works and ideas. During his first decade in the U.S., he gave numerous public talks to civic groups, both locally and nationally. Later in his career, he held more than fourteen guest professorships, including one at the University of Munich (where he was later reinstated as a full professor). Loewenstein authored fourteen books and numerous articles, pamphlets, book reviews, essays, and letters to the editor. He wrote and lectured on a wide range of topics, including comparative constitutional law, the history of government, political symbolism, and international affairs. Some of his work incorporated a sociological perspective on political power that manifested the influence of Max Weber, whose circle in Heidelberg Loewenstein had frequented in his student years. Frequent travel gained him contacts around the world, some of whom became regular correspondents. In addition to his professional memberships, he was a member of the Cosmos Club (Washington, D.C.). Opinionated and verbally adept in both German and English, Loewenstein often generated controversy and criticism through his publications and public lectures. He appears to have relished intellectual debate. Toward the end of his life, he found it increasingly difficult to interest American publishers in his work. He was held in particularly high esteem in German academic circles, however, throughout his lifetime and beyond. In 1972, he was awarded the German Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany. He died on July 10, 1973, on a visit to Heidelberg.

Biographical / Historical

1891 Nov 9
Born in Munich, Germany.
Gymnasium education, Munich
Apprenticeships in London and New York; preparation for a career in business
Studied law, history, philosophy, and political science at the Universities of Munich, Paris, Berlin
Equivalent of LL.B Degree, University of Munich
Military service with Germany infantry
German civil service employee, while preparing for the Bar exam
Admitted to the Bar of Munich
30 April 1919
Doctor of Civil and Ecclesiastical law, University of Munich, summa cum laude
Practiced law in Munich
Lecturer in Law, University of Munich
Left Germany for the United States
Visiting Associate Professor of Government, Yale University
1936 (Summer)
Visiting Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder
Visiting Professor, Amherst College
1938 (Summer)
Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Acquired United States citizenship
Became a member of the Massachusetts Bar
Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship
Honorary M.A., Amherst College; appointed Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science
Guggenheim Fellowship research in South America
Special Assistant to the United States Attorney General, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Consultant, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Economic Administration/United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association
Lecturer, Harvard School for Overseas Administration
Legal Advisor, Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense, Montevideo, Uruguay
Consultant, Legal Division, Office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.)
Visiting Professor, The New School, New York
Visiting Expert, Civil Administration Division, Office of Military Government for Germany (U.S.); Office of the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany (served portions of each year)
Visiting Professor, Mount Holyoke College
Advised Adolf Arndt (Social Democratic Party, West Germany) on a legal challenge to the European Defense Treaties
Visiting Professor, University of Marburg
Visiting Professor, Mount Holyoke College
Visiting Professor, University of Massachusetts
School of Law, University of Munich
Walgreen Lecturer, University of Chicago
Professor of Political and Legal Science, Yale University Law School
Fulbright Professor, University of Kyoto, Japan; Advisor, Japanese Constitutional Reform Commission
Lecture tour, Germany
Retired from teaching at Amherst College
Visiting Professor, Law School, University of Basel
Lectures on Comparative Law: Trieste, Italy; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Strasbourg, France
Visiting Professor of Political Science, Yale
Lectures, University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Visiting Professor, Freie Universität, Otto Suhr Institut, Berlin
Visiting Professor, University of Freiburg Law School
Visiting Professor, Colorado State University
Lecturer, University of Massachusetts
Visiting Professor, National University of Mexico, Mexico City
Awarded the Commander's Cross of the German Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany
1973 July 10
Died in Heidelberg.


89.5 Linear feet (47 records storage boxes , 8 archives boxes, 6 half archives boxes, 6 tall archives boxes, 38 pamphlet boxes, 1 small flat box, 1 phonograph record box, 3 postcard/clippings boxes, 8 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the materials in the collection were donated to Amherst College by the estate of Piroska Loewenstein (1900-1979) in 1984. Smaller amounts of material were donated (also by her estate) in 1979, 1986, and 1990. Upon his retirement in 1961, Karl Loewenstein also deposited a number of pamphlets and books with the Archives.

Related Materials

  • Non-alumni biographical files -- Loewenstein, Karl
  • Eva Schiffer. Materials Related to Editing the Thomas Mann-Karl Loewenstein Correspondence, ca. 1977-1983,
  • Eva Schiffer, ed. Thomas Mann-Karl Loewenstein Briefwechsel. Blätter der Thomas Mann-Gesellschaft, Nr. 18-19 (1981-82). [AC Archives & Special Collections File PT2625.A44 Z4855]

Physical Description

47 records storage boxes , 8 archives boxes, 6 half archives boxes, 6 tall archives boxes, 38 pamphlet boxes, 1 small flat box, 1 phonograph record box, 3 postcard/clippings boxes, 8 oversize boxes(89.5 linear ft.)


The following books from the collection were cataloged and transferred to the Amherst College Rare Book Collection. In each case, a note in the catalog record indicates that Karl Loewenstein was the former owner.

  1. Anon. Der Phönix 1947. Ein Almanach für junge Menschen. Berlin-Wannsee, 1947.
  2. Bense, Max. Über Leibniz: Leibniz und seine Ideologie ; Der Geistige Mensch und Die Technik. Zeugnisse europäischen Geistes, Heft 1. Jena: Karl Rauch, 1946.
  3. Boldizsar, Ivan. Magyarorszag utikonyv. Budapest: 1955.
  4. Boldt, Gerhard. Die Letzten Tage der Reichskanzlei. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1947.
  5. Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Auf dem Wege zur Freiheit, Gedichte aus Tegel. Berlin, Verlag Haus und Schule, 1946.
  6. Dangl, Hanns. Der Geist der Zeit. München, R. Pflaum, 1946.
  7. Dietrich, Hermann. Auf der Suche nach Deutschland. Probleme zur Geistigen, Politischen und Wirtschaftlichen Erneuerung Deutschlands. Hamburg: Hans von Hugo, 1946.
  8. Ebbinghaus, Julius. Zu Deutschlands Schicksalswende. Frankfurt am Main: V. Klostermann, 1947.
  9. Frankenberg, Richard Alexander. Fatum und Freiheit, eine Vivisektion. Stuttgart: Rowohlt, 1946.
  10. Gersbach, Robert. Strafgesetzbuch für Das Deutsche Reich: Erl. Textausgabe. Mit e. Ausführl. Sachreg. nebst Einführungsgesetz u.d.. Wichtigsten Nebengesetzen u.. Militärstrafgesetzbuch / Zirpins, Walter. Berlin: Kameradschaft, 1943.
  11. Hagen, Paul. Erobert, Nicht Befreit!: Das Dt. Volk im Ersten Besatzungsjahr. Schriftenreihe für ein demokratisches Deutschland, 1. New York: 1946.
  12. Haller, Hermann. Herman Haller. [Recklinghausen: Graphische Kunstanstalt Aurel Bongers, 1971]. [Catalog of an exhibition held at the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum in Duisburg, Oct. 17-Nov. 29, 1970, the Städtisches Museum Braunschweig, Dec. 17-Feb. 27, 1971, and the Kunsthalle Bremen, Apr. 11-May 23, 1971.]
  13. Haushofer, Albrecht. Moabiter Sonette. 1945.
  14. Hausmann, Manfred. Füreinander, Gedichte. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1946.
  15. Heine, Heinrich. Freundschafts Lieder. London: T.N. Foulis, [1911].
  16. Hesse, Hermann. Der Europäer. Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1946.
  17. Hiller, Kurt. Geistige Grundlagen eines Schöpferischen Deutschlands der Zukunft: Rede zu Hamburg Am 31. Mai 1947 Auf Einladung des Kulturrats der Hansestadt. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1947.
  18. Holzamer, Karl. Grundfragen des Neuzeitlichen Humanismus.Mainzer Universitäts-Reden, no. 4. Mainz, F. Kupferberg, 1947.
  19. Hylander, Franz Josef. Universalismus und Föderalismus als Erbe und Aufgabe des Christlichen Abendlandes und des Deutschen Volkes. Das andere Deutschland, Beiträge zum geistigen Wiederaufbau des Abendlandes und zum Kulturschaffen der Welt, Bd. 2: Zur Kulturkatastrophe des Abendlandes, T. 1. München: Schnell und Steiner, 1946.
  20. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Fenway Court. Boston: D.B. Updike, the Merrymont Press, 1932.
  21. [Kaiser, Jacob]. Der Soziale Staat: Reden und Gedanken. Wege in die neue Zeit, Nr. 2. Berlin: Union-Verlag, 1946.
  22. Kautsky, Karl. Der Parlamentarismus, die Volksgesetzgebung, und die Sozialdemokratie. Stuttgart, J.H. W. Dietz, 1893.
  23. Kraus, Herbert. Der Auswärtige Dienst des Deutschen Reiches (Diplomatie und Konsularwesen). Edited by Dr. jur. Herbert Kraus. Berlin. Verlag von G. Stilke, 1932.
  24. Lachmann, Volkmar. Das Jahr des Jünglings. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1947.
  25. Laun, Rudolf. Reden und Aufsätze zum Völkerrecht und Staatsrecht. Hamburg: Hansischer Gildenverlag, 1947.
  26. Leibbrand, Robert. Buchenwald: Ein Tatsachenbericht zur Geschichte der Deutschen Widerstandsbewegung. Dokumente des Bösen, 2. Stuttgart: Europa-Verlag, 1945.
  27. Lernet-Holenia, Alexander. Germanien. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1946.
  28. Lesnik, S. M. Was hat Preußen Deutschland Gegeben?: Deutscher Imperialismus und Preußentum. Berlin: Verlag der Sowjetischen Militärverwaltung in Deutschland, 1946.
  29. Litt, Theodor. Geschichte und Verantwortung: Ein Vortrag, Gehalten bei der Eröffnung der Leipziger Ortsgruppe des Kulturbundes zur Demokratischen Erneuerung Deutschlands. Weisbaden: Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1947.
  30. Lortzing, Albert, Bearb. Der Wildschütz: Komische Oper in 3 Aufz. nach Kotzebue Frei ; Vollst. Buch. Reclams Universal-Bibliothek, 2760. Leipzig: Reclam, 1942.
  31. Luxemburg, Rosa. Briefe aus dem Gefängnis. Internationale Jugendbibliothek, 10. Berlin: J.H.W. Dietz Nachf, 1946.
  32. Memorandum of the Italian government on the situation in Abyssinia. Parts I and II. n.d. [Rome?, 1935].
  33. Müller-Meiningen, Ernst. Die Parteigenossen: [Betrachtungen und Vorschläge zur Lösung des "Naziproblems"]. Europäische Dokumente; 2. München: Zinnen-Verl. Desch, 1946.
  34. Mugdan, Ernst. Die Neutralität Deutschlands und der Friede: Beiträge zur Bildung einer Öffentlichen Meinung in Deutschland. Schriften der Heidelberger Aktionsgruppe zur Demokratie und zum freien Sozialismus, 2. Heidelberg: Schneider, 1947.
  35. Näf, Werner. Wesen und Aufgabe der Universität: Denkschrift im Auftrag d. Senates d. Univ. Bern. Bern: Herbert Lang, 1950.
  36. Öt év ! Athaeneum [1950].
  37. Pannwitz, Rudolf. Der Friede. Nürnberg: H. Carl, 1950.
  38. Pechel, Rudolf. Deutschenspiegel. Zeitpolitisches Archiv. Berlin: Wedding-Verlag, 1946.
  39. Peters, Hans. Zwischen Gestern und Morgen; Betrachtungen zur Heutigen Kulturlage. Berlin: Springer, 1946.
  40. Petwaidic, Walter. Die Autoritäre Anarchie; Streiflichter des Deutschen Zusammenbruchs. Hamburg, Hoffmann und Campe, 1946.
  41. Röpke, Wilhelm. Die Deutsche Frage. Erlenbach-Zürich: E. Rentsch, 1945.
  42. Reger, Erik. Zwei Jahre nach Hitler: Fazit 1947 und Versuch eines Konstruktiven Programms aus der Zwangsläufigen Entwicklung. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1947.
  43. Reidemeister, Kurt. Über Freiheit und Wahrheit. Kleine Broschüren-Reihe. Berlin: C. Habel, 1947.
  44. Schönke, Adolf. Einführung in die Rechtswissenschaft. Karlsruhe: C.F. Müller, 1948.
  45. Schmidt, K. Der Neue Kampf um Freiheit: Briefe und Dokumente Berliner Sozialisten. Schriftenreihe für ein Demokratisches Deutschland, no. 2. [New York]: American Association for a Democratic Germany, 1946.
  46. Schneider, Reinhold. Fausts Rettung. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1946.
  47. ---. Macht und Gewissen in Shakespeares Tragödie. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1947.
  48. The´a^tre Re´jane. Program for L'oiseau bleu: Fe´erie en cinq actes et dix tableaux, by Maurice Maeterlinck. Paris: Willy Fischer, n.d.
  49. Theunissen, Gert H. Ärgernis und Zuversicht: Entscheidungen des Geistes im XX. Jahrhundert: Essays. Berlin: Minerva, 1947.
  50. Thukydides. Geschichte des Peloponnesischen Krieges. Zweiter Teil. Fünftes bis achtes Buch,. Übertragen von Theodor Braun. Leipzig, Im Insel Verlag, n.d.
  51. Valéry, Paul. Rede zu Ehren Goethes. Zeugnisse europäischen Geistes, Heft 2. Jena, K. Rauch, 1947.
  52. Zuckmayer, Karl. Carlo Mierendorff: Porträt eines Deutschen Sozialisten. Berlin: Suhrkamp-Verl, 1944.

The following items were transferred to the Amherst College Library, circulating collection:

  1. Adolf Koelsch, Hände und was sie sagen: 64 Bilder, Schaubucher 11.Zürich: O. Füssli, 1929.

Processing Information

Processed in 2010-2011 by Eileen Crosby-Ballou, Project Archivist, with the support of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Assisted by David Emmerman (AC 2011), Kim Gianfrancesco (AC 2011), Aaron Aruck (AC 2011), Joseph Taff (AC 2013), and Maria Kirigin (2014), Student Assistants.

Karl Loewenstein Papers, 1822-1977 (bulk 1908-1973) Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Eileen Crosby-Ballou.
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299