1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Emil Lederer Papers


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The collection consists of the papers of Emil Lederer, his wife Gertrud von Eckardt, and his, step-daughter, Ursula von Eckardt.


Lederer, Emil, 1882-1939
Date Coverage:
1.0 cubic ft. (about 1.0 boxes)

Dr. Lederer was born July 22, 1882, in Pilsen, Austria. He was graduated from the Pilsen Gymnasium and went on to study at the University of Vienna, which Menger, Bhmm-Bawerk. and Wieser were making famous as the center of the marginal utility school of economic theory. At the University of Berlin he specialized in law and economics. He took his doctorate in jurisprudence at Vienna and in political science at Munich.

In 1907-12 he was secretary of the Netherland-Austrian Workingmen's Organization. in Vienna. In 1910 he became co-editor with Werner Sombart of the Archiv fuer Sozialwissienschaft, und Soziaipolitik (a scientific periodical of the followers of Max Weber) of which he later became publisher. In 1912 he was appointed an instructor in economics at the University of Heidelberg. That same year his book, White Collar Workers in the Modern Economy, published: this was the first book to call attention to the problem of this special group of employees.

After World War I,Lederer was a member of the Federal Socialization Commission in Germany and was chief of the Economic division of the Austrian State Commission for Socialization. He also practiced as a consulting economist and was economic counsel for leading trade union and Industrial organizations in Germany.

He became an associate professor at Heidelberg in 1918 and a full professor in 1922. During this period he wrote many publications aiming, at a synthesis of the psychological theory of the Austrian School of Bhm-Bawerk and the objective theory of Karl Marx, drawing his training at Vienna, which was noted at that time for critical analysis of Marxian economics. His chief work, Principles of Economic Theory, was first published in 1922. From 1923 to 1925 he was a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo in Japan, where he made a study of the Japanese economy, and in 1931 be became Professor of Political Science in Berlin.

Lederer was the chief aide of Alvin Johnson director of the New School for Social Research, in the organization of the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science of the New School. They had become acquainted while Dr. Johnson was associate editor of The Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, when Dr. Lederer contributed many articles to that publication. In the spring of 1933, when the Nazis began. dismissing internationally known scholars from the German universities, Dr. Johnson conceived the idea of establishing in New York a "university in exile" which would preserve German methods and contributions in a coherent unit. He invited Dr. Lederer to New York that June and made arrangements with him, and Dr. Lederer returned to Europe and assembled the migr Faculty, which became a nucleus of a group of German, Austrian, Italian and Spanish scholars. Dr. Lederer, who was Professor of Economics, was elected first dean of the Graduate Faculty and served for two years.

Dr. Lederer was one of the important contributors to modern German economic theory. He was a follower of Max Weber, and was himself the leader of an important school of economic thought combining orthodox theory with the Marxist-revisionist, orientation. He was the author of more than a score of works in German, most of them centering, around three themes: the problems of the white collar workers, his synthesis of the Bhm-Baverk and Marxian systems of economic: theory, and his study of the Japanese economy.

During his years in the United States he published two books, Japan in Transition, with Emy Lederer-Seidlar, his first wife, issued in 1938, and Technical Progress and Unemployment, an extended study issued by the International Labor Office at Geneva. He also contributed many articles to Social Research, scholarly quarterly, of which he was an editor.

His first wife died a year after they came to this country. He was survived by his second wife, the former Frau Gertrud von Eckardt, whom he married in 1936, and two children of Mrs. Lederer by her first marriage, Ursula and Wolfgang von Eckardt; also a brother, a resident of Vienna, and a nephew, Dr. Walther Lederer, a member of the Faculty of the University of Delaware.

The manuscripts relating to Emil Lederer are mostly early documents (diplomas, teaching appointments - dating from 1901 on); passports; and a copy of his death certificate (1939). The photographs include those in his passports. The earliest correspondence (1922-23) relates to the appointment of Lederer as Professor of Economics at the Imperial University of Tokyo. Most of the official correspondence (in German) is from the Minister des Kultus and Unterrich, between 1929 and 1932, and concerns terms of teaching contracts. Original typescripts for the fifty-five articles in a Festscrift for Lederer are part of the Collection. Writings by Lederer are a clipping from 1931 Frankfruter Zeitung, and the proof and final version of his article, "Zum Methodenstreit in der Soziologie".

Items relating to Gertrud von Eckardt Lederer deal with her divorce, request for citizenship, and teaching at the New School. The bulk of the correspondence (1930-1964) is with the Frankfurt law firm of Robert M. W. Kempner and R. I. Levin regarding Mrs. Lederer's reparations application to the West German government. A few of her medical papers (1967-69) are included.

In the family papers are items regarding Ursula von Eckardt (daughter of Gertrud, step-daughter of Emil) such as report cards and letters regarding citizenship status.

In addition to the biographical information, the collection is of use to researchers on the status of faculty in German universities in the 1920s and early 1930s, problems in obtaining United States citizenship, and legal aspects of war reparations.

The collection has no series.

All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives by Gertrud Lederer (Mrs. Emil Lederer).1981

Processed by: Marion P. Munzer

Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on

Published: 2018-03-06 07:31:33 -0500

Converted to EAD, 2015 December

Encoded in EAD by Jodi Boyle, 2015

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Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Emil Lederer Papers, 1901-1971. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Lederer Papers).

Contents of Collection



1 1a and b Festscrift (typewritten copies of separate, articles)Undated


1 2Photograph, black and white, Lederer at his deskUndated


1 2Meldungsbuch no. 15,633 (includes photograph of Emil Lederer)1901 October 5


1 2Diploma1911 July 26


1 2Diploma1903 May 4


1 2Ausweis Karte, Ausweisbuch1915


1 2Verwendungsbuch Kinderausweis (Ursula von Eckardt)1936 May 18


1 2Versicherungskarte1935 January 5


1 2Trauschein (photocopy)Announcement, with envelope, of death of Robert OboussierUndated


1 2Robert Oboussier (newspaper clippings)Undated


1 2[Report cards - Ursula von Eckardt]Undated


1 2Heimatschein1934 May 15


1 2Redaktions-Vertrag1921 October 31


1 3Documents regarding education, teaching1901-1934


1 4Correspondence, inclduing request of Gertrud Lederer for citizenship1929-1943


1 5Correspondence, including divorce documents of Gertrud von Eckardt and employment records1930-1942


1 6Correspondence to Gertrud Lederer1952-1964


1 7Correspondence between Emil Lederer and Imperial University of Tokyo regarding appointment as Professor of Economics1922-1923


1 8Financial statements - Gertrud Eckardt and New School1949-1950


1 9Medical Insurance and Medicare - Gertrud Lederer1967-1969


1 10Articles by E. Lederer1931, Undated


1 11Check stubs1967-1971