Scope and arrangement
The records of the Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars include documentation on both the structure and activities of the Committee and the individuals who successfully or unsuccessfully sought aid. In all, some 6,000 displaced scholars and professional persons from Europe appealed to the Committee. Of that number 335 were granted assistance through the Committee. The correspondence with and about these refugee scholars accounts for the largest and most important portion of the collection.
Supplementing the grant files are correspondence files with educational and research institutions. This correspondence gives the story from the point of view of the American academy and the interest in hiring individual scholars as well as attitudes toward the European influence on higher education. Every major educational institution in the United States is represented in these files.
The Emergency Committee was by no means the only one devoted to the assistance of refugee scholars. The record of cooperation both with organizations already in existence and those organized for the specific purpose of assisting in the placement of refugees in the particular professions can found in the correspondence with other refugee organizations.
Turning to the internal organization of the Committee, the most important files are the correspondence and papers generated by the Executive Committee which served to raise funds and select scholars to be aided. In addition, after 1940 the Committee was selected to serve as the central exchange for information and advice upon the whole problem of displaced foreign scholar. The minutes and annual reports of the Committee along with the financial reports of the disposition of funds and the contributions received complete the record.
While the majority of the collection is in English, some materials in German, French, Spanish, shorthand, and other languages are present. A member of the Committee, most likely Betty Drury, provided English translations of some of the foreign language correspondence.
The Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars records are arranged in nine series:
- 1927-1949133 boxes
The Grant files series includes materials relating to scholars who received aid from the Emergency Committee and refugees, scholars, and others who applied for aid but did not receive it. The series is divided into two subseries according to whether or not assistance was granted. In addition to correspondence, both groups of files include curriculum vitae, recommendations from colleagues, reports of personal interviews, evaluations of teaching abilities and personality by American academic officials, and records of financial assistance granted. In some cases, bibliographies, reprints of scholars' works, and photographs are present.
- 1932-194525 boxes
The Educational and research institutions series includes correspondence with colleges, universities, research institutions, museums, and other institutions of higher learning, most of which received grants through the Emergency Committee to employ refugee scholars. The correspondence concerns the placement and funding of scholars, as well as the awarding and extension of grants and fellowships.
The files include correspondence with Franz Boas, Joseph Perkins Chamberlain, Alvin Johnson, Harry Miller Lydenberg, and Harlow Shapley and correspondence regarding the University in Exile at the New School for Social Research.
- 1933-194512 boxes
The Refugee organizations series includes correspondence with organizations that provided aid to refugees. Included are organizations specifically founded to aid refugees, organizations whose main mission may not have been to provide refugee aid, but which provided assistance to the Emergency Committee or formed committees to investigate refugee issues. Also present are lists and biographical data on refugees and reports and publications of the organizations.
- 1933-19453 boxes
The Philanthropic organizations series includes correspondence with and regarding organizations that funded the grants and fellowships of the Emergency Committee and otherwise provided aid for refugees.
- 1930, 1933-194512 boxes
The General correspondence series includes correspondence with and regarding people interested in the work of the Emergency Committee, individuals writing for news of a relative or friend, learned societies, individuals and corporations interested in employing or otherwise aiding refugees, and correspondence regarding references for scholars. Also included is correspondence with Elijah William Bagster-Collins and Walter M. Kotschnig, representatives of the Committee. Bagster-Collins represented the Committee in Europe between 1933-1935 with the aim of developing a relationship between the Committee and the Academic Assistance Council in order to receive information regarding displaced scholars and to assist them in finding positions in the United States, if they so wished. Kotschnig traveled to the American Middle West to visit institutions and discover any additional needs that might be served by the Committee.
Correspondents include Paul Baerwald, Salo Wittmayer Baron, Norman De Mattos Bentwich, Franz Boas, Joseph Perkins Chamberlain, Carl J. Friedrich, Felix Frankfurter, Alvin Johnson, Edward R. Murrow, and Oswald Veblen.
- 1933-194510 boxes
The Executive Committee series includes correspondence, agenda, minutes, and notes of the Executive Committee. This committee was responsible for determining which scholars received aid from the Emergency Committee. Its members included the founders of the Emergency Committee as well as Edward R. Murrow, Betty Drury, Laurens Hickok Seelye, Harlow Shapley, and other representatives of educational, philanthropic, and refugee organizations.
Correspondence with Marie White, assistant to Fred M. Stein, is also included in this series.
- 1934-19453.5 boxes
The Subcommittees series includes correspondence, minutes, and notes concerning the subcommittees created by the Executive Committee in order to address specific issues in detail. Issues included applications received by the Committee, the liquidation of the Committee at the end of the war, whether the Committee should aid Japanese scholars, the writing of annual reports, the history of the Committee, and other publicity materials, and the possibility of providing pensions for older scholars after the dissolution of the Committee.
- 1933-19456.5 boxes
The Internal office records subseries contains correspondence and materials used and created by the staff of the Emergency Committee in their daily work.
- 1933-19457 boxes
The Financial records series includes correspondence, checkbooks, statements, and other materials related to the financial operation of the Emergency Committee. Includes accounts and checkbooks used for office expenses and grant payments, correspondence regarding donations made by individuals and organizations, correspondence regarding financial commitments made by the Committee to institutions with regard to funding for scholars, and budgets and audits of the Committee.