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Guide to the Arnold Brecht lecture notes, circa 1935-1942

Collection Overview


New School Collections

Collection Identifier


Creator - Author

Brecht, Arnold, 1884-1977


Arnold Brecht lecture notes, circa 1935-1942


1.1 linear ft: 1 box

Language of Materials note

In English and German.


Arnold Brecht (1884-1977) was a political scientist and public servant exiled from Germany after the Nazi's seized power due to his political affiliation and participation in efforts toward constitutional reform. He joined the University in Exile faculty at the New School for Social Research in 1933 where he taught political science, constitutional law, and public service until retiring in 1954. These notebooks contain Brecht's lecture notes and vocabulary words with shorthand, primarily handwritten, along with newspaper clippings used for courses, seminars, and other talks given by Brecht. Many lectures derive from his General Seminar at The New School and talks at Harvard University, World Affairs Club, Brooklyn College and other organizations, including one radio broadcast, "Economic Federalism on Trial," in 1936. Topics range from constitutional law, the history of the United States, Europe (particularly Great Britain, France and Germany), government and politics, economics (particularly price-fixing and taxation law), civil service, and contemporary German politics. It includes seminars for civil service training at Harvard and the New School in 1937.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Arnold Brecht lecture notes, NS.02.13.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical/Historical note

Arnold Brecht was born on January 26, 1884 in Lübeck, Germany and attended the University of Göttingen (1902-1905). He was a political scientist and public servant in the German government, but was dismissed from his post when the Nazi's seized power in 1933 due to his politics and participation in efforts toward constitutional reform. He immigrated to the United States and joined the University-in-Exile faculty at the New School for Social Research that same year, where he taught political science, constitutional law, and public service, until retiring in 1954.

During his tenure, Brecht was involved in the Research Division of the Graduate Faculty and the Institute of World Affairs, studying Germany's position in European postwar reconstruction (1942) with colleagues Adolph Lowe, Hans Simons and Hans Staudinger; and the topic of comparative administration. His publications stemming from this research include, Federalism and regionalism in Germany (1945) and an occasional paper, “The New German Constitution” (1949). Other books authored by Brecht include,  The Political Philosophy of Arnold Brecht (1954) and  Political Theory: the Foundations of Twentieth-century Political Thought (1959).

Brecht was invited to guest lecture at Harvard in the 1930s, following upon articles he published in the New School journal, Social Researchon civil service and other topics. He also lectured on Germany as a guest or visiting professor for other institutions and as a consultant to officers for the U.S. government at Harvard, Yale, City College in New York and other colleges. In 1940, he was a founding member of the American Society for Public Administration.

After the war, he returned to Germany and was involved in drafting constitutional law for the Federal Republic of Germany. Although a resident of the United States, he died during a visit to Eutin, West Germany on September 11, 1977.



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

Brecht, Arnold. The political Education of Arnold Brecht.


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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of Brecht's lecture notes, mostly handwritten, and newspaper clippings, originally kept by Brecht in labeled binders and filed here in the order in which he maintained them. The titles of his notebooks begin with a code. Brecht's system for the coding has not been located, but the codes are nevertheless retained in the titling herein. Pagination is not continuous and some pages have binder holes on both sides, indicating that contents were likely altered by creator or others. Identified notes come from courses and talks given at the New School, Harvard University, and other academic and professional organizations. Text is primarily in English, with some German and shorthand. Of note are Brecht's personal reflections as a non-Jewish German on the question of Jewish identity and United States citizenship within his notes for "Jewish Lawyers in Germany," presented to the Joint Distribution Committee on April 15th, 1936; and his notes on violence in 1938, including an anecdote regarding violent police methods in the 1920s.

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Organization and Arrangement

Notes are arranged in original order as received by the New School Archives and Special Collections.

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Administrative Information

Jennifer Ulrich

Publication Information

New School Collections - August 8, 2016

66 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Arnold Brecht lecture notes, NS.02.13.01, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Access Note

Collection is open for research use. 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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Raymond Fogelman Library of the New School for Social Research to the New School Archives and Special Collections, 2012.

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Related Materials

Similar material can be found in the following collection: Arnold Brecht papers, 1865-1974; originals held by the Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Germany. Copies accessible from the German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection, University of Albany.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects


  • Course materials.
  • Lecture notes.
  • Syllabi.


  • Professors.

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Collection Inventory


Box Folder
A: General topics, 1938 
1 1
CPA: Price-fixing notes and American Political Science Association and American Society for Public Administration Round Table on Comparative War Administration memo, circa 1942-1943 
1 2
E1: Government, history and development of English government, circa 1935 
1 3
E2: Constitutional law and other topics, undated 
1 4
EAF: General topics including vocabulary lists and shorthand, 1934 
1 5
F: History and other topics, undated 
1 6
G+E 4: Price-fixing, taxation and other topics, undated 
1 7
L 5,6: Constitution, president, impeachment, and history of the Prussian and German government during the 19th and 20th century, and other topics, 1934   
1 8
PA 1: Public Administrative 1937 seminar first session, circa 1937 
1 9
PA 2: Comparative Public Administration of Germany, Great Britain, and France course, circa 1935-1942 
1 10
PS II 2: Forms of government and other topics, 1938 
1 11
PS II 3: Theory and practice of violence and other topics, 1938 
1 12
PS 56: Race and Jewish ethnicity, circa 1935-1936 
1 13
X: Federalism and Business Regulation, Governmental Systems and other topics, circa 1935 
1 14
X2: Political administration, democracy, economic federalism and other topics, 1936 
1 15
X3: General Seminar, lectures regarding post-war Germany and Jewish lawyers in Germany, 1936-1937 
1 16
X4: Government, economics, civil service and bureaucracy, and constitutional history topics, circa 1936-1937 
1 17
X5: Democracy, Foreign Language Center opening (City College, New York), Democratic Competition…(Brooklyn College), Civil Service training (Harvard), and Central Europe (St. Bartholomew), 1937-1938 
1 18

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Supreme Court of Canada decision, Privy Council Appeal No. 101 of 1936 and accompanying letter from Charlotte Nelson, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1937 
1 19
Vocabulary words and phrases in English and shorthand, circa 1935-1942 
1 20-21
Writings and clippings regarding civil service, U.S. presidential offices, labor, debt, freedom of speech and labor in Great Britain, and US-German exports, circa 1940-1941 
1 22

Collection Guide Last Updated: 10/25/2016

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