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Alfred Schutz papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 129

Scope and Contents

The Alfred Schütz Papers consist of manuscripts, course and lecture materials, letters, documentation pertaining to various organizations with which he was affiliated, and personal papers documenting his life and work. The papers span the years 1868-2005, with the bulk concentrated in the two decades before Schütz's death, 1940-59.

Series I, Manuscripts , contains drafts of most of Schütz's essays. Most of the manuscript pages are individually stamped with consecutive numbers. This was apparently done by Lester Embree in 1971 when he prepared his An Outline of the Alfred Schütz Nachlass. His arrangement was based on the order in which he found the manuscripts in Schütz's bookcases. This arrangement has been preserved, as drafts of works were, for the most part, kept together, though the chronological order of the drafts may not be precise. Physical descriptions of the materials have been translated from German into English (e.g. fassung = draft), but titles have not been translated. An additional group of manuscripts donated in 1990 contained drafts of works already accounted for in the Embree listing. These new materials were integrated into the arrangement according to their titles, though they are unnumbered. Therefore, some works may have folders of numbered pages interfiled with folders of unnumbered pages.

Included in this series are drafts of Die Strukturen der Lebenswelt, Phänomenologie und Kulturwissenschaft, On Multiple Realities and Mozart and the Philosophers. Also found here are several essays on other influential writers, such as Edmund Husserl, Max Weber, T. S. Eliot and George Santayana.

In some instances, letters or printed materials were included in, and numbered along with, the drafts of manuscripts. These have been retained in their original places with the manuscripts, but cross-references have been made, where appropriate, from Series II, Subject Files and Correspondence

Series II, Teaching and Research Materials , consists of lecture and course materials prepared for classes which Schütz taught at the New School for Social Research, and reading notes by Schütz on various topics, most of which were realted to the social sciences. As with Series I, this group of materials consists of folders of numbered sheets interfiled with folders of unnumbered sheets.

Series III, Subject Files and Correspondence , contains letters, writings by others, and materials from organizations. These materials made up part of the 1990 donation and were received in an order apparently kept by Alfred Schütz. This group has been kept together in the original received order. Headings for persons and corporate groups are followed by subheadings indicating the type of materials present. (e.g. material relating to Dorion Cairns is divided into Correspondence and a draft of a manuscript).

Among the more complete collections of correspondence are those with H. L. van Breda, Marvin Farber, Eric Voegelin, Fritz Machlup, Maurice Natanson, Kurt Wolff, and with Aron Gurwitsch (this last group having been published as Philosophers in Exile, Richard Grathoff ed., Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989). Other correspondents represented in this series include Raymond Aron, Kenneth Burke, Kurt Goldstein, Jean Hyppolite, Karl Löwith, Jacques Maritain, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Karl Popper, Jacques Rueff, Meyer Schapiro, Leo Strauss, and Jean Wahl. Schütz often kept carbon copies of his letters to his many colleagues, so often, both sides of an epistolary exchange are extant in this archive.

Drafts of manuscripts from fellow social scientists such as Marvin Farber, Aron Gurwitsch, Eric Voegelin and Ludwig von Mises are found in this series. Schütz preserved an amount of correspondence and meeting literature for such events of the Colloque philosophique de Royaumont and the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion. Included among these are drafts of reports and comments by Schütz. Materials relating to Schütz's tenure at the New School for Social Research include correspondence and graduate faculty memos written by Schütz and others.

Among the Personal Papers in Series IV are résumé fragments and lists of Schütz's publications.

Series V, Additions Since 2003 , includes reproductions of annotations Schütz made to books in his library, now held at the Sozialwissenschaftliches Archiv Konstanz. There are 44 reels of microfilm duplicating 162 titles and one CD. The reels include the full text of titles, with Schütz's annotations, and the CD contains JPEG images of pages with annotations in color and Word files documenting color annotations. The reels are arranged in alphabetical order by author and accompanied by a finding aid.

Series VIII, April 2013 Acquisition, consists of family correspondence, immigration documents, writings, genealogical materials, and other family papers.


  • 1868-2005


Language of Materials

Includes materials in German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 36: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult appropriate curator.

Box 49 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Alfred Schütz Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to the Beinecke Library by Mrs. Alfred Schütz in 1978 and 1986, with later additions from Alfred Schütz's children, Mrs. Evelyn Lang and Mr. George F. Schutz, in 1990 and 2003.

April 2013 Acquisition: gift of Evelyn S. Lang, 2013.


Organized into eight series: I. Writings, 1925-1968. II. Teaching and Research Materials, 1940-1959. III. Subject Files and Correspondence, 1927-1979. IV. Personal Papers, 1935-1959. V. Additions Since 2003, 2001-2002. VI. Oversize, 1934. VII. Restricted Fragile Papers. VIII. April 2013 Acquisition, 1868-2005.


25.59 Linear Feet (49 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Alfred Schutz papers consist of manuscripts, letters, teaching notes and printed materials relating to the work of Schutz, mainly that done at the New School for Social Research. Among the Writings are drafts of many of Schutz's major works, including "Die Strukturen der Lebenswelt" and many essays discussing the works of philosophers such as Edmund Husserl, Max Weber and George Santayana, among others. Series II, Teaching and Research Materials, consists of lecture and course materials prepared for classes which Schutz taught, and reading notes on various topics. Series III, Subject Files and Correspondence, contains letters, writings by others, and materials from organizations. Among the correspondents are Raymond Aron, Kurt Goldstein, Karl Lowith, Fritz Machlup, Jacques Maritain, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Karl Popper, Meyer Schapiro, Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, Jean Wahl, and Kurt Wolff.

ALFRED SCHÜTZ (1899-1959)

Alfred Schütz was born in Vienna on April 13, 1899. His early education at the Esterhazy Gymnasium was concluded with a comprehensive emergency examination in order for him to enter the Austrian army. Upon his return to Vienna in late 1918, he was faced with the choice of creating a civilian career in the devastated post World-War Austrian economy. He chose to study law as well as international trade, preparing himself for employment in the field of banking. He began working with various public and private banking concerns in the late 1920s In 1926, he married Ilse Heim.

While he was pursuing a career in the field of finance, Schütz never ceased his studies. He focused on the sociological school of thinking that was based in Vienna, studying with and becoming close colleagues with Ludwig von Mises. By the late 1920s, Schütz had written a manuscript born out of his study of Bergson and Weber, "Lebensformen and Sinnstruktur." After encountering the published works of Edmund Husserl, Schütz wrote and published Der sinnhafte Aufbau der sozialen Welt in 1932. This was followed by a meeting with Husserl, himself, firmly positing Schütz as a proponent of the developing thesis of phenomenology.

From 1933 to 1938, Alfred Schütz continued to expand his worldview through his writing. However, developments in Nazi Germany kept intellectuals in Austria keenly aware of their threatened status. Several of Schütz's closest friends had emigrated beginning in the early 1930s. Schütz was able to make his way out of Vienna to Paris in 1938, where he was soon joined by the rest of his family. From there, it was on to New York, where he continued in the employ of the banking firm Reitler and Associates.

In 1943, Schütz began to teach sociology at the New School for Social Research, while continuing his career in banking. His academic activities increased over the years until, in 1956, he became a full-time professor at the school. He continued to teach and write even when ill health began to curtail his activities in the late 1950s. He died at the age of 60 on May 20, 1959.

A detailed account of Schütz's life, focusing on his work and writings, can be found in Helmut R. Wagner's Alfred Schütz: An Intellectual Biography (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1983).

Processing Information

The April 2013 Acquisition was processed by Dianne Ritchey of the Leo Baeck Institute of the Center for Jewish History prior to it being transferred to the Beinecke Library. The folders retain the original markings and reference previous box numbers. All of the papers in the April 2013 Acquisition were previously digitized during processing at the Leo Baek Institute, and links to those images as hosted by the Center for Jewish History are retained.

Guide to the Alfred Schütz Papers
Under Revision
by Timothy Young
August 1994
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

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