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Ernst Cassirer papers

Call Number: GEN MSS 98

Scope and Contents

The Ernst Cassirer Papers contain research notes and manuscript drafts of books, essays, and lectures as well as correspondence and personal papers which document aspects of the life and career of Ernst Cassirer, philosopher, scholar, educator, and university rector. The material spans the years 1892 to 1958, with the bulk falling between 1910 and 1945.

The papers are housed in fifty-seven boxes divided into four series: Books, Essays and Lectures, Correspondence, and Personal Papers. Two boxes of Oversize material are found at the end of the collection.

Series I, Books (Boxes 1-35), contains drafts of the majority of Ernst Cassirer's published works, alphabetically arranged by title. Major works include Das Erkenntnisproblem in der Philosophie und Wissenschaft der neueren Zeit in four volumes; An Essay on Man, the first book Cassirer composed in English; Kants Leben und Lehre; Leibniz' System in seinen wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen; The Myth of the State, published posthumously by Charles Hendel; and Philosophie der symbolischen Formen in three volumes with the draft for a fourth volume.

The collection contains single drafts of Erkenntnisproblem, Freiheit und Form, Goethe und die geschichtliche Welt, Idee und Gestalt, Individuum und Kosmos, Kants Leben und Lehre, Philosophie der Aufklärung, Platonische Renaissance, Substanzbegriff und Funktionsbegriff, and Thorilds Stellung. The chapters are all clearly labeled in the manuscripts and correspond directly to the published version. For An Essay on Man, The Myth of the State, and Philosophie der symbolischen Formen multiple incomplete drafts exist, with mislabeled sections and chapters, chapters which correspond to no published version, alternative titles, and other inconsistencies. In these instances each chapter title was listed. The drafts are arranged according to their probable order of creation.

Cassirer's magnum opus, Das Erkenntnisproblem in der Philosophie und Wissenschaft der neueren Zeit, written between 1902 and 1940 and published in four volumes, consists of more than three and a half feet of research notes and drafts. For Leibniz' System in seinen wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen the collection contains only research notes and drafts for a foreword and a commentary. Geschichte der antiken Philosophie, a philosophy textbook, was co-authored in 1925 by Ernst Hoffmann. Cassirer wrote the first part, Die Philosophie der Griechen von den Anfängen bis Platon, and Hoffmann wrote the second, entitled Die antike Philosophie von Aristoteles bis zum Ausgang des Altertums. Cassirer's part is represented by a complete draft and some loose pages from the printed version.

Cassirer's skill as a translator is evidenced by his work on the third edition of volume IV of Leibniz' Philosophische Werke, entitled Neue Abhandlungen über den menschlichen Verstand, a work originally written in French. About 150 printed pages disbound from a second edition copy and pasted onto blank sheets bear Cassirer's emendations between the lines and in the margins.

After Cassirer settled in Sweden in 1935, he embarked upon a study of the major philosophers of his adopted country. Two works particularly reflect this endeavor: Thorilds Stellung in der Geistesgeschichte der achtzehnten Jahrhundert and Axel Hägerström: Eine Studie zur schwedischen Philosophie der Gegenwart. Thomas Thorild (1759-1808) was a leading voice of the Enlightenment in Sweden, whereas Axel Hägerström (1868-1939) advanced the cause of legal and moral philosophy during the the late nineteen and early twentieth centuries. The relations of Queen Christina (1626-89) with Descartes are discussed in Descartes: Lehre--Persönlichkeit--Wirkung.

Series II, Essays and Lectures (Boxes 36-52), is composed of manuscript drafts and research notes for shorter works. Cassirer's scholarly interests encompassed such disciplines as physics, mathematics, philosophy, religion, metaphysics, the social sciences, history, anthropology, the natural sciences, psychology, linguistics, and art.

Many of Cassirer's essays and lectures concern the writings of philosophers and literary figures, such as Henri Bergson, Hermann Cohen, Descartes, Galileo, Goethe, Kant, Leibniz, Thomas Mann, and Friedrich Schiller. These shorter works are arranged alphabetically under the individual's name. Some essays and lectures are grouped under a lecture series title, while the remainder are arranged alphabetically by individual folder title.

In the case of lectures, the sponsoring institution and the place and time of delivery are provided in brackets, when known. Essay and lecture titles in quotation marks are those provided by the author himself; titles lacking quotation marks are supplied.

Series III, Correspondence (Box 53), consists of two parts: Correspondence and Additional Correspondence found in the collection. Correspondence is comprised of thirty-three letters to Ernst and Toni Cassirer from ten correspondents, purchased by the Beinecke Library in 1987. Most folders contain only one or two letters; however, those for Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer contain six; and for Friedrich Gundolf eleven. Several letters are addressed to Mrs. Cassirer, e.g. many of those from Einstein, Gundolf, and Schweitzer.

Additional Correspondence consists of eleven letters discovered in manuscript drafts or student notes. Cassirer frequently wrote on the clean side of any piece of paper available, thus these letters were incorporated into his papers. Most are routine in nature and concern some aspect of his work, such as lecturing or publishing. Correspondents of note include his father Eduard, his cousin and publisher Bruno Cassirer, and Carson Chang, Chinese historian and philosopher. Only two letters were written by Cassirer. Since most of these letters are found elsewhere in the collection, this subseries consists largely of photocopies.

Series IV, Personal Papers (Boxes 54-55), primarily holds college notebooks from Cassirer's student days, particularly of the lectures by Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp. The series also contains a small amount of miscellaneous material, including Cassirer's calling card and a piece of letterhead stationery from his father's company.

Oversize (Boxes 56-57) contains material from Series I, II, and IV. It includes oversize pages from drafts of books, essays, and lectures, newspaper clippings, and a sample manuscript bundle wrapper. A storage box bearing an illustration of the Cassirer family company and an inscription to Eduard Cassirer, Ernst's father, in fond memory of mutual association from his three brothers, dated December 16, 1913. The box was used by Cassirer to store old college notebooks.


  • 1892-1958


Language of Materials

In English and German.

Physical Description

Other Storage Formats: Oversize

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Ernst Cassirer 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 collection includes gifts from the Toni Cassirer Estate in 1964, from Charles Hendel in 1971, as well as material purchased on the Edwin J. Beinecke Fund, 1987. Two manuscript leaves in Box 41, folder 806 are the gift of John Michael Krois, 1999.


26.5 Linear Feet (59 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Ernst Cassirer Papers consist of manuscripts, research notes, correspondence, and personal papers documenting the life of Ernst Cassirer.

ERNST CASSIRER (1874-1945)

Ernst Alfred Cassirer, philosopher, educator, writer, and prominent member of the neo-Kantian movement, was born on July 28, 1874, in Breslau, Silesia, the fourth child of the wealthy Jewish tradesman Eduard Cassirer and his wife Eugenie, née Cassirer. In October 1880 Cassirer entered the Johannes-Gymnasium in Breslau and was graduated in the spring of 1892 with highest honors. In the fall he entered university. For the next seven years, in the time-honored German tradition, Cassirer attended several universities which had eminent professors within his various fields of study. At Berlin and Leipzig he studied jurisprudence and at Heidelberg, Berlin, and Munich, German philosophy and literature. In the summer of 1894, while taking Georg Simmel's course on Kant at Berlin, Cassirer was introduced to the work of Hermann Cohen, leader of the Marburg School of neo-Kantianism. In 1896 Cassirer went to Marburg to study philosophy under Cohen and also mathematics. On July 14, 1899 Cassirer successfully defended his inaugural dissertation, "Descartes' Critique of Mathematical and Natural Scientific Knowledge," at the University of Marburg.

Upon receiving his doctorate, Cassirer returned to live with his parents, who, in the meantime, had moved to Berlin. In 1901 while attending the wedding of a close relative in the same city, Cassirer met his cousin Toni, daughter of Otto Bondy and his wife Julie, née Cassirer, from Vienna. They were married a year later in Vienna. After a short residence in Munich, Cassirer, his wife, and the first of their three children moved to Berlin.

Between October 1903 and October 1919 Cassirer lived in Berlin and wrote several of his major works. His mentor, Hermann Cohen, urged him to embark upon an academic career, but Cassirer exhibited little desire to live in a small university town in an atmosphere of gossip and latent anti-Semitism. He preferred the more cosmopolitan atmosphere of Berlin, where most of his and his wife's relatives lived and where he had use of the excellent state and university libraries.

In Imperial Germany, university appointments were rarely given to Jews. In 1906, however, Cassirer was able to obtain the position of Privatdozent at the University of Berlin, a post he held for the next thirteen years. Only in the more liberal Weimar Republic did Cassirer receive a professorship. In October 1919 he assumed the chair of philosophy at the newly founded University of Hamburg. In 1930 he was elected rector of the university.

After his resignation from the University of Hamburg in May 1933, Cassirer accepted a position at Oxford University, where he lectured for two years. In 1935 he was offered and accepted a professorship at the University of Göteborg. Cassirer's six years in Sweden represented a very productive period in his life. He mastered the Swedish language and obtained Swedish citizenship. In the summer of 1941 Cassirer accepted an invitation (by Charles Hendel, then chairman of the department of philosophy) to come to Yale University as a visiting professor. Cassirer's original intention was to remain in the U.S. for two years and then return to Sweden, but the United States's entry into World War II altered his plans. At the end of two years he was unable to return to Sweden and willingly agreed to prolong his contract with Yale University for another year. During this period Cassirer received an invitation to teach at Columbia University, and in the summer of 1944 he left New Haven for New York, where he died on April 13, 1945.

For further biographical information, see: 1) Ernst Cassirer, "Lebenslauf," following Descartes' Kritik der mathematischen und naturwissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis, Universität Marburg, 1899, p. 103 [Yale University Library, German Philosophical Tracts, vol. 4]; 2) Toni Cassirer, Mein Leben mit Ernst Cassirer, Hildesheim: Gerstenberg Verlag, 1981; 3) Walter Eggers and Sigrid Meyer, Ernst Cassirer: An Annotated Bibliography, New York: Garland Press, 1988; 4) Dimitry Gawronsky, "Ernst Cassirer: His Life and Work" in The Philosophy of Ernst Cassirer, ed. by Paul Arthur Schilpp, Evanston, Illinois: The Library of Living Philosophers, Inc., 1949, pp. 1-37; 4) David R. Lipton, Ernst Cassirer: The Dilemma of a Liberal Intellectual in Germany, 1914-33, University of Toronto Press, 1978; and 5) Donald Phillip Verene, ed., Symbol, Myth, and Culture: Essays and Lectures of Ernst Cassirer, 1935-1945, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.

Physical Description

Other Storage Formats: Oversize


#1 - Essay on Man, Material + Paral. [Box 10, folder 177]

#2 - Essay on Man, 3rd Part, Symbol & Truth ausgeschieden [Box 11, folder 211]

#3 - Capitel: History, Concept + Material [Box 11, folder 202]

#4 - Myth of the State, First Part, Handschrift [Box 19, folder 352]

#5 - Myth of the State, Second Part, Chapters 8-11, Handschrift [Box 19, folder 367]

#6 - Myth of the State, First Part, Umarbeitung (Ms.) + Typescript nebst d. Durchschl., Ms. an Lenz gesandt, 13/2 45, zurückerhalten, 28/II 45 [Box 20, folder 382]

#7 - Gobineau: 1) Material, 2) Konzept, 3) Manuskript an Lenz gesandt, 12/2 45 [Box 19, folder 376]

#8 - Ancient Philosophy, Yale, 1942; Lectures on Gk. Phil. [Box 36, folder 680]

#9 - Leibniz and Newton: London, University College, 1936; Philosophical Review, 1943 [Box 45, folder 899]

#10 - Kunst + Dispos., Philos. Anthropologie (Disposition) [Box 11, folder 198]

#11 - Ausarbeit: Seminar "Philosophy of History," Yale, 1941/42 [Box 47, folder 946]

#12 - Plato-Seminar, New Haven, 1943/44 [Box 48, folder 963]

#13 - Probleme der Kulturphilosophie, Vorles., Göteborg, 1939/40 [Box 48, folder 968]

#14 - Myth of the State, Last Chapter, Orig.-Handschr. + 1st Typescript, ein Durchschlag an Hendel, 2ter Durchschlag an Lenz zurückgesandt, April 11th, 1941 [Box 20, folder 379]

#15 - BLANK [Box 54, folder 1083a]

#16 - Myth of the State, First Part, Erste Fassung (Paralip.) [Box 19, folder 353]

#17 - The Myth of the State. (Material) [Box 19, folder 349]

#18 - "Myth of the State," First Part, Paralip. (+ notes) [Box 19, folder 346]

#19 - Material + Paralipomenon, Mykros-Cap., "Myth of the State" [Box 19, folder 347]

#20 - Kant's Theory of Causality, Sem. of the Theory of Knowledge, Yale, 1943/44 [Box 44, folder 878]

#21 - Critical Idealism as a philosophy of culture, Warburg-Institute, 1936 [Box 38, folder 734]

#22 - Lectures on Kant, Yale, 41-42 [Box 48, folder 955]

#23 - Structuralism in modern Linguistics [Box 51, folder 1016]

#24 - Material: Aesthetik; Kant, Fichte, Schelling} Seminar, Yale, 1942/1943; Hegel in bes. Couvert [Box 36, folder 679]

#25 - Cap: Science (+ Conclusion) [Box 11, folder 205]

#26 - Phil. Anthr.; Language, 2te Fass.; Konzept [Box 45, folder 889]

#27 - BLANK [Box 55, folder 1101]

#28 - Seminar: Ph. of L. 27/IV; Art and Language: Myth, Objectsfunction; Paralip. von Sprachseminar, 1941/42 [Box 36, folder 704]

#29 - Material: Mittelalter [Box 46, folder 918]

#30 - Kant Vorlesungen, Englisch, Oxford [Box 44, folder 860]

#31 - Symbolproblem (Vorlesung), englisch [Box 51, folder 1025]

#32 - Carlyle Material + Conzept [Box 37, folder 720]

#33 - BLANK [Box 20, folder 380]

#34 - Cassirer: a) The development of the modern concept of nature (Galilei-Vorl.), b) Relations of philosophical and scientific thought (Englische Vorlesungen) [Box 38, folder 748]

#35 - Aesthetik-Cap., Material [Box 10, folder 179]

#36 - Manuskript: Schweitzer-Aufsatz [Box 50, folder 995]

#37 - Seminar: Myth of the State, Columbia University, 1944/45 [Box 46, folder 921]

#38 - Seminar on Contemporary Metaphysics, Yale, Fall Term, 1943/44 [Box 38, folder 732]

#39 - Material: Kristeller-Aufsatz [Box 45, folder 884]

#40 - Kristeller-Aufsatz, Journal of the History of Ideas, 1945 [Box 45, folder 885]

#41 - Influence of Language, Journal of Philosophie, 1941 [Box 51, folder 1037]

#42 - Mythos-Capitel (erledigt) [Box 19, folder 354]

#43 - Material, Disposition, Paralipomena zur ganzen Buch [Box 10, folder 178]

#44 - Concept-Art [Box 36, folder 703]

#45 - Ernst Cassirer: Seminar, Ms., Leibniz (englisch.), Oxford, 1933/34 [Box 45, folder 897]

#46 - Hegel-Vorles. + Seminar, Oxford, 1934, Yale, 1941/42 [Box 42, folder 831]

#47 - Seminar or Symbolism and Philos. of Language (Notes), Yale, 1941/42 [Box 51, folder 1022]

#48 - Galileo (American Scholar), Galileo's Platonism / Sarton- Festschrift; Material + Paral. [Box 39, folder 773]

#49 - Pico della Mirandola: Renaissance-Meeting, Yale, April 1942 [Box 48, folder 957]

#50 - Cassirer: Plato-Vorlesungen (Oxford, 1935) [Box 48, folder 958]

#51 - Myth of the State, Chapt. XII, 17th Cent. [Box 20, folder 373]

#52 - Geschichte, Racen-Mythos, etc. [Box 48, folder 969]

#53 - Vorträge, 1935/1936 [Nb. ungedruckt] [Box 36, folder 699]

#54 - Myth of the State, First Part, Conzept der Umarbeitung

[Box 19, folder 355]

#55 - Renaissance Material [Box 19, folder 369]

#56 - Myth of the State, Handschr.: Analyt. Teil, Histor. Teil, Hegel-Cap. } Fortune [Box 20, folder 383]

#57 - Essay on Man, Chap.: Language, ältere Fassung, Art, Hist., Intro. [Box 10, folder 181]

#58 - Vorarbeiten u. Entwurfe zu Phil. d. symb. Formen III [Box 28, folder 538]

#59 - BLANK [Box 13, folder 246]

#60 - Indiv. u Kosmos [Box 13, folder 253]

#61 - Kant und Goethe, Kiel, 1927 [Box 44, folder 873]

#62 - Das Symbolproblem, Utrecht, März 1935 [Box 51, folder 1026]

.bp #63 - Zur Logik des Symbolbegriffs; Entgegn. auf Marc-Wogau, Theoria, 1938; manuskript, Geschäftspapiere [Box 53, folder 1060]

#64 - Kant-Vorles. [Box 43, folder 850]

#65 - Abschrift, Manuscript (für Frau Lieby [?]), Bergson [Box 37, folder 716]

#66 - Rektoratsrede, Hamburg, 1929 [Box 39, folder 769]

#67 - Ms: Theoria, 1936; "Inhalt u. Umfang des Begriffs" [Box 43, folder 846]

#68 - Vorträge, London, 31.10. - 4.XI.1927; Die Entwicklung der modernen Wissenschaft [Box 39, folder 761]

#69 - Geschäftspapiere; Theoria-Aufsatz, Was ist Subj.?, Durchschlag + Ms., gedruckt 25/4 39 [Box 52, folder 1049]

#70 - Spinozas Stellung in der allgemeinen Geistesgeschichte [Box 50, folder 1006]

#71 - BLANK [Box 52, folder 1047]

#72 - Vorwort zu Leibniz' System [Box 18, folder 343]

#73 - Leibniz und Jungius; Leibniz' Stellung in der allgemeinen Geistesgeschichte [Box 46, folder 903]

#74 - Rousseau-Vortrag: Paris, Ms. des Rousseau-Aufsatzes, Hotel Royal Mad. [?] [Box 39, folder 759]

#75 - "Essay on Man," Handschrift. [Box 10, folder 185]

#76 - Hölderlin und der deutsche Idealismus [Box 13, folder 251]

#77 - Kommentaren z. Leibnizausgabe [Box 19, folder 345]

#78 - Hermann Cohens Philosophie der Religion [Box 38, folder 730]

#79 - Pico 22.7. - 31.7.1938 [Box 47, folder 930]

#80 - Thorilds Stellung in der Geistesgesch. d. 18 Jahrh., Swenska Historie Vittenhetern, 1941 [Box 34, folder 657]

#81 - Goethe und Plato, Goetheges. Berlin [Box 40, folder 797]

#82 - Sprache [Box 50, folder 1014]

#83 - 1) Sprache u. Mythos, 2) Aesthet. Kongress, 3) Bericht über Erk.-Th. [Box 37, folder 707]

#84 - Mathemat. Mystik u. mathemat. Naturwissenschaft, Lychnos, 1940 (Ms.); Logos, Dike, Kosmos in der griech. Philos (GHÄ 1941), Ms. + Vorarb. [Box 46, folder 910]

#85 - Hägerström Ms., Original [Box 1, folder 5]

#86 - Geschäftspapiere [Box 50, folder 1015]

#87 - Artikel "Auflkärung," Enc. of Soc. Sciences [Box 37, folder 706]

#88 - Ms.: Descartes, Einheit der Wissenschaft [Box 1, folder 9]

#89 - BLANK [Box 1, folder 13]

#90 - Descartes und Christina: drei Vorlesungen--Paralipomena; schwedische Ausgaben; Recherche-Aufsatz, eigene Neiderschrift; R.-Aufs. (Werhalt [?]) an Dr. Schrecker gesandt, 29/6 38, [Box 38, folder 736]

#91 - Manuskript: Descartes und Christina, Göteborg, März/April 1938 [Box 1, folder 11]

#92 - Goethe und das 18te Jahrhundert Goethefeier, Berlin; Goethes Idee der Bildung und Erziehung [Box 13, folder 245]

#93 - Determinismus, Manuskript: Kausalproblem (Göteborg, 1936) [Box 2, folder 26]

#94 - Heideggervorlesungen, Davos, 1929 [Box 42, folder 839]

#95 - Der Gegensatz von "Geist" u. "Leben" in der modernen philosophischen Anthropologie [Box 40, folder 783]

#96 - Alte Notizen [Box 37, folder 718]

#97 - Wandlungen der Staatsgesinnung in der Deutschen Geistesgeschichte [Box 52, folder 1048]

#98 - Henri Bergsons Ethik und Religionsphilosophie [Box 37, folder 715]

#99 - Descartes, Leibniz Vorarbeiten [Box 17, folder 310]

#100 - Diverse Aufsätze: Heidegger-Aufs., Natorp-Aufs.} M.; Vorarbeiten [Box 42, folder 837]

#101 - Vorlesungs-Manuskripte: Diverse [Box 47, folder 942]

#102 - Bericht über erkenntnistheoretische Literatur (1927)

[Box 37, folder 717]

#103 - Verschiedene Manuskripte, ungedruckt: "Leib und Seele"; Entwurf zu Rektoratsreden, etc. [Box 38, folder 735]

#104 - Vorarb. z. Symbolischen Formen [Box 23, folder 424]

#105 - Vorarbeiten zu Kants Leben und Lehre [Box 14, folder 267]

#106 - Schiller und Shaftesbury [Box 50, folder 1000]

#107 - Vorarbeiten zum III Band, Symb. Formen [Box 28, folder 546]

#108 - Vorarbeiten, Erkenntnisproblem III [Box 8, folder 143]

#109 - Gruppenbegriff, 1937; Manusk. und Vorarbeiten [Box 42, folder 824]

#110 - 1) Thomas Mann-Aufs. (Vorarb.), 2) Hägerström (Vorarbeiten) [Box 46, folder 914]

#111 - Descartes-Literatur Bericht, 1937 [Box 1, folder 7]

#112 - Vorles.-Manuskripte: Griech. Philosophie, Platon

[Box 13, folder 242]

#113 - Erwiderung an Bauchs Angriff auf Cohen [Box 52, folder 1054]

#114 - Manuskript: "Vom Wesen und Werden des Naturrechts" [Vortrag: Juristische Gesellschaft, Hamburg] [Box 52, folder 1040]

#115 - Leibniz [Box 17, folder 303]

#116 - Leibniz Vorarbeiten [Box 15, folder 285]

#117 - Alte Aufzeichnungen [Box 53, folder 1068]

#118 - Descartes-Christina: Vorlesungs-Manuskript, Recherche (Lychnos) Manuskript [Box 38, folder 741]

#119 - Vorarbeiten zur Ausdrucksfunktion, Kulturphilosophie Vorl., etc. [Box 52, folder 1041]

#120 - Vorles.-Manuskript: Schiller, Humanitätsidee; Kant u. die deutsche Geistesgesch., etc. [Box 59, folder 1140]

#121 - Cassirer: 1) Galilei-Vortrag (deutsch), 2) Vorlesungen, Upsala, 1934 (Material) [Box 50, folder 1003]

#122 - Rede zur Verfassungsfeier am 11. August 1928. [Box 49, folder 982]

#123 - Goethes Idee der Bildung und Erziehung [Box 40, folder 800]

#124 - Shaftesbury u. die Renaissance des Platonismus in England

[Box 50, folder 1001]

#125 - Die Idee der Religion bei Lessing und Mendelssohn [Box 43, folder 843]

#126 - Galilei-Aufsatz, Scientia, Milano [Box 52, folder 1044]

#127 - Die Kantischen Elemente in W. v. Humboldts Sprachphilosophie [Box 44, folder 880]

#128 - 1) Colloqium, 2) Antrittsvorl. [Box 51, folder 1021]

#129 - Methodenlehre [Box 54, folder 1081]

#130 - BLANK [Box 16, folder 293]

#131 - Grundprobleme der Kulturphilosophie, S/S 29; Sprachphilos. [Box 41, folder 819]

#132 - BLANK [Box 53, folder 1072]

#133 - Vorles.-Manuskripte: Neuere Philosophie; Vorlesungen: Neuere Philosophie, Philosophische Anthropologie [Box 40, folder 785]

#134 - Natorp: Geschichte der neueren Philosophie III; Kant [Box 56, folder 1112]

#135 - BLANK [Box 20, folder 386]

#136 - BLANK [Box 18, folder 336]

#137 - Brahm: Das deutsche Ritterdrama des 18ten Jahrhunderts; Anhang: Tendenzen der Sturm u. Drangperiode (Referat) [Box 56, folder 1106]

#138 - Alte Colleghefte [Box 58, folder 1130]

#139 - Gesch. der philos. Anthropologie, Vorles., Göteborg, 1938/39 (deutsch); Material: Mittelalter [Box 47, folder 939]

#140 - Das Problem Jean-Jacques Rousseau [Box 48, folder 966]

#141 - Thorild (Vorarbeiten); Thorild und Herder (Akademie-Vertrag) (Original + Durchschlag); Thorild: Mark Lamms u. Spindings Anmerkungen [Box 51, folder 1031]

#142 - Ziele und Wege der Wirklichkeitserkenntnis von Ernst Cassirer, Kap. 1, 2, Göteborg, 1937 [Box 52, folder 1051]

#143 - Der "Anthropomorphismus in der Philosophie; Sprache Material [Box 36, folder 695]

#144 - Symbolische Formen III [Box 29, folder 562]

#145 - BLANK [Box 38, folder 747]

#146 - Erkenntnisproblem., Bd. IV, Material: Geschichte [Box 9, folder 163]

#147 - BLANK [Box 51, folder 1039]

#148 - Sprache u. Aufbau d. Gegenstandswelt, Ms. [Box 50, folder 1011]

#149 - BLANK [Box 44, folder 876]

#150 - Die Antike u. die Entstehung der exakten Wissenschaft [Box 36, folder 696]

#151 - Vorarbeiten: Kausalproblem [Box 1, folder 19]

#152 - Descartes-Aufsatz [Box 38, folder 743]

#153 - Goethe u. die geschichtliche Welt [Box 13, folder 244]

#154 - Rektoratsrede [Box 39, folder 768]

#155 - BLANK [Box 9, folder 167]

#156 - BLANK [Box 41, folder 813]

#157 - Philosophie der Naturwissenschaften: Material [Box 50, folder 999]

#158 - Naturalistische und hum. Begründung der Kulturphilosophie, Wien, Dez. 1936, Kulturbund [?]; Wandlungen der Staatsgesinnung und der Staatstheorie in der deutschen Geistesgeschichte; Ein unbeschriebender Vortrag [Box 47, folder 923]

#159 - Symbolische Formen I [Box 23, folder 433]

#160 - Burckhardt-Aufsatz: Material [Box 37, folder 719]

#161 - Descartes-Leibniz-Vico: Übungen, Jan./Februar 1935, London, Warburg Inst.; Vom Einfluss der Sprache und die naturwissenschaftlich. Begriffsbildung [Box 38, folder 744]

#162 - Goethe und Kant, German Department, 25.I.44, Material; Jewish Const. Record (Material) [Box 40, folder 795]

#163 - Gruppentheorie (Philos. Club, 5.6.44) [Box 42, folder 828]

#164 - Ernst Cassirer: Goethe (Material) [Box 40, folder 802]

#165 - Vorarbeiten zur Philosophie der Aufklärung I [Box 21, folder 390]

#166 - Jakob Burckhardt-Aufsatz, Handschr. Orig. + 2 Durchschläge; Orig.-typescript sent to American Scholar 10/4 44 [Box 39, folder 766]

#167 - Structuralism in modern Linguistics (Material + Konzept) [Box 51, folder 1018]

#168 - Galileo's Platonism Manuscript, 1945 [Box 40, folder 780]

#169 - 4. Juli 1901, Aufgabe für das Preisausschreiben der Akademie Berlin [Box 15, folder 284]

#170 - Die Einheit der Wissenschaft, 2 Vorträge, Radio, Berlin, 1931 [Box 39, folder 753]

#171 - BLANK [Box 46, folder 921]

#172 - Enlightenment, English Edition, Material: 17-18th Century [Box 22, folder 423]

#173 - Thomas Mann-Aufsatz, Umarbeitung, New York [Box 46, folder 913]

#174 - Antrittsvorlesung, Göteborg, Okt. 1935 [Box 36, folder 701]

#175 - H. v. Kleist u. die kantische Philosophie [Box 13, folder 252]

#176 - Substanzbegriff [Box 33, folder 631]

#177 - BLANK [Box 47, folder 927]

#178 - Idee u. Gestalt [Box 13, folder 247]

#179 - Vorarbeiten zur Philosophie der Aufklärung II [Box 21, folder 400]

#180 - Philos. d. symb. Formen II [Box 27, folder 517]

#181 - Philos. d. symbol. Formen, I/II, Vorarbeiten und Paralipomena [Box 24, folder 440]

#182 - Philos. d. symb. Formen III [Box 27, folder 522]

#183 - BLANK [Box 57, folder 1127]

#184 - Symbolische Formen IV, Vorarbeiten, Manuskript av Föreningsgatan 11 [Box 31, folder 599]

#185 - Philos. d. symb. Formen II [Box 26, folder 492]

#186a- Material z. Erkenntnisproblem I/II [Box 2, folder 34]

#186b- Material z. Erkenntnisproblem I/II [Box 3, folder 46]

#186c- Material z. Erkenntnisproblem I/II [Box 4, folder 54]

#187 - Platonismus in England, Shaftesbury, Vortrag [Box 32, folder 613]

#188 - Indiv. u. Kosmos [Box 14, folder 259]

#189 - Geschichte der antiken Philosophie, Dessois Lehrbuch [Box 12, folder 231]

#190 - Erkenntnisproblem 1 und 2, ungeordnet [Box 4, folder 61]

#191 - Kants Leben und Lehre [Box 14, folder 271]

#192 - Freiheit und Form (Manuskript) [Box 11, folder 220]

#193 - Manuskript, Erkenntnisproblem I und II, ungeordnet [Box 4, folder 64]

#194 - Substanzbegriff [Box 34, folder 644]

#195 - Manuskript von "Erkenntnisproblem Bd. III" [Box 8, folder 147]

#196 - Kant und das Problem der Metaphysik (Heidegger); Kant und die moderne Biologie (Marc-Wogau); Das Freiheitsproblem als Zentrum der Kantischen Philosophie [Box 39, folder 770]

#197 - Die Schule von Cambridge [Box 32, folder 611]

#198 - Thomas Manns Goethe-Bild von Ernst Cassirer [Box 46, folder 915]

#199 - Realitätstheorie [Box 35, folder 663]

#200 - Der Begriff der symb. Formen im Aufbau der Geisteswissenschaften, Vortrag, 24.XI.1921, Warburg [Box 37, folder 711]

#201 - Erkenntnisproblem I, 2. Auflage [Box 7, folder 127]

#202 - Erkenntnisproblem I, Aufl. II [Box 6, folder 115]

#203 - BLANK [Box 54, folder 1083]

#204 - Der jünge Goethe, 1940/41 [Box 41, folder 806]

#205 - The Technique of our Modern Political Myth [Box 51, folder 1027]

#206 - Machiavelli-Vorles. (Columbia) (Paralip); Machiavelli-Kapitel, Zusätze und Umarbeit. (Handschrift) [Box 46, folder 912]

#207 - Hermann Cohen [Box 38, folder 724]

#208 - Cassirer: "Zur Erkenntnistheorie der Kulturwissenschaften," Vortrag (Göteborg, Lund), April 1941 [Box 52, folder 1058]

#209 - Aufsatz: Language and Art (Cornell-U. 23/4 42); Language, Myth, Art (Letztes Sprach-Seminar 11.V.42) [Box 45, folder 890]

#210 - Newton and Leibniz Ms. [Box 47, folder 926]

#211 - Spinoza-Vortrag, H. Cohen, Oxford Philos. Society, June 1934 [Box 50, folder 1005]

#212 - Lecture: Connecticut College, 3. April 1944; Vortrag: New London, 1944, Philosophy of History [Box 47, folder 944]

#213 - BLANK [Box 40, Folder 798]

#214 - Philosophy Club, April 1945, Engl. Manuskript des Gruppenbegriffs; Einleitung am morgen des 13. April 1945 geschrieben [Box 41, folder 823]

#215 - Gruppentheorie (engl.), Neues Typescr. + Paral. [Box 42, folder 827]

#216 - Kant u. Rousseau [Box 32, folder 625]

#217 - Goethe und die Kantische Philosophie, manuscript und typescript, Germ. Club, Yale, Febr. 1944 [Box 32, folder 626]

#218 - Vortrag: Kant und die modernen Biologie [Box 44, folder 870]

#219 - "Educational value of art" [Box 39, folder 751]

#220 - BLANK [Box 47, folder 934]

Processing Information

Early History of the Papers: It is unlikely that Cassirer brought all of his papers with him when he came to the United States in the summer of 1941, as he originally planned to stay for only two years. It is also unlikely that the papers were shipped during the war. Thus, it would appear probable that the bulk of Cassirer's papers were shipped to the United States only after his death and that Toni Cassirer or some other family member was responsible for the arrangement of the papers prior to their transfer to Yale University.

The Ernst Cassirer Papers came to Yale primarily through the efforts of Charles Hendel, a good friend of Cassirer. Hendel assisted Cassirer with the publication of An Essay on Man, and after Cassirer's death saw The Myth of the State to press, introduced the English edition of The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms, and co-translated The Problem of Knowledge.

On February 20, 1964 the Ernst Cassirer Papers became property of the Yale University Press by agreement with Richard J. Auerbach, executor of the estate of Toni Cassirer, who had died in 1961. Soon thereafter an inventory of the collection was prepared by Yale University Press. Individual envelope numbers from 1-219 were assigned in red ballpoint ink. (No. 220 was added some years later.) The order of the envelopes is random and probably reflects the manner in which they were removed from the shipping crates. From 1964 to 1987 by agreement with the Yale Press the papers were housed in the deposit cage of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where they could be seen only with special permission. In 1985-86 Yale Press employed Timothy Kircher, then a graduate student in the department of history, to prepare analyses of each of the 220 envelopes. Kircher's analyses are grouped by subject. The YUP and Kircher lists proved to be quite helpful in arranging the papers and are located in Box 1, folders 1 and 2, respectively. The literary rights to the papers are held by the Yale University Press, but on January 19, 1987, the physical property of the papers was transferred to the Beinecke Library.

Remarks on the Previous Arrangement of the Papers: The early arrangement of the papers is described in some detail in an appendix to Symbol, Myth, and Culture: Essays and Lectures of Ernst Cassirer, 1935-1945, edited by Donald Phillip Verene (1979).

The 220 envelopes that originally contained the papers ranged in thickness from an eighth of an inch to a foot or more. The term "envelope" is used generically, for although most of the material in the collection was housed in mailing envelopes, some of the units were so large that they were actually bound up in heavy wrapping paper with string, like bundles of laundry.

Some of the mailing envelopes were new, while others were used. In the case of used ones, Cassirer, or probably his wife, usually crossed out the old address and wrote on blank space somewhere on the front or back of the envelope. A large number of the envelopes are imprinted with the name Göteborgs Högskola. It was not felt necessary to retain the envelopes or wrappers intact, but only those portions on which handwriting appeared.

Much valuable information for the arrangement of the papers was obtained from the outside of the original envelopes. Care was taken to transcribe this information as accurately as possible. Occasionally, however, the handwriting is ambiguous or illegible. In such instances, the best effort of the transcriber is presented, followed by a question mark in brackets. Most of the handwriting appears to be that of Ernst Cassirer. That which is not Cassirer's hand may be that of his wife or some other family member. The writing on the envelopes seems not to represent a well-planned or thorough description of the contents. Frequently, it appears to have been done in a hurried manner and is often sketchy and vague and occasionally wrong. Information written down and subsequently crossed out on individual envelopes was interpreted as a change of mind and thus not transcribed. Punctuation has been standardized as far as possible. Abbreviations have not been expanded.

In the present arrangement all material relating to the same book title is grouped together. The Myth of the State, for example, is made up of material found in fifteen different envelopes. In some instances it was felt necessary to split the contents of an envelope when its parts clearly warranted such action. Envelope #103, for example, is split into five parts. But because the material in the Ernst Cassirer Papers has been known and cited according to envelope number, the old numbers are cited in the current box and folder list. The appendix contains transcriptions of the information written on the original envelopes (or wrappers), arranged numerically by envelope number, with the present location of each envelope enclosed in brackets. The envelope itself is the first item in the designated folder, usually enclosed in acid-free paper. Scattered throughout the collection are many intact envelopes, e.g. Box 36, folder 683; Box 41, folder 810; and Box 50, folder 1030. One intact wrapper was retained for the researcher's curiosity, i.e. Box 57, folder 1140. The word "blank" is used to indicate that nothing was written on the envelope.

Two manuscript leaves (numbered "34" and "35") for the holograph of "Der junge Goethe" were added to box 41, folder 806 in February 2000.
Guide to the Ernst Cassirer Papers
by T. Michael Womack
January 1990
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2014-02: [Revision description not specified]
  • 2010-02-10: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.
  • 2007-08-13: beinecke.cassirer.xml converted for compliance with Yale EAD Best Practice Guidelines with brbl-migrate-01.xsl (mr2007-08-13).
  • 2007-07-26: PUBLIC "-//Yale University::Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library//TEXT (US::CtYBR::::[ERNST CASSIRER PAPERS ])//EN" "cassirer.xml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977