Kahler, Erich, 1885-1970

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Historian. Von Kahler taught at the New School for Social Research.

From the description of Erich (Von) Kahler papers, 1906-1968. (University at Albany). WorldCat record id: 77821576

German scholar.

From the description of Letters : Princeton, to Kurt Struss, 1958-1962. (Getty Research Institute). WorldCat record id: 80271895

Erich Kahler (originally von Kahler) was born on October 14, 1885 in Prague and grew up in Vienna, Austria. Both cities were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire then, which was very rich with culture and cultural exchange, due to its multi-ethnic population. Vienna and Prague, in particular, were cultural centers and helped mold the literary landscape in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Kahler was a typical scholar of his age. His studies at the universities of Berlin, Munich, Heidelberg and Freiburg were highly well rounded. He attended lectures in Philosophy, Literature, Fine Arts, History, Sociology and Psychology, which illustrate the wide range of his academic education.

He earned his Ph.D. in 1911 at the University of Vienna and made his home in Wolfratshausen, near Munich. After which he traveled through Europe, working as an author and lecturer.

When Hitler gained power in 1933, Erich Kahler fled Nazi-Germany and returned to Prague. Soon the political development in Europe forced him into exile and he left the continent for the United States. In 1938 he arrived in New York and then moved to Princeton, at the request of his friend Thomas Mann. He became a U.S. citizen in 1944.

Erich Kahler continued his career in the United States successfully as a lecturer and visiting professor from 1940 to 1960. One of the university teaching positions he held was at the New School for Social Research, in New York City. Man the Measure, his first book published in America, is based on his lectures there.

Other German Jewish academics and scientists, who left Europe before Word War II, always surrounded him. This so-called Kahler-Kreis (Kahler-Circle) included such famous persons as Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Hermann Broch. Kahler cultivated a very close friendship with Thomas Mann and his entire family. The correspondence of these two individuals was published under the title, An Exceptional Friendship: The Correspondence of Thomas Mann and Erich Kahler .

It is possible to rank Erich Kahler among a part of the great German tradition of the uomo universale . This term can be loosely defined as describing an eclectic scholar with an unusual amount of skills and acquaintances from different academic fields. According to the documents, this is apparent in the wide range of subjects he studied as well as the broad spectrum of works that he produced. He continued exploring various topics throughout his time as a writer. Kahler analyzed the changing roles of science, technology and history and was especially interested in the relationship of man and his reaction to these changes. The role of the Jews in the world's history was always a major topic throughout all his works.

Besides his teaching, Erich Kahler was a literary critic, especially of Thomas Mann. He also published a remarkable number of books, essays and contributed regularly to magazines and papers. As a member of various anti-war and anti-bomb groups he protested World War II and the devastating effects of military action. He volunteered for the Committee to Frame a World Constitution and the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, just to name a few organizations. Throughout his life, Kahler was also a staunch supporter of the Zionist movement.

Erich Kahler died in Princeton in June 1970. His second wife Mrs. Alice (Lili) Kahler-Loewy, who he married during his time in Princeton, lived until 1992. She took care of his bequest and donated his papers to different research establishments, among others to the Leo Baeck Institute in New York.

From the guide to the Erich Kahler Collection, 1886-1980, (Leo Baeck Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Kahler, Erich, 1885-1970. Letters, 1943-1957, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Ernst Collin Collection, 1899-1966 Leo Baeck Institute Archives
referencedIn Borgese, Elisabeth Mann. Borgese family collection, 1937-1970. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969. Anthologie du frisson : Eric Kahler : drawing, [19--]. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Kahler, Erich, 1885-1970. Correspondence, 1943, from Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Hermann Broch archive, 1872-1990s, 1930-1951 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Kahler, Erich, 1885-1970. Erich (Von) Kahler papers, 1906-1968. University at Albany, University Libraries
referencedIn Eva Engel Collection, 1931-1989 Leo Baeck Institute Archives
creatorOf Beer-Hofmann, Richard, 1866-1945. Letters to Susi Glaubach, 1933-1943. Houghton Library
creatorOf Shelley, Philip Allison, 1907-. Philip Allison Shelley correspondence related to the Simmons Series, 1947-1959. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Borgese, Giuseppe Antonio, 1882-1952. Giuseppe Antonio Borgese collection, 1937-1970. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Moser, Manny Hector. Manny Hector Moser Collection of Einstein materials. Papers. 1913-1991. Linda Hall Library
referencedIn Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992. Alice L. Kahler collection of Kay Boyle letters, 1966-1985. Southern Illinois University, Morris Library
referencedIn H. F. Broch de Rothermann papers, 1916-circa 2001, 1953-1986 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Kahler, Erich, 1885-1970. Letters : Princeton, to Kurt Struss, 1958-1962. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Richard Beer-Hofmann correspondence, 1882-1967. Houghton Library
creatorOf Erich Kahler Collection, 1886-1980 Leo Baeck Institute.
referencedIn Bollingen Foundation Records, 1927-1981, (bulk 1945-1973) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Kahler, Erich, 1885-1970. Birthday greeting book, 1950. Princeton University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Beer-Hofmann, Richard, 1866-1945. person
associatedWith Bernard van Leer Foundation. corporateBody
correspondedWith Bollingen Foundation. corporateBody
correspondedWith Borgese, Elisabeth Mann. person
associatedWith Borgese, Elizabeth Mann. person
correspondedWith Borgese, Giuseppe Antonio, 1882-1952. person
associatedWith Boulding, Kenneth E. (Kenneth Ewart), 1910-1993. person
correspondedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902-1992. person
associatedWith Brinkman, Elsa. person
associatedWith Broch de Rothermann, Hermann Friedrich, 1910- person
associatedWith Broch, Hermann, 1886-1951. person
associatedWith Collin, Ernst, 1886? -1953 person
associatedWith Dubos, René J. (René Jules), 1901-1982. person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955. person
associatedWith Engel, Eva J. person
associatedWith Fromm, Erich, 1900-1980. person
associatedWith Gothein, Werner. person
associatedWith Kahler, Erich von, 1885-1970 person
associatedWith Kahler family. family
associatedWith Marcuse, Herbert, 1898-1979. person
associatedWith Moser, Manny Hector. person
associatedWith New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Phillips, John. person
associatedWith Shahn, Ben, 1898-1969. person
associatedWith Shelley, Philip Allison, 1907- person
associatedWith Sobotka, Franya. person
associatedWith Sobotka, Valentin. person
associatedWith Struss, Kurt. person
associatedWith Waard, Be de. person
associatedWith Waehner, Trude. person
associatedWith Wolff, Eleanor Lisette, 1907- person
associatedWith Wolff, Kurt, 1887-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
World War, 1939-1945


Birth 1885-10-14

Death 1970-06-28



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