Schütz, Alfred, 1899-1959

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Alfred Schutz (1899-1959), professor of sociology at the New School of Social Research, author, and proponent of phenomenology.

From the description of Alfred Schutz papers, 1925-1979. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702137778

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).

From the guide to the Alfred Schutz papers, 1925-1979, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Alfred Schutz Family Collection, 1868-2005, bulk 1935-1959 Leo Baeck Institute.
creatorOf Alfred Schutz papers, 1925-1979 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aron, Raymond, 1905- person
associatedWith Goldstein, Kurt, 1878-1965. person
associatedWith Gurwitsch, Aron. person
associatedWith Lang, Evelyn Schutz person
associatedWith Löwith, Karl, 1897-1973. person
associatedWith Machlup, Fritz, 1902- person
associatedWith Maritain, Jacques, 1882-1973. person
associatedWith Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1908-1961. person
associatedWith Natanson, Maurice Alexander, 1924- person
associatedWith New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Popper, Karl Raimund, Sir, 1902- person
associatedWith Schapiro, Meyer, 1904- person
associatedWith Schapiro, Meyer, 1904- person
associatedWith Strauss, Leo. person
associatedWith Strauss, Leo. person
associatedWith Voegelin, Eric, 1901- person
associatedWith Wahl, Jean André, 1888-1974. person
associatedWith Wolff, Kurt, 1887-1963. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Phenomenological sociology
Phenomenological sociology


Birth 1899-04-13

Death 1959-05-20






Ark ID: w66d9wj5

SNAC ID: 44801342