Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999

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Philosopher, authority on the intellectual history of the Renaissance, Frederick J. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, 1968-1973, and a member of the faculty at Columbia since 1939.

From the description of Paul Oskar Kristeller papers, 1910-1989. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 288916248

Philosopher.

From the description of Reminiscences of Paul Oskar Kristeller : oral history, 1981. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309743178

Epithet: of New York

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000298.0x00028f

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Paul Oskar Kristeller, the Frederick Woodbridge Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, was a major scholar of Renaissance philosophy and Renaissance humanism.

Paul Oskar Kristeller was born Paul Oskar Gräfenberg on May 22, 1905 in Berlin Germany to well-to-do Jewish parents. Paul Oskar's father, Oskar Gräfenber, was a merchant who died of a heart attack shortly after Paul Oskar's birth. In 1911 Alice Magnus married the wealthy industrialist Heinrich Kristeller, whose last name Paul Oskar Kristeller adopted in 1919.

Kristeller, always intellectually curious, attended school at the Mommsen Gymnasium in Berlin starting in 1914 and graduating with honors in 1923. The curriculum included an extensive foreign language program, including 12 years of Latin training. In 1923 Kristeller started college, studying philosophy, medieval history, and mathematics at Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Marburg between the years 1923-1928. He went on to continue his studies at the University of Heidelberg, earning his PhD in 1928 with a thesis on Plotinus. He went on to do a Habilitation with Martin Heidegger in Freiburg, writing his Habilitationsschrift on the fifteenth century Platonist Marsilio Ficino, a thinker that would continue to figure in Kristeller's scholarship throughout his career.

The rise of the National Socialist government in Germany and their racist and anti-Semitic policies put an end to Kristeller's academic career in Germany in 1933. With his career in Germany cut short, Kristeller went to Italy where he taught German at a number of schools and Universities including the Istitito Superiore di Magistero in Florence and the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and the University of Pisa, where he also received the degree of Dottore in Filosofia in 1937. He remained in Italy, studying and teaching until 1938, but as the Mussolini regime gained more power in Italy, Kristeller began his attempts to secure an academic position in the United States. He eventually received an invitation to teach a graduate seminar at Yale University in 1939, and he remained based in the United States for the rest of his life, becoming a US citizen in 1945.

Kristeller obtained a permanent faculty position in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University in the fall of 1939 where he was to spend the rest of his professional career. He was promoted to the rank of full professor in 1956 and taught classes, gave lectures until his retirement in 1973. Even after his retirement, Kristeller remained an active member of the Columbia Community giving occasional lectures and continuing his own research and scholarly projects up until the time of his death in 1999.

Kristeller was an internationally recognized scholar on the intellectual history of the Renaissance. He published widely, including a book length study on Marsilio Ficino and hundreds of articles on topics in Renaissance humanistic thought and Renaissance medicine. Though his scholarship is prodigious, he is probably best known for his work compiling research guides and manuscript catalogs, particularly his magnum opus the Iter Italicum, a seven volume catalog of previously uncataloged humanistic manuscripts.

Kristeller received many academic honors and accolades over the course of his career. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, received a Guggenheim fellowship, and was awarded a Macarthur "genius" award. Kristeller was a member of editorial board of the =Journal of the History of Ideas, and was a founding member, and president, of the Renaissance Society of America.

In 1940 Kristeller married Edith Lind Lewinnek, another German Jewish émigré from Hamburg. Edith Kristeller received a diploma in physical therapy from New York University, and her medical degree from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania. She spent most of her career working in rehabilitative medicine at various New York City hospitals. Edith Lind Kristeller died in 1992.

Paul Oskar Kristeller died on June 7, 1999 at the age of 94.

From the guide to the Paul Oskar Kristeller Papers, 1905-1998 [Bulk Dates: 1941-1997], (Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Saffron, Morris Harold,. Collection of Literary and Historical Letters and Manuscripts, ca.1700-1992. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Hutton, James, 1902-. James Hutton papers, [ca.1904]-1993. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars. Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars records. 1927-1949. New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999,. Humanist texts : microfilm copies of two documents, no date. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Leonardo Olschki papers, 1910-1987 (bulk 1936-1986), Bulk, 1936-1986 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Stanford University Press archival book copies, 1900-2012 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Held, Julius S. (Julius Samuel), 1905-2002. Julius S. Held papers, ca. 1918-1999. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Mary Hyde Eccles papers Houghton Library
referencedIn George Sarton additional papers, 1901-1956 Houghton Library
referencedIn Committee to Rescue Italian Art. Papers, 1966-1973. The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. Biblioteca Berenson - Villa I Tatti, Biblioteca Berenson - Villa I Tatti
creatorOf Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999. Reminiscences of Paul Oskar Kristeller : oral history, 1981. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Randall, John Herman, 1899-1980. Papers, 1911-1977. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Trinkaus, Charles Edward, 1911-1999. Charles Trinkaus Papers, 1930-1999 Sarah Lawrence College, Esther Raushenbush Library
referencedIn Roland Herbert Bainton Papers, 1886-1988 Yale University Divinity School Library
referencedIn Ernst Cassirer papers, 1892-1958 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Julius S. Held papers, ca. 1918-1999 Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Cassirer, Ernst, 1874-1945. Ernst Cassirer papers 1892-1958. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Farrar, Clarissa. Clarissa Farrar records, n.d. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966. William Ernest Hocking Papers, 1860-1979 Houghton Library
referencedIn Committee to Rescue Italian Art, Papers: Palazzo Pitti Office., 1966-1873 Biblioteca Berenson, Villa I Tatti - The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
creatorOf Paul Oskar Kristeller Papers, 1905-1998 [Bulk Dates: 1941-1997] Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Aguzzi-Barbagli, Danilo, 1924-1995. Danilo Aguzzi-Barbagli fonds. University of British Columbia Library
referencedIn Baron, Hans, 1900-. Papers, [ca. 1920s-1980s]. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999. Paul Oskar Kristeller papers, 1910-1989. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Olschki, Leonardo, 1885-1961. Leonardo Olschki papers, 1910-1987 (bulk 1936-1986). Getty Research Institute
referencedIn Levin, Harry. Harry Levin Papers. 1920-1995. Houghton Library
creatorOf Kristeller, Paul Oskar, 1905-1999. Problems of historical knowledge. Part 1 / by Paul Kristeller. National Gallery of Art Library
referencedIn Clarissa Farrar Papers, undated Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Papers, 1878-1972. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
referencedIn Bainton, Roland Herbert, 1894-1984. Roland Herbert Bainton papers, 1886-1988 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf C. E. WRIGHT PAPERS. Vol. XXII. Correspondence relating to the Diary (1943-79) with a list of correspondents; n.d.includes:f. 2 Cyril Ernest Wright, of Department of Manuscripts, British Museum: Millar: Letter to — Millar from Cyril Ernest Wright: ... British Library
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aguzzi-Barbagli, Danilo, 1924-1995. person
associatedWith American Council of Learned Societies. corporateBody
associatedWith Bainton, Roland Herbert, 1894-1984. person
associatedWith Baron, Hans, 1900- person
associatedWith Cassirer, Ernst, 1874-1945. person
associatedWith Columbia University. corporateBody
associatedWith Committee to Rescue Italian Art. corporateBody
associatedWith Eccles, Mary Hyde. person
associatedWith Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars corporateBody
associatedWith Farrar, Clarissa. person
associatedWith Farrar, Clarissa. person
associatedWith Ficino, Marsilio, 1433-1499. person
associatedWith Held, Julius S. (Julius Samuel), 1905-2002. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Hutton, James, 1902- person
associatedWith International Federation of Renaissance Societies. corporateBody
associatedWith International Federation of Renaissance Societies. corporateBody
associatedWith La Piana, George, 1879-1971 person
correspondedWith Levin, Harry, 1912-1994 person
associatedWith Liebmann, William B., person
associatedWith Medieval Academy of America. corporateBody
associatedWith National Endowment for the Humanities. corporateBody
associatedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith Olschki, Leonardo, 1885-1961. person
associatedWith Pomponazzi, Pietro, 1462-1525. person
associatedWith Randall, John Herman, 1899-1980. person
associatedWith Renaissance Society of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Saffron, Morris Harold, person
correspondedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
associatedWith Stanford University. Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Trinkaus, Charles Edward, 1911-1999. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Germany
Europe
Europe
Germany
Germany
Subject
Scholarly publishing
Manuscripts, Greek
Classical literature
Philosophy, Renaissance
Intellectual life--History
Archives
Civilization, Medieval
Classical education
Manuscripts on microfilm
Antisemitism
Philosophers--Interviews
Renaissance
Civilization, Modern
Middle Ages
Authors, Latin--To 1700
Manuscripts, Latin
Latin language, Medieval and modern--Study and teaching
Latin literature, Medieval and modern--Bio-bibliography
Emigration and immigration
Humanism
Philosophy
Philosophy--History
Occupation
Editors
Scholars
Collector
College teachers
Philosophers
Function

Person

Birth 1905-05-22

Death 1999-07-07

Americans

Latin,

English,

German,

French,

Italian

Information

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Ark ID: w6086cf7

SNAC ID: 8848964