IAS Founders Day - Archives

By clicking on the subtitles below, you can view documents and photographs related to the founding of IAS. These materials and much more history can be found in the digital collections of the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center.  

The Cause of Social Justice
In the earliest days of the Institute, important information regarding major donations was recorded on hand-typed index cards held in the Director’s office. These cards offer unique insights into the founding gifts. Upon their second major donations, the co-Founder Louis Bamberger expressed his "desire to put on record my hopes that the activities of the School of Economics and Politics may contribute not only to a knowledge of these subjects but ultimately to the cause of social justice which we have deeply at heart.” In a letter to Oswald Veblen, Founding Director Abraham Flexner emphasized the Bambergers' insistence "from the outset that no distinction should be made as respects race, religion, nationality etc." 

Portrait of Felix Fuld and Louis Bamberger
The Institute's Fuld Hall bears the name of Louis Bamberger's business partner Felix Fuld, who was also Caroline Bamberger Fuld's late husband. Though Felix Fuld is not formally recognized as a founder like the brother and sister Louis and Caroline, he remains an important figure in the Institute's founding and the story of the Bambergers' success. This portrait of Felix Fuld and Louis Bamberger speaks to the close bonds among the founders as well as the importance that Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld personally placed on ensuring the legacy of Felix Fuld. 

Image of C. Lavinia Bamberger Laying the Cornerstone of Fuld Hall
For the founders, the Institute was a family affair. While Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld are the only members of the family with the distinction of being called Founders, Louis Bamberger's sister C. Lavinia Bamberger was honored by being asked to the lay the cornerstone of Fuld Hall in 1939. Edgar Bamberger also sat on the earliest Board of Trustees. The Bambergers maintained close ties to the Institute and enjoyed opportunities like the Cornerstone Ceremony as moments when they could meet and mingle with the Institute's early Faculty

Bronze Plaques of Caroline Bamberger Fuld and Louis Bamberger
Soviet sculptor Sergei Konenkov (Серге́й Тимофеевич Конёнков) first travelled to the United States in 1924. Konenkov's visit was only supposed to extend for a period of months during which time his works were to be on display as part of an exhibition featuring Russian artists. However, Konenkov remained in the United States from 1924 to 1945. (He was later recalled to the Soviet Union.) The Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives is the home to four original works by Konenkov: a bust of Albert Einstein, an original drawing, and these two bronze plaques of the philanthropic founders of the Institute, gifted by C. Lavinia Bamberger.