Correspondence: Universities & Colleges, 1947-1975

Hannah Arendt preserved her independence by taking a series of temporary teaching positions at several different colleges, rather than pursuing tenure-track employment at one university. She entered intellectual life on the various campuses where she lectured and taught, mentored students, arranged teaching schedules and courses, served on committees, reviewed student and faculty writings, provided recommendations, and befriended other faculty members. She also accepted or received many invitations to appear on campuses to participate in special symposiums, lecture series, or conferences in the United States and Europe, serve on advisory councils, or receive honorary degrees. Her university and college associations were very much part of her active life of the mind—and also forums for her to observe and speak to the human condition and the social theories and movements of her time.

Arendt was the first woman to be named a full professor at Princeton University, in 1959. She spent important time teaching at the University of Chicago and became involved with the Committee on Social Thought there in the 1960s. She also taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Wesleyan University, and The New School of Social Research in New York. Her academic husband Heinrich Blücher was a professor at Bard College, where both are buried.

This project includes correspondence, including some letters with enclosures, sent to and received from faculty members and administrators of colleges and universities. The materials are arranged alphabetically by name of institution and chronologically thereunder. This project contains correspondence charting Arendt’s relationship to various schools. Her course syllabi, lectures, and other teaching materials are located in a different part of the collection.