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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Ger 204

Ruth Fischer papers

Papers of German politician and Communist Party leader Ruth Fischer.


  • 1925-1961
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1961

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in German, English, and French.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


84 linear feet (167 boxes, 1 volume)

Papers document Fischers' activities after 1940. The writings of Franz Jung as well as Fischer's own works describe her role and the development of the KPD since 1919. There is also correspondence belonging to Maslow, written while he was living in exile in Paris and Lisbon, 1933-1940. Major correspondents represented in the collection include Sidney B. Fay (81 letters), Hans Jaeger (51 letters), Franz Jung (164 letters), Karl Korsch (59 letters), Clyde Kluckhohn (70 letters), Heinz Langerhaus (165 letters), and Ernst Torgler (50 letters). Other large amounts of correspondence with Harvard librarians, Harvard University Press, and papers such as drafts of seminar speeches and minutes of meetings from the Russian Research Center, which reflect her relationship with, and support from Harvard for a research project on world communism. Also business correspondence with publishers; letters to Fischer from her associates, such as Heinrich Hellmann; official correspondence with the U.S. Department of State and with various German Volkhochschule about her lecturing in the 1950s.

Research and writings of Fischer contain outlines, notes and drafts of books and articles on the history of German communism, its relationship with the Russian state party, and other subjects. Related material includes lecture notes from 1960-1961 seminar in Paris on the Russian communist party, and source files (divided into biographical, geographical, and subjectsections) with notes, clippings, and printed items. Business papers contain contracts with publishers, travel records, bank statements, medical records, etc. Papers belonging to Fischer's colleagues include writings, speeches and interviews with Maslow; letters of her associates, Hellmann, William Petersen, and Adolph Weingarten; and writings of Sidney Fay, Karl Korsch and others.

Biographical / Historical

Fischer (1895-1961) (full name Elfriede Eisler Pleuchot) was a German politician, who by 1924 was in the top leadership of the Communist Party. Since 1919 she had been a member of the German Communist Party (KPD) but, together with Arkadi Maslow, was ousted from the leadership in 1925 and detained by Stalin until 1926. They went to Paris from 1933 to 1940, and fled after the German occupation to the U.S.


Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Letters to Ruth Fischer
  2. II. Letters from Ruth Fischer
  3. III. Letters to Ruth Fischer's associates
  4. A. Letters to Heinrich Hellmann
  5. B. Letters to William Petersen
  6. C. Letters to Adolph Weingarten
  7. IV. Letters to Arkadi Maslow
  8. V. Letters from Arkadi Maslow
  9. VI. Other letters
  10. VII. Compositions by Ruth Fischer
  11. A. Miscellaneous
  12. B. Book-length manuscripts
  13. C. Shorter compositions
  14. D. Source files and clippings
  15. VIII. Compositions by Arkadi Maslow
  16. A. Shorter compositions
  17. B. Longer compositions and serials
  18. IX. Compositions by others
  19. X. Business papers
Please note that several item numbers were inadvertently omitted from this finding aid, thus numbering will not always be sequential.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*44M-201F. Purchased from Ruth Fischer; received: 1944.

*47M-404. Presented by Ruth Fischer; received: 1945.

*49M-294. Presented by Ruth Fischer, care of The Harvard University Press; received: 1950.

*64M-79. Presented by Harvard University Press; received: 1964.

*65M-158. Transferred from Widener Library; received: 1966.

*81M-37. Bequest of Ruth Fischer; received: 1961.

Processing Information

Processed by: Elizabeth Falsey
Link to catalog
Fischer, Ruth, 1895-. Ruth Fischer papers (MS Ger 204): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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