Guide to the Papers of Rose Auslaender (1901-1988)

AR 25487

Processed by Dianne Ritchey

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2012 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in April 2012. Description is in English.
December 03, 2013  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Auslaender, Rose, 1901-1988
Title: Rose Auslaender Manuscript Collection
Dates:bulk 1982
Abstract: The Rose Auslaender Manuscript Collection centers on drafts of the poet's poems, which comprise the core of this collection. In addition to the drafts of her writing, the collection also contains a small amount of publishing correspondence, some lists of her work and a copy of a short speech.
Languages: The collection is in German and English.
Quantity: 1 linear foot.
Identification: AR 25487
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Rose Ausländer was born on May 11, 1901 in Czernowitz, Bukowina, then part of Austria (today Chernivtsi, Ukraine) as Rosalie Beatrice Scherzer, the daughter of Sigmund and Kathi (née Binder) Scherzer. In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, the family fled to Vienna, where they stayed until after the end of the war, when they returned to Czernowitz (then Cernăuţi, Romania). In 1919 she began studying literature and philosophy; at this time she also became involved with the philosophy of Constantin Brunner and attended the "Ethical Seminar" in Czernowitz.

In April 1921 Rose immigrated with Ignaz Ausländer to the United States, where Rose had family. For two years she stayed with her relatives in Mississippi before settling in New York City in July 1923. That October she married Ignaz Ausländer; in November 1926 she and her husband became naturalized American citizens. Her first published poem appeared in the New Yorker Volkszeitung in 1929. In 1931 she returned to Czernowitz to care for her mother, where she stayed for some time, although she returned briefly to New York in 1934; by December she had immigrated to Bucharest. During this time her poems were published in various newspapers. In 1937 she lost her American citizenship due to her lack of American residence. Prior to the outbreak of World War II she worked with the literary magazine Klingsor and the Czernowitz newspapers Morgenblatt and Der Tag.

In 1939 Der Regenbogen, her first book of poetry, was published. That August and September she was in New York but in October 1939 returned to Czernowitz to care for her mother. She survived the Nazi era in the ghetto of Czernowitz. After the war she left Czernowitz and came to New York in September 1946, where she supported herself by working as a translator and correspondent. In 1949 Rose Ausländer's first poem in English was published; for the next several years she wrote primarily in English, until 1956. The newspapers Aufbau and Staatszeitung-Harold published some of her poetry as well as her book reviews, while some of her English poetry appeared in literary journals and her translations of others' poetry in anthologies.

In 1965 she moved to Düsseldorf, where she lived until her death on January 3, 1988.

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Scope and Content Note

The Rose Auslaender Manuscript Collection consists of drafts of the poet's work and some correspondence with a publisher regarding it. The collection consists of numerous drafts of her German and English poetry, some prose, correspondence and a few lists.

Series I contains published correspondence between Helmut Braun and Rose Auslaender's brother Max Scherzer. The focus of this correspondence is the assembly and eventual publication of her poems, and for this reason the letters include extensive lists of her work. With the correspondence is also a speech given by Auslaender upon notification of her 1984 award by the Bavarian Academy of Art.

The bulk of the collection will be found in Series II, which holds Auslaender's literary work. Most of this series consists of drafts of German and English poetry in varying stages of completion. Many of the drafts include Auslaender's handwritten changes as the poems progressed toward their final form. The poems cover a multitude of subjects and themes, among them reflections on places where she resided, including New York City and Czernowitz. Aspects of nature, such as plants, animals and weather occurrences are additional features in many of her poems. One folder of this series contains a small amount of Auslaender's prose, among its contents an essay on the creative challenges that face a bilingual poet, a report on Czernowitz, and an autobiographical sketch.

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This collection is arranged in two series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

Copyrights are now and will continue to be held by the 'Rose Auslaender Gesellschaft,' Helmut Braun, Fischer Verlag, etc. in Germany. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

The LBI Library holds many of Rose Auslaender's published works.

The LBI Archives contain a related collection, the Rose Auslaender Collection, AR 4353.

Further papers of Rose Auslaender are held at the Heinrich-Heine-Institut in Düsseldorf.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Rose Auslaender Manuscript Collection; AR 25487; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

This collection was processed in April 2012 in preparation of the EAD finding aid. Folder titles were assigned with the aid of notes found on many of the folders as to their contents.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Series I: Correspondence, 1981-1984

This series is in German.
0.1 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series I consists almost entirely of publishing correspondence. These letters are from publisher and author Helmut Braun in Düsseldorf to Rose Ausländer's younger brother Max Scherzer in New York and report on the work of assembling her poems for a publication of her collected work and his efforts to make her work more well-known. They also tell of her health and mention Braun's forthcoming book.

Lists of Ausländer's works accompanied the abovementioned letters. These lists are of her poems and short prose aside from English texts or translations and do not include material prior to 1939. An address given by her upon receiving the Literature Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Art in 1984 was found with the correspondence as well.

11Correspondence with Publishers1981-1982, 1984
12Listsundated, after 1983
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Series II: Manuscripts and Drafts, undated, 1982-2002

This series is in German and English.


Scope and Content:

Series II comprises the poetry of Rose Ausländer. The series primarily consists of typewritten drafts and versions of numerous poems organized by Rose Auslaender in 1982, when she sent copies to Helmut Braun in Düsseldorf, Germany. Most folders were originally untitled but with handwritten comments as to their contents, so folders' titles were assigned from these descriptions during the processing of the collection. Although most poems are typed, there are plentiful handwritten comments throughout the series; the folder of "Unpublished Texts made for Düsseldorf" includes a number of handwritten poems.

Rose Ausländer's poems encompass a variety of topics and no single folder contains a dominant theme of the poems within it. There are, however, some themes that reoccur throughout the series. Poems with New York City landmarks or street scenes can be found in every folder, primarily in English but also in German, and suggest that many of these poems may have been written during or inspired by her years there. New York locations mentioned include the Hudson, Battery Park, Columbus Avenue, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Other related poems address city life without specific locations, including individuals encountered on streets, city noise or the drudgery of office work. The initial two folders of this series, "English Poems to remain in New York" contain a larger amount of New York-themed poetry, as do the folders "Phasen" and "Unpublished Texts made for Düsseldorf – English."

Other subjects of her poetry are more difficult to categorize, although motifs of nature present themselves frequently, with numerous poems containing references to animals, flowers, and weather phenomena. Societal changes and the passage of time are other topics that often emerge. For example, the series' first folder includes English poems on the atom bomb, the modern woman and the automation of society, while poems related to time's passing are found throughout the series.

The folders titled "Old Poetry Drafts" were originally part of one large, overfilled folder; a note indicates that Rose Ausländer may have intended that these poems be destroyed following her death. It is unclear whether or not these drafts were ever published. One folder holds an untitled compilation noted as being "New Poetry;" these consist solely of quite brief German works, mostly two-stanza poems. Two folders hold English translations of German works of poetry.

One folder consists of Rose Ausländer's prose, including an autobiographical sketch and a report on Czernowitz as well as more lyrical compositions. Her report on Czernowitz ("Bericht über ein Stadt") depicts her conception of her birthplace, describing how its multicultural composition and especially the considerable Jewish population of the city gave it a singular quality, and how Czernowitz, as both university city and cultural center, fostered artists and poets as well as religious figures and philosophers. Another prose work "The Poet in Two Worlds" portrays the challenges Ausländer believed were faced by bilingual writers, with mention of the influence of English on her writing, including her linguistic "split personality." The piece goes on to mention her experimentation with styles and themes and mentions the importance to Ausländer of original metaphors in establishing poetic vision.

13English Poems to remain in New York I1982
14English Poems to remain in New York II1982
15New Poetry1983
16Old Poetry Drafts Iundated, 1982
17Old Poetry Drafts IIundated, 1982
18Old Poetry Drafts IIIundated, 1982
19Old Poetry Drafts IVundated, 1982
110Phasen (Phases)1982
111Prismen (Prisms)1982
113Translations – I Count the Stars I've Sungundated
114Translations – To Dwell in the House of Breathundated
115Unpublished Texts made for Düsseldorf – English1982
116Unpublished Texts made for Düsseldorf – German1982
117Unpublished Texts sent to Düsseldorf1982?
118Untitled Poem Collection – Sent to [Helmut] Braun – Part Iundated, 2002?
119Untitled Poem Collection – Sent to [Helmut] Braun – Part IIundated, 2002?
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