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Strauss Family Papers

Collection ID: MG 9

Scope and Contents

The collection contains personal correspondence, publications, diaries and journals, business papers, and other material belonging to the Strauss family, a Jewish family from Germany. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between Arthur and Lucy Strauss between the years of 1900 and 1933. Most of the collection is in German.


  • 1839-1935, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 09/24/1976



3.50 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Arthur Strauss, the main focus of the collection, was a physician, poet, art collector, and painter. He was born in 1864 in Halle, Westphalia, Germany. His father, Abraham Strauss, was a physician. Arthur studied medicine and received his medical diploma in 1888. He specialized in Dermatology and published a textbook on skin diseases in 1895. He settled in Barmen, Germany where he had a successful medical practice. In 1900 Arthur married Lucy Hertz. Arthur and Lucy traveled extensively throughout Europe and also to the east coast of the United States. Many of the letters in the collection were written during these travels. Arthur and Lucy had one son, Arnold, in 1902 who also became a physician. Arnold worked as a pathologist at a hospital in Berlin. In 1933 Adolf Hitler came into power in Germany and began to implement his policies against Jews. Because the Strausses were of Jewish ancestry they were subject to these discriminative policies and found it hard to continue to work. In 1933 Arnold and his parents immigrated to the Netherlands. In 1935 Arnold secured a position at St. Vincent's Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia and immigrated to the United States. Arthur who was a very patriotic man and loved Germany greatly, was reluctant to leave Europe. It wasn't until 1938 that he finally gave up hope of returning to Germany and agreed to immigrate to the United States. Thus when Arnold began trying to obtain immigrant visas for them to join him in the United States it was probably too late due to the large numbers of people also trying to leave Europe at the time. He also unsuccessfully tried to obtain an immigration visa for his fiancee, Irmgard Keun, a German author. When the German army invaded the Netherlands in May 1940 the Strauss' became trapped there. Arthur and Lucy Strauss endured four months of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Then after apparently losing hope of being able to join Arnold in the United States, they took their own lives in September 1940. Arnold's long-distance relationship with Keun eventually came to an end as well. In 1941 Arnold married an American, Marjory Ware Spindle. Arnold died in 1965.

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials




Collected by Arnold F. Strauss. Includes personal correspondence, diaries and journals, documents and business papers belonging to the German-Jewish Strauss family. Among the papers are many belonging to Arthur F. Strauss, a respected and successful doctor in Barmen, Germany. He was also a well known poet, art collector, and painter, closely aligned with German Expressionism. German language materials predominate.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged into four series: Series I: Personal Correspondence; Series II: Publications; Series III: Certificates and Legal Documents; and Series IV: Miscellaneous.

Source of Acquisition

Marjory S. Strauss

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #A76-54

Related Publications

Keun, Irmgard. Ich lebe in einem wilden Wirbel: Briefe an Arnold Strauss 1933 bis 1947. Selected and edited by Gabriele Dries and Marjory S. Strauss. Dusseldorf: Claassen, 1988. In German

A Guide to the Strauss Family Papers
Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US