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Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: Sep 1993

Biographical History

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) was founded by American friends of Albert Schweitzer in 1939 to support his hospital and medical work at Lambarene in Gabon (then French Equatorial West Africa), and to disseminate his philosophical and ethical principles, characterized by the phrase "reverence for life."

The ASF was involved in direct support of the hospital through fund-raising and material gifts until operation of the hospital was assumed by the Gabonese government, two years after Schweitzer's death in 1965. Presently, the ASF continues to support the work of the hospital through lobbying for U.S. government aid and raising funds for capital improvements. In 1979, it instituted an internship program at the hospital for visiting Harvard Medical School students.

ASF leaders helped to organize Albert Schweitzer's only visit to the U.S., in 1949, to deliver a lecture on Goethe. The ASF has been active in publishing and disseminating writings, recordings, and films by and about Schweitzer. ASF records include a great volume of both published and unpublished materials. A major project was the compilation of a Schweitzer Bibliography, published in 1981.

The ASF organized two American conferences on Schweitzer, in 1966 and 1977, as well as celebrations of his centenary in 1975. In pursuit of Schweitzer's ethics, it remains active in numerous humanitarian and peace projects, particularly nuclear disarmament.

The ASF has been in constant communication with other Schweitzer-related organizations: (1) the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarene, (2) the numerous European organizations also dedicated to Schweitzer's work and ethics, under the umbrella of the Association internationale de l'Hopital Albert Schweitzer a Lambarenê et de son Oeuvre (A.I.S.L.) in which ASF itself is active, and (3) the Albert Schweitzer Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, founded in 1966 by Schweitzer's friend and filmmaker, Erica Anderson. The ASF records include a great deal of correspondence, reports, and publications from these organizations.

Due to its dedication to Schweitzer, to the personal friendship of early leaders with him, and to ongoing participation in the ASF by Schweitzer's daughter, Rhena Schweitzer Miller, the records include a substantial amount of memorabilia from Schweitzer, his wife Helene Schweitzer, and extensive publications and clippings files.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Records have been divided into several series which reflect its filing practices. Inclusive dates for the collection are 1905-1992, the bulk of which is 1950-1987. A minor correspondence file dated 1990-1992 and some publications dating through 1993 are presently included in this collection; all other records are 1987 or earlier.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship series is the largest, comprising over half of the records. It is also the most complex, with four subseries as follows.

ASF Office Files: General records of the ASF were filed annually in folders marked "ASF". This series is an encompassing collection of general correspondence, and other material regarding the ASF, Albert Schweitzer, and related topics. Prior to 1972, it includes agendas, minutes, and handouts from Fellowship meetings. From 1945 to 63, while Albert Schweitzer himself was an active correspondent, several folders include lists and annotations for his letters. Only copies of letters from Schweitzer are now included here: all existing originals are filed under Schweitzer Memorabilia.
The organization of the Office Files is not consistent. Before about 1970, much general correspondence was filed separately, in alphabetical order and with several named files. These have been arranged as a subseries of the ASF Office Files. It should be noted that not all correspondence from particular individuals is contained in these files, even within the inclusive dates of a given file. This is especially true for active fellowship members. The volume and complexity of the records precluded a more systematic reorganization of this material.
Among the Office Files were scattered files on particular subjects. In other cases, the Office Files contained an extensive amount of material on a topic of distinct significance. These have been arranged in a subseries of subject files, which include numerous published and unpublished writings and a wide range of other material.
Board of Directors: This subseries overlaps with the Office Files, but focusses upon the official business of the ASF, including agendas, minutes, financial reports, other handouts from meetings, and rosters of the board of directors. From 1975 through 1983, it includes correspondence between the ASF office in New York and members of the board of directors; after 1983 Board of Directors correspondence is filed as a distinct subseries.
Financial Records: This subseries is self-explanatory. The records include numerous correspondence files kept for donors, who often enclosed personal notes, requests, and clippings, and ASF responses to donors.
ASF Programs and Projects and ASF Publications: These two subseries reflect various activities of the ASF in fulfilling its goals regarding Schweitzer's medical and ethical legacy through program sponsorship, U.N. and U.S. government policy initiatives, educational and public relations work, and fund-raising.

The next three series, Albert Schweitzer Hospital, A.I.S.L., and Albert Schweitzer Center, are similar in structure: all include a Communications subseries which, like the ASF Office Files, includes correspondence, agendas and minutes of meetings, other reports, and some conference papers. Much original material in the first two series is written in French (primarily) or German, although translations are generally also included.

Each series also includes a collection of the publications of the respective organizations, that of the A.I.S.L. and its constituent members being the most extensive. A number of subject files are attached to the Hospital and A.I.S.L. series. The Hospital series also includes a subseries of medical reports and statistics.

The final series, Schweitzer memorabilia, includes (1) correspondence (originals, copies and translations) and other writings by Albert Schweitzer, (2) letters, clippings, and an article by Helene Schweitzer, and (3) numerous Schweitzer-related publications, as well as a great volume of clippings, from both American and international sources. A substantial collection (three boxes) of Printed Matter, mostly popular and scholarly periodicals with articles about Schweitzer, is filed by decade of publication. The final box of the records contains a number of books, periodicals, and pamphlets collected by the ASF, in numerous languages; a list of authors, titles, and dates is provided in the finding aid.

Arrangement of the Collection

The ASF stored files in reverse chronological order, and this arrangement has been maintained. Individual records within folders were generally filed in no obvious order, and where possible or practical these have been rearranged into reverse chronological order as well.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Thirty-one reels of audio recordings have been removed to permanent storage in the Belfer Sound Archives of Syracuse University. A memorandum regarding these is attached to the finding aid.

See also the Albert Schweitzer Papers.

Subject Headings


Anderson, Erica.
Binder, Theodor.
Bird, Jorge.
Bixler, Julius Seelye, 1894-1985.
Cannon, E. Gaine.
Catchpool, Frank.
Cousins, Norman.
Denues, A. R. T. (Arthur Russell Taylor), 1914-
Ellerbrock, Dottie.
Ellerbrock, Lee.
Frey, Maurice.
Gussman, Lawrence.
Hagedorn, Hermann, 1882-1964.
Hill, Jerome, 1905-1972.
Jack, Homer A. (Homer Alexander), 1916-1993.
Joy, Charles R. (Charles Rhind), 1885-1978.
Keating, George T., 1892-
Lahde, Reinhard N.
Lowe, Charles.
Margolius, Hans, 1902-
Martin, Emmy.
Mayer, Louis.
Measey, William Maul, 1875-1967.
Mellon, William Larimer, 1910-
Montague, Joseph F.
Nies-Berger, Edouard.
Obame-Bikoro, Simon.
Paffrath, Leslie.
Person, Laura.
Pire, R. P. Dominique.
Pope, Fergus.
Rees, Thomas D.
Ross, Myrta.
Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965 -- Societies, etc.
Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965.
Schweitzer, Helene.
Silver, Ali.
Sloan, Ruth.
Smith, Keith.
Stokes, Isaac N. P. (Isaac Newton Phelps), 1906-
Tenbrinck, Margaret S.
White, Paul Dudley, 1886-1973.
Wick, Andre.
Wiles, V. McKinley
Young, Elizabeth L.

Corporate Bodies

Albert Schweitzer Fellowship -- History.
Albert Schweitzer Fellowship -- Political activity.
Ford Foundation.
Leif Erikson Foundation.


Charities, Medical.
Endowments -- United States.
Missionaries, Medical.
Missions, Medical -- Gabon.
Peace -- Societies, etc.
Voluntary hospitals -- Gabon.

Genres and Forms

Agendas (administrative records)
Blueprints (reprographic copies)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Drawings (visual works)
Financial records.
Manuscripts (document genre)
Manuscripts for publication.
Medical records.
Minutes (administrative records)
Professional papers.
Project files.
Speeches (documents)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, 1993.

Table of Contents

Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Records

Albert Schweitzer Hospital


Albert Schweitzer Center

Schweitzer memorabilia