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Albert Schweitzer Speech

An inventory of the item at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 14 Mar 2019

Biographical History

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was a German theologian, philosopher, musician, musicologist, doctor, surgeon, and medical missionary. Born in Alsace, France, Schweitzer studied at Strasbourg University and the Sorbonne in Paris. He was an exceptional performer and critic of Bach as well as an influential organ-builder, while as a lecturer in theology at the University of Strasbourg his unorthodox ideas about the need for reason and truth within Christian dogma earned him both controversy and praise. He returned to school in1905 to study medicine and, following his qualification as a doctor in 1913, he and his wife founded a missionary hospital in Lambaréné, French Equatorial Africa (now Gabon). The hospital eventually grew to 70 buildings and attracted dedicated and talented medical staff from around the world. Schweitzer received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his advocacy of the brotherhood of nations.

The International Goethe Convocation, held in Aspen, Colorado in 1949, was sponsored by the Goethe Bicentennial Foundation, an American non-profit founded to recognize and celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of German writer and diplomat Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Albert Schweitzer, whom the program described as "acknowledged throughout the civilized world as the foremost modern disciple of Goethe," was invited to give the keynote address. It was Schweitzer's first trip to the United States.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Albert Schweitzer Speech consists of the text of a speech made by Schweitzer at the International Goethe Convocation, held in Aspen, Colorado in 1949. The first page describes it as the "authorized text" and a handwritten note names Emory Ross as the translator. The speech is signed and inscribed by Schweitzer to John Haynes Holmes, a prominent Unitarian minister, pacifist, and co-founder of the NAACP and the ACLU.

Arrangement of the Collection

Single item.


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

The library also holds the Albert Schweitzer Papers and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Records (one series of which is the Albert Schweitzer Center Records), as well as numerous other collections with Schweitzer-related material. Please search our collections for more.

Subject Headings


Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1749-1832 -- Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Holmes, John Haynes, 1879-1964.
Schweitzer, Albert, 1875-1965.

Corporate Bodies

International Goethe Convocation (1949 : Aspen, Colo.)


Authors, German -- 18th century.

Genres and Forms

Speeches (documents)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Albert Schweitzer Speech,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Jeremy W. Rusk and Marianne C. Rusk Trust, 2019.

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