Archive

Start Over

Schocken Books

  • Name:
    Schocken Books
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Publishing House
  • Introduction:

    Schocken Books was a publishing house established in 1945 in New York by the Russian émigré Salman Schocken (1898–1959). It specialised in books on Judaica and Hebrew topics.

    Word Count: 26

  • Content:

    Located at 342 Madison Avenue (and later on 67 Park Avenue), Schocken Books was in Midtown Manhattan, close to Grand Central Station and at the centre of the district where many other publishers, magazines and newspapers had their headquarters, and where many photo agencies (as Black Star, PIX, Rapho Guillemette, Camera Features, European Picture Service) were located. Schocken Books was part of a network of publishing houses founded by émigrés, including Pantheon Books, Oceana Publications and J. J Augustin, that made it possible for exiled authors, journalists, artists and photographers to publish their work in exile and reach an American and worldwide market.

    Specialising in Judaica and Hebrew topics, Schocken Books was invested in providing support for the Jewish exile community in New York. It offered Jews an opportunity to publish books in German and English, on Jewish culture, history and heritage, and also provided a cultural home for refugees in New York and America in general. The first book to be published, in 1945, was Burning Lights, about Marc Chagall, by Bella Chagall, the painter's wife. In 1947 the first book catalogue came out featuring English translations of Franz Kafka, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, S. Y. Agnon and Walter Benjamin. Some were first published English translations.
    In the same year, Polish Jews. A Pictorial Record, a photobook by the Jewish émigré photographer Roman Vishniac (with a foreword by Abraham Joshua Henschel) came out. During the 1930s Vishniac had been commissioned by the European headquarters of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to photograph impoverished Jewish communities throughout Eastern Europe. As taking photographs in the public space was often forbidden, Vishniac posed as a sales representative and took his photographs with a hidden camera. More than once, he was arrested on suspicion of espionage. The photographs he took show people, usually in small groups, going about their daily business, often reading religious texts, sometimes just sitting and staring impassively. Today, it is the largest photographic document of the persecution of Jews before the Holocaust.

    Salman Schocken already had experience in the publishing field. In 1931, in Berlin, he established Schocken Verlag with the aim of supporting Jewish literature. Schocken was able to publish the work of such Jewish writers as Franz Kafka, Leo Baeck, Gershom Scholem, Franz Rosenzweig, Kurt Wolfskehl and Ludwig Strauss (Abel 2009, 202). These writers were also published in the Bücherei des Schocken Verlags series – a series of inexpensive books with Jewish authors or themes, published in Germany between November 1933 and 1939. Schocken was forced to emigrate in 1934 to Tel Aviv, where he set up the Schocken Publishing House, while his business in Berlin was managed by Lambert Schneider until 1938, when Nazi censorship forced it to close. With the help of international contacts, he managed to smuggle all his book stock out of Germany. In 1940 Schocken arrived in New York and restarted his publishing house in 1945. It is not known if Schocken received financial help from any institutions, as was the case for Pantheon Books, or whether he had enough money of his own to restart his business in America. While offering contemporary exiled Jewish authors a chance to publish their work in New York, he also oversaw English translations of books by German Jews, giving them a new audience in America. Furthermore, he collaborated with émigrés photographers, as for example Lotte Jacobi, who created portraits for book publications. The first editor at Schocken was Nahum Glatzer, who was followed by Hannah Arendt, who had her own network of exiled and American intellectuals at the New School for Social Research. Schocken Books has been part of Random House, Inc. since 1987.

    Word Count: 600

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    342 Madison Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City (1945–12.1955); 67 Park Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City (12.1955–1973); 200 Madison Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City (1973–1987).

  • Signature Image:
    Schocken Books logo (Private Archive Helene Roth).
  • Media:
    Letterhead of Schocken Books Inc., May 1955, Lotte Jacobi Archive, Correspondence (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Letterhead of Schocken Books Inc., July 1955, Lotte Jacobi Archive, Correspondence (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Letterhead of Schocken Books Inc., 1973, Lotte Jacobi Archive, Correspondence (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    First page of Polish Jews. A Pictorial Record by Roman Vishniac (Schocken Books, 1947).
    Robert Cromie. “Exceptional Photos Made by Roman Vishniac.” Chicago Tribune, 7 September 1947, p. 221.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Abel, Richard, and Gordon Graham, editors. Immigrant Publishers. The Impact of Expatriate Publishers in Britain and American in the 20th Century. Transaction Publishers, 2009.

    Cromie, Robert. “Exceptional Photos Made by Roman Vishniac.” Chicago Tribune, 7 September 1947, p. 221.

    David, Anthony. The Patron. A Life of Salman Schocken, 1877–1959. Metropolitan Books, 2003.

    Mahrer, Stefanie. Salman Schocken. Topographien eines Lebens (Jüdische Kulturgeschichte in der Moderne, vol. 24). Neofelis, 2021.

    McNamara, Katherine. “A Conversation about Schocken Books. Part I with Altie Karper and the Editor of Archipelago.” Archipelago, vol. 5, no. 2, Summer 2001. Accessed 15 February 2021.

    McNamara, Katherine. “A Conversation about Schocken Books. Part II with Susan Raltson and the Editor of Archipelago.” Archipelago, vol. 5, no. 3, Autumn 2001. Accessed 15 February 2021.

    McNamara, Katherine. “A Conversation about Schocken Books. Part III with Arthur Samuelson and the Editor of Archipelago.” Archipelago, vol. 6, no. 1, Spring 2002. Accessed 15 February 2021.

    Röder, Werner, et al., editors. Biographisches Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration nach 1933–1945 (1999). Walter de Gruyter, 2016.

    Spalek, John M, et al., editors. Deutsche Exilliteratur seit 1933. Francke, 1976.

    Stadelmayer, Peter. “Die Rolle der jüdischen Verleger in der Literatur Deutschlands.” (unpublished manuscript, Leo Baeck Institute, New York, 1969).

    Word Count: 174

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 28

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
    1945
  • Date of Disbandment:
    1987
  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Helene Roth. "Schocken Books." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5145-9978769, last modified: 28-01-2022.
  • Lotte Jacobi
    Photographer

    In October 1935 the German émigré photographer Lotte Jacobi, together with her sister Ruth Jacobi, opened a photo studio on 57th Street. The two sisters had to leave their parents' photo studio in Berlin in the 1930s and emigrated to New York.

    Word Count: 41

    Lotte Jacobi, Self-portrait, New York, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Lotte Jacobi, Central Park, New York, 1936 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, New York Stock Exchange, New York, 1938 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ernst Fuhrmann, New York, 1942 (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Hanya Holm dancing with troup, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.Lotte Jacobi, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    New York
    Chinatown U.S.A.
    Photobook

    Chinatown U.S.A. is a photobook published by the German émigré photographer Elizabeth Coleman in 1946 focusing on American-Chinese communities in New York and San Francisco.

    Word Count: 26

    Cover of Chinatown U.S.A., by Elizabeth Coleman (The John Day Company, 1946).
    Front page of Chinatown U.S.A, edited by Elizabeth Coleman, The John Day Company, 1946 (Archive Helene Roth)."Learning to read and write English in Public school ... and Chinese in Chinese school." Chinatown U.S.A., by Elizabeth Coleman (The John Day Company, 1946).Last page of Chinatown U.S.A., by Elizabeth Coleman (The John Day Company, 1946).Review of Chinatown U.S.A. in The Pittsburg Press, 25 August 1946, p. 46.Review of Chinatown U.S.A in Popular Photography, October 1946, p. 184.
    New York
    5th Avenue
    Photobook

    5th Avenue was the first photobook by Fred Stein and was created in 1947 with the publishing house Pantheon Books.

    Word Count: 19

    Cover of 5th Avenue photobook (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).
    First page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon, 1947) by Fred Stein.Last page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of the French edition 5th Avenue (Querido, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Mixed articles and reviews on 5th Avenue photobook form Fred Stein's scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Page from Fred Stein’s scrapbook showing Pantheon Books Catalogue (Fall 1946, Spring 1947), which includes 5th Avenue (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Fritz H. Landshoff (of Querido Publishing House) by Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Kurt Wolff (of publishing house Pantheon Books) by Fred Stein, 1959 (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    J.J. Augustin Incorporated Publisher
    Publishing House

    J.J. Augustin was a German publishing house in Glückstadt with a long history, going back to 1632. In 1936 the American branch opened in New York with a large artistic and cultural focus.

    Word Count: 33

    Logo and imprint of J.J. Augustin Publishing (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Book cover of Hoyningen-Huene’s photobook Hellas (J.J. Augustin, 1944).Announcement of Roman Towns by Ernest Nash (J.J. Augustin, 1944).Cover of Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Book cover Return to Life through Contrology by Joseph Pilates (J.J. Augustin, 1945).Cartoon Map of New York City. Designed by Henry E. Salloch. (J.J. Augustin, 1938).Book cover Woodcuts of New York by Hans Alexander Mueller (J.J. Augustin, 1938).
    New York
    Pantheon Books
    Publishing House

    Pantheon Books was a publishing house founded in 1942 by the German émigré Kurt Wolff (1887–1963) and aimed at the exiled European community in New York.

    Word Count: 24

    Pantheon Books sign (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Cover of 5th Avenue photobook (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).First page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon, 1947) by Fred Stein.Last page of 5th Avenue (Pantheon Books, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Page from Fred Stein’s scrapbook showing Pantheon Books Catalogue (Fall 1946, Spring 1947), which includes 5th Avenue (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement by Pantheon Books from Fred Stein’s scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Mixed articles and reviews on 5th Avenue photobook form Fred Stein's scrapbook (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Kurt Wolff (of publishing house Pantheon Books) by Fred Stein, 1959 (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of the French edition 5th Avenue (Querido, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Oceana Publications
    Publishing House

    Oceana Publications Inc was a publishing house specialising in law and civil rights founded by the British émigré Philip F. Cohen (1911–1998) in 1945.

    Word Count: 22

    Logo and imprint of Oceana Publications Inc.
    Cover of Immigration Laws of the United States by Carol McCormick Croswell (Oceana Publications, 1953).Cover of How to become a citizen of the United States by Margaret Esther Hall (Oceana Publications, 1953).Cover of Suffer Little Children by Marion Palfi (Oceana Publications, 1952).Review of Marion Palfi's Suffer Little Children by Eleanor Roosevelt published in Des Moines Tribune, 10 December 1952, p. 20.
    New York
    Querido Inc.
    Publishing House

    Fritz H. Landshoff’s Querido publishing house was originally an offshoot of Emanuel Querido's Querido Uitgeverij Dutch publishing house in Amsterdam. Querido Verlag was created in 1933 to publish work by German political exiles.

    Word Count: 33

    Letterhead of Querido Inc. in New York (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Letter from Querido Inc. to Fred Stein, 10 January 1947 (© Fred Stein Archive).Cover of the French edition 5th Avenue (Querido, 1947) by Fred Stein (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Fritz H. Landshoff (of Querido Publishing House) by Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Portrait of Kurt Wolff (of publishing house Pantheon Books) by Fred Stein, 1959 (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Black Star Agency
    Photo Agency

    The German émigrés Kurt S(z)afranski, Ern(e)st Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld founded Black Star in 1936. The photo agency established was a well-run networking institution in New York.

    Word Count: 31

    Letterhead of Black Star (Black Star Archive. Ryerson Image Center, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Logo and Stamp of Black Star Photo Agency (Photo: Helene Roth, 2019).Description of Black Star in a photographic guide (Ahlers, Arvel W.. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953, p. 45).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).Facade and entrance of the Graybar Building on Lexington Avenue (Photo: Helene Roth, 2018).Cover of Selling Your Pictures by Kurt Safranski (Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1940).Black Star contract by Fred Stein, April 1, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism. Photographs as a Language and their special Problems" course by Kurt Safranski at the New School for Social Research, Spring 1949 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York).Letterhead with the logo and address of Black Star (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    PIX Publishing Inc.
    Photo Agency

    PIX Publishing Inc. was a photo agency founded in New York in 1935 by photo agent Leon Daniel and Celia Kutschuk, together with German émigré photographers Alfred Eisenstaedt and George Karger.

    Word Count: 30

    Letterhead of PIX Inc. – Correspondence Daniel Leon with Fred Stein, 1943, cropped detail (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Letterhead of PIX Inc. – Correspondence Daniel Leon with Fred Stein, 1943 (© Fred Stein Archive).Mention of PIX Publishing in a photographic guide (Ahlers 1953, p. 46).
    New York
    New School for Social Research
    Academy/Art SchoolPhoto SchoolUniversity / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute

    During the 1940s and 1950s emigrated graphic designers and photographers, along with artists and intellectuals, were given the opportunity to held lectures and workshops at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).
    Announcement of "Art Applied to Graphic Journalism, Advertising, Design, Fashion" course by Alexey Brodovitch, published in New School Bulletin. Art Classes, 1942/43, p. 11 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism" course by Kurt Safranski in New School Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 9, 1944, p. 84 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement of "The Small Camera In Photography Today" course by Lisette Model. New School Bulletin. Art Classes, vol. 9, no. 2, September 1951, front cover and p. 34 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Lisette Model at New School by Joe Covello, 1960s, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection, NS.04.01.01:16 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).Portrait Alvin Saunders Johnson by Fred Stein, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection (© Fred Stein Archive).Flyer of “New Architecture and City Planning” symposium by Paul Zucker (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).
    New York
    Camera Features
    Photo Agency

    Camera Features was a photo agency founded by the photographer Werner Wolff and other colleagues of the photo agency PIX.

    Word Count: 20

    Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).
    New York
    Rapho Guillumette
    Photo Agency

    Founded in 1940 by the emigrant Charles Rado (1899–1970), Rapho Guillumette was a picture agency.

    Word Count: 13

    Rapho Guillumette agency letter to Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    European Picture Service
    Photo Agency

    The European Picture Service was a photo agency located in Midtown Manhattan founded, probably in 1930, by the émigré photographer Max Peter Haas (1901–1985).

    Word Count: 22

    Letterhead of European Picture Service, November 1938 (© Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG 90:4).
    Norman C. Lipton. “20 exciting years with a miniature.” Popular Photography, September 1949, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Images by Max Peter Haas for European Picture Service on gunfight near 5th Avenue (Daily News, 15 January 1914, p. 123).Second article of Max Peter Haas for European Picture Service on gunfight near 5th Avenue (Daily News, 15 January 1914, p. 562).
    New York