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Hermann Weyl collection

Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of a small number of items relating to Hermann Weyl. Materials include a series of family letters authored by Hermann and Helene Weyl to their son Joachim, daughter-in-law Sonja, and granddaughters. The letters to Joachim often include Hermann Weyl's thoughts and notes related to a joint publication. The collection also includes the telegram Weyl's second wife Ellen sent to his son announcing Weyl's death. Also of interest is a notebook on analytical geometry, correspondence regarding an effort to allow Weyl to retain his American citizenship after he had moved back to Switzerland, drafts of miscellaneous talks and articles, and an essay on his first wife, Helene Weyl.

The second box of the collection contains correspondence to and from Hermann and Hella Weyl for the period 1925-1955.


  • 1925-1955

Language of Materials

Materials in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are welcome to publish, reproduce, and use the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center’s holdings in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. Under the Fair Use doctrine, users may freely reproduce materials for personal research, teaching, and/or scholarship. Under the same doctrine, users may cite or publish selected passages and/or quotations for comment and criticism. In accordance to U.S. Copyright Law, researchers seeking to reproduce and/or publish materials in the entirety and/or for commercial purposes will require the permission of the copyright holder.

The Institute for Advanced Study holds the copyright to materials generated by Institute employees over the course of their work for the Institute. Where the Institute for Advanced Study holds the copyright, researchers are free to reproduce materials for one-time, non-commercial purposes. For all materials for which the Institute is not the copyright holder, researchers that choose to pursue publication and/or reproduction are responsible for determining the individual who does hold the copyright and requesting permission directly from that individual.

Biographical note

Hermann Weyl (1885-1955) was born in Elmshorn, Germany. He received his doctorate in mathematics from Göttingen University in 1908, under the supervision of David Hilbert. He remained at Göttingen until 1913. Then he became Chair of Mathematics at the ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich), where he was a colleague of Albert Einstein. During the 1928-1929 academic year he was the Jones Research Professor of Mathematical Physics at Princeton University.

Weyl left Zürich in 1930 to become Hilbert's successor at Göttingen. Repelled by the policies of the Nazi regime, however, he left Germany in 1933 to join the Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study as its third member. Weyl retired in 1951, becoming an emeritus professor.

Weyl was extremely prolific and credited with many advances in mathematics and physics. His books included "Das Kontinuum" (The Continuum) and "Raum-Zeit-Materie" (Space-Time-Matter) (both 1918); "Gruppentheorie und Quantenmechanik" (Group Theory and Quantum Mechanics) (1928); "Elementary Theory of Invariants" (1935); "The classical groups" (1939); "Algebraic Theory of Numbers" (1940); "Philosophy of Mathematics and Natural Science" (1949); "Symmetry" (1952); and "The Concept of a Riemannian Surface" (1955).

Weyl had two children with his first wife, the writer and translator Helene Weyl (1893-1948). Their children were Joachim and Michael. Joachim had two daughters with his wife Sonja, Christina and Annemarie. In 1950, two years after Helene's death, Weyl married the Swiss sculptor Ellen Baer Lohnstein. After his retirement, Weyl moved to Switzerland, though he returned to the United States frequently.


1.0 linear feet (2 document storage containers)


The Hermann Weyl collection contains selected correspondence, lectures, and notebooks from Institute for Advanced Study School of Mathematics Faculty Hermann Weyl. The materials consist of both German and English language writing and document Weyl's relationship with his family and his professional life in the United States following his forced migration out of Germany during the rise of the Nazi party. Materials date from 1938-1955.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Materials were donated by Weyl's granddaughter, Annemarie Carr, in 2005 and 2009. Additional materials were donated by Robert Langlands. In 2017, correspondence was donated by Lawrence "Tom" Weyl, grandson of Hermann and Hella Weyl.

Guide to the Hermann Weyl collection
Finding aid prepared by Christine Di Bella.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021-10-19: Caitlin Rizzo revised this finding aid to comply with DACS standards.