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Building Culture

Ernst May and the New Frankfurt am Main Initiative, 1926–1931


Susan R. Henderson

This book is a history of the initiative, its projects and actors, notably the architect and planner Ernst May, and its achievements, set within the turbulent context of the Weimar decade. It chronicles its many accomplishments: the construction of housing settlements, innovations in construction and materials, the parks and garden colonies program, innovations in school, medical facility and church design, reforms in woman’s sphere, and a crafting of New Life culture. It examines the New Frankfurt am Main in light of the social and political debates that shaped it and the works it produced, and describes the relationship of work and theory to contemporary reform movements. Finally, the narrative underscores the gulf between the idyll of modernity and the political and social realities of life in a Germany on the brink of collapse.


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Acknowledgments ix


Acknowledgments There are many who have helped over the years in this work. In particular, I would like to thank Jean-François Bédard, the late George Collins and Christiane Crasemann Collins, Christine Boyer, Dennis Doordan, David Haney, Eckhard Herrel, Jeanne Kisacky, the late Ferdinand Kramer, Lore Kramer, Stephanie Leeds, Mary Mcleod, Ulrike May, Barbara Miller-Lane, Barbara Opar, the late Julius Posener; Dietrich Pressel, Gail Radford, Susan Solomon, the late Werner Seligmann, and Patricia Waddy. Of the institutions and their able staffs who supported my endeavors are Avery Library, Columbia University, New York; the Bauhaus Archive, Berlin; the Baumeister Archive, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart; Bird Library, Special Collections, Syracuse University; the Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley, Oakland; the Library of Congress, Washington DC; the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal; the Cornell University Library Archive, Ithaca, New York; the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), Frankfurt am Main; the Ernst May Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main; the Freie Universität, Berlin; the Archiv des Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur (gta), ETH, Zurich; the library of the German National Museum, Nuremberg; the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the University Library of Humboldt University, Berlin; the Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Frankfurt am Main; the Leo Baeck Library, New York City; the New York City Public Library; the Stadthistorisches Museum, Frankfurt am Main; Universität für angewandte Kunst, Vienna; the Wolfsonian Museum, Miami Beach. For financial and facilities support I would like to thank the the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Graham Foundation for...

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