Gustav Oberlaender Papers


Collection Number: GR ASCSA  GO 058
Name(s) of Creator(s): Gustav Oberlaender (1867-1936)
Title: Gustav Oberlaender Papers
Date [bulk]: 1926-1936
Date [inclusive]:
Language(s): German, English
Summary: The collection consists of photographs sent to Oberlaender most likely by the Kerameikos excavators. There are also other photographs (unrelated to the Kerameikos) and some loose material (letters, offprints etc).
Quantity:  0.50 linear meters
Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift of Robert McCabe, 2008
Information about Access: The contents have been inventoried and are available for research
Cite as: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Archives, Gustav Oberlaender Papers


Gustav Oberlaender (born June 2, 1867 in Düren, Rhenish Prussia; died November 30,1936 in Wyomissing , PA), a Rhinelander who spent his adult life in the United States, became a dominant figure in the full-fashioned hosiery industry. He and his partners, fellow immigrants Ferdinand Thun and Henry Janssen, used skills acquired in Germany to establish textile machinery and hosiery firms in the United States, undercutting their birth country’s exporters. Oberlaender made an even greater name for himself through his philanthropy, especially the Oberlaender Trust, dedicated to fostering greater transatlantic understanding by sending intellectuals between Germany and the United States. His story demonstrates how German ethnicity could be both an asset and a liability in the early twentieth century. Immigrant networks and affinities helped Oberlaender to establish himself in his adopted country, but his German connections in the era of the world wars brought suspicions of disloyalty, tarnishing his legacy as a businessman and a philanthropist.Gustav Oberlaender (1867-1936), the founder of Oberlaender Trust, was President of the Berkshire Knitting Mills (Reading, Pennsylvania) and patron of the Kerameikos Excavations. Influenced by his classical education in the German Gymnasium of the 19th century he offered to support an excavation in Greece in 1926, which was granted to the Kerameikos Excavations conducted by the German Archaeological Institute at Athens.

[Extract from a longer biographical note about Oberlaender from Kupsky, Gregory. "Gustav Oberlaender." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 4, edited by Jeffrey Fear. German Historical Institute. Last modified December 12, 2013.]



3 bound albums:
a) Gräber des 9-5 jhdts.v.Chr. weste d. Hügels der Hagia Trias.
Einzelfünde aus der Grabüng 1932.
b) Nachmykenische Nekropole ünter dem Griechischen Pompeion beim Dipylontor frühjahr in Herbst 1932.
Grabüng ünter der 1931 abgebrochenen Kirche der Hagia Trias frühjahr bis Herbst 1932.
c) Kerameikos Grabüng. Einzelne Fünde von 1932 bis 1933.

Kerameikos photographs:
- 19 photos of large format numbered I-XXII (nos XIV, XV, XVI missing) with captions and inventory numbers of the Kerameikos photo archive, mostly of the Pompeion and the Dipylon area, under Kübler’s directorship.
- 22 photos of the site (including the Tomb of the Lacedaimonians, the Pompeion etc)
- 76 photos of vases
- 5 photos of the Kerameikos Museum (interior)
- 3 photos of sculpture
- 1 photo of a bronze vessel
- 1 photo of small finds (pins, rings etc)


Other sites:
- 6 photos of Delphi (post cards)
- 7 large photos of Archaic sculpture (Acropolis?)
- 1 unidentified site with caption: ‘Asklepios Tempel (Rundbau)’
- 8 photos of vases from unidentified museum
- 8 photos (not from Greece)
- 1 photo of a painting (?)

- 1 photo of a man with a dog (“Kiefer”)
- 1 photo of 5 people
- 1 menu (dated 29/6/1935)

Printed material:
- Offprint of K. Kübler’s ‘Die Stele der Ampharete’ (AthMitt LIX, 1934).
- Offprint of D.M. Robinson’s ‘The residential districts and the cemeteries at Olynthos’ (AJA 36 (1932).
- Offprint of D.M. Robinson’s ‘Mosaics from Olynthos’ (AJA 36 (1932).
- Agora Excavations 1936 weekly reports (8th, 12th, 13th and 14th week).
- Corinth Excavations 1936 weekly reports (1st-8th week).
- 4 letters (dated 1935-1936).

For more information, please contact the Archives:
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens
54 Souidias Street, Athens 106 76, Greece
phone:  213-000-2400 (ext. 425)
Contact via E-mail