Anna Jacobson fought to continue teaching German language and literature at Hunter College throughout the 1930s and 1940s, at a time when many schools suppressed all things German. Jacobson earned her PhD from the University of Bonn in 1917 before immigrating to the US in 1922. She began teaching at Hunter in 1924 and published extensively on Herman Hesse, Heinrich Heine, and Richard Wagner in both German and English. By 1941, she was respected as an expert on Thomas Mann. Jacobson served as president of the Hunter College chapter of the American Association of University Professors from 1936–1938 and president of the New York City chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German from 1949–1951. In 1938, the administration questioned whether it was appropriate to teach German to a predominantly Jewish student body. Jacobson mobilized the department to defend the importance of German culture and its distinction from the current struggle against Nazism. She incorporated German literature into world studies courses, organized events honoring German authors at Hunter, and lectured to audiences in person and over the radio. She swayed the university and maintained her position until her retirement in 1956.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Anna Jacobson." (Viewed on August 7, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/jacobson-anna>.