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Leo Bronstein papers

 Collection — other: All
Identifier: 03-MWalB00289A

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection were created from 1926-2000, but the bulk of material dates from 1926-1980. They include published and unpublished manuscripts and articles, personal and professional correspondence, research materials, artwork for plates, teaching notes, brochures, flyers, handwritten notes and one video tape. In most cases, the published works include the original typewritten manuscript and documents related to the editing and/or publishing of the text. Approximately one third of the collection is manuscripts and related documents. Another third is handwritten notes.


  • Creation: 1926-2000, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 20010000

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open. Access to the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University. Please contact the department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.

Biographical or Historical Information

Leo Bronstein was born in Augustovo, Russia (now Poland) in 1902. Bronstein spent much of his youth traveling and studying throughout Europe, including Imperial Russia, World War I and post-war Paris, Italy, Morocco and pre-civil war Spain. During his life, he acquired skill in speaking many languages, including Russian, Polish, (reading capacity in other Slavic languages), English, German, French, Italian, Castilian, Catalan and Portuguese. Bronstein studied literature and philosophy at the University of Madrid between 1920 and 1923, and subsequently studied philosophy and fine art in Paris. In 1932, he was awarded the degree of Docteur de l’Université de Paris at the École de Psychologie and the École des Professeurs of the Sorbonne. Leo Bronstein came to the United States in 1932 and became Research Associate and then Associate Professor at the Iranian Institute of Art and Archaeology, (known later as the Asia Institute.) He taught history of Near Eastern art, the social and economic history of Iran, and advanced and intermediate courses in the Russian language. He was also Director of the Documentary Survey, which summarized and catalogued the documentary material written in European languages bearing on the history of Iranian art and culture. In 1952, Bronstein joined the faculty of Brandeis University as a lecturer in Fine Arts. He became an associate professor in Fine Arts in 1955 and a full professor in Fine Arts and Near Eastern Civilization in 1961. He retired in 1967 becoming Professor Emeritus in Fine Arts and Near Eastern Civilization. Known for his passionate style of teaching, Bronstein was revered by many of his students.  After his final lecture in the spring of 1967, his students gave him a surprise farewell party. The celebration has taken place every year since then and is now known as Bronstein Weekend. Bronstein authored five books during his lifetime: Lutte et Reconciliation (1927), Altichiero (1932), El Greco (1950), Fragments of Life, Metaphysics and Art (1953), and Five Variations on the Theme of Japanese Painting (1959). Bronstein also wrote articles and book reviews for Bulletin of the American institute for Persian Art and Archaeology, and Open Court. Three more of his manuscripts were published as books posthumously: Kabbalah and Art (1979), Romantic Homage to Greece and Spain (1993), and Space in Persian Painting (1994). Leo Bronstein died June 1, 1976.


7.50 Linear Feet

7 record center boxes, 1 manuscript box other_unmapped

7.50 Linear Feet


Arranged in six series: 1. Subject Files, 1938-2000, undated; 2. Correspondence, 1926-1990, undated; 3. Library, 1926-1974, undated; 4. Unpublished Writings, undated; 5. Published Writings, 1927-1991, undated; 6. Unidentified Art, undated. Series one is arranged alphabetically by subseries, then chronologically. Series two is arranged alphabetically by subseries, then chronologically or alphabetically by folder. Series three through six are arranged alphabetically. For more information about each series, please consult the series descriptions in the box and folder listing.

Custodial History

Originally at Brandeis in the late 1970's under the care of Lauren Raiken and the Leo Bronstein Foundation.  The foundation moved to the NYU Humanities Center with Lauren Raiken in the early 1980's.  They were returned to the Brandeis University Archives by Lauren Raiken in 2001.

Source of Acquisition

Donated by the Leo Bronstein Foundation under the care of Lauren Raiken.

Other Descriptive Information

Addenda to this collection may not be listed in the finding aid, but may be available for research use. Please contact us for more information.

Steven Butzel, updated by Jessica Vincent
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Brandeis University Repository

415 South St.
Waltham MA

About Us

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department at Brandeis University consists of two collecting units, the University Archives and Special Collections. University Archives documents the history and development of Brandeis University and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Special Collections features a broad array of unique primary source materials across a wide range of disciplines that support research, teaching and learning at Brandeis. Learn more about our collections