Chair in American History Established at Sorbonne by Kohns, Philantropist
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Chair in American History Established at Sorbonne by Kohns, Philantropist

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Lee Kohns, a grandson of Lazarus Straus, endowed a chair of American History, Civilization and Letters at the Sorbonne, Mr. Kohns announced prior to his departure for France on the Leviathan. Until now America has been the only important country not so represented at the University of Paris.

For the last four months Mr. Kohns has been in touch with Minister of Education Louis 1’Amoureux in Paris arranging the details of the endowment. When Mr Kohns arrives in Europe he will personally transfer the money establishing the chair in perpetuity.

“In founding such a chair, I am actuated solely by the desire to encourage the fullest measure of understanding between the French people and those of my native land, and to add another link to the chain that binds the citizens of the world’s two greatest republics.

“A mutual sympathy with the aims and aspirations of both nations is essential to the formation of cordial relationship between France and America. Such a bond can best be fostered through the great and influential institutions of learning. The Sorbonne is eminently qualified by tradition and high scholarly attainment to lead in the explanation of the purposes and aims of America.

“The absence of such a chair in that very important and ancient institution has long been to me a matter of regret, and has led to my offer of endowment as above.” Mr. Kohn’s wrote in his letter to the Minister of Education.

Mr. Kohns was managing partner of L. Straus & Sons and Vice President of Abraham & Straus. He retired several years ago to devote himself to educational and charitable work. He was President of the New York Board of Trade and Transportation for several years.

Among those suggested as possibilities for the chair at the beginning is Jules J. Jusserand, former Ambassador to this country.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund