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Pollitzer and Hoben families papers

Identifier: Mss 1140

Collection Overview

The collection consists of the papers of the Pollitzers and Hoben families. The papers document the lives and activities of members of the families, with particular emphasis on Margaret Pollitzer Hoben, Alice K. Pollitzer, and Polly Hoben Greenberg Hoben regarding their studies and writings on early childhood education. The collection includes biographical materials, writings, correspondence, and photographs.

Biographical materials consist of newspaper clippings, applications, obituaries, memorial materials, books reviews, and a scrapbook pertaining to Margaret Pollitzer Hoben, her husband, Lindsay Hoben, her mother and father, Alice K. Pollitzer and Sigmund Pollitzer, and other family members including her cousin Carrie Pollitzer, daughter Polly Hoben Greenberg, and father-in-law Allan Hoben. A small portion of the biographical materials covers the Lindsay family, a family from whom Lindsay Hoben was descended.

The majority of the collection consists of writings typescript and manuscript drafts of articles and talks, published journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, notebooks and working files by Margaret Pollitzer Hoben, Lindsay Hoben, Alice K. Pollitzer, Allan Hoben (1874-1935), Polly Hoben Greenberg, and Allan Hoben. The majority of the collection consists of the working files to Polly Hoben Greenberg’s unpublished book, “Her Past Was My Prologue: Life & Times of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben,” a historical biography of her mother’s work on early childhood development, child psychology, and experimental and progressive schools. A small, but significant, portion of the writings include Margaret Pollitzer Hoben’s journals that contain notes from lectures delivered by Carl Gustav Jung from 1921 to 1930 during her studies in Europe. This portion of the collection is comprised of typescripts, facsimiles of photographs, digital files for the text and images that are held on CDs, floppy disks, and a flash drive, and supporting documentation including invoices and image requests.

Correspondence consist of letters in manuscript and typescript format, telegrams and postcards arranged chronologically. Correspondence includes letters between Margaret Pollitzer Hoben and Lindsay Hoben while the former was attending lectures by Carl G. Jung in Europe, and from Allan Hoben during his travels throughout Africa. Other communications between family members and with others outside the family include professional correspondence between Lindsay Hoben and the Milwaukee Journal and a letter from Carl G. Jung to Margaret Pollitzer Hoben (1937).

Photographs include black and white and color prints, in addition to some photographic negatives. Photographs provide an insight into family life, both at home and on vacation and are arranged by family, including the Pollitzers, the Hobens, and the nuclear family of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben and Lindsay Hoben, including their children, Polly Hoben Greenberg and Allan Hoben.


  • Creation: 1894-2013


Language of Material

Materials are in English

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Margaret Pollitzer Hoben (1894-1983) was the daughter of Alice Kohn Pollitzer and Sigmund Pollitzer. Hoben was a student at the Ethical Culture School in New York, an institution which fostered humane social activism. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at Barnard College, took education courses at Columbia Teachers’ College, and went on to earn a Master’s degree in education at Harvard University. At Harvard, influenced by the writings of John Dewey, she became an early advocate of progressive education. After apprentice-teaching at two small private schools, Hoben joined the teaching staff at The Walden School, a small, psychoanalytically oriented, pioneering progressive school in Manhattan, dedicated to, in her words, “helping children grow into whole personalities.” After taking a rigorous course of Jungian analysis from Carl Gustav Jung himself, she returned to New York to become co-director of The Walden School. Margaret Pollitzer Hoben met Lindsay Hoben—journalist, radio news commentator, and eventually chief editorial writer and vice president for the Milwaukee Journal—in the Soviet Union in 1928 while he participated in one of the first extensive tours of the region by an American newsperson. The two married in 1930, and although Margaret Pollitzer Hoben settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she maintained her association with Walden, spending time in New York for the first few years of her marriage. They had two children, Polly and Allan, which precipitated Hoben’s resignation as co-director of The Walden School, and taking up posts at the School of Education of Milwaukee State Teacher’s College (now University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. In 1938, Hoben founded the Milwaukee brand of the Wisconsin Civil Liberties Union. In 1947, Hoben joined the board of directors of Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, beginning a long and active career as a volunteer in social service, joining boards of the Milwaukee Psychiatric Services in 1950, Child Care Centers (1952), and the Child Welfare League of America from 1959 to 1965, served as president of Milwaukee Psychiatric Services from 1959 to 1965, and worked on several United Community Services (now United Way) committees. Pollitzer retired to New Jersey in 1978.

Lindsay Hoben (1902-1967) was the son of Jessie Emma Lindsay and Dr. Allan Hoben. After graduating from Carleton College, he worked as a laborer, salesman, and chemist before joining the Milwaukee Journal in 1926. From 1927 to 1931 he was a well-travelled newsman whose assignments included the Chinese famine of 1929 and one of the first thorough tours of the Soviet Union by a United States journalist. In the 1930s, Hoben became a news commentator for The Journal Company’s radio station, WTMJ. He joined the Milwaukee Journal’s newspaper staff of editorial writers in 1938, and became chief editorial writer in 1949. In 1955, he rose to the rank of vice president and was only the fifth person to be named editor since the newspaper’s founding in 1882, a position he held until shortly before his death in 1967.

Alice K. Pollitzer (1870-1973), mother of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben, was among Barnard College’s first nine women graduates in 1915. Following her studies, she volunteered much of her time to pioneering vocational and occupation guidance and social reforms, marched with suffragettes, was responsible for raising millions of dollars for various causes, mentored hundreds of Nazi persecuted Jewish refugees, in addition to raising her children with husband, Sigmund Pollitzer, former leader of American Dematological Association. At 75 years of age, she founded and served as board chairman to the Encampment for Citizenship, a six week summer program dedicated to community building, earning praise from figures including Eleanor Roosevelt.

Dr. Allan Hoben (1874-1935), father of Lindsay Hoben, was a Baptist minister of churches in Milwaukee, Waupun, and Detroit, who later became president of Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Polly Hoben Greenberg (1932-2014), daughter of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben and Lindsay Hoben, dedicated her life’s work to progressive early childhood education, beginning with her studies at Sarah Lawrence College, focusing her studies on developmental psychology and early education, babysitting, working in the campus nursery, and volunteering at summer camps for children. She went on to working in the Department of Education under the John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter administrations. In this capacity, she played an integral role in founding the Head Start Program in Mississippi, a Federal education program that aims to prepare children for school whose families are below the Federal poverty line as part of President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” initiative.

Allan Hoben (b. 1934), son of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben and Lindsay Hoben, was born in Rochester, NY.


6.0 linear feet (6 cartons, 1 oversize paper folder, 151 CDs, 3 floppy disks)


Biographical materials, writings, correspondence, photographs and negatives, newspaper clippings, working files, born digital records, research materials, and publications/printed materials of the Pollitzer and Hoben families. In particular, the collection covers the life and activities of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben, progressive educator, writer, speaker, and former Director of The Walden School in New York City. Also included are the working files of an unpublished book entitled, “Her Past Was My Prologue: Life & Times of Margaret Pollitzer Hoben” written by Polly Hoben Greenberg, Margaret Pollitzer Hoben’s daughter.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Biographical materials, 1923-1983
  2. Writings, 1921-2013
  3. Correspondence, 1864-1986
  4. Photographs, 1894-1983

Acquisitions Information

Materials were donated in 2015 and 2016 by Ellen Elizabeth (Liza) Greenberg, Executor for the Estate of Polly Hoben Greenberg.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Materials

Related materials in Special Collections include the Mabel L. Pollitzer papers, 1904-1974 (Mss 0037).

Processing Information

Processed by Sam Sfirri, November 2018.

Inventory of the Pollitzer and Hoben Families Papers, 1894-2013
Processed by: Sam Sfirri; finding aid created by: Sam Sfirri
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
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Charleston South Carolina 29424
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