In 1933 Hiram Halle, a Pound Ridge businessman
and inventor and part owner of the Gulf Oil Company, along with Alvin
Johnson and the Rockefeller Foundation founded the University in Exile at the New School for Social Research.
Hundreds of Jewish scholars, artists and academics were rescued from Europe
and the Holocaust by their affiliation with the University.
Here is an excerpt
from the School's history, courtesy of
the New School University (update 2009: this page is no longer online).
“1933 - The University
in Exile is founded. Conceived by Alvin Johnson and supported by philanthropist
Hiram Halle and the Rockefeller Foundation, it initiates
an historic effort to rescue endangered scholars who had been dismissed from
teaching and government positions by totalitarian regimes in Europe. Among
the 167 scholars it rescues (along with their families) are Max Wertheimer,
a founder of the Gestalt school of psychology, and economists Karl Brandt
and Gerhard Colm, both to be named members of the President's Council of Economic
Advisors. Among the University in Exile's first students is Franco Modigliani,
who later will receive his doctorate at the New School and win the Nobel Prize
University in Exile Founders
Courtesy of New School University
Hiram Halle also ran his
own personal WPA between 1936 and 1939: He
brought European Jewish exiles to Pound Ridge to work on remodeling many vintage
houses in the area.
He is honored in Pound Ridge through the Hiram
Halle Memorial Library, 258 Hiram Halle Library, on Route #124 in
Pound Ridge, New York.