Fonds UBCA-ARC-1285 - Werner Cohn fonds

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Werner Cohn fonds

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  • Sound recording
  • Textual record
  • Photographic material

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  • Source of title proper: The title is based on the provenance of the fonds.

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75 cm of textual records
181 audio tapes
473 photographs: col. slides; 35 mm

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Werner Cohn was born in Berlin; he later received his BSS in Sociology from City College, New York, in 1951. He completed his MA (1954) and Ph.D. (1956) at the New School for Social Research. He joined the University of British Columbia's Department of Anthropology and Sociology in 1960 and remained there until taking early retirement in 1986. Cohn's research focused on the sociology of Jewish people and small political movements. In particular, Cohn developed an interest in researching Roma. He began his research on this topic in 1966/67 during a sabbatical in France. Cohn continued his culture and language studies and returned to Europe, meeting with Roma and many well-known Roma scholars. Over the years, Cohn wrote numerous articles in various scholarly journals. In 1973, he wrote The Gypsies, which summarized his findings in the field.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of two series: the Roma Research series and a Publications series composed of copies of Cohn's publications. The first series includes material generated or collected by Cohn in the course of researching Roma. It includes audiotaped interviews of Rom with notebooks containing descriptions and analysis of the conversations; a computer-generated inventory of kinship ties among hundreds of North American Roma; a transcript of a New York trial (1962) of a Roma fortune teller; miscellaneous printed and published materials on Roma, collected by Cohn; and materials from a correspondence course for learning Romani (1969/70). The research series also contains photographs (1968-74) of Roma taken by Cohn throughout North America and Europe. The Publications series includes copies of Cohn articles (1959-1993) and a bibliography of his works (1950-1993).

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Immediate source of acquisition

The slides were donated to UBC Archives by Professor Cohn’s daughter-in-law in March 2020.


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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Please be aware that researchers will encounter terms that are no longer acceptable. In instances where these terms are used in original titles, they have not been changed.

General note

The colour slides have been allocated series 194.1 and are located in the vault. These photos have not been digitized.

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Revised in January 2021, JM.

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