The first Institutes are inaugurated

1912

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Photo: The Dahlem research campus, 1913, from KWG publication, Archives of the Max Planck Society.

The first of the KWS’s institutes were able to move into their own purpose-built accommodation in October 1912. The Institute for Chemistry with Director Ernst Beckmann and the Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry with Director Fritz Haber were both inaugurated in Berlin. They formed the core of the new research campus at Dahlem, which went on to grow rapidly: the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Experimental Therapy was opened as early as 1913, followed by the Institute for Biology in 1915. But the KWS was also active beyond the capital: In 1912, Jewish art collector Henriette Hertz bequeathed the KWS the Palazzo Zuccari in Rome, along with a significant library of books on the history of art and a substantial sum in the form of endowment capital. It was there that the KWS set up a research institute dedicated to the study of the history of art under the name Bibliotheca Hertziana. As a result, the human sciences had a place within the KWS right from the start. Even though this had not been formulated as a key element in the Society’s original mission, many other institutes dedicated to the human sciences were to follow.

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