Who was Max Kade?

Max Kade (1882 - 1967)


Max Kade was one of those immigrants for whom the American dream became reality. Having made a fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, he endowed the Max Kade foundation with the goal of promoting the mutual understanding of the people and cultures of Germany and the United States.

The eleventh of twelve children, Max Kade left his hometown Schwäbisch Hall at the age of 20 to work with a transatlantic merchant company in Antwerp, Belgium. After two years, in 1904, he crossed the Atlantic to Montreal where he is said to have experimented with the production of a cough medicine. What we know for sure is that in 1907, by now living in New York, he and a friend purchased from a Berlin company the American rights for the manufacture and distribution of a cough medicine, “Pertussin,” a name well known until this day by parents and children all over the country.

In 1944, Max Kade and his wife Annette established the Max Kade Foundation. Its primary goal during the early post-war years was to help people in need and to save works of art and other objects of the German cultural heritage. Later, the wider objective became “to sow the seeds of friendship where there had been enmity.” Both in Germany and the United States, he built or helped build student dormitories, libraries, and other meeting places for the young academic community. He provided scholarships and post-doctoral fellowships. And he supported efforts to research and interpret the history and heritage of German immigration to this country.

Max Kade died in 1967, a widely honored man. His ideas continue to be furthered by those in charge of the foundation today. Our Institute is proud to have been awarded a major grant to begin working. And we hope to make major contributions to knowledge and inter-disciplinary as well as international cooperation and understanding.