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Finley, David E. | Fleischner, Charles | Gear, William

Fleischner, Charles  

Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA)

A graduate of the Yale University class of 1923, Charles M. Fleischner spent the following year teaching French at the Lawrenceville School. From 1924 to 1931 he worked in Boston for Raymond & Whitcomb, the largest American tour company. He then returned to his alma mater to work for the Yale University Press and The Yale Review. During this time Fleischner studied for his Master’s and graduated with a degree in Art History and Classical Chinese in 1940. He was at the Academy of Political Science at Columbia University for the following two years while waiting for his Navy commission.

In 1942, Fleischner began his military career as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was promoted to lieutenant commander and named Officer in Charge of the Naval School of Military Government in New York. In 1945, he was sent abroad and served in Manila, however in May 1946, a lingering illness forced his departure from the Navy. In the summer of 1946 the Roberts Commission asked Fleischner to travel to Germany, where he was named Deputy Chief of the MFAA in Berlin. There he was involved in the restitution of stolen artwork and restoring German cultural institutions. Fleischner’s personal papers detailing his work as Deputy Chief of the MFAA reside at Yale University.

In 1948, following his MFAA work, Fleischner moved to San Francisco where he lectured on art history at the Deep Springs School and reviewed Asian art books for the San Francisco Chronicle. After only one year, Fleischner returned to New England due to illness. In 1955 he became director of the Haverhill Public Library in Massachusetts. He was largely responsible for raising funds for the new library building and overseeing the project. After retiring in 1966, he eventually settled in Plymouth. Fleischner was an avid traveler and reader, and maintained an interest in art history, conservation, and historical preservation. He never married or had children of his own, but was very close with his godson, “Sandy” Samson Lane Faison III, son of his Yale colleague and fellow Monuments Man, S. Lane Faison, Jr.

Fleischner’s papers reside at Yale University Library and his typewritten memoir, By Memory Alone is located at the Haverhill Public Library.


Copyrighted by Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art