Felix Guggenheim was born June 6, 1904 in Constance, Germany. He studied economics and law in Munich and Hamburg, earned his doctorate in economics and politics in Zurich in 1925, and his doctorate in law in Leipzig in 1926. Guggenheim began his career as a journalist, and then worked briefly in a banking institution. In 1930 Guggenheim took over the directorship of the Seydel A.G. printing house in Berlin and the Deutsche Buch-Gemeinschaft, beginning his long career in the literary and publishing field.
Although Jewish, Guggenheim was able to keep a position as member of the board of the printing house and book club until 1938, when he and his wife, actress Evelyn Holt, emigrated via Switzerland and England to the USA. The Guggenheims settled in Los Angeles, California, where they became a part of the large German emigre community. In 1942 Guggenheim and Ernst Gottlieb, a fellow emigre, co-founded the Pazifische Presse. This small press served as a forum for the German immigrant authors in Southern California who were without publishing contracts. Writers published by Pazifische Presse between 1942 and 1948 included Lion Feuchtwanger, Thomas Mann, Franz Werfel and Bruno Frank. Guggenheim would maintain contact with these writers throughout his later career as a literary agent.
After World War II ended, Germans again had access to a free press. With the outlet of the Pazifische Presse no longer needed, Guggenheim turned his talents elsewhere. Guggenheim's experience in the publishing business, as well as his relationships with many talented and prominent authors, served as the basis for a new career as a literary agent, and sometimes financial and legal advisor. He worked with his friends Feuchtwanger, Mann, Werfel, and Frank, as well as authors Vicki Baum, Paulette Goddard, Thor Heyerdahl, Frederick Kohner, Heinrich Mann, Kurt Marek (Curt Ceram), Alfred Neumann, Erich Maria Remarque, Max Tau, Alma Mahler-Werfel, Victoria Wolff, and Arnold Zweig. Guggenheim remained active professionally until his death in Los Angeles on June 21, 1976.