Guide to the Richard M. Sheirich Research Collection

AR 25593

Processed by Katalin Franciska Rac

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2014  Leo Baeck Institute
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Katalin Franciska Rac in August 2014. Description is in English.
January 2015: Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sheirich, Richard M., 1927-2011
Creator: Beer-Hofmann Lens, Miriam, 1897-1984
Creator: Beer-Hofmann, Richard, 1866-1945
Title: Richard M. Sheirich Research Collection
Abstract: This collection consists of Richard M. Sheirich’s materials pertaining to his research on Richard Beer-Hofmann’s private correspondence and works. In addition to the original papers, correspondence, notes, and photos of Richard Beer-Hofmann and his family that Richard M. Sheirich gathered, the collection contains Sheirich’s correspondence with Richard Beer-Hofmann’s daughter Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens, his and other scholars’ works on Beer-Hofmann, several photocopies of the original Beer-Hofmann papers, and Sheirich’s notes.
Languages: The collection is in German and English.
Quantity: 1.75 linear feet
Identification: AR 25593
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Richard M. Sheirich was born on October 9, 1927 in Erie, Pennsylvania. He studied German at Colgate University, Northwestern University and at Universität Hamburg, and earned a Ph. D. in German at Harvard University in 1965; his dissertation was titled “Die Historie von König David.”

After teaching German at the University of California at Berkeley,Richard M. Sheirich became a faculty member at Pomona College in 1962 and retired from the same institution in 1996.

Sheirich’s research interest was the Austrian literary movement Das Junge Wien and specifically Richard Beer-Hoffman’s work. He started working on Beer-Hofmann’s writings in the 1950s. His work in this field was the preparation of an inventory of the Richard Beer-Hofmann papers for Harvard University. As part of his research, Sheirich travelled to Vienna, Austria several times and conducted a long correspondence with Richard Beer-Hofmann’s daughter Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens. Alongside other smaller publications, the result of Sheirich’s research was the publication of Der Briefwechsel mit Paula, 1896-1937 , Richard Beer-Hofmann’s correspondence with his wife Paula.

Richard M. Sheirich died in his home in Claremont, California on December 11, 2011.

Richard Beer-Hofmann was born on July 11, 1866. He was the son of Hermann and Rosa Beer. His mother died within a week of his birth and after her death, he was adopted and reared by his uncle and his aunt, Bertha and Alois Hofmann. He spent his early childhood in Brünn (Brno, Czech Republic), where Alois Hofmann owned a textile factory. In 1880 the family moved to Vienna and Richard Beer-Hofmann finished his schooling at the Akademisches Gymnasium. He studied law at the University of Vienna and made his law degree in 1890. Richard Beer-Hofmann had studied law, but he worked as a poet, novelist and dramatist and was one of the most influential members of the circle of Viennese writers known as “Young Vienna”. Many of his works deal with Jewish themes and his novel Der Tod Georgs is probably the most representative art nouveau novel in the German language. Richard Beer-Hofmann immigrated to the United States via Switzerland in 1939 and he died in New York City on September 26, 1945.1

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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of materials collected by Richard M. Sheirich as part of his research on Richard Beer-Hofmann. Materials include correspondence, published works, photos, and some of Beer-Hofmann’s original papers along with photocopies of these papers accompanied by Sheirich’s notes. The original papers of Beer-Hofmann include Beer-Hofmann’s and his family members’ correspondence, drafts of literary works, notes, a photo album, and photos. Beer-Hofmann typed and arranged his correspondence and added additional markings and comments.

The collection is divided into two series: Series I: Richard Sheirich papers, undated, 1867-2002; and Series II: Richard Beer-Hofmann papers, undated, 1867-1944.

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The collection is housed in three boxes and arranged into two series by creator:

The folders in each series are arranged by genre, chronological order, or topic.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers with some restrictions on use. Contact the LBI Archives with inquiries at

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

Leo Baeck Institute has a Richard Beer-Hofmann Collection (AR 745) and a Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens collection (AR 7258) in its holdings. Harvard University keeps Richard Beer-Hofmann’s correspondence in MS Ger 183. In addition, Leo Baeck Library has a number of books, which pertain to Richard Beer-Hofmann’s life, family, and/or work.

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Separated Material

The book Essays in Honor of James Edward Walsh On His Sixty-Fifth Birthday, a publication of The Goethe Institute of Boston and The Houghton Library in 1983, was removed to the Leo Baeck Library.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Richard M. Sheirich Research Collection, 1867-2002; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Material was rehoused in acid-free folders. The binders in which Richard Beer-Hofmann kept the typescripts of his and his family’s correspondence were discarded. Some of the original folders that Richard M. Sheirich designated to hold his research papers were kept. Rusty paper clips as well as plastic sleeves were replaced. The sticky notes that were found attached to materials were photocopied onto acid-free paper and the originals were removed. Sticky notes on Sheirich’s folders were generally left as they were found.

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Container List

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Series I: Richard M. Sheirich papers,  undated, 1867-2002

In German and English.
Box 1, 21 folders

Arranged chrinilogically and by genre based on the original order given to the materials by Richard M. Sheirich.

Scope and Content:

Box 1 folders 1-4 include Richard M. Sheirich’s undated copies of Richard Beer-Hoffman’s and his family’s correspondence between 1867 and 1908. These are photocopies of the contents of box 2 folders 6-9 in Series II, except that Sheirich added his own notes on separate notebook paper at the beginning of some of the folders and marked some of the pages in the folders. The titles of the folders follow those that Richard Beer-Hofmann gave to the original ones. These titles include the dates of the whole period during which the correspondence originated. In Series II, the actual dates of the correspondence are marked.

Box 1 folder 5 holds a typescript of Richard Beer-Hofmann’s autobiographical work Daten, with notes and markings by Sheirich or Eugene Weber, another Beer-Hofmann scholar. Attached is Eugene Weber’s manuscript of his article “Richard Beer-Hofmann: Daten,” which was published in Modern Austrian Literature 17, no. 2 (1984): 13-42. The article includes Beer-Hofmann’s whole autobiography with Weber’s introduction in German. Attached are also Sheirich’s notes and Weber’s article manuscript in original folder.

In box 1 folder 6, there are German and English publications by Richard M. Sheirich: “In Memoriam Miriam Beerhofmann-Lens (sic.) 1897-1984” and, from 1982, “Richard Beer-Hofmann: a Bibliography,” co-authored with Kathleen Harris. The latter work together with “Frevel and der erhöhte Augenblick in Richard Beer-Hoffman: Reflections on a Biographical Problem” from 1980 are reprints from Modern Austrian Literature. Also in the folder are the photocopies of two articles: ““Ruth und Boas” Ein unbekanntes Drama von Richard Beer-Hofmann” published in 1979 in Neue Züricher Zeitung and “Austrian Literature and the Question of Cultural Identity, Cultural Policy, Regionalism and Heimat: Richard Beer-Hofmann as a Test Case” published in 1999 in Modern Austrian Literature. There is also the Fall 1966 issue of the Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association, which contains Sheirich’s article “Richard Beer-Hofmann on the Centenary of His Birth” and an offprint from the Harvard Library Bulletin from Autumn 1960: “Beer Hofmann and the Arabian Nights with an Unpublished Translation.”

Box 1 folder 7 includes publications about Richard Beer-Hofmann by authors other than Richard Sheirich. These include a photocopy of a book by Alfred Werner written in honor of Richard Beer-Hofmann’s 70th birthday, kept in its original folder; a photocopy of Matthew Paul Berg’s article “Schmutz, Schund, und Sittliche Gefährdung: The Politics of Children’s Morality Legislation in Early Postwar Austria” published in German Studies Review 21, no. 3 (Oct 1998): 447-467; Richard Beer-Hofmann: Besprechungen Seiner Werke published in Zurich, Switzerland in 1939, and Henry Schnitzler’s “Austria” from A History of Modern Drama edited by Barrett H. Clark and George Freedley, published by Appleton-Century, New York in 1947.

In box 1 folder 8 there are materials pertaining to Richard Sheirich’s research on Richard Beer-Hofmann’s life, family, and work. They include correspondence, copies of legal documents, notes on Beer-Hofmann’s works, a 1948 publication of one of Beer-Hofmann’s letters, newspaper clippings, an original letter from Richard to Paula Beer-Hofmann - the copy of which is kept in folder 1/17 - and an original note by Beer-Hofmann. Original folders are kept.

Box 1 folder 9 houses the transcriptions of interviews with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens. Antje Kleinewefer interviewed her in 1967 in Zürich, Switzerland, and in 1982, Rose Stein, a librarian, interviewed Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens in her Manhattan home for the Columbia University Oral History Collection. The transcriptions are kept in their original folders.

Box 1 folders 10 – 15 contain correspondence of Richard Sheirich, his wife Perdita, Kathleen Harris (Richard Sheirich’s co-author on a few of his shorter publications), Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens, and Egon Radvany (Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens’s nephew). There are also other papers enclosed with the letters, such as articles, lists of publications, an interview from 1958, and a eulogy of Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens. There is a photograph in the Egon Radvany folder. Some of the original folders were kept.

Box 1 folders 16 and 17 house photographs and photocopies of photographs collected by Richard Sheirich of Richard Beer-Hofmann, his family, and his acquaintances. While most of the original photographs were dated and mostly originated during Richard Beer-Hofmann’s lifetime, Sheirich’s copies were either downloaded from the Leo Baeck Institute’s website in 2002 or produced at unknown dates during Sheirich’s life.

The originals of some of the photographs and photocopies in folders 16 and 17 can be found in the Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens Collection (AR 7258), and the Richard Beer-Hofmann Collection (AR 745) at the Leo Baeck Institute. Some of the photographs include notes and explanations and some were prepared to be published, probably in Sheirich’s book on Beer-Hofmann. There are also two photos of Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens and Richard M. Sheirich, taken in 1981 in New York.

Sheirich’s original folders contain photos and copies of photos, which Richard Sheirich collected in 2001. These include a photo depicting Helene Thimig with a cat; a copy of a 1900 photo by Victor Schmidt & Söhne from Vienna; one of Beer-Hofmann’s son, Gabriel; and photographs of an unknown handwritten text with small graphics. Also included are a photograph of Paula Beer-Hofmann; some photos of Richard Beer-Hofmann possibly in Austria; and several photos of Paula Beer-Hofmann from the Houghton Library at Harvard University. In these folders there are also photocopies of photos prepared to be included in a publication: they are dated and a short explanation is added to each of them. They depict Paula, Richard, and Miriam Beer-Hofmann between 1896 and 1936. In addition, there is a photograph of a letter from Richard to Paula Beer-Hofmann as well as a copy of it. The original letter itself is in box 1 folder 8, in Sheirich’s original folder.

Box 1 folders 18-21 include Richard Beer-Hofmann’s handwritten and typed notes as well as the photocopies of his handwritten notes pertaining to several of his works kept in Sheirich’s folders. Notes regarding content are written on some of these folders, probably by Richard Sheirich or possibly by Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens.

Box 1 folder 18 holds notes pertaining to Folgen der Diaspora, Vom Dichter in the original folders (list of smaller works by Richard Beer-Hofmann on the original folder), and Vorschläge with possibly Sheirich’s note enclosed.

Box 1 folder 19 contains two folders arranged by Richard M. Sheirich. One holds two copies of Richard Beer-Hofmann’s typed notes on Goethe’s Faust. The notes include mostly excerpts and quotes. The other original folder contains photocopies of notes and a stage plan for Faust.

Box 1 folders 20 and 21 house notes related to Richard Beer-Hofmann’s Trilogy: Die Historie von König David, Jakobs Traum, and Der Junge David, writings that Beer-Hofmann titled “Von den Schicksalen der Juden” and other Jewish religious and historical topics. Richard Sheirich arranged them into four folders, which he titled “Juden” and numbered 15a, 15b, 15c, and 15d. A notebook can be found alongside these materials as well.

1 1 Letters by Agnes and Sigmund Beer to Richard Beer Hofmann 1872-1908
1 2 Letters by Bertha and Alois Hofmann to Richard Beer Hofmann 1881-1905
1 3 Letters by Richard Beer Hofmann to Bertha and Alois Hofmann and Agnes and Sigmund Beer 1872-1909
1 4 Family letters 1867-1890
1 5 Daten undated , 1975
1 6 Richard M. Sheirich’s published work undated, 1960, 1966, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1990
1 7 Publications about Richard Beer-Hofmann and his work undated, 1939, 1947, 1998
1 8 Richard M. Sheirich’s research papers undated, 1919, 1933, 1939, 1944, 1945, 1948, 1982, 1996
1 9 Interviews with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens 1967, 1982
1 10 Correspondence with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens I 1958-1968
1 11 Correspondence with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens II 1969-1976
1 12 Correspondence with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens III 1977-1979
1 13 Correspondence with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens IV 1980-1981
1 14 Correspondence with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens V 1982-1983
1 15 Correspondence with Miriam Beer-Hofmann Lens and Egon Radvany 1984-1985
1 16 Photographs undated, circa 1866 – 1945, 1981, 2002
1 17 Photographs undated, circa 1896-1945
1 18 Notes to Folgen der Diaspora, Vom Dichter, and Vorschläge 1896-1930s
1 19 Notes to Faust undated
1 20 Notes to Trilogy undated , 1896-1897, 1922-1923, 1928-1930, 1933
1 21 Notes to “Von dem Schicksalen der Juden,” etc., undated , 1932- 1933
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Series II: Richard Beer-Hofmann papers, undated, 1867-1944

In German and English.
Box 2 and 3, 12 folders.

Arranged by genre based on the original order given to the materials by Richard Beer-Hofmann and Richard M. Sheirich.

Scope and Content:

In box 2 folders 1-5 there is Richard Beer-Hofmann’s correspondence with his wife Paula from 1896-1937. At an unknown date later in his life, Richard Beer-Hofmann typed and arranged these letters in several three-ring binders, and he provided a list of the letters included in each. The folders present in the collection follow his arrangement, but the binders have been removed. There were short inscriptions on the internal back side of binders 1-3; each was photocopied and the photocopy added to the present folder. In contrast to Beer-Hofmann’s practice to record the period during which the letters were written, in the titles of the collection’s folders, the actual dates of the letters are noted. Folder 5 has a significant amount of gaps: although it is dated 1897-1935, there are no letters from the years 1899, 1901, 1903, 1907-1909, 1912, 1913, 1921, 1923-1925, 1927, 1928, 1931, 1932, and 1934.

Box 2 folders 6-9 hold Richard Beer-Hofmann’s family’s correspondence. In the folders there are letters between Beer-Hofmann’s adoptive parents Alois and Bertha Hofmann, his biological parents Agnes and Sigmund Beer, other family members and Richard Beer-Hofmann from the years between 1867 and 1905. In connection to the arrangement of the folders and the dates in the folder titles, the same practice as in the case of box 2 folders 1-5 was followed. Richard Beer-Hofmann typed up these letters in 1944 and added an introduction to each folder. The letters and the pages are numbered, the type of correspondence (i.e. letter, telegram, postcard), is noted, and there are color-coded markings by Beer-Hofmann. In folder 7, markings and notes with pencil are made. Unlike the other folders of family correspondence, the original folder in box 2 folder 8 was not dated on its cover, only on its first title page: 1872-1909.

In box 3 folder 1, there are two undated notebooks with notes on family history, mostly Beer-Hofmann’s ancestors. One of the notebooks was in a separate binder, which was discarded. In the other notebook, additional notes on separate papers are included, and there is also an empty envelope with handwritten notes on it.

Box 3 folder 2 houses a photo album with photos of Richard’s wife Paula Beer-Hofmann from different years of her life (1879-1939). A handwritten note is also enclosed.

Box 3 folder 3 contains photos of Richard Beer-Hofmann, Paula Beer-Hofmann, and the interior of the villa where they lived between 1909 and 1936. An invitation to Richard Beer-Hofmann’s doctoral graduation ceremony is also included among the photos. The photos differ in size and the paper on which they were printed. A series of smaller photos in this folder have descriptions on the back.

2 1 Richard Beer-Hofmann’s letters to Paula Beer-Hofmann I 1896, 1898-1903
2 2 Richard Beer-Hofmann’s letters to Paula Beer-Hofmann II 1904-1915
2 3 Richard Beer-Hofmann’s letters to Paula Beer-Hofmann III 1916-1919
2 4 Richard Beer-Hofmann’s letters to Paula Beer-Hofmann IV 1920-1930, 1933-1935, 1937
2 5 Paula Beer-Hofmann’s letters to Richard Beer-Hofmann V 1897-1935
2 6 Family correspondence 1867-1869, 1871, 1873, 1944
2 7 Agnes and Sigmund Beer’s letters to Richard Beer-Hofmann 1872, 1883-1908, 1944
2 8 Alois and Berta Hofmann’s letters to Richard Beer- Hofmann 1881, 1884-1886, 1888-1891, 1893, 1894, 1896-1905, 1944
2 9 Richard Beer-Hofmann’s letters to Berta and Alois Hofmann and Agnes and Sigmund Beer 1872, 1874, 1875, 1894, 1896-1903, 1905, 1908-1909, 1944
3 1 Family history undated
3 2 Photo album of Paula Beer-Hofmann undated
3 3 Photographs undated, 1890, circa 1906-1939, 1919, 1934, 1936
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