Guide to the Papers of the Hersch Family

AR 3543

Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2013 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey on November 15, 2013. Description is in English.
September 2016: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Hersch, Eugen, 1887-1967
Title: Hersch Family Collection
Abstract: This collection documents the literary work of Heinrich Hersch as well as the artistic career of his son Eugen Hersch. Included are unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper clippings and articles, educational and award certificates and a few family photographs.
Languages: The collection is primarily in German, with a very small amount of English.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet.
Identification: AR 3543
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

The dramatist and author Hermann Hersch was born in Jüchen, Germany, in the Rhineland. After attending the University of Bonn he went to Munich where in 1854 his first work, Alfonso Guzmann der Getreue, appeared. One of his better known works was Die Anna-Lise, about the marriage of Prince Leopold I of Anhalt-Dessau to the titular apothecary's daughter. Hersch later went to Berlin, where he met his wife, Betti Rosa Lövinson, whom he married in 1860. Together they had four children. Hermann Hersch died in 1870, his wife a few years later.

Their eldest son was Heinrich Hersch, was born July 11, 1861. After his parents' deaths he came into the care of a maternal uncle who was a physician in Berlin. After graduating from the Königliche-Wilhelms Gymnasium in Berlin, he went on to study medicine at the universities of Berlin and Bonn. In Bonn he laid aside these studies to turn to literature; his first published work was a translation of Erasmus's Encomium moria (Das Lob der Torheit) in 1884, followed by Saint-Reals Geschichte des Dom Carlos, die Stoffquelle zu Schillers Drama in 1885. His special interest, however, lay in the relationship between Friedrich the Great and the philosopher Voltaire; in 1902 the first volume of his study of their correspondence appeared, but the publication of further volumes was hindered by economic difficulties. In order to balance his academic works with other subjects, he also undertook translations of comedies, including those of Molière. In 1866 he married, also producing a small volume of love poetry in the same year; from this marriage came two sons (Hermann and Eugen) and a daughter (Alice). Following his wife's death he returned to his studies and became a dentist while still continuing to write. He married a second time to Bertha Ollendorff; they had one daughter (Rose Agnes). Heinrich Hersch died June 12, 1938 in Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany.

Eugen Hersch was born August 21, 1887. From 1905 through 1909 he studied at the Königliche akademische Hochschule für die bildenden Kunst zu Berlin. In 1910 he was awarded the first scholarship of the Michael Beerschen Stiftung for a year's study in Italy. He became noted for his portrait paintings, including one of President (then Field Marshal) Paul von Hindenburg in 1915. In 1939 Eugen Hersch left for England with his wife, where he rebuilt his career. His work was featured in exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, among other institutions. His final work was a mural composed of twelve paintings, "A Requiem to Comfort the Bereaved." Eugen Hersch died in London in 1967.

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Scope and Content Note

The Hersch Family Collection primarily focuses on the literary and artistic careers of Heinrich and Eugen Hersch. It consists of articles and newspaper clippings, educational certificates and awards, unpublished manuscripts and a few photographs.

Prominent among the papers of Heinrich Hersch are three folders of his unpublished work, including several translations into German as well as the text of a drama. All of the translations from French, including four works by Molière and one by Octave Feuillet, are comedies. Another translation from Greek features the poem of the Battle of the Frogs and Mice ("Der Froschmäusekrieg"). His own work, a lengthy untitled drama about Saint Joan of Arc, features six cantos and includes short summaries of the canto's contents. A folder of correspondence with the Jüdischer Kulturbund in Berlin as well as with the Rhein-Ruhr branch of the organization contains his queries of the organization regarding their possible use of the plays. One of these letters, from January 14, 1936, provides a brief description of his family background, with mention of his father Hermann Hersch.

Two folders relate to painter Eugen Hersch, son of Heinrich. One oversized folder holds various certificates from the Königliche akademische Hochschule für bildende Kunst (Royal Academic College for Fine Arts) in Berlin, including two awards. Two other certificates relate to his receiving the first scholarship of the Michael Beerschen Stiftung granted for a year's study in Italy. A second folder holds a collection of articles about Eugen Hersch and his work, most dating from 1915-1916. Included are both a notebook of the actual newspaper clippings and typed transcriptions of them. Notable are the articles that relate to his painting of Field Marshall Hindenburg in 1915, some of which include details of their conversations during the portrait sittings. Other articles relate to exhibitions and other work. Two articles from The Studio in the 1950s mention his work and influences and provide depictions of his work.

The last folder of the collection holds a few family photographs, among them a photo of the Hersch family home in Berlin, where the family resided from 1896-1939; another shows Heinrich Hersch's second wife Bertha sitting beside his portrait.

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The collection is arranged in one series.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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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

Related in the LBI Archives is an unpublished account by Heinrich Hersch of his father's life "Hermann Hersch. Leben und Werke eines rheinischen Dichters." (ME 286a, available online) and his own brief memoir "Rückblicke eines siebzigjährigen" (ME 286b).

The LBI Library holds two other books by Heinrich Hersch (Minnelieder aus dem Tagebuche eines Gluecklichen and his translation Friedrich der Grosse als Kornprinz im Briefwechsel mit Voltaire). In addition, the LBI Library includes six plays by Hermann Hersch.

Also related is the Johanna Meyer-Lövinson Collection (AR 299, available online); Series II, Subseries 4 holds papers of members of the Hersch family, including personal papers, articles and a short memoir.

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Separated Material

A photograph of Hermann Hersch, the father of Heinrich Hersch, was removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Hersch Family Collection; AR 3543; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

The collection was reprocessed in November 2013. At this time some folders were further subdivided and retitled. Folded oversized academic certificates were placed in an oversized folder.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Hersch Family Collection, 1905-1957

The collection is primarily in German, with a very small amount of English.
0.25 linear feet.


11Eugen Hersch – Articles and Newspaper Clippings1915-1916, 1956-1957
OS 158Eugen Hersch – Certificates – Education and Awards [NOT AVAILABLE]1905-1910
12Heinrich Hersch – Correspondence – Jüdischer Kulturbund1936-1938
13Heinrich Hersch – Drama about Saint Joan of Arc in Six Cantos (Untitled)undated
14Heinrich Hersch – Translations – Der Froschmäusekrieg (Battle of the Frogs and Mice, Batrachomyomachia)undated
15Heinrich Hersch – Translations – Molière and Octave Feuilletundated
16Hersch Family Photographsundated, after 1941?
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