Guide to the Papers of Max (?-1962) and Lola (1914-?) Gruenthal

AR 25164 / MF 988

Processed by Dianne Ritchey, Philippe Renoirte, and other 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



© 2009 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in July 2009. Description is in English.
November 2009. Microfilm inventory added. 2010-06-09  Encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Gruenthal, Lola, 1914-?
Title: Max and Lola Gruenthal Collection
Dates:bulk 1936-1990
Abstract: This collection holds the papers of the psychiatrist Max Gruenthal and his wife Lola, an author and translator. Documentation on their early years together and her literary efforts comprise the dominant subjects of the collection. The collection is composed of correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, restricted medical files, notes, clippings and articles, and a small amount of personal papers and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, and French.
Quantity: 4 linear feet.
Identification: AR 25164
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Note

Clara Lore (Lorette) "Lola" Gruenthal (née Braunstein/ Bronstein) was born in 1914 in Berlin, where she grew up in a Russian-Jewish family. In 1937 she came to New York via Ellis Island as an "illegal immigrant" and later immigrated to the United States via Cuba under the German quota. She studied psychology and psycho-diagnostic testing at New York University and Columbia University. She worked as a secretary and also as a psychological research assistant, as well as writing her own poetry and short stories. Her early poetry was published in Blätter des jüdischen Kulturbunds in Germany and other Jewish journals. In the United States she began to publish mainly English translations of poetry and prose, such as Rainer Maria Rilke's Evald Tragy, among many others. She also translated from English into German, especially Emily Dickinson's poetry. She was a co-editor of Frauenfahrplan, a collection of writings by members of WIG (Women in German). Occasionally she was published under the pseudonym "Lola Boerner." Lola Gruenthal maintained extensive correspondence with many well-known individuals such as Walter Bräutigam, Christina Malman, and Lucille Nawara.

Max Gruenthal was born in Germany and earned his medical degree in 1916 from the University of Berlin. In the mid-1930s he immigrated to New York, where he established his psychiatric practice; in 1945 he and Lola were married. He and Lola Gruenthal had three sons. Max Gruenthal counted several well-known individuals among his patients. He died in 1962 in New York City.

Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

The Max and Lola Gruenthal Collection holds the papers of this husband and wife, with the focus of the collection on Lola Gruenthal and her work as a translator and author. The collection is largely comprised of correspondence, manuscripts and drafts of writing and translations, and restricted medical files, but it also includes many notes, diaries, clippings, and a few photographs and personal papers.

A significant amount of correspondence is present in this collection. Much of this is letters between Max and Lola Gruenthal prior to their marriage, located in Series I. This correspondence is primarily personal. The first subseries of Series II holds the correspondence of Lola Gruenthal, also largely personal but containing some correspondence of publishers. A small amount of professional correspondence, including letters of recommendations and requests for employment, is located in Subseries 2 of Series II.

Lola Gruenthal's writing, including her translations, comprise a substantial part of this collection; much of these papers are located in Subseries 3 of Series II. Included are drafts of her poetry and other creative writing as well as drafts of translations and related notes and research material. Diaries, present in her personal papers in Subseries 2, also mention her written work.

Series III holds the medical files of the psychiatrist Max Gruenthal along with his correspondence with patients. This series is restricted.

Return to the Top of Page


Arranged in three series in the following manner:

Return to the Top of Page

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The medical files in box 4 are restricted.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Use Restrictions

The medical files in box 4 are restricted. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

Return to the Top of Page

Access Points

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

Related Material

A small collection of letters of Lola Gruenthal is available in AR 4600; it includes several letters with well-known individuals.

Return to the Top of Page

Custodial History

Donated by George Gruenthal?

Return to the Top of Page


The collection is on twelve reels of microfilm (MF 988):

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Max and Lola Gruenthal Collection; AR 25164; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

Return to the Top of Page

Processing Information

In 2008, the previous Series IV: Addenda was integrated into Series II: Lola Gruenthal.

In 2009 the collection was re-processed in preparation of the EAD finding aid and eventual microfilming. The order of folders within series were rearranged at this time. In addition, description was also added to the finding aid and some preservation actions were taken.

Return to the Top of Page

Container List


Series I: Correspondence between Max and Lola Gruenthal, 1934-1954

This series is in German and English.
0.5 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Series I is comprised of correspondence between Max and Lola Gruenthal. Most of it consists of letters written to each other prior to their marriage. These are often quite personal and depict their developing relationship as well as relating daily events. Lola Gruenthal's letters frequently mention her family as well as recollections of her dreams. The folder of correspondence from 1938 includes a letter written by her while waiting in the Great Hall at Ellis Island. Many of the letters, which are handwritten, have also been transcribed as typed documents.

11Max Gruenthal to Lola Braunstein1934
12Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1935
13Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1936 January-1936 June
14Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1936 July-1936 August
15Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1936 September-1936 December
16Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1937 January-1937 February 15
17Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1937 February 15-1937 June
18Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1937 July-1937 December
19Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1938
110Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1939
111Max Gruenthal and Lola Braunstein1940
112Max Gruenthal and Lola Gruenthal1948-1954
Return to the Top of Page

Series II: Lola Gruenthal, 1880-2003

This series is in German, English, and French.
3 linear feet.

Divided into three subseries:

Scope and Content:

Series II is comprised of the papers of Lola Gruenthal, holding correspondence, personal papers, and her writing and translations along with related materials.

The overriding subject of this series is the writing of Lola Gruenthal. Among the correspondence of Subseries 1 are many letters with publishers and fellow writers, some of whom she counted among her personal friends. Subseries 1 also includes letters exchanged with family members and others. Her diaries, found among the personal papers of Subseries 2, provide supplementary notes that bear on her own writing. Subseries 3 holds her actual written work, encompassing both her own creative writing in the form of essays, short stories, plays, and especially poetry. Most significant in this subseries are her translations into German and English of various authors' works; among these are her drafts, notes, and research relating to her translation of Emily Dickinson's poetry. Correspondence regarding the publication and sale of these translations in her book Guten Morgen, Mitternacht, is present in Subseries 1. Furthermore, material on the writing group Women in German (WIG), to which Lola Gruenthal belonged and which produced the publication Frauenfahrplan, will be found throughout this series.

Lola Gruenthal had an interest in psychology and related fields such as spirituality, perhaps resulting from her own studies in psychology and her marriage to a psychiatrist; this interest is conspicuously evident in Subseries 2 and 3. Especially pertinent to this theme are her own diaries in Subseries 2, which include numerous examples of her own self-analysis of her mental state as well as dream interpretations. Her compositions and poetry in Subseries 3 may also provide evidence into her own character. Her diaries often reflect on spiritual themes in relation to her studies in yoga, and incorporate descriptions of meditations and recount retreats in which she participated; Subseries 3 includes some mandala patterns that may have derived from such meditations. Subseries 2 additionally includes certifications of her courses in psychology and work as a psychological researcher.

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1931-2003

This subseries is in English, German, with some French.
1 linear foot.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 1 holds the letters of Lola Gruenthal. It includes personal letters from family members and friends as well as some professional correspondence. The majority of letters consist of those that were sent to her.

Two folders contain a large amount of letters sent to Lola Gruenthal from her family members. Correspondence with her brother, who used several names, briefly describes his experience in France during World War II, where he worked with the resistance during the country's occupation. Some later letters mention postwar Germany; he provides a detailed description of Berlin in 1946, with the majority of other letters discussing postwar France, their family members, and significant events in his personal and professional life. Letters to and from Lola Gruenthal's parents in France primarily give greetings and mention her children. Other letters with them discuss packages and the parents' experiences during the war, when her father pretended to be deaf in order to escape the notice of the Nazi occupation forces.

Correspondence with friends contains personal greetings and news. With certain individuals it also discusses Lola Gruenthal's poetry and translations. Her writing is often mentioned by friends such as Walter Bräutigam and Constance Scheerer, with whom there is extensive correspondence. Correspondence with Scheerer also mentions current events, with topics such as the feminist movement, books they read, health matters and other personal news. One folder relates to the Women in German publication, Frauenfahrplan; this correspondence discusses editorial and planning meetings as well as various decisions pertaining to the publication.

Professional correspondence relates to Lola Gruenthal's creative writing and translations. Several of the folders hold literary correspondence, among which are some rejection letters among letters discussing publication of her work. Correspondence with the author Delmore Schwartz concerns translations of Heinrich Heine, including "The Lorelei" and "Doctor Faust: A Dance Poem." Correspondence with Diogenes Verlag relates to Lola Gruenthal's book Guten Morgen, Mitternacht, a translation of Emily Dickinson's poetry, while correspondence with Verlag Gudula Lorez pertains to her book Ich hab sie auf den Mund geküßt; this correspondence includes a copy of Lola Gruenthal's contract with the publishers.

A) Personal

113Family – Braunstein, Bobby (Ilya Bronstein-Gregory)1940-1956
114Family – Parentsundated, 1939-1963
115Friends – Birnbaum, Sara1945-1947
116Friends – Bräutigam, Walter1989-2003
117Friends – From Germany1989-1996
118Friends – Greene, Helga and James Greene1940-1992
119Friends – Greeting Cards1984-2003
120Friends – Malman, Christinaundated, 1942-1944
121Friends – Nathan, Luis Nathan1987-1990
122Friends - Nawara, Lucille and Jim1969-2000
21Friends - Others1931-1949
22Friends - Others1950-1979
23Friends – Others1980-2003
24Friends – Scheerer, Constance1955-1979
25Friends – Scheerer, Constance (and Martin)1955-1961
26Friends – Scheerer, Constance1980-1985
27Friends – Scheerer, Constance1985-1993
28Friends – [Verne,] Karen [Kaaren] and Liselotte1943-1960
29Friends – Wild, Rosemarie1967-1987
210Friends – Women In German/ Frauenfahrplan1985-1997

B) Professional

212Literary – Schroeder, Margot – Translations of Poetry1983-1985
213Literary – Schwartz, Delmore – Heinrich Heine Translations1956-1958
216Publishers – Diogenes Verlag1984-1998
217Publishers – Verlag Gudula Lorez1984-1985

Subseries 2: Personal and Family Papers, 1880-2000

This subseries is in English and German.
0.6 linear foot.

Divided into Diaries and Documentation.

Scope and Content:

This subseries is comprised largely of Lola Gruenthal's diaries as well as a smaller extent of personal and professional papers.

Most noteworthy in this subseries are Lola Gruenthal's diaries. The initial folder of this subseries holds earlier diaries, which include personal notes, and many notes written in shorthand. In addition there are drafts of poetry and short story material and some notes on dreams. The remaining diaries were written after the death of Max Gruenthal; these give the impression that at the time of writing she resided alone. Later diaries frequently mention memorable personal experiences, notes on dreams, and her own detailed analyses of her emotional and mental state. Her diet and health are also frequent topics. Diaries from the 1970s often describe Lola Gruenthal's studies of yoga, along with its relationship to health and spirituality; Buddhism and chakras are often referenced. Other diaries include notes on her poetry and translation work. Diaries of the late 1980s describe a visit to Germany, including her feelings on returning to Berlin.

This subseries additionally includes a small amount of personal and professional papers. Many of these relate to the Bronstein/ Braunstein family. Among these are some family photographs. Immigration papers include copies of the ship manifest from the Normandie, upon which Max Gruenthal arrived in New York City and a translation of Lola Gruenthal's letter to Max while waiting at Ellis Island. Related papers include a copy of her citizenship certificate and notes she provided to the Ellis Island National Monument's Oral History Project. Professional documents include certificates and letters of recommendation attesting to Lola Gruenthal's linguistic capabilities as well as her studies in psychology and work as a secretary and researcher. In addition, there are copies of letters she sent in search of employment.

A) Diaries

220Diaries1980-1992, 1999
221Diaries1985, 2000

B) Documentation

31Family Photographs1880-1980
32Immigration and Naturalization1937-1944
33Memoirs and Biographical Papers1947-1994
34Professional Papers – Education and Work-Related1930-1981
35Professional Papers – Correspondence and Résumés1945-1969, 1999

Subseries 3: Written Work, 1937-2000

This subseries is in German and English.
1.4 linear feet.

Divided into the following areas:

Scope and Content:

Subseries 3 holds Lola Gruenthal's extensive writings. The bulk of these are her translations, but the subseries also comprises her own writings, primarily consisting of poetry, but also including short stories and articles or essays.

Lola Gruenthal's translations are the most prominent writing within Subseries 3. Significant among these is the extensive work she did on the poetry of Emily Dickinson, which culminated in the book Guten Morgen, Mitternacht. There are some notebooks related to her work on this project; these contain personal diary entries as well as notes on Emily Dickinson and her poetry. In addition, there is a voluminous amount of material deriving from Lola Gruenthal's work translating some of Rainer Maria Rilke's writing. Translations include works of various writers, such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Oskar Kokoschka, Heinrich Heine, and Max Frisch, as well as translations of lesser-known authors Lola Gruenthal knew personally, including some of the other members of the Women in German group. The folder holding translations on these women also contains copies of articles on various members. The folder of General translations holds works by some other authors as well as works of unidentified authors. Some reviews will also be found among the translations, along with a few translations of plays such as Slawomir Mroztek's Tango.

Other material in this subseries consists of Lola Gruenthal's own creative writing, encompassing poetry, essays, plays, and short stories written in German and English. The majority of the creative writing is comprised of poetry, which incorporates many subjects, among them love and personal relationships, self discovery and analysis, the societal role of women, death, family, and war or violence. Less serious motifs may be found among the folder of English poems, some of which focus on her children. The two initial folders of this subseries hold drafts of longer works, covering such themes as motherhood and family life, her childhood, life in Germany in the 1930s, art and art appreciation, civil rights and Vietnam, and psychology, among various others.

The remainder of this subseries consists of material possibly used by Lola Gruenthal in the creation of her other writing. Among this research material are many clippings or copies of articles related to various authors, especially Emily Dickinson. In addition, there are some publications of the League School, an educational institution for emotionally disturbed children. Mandalas presumably drawn by Lola Gruenthal are also present.

A) Creative Writing

36Essays and Short Stories – German and Englishundated, 1984
37Essays, Short Stories, and Plays – Englishundated
38Essays, Short Stories, and Plays – Germanundated
39Poems – Englishundated
310Poems – English – The Labors of Psyche1990s?
311Poems – German and Englishundated, 1937
312Poems – German and Englishundated, 1977
313Poetry by Constance Scheerer and Lola Gruenthalundated, 1969-1978
314Short stories – Young Man in a Fieldundated

B) Translations

315Articles and Translations - Women in German1985-1989
316Reviews and Translationsundated, 1984-1987
317Translations – Emily Dickinson – Guten Morgen, Mitternacht – Book with Notes1987
318Translations – Emily Dickinson – Notes and Diaries1984-1990
319Translations – Emily Dickinson – Poemsundated, 1996
320Translations – Emily Dickinson – Unfinished and Unpublishedundated
321Translations – Doris Dörrie – Straight through the Heartundated
322Translations – French Poems and Essaysundated
323Translations – Max Frisch – From Andorra1962-1963
324Translations – Generalundated, 1952-1992
325Translations – Heinrich Heine – Letters and Poetryundated
326Translations – Friedrich Hölderlinundated, 1997
327Translations – In the Penal Colony1990s?
328Translations – Oskar Kokoschkaundated
329Translations – Louize Labé –The Twenty-Four Sonnetsundated
330Translations – Letters and Diariesundated, 1908-1925
331Translations – Edna St. Vincent Millayundated
332Translations – Christian Morgenstern – Selected Poemsundated
333Translations – Slawomir Mrozek – Plays1967-1969
334Translations – Rainer Maria Rilke – Ewald Tragyundated
335Translations – Rainer Maria Rilke – Poemsundated
336Translations - Margot Scharpenberg – When Colors Bloom – Poetry1999
337Translations – Georg Simmel – Rembrandtundated
41Translations – Spanish Poemsundated
42Translations – Paul Valéryundated
43Translations – Carl-Friedrich von Weizsaecker – Crisis and Recovery1987

C) Research and Collected Material

44Clippings – Literary1964-1993
45Emily Dickinson – Clippings1955-1994
46Emily Dickinson – Clippings – Emily Dickinson International Society1992-1994
47Franz Kafka – Clippingsundated, 1999-2000
48League School – Publications and Clippings1963
49Mandala pictures (Artwork)1985-1988
Return to the Top of Page

Series III: Psychiatric Files, 1928-1961

This series is in English and German.
0.5 linear foot.
Scope and Content:

Series III holds the records of Max Gruenthal's patients. It includes his own notes as well as correspondence with his patients. This series is restricted.

Return to the Top of Page