Julius Bab Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection contains few personal, official or vital documents, but is exceptionally rich in correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, appointment books, and scrapbooks documenting Julius Bab's cultural work and endeavors. The bulk of the collection consists of the scrapbooks, which contain extensive clippings of articles by and about Bab. Of the other series, the correspondence is of particular note both for its extent and for the impressive array of original letters by notable cultural figures. There are the over 100 letters from the literary critic and martyred revolutionary Gustav Landauer, and nearly as many from the playwright Richard Dehmel; the files also contain a considerable amount of correspondence with Nobel Prize winning playwright Gerhart Hauptmann, with the philosopher Fritz Mauthner, and with the influential editor and writer Moritz Heimann. The correspondence files contain letters from over 90 additional cultural figures, chiefly writers and persons involved with the theater. Among the more prominent of these figures are Walther Rathenau, Thomas Mann, Richard Beer-Hoffmann, George Bernard Shaw, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Max Liebermann, and Stefan Zweig.
Approximately 80 original drafts and manuscripts of Bab's articles and writings, chiefly typewritten with corrections and marginalia, although some are handwritten, are also present. The majority of these writings are fewer than 10 pages long, with the exception of one longer draft entitled Leben und Tod des deutschen Judentums. Also filed in this series are a folder of notes and several poems.
Rounding out the collection are series containing diaries, theater and lecture programs, and clippings. The diaries series contains two diaries from before 1900, and thereafter several notebooks and appointment books which Bab used as calendars. Although these volumes are primarily functional, occasional longer entries or passages throughout the various volumes have a more diaristic character. The theater and lecture programs series contains programs, clippings, and promotional materials, such as handbills and small posters, for theatrical events and lectures that Bab participated in. A few items of the promotional materials are interesting examples of Jugenstil and Weimar era graphic design. The final small series of newspaper clippings of articles by and about Bab mirrors the overall structure and content of the Scrapbooks series, although it consists entirely of loose, rather than bound clippings.
- Creation: 1895-1977
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1895-1955
- Bab, Julius, 1880-1955 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German, English, and French.
Technical Access Note
The diaries were digitized separately from the rest of the collection. The links open up files in PDF format, which may not work in all web browsers. The use of the Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome browser, or of Internet Explorer 7 and more recent versions of Internet Explorer, is recommended for optimum performance. Some of the PDFs are large files and may take up to a minute or longer to load, depending on connection speed.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
Collection is microfilmed (MF 475).
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.
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
Julius Bab was born in Berlin in 1880 into a merchant family and studied literature, philosophy, and history both in Berlin and in Zürich. From 1905-1939 he lived and worked in Berlin as a dramatist and freelance writer, and became a noteworthy theater and literary critic with copious contributions to several newspapers, such as the Welt am Montag , the Pester Lloyd (in Budapest), and the Vossische Zeitung . He also wrote and published some poetry. During the time period from 1915 through the end of his life, he also wrote extensively on the portrayal of Jews in literature and on the stage, as well as on contemporary Jewish life. While in Berlin he was closely tied to the people's theater movement (Volksbühnenbewegung) centered around Max Reinhardt and the Berlin Volksbühne, where he was a lecturer, editor, and adviser. His work in the cultural sphere brought him into contact with several important cultural figures, and his theatrical reviews from this time period are considered a key source in the history of German drama.
When National Socialists seized control of the government in 1933, Bab was instrumental the formation of the Jüdischer Kulturbund, whose mission was to maintain German-Jewish cultural life and to provide services and a safety net for Jewish artists who were no longer allowed to work. In 1939 Bab emigrated to New York, where he found employment as the theater critic of the German-language New York Staats-Zeitung . He died in 1955 in Roslyn Heights, New York.
3 Linear Feet (10 oversized boxes)
This collection contains a large volume of correspondence, as well as manuscripts, diaries, scrapbooks, and clippings all documenting the cultural production of the theater critic and dramatist Julius Bab. The correspondence notably contains large amounts of original letters from Gustav Landauer, Gerhart Hauptmann, Richard Dehmel, and Fritz Mauthner, and several other leading cultural and political figures from the first half of the 20th century.
This collection is arranged in 6 series.
The physical arrangement of the materials in the boxes differs slightly from the intellectual arrangement presented in this finding aid.
- Series I: Manuscripts, drafts, and notes circa 1900-1939
- Series II: Personal papers and correspondence 1897-1977
- Subseries 1: Various unarranged personal papers and correspondence, 1906-1977
- Subseries 2: Correspondence 1897-1956
- Series III: Diaries, calendars, and notebooks 1895-1943
- Series IV: Theater and lecture programs 1901-1938
- Series V: Scrapbooks 1901-1959
- Series VI: Newspaper clippings about Bab and of articles by Bab 1906-1932
Other Finding Aid
Turnheim's inventory of 1966 is available in the first folder of the collection; a separate inventory of the correspondence, as well as an inventory of addenda to the correspondence, are also available.
The correspondence with Curt Wilk is available on MF 116.
The diaries were microfilmed separately; see DM 30.
Collection is available on 9 reels of microfilm (MF 475).
- Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/4
- Reel 2: 1/5 - 1/20
- Reel 3: 1/21 - 2/35
- Reel 4: 2/36 - 2/43
- Reel 5: 2/44 - 3/46
- Reel 6: 3/47 - 3/49
- Reel 7: 3/50
- Reel 8: OS 93, OS 95-OS 98
- Reel 9: OS 94, OS 99-OS 102
Some photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.
Genre / Form
- Appointment books
- Black-and-white photographs
- clippings (information artifacts)
- manuscripts (documents)
- personal correspondence
- Photographic postcards
- Theater programs
- Julius Bab Collection, 1895-1977 (bulk 1895-1955) AR 196 / MF 475
- Processed by Turnheim, LBI Staff, and Timothy Ryan Mendenhall
- © 2010
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- November 21, 2011: Links to Box 3, Folder 52 digital objects added in Container List.
- November 13, 2012 : Remaining links to digital objects added in Container List.