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Der Neue Merkur Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 7141/MF 751

Scope and Contents

The Neue Merkur Collection is based upon the magazine's correspondence letters from 1919 to 1925. This collection is organized chronologically, and within that alphabetically by the individual's last name.

A sparkling group of steady contributors, including Europe's most prominent writers and thinkers, were writing for the journal. Their letters have been collected here. Among them were Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Bertold Brecht, Jakob Wassermann, Alfred Doeblin, Max Picard, André Gide and Martin Buber.

The majority of the correspondence is routine and consists of standard rejection forms, acknowledgements, and requests for payment or receipts. There is also rare material such as the authors' commentaries on their own work. The political comments of Albrecht Mendelssohn-Bartholdy from the Versailles Peace Conference form one of the collection highlights.

Dates

  • 1919-1925

Creator

Language of Materials

This collection is in German with some English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Collection is microfilmed (MF 751).

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

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

email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

Biographical Note

Efraim Frisch was born on March 1, 1873 in Stryj, a small town in the southeast Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city is located in what is today Poland. His father, a merchant and a very devout orthodox Jew, offered him a traditional religious education. Frisch also gained knowledge about western culture by studying philosophy, history of art and literature in Berlin. This duality of cultures was always a main topic in his work. "Das Verlöbnis," one of Frisch's earliest short stories, is about a young boy, whose dream is to travel to Vienna and to escape the constriction of the shtetl in Eastern Europe, where he's living.

As a publisher, author and theater critic, Frisch played an important role in the literary and cultural life of German-speaking Europe. He was chief editor of the journal Monatsschrift für geistiges Leben, in which he had published the writings of the brothers Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Gottfried Benn, Robert Musil and Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Before World War I, he was also involved in Berlin's theater scene, as a dramatic adviser for Max Reinhard and a critic for theater journals.

In 1912 he became an editor of the Georg Mueller Verlag and was in charge of publishing the most famous German-speaking authors, such as Mann and Musil. In 1914 to 1916 and 1919 to 1925, he published the literary journal Der neue Merkur, which is the focus of this collection. After his work for the Neue Merkur he wrote for the feature pages of the Frankfurter Zeitung and from 1930 onward he directed the literary section of the Europäische Revue. In 1933, he emigrated to Tessin in Switzerland where he lived until his death in 1942.

Der Neue Merkur

The literary and political journal Der neue Merkur appeared in Germany between 1914 and 1925. This magazine is typical of Weimar Germany, whose literary landscape was partially formed by literary and intellectual magazines. The authors of Der neue Merkur were a small but select group, who wrote more for prestige reason rather than pay. The journal was addressed to an intellectual elite and it had an immense appeal to Europe's most famous authors and public figures.

In its first, quite short lived appearance, Der neue Merkur was published by the Georg Mueller Verlag with Efraim Frisch as editor. After an interruption of the publication for three years, Frisch had the opportunity to take over the magazine from the Georg Mueller Verlag and publish it autonomously. He would acquire Wilhelm Hausenstein, one of the magazine's regular contributors in the past, as his co-editor.

This collection is based on the correspondence of the magazine from 1919 to 1925, which Frisch brought with him when he left Germany in 1933 for Switzerland. Fega Frisch, his widow, donated more than 9,000 letters to the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City after his death.

Through reading this journal, one is able to gain insight into the various literary movements in Germany and other European countries, such as France and England. The magazine and the accompanying editorial letters can also be seen as a barometer for the cultural and political climate in Weimar Germany, especially among the intellectual circles. This correspondence reveals the hopes and fears of its makers in this uncertain time of political upheaval in Germany. This post-war period was marked by the economic instability of alternating inflation and deflation. It was also characterized by political instability. There was a local Communist revolution, a short-lived fascist government and the upcoming National Socialist movement with Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch. In essence, the collection becomes a witness for this time.

Efraim Frisch, a German-speaking Jew and Wilhelm Hausenstein built up a productive and successful collaboration. Hausenstein was a famous author of travel literature and literature about art, as well as an art sociologist, art historian and art critic. He would later become ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to France. This collection gives an impressive insight into the collaboration between these two men.

Extent

3.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

The literary and political journal Der neue Merkur appeared in Germany between 1914 and 1925. This magazine is typical of Weimar Germany, whose literary landscape was partially formed by literary and intellectual magazines. The authors of Der neue Merkur were a small but select group, who wrote more for prestige reason rather than pay. The journal was addressed to an intellectual elite and it had an immense appeal to Europe's most famous authors and public figures. The Neue Merkur Collection is based upon the magazine's correspondence letters from 1919 to 1925. A sparkling group of steady contributors, including Europe's most prominent writers and thinkers, were writing for the journal. Their letters have been collected here. Among them were Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Bertold Brecht, Jakob Wassermann, Alfred Doeblin, Max Picard, André Gide and Martin Buber.

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into one series.

Microfilm

This collection is available on 8 reels of microfilm (MF 751)
  1. Reel 1: 1/1-1/32
  2. Reel 2: 1/33-1/54
  3. Reel 3: 1/55-2/21
  4. Reel 4: 2/22-2/53
  5. Reel 5: 2/54-3/3
  6. Reel 6: 3/4-3/35
  7. Reel 7: 3/35-3/56
  8. Reel 8: 3/57-4/15
Title
Guide to Der Neue Merkur Collection, 1919-1925   AR 7141 / MF 751
Author
Processed by Valentina Schmidt
Date
© 2006
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • May 2011: Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States