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William and Charlotte Engel Levison Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25001

Scope and Content Note

The William and Charlotte Engel Levison Family Collection documents the personal and professional lives of William and Charlotte Engel Levison as well as their family histories. Among the papers of this collection are official papers, correspondence, diaries and daily calendars, biographical and memoir material, military and professional papers, and notes.

Prominent in this collection are the papers of ancestors of William and Charlotte Engel Levison, including nineteenth-century official documents, correspondence, and diaries for members of the Levison, Leubsdorf, Engel, Hertz, and Enders families. In some instances transcripts or excerpts of the original handwritten original documents are present. Papers of the Levison and Leubsdorf families, including an account of a trip taken by William Levison's parents to New York in 1935, are located in Series I. Papers of Engel family ancestors will be found in Series III. This series includes Subseries 1, which holds general genealogical information and family trees as well as subseries pertaining to several branches of the family, including the Hertz/ Orthenberger Family, Enders Family, and Engel Family. The bulk of Series III consists of official papers, correspondence, and memoir excerpts of various family members.

Personal papers of William and Charlotte Engel Levison additionally comprise a significant portion of this collection. Personal papers of William Levison are contained in Subseries 1 of Series II. Among these documents are official papers such as passports, and birth certificates, condolence letters and obituaries marking his death, and papers relating to his wedding and fiftieth birthday. Some personal correspondence between William Levison and friends will be found in Subseries 2 of Series II; letters from him and while serving in World War II will be found in Subseries 3. Photographs of William Levison and views of his military unit during the war will be found in Series VII: Visual Material. Series IV is primarily comprised of the personal papers and correspondence of Charlotte Engel Levison. Subseries 1 of Series IV includes daily calendars and a poetry book, some official documents, clippings on toy creation, and school papers. Subseries 2 of Series IV holds an extensive amount of personal correspondence with family members and friends, all of which dates after her immigration to in the United States. This series also includes recipes, travel material, and a few manuscripts of fairy tales.

Much of the professional documentation in this collection pertains to the medical practice of William Levison. His professional papers, found in Subseries 4 of Series II include copies of medical certificates and diplomas, ledger books from his Newark, New Jersey office, and notes and articles, especially relating to diabetes. His work in the medical corps during World War II is reflected in the papers of Subseries 3 of Series II. A small amount of his professional correspondence is located in Subseries 2: Correspondence of Series II. Charlotte Engel Levison's work as an infant nurse is evidenced in some of the material in Subseries 1 of Series IV, including her notebook of infant care and clipping related to children. Her study of shorthand can be seen in the notebooks of Subseries 3 of the same series. Judith Levison's preparation as a doctor is documented in the extensive material relating to her medical studies during the 1970s.

In addition to papers, this collection holds some objects and visual material. Visual material includes photographs of family members as well as material gathered for use in Charlotte Engel Levison's memoir, A Patchwork of Memories. Many objects and artwork were removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

Dates

  • 1717-2007

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

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

Copyright and literary property right in the collection is held by donor. Citation of material needs permission of the donor or her heirs. 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 Notes

William Levison William Levison (born Wilhelm Samuel Levison), physician, born April 12, 1909 in Cologne, died 1961 in Newark. After attending the Schiller-Gymnasium in Cologne until 1927, he studied medicine in Freiburg im Breisgau, Cologne, and Munich. He passed the state medical examination in Cologne on December 20, 1932, and received his M.D two days later with the dissertation Komplementbestimmungen bei Herz- und Kreislaufkranken (Complementary Diagnosis of Heart and Circulatory Patients), published in Zeitschrift fuer die Gesamte Experimentelle Medizin (vol. 78. 1931). He spent his practical year in Heidelberg (bei Siebeck) and at the medical institutes of the University of Cologne. Since as a result of the changed political circumstances he was forbidden to practice medicine in Germany, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1934, attaining citizenship in 1940.

William Levison worked first as an assistant at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, then at the Newark Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, and thus continued the vocation of family doctor into the third generation. He published several medical articles. In November 1942 he was drafted and became lieutenant in the medical corps of the U.S. Army. First stationed in various parts of the United States, he was later sent to the research station of a hospital in Hawaii, where he became a captain. On November 19, 1941 he married Charlotte Engel. They had a daughter: Judith Eve (born January 30, 1950). By December 1950 he became a Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Fellow of the American College of Physicians. In 1951 he was elected to the Board of Governors of the New Jersey Diabetes Association. With a group of physicians he founded a vacation camp for children with diabetes, Camp Nejeda. He died in 1961.

Levison Family The Levison Family was rooted in the northern Rhine area for more than 250 years. The first known ancestor of the male line (Loew) is traceable in Siegburg, probably in 1673, definitely before 1681. Siegburg seems to be the "cradle" of the family, even to those members who were brought to Duesseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, etc. in the nineteenth century. William Levison's grandfather Isaac Levison was the first member of the family to become a physician, he graduated in 1857 in Greifswald. In 1939 the last bearer of the Levison name left Siegburg. William's uncle, the historian Wilhelm Levison (born Duesseldorf in 1876, died in Durham, U.K., in 1947), who was a professor in Bonn until his dismissal in 1935, wrote a comprehensive family history of the Levison family, which was published after his death under the title: Die Siegburger Familie Levison und verwandte Familien (1951).

Charlotte Engel Levison William Levison's wife, Charlotte Engel Levison (maiden name: Charlotte Engel), was born in Frankfurt am Main on March 24, 1911. Her father Karl Ludwig (Fritz) Engel (1884-1929) worked for the Cologne branch of the Frankfurter Metallgesellschaft, and moved back to Frankfurt in 1920 to work for the construction company established by his great-grandfather Philipp Carl Kayser & Son. The family first lived in their own apartment at Rossertstrasse 3. During World War I she and her mother Helene Elise (Leni) Enders (1878-1927) moved to the residence of her maternal grandmother Anna Christiane Enders, née Orthenberger (1855-1930) at Liebigstrasse. Charlotte attended the Elisabethenschule in Frankfurt from 1917 to 1927, a school for girls founded in 1903. She entered a business school in 1927, and worked as a secretary for foreign languages. Engel's mother Helene Elise (Leni) Enders (1878-1927) died on March 19, 1927 of breast cancer. Her father remarried Lily Ebhardt on November 1, 1928. He committed suicide in a hotel in Frankfurt for financial reasons in May 1929.

Charlotte Engel came to the United States in 1934, and worked first as an au pair, and later as an infant nurse. On November 19, 1941 she married the surgeon William Levison (i.e. Wilhelm Samuel Levison) (1908-1961). Engel first met her future husband in Cologne when she visited one of her father’s friends in Cologne in 1920 (her father’s friend Felix Ganz married Resi Lobbenberg, who was William Levison's cousin. Their daughter Eva married Otto Willner). She was nine years old, he eleven; they became friends and she visited him occasionally in Cologne. In 1933 he proposed to her for the first time. She met William again in the United States, they married in 1941. They had a daughter: Judith Eve (born January 30, 1950). Engel Levison died in March 2001.

Doctor/ Dondorf/ Hertz/ Engel Family Engel Levison's parents and ancestors (Doctor-Dondorf-Hertz-Engel Family) were born and raised in the city of Frankfurt am Main. She had German-Jewish ancestors on her maternal side (great-great-grandparents: Moritz Hertz (1800-?) and Fanny Hertz (1800-?), great-grandmother: Helene Hertz née Orthenberger (1832-1886). The family owned a textile business. Engel's great-great-grandfather Moritz Hertz was the founder of the family business. He started out dealing in laces, which was turned into a successful dress making business under the name M. Hertz. His daughter Helene Orthenberger née (1832-1886), Engel's great-grandmother, continued running her father’s business under her name H. Orthenberger-Hertz. She was married to the non-Jew Carl Otto Orthenberger (1825-1883), a lawyer. She had five children. Her daughter Anna Enders née Orthenberger took over the business in 1886. She retired in 1906 and handed it over to her sister Fanny Diehl.

William Levison

William Levison (born Wilhelm Samuel Levison), physician, born April 12, 1909 in Cologne, died 1961 in Newark. After attending the Schiller-Gymnasium in Cologne until 1927, he studied medicine in Freiburg im Breisgau, Cologne, and Munich. He passed the state medical examination in Cologne on December 20, 1932, and received his M.D two days later with the dissertation Komplementbestimmungen bei Herz- und Kreislaufkranken (Complementary Diagnosis of Heart and Circulatory Patients), published in Zeitschrift fuer die Gesamte Experimentelle Medizin (vol. 78. 1931). He spent his practical year in Heidelberg (bei Siebeck) and at the medical institutes of the University of Cologne. Since as a result of the changed political circumstances he was forbidden to practice medicine in Germany, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1934, attaining citizenship in 1940.

William Levison worked first as an assistant at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, then at the Newark Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, and thus continued the vocation of family doctor into the third generation. He published several medical articles. In November 1942 he was drafted and became lieutenant in the medical corps of the U.S. Army. First stationed in various parts of the United States, he was later sent to the research station of a hospital in Hawaii, where he became a captain. On November 19, 1941 he married Charlotte Engel. They had a daughter: Judith Eve (born January 30, 1950). By December 1950 he became a Certified Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Fellow of the American College of Physicians. In 1951 he was elected to the Board of Governors of the New Jersey Diabetes Association. With a group of physicians he founded a vacation camp for children with diabetes, Camp Nejeda. He died in 1961.

Levison Family

The Levison Family was rooted in the northern Rhine area for more than 250 years. The first known ancestor of the male line (Loew) is traceable in Siegburg, probably in 1673, definitely before 1681. Siegburg seems to be the "cradle" of the family, even to those members who were brought to Duesseldorf, Cologne, Bonn, etc. in the nineteenth century. William Levison's grandfather Isaac Levison was the first member of the family to become a physician, he graduated in 1857 in Greifswald. In 1939 the last bearer of the Levison name left Siegburg. William's uncle, the historian Wilhelm Levison (born Duesseldorf in 1876, died in Durham, U.K., in 1947), who was a professor in Bonn until his dismissal in 1935, wrote a comprehensive family history of the Levison family, which was published after his death under the title: Die Siegburger Familie Levison und verwandte Familien (1951).

Charlotte Engel Levison

William Levison's wife, Charlotte Engel Levison (maiden name: Charlotte Engel), was born in Frankfurt am Main on March 24, 1911. Her father Karl Ludwig (Fritz) Engel (1884-1929) worked for the Cologne branch of the Frankfurter Metallgesellschaft, and moved back to Frankfurt in 1920 to work for the construction company established by his great-grandfather Philipp Carl Kayser & Son. The family first lived in their own apartment at Rossertstrasse 3. During World War I she and her mother Helene Elise (Leni) Enders (1878-1927) moved to the residence of her maternal grandmother Anna Christiane Enders, née Orthenberger (1855-1930) at Liebigstrasse. Charlotte attended the Elisabethenschule in Frankfurt from 1917 to 1927, a school for girls founded in 1903. She entered a business school in 1927, and worked as a secretary for foreign languages. Engel's mother Helene Elise (Leni) Enders (1878-1927) died on March 19, 1927 of breast cancer. Her father remarried Lily Ebhardt on November 1, 1928. He committed suicide in a hotel in Frankfurt for financial reasons in May 1929.

Charlotte Engel came to the United States in 1934, and worked first as an au pair, and later as an infant nurse. On November 19, 1941 she married the surgeon William Levison (i.e. Wilhelm Samuel Levison) (1908-1961). Engel first met her future husband in Cologne when she visited one of her father’s friends in Cologne in 1920 (her father’s friend Felix Ganz married Resi Lobbenberg, who was William Levison's cousin. Their daughter Eva married Otto Willner). She was nine years old, he eleven; they became friends and she visited him occasionally in Cologne. In 1933 he proposed to her for the first time. She met William again in the United States, they married in 1941. They had a daughter: Judith Eve (born January 30, 1950). Engel Levison died in March 2001.

Doctor/ Dondorf/ Hertz/ Engel Family

Engel Levison's parents and ancestors (Doctor-Dondorf-Hertz-Engel Family) were born and raised in the city of Frankfurt am Main. She had German-Jewish ancestors on her maternal side (great-great-grandparents: Moritz Hertz (1800-?) and Fanny Hertz (1800-?), great-grandmother: Helene Hertz née Orthenberger (1832-1886). The family owned a textile business. Engel's great-great-grandfather Moritz Hertz was the founder of the family business. He started out dealing in laces, which was turned into a successful dress making business under the name M. Hertz. His daughter Helene Orthenberger née (1832-1886), Engel's great-grandmother, continued running her father’s business under her name H. Orthenberger-Hertz. She was married to the non-Jew Carl Otto Orthenberger (1825-1883), a lawyer. She had five children. Her daughter Anna Enders née Orthenberger took over the business in 1886. She retired in 1906 and handed it over to her sister Fanny Diehl.

Extent

10 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection contains the papers of William and Charlotte Engel Levison and their family members. It largely documents the professional work of William Levison, the personal correspondence and interests of Charlotte Engel Levison, and the family history of both the Levison and Engel families, including papers of family ancestors. Among the papers of this collection are official papers, correspondence, poetry books, diaries, memoir material, military and professional papers, notes, and clippings.

Microfilm

This collection is on twenty-one reels of microfilm (MF 939):
  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/19
  2. Reel 2: 1/20 - 1/42
  3. Reel 3: 2/1 - 2/5
  4. Reel 4: 2/6 - 2/37
  5. Reel 5: R 59/3 - 2/24
  6. Reel 6: 2/25 - 3/4
  7. Reel 7: 3/5 - 3/9
  8. Reel 8: R 59/8 - Box 4
  9. Reel 9: Box 4
  10. Reel 10: Box 4 - 5/10
  11. Reel 11: 5/11 - 5/40
  12. Reel 12: 5/41 - 6/4
  13. Reel 13: 10/7 - 10/11
  14. Reel 14: 10/12 - 10/16
  15. Reel 15: 6/6 - 6/10
  16. Reel 16: 6/11 - 6/16
  17. Reel 17: 6/17 - 6/21
  18. Reel 18: 6/22 - 6/27
  19. Reel 19: 7/1 - 7/8
  20. Reel 20: 9/1 - 9/32
  21. Reel 21: F AR 25001 - OS 127/4

Related Material

The LBI Library holds a copy of Wilhelm Levison's history of the Levison family, Die Siegburger Familie Levison und verwandte Familien (q CS 629 L48 L4). The library also includes a translation of this work by Nina Morris-Farber. In addition, the library has copies of many other works by Wilhelm Levison.

The LBI Archives also contain the Wilhelm Levison Collection (AR 3906), as well as the memoirs of several family members. Related memoirs include:
  1. Levison, (Charlotte) Engel: A Patchwork of Memories (ME 1229)
  2. Enders, Otto: Memoirs (ME 1494)
  3. Enders, Johann Philipp: Kurze Beschreibung von meiner Reise (ME 1399)
  4. Levison, Alfred: Reisebericht von Dr. Alfred Levison und seiner Frau Ella nach New York, April 20, 1935. (ME 1390)

Separated Material

Many items were removed to the Art and Objects Collection.

Artworks removed to the Art and Objects Collection include portraits of Helene Hertz and other family members and a painting of four generations of the Engel family.

Objects removed to the Art and Objects Collection include two wedding goblets ("Roemer") of Moritz and Fanny Hertz, dated circa 1830. Moritz gave the goblets to his wife as a wedding gift. The stem and goblet are hand-painted in orange, black, yellow, and white, and there is a crest with a crowned eagle with outstretched wings and feet (2001.73 a-f). Objects retained with the collection are located in Box 8B.

In addition, two trousseaus were removed to the Art and Objects Collection, belonging to Ella Leubsdorf-Levison (2001.68) and Anna Levison (2001.72). Anna Levison's trousseau includes a Sabbath cloth in a suitcase.

A children's game from the 1920s was also removed to the Art and Objects Collection, Die Puppenschneiderei [tailor's workshop for dolls]. The game consists of a doll as well as fabrics, yarn, and other sewing paraphernalia (2002.19 and 2004.28).

Medical instruments used by William Levison were also removed to the Art and Objects Collection.

Some photographs from this collection have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection (F AR 25001).

Boxes 10 and 11 have not been microfilmed.

Processing Information

This collection was originally processed and arranged in 2001, with additions incorporated into the existing arrangement in August-September 2008 in preparation for the creation of the online finding aid. During the latter processing some content notes were also added. Some rare and oversized materials were removed from the main collection, with photocopies of the material retained.

Boxes 10 and 11, which contain material such as publications, recipe clippings, and books, have not been microfilmed. Boxes 8 and 8B, which hold objects, have also not been microfilmed.
Title
Guide to the Papers of William (1909-1961) and Charlotte Engel (1911-2001) Levison 1717-2007 AR 25001 / MF 939
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Renate Evers and Dianne Ritchey Oummia
Date
© 2008
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from WilliamEngelLevison.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 2009:: Added microfilm inventory.
  • March 2010:: Edited Biographical Notes and Container List.
  • 2010-05-17 : Encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

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