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Winn Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25493

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains primarily the correspondence of the Winn and Taussig families, as well as a few other items.

Series I, Correspondence, mostly contains the personal correspondence of the Winn (Wiener) and Taussig families. The majority is between Joan Winn (née Hanna "Hanka" Taussig) and her mother Klara, her father Oskar, and her sister Jirina and her husband Paul Edwards (Pavel Eisner). There is also a significant amount of correspondence between Joseph Winn (Josef Wiener) and his family, and between the Winns and their friends and extended family. Topics include, for example, Jirina and Pavel's honeymoon in 1926, concerns about emigration around 1939-1941, and post-war life in the 1950s and 1960s. The container list for Series I also includes a list of significant correspondents by folder. Note that the outgoing folders and the second Joseph Winn folder contain no more than one or two letters per correspondent.

Series II, Various, includes a photograph of actor Hugo Haas and a small negative that may depict him as well; a newspaper clipping about Czech poet Helena Malířová, and photocopies of the inscription to Joan and Marie from a book of Malířová's; a book jacket photo of Richard Weiner; two manuscript poems; a 1927 schedule for an event at the Prague YMCA; and an envelope.

Series III, Addenda, includes a variety of Valentine’s day and anniversary cards, collected under the title “Birthday poetry”; as well as Joseph A. Winn’s diary. The diary consists of 242 small pages, filled with handwritten notes and attached clippings. Pages 1-174 range from 1962 to 1966 and only one entry in 1967; the years from 1968 to 1971 are recorded on pages 1-68. Marie Winn, Joseph Winn’s daughter, prepared an annotated and translated transcript of the diaries, available in the LBI Archives as DM 206.

Dates

  • 1905-1983
  • Majority of material found within 1926-1963

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is almost exclusively in Czech, and the majority has English translations attached. There is also a small amount of English correspondence.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

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

Biographical Note

Joseph Winn, born in 1901 as Josef Wiener in Podiebrad, Bohemia (today Poděbrady, Czech Republic), was a psychiatrist and a writer. He wrote short stories, aphorisms and commentaries mainly in a satirical and comical style under his pseudonym Alcantara. His works were published largely in “Lidové noviny,” “Tribuna” and “Dobrý den” (satirical biweekly magazine edited by Karel Poláček). Josef Wiener was also a friend and the physician of the members of the “Liberated Theater” Osvobozené Divadlo, a famous Czech avant-garde theatre (1926-1938).

Josef Wiener married Hanna (Hanka) Taussig, a daughter of the well-known Prague lawyer Oskar Taussig. In August 1939, the Wieners immigrated to the United States with their two daughters, Jana (Janet) and Marie. They changed their family name from Wiener to Winn, and Josef Wiener became Joseph A. Winn. The A stands for his literary pseudonym, Alcantara. Hanna Wiener became Joan Winn. Winn continued with his medical practice as well as with his writings. Joseph Winn died 1983 in New York.

Joseph Winn's mother was Alba ("Babicka") Wiener, and his sister was Marka Krajbich (married to Josef (Bobca) Krajbich). Her sons were Jirka and Ivan Krajbich. Winn's extended family included Elsa Reinisch, his cousin, and her mother Malva Oplatka, his aunt. They emigrated to Chicago in the 1920s. Another of Winn's aunts was Liduska Ruzickova, who was married to Herman Ruzicka (died 1944).

Oskar Taussig (1876-1938) was a well-known Prague lawyer and a cousin of the Czech writer Richard Weiner. He was married to Klara Taussig (died 1934). Their children were Hanna (nicknamed Hanka, later Joan Winn) and Jirina (who in 1926 married Pavel Eisner, later known as Paul Edwards). Julius Taussig (1862-1941) was Oskar's older brother, and their sisters were Hermina Kasparek (1871-1927), Pavla (1873-1943) and Kamila (1871-1927). Their mother was Julie née Meislova (1838-1913). Jiří Kašpárek (George Kasparek) was Oskar's nephew, worked for Taussig as a lawyer in his firm, and was also a friend of the Winns.

Richard Weiner was born in Pisek, today Písek, Czech Republic, on Nov. 6, 1884 and died Jan. 3, 1937. He graduated as a chemical engineer in 1906 from the University of Prague. After additional studies in Zurich and military service in Bohemia from 1907 to 1908, he decided on a career change and left for Paris to become a correspondent for the Prague newspaper 'Samostatnost'. He became a poet and writer and was called the “Czech Franz Kafka." Richard's brother was Kamil Weiner (1886-1960), who was married to Gusta Weiner (1902-1983). In the 1960s, Joan Winn tried to have the works of Richard Weiner published in the US. Today, Richard Weiner’s poems are not well known by the general public, but highly recognized by the literary critique.

Extent

0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Abstract

This collection primarily contains the correspondence of the Winn and Taussig families of Czechoslovakia and the United States.

Arrangement

This collection was arranged into three series. Materials in Series I were rearranged by correspondent and chronologically. Correspondence in a particular folder contains letters to the named person, unless otherwise noted. For correspondents who changed their names upon coming to the United States, their American names are used for folder titles. Correspondence under an earlier name is also included there, so for example the "Winn, Joan" folders also contain letters sent to her when she was known as Hanna Taussig and Hanna Wienerova.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed item-level description prepared by the donor is found in folder 1. It includes some descriptions of materials found in AR 25076. The description was prepared when the collection was arranged differently; individual items can be found by going to the folder with the correspondent's name.

Related Material

The Pavel and Winn Family Collection (AR 25076) contains very closely related material. In fact, for some documents for which only the English translations are present here, the originals are found in AR 25076.

Marie Winn, Joseph Winn’s daughter, prepared an annotated and translated transcript of the diaries, available in the LBI Archives as (Alcantara ([The diary of Joseph Winn]), DM 206).

Separated Material

The Czech children's book "Podkastanem" by Helena Malířová was removed to the LBI Library. The inscription and title page were photocopied and kept in this collection.

Processing Information

Items were removed from plastic sleeves and rehoused in acid-free folders. Some fragile items were rehoused in Mylar sleeves. For some documents, only the English translations are present. The originals for such documents are found in the closely-related collection AR 25076.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Winn Family Collection undated, 1905-1983, bulk 1926-1963 AR 25493
Author
Processed by Kevin Schlottmann
Date
© 2013
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
as part of the Leon Levy Archival Processing Initiative, made possible by the Leon Levy Foundation

Revision Statements

  • April 2015:: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

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