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Dann Family Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 6944

Scope and Content Note

The diaries in this collection were kept by Sophie Dann and two of her children, Sidonie and Ludwig. In addition to recording the ups and downs of family life, including illnesses, births, and deaths, the contents also reflect various shifts in sentiment and lifestyle over two generations of German Jews. All of the diaries except for the booklet of toasts in folder 9 are accompanied by English translations or summaries.

The diaries of Sophie Dann record the vicissitudes of her life, focusing primarily on the health of her children. She meticulously records all the illnesses suffered by her children and other family members as well as the doctor's prescriptions. She also makes note of other rites of passage, including first days of school, family deaths, marriages, holidays, etc. There is little reflection outside of practical events.

Ludwig Dann began his diary as a teenager and much of the contents of diaries 1 and 2 broods on his adolescent feelings and affection for his cousin, Clara who eventually marries a man twice her age, to Ludwig's great disappointment. He describes several other infatuations, all of which do not work out either due to the girl becoming engaged to another man or due to his family's disapproval. The girls are named Lina Levy, Amelie Rosenthal, and Caroline Jesselsohn. Finally, at the end of 1862 he begins to court the Rabbi's daughter, Thea Stein, to whom he is eventually wed. Diary 2 ends before their wedding and Diary 3 begins after they have a child already, so the exact dates of events are unclear. Turning now from lovelorn musings to the responsibilities of a family man, this diary is filled with news on his children and their illnesses. Their first son, Bertram, dies after a precarious first year characterized by numerous health complications. They next have a daughter, Clementine Thea, a son Albert, and another daughter Laura Leonore who died shortly after her birth. Following this pregnancy Thea suffered a miscarriage after which the diary ends. In addition to details on illnesses, his profession, and family life, the diaries also reflect this generation's changing attitudes towards religious observation. For example, Ludwig and Thea no longer eat kosher meat, though other acquaintances do. On the other hand Ludwig respected his parents' wishes regarding his choice of wife, though their marriage was not an official match.

Sidonie's diaries are very different than those of her mother and brother. They begin after she has married Leopold (diary 1 is labelled diary 2 in the translation, but there are no previous diaries in the collection) and because the couple is unable to have children, her entries focus on events in her day-to-day life, from social outings to domestic duties to various journeys made with her husband including to Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland, France, and London. Therefore she reflects far more on the greater world and aspects of life outside of family.

The booklet in folder 9 contains toasts made at various festive occasions over several years. It likely belonged to Ludwig Dann. There are no translations accompanying this booklet. The following names are mentioned in the diaries: Rosenthal, Jesselsohn, Stein, Gumprecht, Wiesenthal, Landauer, Feuchtwanger, Wertheimer, Braunschweig.

Dates

  • 1832-1879

Creator

Language of Materials

This collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

The Dann family was a merchant family in Frankfurt. Sophie Dann and her husband had numerous children, many of whom moved to other countries and established businesses there. Ludwig and Sidonie, two of Sophie's children, remained in Frankfurt and went into business together. Sidonie had married her uncle, Leopold Dann, and thus her name did not change.

Extent

9 Folders

Abstract

The diaries in this collection were kept by Sophie Dann and two of her children, Sidonie and Ludwig. In addition to recording the ups and downs of family life, including illnesses, births, and deaths, the contents also reflect various shifts in sentiment and lifestyle over two generations of German Jews. All of the diaries except for the booklet of toasts in folder 9 are accompanied by English translations or summaries.
Title
Guide to the Dann Family Collection, 1832-1879  AR 6944
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Julie Dawson
Date
© 2012
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • July 16, 2013 : 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