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Herbert and Leni Fromm Collection

Identifier: AR 10609 / MF 1011

Scope and Content Note

The Leni and Herbert Fromm Collection documents the professional activities and, to a lesser extent, personal lives of this couple. The most predominant subject is Leni Fromm's work as hostess of the German Radio Hour in Boston, Massachusetts; other salient subjects include Herbert Fromm's occupation as a composer and musical director. The collection features personal and professional correspondence, radio scripts, manuscripts of Herbert Fromm's writing, clippings and articles, programs, and schedules, among other papers. This collection is a consolidation of two previous collections, the Leni Fromm Collection and the Herbert Fromm Collection; Series I comprises papers from the former and Series II the latter.

Professional papers concern the bulk of this collection. Chief among these are the professional papers of Leni Fromm. Documentation of her position as hostess of the German Radio Hour is found in Subseries 2 of Series I, and includes correspondence, copies of scripts, and related papers. Most of this correspondence is between Leni Fromm and potential guests for the radio show, and involves co-ordination of the guests' appearances. Other letters are from representatives of the radio station, the German Consulate, or members of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), who sponsored the show. Some folders hold correspondence from listeners, especially in response to puzzles posed by Leni during the show, or to demonstrate their support of the program. Scripts are available for nearly every show, and include the texts of advertisements as well as the content of the program and stage directions. Other material, including articles on various topics, may have been used in the production of the show or selection of guests or programming.

The professional papers of Herbert Fromm are also prominent in this collection, and comprise the second subseries of Series II. Such papers significantly include manuscripts of his writings, material pertaining to the New England Jewish Music Forum, and a small amount of examples of his musical compositions and texts for vocal music.

Personal correspondence is additionally featured in this collection, although it is almost entirely from other individuals and does not provide significant information on the biographies of Leni and Herbert Fromm. Personal correspondence sent to Leni Fromm will be found in the initial subseries of Series I, while Herbert Fromm's personal letters are in the first subseries of Series II.


  • 1923-1994
  • Majority of material found within 1958-1973


Language of Materials

The collection is primarily 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.

Collection is microfilmed - MF 1011.

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.

Access Restrictions

Collection is microfilmed, please use MF 1011.

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


Biographical Note

Herbert Fromm was born in Kitzingen, Germany in 1905, and studied at the State Academy of Music in Munich. He was an assistant conductor for state operas in Bielefeld and Würzburg. After losing his position in 1933, he became involved with the Jüdischer Kulturbund in Deutschland. While working for the Kulturbund he began incorporating Jewish themes into his compositions, and it was also at the Kulturbund that he met his future wife, Leni Steinberg.

In 1937 Herbert Fromm immigrated to New York, where he found a position as the organist and choir director of Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, New York. In 1941 he married Leni Steinberg. During the same year he began working at Temple Israel in Boston, where he became the Temple's music director and organist. He remained with the Temple until his retirement.

Herbert Fromm attained recognition for his liturgical music, and composed a number of works for use in synagogues. His work Song of Miriam received the Ernest Bloch Award in 1945; in 1966 he was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Langley College. In addition, he was the author of three books: The Key of See: Travel Journals of a Composer; Seven Pockets; and On Jewish Music: A Composer's View. By the late 1950s Leni Fromm was working as hostess of the German Radio Hour program at the Boston radio station WBOS (later WGBH). The program ran once a week from 1958 until 1973.


4 Linear Feet


This collection primarily holds material on the professional lives of Leni Fromm, hostess of the Boston based German Radio Hour, and her husband, the composer Herbert Fromm. Papers here include material on Leni Fromm's radio program and some of Herbert Fromm's professional appearances and activities. Some of the Fromms' personal correspondence is additionally included. The collection comprises correspondence, radio scripts, unpublished manuscripts, clippings and articles, and a few music scores and photographs.


Collection is available on 9 reels of microfilm (MF 1011).

  1. Reel 1: 1/1-1/20
  2. Reel 2: 1/21-1/39
  3. Reel 3: 1/40-2/14
  4. Reel 4: 2/15-2/28
  5. Reel 5: 2/29-3/5
  6. Reel 6: 3/6-3/13
  7. Reel 7: 3/14-4/8
  8. Reel 8: 4/9-4/28
  9. Reel 9: 4/29-4/38

Related Material

The Music Archives at the Jewish Theological Seminary has a Herbert Fromm Collection consisting of thirty-two boxes and three online finding aids that describe the collection.

The LBI Library includes a copy of Herbert Fromm's published book The Key of See: Travel Journals of a Composer [ML 410 F96 A3]. Published copies of Herbert Fromm's other books are available at the LBI's partner institutions at the Center for Jewish History. The library of the American Jewish Historical Society has his book Seven Pockets , while the YIVO Library holds On Jewish Music: A Composer's View .

Separated Material

An audioreel and an audiocassette have been removed to the Audiovisual Collection.

Processing Information

This collection was formerly two archival collections, the Leni Fromm Collection (AR 10609) and the Herbert Fromm Collection (AR 10610). The two collections have been integrated into one, with each series representing the previous collections.

Some periodicals without extensive notations were removed from the collection during processing, with photocopies of notations and copyright information retained in the archival collection.

Guide to the Papers of Leni and Herbert Fromm 1923-1994 AR 10609 / MF 1011
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from HerbertLeniFromm.xml

Revision Statements

  • 2010-11-30 : 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

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States