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Leopold Stein Collection

Identifier: AR 3263

Scope and Content Note

The Leopold Stein collection was formed from the consolidation of two smaller collections, each of which are represented by a separate series in this collection. Contained in this collection are the personal documents and correspondence of Leopold Stein, as well as some material pertaining to Aron Wolfssohn, teacher of Giacomo Meyerbeer and Michael Beer.

Personal papers of Leopold Stein are located in both series of the collection. Among the documents in Series I are a published memorial essay on Stein and volumes of his poetry. Series II holds several biographical articles, consisting of three published pieces and one manuscript. Another item of note here is a diary. Stein's family correspondence will be found in Series I, while professional correspondence is located in Series II.

Papers of Aron Wolfssohn are placed in Series II. For the most part, these documents consist of correspondence, especially that which focuses on the education of members of the Beer family.


  • 1802-1968


Language of Materials

The collection is in German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions

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

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

Rabbi Leopold Stein was born on Novermber 5, 1810 in Burgpreppach in Lower Franconia. He decided early in life to become a Talmud teacher and rabbi like his father. At fourteen years of age he began attending the Talmud-Torah school in Fürth. There he became interested in German literature and language, and when the Bavarian government ruled in 1826 that future rabbis must also acquire secondary and university educations, Stein attended the universities of Erlangen and Würzburg. In 1834 his work Stufengesänge was published as part of Stein's candidacy for a theological degree. This volume of poetry contained a reworking of lyrics used in religious services.

Stein had already begun to preach in the synagogues on holidays by the time he was eighteen years old. In 1835, at the age of twenty-four, he became rabbi of Burgkundstadt, where he would remain for the next nine years. It was in Burgkundstadt that Stein became acquainted with Friedrich Rückert, who published some poems of Stein's in his almanac. On May 2, 1839 Stein married Eleonore Wertheimer from Mitwitz, the daughter of Sandel Wertheimer and Getta Wertheimer née Künstler. Together they had seven children.

In 1844 Leopold Stein was called to be a rabbi in Frankfurt am Main, a move which brought about the resignation of the orthodox chief rabbi, Salomon Trier. As a moderate reform rabbi, Stein stood between the orthodox and reform members of the community. In 1845 Stein presided over the Second Reform Rabbinical Conference (Rabbinerversammlung) in Frankfurt. He also published two newspapers for the Jewish community, including Der israelitische Volkslehrer and Der Freitagabend, and edited the annual Achawa. In addition, Stein continued in his writing, producing not only poetry but also dramatic works and many translations. His translations of Hebrew religious services into German culminated in the creation of a two-volume prayerbook used in services not only in Frankfurt, but also in Dresden and Augsburg. In 1860 the Orthodox members split from the main Frankfurt community, establishing the Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft. Two years later Stein left his position.

Leopold Stein began preaching at the Reform Westend Synagogue in 1866. With the help of his eldest daughter he founded a school for girls, where he taught until leaving in 1873. It was during this time that the first parts of his most well-known work appeared, Die Schrift des Lebens: Inbegriff des gesamten Judentums in Lehre, Gottesverehrung, und Sittengesetz; the final part of this work did not appear until after Stein's death. Some of his sermons were also published. After retiring from the school, Stein spent his final years concentrating on his writing.

Leopold Stein died on December 2, 1882 in Frankfurt am Main.

Selected Bibliography

Stufengesänge, Gedichte
Ḥizuḳ ha-bayit
Koheleth: ein Auswahl gettesdienstlicher Vorträge gehalten in der Haupt-Synagoge zu Frankfurt am Main in den Jahren 1844-1846
Der Eid "more judaico," wie solcher bei den Gerichten der freien Stadt Frankfurt noch in Übung ist
Lehre und Gebot, israelitisches Religionsbuch
Mein Dienst-Verhältnis zum isralitischen Gemeinde-Vorstände zu Frankfurt am Main
Haus Ehrlich, oder Die Feste: ein jüdisches Familiengemälde aus dem Ende des vorigen Jahrhunderts: Drama in fünf Abzüge
Die Schrift des Lebens (Teil 1-3)
Torath Chaim, das jüdische Religionsgesetz
Aus dem Westen: neue Predigtsammlung
Rabbi Akiba und seiner Zeit


0.5 Linear Feet


This collection holds the papers of Leopold Stein, rabbi of the Burgkunstadt and Frankfurt Jewish communities in the mid-nineteenth century. Among the documents here are biographies, official documents, poetry, and correspondence. In addition, there are also some papers, largely correspondence, of the educator Aron Wolfssohn.


This collection is arranged in two series:

Other Finding Aid

Four catalog cards provide a list of contents of the former Leopold Stein Collection (old AR 45). A detailed item-level inventory including a summary of highlights of the collection and correspondence is available of the former Machol-Stein Collection (old AR 3263).


This collection is on one reel of microfilm (MF 731).

Related Material

The LBI Library has a number of Leopold Stein's works, including his poetry and sermons.

Separated Material

Photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection.

Processing Information

This collection is comprised of two former collections, which were consolidated under one finding aid in July 2006. The previous arrangement has been maintained by assigning each of the former collections to a series.

Guide to the Papers of Leopold Stein (1810-1882) 1802-1968 AR 3263 / MF 731
Processed by Ilse Turnheim and LBI Staff
© 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from LeopoldStein.xml

Revision Statements

  • December 2009:: Microfilm information added.
  • September 2011:: Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States