Alfred Lichtenstein Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection documents the personal and professional life of the flutist Alfred Lichtenstein. Among the papers in the collection are personal and official papers, correspondence, manuscripts, performance programs, flyers, a few drawings, and numerous music scores. In addition, the collection contains audio material in several formats and photographs.
Documentation recounting Alfred Lichtenstein's personal experiences and providing biographical information on him will be found in several areas of the collection. Series I holds the majority of the personal papers, including official papers such as identification and government-issued papers. This series also contains biographical articles on the musician and some jewelry that belonged to him. One folder describes and documents the fate of the golden flute given to Lichtenstein by King Constantine of Greece. Personal correspondence from family members and friends is located in Subseries 1 of Series III, and includes letters from Lichtenstein's mother and sister in Europe during the 1940s as well as a small amount of correspondence from his first wife Gerda and their daughter in the 1950s. Drawings and caricatures of Alfred Lichtenstein and his flute are located in Subseries 3 of Series IX: Addenda.
Papers that focus on the professional life of Alfred Lichtenstein are similarly represented in various places in the collection. Perhaps the areas that best represent his professional work are Series VI and Series VIII. Series VI: Audio Material contains a few sound recordings of Alfred Lichtenstein's performances, including a copy on compact disc of his LP record, Gems on the Flute. Series VIII, by far the most physically prominent series of this collection, holds numerous music scores used by Alfred Lichtenstein, often with handwritten notations and including both his own compositions and those created for him by other composers. Series V holds many papers related to his performances, including publications advertising his participation, scrapbooks, possible teaching documentation, and copies of permits. In Series I are located several folders with papers pertaining to the work of a professional musician, including a list of Lichtenstein's repertoire, curriculum vitae, and employment documents including two certificates certifying volunteer work and a contract in Spanish. The income and expense estimations found in Series I depict his earnings. Lichtenstein's correspondence with agents and performance venues will be found in Subseries 2 of Series III. Alfred Lichtenstein wrote several articles as well as a manuscript advocating study of the flute; correspondence with publishers concerning the latter is located in Series III. Among the photographs of Alfred Lichtenstein in Series VII are several taken with groups of others, possibly ensembles he took part in.
In addition to papers of Alfred Lichtenstein, this collection also holds documents pertaining to his family members. These will chiefly be found in Series II, which holds papers of his first wife Gerda and second wife Georgette, his daughter Sylvia, and a few photocopies of offical papers belonging to his father Siegfried. Among the papers in this series are a small amount of letters from Gerda to her daughter as well as a few clippings, identification cards, and other official documents. Sylvia Lichtenstein's papers in this series provide some information on the family genealogy as well as including some of her own poetry. As mentioned above, Series III holds Lichtenstein family correspondence in Subseries 1. Series VI contains audio featuring the music of Gerda and Sylvia Lichtenstein, and Series VII includes a few photographs of Gerda, Sylvia, Erna, and Georgette Lichtenstein. Finally, correspondence discussing Alfred Lichtenstein's attempts to receive restitution for the Lichtenstein family property in Berlin-Lankwitz is located in Subseries 3 of Series III and Subseries 2 of Series IX.
- Creation: 1874-2004
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-1975
Language of Materials
The collection is primarily in German, English, and Spanish.
Open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
Collection is microfilmed - MF 762.
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.
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
Alfred Aaron Lichtenstein was born in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), in 1901. He was the son of Siegfried and Fredericke (née Josephson) Lichtenstein and had a sister, Erna. As a boy he showed talent with the flute, and at the age of 16 began studying under Emil Prill, who then held the position of first flutist at the Berlin Opera. Further teachers included Emilio Puyans in Switzerland and Philippe Gaubert and Gabriel Pierné in Paris. Lichtenstein debuted on September 6, 1920 in Berlin.
Alfred Lichtenstein began touring Europe as a concert flutist in the early 1920s. In March 1921 he was invited by King Constantine I of Greece to perform at his son's wedding, for which Lichtenstein was given a golden flute studded with over two hundred diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. He became known thereafter as 'The Man with the Golden Flute' and was soon recognized as one of the leading flutists of Europe. His touring took him throughout Europe as well as Egypt. Compositions were written for him by well-known composers such as Eugene Goossens, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honneger, and Alexander Jemnitz.
In 1939 Alfred Lichtenstein was forced to leave Germany with his wife Gerda Lichtenstein (later known as Grace Lindsay) and their three-year-old daughter Sylvia. After briefly finding refuge in England, the family resettled in Buenos Aires, where Alfred Lichtenstein had a contract waiting. The family spent fourteen years in Argentina, with Lichtenstein primarily working in orchestras in theaters and giving occasional recitals and lessons. Alfred Lichtenstein was the only surviving member of his immediate family: his father died in Berlin in 1937 while his mother died in Theresienstadt in 1942. His sister Erna Stapf was presumed to have died near Zagreb in 1945. In 1954 the Lichtensteins were finally able to come to the United States and settled in New York City. During this time, Alfred Lichtenstein and his wife Gerda separated, and in 1968 Alfred Lichtenstein married Georgette Wegh.
Once in New York, Lichtenstein was able to renew his musical career, even though he never achieved the fame he had enjoyed earlier in Europe. Although he primarily performed live, he also played for Paramount Films and ABC television, as well as on radio programs in Europe, Egypt, Argentina, and New York, and his music was included on several records. He performed in many locations in the New York area, including open-air concerts in city parks. In addition he was invited back to Berlin in 1975, and returned for a second tour of Germany two years later.
Alfred Lichtenstein died at his home in Floral Park in 1986.
7 Linear Feet
This collection documents the life and work of the flute player Alfred Lichtenstein. Contained in this collection are papers relating to his professional life, including recordings, programs, photographs, flyers, and clippings concerning his public performances, and also an extensive amount of music scores used by him. His personal life is reflected in personal correspondence, including letters exchanged with other family members and photographs as well as identification and immigration papers. Some papers of his family members, including his wives, daughter, and father, will also be found here as well as restitution correspondence.
This collection is comprised of six series:
- Series I: Personal Papers, 1914-1980
- Series II: Other Family Members, 1918-2004
- Series III: Correspondence, 1923-1980
- Subseries 1: Personal, 1923-1978
- Subseries 2: Professional, 1926-1977
- Subseries 3: Restitution, 1947-1980
- Series IV: Writings, undated, 1925
- Series V: Publicity Material, 1928-1987
- Series VI: Audio, undated, 1963-1969
- Series VII: Photographs and Visual Material, 1929-1975
- Series VIII: Music Scores, 1874-1960
- Subseries 1: Music Scores by Alfred Lichtenstein, 1928
- Subseries 2: Music Scores Dedicated to Alfred Lichtenstein, 1917-1960
- Subseries 3: Collected Music Scores, 1874-1953
- Series IX: Addenda, 1920-2001
- Subseries 1: Personal and Professional, 1953-2001
- Subseries 2: Correspondence, 1936-1987
- Subseries 3: undated, 1920-1947
The collection is on 9 reels of microfilm (MF 762):
- Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/53
- Reel 2: 1/54 - 2/9
- Reel 3: 2/10 - 3/1
- Reel 4: 4/1 - 4/19
- Reel 5: 4/20 - 5/8
- Reel 6: 5/9 - 6/4
- Reel 7: 6/5 - 7/3
- Reel 8: 7/4 - 8/12
- Reel 9: 8/13 - 8/15
A flute and printing stamp were removed to the LBI's Art and Objects Collection. A phonograph record was removed to the LBI's Audiovisual Collection.
In the preparation of the EAD finding aid, several feet of addenda were added to the original collection. Similar materials were grouped together to form series and subseries, and description was added.
- Guide to the Papers of Alfred Lichtenstein (1901-1986) 1874-2004 AR 25284 / MF 762
- Processed by Dianne Ritchey Oummia
- © 2007
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- Edition statement
- This version was derived from AlfredLichtenstein.xml
- 2010-12-20: : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from "extref" to "dao" through dao_conv.xsl.
- August 2007:: Addenda was added to the collection.