Skip to main content

Gisela A. Weil Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 25391

Scope and Content Note

The Gisela Weil Family Collection holds material by and about members of her family, especially the family of her mother, the Warburgs, and the various branches of their family. The collection includes correspondence, many articles both published and unpublished, clippings, official papers and educational certificates, lengthy narratives by family members, and a few photographs. During processing of the archival collection, order was imposed by dividing the papers into series based on the branches of the family.

Series I comprises papers of the Meyer/ Mitchell family. The bulk of these consist of the correspondence of Felix Meyer (later Mitchell). These letters were written from Felix in England to his family members, most often his parents and younger sister Gisela. His letters, often written with a jovial tone, describe his life as a student, a member of the British Army, and finally as a business director with increasing responsibility as the years progressed. Following his marriage letters from his wife are also included, along with descriptions of her work with Jewish charitable institutions.

The second series contains the papers of the lawyer Erwin Weil, Gisela Meyer's eventual husband. All of his papers derive from the years prior to their marriage. The bulk of Series II also consists of correspondence, although there are additionally official and family papers many of which are either educational certificates or documentation required for immigration or for continuing his legal studies in the United States. Erwin Weil's correspondence was originally ordered both alphabetically and by subject, and this order has been retained. The alphabetical correspondence files include personal letters with family members and friends as well as general and professional correspondence. His subject files largely relate to his experiences prior to his emigration from Germany and his subsequent departure.

The largest series of the collection is Series III, which focuses on the members of the Warburg family. This series contains numerous articles and clippings on the family members, the family corporation and bank, and on the activities and achievements of the family. Subseries 1, which holds material on the family in general as well as smaller amounts on specific individuals, includes several narratives written by family members. Notable is the memoir of Elsa Warburg Melchior, which assists in tying together the various branches of the Warburg family. Related are also a few family trees in this same subseries. Documentation that pertains to Eric Warburg and Carl Melchior feature prominently in this series as well, and each of these individuals has his own subseries. Articles found among the Warburg family members' papers that were unable to be further subdivided comprise the final subseries of Series III.

Series IV consists of papers of more distant family members, including members of the Derenberg, Schiff and Robinow families. Such papers include biographical clippings, a Robinow family history and official papers of Schiff family members. Two typescripts of unclear authorship are included here as well. One of them, written in French, may be copies of notes of Alexandre de Gunzburg, who is mentioned in the memoir of Else Warburg Melchior in Series III as having been connected to the family. A second, lengthier and untitled narrative is also part of this series and was perhaps written by Anita Warburg.

The final series of this collection contains articles included in the collection without clear indication to which family branch or member they belonged. Most of these are general published articles, assigned topics during the processing of the collection. One item in this series is a personal narrative of life in postwar Germany.

Dates

  • 1829-2005
  • Majority of material found within 1933-1985

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English, German, and French.

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

Olga Meyer was the daughter of Willy Elkan and Elsa Warburg Elkan. Following the death of Willy Elkan, Elsa married her second husband George Melchior in 1917. In 1920 her daughter Olga married Adolph Meyer; they lived in Hamburg and had two children, Felix and Gisela.

Olga and Adolph's son Felix was sent to boarding school (Gordonstoun School) in Scotland in 1937. After completing his education, Felix joined the British Army's Intelligence unit as a translator and interrogator of German POWs, serving in the 8th Hussars Division. Upon becoming a citizen Felix changed his surname to Mitchell. After the war, he stayed in Great Britain and lived in London for the rest of his life. He went on to become a managing director of several firms. In 1928 he married Eva Rose, who was active in Jewish causes and became an executive of the United British Fund for World Jewish Relief.

While Felix was in England his parents and sister immigrated first to Holland and then to Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the assistance of Olga's mother Elsa Warburg Melchior. They later moved to White Plains, New York, where for several years they resided in a house that belonged to the Warburg family.

Erwin Weil was born in 1906 in Frankfurt am Main, the son of the engineer Theodor Weil and his wife Martha Weil née Hirschheim. In 1935 he immigrated to the United States with the assistance of his brother Rudolph and his cousin Siegmund Herzfeld. At some point later he married Gisela Meyer.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

The Gisela A. Weil Family Collection holds papers of several branches of the family. Prominently featured are papers of members of the Meyer, Weil, Warburg and Melchior families. These papers provide glimpses into family members' lives along with some biographical details on them. The collection includes correspondence; many articles and clippings; official papers; educational certificates; family narratives and a few family trees and photographs.

Related Material

The LBI Library and Archives include several other holdings related to the extensive Warburg family, including a number of books and family trees.

Separated Material

Two medallions belonging to the Warburg family were removed to the LBI Arts and Objects Collection.

Processing Information

The collection had little original order, so order was imposed during the processing of the collection. Series and subseries were devised based upon observation of the most prominent family branches and individuals. Entire newspapers with unidentified articles and superfluous copies of articles were removed during processing.
Title
Guide to the Papers of the Gisela A. Weil Family 1829-2005 AR 25391
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and Jerry Lindenstrauss
Date
© 2011
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from GiselaWeilFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • July 19, 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