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Meyer Ems Family Collection

Identifier: AR 3177

Scope and Content Note

The Meyer Ems Collections primarily consists of the papers of Meyer Ems and his father Abraham Leeser Ems. The collection includes official statements and certificates as well as a number of letters, a family tree and other papers on the family.

The first folder holds two letters that established Abraham Leeser Ems' position as a Schutzjude (protected Jew) in Rheda, one by Graf Moritz Casimir in 1804 and again in 1806 after his death by his son Emil Friedrich Karl. Two other letters relate to the sale of a portion of Moritz Casimir's gardens in Rheda to Abraham Leeser in 1805 and permission for him to build the family home on this land the following year.

Three folders hold letters almost entirely from Emil Friedrich Karl zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg in Hohenlimburg to Abraham Leeser Ems in Rheda, although there are a few letters by Abraham Ems to the Fürst in folder 5. Since the letters of the Fürst often have varying handwriting they may have been written by his subordinates on his behalf. Many letters seem to relate to payments or items commissioned by him. They frequently appear friendly in tone, with some mention of the Ems family members or events such as balls that were given for the Fürst's birthdays. The few letters by Abraham Ems, all addressed to Carl zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg, concern payments, possibly of a loan.

Three folders contain papers of Meyer (sometimes spelled Meier) Ems. Folder 3 consists of certificates relating to his apprenticeship in silver and goldwork and establishment in 1835 in this career. An 1829 certificate of good conduct is also present. Folder 6 holds similar papers, including an 1837 registration for practicing the trade of jeweler and goldworker. Folder 7 includes statements regarding payments by the Rath von Roppard as well as a list that records payments and calculations of interest from July 1841-December 1842.

The final two folders relate to the rest of the Ems family. The family tree (Stammbaum) lists the descendants of Abraham Leeser until 1922, while the final folder includes a letter to the LBI with some context of the collection and an article. The article is a typed copy of a humorous newspaper article ("Dörchläuting in Westfalen" - "Highness in Westphalia") that originally appeared in the local Hohenlimburg newspaper in 1902 about Marcus Ems, retainer and horse handler for an unnamed Fürst.


  • 1804-1958
  • Majority of material found within 1830-1842


Language of Materials

The collection is in German.

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


Biographical Note

Abraham Leeser was born in 1770 or 1771, probably in Rheda, Westphalia, Germany. In 1804 he received a Schutzbrief (Letter of Protection) from Moritz Casimir, Graf (Count) of Bentheim-Tecklenburg. A year later he was sold a portion of the Graf's gardens in Rheda on which to build a house. In July 1806 he married Röschen Windmüller, also of Rheda, and in 1807 or 1808 Abraham Leeser chose the surname Ems, likely because the river Ems flowed by the property. After the death of Moritz Casimir in 1806, his son Emil Friedrich Karl, later to be referred to as Fürst (Prince), renewed the Schutzbrief of Abraham Leeser Ems. Abraham and Röschen had seven children: Moses, Meyer, Pinchen, Julchen, Leeser, Rebecka, Emil and Lena. Abraham Ems was also head of the Jewish Community in Rheda. He died in 1847 in Rheda, Röschen died in 1864.

Meyer (sometimes spelled Meier) was born January 3, 1809 in Rheda, the second son of Abraham and Röschen. He became a jeweler. In May 1839 he married Olga Elise Feibes of Lengerich in Westphalia; they had four children: Julie, Bertha, Emil and Adolf. After Olga Elise's death in 1857 in Münster (Germany) he married Henriette Herz of Krefeld, with whom he had three children: Otto, Ida and Rosa. Meyer Ems died in 1878 in Münster.


0.25 Linear Feet


The Meyer Ems Family Collection contains papers of the jeweler Meyer Ems, correspondence of his father Abraham Leeser Ems with the prince of Bentheim-Tecklenburg and material on the Ems family, including a family tree.


The collection is arranged in one series.

Other Finding Aid

Five catalog cards list items in the collection.


MF 7 contains microfilmed images of letters sent to Abraham Leeser Ems from the Prince (Fürst) Emil Friedrich Karl zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg and of documents of Meyer Ems.

Related Material

Also available are photocopies of selected original documents and letters pertaining to the jeweler Meyer Ems, as well as letters from the Prince of Bentheim to Meyer’s father Abraham Leeser Ems (1817-1841).

Separated Material

Some photocopies of original documents in the collection were removed during processing in May 2013.

Processing Information

The collection was reprocessed in May 2013 in preparation of the EAD finding aid. Photocopies of original documents already in the collection were removed at this time and folders were organized by family member and arranged chronologically.

Guide to the Papers of the Meyer Ems Family 1804-1958 AR 3177
Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from MeyerEmsFamily.xml

Revision Statements

  • April 08, 2015 : dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States