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Frieda Lawrence Letters

Identifier: AR 25485

Scope and Content Note

The Frieda Lawrence Letters hold some letters of Frieda Lawrence primarily sent to her sister Else Richthofen-Jaffé and Else's son Friedel Jaffé. Included in the first folder of the collection is a summary of the letters by Guenther Roth, which also provides context for them and biographical details on Frieda Lawrence.

The remaining three folders of the collection hold Frieda Lawrence's letters. They provide many details of her daily life as well as mentioning news of other family members, especially of her second husband, D.H. Lawrence (whom she called Lawrence), her third husband Angelo Ravagli (called Angelino or Angie), her son Charles Montague (called Monty), her daughters Elsa and Barbara Joy (called Barby), and her sister Johanna (called Nusch). Other individuals frequently mentioned in the letters include Alduous Huxley, Dorothy Brett, and Mabel Luhan.

The first folder includes early letters, nearly all of which were sent to her sister Else. The first two letters date from the time when Frieda was married to Ernest Weekley. Aside from the letters sent to Else, two letters were sent to her mother, and the final letter of the folder was a New Year's letter sent to a young Friedel, with greetings by D.H. Lawrence as well as Frieda. Most letters include details of her daily life, such as where Frieda and D.H. Lawrence resided or news of their recent activities.

The final two folders hold letters dating from Frieda Lawrence's life after the death of D.H. Lawrence. The initial letters of the collection's third folder date from her travels in South America, with letters sent from Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. A letter from February 8, 1934 mentions the memoir about her life with D.H. Lawrence that she was writing. The first letter sent from Frieda's home at the Kiowa Ranch in Taos, New Mexico, was sent in May 1934; this letter also gives some of her impressions of America. Letters from this time, sent to both Else and Friedel, provide some details of her life in Taos, including frequent references to her later husband, Angie, as well as frequent entreaties to Friedel to visit her on the ranch. Three letters from December 1935-February 1936 mention Frieda living in Hollywood, California. These letters mention her unfavorable opinion of the attitudes in Hollywood and also her attempts garner interest in selling a film based on Lawrence's works. An August 27, 1940 letter to Friedel mentions the war and provides her opinions on Hitler. The fourth folder contains more wartime letters, with many referencing packages she sent to family members in Europe, as well as the wartime positions of Monty and Barby in England, and Friedel in New York. Several letters from this time were sent from El Prado, New Mexico or from Port Isabel, Texas, where she also resided. A letter from July 24, 1943 mentions some relations in the community of Taos, New Mexico, and comments on how news of the war felt so distant from her daily life. An April 14, 1944 letter reflects on her feelings for Europe but also for America. Many letters in the later 1940s mention in passing Frieda's promotion of Lawrence's work and memory, with references to the University of New Mexico's intention of building a D.H. Lawrence memorial, and of a play being made of a D.H. Lawrence work in 1945. Others allude to Frieda's interaction with friends or neighbors such as Alduous Huxley and Dorothy Brett. Some letters from 1947 describe her new house in Port Isabel, Texas. Later letters sent to Else frequently discuss books. A July 1952 letter describes a trip by Frieda Lawrence to England to see her children and grandchildren.


  • 1907-1954, 2010


Language of Materials

The collection is 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.

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

Frieda Lawrence was born in 1879 in Metz, Germany, the daughter of Baron Friedrich Ernst Emil Ludwig von Richthofen. Her elder sister was Else Richthofen-Jaffé and she had a younger sister named Johanna. Her first marriage was to professor Ernest Weekley, with whom she had three children: Charles Montague, Elsa, and Barbara Joy. After her marriage to Ernest Weekley, she was married to the author D.H. Lawrence (whom she had known since 1912) from 1914 until his death in 1930. After his death she returned to the ranch given to them by Mabel Luhan, called Kiowa Ranch, in Taos, New Mexico and spent much of the rest of her life promoting Lawrence's work. In 1934 her memoirs of her life with D.H. Lawrence, Not I, but the Wind, were published. In 1950 she married Angelo Ravagli. She died in 1956 in Taos, New Mexico.


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The Frieda Lawrence Letters hold some letters of Frieda Lawrence primarily sent to her sister Else Richthofen-Jaffé and Else's son Friedel Jaffé. Included in the first folder of the collection is a summary of the letters by Guenther Roth, which also provides context for them and biographical details on Frieda Lawrence.


The collection is arranged in one series in original order.

Related Material

The Frieda Lawrence Letters are part of the Christopher Jeffrey Collection (AR 25348) of the LBI Archives, as is a collection of correspondence of her sister, Else Richthofen-Jaffe Correspondence (AR 25486), the Kurt Riezler Letters (AR 25484), and a diary: Die Neue Vernunft: Tagebuch (ME 1623). Related is also a manuscript by Guenther Roth: Edgar Jaffé, Else von Richthofen and Their Children: From German-Jewish assimilation through antisemitic persecution to American integration A century of family correspondence 1880-1980 (MS 877).

The LBI Library holds a book on the von Richthofen sisters: The von Richthofen sisters; the triumphant and the tragic modes of love: Else and Frieda von Richthofen, Otto Gross, Max Weber, and D. H. Lawrence, in the years 1870-1970 (CS 629 R514).

Guide to the Letters of Frieda Lawrence 1907-1954, 2010 AR 25485
Processed by Dianne Ritchey
© 2015
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from FriedaLawrenceLetters.xml

Revision Statements

  • January 2016:: 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