Wilmersdoerffer/Wilmers Family Collection
Scope and Contents
The Wilmersdoerffer/Wilmers Family collection pertains to the family of the twins John Geoffrey Wilmers (né Hans Max Wilmersdoerffer) and Marianne Gourary (née Wilmersdoerffer), who were born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, in 1920, and eventually emigrated to England and the United States, respectively. The collection contains a small amount of family papers, three family trees, and a few secondary materials containing biographical information pertaining to family members. The family papers include a bookplate of Max Wilmersdoerffer, with a family coat of arms; two photographs of Ernst Wilmersdoerffer; copies of two family letters written in 1947 by Hugo Schimmelburg, the twins' maternal grandfather; a copy of a restitution decision issued by the Wiedergutmachungskammer (Court for Reparations) in Munich, in 1955, in the matter of a claim brought by Schimmelburg's daughter Elsbeth Bloch and his estate; and materials related to a memorial service for John Wilmers, in 1985, the year after his death.
On the paternal side, family trees document the Wilmersdoerffer and Oberndoerffer families, who, in the late 18th century, came originally from Wilhermsdorf, Bavaria, and Oberdorf, near Bopfingen, Württemberg (today, Baden-Württemberg), respectively. On the maternal side, a family tree documents the descendants of Hugo Schimmelburg (originally of Stade, Germany) and his wife Johanna (née Haymann), with inclusion of the Haymann-Nauheim (Norland) family.
- Gourary, Marianne, 1920-2014 (Person)
Language of Materials
The collection is in German and English.
Conditions Governing Access
Open to researchers.
Conditions Governing Use
There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.
Marianne Gourary (née Wilmersdoerffer) and her twin brother, John Geoffrey Wilmers (né Hans Max Wilmersdoerffer) were born on 27 December 1920, in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, the children of Martha (née Schimmelburg) and Ernst Wilmersdoerffer. Their mother died in 1930, and their father, in 1933. Sometime after that, the two children were sent to Switzerland, where they were initially under the guardianship of Erwin Stiebel, of Zurich (a nephew of their maternal grandfather).
In 1935, Hans Wilmersdoerffer went to England, where he attended the Leighton Park School, in Reading, a Quaker school. He subsequently changed his name to John Geoffrey Wilmers, and went on to study law at St. John's College, Cambridge. He became a naturalized British citizen and served in the British military during the Second World War. In 1946 he married June Mecredy (born in Dublin, 1925); they resided in London and had three children, one son and two daughters. John Wilmers had a distinguished law career. He was appointed a Queens Counsel in 1965; from 1972 he was a Recorder, as well as a Bencher of the Inner Temple, and from 1978, a judge of the Court of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey. He died in London, 17 December 1984.
Marianne Gourary graduated from the International School of Geneva, in 1941, and then attended the University of Geneva for a time, before leaving to marry Orazio Frugoni (1921-1997), an Italian concert pianist, born in Davos, Switzerland. After the Second World War, they immigrated together to the United States, arriving in New York in 1946; they subsequently resided in Flushing, Queens, in New York City. They divorced in 1956. Later that year, Marianne married Paul Gourary (1919-2007), in New York; they resided in Manhattan. Paul Gourary was born in Baden, near Vienna, and had lived in Vienna until the time of the Nazi annexation of Austria, in 1938; he emigrated with his parents first to England and then to the United States, arriving in New York in 1939. Marianne and Paul Gourary, who both became naturalized American citizens, were known as collectors of rare books, prints, and manuscripts. Marianne Gourary had a daughter with her first husband, and a son with her second husband. She died in Manhattan, 2 October 2014.
Marianne and John's father, Ernst Wilmersdoerffer (1890-1933), was born in Starnberg, Bavaria (30 km. southwest of Munich), the son of Charlotte and Theodor Wilmersdoerffer. He studied political economy at the University of Munich, completing a dissertation under Professor Walther Lotz in 1913. Wilmersdoerffer became a prominent attorney in Munich and published several scholarly monographs in the field of political economy; he also published a German translation from the Italian of a historical work by Benedetto Croce (Geschichte Italiens 1871-1915, 1928). He married Marta Schimmelburg in Munich in 1919; she died in 1930. In 1931, he married Luise Henrich (1899-1933). Ernst Wilmersdoerffer had one sibling, a sister Lilli (1893-1963), who was married to Siegfried Merzbacher, of Munich.
Ernst's father, Theodor Wilmersdoerffer (1858-1936) was born in Munich, the son of Caroline (née Oberndoerffer) and Max Wilmersdoerffer. In 1886 he married Charlotte Wilmersdoerffer (1858-1898), in London, England. (Charlotte's birth name was Wilmersdoerffer as well; she was born in Augsburg, Germany.) Theodor Wilmersdoerffer took over his father's share in the bank and exchange business J. N. Oberndoerffer, in Munich. In 1912 he completed a dissertation at the University of Munich in the field of history, writing on the development of the suburbs of Munich, using the example of Neuberghausen.
Theodor's father, Max Wilmersdoerffer (1824-1903) was the son of Samson Wilmersdoerffer, of Bayreuth (1793-1840), and Julie (or "Jale") Wilmersdoerffer, née Oberndoerffer (born Ansbach, 1804; died, Munich, 1860). He married Caroline Oberndoerffer (1830-1903), a cousin on his mother's side, in Munich in 1849. He entered into the bank and exchange business J. N. Oberndoerffer, in Munich, which had been founded by his uncle Joel Nathan Oberndoerffer (1799-1843). He subsequently managed the business jointly with Abraham Merzbacher (whose wife Nanny, née Oberndoerffer, was a niece of J. N. Oberndoerffer). He served as royal Saxon General Counsel in Munich; and was a member of the Upper Bavarian trade board and the supervisory board of the Bavarian Vereinsbank. In 1888, he received a personal title of nobility, "Ritter" (knight), in the Order of Merit of the Bavarian Crown, and after that was known as Max von Wilmersdoerffer. From 1864 to 1870, he headed the Jewish community in Munich. He was also a noted coin collector; in 1881 he was a founding member of the Bayerische Numismatische Gesellschaft (Bavarian Numismatic Society).
Marianne and John's mother, Marta Wilmersdoerffer (née Schimmelburg; 1892-1930), was born in Zurich, the daughter of Johanna (née Haymann; born Augsburg, 1870; died Munich, 1937) and Hugo Schimmelburg. Marta had two sisters, Elsbeth Marianne Bloch (née Schimmelburg: born 1898 or 1899), who was first married to Leopold Balling, and, later, to Max Albert Bloch; and Gertrud Schneider (née Schimmelburg; 1904-1934), who was married to Lambert Schneider. After the Second World War, Elsbeth immigrated with her husband Max Bloch to the United States; they resided in Flushing, in New York City. She died there in 1972.
Marta's father, Hugo Schimmelburg (1860-1954), was born in Stade (50 km. northwest of Hamburg), then in the Kingdom of Hannover (today, Lower Saxony, Germany). He was the son of the merchant Moritz Schimmelburg (born in Gross Oschersleben) and Conradine (Dina, Dinchen; née Rosenthal, born in Gandersheim, Duchy of Braunschweig; previously married to Sally Solomon, of Stade). At the age of 18, Hugo moved to Zurich, Switzerland, where he became a successful businessman. In 1893, he was a founding partner in the silk manufacturing firm Königsberger, Schimmelburg & Cie. In 1912, Jakob Abraham, a leading figure in the latter firm, joined with a new partner, Edmund Brauchbar, to reestablish the firm under the name Abraham, Brauchbar & Cie., also in Zürich. (The new firm was, in turn, a forerunner of Abraham AG, or Abraham Ltd., which in the postwar period had an illustrious history as a textile manufacturer, until it ceased operations in 2002.) In 1913, Hugo Schimmelburg retired and moved with his family back to Germany, where he settled in Munich. During the Nazi era, Schimmelburg, then a widower, emigrated from Germany in 1940, after coming to an agreement with the government under which his daughter Elsbeth (who had left Germany in 1933, and had become a citizen of Lichtenstein) made a payment on his behalf of 150,000 Swiss francs; that payment was later the subject of a restitution case against the postwar German government. Upon leaving Germany Schimmelburg settled in Montreux, Switzerland, where he died in 1954.
0.13 Linear Feet (0.13 linear feet (8 folders))
The Wilmersdoerffer/Wilmers Family collection pertains to the family of the twins John Geoffrey Wilmers (né Hans Max Wilmersdoerffer) and Marianne Gourary (née Wilmersdoerffer), who were born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, in 1920, and eventually emigrated to England and the United States, respectively. The collection contains a small amount of family papers, three family trees, and a few secondary materials containing biographical information pertaining to family members. Families mentioned in the family trees (originating in Bavaria and, in part in Württemberg) include: Wilmersdoerffer (Wilmers); Oberndoerffer; Haymann; Schimmelburg; and Nauheim (Norland).
The collection is arranged in two series:
- Series I: Family Papers, 1897-1985
- Series II: Genealogy and Family Research, 1891-2009
Two books on Jewish noble families were removed to the LBI Library. Photocopies of the title pages and the entries they contain about Max Wilmersdoerffer are found in Folder 8.
A bound offprint of Theodor Wilmersdoerffer's scholarly paper "Beiträge zur Geschichte der Vorstädte Münchens. 1. Neuberghausen" (Contributions to the history of the suburbs of Munich: 1. Neuberghausen) was removed to the Wilmersdoerffer/Wilmers Family Clippings Collection (AR 25888 C). An expanded version of his 1912 dissertation at the University of Munich, the paper was published in 1913 in the journal Oberbayerisches Archiv für vaterländische Geschichte (Vol. 58, pp. 1-144).
Materials related to a 2010 exhibition of the Zurich National Museum on the Zurich-based silk company Abraham Ltd., including volume 1 of the exhibition catalog, have also been removed to the Wilmersdoerffer/Wilmers Family Clippings Collection (AR 25888 C). The catalog contains a history of the firm, with mention of Hugo Schimmelburg's role as a partner in a forerunner company, Königsberg, Schimmelburg & Cie., founded in Zurich in 1893.
An auction catalog, Splendid Ceremonies: The Paul and Marianne Gourary Collection of Illustrated Fete Books, published by Christie's for the 2009 auction of Paul and Marianne Gourary's rare book collection, was deaccessioned. Folder 8 contains photocopies of the title page and preface, which includes biographical details about the couple.
- Genealogical tables
- Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Reparations
- Jewish families
- Jews -- Genealogy
- Jews -- Germany -- History
- Jews -- Nobility
- Legal documents
- London (England)
- Montreux (Switzerland)
- Munich (Germany)
- Oberndoerffer family
- Schimmelburg family
- Schimmelburg, Hugo, 1860-1954
- Wilhelmsgymnasium München
- Wilmers, John, 1920-1984
- Wilmersdoerffer family
- Wilmersdoerffer, Max, 1824-1903
- Wilmersdörffer, Ernst, 1890-
- Guide to the Wilmersdoerffer/Wilmers Family Collection
- Violet Lutz
- Language of description
- Script of description