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Writings by Elisabeth Model

Identifier: AR 25899

Scope and Contents

Writings by Elisabeth Model consists of Elisabeth’s biographical writings, correspondence, and family photo albums. The first series contains her writings. “In Memoriam” depicts her husband Max’s anti-fascist activities in the Netherlands and his persecution by the Nazis. “Memories: People and Places” centers on her early life, family, and artwork. Both works include numerous details and anecdotes about their lives and the people with whom they interacted. The photo albums in Series II comprise half the collection and document the vibrant life of the family. A final small series contains some collected material related to artists, a small amount of correspondence and ephemera, and some clippings from newspapers and magazines.


  • 1930-1994
  • 1930-1948
  • 1981


Language of Materials

The collection is in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection.

Biographical Note

Elisabeth (Lise) Model was born in Bayreuth into a family of artists in 1897, daughter of Isidor Dittmann (1854-1929) and Therese Dittmann (née Fleischer; 1865-1943). Isidor Dittmann owned a haberdashery. Elisabeth Model had four siblings: Alfred, Amalie, Julius, and her twin sister Julia (Meyer). In the 1920s, a common friend introduced her to Hermann Hesse, and they subsequently became friends.

Elisabeth studied sculpture in Munich under Professor Thor; in Paris under Moissi Kogan, and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam under Professor Jurgens. She became a painter and a sculptor in her own right. While studying in Munich, she met her future husband Max Model, born February 3, 1895. Max was a banker for the Dresdner bank in Frankfurt and Mannheim. Elisabeth and Max Model got married on September 5, 1922, and they moved to Amsterdam, where they became Dutch citizens. They had two sons Wolfgang (Wolfe), born September 16, 1927, and Franz Peter Isidor Artur, born April 2, 1930, in Amsterdam.

Elisabeth, their two sons, and her sister Mali arrived in New York on June 21, 1941. Elisabeth’s mother, Therese, died in the Dutch Westerbork camp on June 22, 1942, and the children of Elisabeth’s brother, Heinz and Marion Dittmann, age 17 and 15 respectively, were sent to a labor camp and did not survive. Max Model died September 11, 1950. Elisabeth Model died November 12, 1993, New York, N.Y.


1 Linear Feet


The collection holds two autobiographical writings by the artist Elisabeth Model. One work centers on her husband’s persecution by the Nazis in Amsterdam, their narrow escape with their sons Wolfe and Peter, and her sister Mali to New York, and their life in the United States. Her second work focuses on her life in relation to various places and people that impressed her. Also included are family photo albums, some correspondence, and other documents that constitute addenda to the original Elisabeth Model Collection, AR 6306.


Arranged into two series by topic and document types.

  • Series I: Manuscript, Scrapbook, 1947-1981
  • Series II: Photo Albums, 1930-1948, 1990
  • Series III: Correspondence, Newspaper Clippings and Ephemera, 1947-1994

Related Materials

These are addenda to the Elisabeth Model Collection in AR 6306.

Separated Materials

The book Lowe, Jacques. Portrait: The Emergence of John F. Kennedy. McGraw-Hill, 1961 was removed from the archival collection.

Elisabeth Model’s scrapbook, photocopy “Memories: People and Places”, was removed to the archival collection AR 25899 C.

Processing Information

Materials were rehoused into acid-free box, folders, and envelopes.

Guide to Writings by Elisabeth Model
Processed by Simona Sivkoff-Livneh
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States