[Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix. (1809–1847)]

Collection of 4 Autograph Letters from the Mendelssohn Family to Edward Speyer

An intriguing collection of 4 autograph letters signed from the composer's daughter, son-in-law, and grandson, all in German, and addressed to Edward Speyer. As follows:

1. Lili Wach, née Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1845-1910), the composer's youngest daughter, to Edward Speyer in Shenley, England. Leipzig, December 8, 1908. 6 pp. 2 bifolia. With autograph envelope. Lili Wach writes at length about her youngest son Adolf jr., who was enrolled at Oxford University as an undergraduate, lived with the Speyers for a while, and now wants to embark on a business career, which is at odds with the Mendelssohn family tradition; at the same time, he would like to visit England again. She asks Speyer whether he could recommend her son to a business in London for an appointment. 7 x 5.5 inches (18 x 13.8 cm).

2. Adolf Wach (1843-1926), the composer's son-in-law and husband of Lili Wach, to Edward Speyer, Blankenese [now Hamburg], August 16, 1921. 2 pp. 1 leaf. Wach writes from the home of his daughter Dora (Dorothea), who is married to her cousin Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1874-1936). He again thanks Speyer for his support for the Wachs' youngest son, Adolf jr., while the latter was in England. Adolf sr. reports that his son was an officer in the First World War, then worked for a bank in Berne and now is general manager at a newly founded North American bank. Upper edge unevenly torn; small hole in the center. 11 x 8.5 inches (28 x 22 cm).

3. Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1874-1936), a grandson of the composer, to Edward Speyer. Blankenese [now Hamburg], August 28, 1921. 2 pp. 1 leaf. Stationary with letterhead of Hamburgische Monatshefte für Auswärtige Politik (Hamburg Monthly for Foreign Policy), a journal edited by  Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy. "I happily fulfill your request for manuscript copies of your father's [Wilhelm Speyer] letter to my grandfather [Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy]. Like any writings received by my grandfather, these letter were bound in large folio volumes still under his supervision, which means that I cannot send you the letters themselves." In turn, Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy asks Speyer for a manuscript copy of a letter in Speyer's possession from Mendelssohn's great-grandmother Elisabeth Wilhelmine Jeanrenaud (1796–1871) that Speyer has mentioned before. Again, Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy thanks Speyer for taking care of his brother-in-law Adolf Wach jr. "He works here in Hamburg, where the Mercantile Bank of the Americas maintains a major branch." 11 x 8.5 inches (28 x 22 cm).

4. Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy to Edward Speyer. Blankenese [now Hamburg], November 14, 1921. 2 pp. Bifolium. In full: "Dear Mr. Speyer, my sister-in-law in Leipzig [Lili Wach], whom I just met at a conference of the "Society of Friends" and questioned about the descendants of [Moritz] Hauptmann, thinks that a letter to Miss Helene Hauptmann, Salomonstrasse, Leipzig, would surely reach Hauptmann's daughter, who owns his archives. Miss Hauptmann also has a residence on the countryside, but the Leipzig address is safer. Whit the most devout regards Yours, Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy." 6 x 7.5 inches (19 x 15 cm).

Edward Speyer (1839–1934) and his wife Antonia (née Kufferath, 1857–1939) cultivated a center of musical life in their family estate of Ridgehurst in Hertfordshire, north of London, in 1894. Their circle included Carl Mozart, Rossini, Spohr, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Brahms, Joachim, Clara Schumann, and Elgar. Moritz Hauptmann (1792-1868) was a music theorist and composer. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy successfully recommended him as Kantor to St. Thomas Church in Leipzig in 1842, a position Hauptmann held until his death. From 1843 he also taught theory at Mendelssohn's conservatory in Leipzig, and in 1850 he was a founder member of the Bach-Gesellschaft as well as its first president. As to Mendelssohn's grandson Adolf Wach jr., we have been unable to confirm his life dates.  (21625)

Classical Music
Autograph Letter