Guide to the Edith and Herbert Feist Family Collection
Undated, 1834-2011, bulk 1898-1981

AR 25468

Processed by Kevin Schlottmann

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305

Email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2011 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Kevin Schlottmann in October 2011. Digitized photos added to Bioghist and Related Material October 2011. Description is in English.
2013-10-30. Biographical note edited. December 13, 2013 Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Dickert, Carol Feist
Title: Edith and Herbert Feist Family Collection
Dates:Undated, 1834-2011
Dates:Bulk 1898-1981
Abstract: This collection contains materials relating to Edith and Herbert Feist and family. It includes personal papers from Edith and Herbert, such as courtship correspondence in the early 1930s. Herbert Feist's professional materials relate to his work in Germany as a sketch artist, as well as to his businesses in the United States, primarily his art gallery. The collection also includes materials about the Feist's relatives, particularly Herbert's maternal grandfather Max Herschel. A leader in the Jewish community of Bonn, Herschel's papers here include manuscript and printed poems and translations (religious and secular). Photographs and genealogical research are also found in this collection.
Languages: This collection is primarily in German and English, with some Dutch and Hebrew.
Quantity: 2 linear feet + 2 oversize folders
Identification: AR 25468
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note
Herbert Feist (1903-1981)

Herbert Feist (1903-1981)

Herbert Feist (1903-1981) was born in Mannheim, Germany to Dr. David Walter Feist (1864-1921) and Auguste Feist née Herschel (1878-1930). According to genealogical materials found in this collection, the Feist family had been in Mannheim for many generations, since at least the 18th century.

Herbert was an artist in Germany, selling his sketches of people to various publications. In 1934, he married Edith née Gruenthal (born 1912). After their immigration to the United States in 1936, Herbert started a business (Polytect Corporation). In the 1960s, Feist started an art gallery on the upper east side of Manhattan, where he remained until his death in 1981. Herbert and Edith had two children, Thomas and Carol Ann.

Herbert Feist expressed his life-long love of music not only in his many sketches of musicians, but as an amateur musician – he played viola in a string quartet. He also painted, creating many abstract works during his years in the United States.

Herbert's older brother was Kurt Feist (1899-1957), who married Ilse Feist née Gruenthal (1903-1972), Edith's cousin. Herbert's twin brother, Hellmut Feist (1903-1945), was married to Rita née Gutmann (1910-1943). They had a son, Michael (1937-1943). Hellmut and his family fled to Holland in the late 1930s, and were deported via Westerbork in the early 1940s. All three were murdered during the Holocaust, Rita and Michael at Sobibor and Hellmut at Mauthausen.

Herbert's maternal grandfather was Max Herschel (1840-1921). He married Zilli (Cilli) née Cohn (1851-1910) in 1872. Herschel was bookbinder, stationer, and printer. He was also a prominent member of the Jewish community in Bonn, and was the leader of the congregation for many years. After a successful business career, he turned his efforts toward writing. In addition to original poetry in German, Herschel specialized in free translation of Hebrew texts into German.

Edith Feist was born in Berlin in 1912, to Benno Gruenthal and Nelli Gruenthal née Silberstein. Edith's brother, Guenter Gruenthal (1920-1970), appears to have been mentally handicapped, according to the collection materials, and spent his life as a ward of the Swiss state. Both Edith's maternal aunt, Alice Silberstein Fink, and uncle, Arthur Silberstein (who changed his name to Stein post-war), immigrated to the United States. Arthur managed to survive the war in Berlin.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection contains materials relating to Edith and Herbert Feist and family.

Personal and professional materials from Edith and Herbert include courtship correspondence in the early 1930s, other correspondence, and wedding and immigration materials. Herbert Feist's professional materials relate to his work in Germany as a sketch artist, primarily for magazines about radio, as well as some papers concerning his businesses in the United States, primarily his art gallery. Some material about his painting career in the United States, such as correspondence with artist organizations, printed material, and some photographs, is also included. A handwritten diary of Feist's musical performances, primarily in a string quartet, is also found here. Written in German and English, it contains notes on performances, sketches, and photos.

This collection also contains materials about the Feist's relatives. Herbert's maternal grandfather, Max Herschel, a leader in the Jewish community of Bonn, was a writer and translator. Materials here include manuscript and printed poems and translations (religious and secular), as well as other papers. Personal papers relating to Herbert's parents Walter and Auguste Feist, such as wedding materials and correspondence, as well as two handwritten cookbooks from Auguste Feist, are also found in this collection.

Items from and about Edith Feist's family, the Silbersteins and Gruenthals, relate to Edith's mother, aunt, and uncle: Nelly Gruenthal (née Silberstein), Alice Fink (née Silberstein), and Arthur Silberstein (who changed his surname to Stein in the United States). Arthur managed to survive the war in Berlin, and materials include his Arbeitsbuch (employment record) for 1940-1945. Other items in this folder include vital documents and passports, and a variety of personal papers. The collection includes a few items relating to Herbert's twin brother, Hellmut, who was murdered during the Holocaust.

Older and genealogical materials include marriage contracts for ancestors David Cohn (1849) and Shlomo Zvi ben Rav Moshe (1834), and genealogical research notes, correspondence, and tables about the Feist, Herschel, Firnheim-Schloss, Gruenthal, Herschel-Wolffberg, and Otterbach-Kaemmerer families.

Finally, the collection includes a wide variety of photographs of the Feists and their family, including posed card-mounted photographs, more informal silver gelatin prints, and a variety of albums.

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Arrangement

This collection is divided into four series. Within each series, the folders are primarily arranged alphabetically.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

Photographs of Herbert's maternal grandfather Max Herschel and of Herbert and his brothers Hellmut and Kurt have been digitized.

Published versions of Max Herschel's manuscripts Die Hagadah; Erzaehlung von dem Auszug der Kinder Israels aus Aegypten, nebst den Psalmen 113-118, den Gebeten und Liedern der Hagadah in freier poetischer Uebertragung, and Die Sprueche Salomos are held by the LBI Library, in addition to other publications by Herschel.

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Separated Material

Printed materials, including a Trauer Album (Yahrzeit calendar) for Gustav Silberstein, published by Erwin Singer, were removed to the LBI Library. Herbert Feist's paintings were removed to LBI Arts and Objects.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Edith and Herbert Feist Family Collection; AR 25468; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

Articles in complete journals were photocopied, and journals either discarded or provided to the LBI Library, as per processing guidelines. Folders were photocopied and discarded. Photographic slides were removed from carousels. Photographs were rehoused. A poem typed on unbroken roll of toilet paper was wrapped around acid-free board and placed in a folder.

Folders 1/16 to 1/21, materials by and about Max Herschel, formerly comprised AR 4333 and were integrated into this collection. The material remains in the order in which it was found in the original archival collection.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.

 

Series I: Edith and Herbert Feist, undated, 1904-1981, bulk 1933-1981

This series is in English and German, with some Hebrew.
0.3 linear feet + oversize materials
Scope and Content:

This series contains materials relating directly to Edith and Herbert Feist. The correspondence includes about twenty letters from Herbert to Edith during their courtship in the early 1930s; some correspondence between Edith and her cousin Lisa-Betti Gruenthal (later Orgler), who immigrated to Palestine in 1934; and few miscellaneous letters, mainly from family members.

Other materials include a humorous German poem, typed on a roll of toilet paper, celebrating the Feist's escape from Germany; immigration materials such as Edith and Herbert's German passports, and naturalization and English literacy certificates; materials from their 1934 wedding, including a marriage certificate in German and Hebrew; and materials relating to Herbert Feist's painting career in the United States, such as correspondence with artist organizations, printed material, and some photographs.

Herbert Feist's professional materials include correspondence and published sketches from his work in Germany as an artist, primarily for magazines about radio; stock certificates, trademarks, and legal material from his corporation American Polytect; a small notebook with ideas; and a proposal for a method of making sound waves visible, called Music Made Visual. They also include materials about his art gallery, such as catalogs and a ledger.

This series also contains a handwritten diary of Feist's musical performances, primarily in a string quartet. Written in German and English, it contains notes on performances, sketches, and photos.

The Various folder includes an immunization certificate for Herbert Feist, his US passport, letters of reference for both Herbert and Edith from 1934, a death notice for Herbert, certified copies of Edith's birth and wedding certificates, a handwritten poem by Herbert for their fortieth wedding anniversary, and other paper ephemera.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Correspondence – Herbert Feist to Edith Feist1931-1933
12Correspondence – Lisa-Betti Gruenthal/Edith FeistUndated, 1933-1968
13Correspondence – VariousUndated, 1929-1971
14Feist Gallery ledgerCirca 1970-1981
15Feist Gallery catalogs1965-1979
16Immigration1934-1944
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS145Marriage certificate1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
17Music notebook1928-1939
18Painting1954-1981
19PoemUndated
110Professional1927-1946
  

Some photocopies

 
111Wedding1933-1934
112Various1904-1981
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Series II: Max Herschel, undated, 1894-1976, bulk 1897-1904

This series is in German, with some English and Hebrew.
0.3 linear feet + oversize material
Scope and Content:

This series contains materials by and about Herbert's maternal grandfather, Max Herschel. It includes manuscript and printed poems (religious and secular), loose and in a notebook, some correspondence, and legal papers. This series also contains a manuscript of Herschel's Die Hagadah; Erzaehlung von dem Auszug der Kinder Israels aus Aegypten, nebst den Psalmen 113-118, den Gebeten und Liedern der Hagadah in freier poetischer Uebertragung, a published copy of which is held by the LBI library. It also contains manuscript material found in the published work Die Sprueche Salomos, also held by the LBI library.

Additional manuscripts include a German translation of selections from Solomon ibn Gabirol's Koenigskrone; poems, many about the city of Bonn; and two Chanukah poems, Die Chanukahmaennchen. This series also contains sheet music for Kol Nidre, translated by Herschel and set to music by Jacques Rensburg; a sermon by Rabbi Dr. Kalischer delivered on Herschel's 70th birthday; some information about Herschel's biography; and a folder of Zilli Herschel material, containing poems and cards received for her birthday and wedding anniversary. Some English translations are also found in the folder.

Folders 1/16 to 1/21 originally comprised AR 4333, and have been integrated into this collection.

BoxFolderTitleDate
113Correspondence and legal papersUndated, 1894-1921
114PoemsUndated, 1897-1919
115HaggadahCirca 1901?
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS145Kol NidreUndated
BoxFolderTitleDate
116Gabirols KoenigskroneUndated, 1904
117Die Chanukahmaennchen1901-1902
118Gedichte auf BonnUndated
119Die Sprueche SalomosUndated
120Poems and sermonUndated, 1902-1918
121Herschel biography1976
122Zilli HerschelUndated, 1894-1910
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Series III: Family Members, undated, 1834-2011, bulk 1898-1992

This series is in German and English, with some Hebrew and Dutch.
0.4 linear feet + oversize material
Scope and Content:

This series consists of materials relating to relatives of Edith and Herbert Feist, other than Herbert's maternal grandfather Max Herschel, whose materials are found in Series II.

Items relating to Herbert's parents Walter and Auguste Feist include wedding materials, correspondence from their sons, ration cards, certificates of inheritance, and a photograph of their gravestone. A 50-year Yahrzeit calendar for Walter Feist is found in the oversize folder. This series also contains two handwritten cookbooks from Auguste Feist. The cookbook dated 1898 also contains a few English-language recipes in different handwriting, which were perhaps added by Edith Feist. Loose materials such as clippings and additional recipes are placed at the end of the folder.

The Silberstein and Gruenthal Family materials relate to Edith Feist's mother, aunt, and uncle: Nelly Gruenthal (née Silberstein), Alice Fink (née Silberstein), and Arthur Silberstein (who changed his surname to Stein in the United States). It appears Alice and Nelly were able to immigrate to the United States in the late 1930s. Arthur managed to survive the war in Berlin, and materials include his Arbeitsbuch (employment record) for 1940-1945. Other items in this folder include vital documents and passports, a photocopy of their parents' 1865 marriage certificate, some correspondence, a poem for Nelly's 25th wedding anniversary in 1936, an autograph book from the late 19th century, a photograph from a Nazi-era identification card for Klara Silberstein, photocopies from the Trauer Album for Gustav Silberstein (original removed to LBI library) and a printed 100th birthday card for Alice Fink from President and First Lady Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Guenter Gruenthal folder primarily contains materials about funeral and burial arrangements for Edith's brother Guenter. It seems that he was mentally handicapped and was a ward of the Swiss state for most of his life. The folder also includes his original birth certificate.

Materials relating to Herbert's twin brother Hellmut include handwritten notes charting their respective weight gains as infants, and some correspondence. This folder also contains post-war letters about his and his family's death in the Holocaust, Hellmut in Mauthausen, and his wife Rita and son Michael in Sobibor.

The series also includes marriage contracts for ancestors David Cohn (1849) and Shlomo Zvi ben Rav Moshe (1834), and documents about the 1936 sale of a property in Mannheim. Rosa Feist's Mannheim property, which was inherited by her grandchildren Hellmut, Herbert, and Kurt, was sold. The Various folder includes miscellaneous materials in such as German money from the Nazi period, unattributed correspondence and poetry, and a printed death notice for Leopold Salm.

The genealogical materials include research notes, correspondence, and tables about the Feist, Herschel, Firnheim-Schloss, Gruenthal, Herschel-Wolffberg, and Otterbach-Kaemmerer families. Also included is a 39-page narrative about Walter Feist's ancestors, written in 1933 by B. Rosenthal.

BoxFolderTitleDate
123Feist, Auguste – cookbook1898
124Feist, Auguste – cookbook1925
125Feist, Hellmut1903-1968
126Feist, Walter and AugusteUndated, 1898-1936
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS145Feist, Walter - Yahrzeit calendar1921
BoxFolderTitleDate
127Gruenthal, Guenter1920, 1970-1992
128Marriage contracts1834-1849
129Property sale1935-1936
130Silberstein and Gruenthal FamilyUndated, 1865-1990s
  

Some photocopies

 
131VariousUndated, 1959
132Genealogical materialsUndated, 1937-1996
133Narrative genealogy of Walter Feist1933
134Genealogical correspondence1933-2011
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS145Genealogical tablesUndated
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Series IV: Photographs, undated, 1870s-2002, bulk 1900-1970

This series is in German and English.
1 linear foot + oversize material
Scope and Content:

This series contains a wide variety of photographic material concerning the Feists. The photograph formats include card-mounted photographs and silver gelatin prints. See the genealogy folders in series III for more information about these persons and their relationships to one another.

The Ancestors folder contains original photographs, copy prints, and photographs of paintings of Herbert and Edith Feist's forebears. The persons are identified as Isaac Herschel, Salomon Herschel (1807-1883) and Fanny Herschel (1800-1881), Max Herschel (1840-1921) and Zilli Herschel (1851-1910), David Cohn (d. 1864) and Auguste Cohn (d. 1864), Josef Feist (1830-1907) and Rosine Feist (1839-1930), Adolph Wolff (1849-1906) and Anna Wolff (1850-1943), and Karl Simon (1852-1904?) and Sophie Simon (1858-1936?).

The Feist Family photos include childhood images of Kurt, Hellmut, and Herbert Feist. These include posed shots, some with costumes, as well as snapshots. Family portraits are also found here. The Feist Family photo album contains similar photographs.

This series also contains photographs of Feist's own artwork, including his sketches of people (made primarily in Germany) and his abstract painting (made mostly in the United States). Formats include slides, Polaroids, and snapshots. Some photos of his sketches are mounted in albums.

The photographs of Hellmut Feist and his family are both loose snapshots and portraits, and a photo album. They consist primarily of photos of Hellmut, his wife Rita, and his son Michael.

The series contains many photos of Herbert and Edith Feist, from their youth in Germany until early in the 21st century. The photos, both loose and in an album, include playing music, vacation, and other leisure time activities. Some of the photos include other family members, such as Herbert's brothers Hellmut and Kurt.

Other photographs in this series are of David Walter Feist; Guenther Gruenthal; objects such as proper and interiors; and sketches, portraits, and the Feist wedding . Other materials include loose album pages from albums not found in this collection. The OS folder includes 1913 shots from Feist family vacation on the North Sea (island of Norderney) and family photos from 1974. The Various folder includes friends and family. Some photographs are dated and/or identified. They are mostly 20th century black-and-white snapshots, but some card-mounted photos are included. They are grouped roughly by size and format.

In addition to those named in the folder titles and above, the following persons are identified in the photographs: Otto Simon, Carol Ann Feist, Frank Mendelsson, Cesar and Flora Hertz, Adolph Cohn, Alfred Cohn, Flora Hertz, Arnold Ball, and Emma Blum.

BoxFolderTitleDate
21Album pages, loose1913-1934
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS145Album pages, loose1913-1974
BoxFolderTitleDate
22Ancestors1870s-1930s
23Feist, David Walter1871-1898
24Feist Family1903- circa 1920s
25Feist Family photo album1903-1915
26Feist, Hellmut and family1930s-1941
27Feist, Herbert and Edith1920s-2002
28Feist, Herbert and Edith – Album1900s-1950s
29Gruenthal, Guenter1920s-1970s
210Objects1921-1970s
211Paintings1960s-1970s
212Sketches – Albums1920s-1960s
213Sketches – Loose photographs1920s-1960s
214Various1880s-1990s
215Various1880s-1990s
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