Guide to the Papers of Herta (1901-1981) and Leo (1897-1979) Leab
1858-2010

AR 7205 / MF 933

Processed by LBI Staff and Dianne Ritchey

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: http://www.lbi.org/ask

URL: http://www.lbi.org

© 2007 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in November 2007. Description is in English.
2010-10-12  encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl September 2010: Links to digital objects added in Container List. January 2009: Microfilm inventory added. October 16, 2013: Series VI: Addenda, Subseries 1 and 2 added. September 13, 2018: Series VI: Addenda, Subseries 3 added.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Leab, Herta
Title: Herta and Leo Leab Collection
Dates:1858-2010
Dates:bulk 1938-1975
Abstract: This collection details the lives and immigration experiences of Herta and Leo Leab. Given Herta Leab's experience as an executive in the Scherk cosmetics company and as the owner of her own company, Hedda Maar Cosmetics, it includes significant material on the cosmetics industry in Germany and the United States. Losses suffered by the Marcus, Liebeskind, and Scherk families in Nazi Germany and the Leabs' efforts to receive restitution are also well documented, along with some material on the town of Gilgenburg (now Dabrowno, Poland) and World War I. The collection is comprised of extensive personal and business correspondence, family and official papers, notebooks, clippings, and a few photographs.
Languages: The collection is primarily in German and English, with a small amount of Hebrew.
Quantity: 7.5 linear feet + 1 oversized folder.
Identification: AR 7205
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Herta Marcus was born in 1901 in the East Prussian town of Gilgenburg (now Dabrowno, Poland), where her father Joseph Marcus owned a general store. She attended the Lyceum in Stettin (now Szczecin, Poland) where she later obtained her Abitur and began the study of medicine at the University of Berlin. In 1922, she broke off her studies and went to work for the Scherk cosmetics firm, owned by one of her mother's brothers. She became one of the company's leading executives, continuing to work there until 1938.

In 1924, Herta Marcus met her future husband Leo Liebeskind, a cosmetics salesman who represented the firm. Leo Liebeskind was born in Berlin in 1897, where he attended Gymnasium. He was drafted in 1916 and was taken prisoner in fighting in northern France the following year. Following his release in 1920, he took up a commercial career. After a lengthy courtship, he and Herta were married in 1929. In 1936 they had a son, Daniel.

The Nazi seizure of power led the couple to plan their emigration to Palestine. They transferred some of their assets via the complicated Haavara transfer agreements, but gave up their plans and emigrated in early 1938 to the United States. Most of their relatives were unable to leave Germany and fell victim to the Nazis, including both of Herta Leab's sisters and their husbands as well as her mother.

In the United States, they changed their name to Leab. The Leabs experienced difficulties in adapting to the new environment, having problems with the English language, a burden to anyone interested in a commercial career. In the late 1930s Herta Leab began her own cosmetics company, Hedda Maar Cosmetics, which produced skin creams, perfume, and lipstick. Although she created her products at home the business became successful enough that her cosmetics were not only sold directly to individual customers but also carried nationally at health and natural foods stores, beauty parlors, and some department stores including Bloomingdale's; her products gained recognition when they were reviewed in several New York newspapers as well as popular magazines such as Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Glamour. However, Herta Leab's poor health and a lack of capital kept the business on a small scale until it was sold in 1972. Granting of the Leabs' restitution claims provided them with a financially secure retirement. Leo Leab died in New York City in 1979, Herta Leab died in 1981.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection is comprised of the papers of Herta and Leo Leab, and consists of correspondence, notes and notebooks, official papers, reports, clippings, and photographs. Popular topics among the papers are the cosmetics industry in Germany and the United States, the Leabs' immigration experiences, and the Liebeskind and Marcus families. Other subject of interest include the former East Prussian town of Gilgenburg where Herta Leab's family resided and World War I. Researchers should note that Herta Leab's name is often spelled Hertha in the papers of the collection, even among her family members; to avoid confusion, this finding aid uses the spelling given on her official documents.

The most prominent subject of this collection is the cosmetics industry, primarily composed of the material in Series V. From 1922 until emigrating in 1938, Herta Leab worked for the Firma Scherk, a cosmetics producer in Germany. Papers related to this firm make up the first subseries of Series V, and include cosmetic formulas, production reports, and advertising pamphlets for the firm's products. Material on Herta Leab's own business, Hedda Maar Cosmetics, will be found in Subseries 2 of Series V; included are extensive correspondence with customers, retailers, and suppliers as well as advertising and other general papers related to the business. In addition, Herta Leab's correspondence with Helena Rubenstein in Series II provides her opinions of trends in American cosmetics during the 1940s and 1950s, and she frequently wrote to Helena Rubenstein with suggestions for new products or services.

The Leabs' immigration experience and restitution for their emigration and related losses is detailed in several areas of the collection. One area particularly strong in this area is Series IV: Restitution, which contains descriptions of the family losses, including not only the loss of family property in the former East Prussia, but also mentions the deaths of family members and the difficulties of the Leabs' early years in the United States and Herta Leab's health conditions that derived from these experiences. Documentation on Herta and Leo Leab's immigration experience can also be found in Subseries 1 of Series I containing official papers, inventories of property, and some correspondence. In addition, some of Herta Leab's aforementioned letters to Helena Rubenstein in Series II discuss some of the family's difficulties after their immigration. Attempts to bring family members to the United States, especially Herta Leab's sisters Erna Sgaller and Else Tichauer, is evidenced in the correspondence related to the emigration of family members in Subseries 1 of Series II. It also includes a few letters written by Leo and Herta Leab to government officials, including President Roosevelt, about the difficulty of bringing their relatives to the United States. Herta and Leo Leab's correspondence with their families is located in Series II, Subseries 1 and with their son Daniel in Series VI, Subseries 1; papers of family members comprise Series III and Series VI, Subseries 2.

Some information on the former East Prussia, especially the town of Gilgenburg, may be found in several places in the collection. Postwar correspondence between Herta Leab and individuals she knew in Gilgenburg is located in Subseries 1 of Series II, and some correspondence with Gustav Lattoch in Series IV also discusses the changes in Gilgenburg after it became part of Poland. Material on World War I includes some military papers of Leo Leab in Series I, Subseries 1 containing official papers on his military service. In addition, Subseries 1 of Series II holds a folder of letters between Herta Leab and friends who fought in World War I.

Subseries 3 of Series VI includes some additional documentation added to the collection. Included are two books about the early life of Herta and Leo Leab's son Daniel, along with draft pages of a memoir by Herta Leab regarding the family's departure from Germany and brief remniscences about her life there. Some family photographs, including of family members and of family graves, are also included, as is documentation on the Scherk family. Other family documents in this subseries include German passports for family members, a wedding song for Herta and Leo Leab, and documents from the ship S.S. Statendam that took the Leab family to New York, among various other papers.

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Arrangement

The collection is comprised of five series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection has been digitized. Please follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Collection is microfilmed (MF 933).

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

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
email: lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org

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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

Separated Material

Most photographs have been removed to the LBI Photograph Collection, including several photographs of the Scherk Cosmetics Factory.

Objects found in the collection, including memorabilia for the Berlin rowing club "Welle Poseidon" and some small toys, have been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

A hanger from the Scherk family's store from Series VI: Addenda, Subseries 3 has also been removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

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Microfilm

The collection is on seventeen reels of microfilm (MF 933):

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Herta and Leo Leab Collection; AR 7205; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

A former inventory existed for the collection, with some arrangement of topics or formats by box. In preparation of the EAD finding aid, the previous inventory was reviewed and analyzed to identify existing series. These series were maintained in the new finding aid with the exception of photographs, which were removed to the LBI Photograph Collection at an earlier date.

In October 2013 the first two subseries of additional materials were added to Series VI: Addenda. In September 2018 a further subseries of material was added to Series VI.

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Container List

 

Series I: Personal, 1893-1978

This series is in German and English.
1.5 linear feet
Arrangement:

Divided into two subseries: Documents and Visual Material.

Scope and Content:

The bulk of Series I is comprised of the personal documents of Herta and Leo Leab, which are located in Subseries 1. Prominent among the material in this series is the documentation of the Leabs' immigration experience. In addition, Subseries 1 holds some financial and educational records from Herta Leab's early years. Among the papers of Leo Leab are material on a Berlin rowing association he belonged to as well as some military and educational papers. Subseries 2 includes photographs of Herta and Leo Leab as well as of some of their family members.

Subseries 1: Documents, 1893-1978

This subseries is in German and English.
1.4 linear feet
Arrangement:

Divided topically in the following manner:

Scope and Content:

This subseries holds documentation relating to both Herta and Leo Leab, as well as some that pertain to each individual. T here are identification and official papers, educational records, congratulatory correspondence for significant occasions, notebooks, and papers associated with the couple's early years in the United States.

Papers related to both Herta and Leo Leab include official documentation, especially those pertaining to their emigration. Among these papers are affidavits for the couple written by Herta Leab's cousin, material from immigration officials, various official documents needed for emigration, and a response from the White House to a letter sent by Leo Leab to President Roosevelt. Documents providing information on the couple's residence in Germany will be found in the inventories of their possessions prepared for immigration purposes; there are also records of the newly married couple's furnishings from 1929. Papers on the couple's refugee experience include documents relating to a wage adjustment for Leo Leab in 1943, letters describing the education of Daniel Leab, a draft of Leo Leab's will, letters between Herta Leab and the Aufbau, and articles from the Aufbau, including several short stories by Herta Leab.

Documents originating solely from Herta Leab primarily focus on the years prior to her immigration to the United States. Among these are several household account books, which appear to tally family expenditures. The cookbooks in this subseries consist of numerous handwritten recipes collected by Herta Leab. Papers from Herta Leab's earlier years, especially essays written while attending school, will also be found in this subseries.

The majority of Leo Leab's personal papers consist of those pertaining to the Berlin rowing club "Welle Poseidon" of which Leo Leab was a member. One folder details the history of the club until it was forced to leave the national rowing association and its associated regattas in 1933; this folder also includes regulations and a copy of the club's songs. The club's memorabilia includes birthday wishes for Leo Leab from other members, a commemoration of a 1920 victory, and membership cards. The majority of items pertaining to the club include postwar correspondence between members and newsletters. Newsletters mention news of former members abroad, deaths of members, and the club's activities in the 1960s and 1970s, including participation in regattas and the training of members. Among Leo Leab's papers are also those documenting his military service in the First World War; these consist of certificates of honors he received as well as several papers relating to his discharge from military service, including one that lists the military units he served in and the years in which he was a prisoner of war. This folder also holds a few buttons apparently from military uniforms. The subseries also contains a certificate from the Falk-Realgymnasium attended by Leo Leab as well as a certificate noting his completion of a business course for sales personnel.

Some memorabilia from the "Welle Poseidon" rowing club, including pins, a hat, and a medal for long-distance rowing from 1922 were removed to the LBI Art and Objects Collection.

A) General

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Congratulatory Correspondence - Birth of Daniel Leab1936
12Congratulatory Correspondence - Engagement1929
13Congratulatory Correspondence - Marriage1929
14Daniel Leab1936-1975
15Emigration and Naturalization1916-1951
16Emigration and Naturalization - Educational Papers1940-1949
17Emigration and Naturalization - Financial Documentation1934-1938
18Emigration and Naturalization - Identification Papers and Certificates1917-1938
19Emigration and Naturalization - Inventoriesundated, 1938-1945
110Emigration and Naturalization - Inventories - Notebook1938
111Emigration and Naturalization - Language Study1939
112Emigration and Naturalization - Letters of Reference - Leo Leab1916-1940
113Familienbuch1929-1979
114Identification and Official Papers1893-1971
115Insurance Policies1925-1928
116Marriage Memorabilia - Household Furnishings - Bills and Receipts1929
117Refugee Experienceundated, 1937-1952
118Refugee Experience - Aufbau - Correspondence and Articles1943-1970
119Used Car Complaint1954-1955
120Transfer of Funds to Palestine1934-1939

B) Herta Leab

BoxFolderTitleDate
121Cookbooksundated
122Cultural Activitiesundated, 1932-1934
123Financial Records - Household Account Books1924-1934
124Financial Records - Household Account Books1935-1955
125Financial Records - Household Account Books1976-1978
126Financial Records - Other Papersundated, 1943
127Financial Records - Taxes1923-1936
128Notebooksundated
129School and Childhood Papers - Compositionsundated, 1913-1917
130School and Childhood Papers - Correspondence and Other Papersundated, 1916-1918
BoxFolderTitleDate
21School and Childhood Papers - Drawingsundated
22School and Childhood Papers - Educational Certificates1908-1917
23Poetry and Autograph Albums1907-1917

C) Leo Leab

BoxFolderTitleDate
24Berlin Rowing Club "Welle Poseidon" e.V. - Correspondence1969-1976
25Berlin Rowing Club "Welle Poseidon" e.V. - Memorabilia1937-1976
26Berlin Rowing Club "Welle Poseidon" e.V. - Membership Listsundated
27Berlin Rowing Club "Welle Poseidon" e.V. - Newsletters1969-1977
28Berlin Rowing Club "Welle Poseidon" e.V. - Newsletters1978
29Berlin Rowing Club "Welle Poseidon" e.V. - Regulations and History1927-1934
210Military and Veterans Papersundated, 1917-1934
211School Papers1910-1915

Subseries 2: Visual Material, 1912-1975

0.1 linear foot
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This small subseries is comprised of photographs of Herta and Leo Leab and their friends and family members. Among the numerous photographs of friends and family are two lockets with portraits of unidentified individuals. Most of the photographs in this folder have been labeled by Herta Leab, and they often note if the individuals died during the Holocaust. Photographs of Herta and Leo Leab include several with other individuals as well as some with Herta Leab dressed in various costumes, possibly for costume balls she attended.

Researchers should note that many photographs have been removed from this collection to the LBI Photograph Collection.

BoxFolderTitleDate
212Photographs - Family and Friends1912-1975
213Photographs - Hertha and Leo Leab1922-1966
214Postcards - Krakow1930
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Series II: Correspondence, 1914-1981

This series is in German and English.
1.1 linear feet
Arrangement:

Separated into Personal and General correspondence.

Scope and Content:

Series II contains the personal and general correspondence of Herta and Leo Leab. This series is almost entirely comprised of personal correspondence between the couple and their family members and friends. A small amount of general correspondence is also present, most of which concerns the caretaking of family graves in the Weissensee Cemetery in Berlin, where Herta Leab's father Joseph Marcus and Leo Leab's parents, Bertha and Kalman Liebeskind, were buried.

Researchers should note that correspondence related to Hedda Maar Cosmetics will be found in Subseries 2 of Series V and correspondence related to restitution for persecution by the Nazis will be found in Series IV.

Subseries 1: Personal, 1914-1981

This subseries is in German and English.
1 linear foot
Arrangement:

Divided in the following manner:

Scope and Content:

The majority of personal letters are between each other, family members, and friends. Topics mentioned in these letters often concern news, significant events, activities, and the health of the correspondents.

Most of the letters exchanged between Leo and Herta Leab date from the time prior to their marriage, when Leo Leab was working in Berlin and Herta Marcus was in Prague. Herta Marcus frequently mentions events at her place of employment. Some details of life in 1920s Germany may be discovered through the careful reading of these letters, but for the most part the correspondence discusses the couple's relationship and eventual marriage. Among the letters from the 1940s are some from a trip Herta Leab made to visit her sister-in-law Milia in North Carolina; they mention the segregation in the South and the differences between North Carolina and New York.

Personal correspondence of Herta Leab mentions various topics, including the cosmetics industry in the United States and Germany, postwar Germany, World War I, and immigrant life. Prominent among the letters here are those Herta Leab exchanged with Helena Rubenstein Gourielli, where she often made suggestions to Helena Rubenstein regarding cosmetics products or mentioned trends in the cosmetics industry. A few advertisements for products are also included among the letters. Some letters mention Leo Leab's position with the company as well as difficulties faced by the family during the 1940s. Some letters in these folders are from representatives of Helena Rubenstein's company. Letters between Herta Leab and the Firma Scherk mention the company's plans for business abroad and American trends in cosmetics. Several folders hold correspondence that mentions life in postwar Germany. Among these are Oskar Eichler, a childhood friend of Herta Leab's who became a professor in Giessen and Hilde Goebler, the daughter of a friend, who lived in Halle and whose letters describe the raising of children in the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Some correspondence with individuals who formerly resided in East Prussia is with representatives of the Kreisgemeinschaft Osterode; it describes the fate and history of Gilgenburg as well as the work of the organization in keeping track of individuals. Among the postwar letters of friends are some from Clara Wolff; these report on the fate of Herta Leab's family members. In addition, there is one folder of correspondence during World War I; most of these letters are handwritten, and one of correspondents, Paul Muenchow, spent time in an English prisoner of war camp.

Correspondence with Leo Leab is from friends or relatives, and includes birthday congratulations and news from other individuals. Letters from Gerhart Ems, who lived in Uruguay, mentions world events in the 1970s among the personal topics. The small amount of correspondence between Leo Leab and his sisters Milia and Lene mention events that occurred during his and Herta's first years in America. Among the letters of Werner Zoefelt, who represented the "Welle Poseidon" rowing club, are birthday and holiday greetings from club members; his correspondence largely consists of letters sent to all club members, although there are also some letters from Leo Leab.

Most of the letters in this subseries that were sent to both Herta and Leo Leab focus on the emigration of family members, especially Herta Leab's mother, Rosa Marcus and Herta Leab's sisters Erna Sgaller and Else Tichauer. Among the correspondence are some documents pertaining to emigration, such as a few copies of affidavits of support. Among the letters are those written by both Leo and Herta Leab to various American government officials appealing for help, including to the President and Eleanor Roosevelt. There are also some handwritten letters from members of the Marcus family, especially from Joseph and Rosa Marcus to the Leabs. Letters from friends include those by Margot and Harry Posner as well as others.

A) Between Herta and Leo Leab

BoxFolderTitleDate
215Herta Leab to Leo Leabundated
216Herta Leab to Leo Leab1924-1926
217Herta Leab to Leo Leab1928
218Herta Leab to Leo Leab1929
219Herta Leab to Leo Leab1930-1935
220Herta Leab to Leo Leab[1940s]
221Leo Leab to Herta Leabundated
222Leo Leab to Herta Leab1924-1926
223Leo Leab to Herta Leab1927-1929
224Leo Leab to Herta Leab1950-1956

B) Herta Leab

BoxFolderTitleDate
225Birthday Greetings1916-1922
226Blumenfeld, Ernst and Lea1979
227Brucke, W.1967-1979
228Condolences on the death of Leo Leab1977
229Education of Daniel Leab1945-1950
230Former East Prussian Correspondents1966-1977
231Eichler, Oskar1974-1979
232Ems, Gerhart1979
233[Glang?], Lotte1978-1981
234Goebler, Hilde1975-1976
235Kuehl, Max1958-1960
236Kuehl, Max1961-1968
237Lewin, Ilse1975-1977
238Marcus, Joseph and Rosa1914-1923
239Others1975-1981
240Other Family Members1965-1979
241Post-War Correspondence - Jobski, Albert1962-1966
242Post-War Correspondence - Others1947-1969
243Post-War Correspondence - Striewski, Frieda1948-1955
244Post-War Correspondence - Wolff, Clara1947
BoxFolderTitleDate
31Relatives - Postcards and Notes1904-1920
32Rubenstein, Helene1941-1948
33Rubenstein, Helene1949-1958
34Saalfeld, Ilse1917-1922
35[Firma] Scherk1965-1968
36Sgaller, Erna (sister)1914-1922
37Tichauer, Else (sister)1914-1922
38Weissberg, Gecel1975
39World War I1915-1918

C) Leo Leab

BoxFolderTitleDate
310Birthday Greetings1951, 1977
311Blumenfeld, Ernst1969-1978
312Ems, Gerhart1970-1975
313Ems, Gerhart1975-1978
314Siblings (Milia Maschler, Lene)1953-1974
315Others1972
316Zoefelt, Werner (Berliner Ruder-Club "Welle-Poseidon")1962-1978

D) Leab Family

BoxFolderTitleDate
317Emigration of Family Members1938-1942
318Emigration of Family Members - Erna and Bruno Sgaller1938-1940
319Emigration of Family Members - With United States Officials1939-1940
320Leab, Daniel1977-1979
321Leab, Daniel - Condolences on the death of Herta Leab1981
322Liebeskind, Bertha (Mother)1925-1929
323Marcus Family Members to Leo and Herta Leab1925-1931
324Others1969-1978
325Posner, Margot and Harry1977-1978

Subseries 2: General, 1952-1978

This subseries is in English and German.
0.1 linear foot
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

The correspondence of Subseries 2 is comprised of letters from individuals that are not personal in nature. Prominent among these are the numerous letters from Herta and Leo Leab with members of the administration of the Berlin Weissensee cemetery where their parents were buried. Most of the correspondence in these folders discusses payment for the maintenance of these graves and the Leabs' concern about the caretaking of same. Some correspondence between Leo Leab and his siblings on the dividing of payments is also present. Letters sent by Herta Leab to the LBI provide some biographical material on her family as well as the position of Jews in Gilgenburg. Several folders hold letters that provide some insight into the daily lives of the Leab family. Correspondence with the Office of Consumer Affairs relates to Leo Leab's complaints about the raising of the price of bread at a local bakery, while that of the West 77th Street Block Association concerns the closing of a local nightclub. Leo Leab was a member of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union and this correspondence discusses his membership and problems with his insurance.

BoxFolderTitleDate
326Family Plots in Jewish Cemetery of East Berlin1952-1967
327Family Plots in Jewish Cemetery of East Berlin1971-1972
328Family Plots in Jewish Cemetery of East Berlin1972-1978
329General1971-1977
330Leo Baeck Institute1971, 1975
331Office of Consumer Affairs1972
332Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union1957-1966
333West 77th Street Block Association1972
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Series III: Family Papers,  1893-1975

This series is in German.
0.1 linear foot
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

Series III is composed of papers that relate to Herta and Leo Leab's family members. Papers here include poetry, genealogical material, and official papers of various members of the extended Liebeskind and Marcus families.

The papers of the Liebeskind family include such items as passports, birth certificates, and professional and business papers. In addition, there is a memorial book for Kalman and Bertha Liebeskind, Leo Leab's parents; among the pages of the book are photographs of their gravestone and clippings of a death announcement for Karl Liebeskind. The small amount of papers on the Marcus family include requests for documentation on family members, a partial genealogical table, and cards thanking guests for participation at weddings, anniversaries, and birthday celebrations. Included among the poetry in this series is a poem from Leo Leab to Herta Leab on her thirtieth birthday; other poems and songs pertain to the silver wedding anniversary of Rosa and Joseph Marcus. Scherk family papers include a family tree with notations by Herta Leab on those who died in concentration camps. Other papers of Scherk family members include correspondence, songs for significant occasions, and a family publication for the marriage of Joseph and Rosa Marcus by Alfred Scherk.

BoxFolderTitleDate
334Liebeskind Family Papers1893-1960
335Liebeskind Family Papers - Memorial Album1927-1975
336Marcus Family Papersundated, 1937
337Poetry and Songs for Family Eventsundated, 1926, 1931
338Scherk Family Papers1858-1971
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Series IV: Restitution, 1929-1978

This series is in German and English.
0.8 linear foot
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This series is comprised of papers, primarily correspondence, relating to the restitution cases of Herta and Leo Leab. The majority of documents focus on the claims of Herta Leab for loss of income, health conditions caused by persecution and immigration, and for the loss of her parents' property in Gilgenburg, although there are also some documents related to the claims of Leo and Daniel Leab. Decisions by the various institutions that granted claims will be found among the papers here, as well as numerous letters and documents in support of the Leab family's requests for compensation.

This series also provides documentation that describes the Leabs' lives prior to their emigration from Germany. Difficulties faced by them after their emigration from Germany are also present. Many letters among the claim correspondence of Herta Leab are with Gertrud Haas, a representative of Firma Scherk who facilitated contact between Herta Leab and her German lawyer. The deportations and deaths of Herta Leab's family members are also frequently mentioned in these papers. Correspondence with Gustav Lattoch describes Gilgenburg after East Prussia was taken over by Poland.

BoxFolderTitleDate
339Claim Correspondence - Herta Leab1952-1955
340Claim Correspondence - Herta Leab1956
341Claim Correspondence - Herta Leab1957
342Claim Correspondence - Herta Leab1958-1959
343Claim Correspondence - Herta Leab1960-1961
344Claim Correspondence - Herta Leab1962-1966
345Claim Decisions for Herta and Leo Leab1958-1978
346Claim for Medical Care - Herta Leab1959-1960
BoxFolderTitleDate
41Claim for Medical Care - Herta Leab1961-1977
42Claims of Leo and Daniel Leab1958-1965
43Correspondence - Gustav Lattoch1964-1968
44Death and Deportation of Herta Leab's Relatives1938-1972
45Financial Standing of Herta and Leo Leab1929-1961
46German Social Security Claim - Herta Leab1949-1976
47German Social Security Claim - Leo Leab1954-1976
48Joseph Marcus Estate1958-1962
49Joseph Marcus Estate1963-1965
410Marcus Family Property in Gilgenburg1955
411Proof of Herta Leab's Illness1952-1958
412Restitution Research - Bundesgesetzblaetter1951-1956
413Restitution Research - Correspondence1955-1957
414Restitution Research - Newspaper Clippings1955-1957
415United States Foreign Claims Settlement Commission - Herta Leab1964-1968
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Series V: Cosmetics Companies,  1928-1977

This series is in English and German.
2.25 linear feet
Arrangement:

Divided into two subseries: Firma Scherk and Hedda Maar Cosmetics.

Scope and Content:

Series V is concerned with the cosmetics businesses Herta Leab was employed at or created. The first subseries focuses on the Scherk cosmetics factory in Berlin, where Herta Leab had a managerial position. The second subseries deals with Hedda Maar Cosmetics, which was Herta Leab's own business in New York that she administered from her home, making all of her own products. Both subseries hold information on the companies' products, including formulas, advertising, and production notes; Subseries 2 also includes extensive correspondence with customers, retailers, advertisers, and suppliers.

Subseries 1: Firma Scherk, 1928-1936

This subseries is in German.
0.1 linear foot
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains documentation on the Scherk firm, the cosmetics factory where Herta Leab worked. This documentation is primarily composed of papers related to the production and advertising of Scherk products. Particularly noteworthy are the handwritten recipes for cosmetics, found in two notebooks. These notebooks also hold general notes on the qualities of certain ingredients, which may have been of use in the derivation of new products. Production reports list the amounts of ingredients required by the company for the production of various items, as well as information on suppliers, distribution, and prices.

BoxFolderTitleDate
416Advertising Pamphlets and Factory Photographundated, 1936
417Cosmetic Formulas - Notes[1930s]
418Product Catalogs1930-1935
419Reports - Inventoriesundated, 1928-1930
420Reports - Production1929-1935

Subseries 2: Hedda Maar Cosmetics, 1938-1977

This subseries is in English and German.
2.15 linear feet
Arrangement:

Divided in the following manner:

Scope and Content:

Subseries 2 deals with papers originating from Hedda Maar Cosmetics, the company founded by Herta Leab after her immigration to the United States. Documents in this subseries include correspondence and notes, among other types of records.

The majority of documents about Hedda Maar Cosmetics is in the form of correspondence. Most of the correspondence derives from customers, and consist primarily of orders for Herta Leab's products, often with customer comments about the products themselves. This type of correspondence is largely with individuals but also includes businesses that sold Hedda Maar cosmetics. Correspondence with companies involved in all aspects of the production and distribution of Hedda Maar cosmetics will also be found here, consisting of letters to and from such businesses as label and advertisement printing companies, bottle and jar manufacturers, and suppliers of the individual ingredients for the cosmetics. Correspondence with retailers consists of letters to and from the beauty parlors and stores that sold her products. Frequently, customers and businesses with whom Herta Leab corresponded were interested in natural cosmetics, and many letters reflect this interest. Correspondence focusing on the creation of the business include initial inquiries for suppliers, retailers, and advertisers as well as legal correspondence. The selling of the business is additionally documented here, including contracts, copies of cosmetic formula and customer lists.

Other documentation on Hedda Maar Cosmetics consists of advertising material, financial information, and notes related to the production and distribution of products. Advertising material includes sample copies of advertisements used in publications as well as product labels. The folder of newspaper articles on Hedda Maar products contains articles from The New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post, and Aufbau that reviewed or mentioned Herta Leab's products. Financial papers include some tax returns and correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service regarding retail taxes and several notebooks that kept track of product sales. Ingredient and product inventories are also recorded in several notebooks.

A) Correspondence

BoxFolderTitleDate
421Advertisers1940-1971
422Advertisers - Aufbau1942-1960
423Advertisers - Burks County Organic Gardening and Heatlh Club1966-1971
424Advertisers - Natural Food Associates - Main Chapter1964-1966
425Advertisers - Natural Food Associates - New England Chapter1965-1970
426Advertisers - Natural Food Associates - New Jersey Chapter1966-1970
427Advertisers - Natural Food Associates - New York Chapter1963-1970
428Advertisers - Natural Food Associates - Pennsylvania Chapter1970
429Advertisers - Other Natural Foods Stores1967-1971
430Customers A-M1939-1942
431Customers G-Z1939-1942
432Customers N-Z1939-1942
433Customers A-B1943-1960
BoxFolderTitleDate
51Customers C-E1943-1960
52Customers F-J1943-1960
53Customers K1943-1960
54Customers L-M1943-1960
55Customers N-R1943-1960
56Customers S-T1943-1960
57Customers U-Z1943-1960
58Customers1961
59Customers1962
510Customers1963
511Customers1964
512Customers1965
513Customers1966
514Customers1967
515Customers1968
516Customers1969
517Customers1970-1971
518Customers - Walnut Acres, Inc.1965-1967
519Founding of the Business1938-1942
520Retailers B-H1965-1971
521Retailers K-R1965-1971
522Retailers S-Z1965-1971
523Sale of the Business1971-1972
524Suppliers1943-1955
525Suppliers - Hagerty Bros. and Co.1943-1951
526Suppliers - R.F. Revson Co.1943-1954
527Suppliers - T.C. Wheaton Co.1943-1960

B) Documentation

BoxFolderTitleDate
528Advertising - Mailings1945-1965
529Advertising - Newsletters and Magazines1952-1968
530Advertising - Newspaper Clippings1944-1953
BoxFolderTitleDate
61Advertising - Pamphlets, Labels, and Sample Advertisements1940-1970
62Customers - Lists and Notesundated
63Excise Tax Returns1942-1965
64Newspaper Articles on Hedda Maar Products1942-1945

C) Notebooks

BoxFolderTitleDate
65Balances - General and Unidentified1939-1977
66Balances - Tax Calculations1940-1977
67Balances - Cash1941-1966
68Inventories1941-1971
BoxFolderTitleDate
71Outgoing Merchandise1943-1953
72Outgoing Merchandise1952-1961
73Outgoing Merchandise1960-1971
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Series VI: Addenda, 1870-2010

This series is primarily in English with some German.
1.9 linear feet.
Arrangement:

This series is arranged in two subseries:

Scope and Content:

Series VI holds material added to the collection after its initial processing. The bulk of it by far consists of Herta and Leo Leab's letters to their son Daniel in Subseries 1, comprising more than three decades of parental advice on many subjects such as schooling, finances, career and relationships with others. Later letters often describe trips they took to Europe, Israel and the Caribbean. Subseries 2 contains other family papers and personal items, including those relating to Daniel Leab's Bar Mitzvah, his father's Tallis bag and family photographs. Subseries 3 consists of further family papers added to the collection at a later date.

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1944-1980

This subseries is primarily in English with some German.
1.3 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Chronological.

Scope and Content:

Subseries 1 consists primarily of extensive correspondence from Herta and Leo Leab to their only son Daniel, although a few letters from friends to Daniel Leab are also present. Most of the letters were written by Herta Leab, who occasionally wrote several times a day and often wrote daily to which Leo Leab also often added greetings. About half of her letters consist of brief notes, many having accompanied money or newspaper clippings. In addition, congratulations by other family members and friends for Daniel Leab's graduations and Bar Mitzvah are also included here.

Most of these letters address Herta Leab's advice to her son in many situations in his life. Especially extensive is her advice during his studies at Harvard University. Later letters often describe Herta and Leo Leab's travels; they went on trips outside the United States frequently and include descriptions of and comments on various places in western Europe, including Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and England, in addition to Israel, the Bahamas and Bermuda. Herta Leab often described the places they saw, their activities and the types of people they encountered. News on other family members, Leo Leab's health, and Herta Leab's daily life are also frequent subjects of the letter; prominent current events are sometimes touched upon.

BoxFolderTitleDate
81Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1944 July, 1945 March-April, 1945 July-August
82Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1946 July-August
83Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1947 April-July
84Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1948 July
85Elementary School Graduation Congratulations1949 May-June
86Bar Mitzvah Congratulations1949 September
87Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1949-1952
88High School Graduation Congratulations1953 June
89Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1955-1956
810Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab – Harvard University1957 July, 1957 September-December
811Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab – Harvard University1858 January-April
812Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab – Harvard University1958 May-June
813Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1858 August-December
814Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1959
815Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1960
816Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1961
817Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1962
818Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab1963
819Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1964
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS 158Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel Leab - Oversized Valentine's Day Card1964 February 14
BoxFolderTitleDate
820Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1965 January-June
821Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1965 August-December
822Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1966
823Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1967
824Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1968
825Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1969 January-June
826Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1969 July-December
827Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1970
828Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1971
829Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1972
830Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1973
831Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1974
832Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1975
833Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1976
834Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1977
835Erich and Ursula Angermann1978-1979
BoxFolderTitleDate
91Herta and Leo Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1978
92Herta Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1979 January-August
93Herta Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1979 September-December
94Herta Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1980 January-April
95Herta Leab to Daniel and Kathy Leab1980 May-December

Subseries 2: Personal Papers, undated, 1909-1949

This subseries is in English with a small amount of German.
0.1 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

This subseries contains a few items of the Leab family. Included is material on Daniel Leab's 1949 Bar Mitzvah, with the text of his speech along with the family's invitation to the event and a newspaper announcement of it. Photographs show portraits of various family members, including Herta Leab as a child and her sisters, Leo Leab's sister Milia Maschler with her husband, his father Kalman Liebeskind, and Ludwig Scherk.

BoxFolderTitleDate
96Daniel Leab – Bar Mitzvah1949 September
97Leo Leab – Tallis Bagundated
98Photographsundated, 1909-1937

Subseries 3: Additional Papers, 1870-2010

This subseries is primarily in German and English, with a small amount of Hebrew.
0.5 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Alphabetical.

Scope and Content:

Subseries 3 contains additional papers of Herta and Leo Leab, added to the collection in September 2018. Included are personal writing, some official documents such as passports, two folders of photographs, and other papers.

The first two folders of the subseries consist of Herta Leab's writing about the early years of her son Daniel. The baby book in folder 10/1 consists of her notes and commentary on his development as an infant and boy. Included with the book are his school report cards and other small mementos, along with newspaper clippings that announce his birth and bar mitzvah. The baby book ends with a lengthy note to him on the occasion of his bar mitzvah, describing the event and the importance of having faith. The diary Herta Leab kept about him in folder 10/2 is similar, with early entries describing in more detail some experiences of his first few years and his development. Later entries are written less frequently. Beginning in March 1939 she discusses his life in New York, with the entries primarily documenting events she found significant, such as his work as a paperboy, his interests and future plans, his first school dance, the beginning of his college studies, and his acceptance at Columbia University, the final entry in the diary. Further writing of Herta Leab will be found among her writing drafts in folder 10/6. Much of this writing consists of draft pages of a memoir written for her son about leaving Germany, including details on the societal changes and growth in anti-Semitism Herta noticed in Berlin as well as the difficulty of leaving her sick mother and sisters behind.

Two folders hold documentation related to the family's emigration. Folder 10/7 contains documentation of the family's travel to the United States on the S.S. Statendam, including a list of the ship's passengers and a program of activities during the voyage. Folder 10/10 contains the family's passports, including German passports for both Herta and Leo Leab and for Joseph Marcus, as well as a later American passport for Herta.

Two folders pertain to the deaths of family members. Folder 10/3 consists of a memorial album for Joseph Marcus, an obituary for Herta Leab, and a death certificate for Leo Leab. The photographs of folder 10/12 show family graves and the cemeteries in which they are located.

A few folders hold various other papers of the family. Herta Leab's papers in folder 10/5 include business cards from her Hedda Maar cosmetics company and a letter to her son; Leo Leab's papers in folder 10/8 consist of several letters regarding finding a position for him after his arrival in the United States along with a letter to the editor he wrote in 1979 regarding older workers and against the lowering the age of social security benefits. It also includes a booklet related to a reunion of his rowing club. Folder 10/4 contains a lengthy wedding song written for Herta and Leo by Herta's sisters Erna and Else. Folder 10/9 includes a 1923 postcard sent to Leo Leab (Liebeskind) in Munich, board minutes of Herta and Leo's apartment board in which they are welcomed as new residents, and business cards.

Papers of other family members include some photographs and documentation about the Scherk family. Family photographs are located in folder 10/11 and include a photograph of Leo with a poem for Herta from 1925. Scherk family papers, in folder 10/13, include advertisements for Scherk cosmetics products and an article about the business, a genealogy of the family, a photo and accompanying obituary for Kate Scherk, and a 1933 economic plan for the Nazi takeover of the Scherk factory.

BoxFolderTitleDate
101Daniel Josef Leab – Baby and Childhood Book and Announcements1936-1949
102Daniel Josef Leab – Baby and Childhood Diary1936-1953
103Deaths of Family Members – Memorial Album, Obituary and Death Certificate1934-1981
104Herta and Leo Liebeskind (Leab) – Wedding Song1929
105Herta Leab – Papersundated, 1980
106Herta Leab – Writing – Drafts, Fragments and Notesundated, 1948
107Immigration and Travelundated, 1938
108Leo Leab – Papers1949-1979
109Other Papers and Memorabiliaundated, 1923
1010Passports1926-1935, 1971
1011Photographs – Family Membersundated, 1870, 1921-1977
1012Photographs – Graves and Cemeteries1960-1979
1013Scherk Familyundated, 1933, 1954, 2010
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