Guide to the Papers of the Goldmark Family

AR 1909

Processed by Hannah Loewenberg - Harnest

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

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© 2011 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in September 2011. Description is in English.
January 03, 2014  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Goldmark Family
Title: Goldmark Family Collection
Dates:bulk 1863-1956
Abstract: This collection documents the life and accomplishments of the Goldmark family, whose most famous members were the two composers Carl Goldmark (1830-1915), who embraced Viennese musical life with colleagues such as Brahms, Liszt, Wagner and Rubinstein, and his nephew Rubin Goldmark (1872-1936), who has been honored for his services to American music, as a prolific composer, and composition department chair at (amongst others) the newly created Juilliard School of Music. The collection contains a large amount of correspondence, but also includes newspaper clippings, musical journal articles, concert programmes and notes, a libretto, a citizenship certificate, obituaries, eulogies and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in German, English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Italian, French and Spanish.
Quantity: 1 linear ft.
Identification: AR 1909
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

The Goldmark family was a Hungarian Jewish family with roots in the 19th century Austro-Hungarian empire, and like most of the educated Jewish families of those times, they spoke German amongst themselves, as it was considered the language of the educated people. Two of the most well-known members of this family were the composoers Carl Goldmark (1830-1915) and his nephew Rubin Goldmark (1872-1936).

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Biographical Essays

Rubin Goldmark (senior)

The patriarch Rubin Goldmark (senior) was presumably born in 1799 and died in 1868. He was cantor at the Jewish congregation of the Hungarian town of Keszthely, which was a favored summer destination for elegant visitors at the very west end of Lake Balaton.

Rubin Goldmark, who later moved to Budapest, was married first to Edelise Mendelsburg, who died shortly after giving birth to a son, Josef (1819-1880), and then to Marie Krauss who gave him many children: Carl (1830-1915) became an internationally well-known and established composer. Leo (1840?-1927), was first a cantor near Prague and later on moved to America where he had many different professions.

Other children of Rubin (senior) included Johanna, Sandor, Ignatz, Adolf (1848-191?), Rosalie and Anna. It is interesting to note that four of these children moved to America: Josef for political reasons (1848), and Leo, Adolph and Anna either for economic or family reasons (1860s).

Rubin (senior) was very poor at the end of his life, quite ill, and always concerned about his and his family's financial situation. In 1862, he made the attempt to leave for America too, but health prevented him from going. He had a high sense of culture, and education and learning were of great importance to him.

Carl Goldmark
Portrait of Max Markreich (1881-1962)

Portrait of Carl Goldmark (1830-1915)

Carl (also known as Karoly) Goldmark, son of Rubin Goldmark (senior), was born on May 18th 1830 in Keszthely/Hungary, and died on January 2nd 1915 in Vienna. He was an internationally acclaimed and well-respected composer in his time, also played the violin and the piano, and during the Holocaust was labeled as entartet (degenerate) by the Nazis.

Growing up in a family that was receptive to music (his father was cantor of the local Jewish community), he received first violin lessons in 1842 at the Musikverein (musical academy) of Oedenburg (Sopron), where he gave his first promising performance in 1843, and was later on (1844) sent to Vienna in order to continue his studies with Leopold Jansa. In 1847, he passed both the entrance examination of the Vienna Technische Hochschule and the Conservatory, where he became a student of Joseph Boehm (violin) and Gottfried Preyer (harmony). In 1848, the outbreak of the Revolution forced him to interrupt his musical activities, and caused him to join the revolutionary movement for some time. In his early youth, Carl's attempts at composition were solely for the violin (fantasies, variations and concertos), and without great knowledge of harmony and counterpoint. In concerts at the Wiener Musikvereinssaal he became familiar with the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and heard also performances of the piano virtuosos Liszt and Thalberg.

Carl's older brother Josef, who was a physician at the hospital in Vienna, first supported him financially. In 1848, Josef was a member of the radical leftist party in the Reichstag, and in the turmoil of the Revolution had to flee to America (1850), because he was convicted of murder of the war minister Latour and sentenced to death, but acquitted in 1870. Leo, another brother, later on worked in Josef's Brooklyn factory in America, which produced copper percussion caps during the U.S. Civil War.

Carl was essentially self-taught as a composer, and in order to make a living, he played the violin in several theatre orchestras, amongst them the Josefstaedtertheater and the Carlstheater (1850s) in Vienna, which were a great schools of orchestration for him, and they also taught him how to stage his later operas himself. However, these years were marked with misery, and the need to teach the piano prevented him from devoting his entire time to composition. His most famous pupil was Caroline Bettelheim, who later on became an acclaimed opera singer. Carl's works in the 1850s (trio, string quartet, piano quartet) bore the strong influence of Felix Mendelssohn. Carl organized his first concert with own compositions at the Vienna Musikvereinssaal on 12th March 1858, which was well received by the general public. After a short stay in Budapest, Carl finally settled in Vienna in 1860.

He was acquainted with Wagner, Liszt, Rubinstein and Brahms, and with the latter he developed a long friendship based on mutual recognition of musical achievements. Carl was one of the first who publicly stood up for the then disputed music of Richard Wagner, and was also among the founders of a Wagnerian Society (1872), although a friendship between these two artists could never develop due to Wagner's outspoken anti-Semitism.

Carl also pursued a side career as a music journalist. He was later on made an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and received an honorary membership in the Academia di Santa Cecilia, Rome, together with Richard Strauss.

In 1865, the overture 'Sakuntala' established his fame as a composer. After 1870, he could afford to spend the summer months in Gmunden (Upper Austria), where he found an international public, and where he could devote all his time to composition.

Carl's much celebrated opera Die Koenigin von Saba (The Queen of Sheba) op. 27, which shows the influence of Hebraic melody, premiered in Vienna in March 1875, and subsequently played in Germany and Italy. It was produced at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, on December 2, 1885, with Anton Seidl as conductor. Other well-known works include the operas Das Heimchen am Herd (after Charles Dickens), Goetz von Berlichingen (after Goethe), the overture Laendliche Hochzeit (Rustic Wedding), and the Violin Concerto no. 1 in A minor op. 28.

Leo Goldmark

Leo Goldmark, another son of Rubin (senior) and a brother of Carl, was probably born in 1840 in Hungary, and died in 1927 in New York. Around 1863, he was a pupil at the Hauptschule in Prague, a time where he considered going to business school. In 1865, he became cantor and teacher at the Cultus Gemeinde (Religious Community) of the Bohemian town of Goltsch-Jenikau (now Golkov-Jenikov, Czech Republic). Leo wanted to get an identification card that he needed for taking examinations, in order to regularize his position with the congregation, but as Jews at that time were regarded as a special and basically disadvantaged group in the State, he had to try to use his influence in order to obtain what he wanted. Leo arrived in America in late 1866, and first worked in the factory of his brother Josef, but left it after 1870, probably because they had fallen out.

Afterwards, he had a very exciting professional career: he worked as an attorney and counselor at law, managed, amongst others, the pianist Hans von Buelow with his firm of Goldmark and Conried "Author's and Composers' International Agency," wrote a libretto for an opera (1776), had a connection with the United States Chemical Development Corporation, and after 1894, with the New Jersey Silk Company in Paterson, New Jersey.

He married Auguste Stern (died in 1891) in 1870, who bore him three sons: Rubin Jr. (1872-1936), who later on became a famous American composer; Emil (1874-1962), and Carl Jr. (1875-1942). Leo's second wife was Emma Bruel.

Rubin Goldmark (junior)

Rubin Goldmark (junior), son of Leo and Auguste Goldmark, was born in New York City in 1857, and died there in 1936. He was a well-known American composer, pianist, and educator, who is given credit for having advanced the development of American classical music as an answer to the European masters.

He completed his undergraduate studies at City College in New York (which would honor him after his death by naming a new building after him), and then went on to Vienna/Austria, to continue his studies at the Conservatory with Livonius (piano) and Johann Nepomuk Fuchs (composition). Back in America, he refined his knowledge with Antonin Dvorak (composition), and Rafael Joseffy (piano), both famous representatives of their respective subjects.

Between 1891 and 1893, Rubin taught piano and theory at the National Conservatory in New York City. Due to weak health and the need of a change of climate, he moved to Colorado (1895-1901), where he helped establish the Colorado Conservatory of Music in his position as director. Rubin is not considered a nationalist composer, but his compositions show the strong influence of American culture and history: Hiawatha Overture, Negro Rhapsody, The Call of the Plains and Requiem (suggested by Lincoln's Gettysburg Address). In 1902 Rubin returned to New York, where he devoted more than thirty years to teaching while also remaining active as a composer. In 1924 he became the head of the composition faculty of the newly founded Juilliard School of Music. Among his most well-known students were Aaron Copland and George Gershwin.

His lecture recital series on Wagner's operas during 1904 earned him unprecedented fame, a subject where he followed in the footsteps of his uncle Carl Goldmark, who had helped found a Wagnerian Society in Vienna in 1872.

Rubin was also the founder of, and frequent speaker at "The Bohemians' Musicians' Club New York (1907)."

In 1910, he received the Paderewski prize for his piano quartet.

Some of his other compositions include a piano trio, a violin sonata, several orchestral pieces, piano music and songs.

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Scope and Content Note

The Goldmark Family Collection is arranged in three series and contains a large amount of correspondence (business, financial, especially personal), but also includes a marriage contract, a prayer, a letter (all three in Hebrew letters), newspaper clippings, articles and reviews, musical journal articles, concert programs and program notes, poems, a citizenship certificate, a philosophical treatment of the conception of the 'nothing', a Humoresque, eulogies, photographs, postcards, obituaries, a conservatory brochure, speeches (printed), and immigration correspondence (transferring of funds regarding immigration) and affidavits.

The two outstanding figures are Carl Goldmark, well-known 19th century composer, whose works show the influence of F. Mendelssohn and R. Wagner, and Rubin Goldmark, his nephew, who was born and lived in New York City, and advanced the development and renown of American classical music as a composer and teacher at the Juilliard School of Music at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

Series I: Rubin Goldmark (senior) Family contains a genealogical table (in the folder "Goldmark-Stern letters and genealogical table (published)"). There are numerous letters between Rubin (senior) and his son Leo, but also between other family members and friends, and thus one gets an insight into daily life, questions in Judaism and related mysticism (Rubin and Leo were both cantors at different communities), and descriptions of conditions of a new life in America (from those who immigrated because of economic reasons, dowry etc.). The series also contains correspondence by Carl Goldmark (composer), a concert poster, a newspaper review on his opera "The Queen of Sheba," and two posthumous articles on him.

Series II: Leo and Auguste Goldmark Family includes letters from Johanna Goldmark and husband Moritz Friedmann (who was Obercantor in Budapest) to Leo and Auguste (who lived in New York City) and letters from Ignaz Bruell and friends from Goltsch-Jenikau to Leo (where he was cantor and teacher at the Jewish community between 1865 and 1867, before he immigrated to America). There is a considerable amount of correspondence between Leo and Auguste, between Leo and the mother of Auguste, and between Leo, Auguste and their three sons (Rubin, Emil and Carl), especially during the trip of the parents and Rubin to Europe. The letters indicate that this was a very loving relationship. There is correspondence between Auguste and family and friends. In addition there is an essay by Leo Goldmark on the concept of the 'nothing', a Humoresque Des Esels Ehrenrettung, and a Libretto ('1776') by him. Of considerable importance is the folder on Leo and Auguste's son Rubin (junior), who has been revered as a most accomplished composer, teacher and lecturer in American musical life (end of 19th/beginning of 20th century). There are several concert programs and notes, newspaper reviews of his premieres, documents on 'The Bohemians' New York Musicians' Club, eulogies (Aaron Copland; John Erskine, who was a Columbia University professor), obituaries, correspondence on the subject of the naming of a building of New York City College after him, information pertaining to the Colorado Conservatory, letters to Emil Goldmark and his wife, newspaper clippings, and a speech by Rubin himself.

Series III: Emil and Maxine Goldmark Family contains correspondence of the Stern family (the mother of Maxine Goldmark, who was married to Emil, was from this family) about immigrating to the United States in the mid-19th century. Noteworthy is a decree for Hirsch Stern in the name of [Name?, ] the King of Bavaria from 1832, which concerns the dowry of his first wife in case of, or probably at the time of his second marriage, and a receipt for payment of taxes prior to securing a passport for America from 1845. There are quite a lot of letters addressed to Maxine (senior), above all by her uncle Louis Sterne from London. The immigration correspondence in the case of the two couples Max and Selma Hamburger and Heinrich and Babette Stern constitutes a large section of the series. Both couples were given financial support from the family of Marcus Lester Aaron (husband of Maxine Goldmark Jr.) in order to emigrate from Germany to America via Cuba during the Holocaust (around 1942).

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The collection is divided into four series in the following manner:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

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

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

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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

There is an autobiography by Carl Goldmark (Karl Goldmark, Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben, Rikola Verlag, [ML 410 G61 A3]) and the libretto of Carl Goldmark's 'The Queen of Sheba' [ML 50 G6 K6] in the LBI Library.

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Separated Material

A photo of Carl Goldmark with signature (photocopy) from a photo album has been removed to Photo File F 2909 Portraits Anonymous.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Goldmark Family Collection; AR 1909; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Other Finding Aid

There exists a folder with a previous 8-page inventory, which has a different collection series, and which lacks information on the greater part of present Series III.

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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: Rubin Goldmark (senior) Family, 1860-1964

This series is in German, English, Hebrew and Italian.
0.4 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

Series I comprises a large amount of family correspondence, especially between Rubin (senior), who at that time lived in Pest, and his son Leo, who had started his position as cantor and teacher at the Cultus Gemeinde Goltsch-Jenikau, but there are also letters from Rubin (senior) to Adolph, and letters between the siblings. After their immigration to America, Josef and Adolph report from their new life there.

Rubin gives much detailed information about the family circumstances (especially in the letter of February 8, 1863 in the folder "Correspondence addressed to Leo Goldmark and amongst family and friends"), and gives Leo first-hand advice on his position as cantor of a Jewish community near Prague. He does not consider the career of a cantor to be a happy one 'because it depends on the life of the Jews'. He at some point lectures on the Hebrew alphabet and its meaning in relation to the Kabbalah. The letters show him as an authoritarian figure, who wanted to decide on the future of his sons, and who in certain states of mood elaborated on philosophical and mystical religious topics. The style in his letters gives proof of his own high culture, and he always emphasized the importance of education and learning in these letters. The economic side of life seems to have been a crucial factor for him, as a result of his becoming very poor towards the end of his life.

The series also includes two articles on Carl Goldmark (one by F. Scherber, the other one by his nephew Rubin Goldmark), where his music is said to symbolize and express the economic upsurge of Vienna in the 1870s and the inclination towards splendor. Noteworthy is a concert poster probably from 1860, where Carl gave one of his first presentations of his works. There is a letter from 1896 by Carl to Angelo Neumann, Director of the Deutsches Landestheater Prag, who had presented the opera Das Heimchen am Herd, where Karl says that a worthy representation of a work always honors the composer most. In addition, there is a review in an Italian newspaper on the performance of Carl's opera The Queen of Sheba in Bologna.

11Correspondence addressed to Leo Goldmark and amongst family and friends1863-1875
12Goldmark-Stern letters and genealogical table (published)1964
13Leo Goldmark diary1861-1863
14Karl Goldmark (composer)1860-1915
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Series II: Leo and Auguste Goldmark Family, 1865-1969

This series is in German, English and French.
0.3 linear ft.

[Series arrangement goes here]

Scope and Content:

Series II contains a considerable amount of correspondence: there are love letters between Leo and Auguste before they were married, letters between Leo and the mother of Auguste in which he asks for her blessings, and letters between Leo, Auguste and their three sons, Rubin, Emil and Carl, especially during the trip of the parents and Rubin to Europe. Series II also includes a charming poem by Rubin (junior) to his mother Auguste, which is only one example of the tender relationship between the three sons and their parents that also shines through in the letters. These letters are located in the first folder of this series.

The second folder holds documents of Leo Goldmark. Particularly noteworthy is a U.S. citizenship certificate from 1872 for him with detailed lithographies. There is a concert program and newspaper article that pertain to Leo's activity as concert manager, and the importance and internationality of his company Goldmark & Conried Authors' and Composers' International Agency, who managed people such as the pianist Hans von Buelow. Leo must have had a certain gift for writing, which is testified by a philosophical essay on the conception of the 'nothing' and a Humoresque entitled Des Esels Ehrenrettung.

Of special interest is a letter by Leo to his son Rubin (junior), sent from Bayreuth in 1889 and located in the folder "Trip to Europe," where he gives an enthusiastic description of a Meistersinger performance in Bayreuth to the aspiring composer. The letter recommends travel to this town, in order to hear the best rendition of Richard Wagner's music.

The final folder of this series contains papers on Rubin Goldmark (junior), who has been praised as a truly American composer. There are several programs of concerts with his works that attest to his establishment within the circle of leading composers, including performances in the frame of the Philharmonic Society of New York (1918/1919) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1900) at Carnegie Hall. There are also several concert reviews and articles in musical journals (like Musical America and Musical Courier) that announce him as promising. His Requiem for orchestra, that was inspired by Lincoln's address at Gettysburg, November 1863, has been one of his most-praised works. There is a transcript of a speech by Rubin on musical topics, one of which he regularly gave at 'The Bohemians' New York Musicians' Club (founded by him in 1907).

There is a prospectus and a faculty concert program of the Colorado College Conservatory of Music (in the "Rubin Goldmark junior" folder), which he helped establish, and where he acted as director and instructor in Musical Theory. The reason for this residence (1895-1901) was his weak health.

Particularly interesting are a program and press excerpts of a successful lecture recital series on Richard Wagner's Music Dramas, that Rubin gave in several venues in the United States in the 1903/1904 season. The link to his uncle Carl Goldmark is interesting, who was one of the first defenders of the very controversial Wagner music in 19th century Vienna, and who helped establish a Wagnerian Society in 1872.

In this folder is also a copy of the 'Juilliard Review', where Aaron Copland (former student of Rubin) publishes a tribute to Rubin.

15Leo and Auguste Goldmark family and friends correspondence1865-1915
21Documents pertaining to Leo Goldmark1884-1890
OS 145Documents pertaining to Leo Goldmark – Oversized U.S. Citienship Certificate1872
22Trip to Europe (Correspondence and varia)1889
23Rubin Goldmark junior (composer)1886-1969
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Series III: Emil and Maxine Goldmark Family, 1832-1986

This series is in English, German and Spanish.
0.3 linear feet.


Scope and Content:

Series III contains information pertaining to the family of Maxine Goldmark (1876-1955; her mother was Rosa Stern and her father Maximilian Heller), and Maxine and Leo Goldmark's daughter Maxine (born 1903), and also her husband's family (Marcus Lester Aaron). There is a lot of family and immigration correspondence (during the Holocaust).

In the folder "Stern Family Correspondence and Documents" is a letter sent from Philadelphia in 1845 of quite some interest for the reader; in it Julius, M., and Seligmann Stern invite their brother and sister-in-law to come to America due to the difficult economic situation in Germany (family of Maxine Goldmark senior). They describe the advantages of a free country, where a person with good will can eventually make a fortune. The children get a more practical education than in Germany, and also women enjoy equality and are respected by their husbands. In this letter, the merits of German art, literature, and legislation are mentioned, but there is also an emphasis on the fact that Jews are still being discriminated against.

Noteworthy is also a decree for Hirsch Stern in the name of the King of Bavaria from 1832, which concerns the dowry of his first wife in case of, or probably at the time of his second marriage, and a receipt for payment of taxes prior to securing a passport for America from 1845.

The second folder contains correspondence and documents of Emil and Maxine Goldmark. There is some correspondence (in English) about family matters between Louis (Leopold) Stern(e) (1835-1924; son of Hirsch Stern), who moved to Britain and established the Crown Iron Works in Glasgow (L. Sterne & Co.), and his sister Rosa, his niece Eugenie, and his niece Maxine Goldmark and daughter Maxine junior (who all lived in America). The relationship between Louis and Maxine Goldmark seems to be very affectionate, and also Emil Goldmark (Maxine's husband) is often mentioned in these letters. There is a newspaper article from 1909 on Morris E. Sterne, brother of Louis Sterne and born in America, whose death is announced, and who is praised for his invention of the public school fire drill system.

A large section of Series III is formed by the immigration correspondence and other documents (during the Holocaust), pertaining to the family of Marcus Lester Aaron (husband of Maxine Goldmark, daughter of Maxine and Emil Goldmark). These papers are located in the last folder of this series. There is a genealogical table that shows the family relationship between the couples Max and Selma Hamburger and Babette and Heinrich Stern. The concerned relatives were able to come to the United States in 1942. The institutions involved were the American Consul in Stuttgart, the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland in Berlin, the National Refugee Service in New York, the German Jewish Aid Committee in London, the Cuban Immigration Department, the Union Trust Company of Pittsburgh, Barclay's Bank London, National City Bank of New York (Havana, Cuba branch), First National Bank at Pittsburgh, the North German Lloyd and Ameroptravel. Noteworthy is the brochure of the Transmigration Bureau of the Joint Distribution Committee, New York, that dealt with the emigration of Jews from Germany, former Austria, former Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg and that made sure money for transactions was paid to non-German transportation companies, so that no American dollars went to aid the German economy. In this folder there is a large amount of correspondence between individuals and banks concerning remittances for relatives in Germany, who were either going to London or Cuba first, and then traveling to the U.S., in order to insure their maintenance (important for their entry permission). There are some affidavits of support, and also interesting to read is a memorandum of the Cuban Immigration Department that lists three different types of permits to foreigners seeking entrance in Cuba.

The final folder contains material in Hebrew. Included are two marriage contracts, Maximilian Heller and Rosa Stern being the groom and bride in one of them. There is a prayer before birth, a dowry contract (signed in Miltenberg, Bavaria, the groom is Hirsch Stern, probably his first marriage), and a letter in Hebrew letters but German language addressed to Mr. Stern.

24Stern Family correspondence and documents1832-1986
25Emil and Maxine (senior) Goldmark Family correspondence and documents1857-1956
26Immigration correspondence: Hamburger/ Haber/ Aaron family1934-1943
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