Guide to the Papers of Daniel Lessmann (1794-1831)
1813-1910, 1979

AR 4728

Processed by Marie-Theres Kohn

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

© 2012 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in December 2012. Description is in English.
March 25, 2015  dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Daniel Lessmann Collection
Dates:1813-1910
Dates:1979
Dates:bulk 1813-1831
Abstract: The collection contains 77 letters and essays by Daniel Lessmann. The letters start in 1813 when Daniel Lessmann was just 19 years old and they continue to the year 1831 when he died.
Languages: The collection is in German with some French, English and Yiddish.
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet.
Identification: AR 4728
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Daniel Lessmann was born in Soldin, Neumark (today Myślibórz, Poland) on January 18, 1794. When he was just 19 years old, he traveled a lot through different countries. In 1831 he started writing letters to his family that told about his situation in different circumstances. The events in the life of Daniel Lessmann include two wars against Napoleon. He joined the Prussian army in 1813 as a soldier and as a physician in 1815. He traveled through Europe and described numerous people, places, and events. Originally a student of medicine, he later switched to history and poetry. Later he converted to Christianity. He committed suicide in the region near Wittenberg on September 1st, 1831. Daniel Lessmann addressed a lot of his letters to his father Gotthold Lessmann. Besides his father, he mentioned a friend called Eduard Levy.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains 77 letters and essays by Daniel Lessmann. The letters start in 1813 when Daniel Lessmann was just 19 years old and they continue to the year 1831 when he died. The letters are elaborate; they picture not only the life of Daniel Lessmann, but also the times and people in various countries. The events in the life of Daniel Lessmann include two wars against Napoleon. The letters are written in several languages. They are all polite and respectful as it was common during that time.

The collection also contains an overview of the letters and essays with numeration and location (first folder) that was made in 1979.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series:

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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
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

Related Material

The LBI Library has the book "Wanderbuch eines Schwermüthigen", that is a republished and reedited version of Daniel Lessmann's former book (PT 2423 L15 W3 1885).

The LBI Library has the dissertation "Daniel Lessmann" [microform] by Hertha Schumann. This thesis, published in 1920, studies the life and publications of Daniel Lessmann (MF 175).

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Daniel Lessmann Collection; AR 4728; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

The collection is ordered by letters and other documents. The collection was processed in 1979 and keeps the document’s numeration from that time in the new finding aid.

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Other Finding Aid

Another finding aid was made by LBI Staff in 1979.

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Container List

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.

 

Series I: Correspondence, undated, 1813-1831, 1979

This series is in German, Yiddish and French.
0.2 linear feet.
Arrangement:

The letters are ordered chronologically.

Scope and Content:

The series contains 77 letters and essays by Daniel Lessmann that include 164 pages. Most of the letters were written to his family in German, French and Yiddish. The letters are elaborate and picture not only the life of Daniel Lessmann, but also the times and people in various countries. The events in the life of Daniel Lessmann include two wars against Napoleon. He joined the Prussian army in 1813 as a soldier and as a physician in 1815. He traveled through France and there are numerous descriptions of people, places, and events. Most of the letters are one page long. All through the letters there are references to Jewish questions (letter 37). He discussed the differences between Jews and Christians; he spoke out against conversion ("Wer sich tauft, verläugnet seinen Charakter".). He compared religions as well (letter 55). He described at length conversions in Vienna where he worked as a private tutor (letter 58) and stated that he was now the only non-Christian in the house. There is however no explanation for his later conversion (that he mentioned in letter 65) to Christianity or his suicide in 1831. In some of the letters he mentioned critically his own writings.

Daniel Lessmann's essays discuss his travel experiences.

Daniel Lessmann mentioned several visits to "Heine", but did not specify which Heine. He also wrote about having sent some of his texts to Goethe.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11Transcription of correspondence, inventoryundated, 1813-1831, 1979
12Correspondence (1-32)1813 February 2-1815 October 2
13Correspondence (33-71)1816 January 13-1831 January 1
14Correspondence and 4 essays written by Lessmann (72-77)undated
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Series II: Newspapers and Other Documents, undated, 1820-1904

This series is in German.
0.05 linear feet.
Arrangement:

Topical.

Scope and Content:

The series contains mostly newspapers clippings and other documents, like official papers and calculations from Daniel Lessmann's lifetime and beyond.

BoxFolderTitleDate
15Other documentsundated, 1820-1904
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