Guide to the Papers of the Liepmann Family

AR 7021

Processed by Dianne Ritchey and LBI Staff

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2012 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in August 2012. Description is in English.
September 2016: dao links added by Emily Andresini.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Hamburger, Charlotte, 1899-1977
Title: Liepmann Family Collection
Dates:bulk 1890-1917
Abstract: This collection documents the daily lives of the psychiatrist Hugo Liepmann and his wife Agathe Liepmann née Bleichröder through their extensive personal correspondence. Details on events in the lives of their closest family members, including their parents and four children, are also included. The collection consists almost entirely of handwritten correspondence.
Languages: The collection is in German.
Quantity: 2 linear feet.
Identification: AR 7021
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Louis Liepmann was the son of the businessman David Liepmann and his wife Adelheid née Friedlander, who lived in Berlin. Louis Liepmann married Fanny Plaut, and they had two sons: Paul and Hugo.

Hugo Carl Liepmann was born in Berlin in 1863, not far from Unter den Linden. He studied chemistry as well as philosophy at the Universities of Freiburg and Leipzig, and in 1885 received his doctorate, his dissertation on the "Leukipp-Democrit Atoms." The following year he returned to Berlin where he continued to study chemistry. From 1889-1890 he served in the army. After his return to Berlin, he found himself dissatisfied with philosophy, specifically the ideas of Neo-Kantians and decided to study medicine, with a concentration in psychiatry. In 1894 he completed his studies in medicine, and in 1895 became junior doctor at the psychiatric clinic at the University of Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) under the psychiatrist Carl Wernicke. In 1896, on a vacation to Baden-Baden with his parents and other family members, he met Julius and Adelheid Bleichröder and two of their daughters, who were staying at the same hotel.

Julius Bleichröder was the younger brother of the influential banker Gerson von Bleichröder. Julius continued in the family business and eventually opened his own firm. In 1860 he married Adelheid Salomon. They had seven children, although two sons died early, and the family had an estate in Pankow, an outlying borough of Berlin.

Agathe Bleichröder was born in 1871. She enjoyed traveling, and first visited Italy in 1890. She would later travel to Egypt with her sister Gertrud (Trudchen) Arons. At the suggestion of her best friend, Annie Gossmann, Agathe joined the Ethical Society. In December 1896 Hugo Liepmann joined Agathe Bleichröder and a number of her friends to go ice skating and a relationship developed between them that led to their engagement.

Hugo Liepmann and Agathe Bleichröder married on March 21, 1897. They spent their first years in Breslau, where Hugo was assistant at the University of Breslau's psychiatric institution under Carl Wernicke. He was often required to stay overnight at the institution. Hugo and Agathe had four children: Kaethe (born 1898), Charlotte (born 1899), Dorothee (born 1900) and Hans (born 1902). In April 1899 the family moved to Berlin, where Hugo found a position at the Städtische Irrenanstalt zu Dalldorf (Municipal Asylum at Dalldorf, renamed in 1957 the Karl-Bonhoeffer-Nervenklinik). They had an estate in Pankow, near Agathe's parents, as well as a house in Berlin proper.

It was in 1900 that Hugo Liepmann first discovered the disorder apraxia, a condition involving miscommunication between the nerves in the brain and the limbs. In March 1900 he began giving lectures on these findings at the Psychiatric Society in Berlin, and would publish a number of papers on the topic. He also gave weekly lectures at the University of Berlin on the mentally ill in addition to smaller lectures at Dalldorf. In 1906 he became head physician at Dalldorf.

In 1905 Agathe Liepmann became extremely ill from influenza and on doctor's orders spent the winter in Aswan, Egypt with her daughters and other relatives, joined later by Hugo. In 1914 Hugo Liepmann accepted the post of director of the Städtische Irrenanstalt zu Lichtenberg (Herzberge) (Municipal Asylam at Lichtenberg (Herzberge) in Berlin. During World War I the family hosted refugees from East Prussia in their home and Agathe volunteered with the Charlottenburg Commision for Assistance, created to aid women whose husbands had been drafted. She used her own funds to set up a sewing workshop for such women, which created clothes out of surplus fabric. She later assisted in a committee of the Frauendienst. Hugo Liepmann's administration of the Herzberge institution became more difficult due to the wartime shortages. Their eldest daughter, Kaethe, became a nurse's assistant for the Red Cross. Hugo Liepmann died on May 5, 1925, Agathe Liepmann in 1933.

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Scope and Content Note

The Liepmann Family Collection holds the personal letters of members of the Liepmann Family, especially of Hugo and Agathe Liepmann. Correspondence of other family members, specifically letters from their parents to them, are also prominent. Details of family members' daily lives and their relationships and interconnection with each other are the most prevalent subjects of the collection.

Series I holds letters sent between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann themselves, and includes letters they exchanged prior to their marriage. These letters demonstrate their closeness and affection toward each other while providing details of their and their children's activities. Some of Hugo Liepmann's letters mention in passing his work at mental hospitals, his study of apraxia and the response of others to his lectures. Agathe's letters home from trips abroad, especially Egypt and Italy, include a few details on her experiences away from home.

Letters between other family members comprise Series II. This series includes two generations of parental advice, with many letters from Adelheid Bleichröder to her daughter Agathe and from Fanny and Louis Liepmann to their son Hugo in Subseries 1, while Subseries 2 consists entirely of Agathe and Hugo's advice to their own children, especially their middle daughters Lotte and Dorothee. The first subseries additionally holds many letters from Agathe and Hugo to their parents.

Correspondence of non-family members is located in Series III. The bulk of this series consists of Agathe Liepmann's extensive letters to her close friend Annie Löwenberg née Gossmann, located in Subseries 1. Such letters hold many details on her own worries as well as Agathe's advice to Annie about her own affairs. The second subseries holds a few folders of letters from other individuals; most notable are the letters about Hugo Liepmann and his work, including some congratulatory letters and an obituary that mention his professional accomplishments.

Users of this collection should note that, aside from a handful of documents, the entire collection is in handwritten Kurrentschrift.There are notes throughout the collection, often attached to letters, that appear to note which documents pertain to specific pages in Charlotte Hamburger's history of the Liepmann family (usually noted as "F.G.S." and a number, which likely stands for "Familiengeschichte, Seite" and the applicable page number).

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The collection is arranged in three series as follows:

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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

Closely related to this collection is Charlotte Hamburger's memoir "Geschichte der Familien Liepmann und Hamburger" [ME 395a] and its translation by her daughter Adelaide Flatau, "History of the Bleichroeder and Liepmann families including a chapter on the Hamburgers" [MS 613].

Other related material in the LBI Archives includes Charlotte Hamburger's "Die Familie und das Leben des Hans Hamburger" [ME 1504]; the Bleichroeder Family Trees Collection [AR 6410]; and Louis Liepmann's memoir "Familien-Erinnerungen. Wahrheit ohne Dichtung." [ME 395b].

All of the memoirs listed above are available online.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Liepmann Family Collection; AR 7021; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

The collection was rearranged during processing of the collection in 2012. Folders with letters by the same correspondent were brought together to form series and overfilled folders were subdivided into multiple folders.

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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: Hugo and Agathe Liepmann, 1895-1919

This series is in German.


Scope and Content:

Series I comprises the personal letters of Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to each other. The letters began prior to their marriage in March 1897. Folders titled "Between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann" include letters from both of them, while other folders hold letters only from one.

This extensive correspondence largely relates to the personal conversations of a husband and wife, discussing daily activities and experiences, updates or news of their childrens' activities, news of other family members or friends, and health. The earliest letters in this series portray the couple's growing friendship and courtship, and their deep affection for each other is clear in most letters. The folder "Wedding Documents" includes Hugo Liepmann's typed poem to Agathe titled "Werbung," which appears to be a written marriage proposal to her. In the early years of their marriage while Hugo Liepmann was an assistant at the Breslau mental institution (1897-1899) he was often required to stay there overnight, and letters from this time period reflect this.

Agathe Liepmann traveled with other family members to Italy, where her sister lived, and to Egypt for a health cure several times and so these letters may include some comments on these locales. In Egypt Agathe spent some time in Cairo and Luxor, but especially in Assouan (present-day Aswan). Folders 1/20-23 document her lengthy stay there, which she took with her three daughters and where Hugo eventually joined her for a time. Occasionally letters from other family members who were with Agathe, especially their children, are included in the folders of her correspondence to Hugo.

11Between Hugo and Agathe Bleichröder (Brautbriefe)1895-1896
12Between Hugo and Agathe Bleichröder (Brautbriefe)1897 January 2-February 4
13Between Hugo and Agathe Bleichröder (Brautbriefe)1897 February 5-25
14Between Hugo and Agathe Bleichröder (Brautbriefe)1897 March 1-15
15Wedding Documents1897 March
16Between Agathe and Hugo Liepmann1897 September-1899 October
17Agathe to Hugo Liepmann1897-1899
18Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1897-1899
19Between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1897-1900
110Hugo to Agathe Liepmann – Paris Physicians' Conference1900
111Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1900-1903
112Agathe to Hugo Liepmann – from Italy1901
113Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1902
114Agathe to Hugo Liepmann1903
115Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1904
116Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1904-1905
117Agathe to Hugo Liepmann – Egypt and Italy1905 January-June
118Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1905
119Hugo to Agathe Liepmann – Egypt and Italy1905 April-June
120Agathe to Hugo Liepmann – Egypt and Italy1905 December-1906 February
121Hugo to Agathe Liepmann – Egypt1905 December-February 1906
122Between Agathe and Hugo Liepmann – Egypt1906 January-March
123Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1906 January-March, 1906 July
124Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1907 March-October
125Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1907-1908
126Agathe to Hugo Liepmann1908
127Between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1908-1909
128Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1908-1909
129Hugo to Agathe Liepmann – TitiseeMay-July 1910
130Agathe to Hugo Liepmann – Titisee1910 July
131Between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1911
132Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1912-1913, 1920
133Between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1912 July-1919 November
134Hugo to Agathe Liepmann1914
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Series II: Liepmann and Bleichröder Family Members, 1878-1929

This series is in German.
0.85 linear feet.

Divided into two subseries:

Scope and Content:

Series II contains correspondence between Hugo and Agathe Liepmann and other family members, including their own parents and siblings as well as their children. This extensive correspondence relates to the numerous subjects discussed among family members, largely family news or discussion of daily occurrences.

Subseries 1: Hugo and Agathe Liepmann with Parents and Siblings, 1878-1907

This subseries is in German.
0.7 linear feet.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 1 holds family correspondence, primarily letters between Hugo and Agathe and their parents and siblings. Correspondence relates to family news, descriptions of daily activities or decisions, or the health of family members. A few letters or poems of the Liepmann children may be found with some of the folders of later correspondence.

135Adelheid Bleichröder to Agathe Liepmann and Jettchen Bleichröderundated, 1896-1902
136Adelheid Bleichröder to Agathe Liepmann1905
137Agathe Bleichröder to Bleichröders – Trip to Egypt1893
138Agathe Liepmann to Parents1897 August-1898 June
139Bleichröders to Agathe Liepmannundated, 1897
140Bleichröders to Agathe Liepmann1896-1897
141Bleichröders to Agathe Liepmann1898-1904
142Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo Liepmannundated, 1878-1885
143Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo Liepmann1886-1888
144Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo Liepmann1889-1898
145Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo Liepmann1890-1891
21Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1893-1896
22Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1897
23Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1898-1899
24Fanny and Louis Liepmann to Hugo and Agathe Liepmann1901-1907
25Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to their Parents1897-1898, 1900
26Hugo and Agathe Liepmann with their Parents1897-1900
27Hugo and Agathe Liepmann with Trudchen Aronsundated, 1897-1901
28Hugo Liepmann to Fanny and Louis Liepmann1889
29Hugo Liepmann with Fanny and Louis Liepmann1896
210Hugo Liepmann's Early Letters – Birthday Poems1898, 1901
211Hugo Liepmann's Early Letters – with Fanny and Louis Liepmann1865-1875, 1880-1895
212Hugo Liepmann's Early Letters – with Fanny and Louis Liepmann1889-1898
213Hugo Liepmann's Early Letters – with Fanny and Louis Liepmann and Siblings1880-1882
214Hugo Liepmann's Early Letters – with Other Family Members and Unidentified1875-1879
215Other Family Membersundated, 1897-1910

Subseries 2: Hugo and Agathe Liepmann with Children, 1916-1929

This subseries is in German.
0.15 linear feet.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 2 contains letters sent by Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to their children. The majority of letters are by Agathe to her daughters Lotte (Charlotte) and Dorothee. The correspondence encompasses numerous subjects, but primarily seems to focus on Agathe's advice to her children and comments on events in their daily lives when they were separated from one another in addition to family news and greetings. A few letters mention in passing the rampant inflation in Germany after the First World War. In folder 2/20 there is a typed letter from Hugo Liepmann to Lotte regarding her work at the Schloss Salem school.

216Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Childrenundated
217Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1916 April 16-1917 August 22
218Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1916 December-1918 September
219Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1917 April 30-1918 May 7
220Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1917-1923
221Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1916 November, 1919-1922
222Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children – from Helgoland1919
223Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1922 January-1925 July
224Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1924
225Hugo and Agathe Liepmann to Children1925, 1929
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Series III: Non-Family Members, 1886-1933

This series is in German.
0.45 linear feet.

Divided into two subseries:

Scope and Content:

Series III contains the correspondence of Agathe and Hugo Liepmann with individuals who were not in their family. The bulk of this series consists of Subseries 1, Agathe's letters to her best friend Annie Gossmann Löwenberg. A few folders of correspondence with others comprises Subseries 2, including some letters and an obituary about Hugo Liepmann and his accomplishments.

Subseries 1: Annie Gossmann Löwenberg, 1886-1933

This subseries is in German.
0.4 linear feet.


Scope and Content:

Annie Gossmann Löwenberg was Agathe Liepmann's closest friend, and the extensive correspondence from Agathe to Annie over more than forty years demonstrates this. Agathe usually addressed Annie as "Annchen," and wrote long letters to her about once a week. Her letters mention an array of topics and concerns, addressing both changes or worries in her own life as well as in Annie's. Updates on the activities of Hugo and the Liepmann children are prominent.

Found in the folder of Agathe's correspondence to Annie from 1895-1897 is a copy of a poem from Hugo to Agathe, marking the one-year anniversary of their engagement. This folder additionally holds the official announcement of their engagement in January 1897 and the March 1897 invitation to their wedding.

Correspondence of 1932-1933 consists of two postcards by Kaethe Liepmann to Annie that describe the worsening health of Agathe.

226Agathe Bleichröder to Annie Gossmann1886-1887
227Agathe Bleichröder to Annie Gossmann1889-1894
228Agathe Bleichröder to Annie Gossmann1893-1894
229Agathe Bleichröder to Annie Gossmann1895-1897
230Agathe Liepmann to Annie Gossmann1897-1898
231Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1898-1900
232Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1901-1902
233Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1902-1905
234Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1905
235Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1906-1910
236No folder
237Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1911-1917
238Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1918-1922
239Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1923-1932
240Agathe Liepmann to Annie Löwenberg1924-1933 (corrected: 1907-1933)

Subseries 2: Others, 1887-1931

This subseries is in German.
0.05 linear feet.


Scope and Content:

Subseries 2 holds correspondence with non-family members. Several letters contain biographical material on family members, such as the folder of letters about Hugo Liepmann, which includes an obituary for him in addition to letters in honor of his sixtieth birthday by the brain surgeon Alfred Foerster and upon his departure from the hospital at Herzberge by psychiatrist Kurt Hildebrandt. One folder holds a lengthy letter to Hans Hamburger, husband of Charlotte Liepmann, with congratulations upon his being named Landgerichtsdirektor in 1931.

The largest amount of correspondence in this subseries is Agathe Liepmann's letters to Anna Cahen and her family; Cahen was the housekeeper of the Bleichröder family for a number of years and their letters maintain a friendly tone. Among the folder of letters by others to Agathe Liepmann is a letter by her close friend Sophie Wolff. A letter by Betty Wolff in the same folder includes a penciled poem written by Hugo to Agathe.

241Agathe Liepmann to Anna Cahen1905-1928
242Agathe Liepmann to Othersundated, 1904
243Letter about Hans Hamburger1931
244Letters and Clipping about Hugo Liepmannundated, 1920-1931
245Others to Agathe Liepmann1897-1898, 1916
246Others to Hugo Liepmann1887-1902
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