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Fontane-Pietsch collection

Identifier: MS-0077

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Scope and Contents

The Fontane-Pietsch papers consist of photographs, newspaper clippings and letters from 1845-approximately 1898. There is also an article describing the Fontane-Pietsch correspondence by Lieselotte E. Kurth-Voigt dated 1977. The collection is in German and spans the years 1845 to 1977.


  • Creation: 1845-approximately 1898, 1977


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Ludwig Pietsch was born in Danzig in 1824, and came to Berlin at the age of 17 to study at the academy of art. However, his studies were broken off because of the necessity of providing for his increasing family. In 1852, Pietsch illustrated and wrote an article published in the Leipziger Illustrierte Zeitung, which described in detail a piece of decorative art by Albert Wolff. The article was so successful that further contributions were requested of Pietsch, which led him to submit illustrated articles to many well-known periodicals during the follwoing years. In addition, he illustrated major works of classical and modern literature, and produced portraits of numerous well-known personalities of the day.

In 1864, Pietsch joined the Vossische Zeitung as correspondent and art critic and travelled widely in Europe, North Africa and Asia. Pietsch became a well-known literary and artistic figure and was a prominent member of the circle of writers, artists and intellectuals in Berlin. During the last 3 decades of the 19th century he exerted much influence on the literary and cultural life of the city. There existed between Pietsch and Fontane a warm personal as well as professional relationship. Pietsch died in 1911 at the age of 87.

Biographical Note

Theodor Fontane was born in Neurupping, near Berlin in 1819, the son of an apothecary of Huguenot extraction. Between the years 1839-1849 Fontane was trained and employed in pharmacy in Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden. At the same time he developed a growing interest in literature, writing ballads and translating English poetry.

Fontane made a second visit to England in 1852 and this was followed two years later by his first travel book "Ein Sommer in London." In Berlin he worked in the Central Press Section of the Manteuffel Administration and was made their representative in London in 1855. He remained in London until 1859 writing for a number of Prussian newspapers and periodicals on political and cultural subjects, particularly theatre and art. He reviewed many Shakespearean productions on the London stage. A visit to Scotland led to the publication in 1860 of another travel book "Jenseits des Tweed." This was the forerunner of the series of volumes "Wanderungen durch die Mark Brandenburg." From 1860 until his resignation in 1870 Fontane worked as editor concerned with English affairs on the staff of the Kreuzzeitung in Berlin. He published a number of war books: on the Danish-Prussian war over Schleswig-Holstein in 1864; the Prussian-Austrian war in 1866; and the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871 in which he described his experience as a war correspondent. In 1870 he became theatre critic for the Vossische Zeitung and continued his reviews for the next 20 years. Having made his mark as a poet primarily with his ballads, as a journalist and author of war and travel books, Fontane was nearly 60 years old when he published his first novel "Vor dem Storm." His more recognized novels are "L'Adultera" (1882), "Irrungen, Wirrungen" (1888) and "Effi Briest" (1895). Fontane died in Berlin in 1898.


0.24 Cubic Feet (1 legal half-size document box)

Language of Materials



Ludwig Pietsch (1824–1911), a German critic, and Theodor Fontane (1819–1898), a German writer, maintained a long friendship. The Fontane-Pietsch collection consist of photographs, newspaper clippings and letters from 1845-approximately 1898. There is also an article describing the Fontane-Pietsch correspondence dated 1977. The collection is in German, though some English translations have been made.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was the property of the Leipzig historian Alfred Dorner and his wife Anna Dorner, the latter a granddaughter of Ludwig Pietsch. In 1937, after the Dorners' deaths, the collection came to Professor Katzenellenbogen's widow who presented the collection to Johns Hopkins University in 1976.


English-language translations of some of the letters exist offline. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Processing Information

Processed by M.C. Beecheno in 1981.

Fontane-Pietsch collection
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA