Collection ID: LMC 2526
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Collection context


Wolzogen, Caroline von, 1763-1847, Schiller, Friedrich, 1759-1805, and Boerner, Peter
The Boerner mss., 1779-1828, consist of manuscripts, journals, and correspondence by and relating to German writers Caroline von Wolzogen, Oskar Seidlin, and Friedrich von Schiller, along with related research material from German literary scholar and Goethe researcher Peter Boerner.
2 Boxes (1 standard; 1 custom) and 22 bound
German , French .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Boerner mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Caroline von Wolzogen, 1763-1847, was a German writer in the Weimarer Klassik movement along with her brother-in-law and longtime friend, Friedrich von Schiller. Her first novel, Agnes von Lilien, was first published in installments in Schiller's periodical Die Horen and won praise from Anne Louise Germaine de Staël.

Friedrich von Schiller, 1759-1805, was a German poet, playwright, and philosopher. Schiller's first authoritative biography was written by his sister-in-law and longtime friend, Caroline von Wolzogen.

Oskar Seidlin, 1911-1984, was a professor of German language and literature at Smith College, Middlebury College, Ohio State University, and Indiana University. Seidlin also worked as a secretary for Thomas Mann and authored a number of fiction and non-fiction works.

Peter Boerner, 1926-2015, was chair of German literature at Indiana University and a renowned Goethe scholar. Born in Tartu, Estonia, Boerner lived and studied in Germany before beginning his teaching career in America, serving as curator at the Goethe-Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany. In 1959, Boerner married translator and librarian Nancy Boerner. Boerner describes his relation to Caroline von Wolzogen and Schiller, as well as the provenance of the manuscripts within this collection, as follows: "When Caroline von Wolzogen died in 1847 in Jena, she bequeathed all her movable belongings, including books and manuscripts, to Wilhelmine Schwenke, once her servant, later, after the death of her husband and her only son, her close companion and confidante. Wilhelmine moved back to the village of her origin, Langendembach in eastern Thuringia, where thanks to a monetary inheritance from Caroline von Wolzogen she built a modest house. After her death in 1871, everything she owned―the Schiller manuscripts included―came into the possession of her nephew Bernhard Schwenke, who like his father and grandfather served as the pastor of the village. Bernhard's heir was his son Paul, a librarian who became a director at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. After Paul Schwenke's death in 1921, the Schiller manuscripts were removed from Langendembach and were held consecutively by Schwenke's wife Anna, then by his oldest daughter Martha Schwenke, both of whom lived in Berlin, and subsequently by his youngest daughter, Bertha Boerner, who lived in Frankfurt and later in Darmstadt. When Bertha Boerner died in 1989, she passed the manuscripts on to her three children: Peter (born 1926), Renate (born 1928), and Klaus (born 1932, deceased 1988)."

Scope and Content:

The bulk of the collection consists of essays, transcriptions, correspondence, "Books of Thoughts" and miscellaneous manuscripts from Caroline von Wolzogen. Boerner's explanatory notes and annotations, as well as citations of his many publications on von Wolzogen, can be found in the Vertical File. Also included are materials relating to Oskar Seidlin, including letters from Thomas Mann to/about Seidlin. A draft of Boerner's unpublished book-length study on Seidlin, as well as his extensive research files, are present. A four-page manuscript in the hand of Friedrich von Schiller regarding the writing of his drama William Tell completes the collection.

Boerner offers this provenance note on the von Schiller manuscript: "The provenance of the four pages can be identified. The first owner after Schiller was his sister-in-law Caroline von Wolzogen, a close friend of many years and author of his first biography. Most likely either Schiller himself or his wife Charlotte gave the four pages to Caroline."

Boerner also donated many German-language books which are catalogued individually, including a number of volumes relating to Oskar Seidlin. See Vertical File for complete lists of donated books.

Acquisition information:
Gift: 2005-2018

The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Physical location:
Lilly - Stacks; Lilly - Vault 2

Indexed Terms

Seidlin, Oskar, 1911-1984



This collection is open for research.

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[Item], Boerner mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
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Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
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