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Preliminary Guide to the Lotte Lehmann Collection, 1880s-1976
PA Mss 02  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Chronological Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Indexing Terms
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lotte Lehmann Collection.,
    Date (inclusive): 1880s-1976
    Date (bulk): 1920s-1976
    Collection number: PA Mss 02
    Creator: Lotte Lehmann.
    Extent: approx 150 linear ft. 4 reels microfilm 10 films 14 videotapes
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Abstract: The Lehmann Collection contains letters, scrapbooks, manuscripts, photographs, video cassettes, art works, and sound recordings relating to the life and career of Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976), the internationally famous soprano famous for her interpretations of Fidelio, Der Rosenkavalier and German lieder who spent the last thirty-six years of her life in Santa Barbara.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Use of the collection is unrestricted.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    Lotte Lehmann collection., PA Mss 02, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Lehmann donated much of the material in the collection; most of the rest has come from Dr. Frances Holden, who was Lehmann's executor. Portions of it have been purchased, and some items have been donated by others.


    Lotte Lehmann was born Charlotte Sophie Pauline Lehmann on February 27, 1888, in Perleberg, Germany. Lehmann's operatic career began in Hamburg in 1910 and she made her Vienna debut in 1916. Her best-known role in Europe was the title role in Fidelio; she became internationally famous for her portrayal of the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier (she sang all three of the major female roles in that opera, and worked closely with Strauss for a number of years). She made her American debut in Chicago in 1932. Lehmann left Europe to make her home in the U.S. in 1938, after the Anschluss; she lived first in New York and then in Santa Barbara. By 1937, Lehmann described herself as "a concert singer who sometimes sings opera"; she sang her last opera in 1946, but continued to give concerts until 1951. From 1951 until 1961, and occasionally after that, she taught master classes in interpretation at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, in Pasadena, at Northwestern University, and at Wigmore Hall in London. In addition to a novel and two volumes of poems, she published two autobiographies, Midway in My Song (1938; Anfang und Aufsteig in Germany and Wings of Song in Great Britain) and My Many Lives (1948), and two books about interpretation, More Than Singing (1945; revised and published in 1971 as Eighteen Song Cycles) and Five Operas and Richard Strauss (1964; Singing with Richard Strauss in Great Britain).
    In 1926, Lehmann married Otto Krause, an insurance executive with whom she had fallen in love four years earlier when his wealthy wife had engaged Lehmann to sing at his birthday party. Lehmann and Krause did not have children, but Krause and his first wife had had four. When their mother died in 1936, the youngest was 17 and the oldest was 21. In the spring of 1938, Lehmann succeeded in getting them out of Austria, and from then on helped to support them in the United States.
    Krause died in January 1939 at Saranac Lake, where he had been at the famous sanitorium for over two years. During the time of Krause's stay at Saranac, Lehmann had two close companions, Viola Westervelt Douglas and Frances Holden. After Krause's death, Holden and Lehmann continued to live together in New York and Santa Barbara until Lehmann died in 1976.
    The conductors, composers, and singers Lehmann worked with included Franz Schalk, Arturo Toscanini, Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Bruno Walter, Richard Strauss, Giacomo Puccini, Maria Jeritza, Richard Mayr, Alfred Piccaver, Lauritz Melchior, Elisabeth Schumann, and Richard Tauber. Among her pupils were Jeannine Altmeyer, Grace Bumbry, Kay Griffel, Marilyn Horne, and Benita Valente.

    Chronological Biography

    1888 February, born in Perleberg in Brandenburg
    1902 Family moves to Berlin
    1905 Beginning of her education as a singer in the Imperial High School for Music in Berlin
    1910 First engagement at the City Theater of Hamburg in the role of the second youth in "The Magic Flute"
    1916 Engagement at the Vienna State Opera, lasting until 1938
    1926 Debut at the Covent Garden Opera, London, as Marschallin
    1930 First Tour in America
    1934 Debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, as Sieglinde
    1938 Final move to America (New York)
    1939 Husband, Otto Krause, dies on January 22, Lake Saranac, New York
    1940 Moves to Santa Barbara, California
    1946 Leaves the Opera stage: as Marschallin at the Metropolitan Opera, New York
    1951 On February 16 makes final appearance as a concert singer in a concert at Town Hall, New York
    1963 On April 27 brother dies in Santa Barbara
    1969 Takes part in the ceremonies celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Vienna State Opera and visits the Salzburg Festival
    1976 Died quietly at her home, August 26

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    The Lehmann collection consists of the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Manuscripts; III. Photographs; IV. Scrapbooks; V. Clippings; VI. Programs; VII. Sound recordings; VIII. Moving Images; IX. Scores; X Art work.
    Series I, Correspondence, includes Letters and telegrams to and from her husband, Otto Krause; her early benefactors, the Putlitzes; her accompanists and fellow singers; and friends and acquaintances.
    Series II, Manuscripts, includes typescripts, proofsheets of Lehmann's books; drafts and final copies of her articles and talks.
    Series III, Photographs, includes Lehmann in many of her opera roles, publicity photographs, and many candid shots taken at her Santa Barbara home; photographs of many friends, acquaintances, and celebrities, some inscribed to her.
    Series IV, Scrapbooks, (1904-1968) consists of 38 scrapbooks which include clippings, correspondence programs and some photos.
    Series V, Clippings, including reviews of her concerts and articles on Lehmann.
    Series VI, Programs, are programs from concert she performed in.
    Series VII, Sound Recordings, are unique recordings of performances and master classes.
    Series VIII, Motions pictures include films and videos of Lehmann, including home movies, master classes, and television programs.
    Series IX, Scores, are musical scores, many annotated by Lehmann
    Series X Artwork, includes the hundreds of oil paintings, drawings, tiles, glass mosaics, sculptures, and felt appliqués done by Lehmann.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Singers--California--Santa Barbara.
    Sopranos (Singers)
    Sound recordings.
    Home movies.
    Strauss, Richard, 1864-1949.
    Toscanini, Arturo, 1867-1957.
    Walter, Bruno, 1876-1962.
    Holden, Frances.
    Music Academy of the West.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Lehmann's commercial sound records (78s and LPs) and her published books are cataloged in Pegasus, the UCSB Online catalog.

    Related Collections

    Other collections containing significant material on Lehmann include the Lotte Lehmann photo collection, 1926-1960s (PA Mss 34) which contains photographs from European archives and the records of the Lotte Lehmann Centennial Celebration, housed in University Archives.