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Guide to the Cassirer collection, 1906-1933
Special Collections M0287  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Cassirer collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1906-1933
    Collection number: Special Collections M0287
    Creator: Cassirer, Bruno. Cassirer, Paul, 1871-1926.
    Extent: .5 linear ft.
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions


    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    l. Bruno Cassirer Verlag papers, gifts of George Hill, 1979, 1980, and Peter Paret, 1986. 2. Paul Cassirer Verlag papers and Paul Cassirer papers, gifts of Peter Paret, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, and 1986.

    Preferred Citation:

    [Identification of item] Cassirer collection, M0287, Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biographical Note

    Bruno (1872-1941) and Paul (1871-1926) Cassirer were cousins who in 1898 opened an art gallery closely associated with the Berlin Secession. Their opening exhibition featured works of Degas, Meunier, and Liebermann. Later shows included Corinth, Slevogt, Hodler, Bocklin, and Trubner; the emphasis, however, was on French impressionists. Soon after opening their gallery, the Cassirers began publishing. Their ties to Max Liebermann are close; their first publications were a set of prints by Liebermann and his essay on Degas.
    In 1901, the cousins parted company. Paul Cassirer continued as art dealer, and Bruno took over as publisher; they agreed not to compete directly for a period of seven years. In 1902 Bruno Cassirer began publishing the journal Kunst and Künstler, which soon enjoyed success and influence. In the field of art and art history, he published Wilhelm von Bode, Alfred Lichtwark, Hugo v. Tschudi, Karl Scheffler, and many others. Bruno Cassirer also published in the fields of philosophy and literature. The lector for literature was Christian Morgenstern, who also served as editor of Das Theater, founded in 1903, and attracted among others, Julius Bab, Alfred Kerr, and Hugo v. Hofmannsthal to the journal. Bruno Cassirer also published fine quality, limited edition, illustrated books. Slevogt and Walser were among Cassirer's top illustrators. In 1908, when the cousins' agreement not to compete ended, Bruno Cassirer began publishing graphic art.
    First the war and the inflation, finally the Nazis' rise to power (many of Cassirer's authors and artists were unofficially banned, and Cassirer himself was Jewish) hurt the publishing house. Bruno Cassirer left for England in 1938 to rebuild the house there. He died in 1941. His son-in-law Dr. George Hill continues the work of Bruno Cassirer (Publishers) Ltd.
    If Bruno can be called the book Cassirer, Paul was the art Cassirer. In 1901, when the cousins parted company, Paul Cassirer took over the art gallery and strengthened his connections with the Berlin Secession, of which he was the business manager (since 1898). Paul Cassirer's gallery established itself as the center for the new modern art in Berlin, with exhibits of artists of the Berlin Secession, of French impressionists, and of van Gogh. As Cassirer attempted to strengthen his control over the Berlin Secession power struggles developed within the group. In 1910 he was asked to take a six-month leave, however he eventually became president of the group (1912-1915).
    After 1908, Paul Cassirer undertook a number of projects in competition with his cousin. He first established the Pan-Presse to publish fine illustrated books and original graphic art; the first effort of the press was the Leatherstocking Tales, illustrated by Slevogt. In 1910 he established the literary/art journal Pan, which included Alfred Kerr among its editors. Among the contributors to Pan were Frank Wedekind, Georg Heym, Ernst Barlach, and Franz Marc. Connected with the journal was a society by the same name which sponsored theater productions for invited audiences of drama forbidden by the censor for public performance.
    In 1914 at the beginning of the war, Paul Cassirer began publishing Kriegszeit, Künstler-Flugblätter, edited by Alfred Gold. The early illustrations and texts were patriotic and full of war fervor. Paul Cassirer volunteered for the army in July 1914, but returned in 1916 as an enemy of the war. By this time Kriegszeit had been discontinued; Leo Kestenberg was editing the new journal Der Bildermann, devoted to art rather than patriotism. During the remaining war years, Cassirer and his wife, actress Tilla Durieux, became increasingly active politically. Cassirer, an independent Social Democrat (USPD), established in 1918 the Bund neues Vaterland, a club that sponsored discussions with journalists and politicians.
    Paul Cassirer's publishing house enjoyred prestige and success not only in the fields of art and art history, but also in politics and literature. Cassirer published works by Eduard Bernstein, Rosa Luxemburg, Erich Mühsam, Ernst Toller, Toller, Ernst Barlach, Ludwig Meidner, and Walter Hasenclever, and René Schuckele. Paul Cassirer committed suicide on January 7, 1926.
    Further reading: For further information on the Bruno Cassirer and Paul Cassirer Publishing Houses consult the following articles that appeared in a special issue of the political Imprimatur in 1972: (copies available in the collection file upon request)

    Scope and Content

    Papers of the publishing houses of Bruno and Paul Cassirer, and manuscripts by Paul Cassirer. I. Papers of the Bruno Cassirer publishing house (1906-1933) include the original verdict of the Koniglich Preussisches Landgenicht Berlin in the 1906 obscenity case against Bruno Cassirer and Frank Wedekind, regarding Wedekind's "Die Buchse der Pandora." There is also a catalogue, "Einige neuere Erscheinungen aus dem Verlage Bruno Cassirer, Berlin, nd. II. Papers of the Paul Cassirer publishing house (1916-1919) include ca. 100 letters of correspondence between Paul Cassirer, Leo Kestenberg (Cassirer employee), Walter Hasenclever (author), and Fritz Newberger (agent for O. Kokoschka and Hasenclever), mostly concerning the performance of Hasenclever's play, "Der Sohn" and Kokoschka's paintings; also includes manuscripts by Eduard Bernstein, Hasenclever and Peter Meyer, and letters to the editor of the journal "Pan," published by Cassirer. III. The Paul Cassirer manuscripts (1890-1899 and n.d.) include plays, short stories, poems, and fragments. In addition there are two photographs of Stefan Anton George, n.d., and one publisher's announcement for a work by Friedrich Gundolf, 1932.


    Löhneysen, Wolfgang Freiherr v. Paul Cassirer-Beschreibung eines Phänomens. Imprimatur, NF7, 1972, pp. 153-180.
    Sarkowski, Heinz. Bruno Cassirer. Ein deutscher Verlag 1898-1938. Imprimatur, NF7, 1972, pp. 107-131.
    Sarkowski, Heinz. Bruno Cassirer - Zeugnisse der Zeitgenossen. Imprimatur, NF7, 1972, pp. 132-138.
    Scheffler, Karl. Bruno Cassirer und das illustrierte Buch. Imprimatur, NF7, 1972, pp. 139-142.
    Sichowsky, Anke v. and Gunter Steinbach. Kinder- und Jugendbücher im Bruno Cassirer Verlag. Imprimatur, NF7, 1972, pp. 143-152.
    H.K. Lempertz-Auktion: Tilla Durieux' Nachlass. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. June 26, 1982. p. 28.