Scope and arrangement
The collection documents the personal and professional lives of three siblings, Rosika, Franciska and Béla Schwimmer, as well as that of their parents, Max and Bertha, and one child, Vilma, from the 1880s through the 1940s. Correspondence between family, family friends and colleagues represents the bulk of the materials. In addition, there are vital records, school notebooks, writings, clippings, operetta librettos, programs, research notes towards Franciska's book, Great Musicians as Children, and a few photographs. The papers were collected by Rosika and Franciska Schwimmer.
The collection will enrich any examination of Hungarian or international women's and peace movements between the 1890s and 1920s. Correspondence among family members, especially from Leopold Katscher and prominent feminist colleagues close to the family, reflects Rosika Schwimmer's ascent and fall on the international stage of feminist and pacifist activism. Also documented are Béla's experiences during World War I and Franciska's work as a piano teacher and use of music teaching to help children with behavioral and learning issues. Most broadly the collection chronicles a Hungarian family after their shift away from Jewish traditions into atheism and agnosticism, that family's struggles with finances from the 1890s until their deaths, and their post-WWI migration from Hungary to the United States.
Until the early 1920s, the material is primarily in Hungarian and German, and thereafter increasingly in English. Bertha Schwimmer's correspondence with her children is generally in German, written in old German script. Leopold Katscher's correspondence to Rosika is often in English, sometimes in German. Correspondence between Rosika and Franciska is usually in Hungarian. A few items in the collection are in French, Dutch and Hebrew.
The Schwimmer family papers are arranged in four series:
- 1837-19469 boxes
This series primarily contains materials exchanged between immediate Schwimmer family members, extended family members, and family friends. Family material stops just after Rosika's death in 1948, when Franciska became the last surviving Schwimmer. See Series II for Franciska's writings on family history, as well as writings on family history she received from other family members in the 1950s and early 1960s.
- 1890-196312 boxes
This series contains material generated or received by Franciska Schwimmer within the context of her own personal and professional life, usually outside the family, with the notable exception in Subseries C of family history writings she wrote or received from a few extended family members in the years between Rosika's death and her own.
For Franciska Schwimmer's correspondence, 1948-1963, concerning her participation in the movement for world government, see the guide to the Schwimmer-Lloyd collection.
- 1887-19493 boxes
This series contains personal and professional papers the Schwimmer sisters received from Béla directly or from his contacts after his death in 1934. Items include operetta librettos, school notebooks, military records, certificates, and correspondence with or about his daughter Vilma. Béla authored the librettos, some of which the Schwimmer sisters translated and tried to find publishers and producers for in the U.S.
The bulk of his correspondence with his family members can be found in Series I. For his research assistance on and translations of Franciska's Great Musicans as Children, see Series II.
Correspondence related to Vilma is restricted until 2044.
- 1926-19784 boxes
This series consists of materials the Schwimmer sisters collected which were from, received by, or related to their niece Vilma Schwimmer, including correspondence, clippings, vital records, schoolwork, and drawings. Correspondents include the Schwimmer siblings, Vilma, Marie Karp Schwimmer, Edward James Cain, Marguerite Gobat, and Lola Maverick Lloyd. This series is restricted until 2044.