Scope and arrangement
The Stephan George letters to Ernst Morwitz consist of approximately 240 communications from George to Morwitz, one of George's most devoted confidants. The collection also contains various manuscript poems by George, and Morwitz's annotated letter book created in 1955 and 1956. These papers offer insight into George's thoughts, artistic achievements, travels, and other activities during the final 30 years of his life.
The letters from George to Morwitz spans their entire relationship, from their meeting in 1905 until George's death in December 1933. The letters are personal in nature, and contain discussions of George's thoughts on poetry and other intellectual pursuits, including the printing of George's great poetry collection Der Krieg in 1917. They also discussed news of George's family and personal well-being, and Georgekreis members' activities and travels. During their correspondence, George traveled throughout Germany and Switzerland, while Morwitz lived in Berlin and briefly in Heidelberg. Morwitz received one letter while serving in the German Army during World War I (December 10, 1918). In addition to the George items, there are a few letters from others in his circle, including Maximillian Kommerell (March 1924) and Friedrich Gundolph (1906). The last item in the collection is an urgent telegram from Locarno, Switzerland, informing Morwitz that George was close to death (December 1, 1933).
The bulk of the letters are undated, though many are accompanied by stamped envelopes, and the others are placed into chronology in Morwitz's letter book. George typically signed his letters "G.," "St.," "S.G.," "St. George," Stefan George, "der Meister," and "d. M." He often referred to his circle as "die Staat" (the state).
Writings contain several manuscript poems that George sent to Morwitz. These include: a manuscript booklet entitled Prinz Indra, containing 5 poems; a manuscript booklet containing 7 poems (1922); and13 loose poems, all undated and largely untitled. Also present are 2 drawings and a 32 page booklet entitled "Hugo von Hofmannsthal über Stefan George," written by Wolfgang Frommel as related to him by Stefan George.
Morwitz created the letter book in December 1955 and January 1956 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In it, Morwitz transcribed and annotated every letter and many of the manuscript poems in the collection. The annotations also give dates to many of the undated letters, explanation to textural abbreviations, and offers context to the letters. Additionally, the volume contains Morwitz's thoughts and memories of George and his circle. Of note is a 2 page timeline of George's travels with his friend Ludwig Thormaehlen between the years 1912 and 1933 (pages 171-172). The letter book is organized into four sections:
Section 1 (pages 1-162) contains copies of each letter in the collection, each with extensive annotation by Morwitz.
Section 2 (pages 163-167) comprises 6 annotated poems from the collection sent to Morwitz around 1922: "Widmung," "Leid," "Harren," "Einem Driftes," "Weihe-Gaben," and "Adonis."
Section 3 (page 168) is an index providing the year for each letter in the volume with some notes on undated letters.
Section 4 (pages 169-200) contains Morwitz's writings on George and his circle. Members discussed include Johann Anton, Ernst Bertram, Albrecht von Blumenthal, Robert Boehringer, Bernard von Bothmer, Percy Gothein, Friedrich Gundolph, Max Kommerell, Frank Mehnert, Silvia [Marbees], Ernst Morwitz, Karl Josef Partsch, the Stauffenberg brothers, Ludwig Thormaehlen, Bernhard and Woldemar Count Uxkull-Gyllenband, and Karl Hanna Wolfskehl, among others.
The correspondence is organized chronologically with the writings and letter book ordered at the end of the collection.