Scope and arrangement
The Leopold and Berta Katscher papers consist of correspondence divided into general, publisher, and family correspondence; some diary entries; case files of lawsuits and related correspondence; manuscripts including book manuscripts and journal proposals; scrapbooks of published articles and publisher advertisements, papers of societies and associations; and personal documents such as insurance policies, grade reports, and professional references.
The collection is largely in German, with significant portions in Hungarian and English, and individual documents in French, Italian, Yiddish, and Hebrew. While most of the handwritten papers are in old German longhand, a number of them, particularly many of the outgoing letters and most of the diary entries, are in shorthand. Spelling variants of the name Katscher found in the collection are Kacser, Kácser, Kácer, and Kácsa.
The papers were collected by Leopold Katscher, who had most of them bound into volumes, and they consequently contain a significantly higher proportion of his writings than his wife Berta's. With the exception of the scrapbooks of published articles, all volumes have previously been disbound and, in most cases, disassembled. Leopold Katscher numbered the items in each volume successively; skipped numbers in the correspondence folders thus indicate letters that have been removed or re-filed. In some cases, those numbers may provide clues for the dating of undated letters.
The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence and published works. The correspondence is particularly strong in documenting Leopold Katscher's publishing activities as an author, editor, and translator. Katscher's articles were published in some one hundred serials in Europe and North America; the collection, which includes rejection letters, allows a thorough insight into the publishing landscape of the time and Leopold Katscher's aspirations as a journalist. The correspondence is mostly complete up to 1901 (with some years missing) and includes transcripts in Hungarian from Leopold Katscher's teenage years. The collection contains correspondence by Berta Katscher, including family and publisher letters; her correspondence is particularly strongly represented in select years.
The collection contains Leopold Katscher's extensive correspondence with Baroness Bertha von Suttner, who was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and was a strong influence on Alfred Nobel's decision to establish the prize. The correspondence documents Katscher and von Suttner's joint efforts to establish peace societies throughout Europe and their work on peace talks and publications such as the serial Die Waffen Nieder!
Other prominent correspondents include: P.T. Barnum, Victor Bluethgen, John Ingram, Sigmar Mehring, Max Nordau, Rosika Schwimmer (Katscher's niece), Leopold Spitzer, Hippolyte Taine, and Edward Westermark.
The collection of Leopold Katscher's printed articles up to 1901 is believed to be complete. Katscher collected his printed works meticulously, and the volumes of his collected articles are intact. Only a fraction of Berta Katscher's published work is present in the collection.
While the biographical literature on Leopold Katscher has stressed his involvement in the peace and women's rights movements, his impact on the literary profession has not been noted. The collection contains a number of case files that document Katscher's fierce battles for copyright protection of his and Berta's works, and his calls for professional standards. They show Katscher to have been a vigorous advocate for the protection of intellectual property, for financial security for artists in the form of mandatory license fees and pension funds and for the need for professional organizations of writers and artists.
Supplemental sources of information on the Leopold and Berta Katscher papers can be found in the Schwimmer-Lloyd Collection Morgue File (Series N) which contains biographical information about the extended Katscher family, and in the card file index of correspondents, publications, and businesses referenced in the collection.
The Leopold and Berta Katscher papers are arranged in five series:
The correspondence consists almost exclusively of incoming letters, with the exception of one box of copies of outgoing letters. Incoming correspondence is subdivided into general correspondence, publisher correspondence, and family correspondence.
Include published and unpublished works by Leopold and Berta Katscher.
The case files include court documents and legal correspondence. They document Leopold Katscher's miscellaneous lawsuits, mostly for slander or copyright violations. Also documented are his activities as the founding director of the Society for Prosecuting Copyright Violations and the Lennertsfonds, and his extensive brokering projects in real estate, development projects, art funding, invention marketing, and as an inheritance solicitor.
Papers including event announcements, membership documents, and solicitations for talks documenting Leopold Katscher's and, to a lesser degree, Berta Katscher's involvement in various professional and non-professional organizations. Includes those in which they were active, held membership or office, and those which Leopold Katscher founded or proposed. Societies include peace societies, literary and artistic societies, feminist societies, social reform societies, Jewish societies, and others.