M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Inventory of the
PAPERS, 1929–1953


Inventory does not contain biographical history.

For reference queries contact Grenander Department Reference staff or (518)-437-3935

Inventory prepared by
Sandra Hunt Hawrylchak
January 16, 1978

Revised by Zohar Kastner November 2005


M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: .33 cubic ft. (1 box)


ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Vicki Baum Papers, 1929–1953
Scope and content note

The collection, which consists of approximately 820 items, is divided into two sections: correspondence. and manuscripts. The correspondence dates from October 1, 1929 to April 24, 1953 and concerns Vicki Baum's works published by Doubleday, Doran and Co. (N.Y.): Grand Hotel, Secret Sentence, Helene, Men Never Know, The Ship and the Shore, Marion Alive, Weeping Wood, Danger from Deer, Headless Angel. Included in the correspondence are 166 L. by Vicki Baum, 249 L. to Vicki Baum and 397 third party L. The manuscripts consist of notes and synopses of the following works: Marion Alive, Men Never Know, A Tale of Bali, The Weeping Wood.

Vicki Baum Papers, 1929–1953
Biographical History

Vicki Baum, whose original name was Hedwig Baum was born in Vienna to a Jewish family on January 24, 1888, the only child of Herman and Matilda Baum. At the age of eight, Baum began studying at the Vienna Conservatory of Music, where she spent her time mastering the harp. Throughout her childhood, Baum had a passion for writing short stories and won certain school prizes, but her father discouraged her from a writing career. In 1906, she began her studies at the Hochschule für Musik and began playing professionally in different orchestras such as the Vienna Konzert Verein. At the age of eighteen, Baum married journalist Max Prels. Through her husband's career as a journalist, Baum had the opportunity to showcase some of her literary work to publishers. For the first time in Baum's life, she experienced the lifestyle of a writer and in 1909 she published her first short story.

In 1910, Baum divorced and subsequently moved to Germany where she taught the harp at the musical high school of Darmstadt. With the onset of World War I, Baum temporarily worked as a nurse while gradually pursuing her literary passion. In 1914, Baum published her first novel Fruhe Schatten (Early Shadows). In 1916 Baum married conductor Richard Lert and they had two children. In the years following her second marriage, Baum gave up her music career to travel with her husband to various European towns where she was introduced to different cultures. In 1926, Baum was hired at Ullstein, one of the biggest German publishers at the time. Baum was editing magazine articles during the day and was writing her own novels at night. In 1928 she published Stud. Chem. Helene Willfuer (Helene) and in 1929 Menschem im Hotel (Grand Hotel), novels which explore the struggles of human motives and life altering events. Grand Hotel became Baum's most notable piece of literature and was turned into a play by Max Reinhardt that was performed throughout Europe and the United States.

In 1931, Baum went to the United States to see stage versions of her play and while visiting she realized that the United States was a safer and more hospitable place for a Jewish writer. Soon thereafter, Baum and her family permanently moved to California and she continued writing her novels, plays, and scripts for various studios, including Paramount and MGM. Eventually, MGM bought the film rights to Grand Hotel and Edmund Goulding directed the critically acclaimed film version of her novel, the Best Picture Oscar winner from 1932. During the 1930's and 1940's, Baum was one of the most popular émigré authors. In 1938, Baum became naturalized as a citizen of the United States of America. With her success as a novelist and as a representative of a Jewish exile from Germany, her other publications such as, Ship and Shore (1941), Hotel Berlin (1943), Headless Angel (1948), The Mustard Seed (1953), Written on Water (1956), and Theme for Ballet (1958) were widely read. Baum represented the classic Jewish émigré who escaped her controlled life and succeeded in following her true dreams. In 1960, Vicki Baum passed away from leukemia at the age of 72.

Vicki Baum Papers, 1929–1953
Box and Folder List

Box 1

1.Grand Hotel correspondence. April 1, 1930  - August 15, 1932 (published January 30, 1931). Correspondents include: Geoffrey Bles, George H. Doran, Nelson Doubleday, Malcolm Johnson, Mary A. Leonard, Daniel Longwell.
6 L. by Vicki Baum
10 L. to Vicki Baum,
67 third party L.
Correspondents.include: Geoffrey Bles, George H. Doran, Nelson Doubleday, Malcolm Johnson, Mary A. Leonard, Daniel Longwell.

2.Secret Sentence correspondence. May 25, 1931 - July 12, 1932 (published July 6, 1932).
3 L. to Vicki Baum
24 third party L.-
Correspondents include: Geoffrey Bles, Raymond Everitt, Lillian Glaser, Malcolm Johnson, Mary Leonard.

3. Helene correspondence. April 29, 1931 - Aug. 16, 1934 (published April 12, 1933).
6 L. by Vicki Baum
14 L. to Vicki Baum
51 third party L
Correspondents include: Geoffrey Bles, Nelson Doubleday, Raymaond Everitt, Michael Joseph, Mary A. Leonard, Daniel Longwell.

4.Men Never Know Synopsis. Mimeo. 3p.

5.Men Never Know correspondence. March 28, 1934 - June 13, 1942 (published March 8, 1935).
17 L. by Vicki Baum
33 L. to Vicki Baum
71 third Parzv L.
Correspondents include:. Basil Creighton, Nelson Doubleday, Lillian Glaser, Malcolm Johnson.

6. The Ship and the Shore correspondence. March 26, 1940 Sept. 4, 1941 (published March 21, 1941).
6 L. by Vicki Baum
14 L. to Vicki Baum
12 third party L.
Correspondents include: Malcolm Johnson.
1 potrait
1 photograph

7. The Weeping Wood. Notes. T. 4p. Synopsis. T. 3p.

8. The Weeping Wood correspondence. March 16, 1943 - Dec. 14, 1945.
4 L. by Vicki Baum
6 L. to Vicki Baum
18 third party L.
Correspondents include: Lee Barker, L. G. Booth, Donald B. Elder, Curtice Hitchcock, Michael Joseph, Meredith Sparks.

9. Marion Alive correspondence. Sept. 24, 1941 April 1, 1946. Includes:
2 L. by Vicki Baum
1 L. to Vicki Baum
11 third party L.
Correspondents include: Malcolm Johnson, F. H., Landshoff, Ann Watkins.

10. Marion Alive. Corrections. T. 5p.

11. Headless Angel correspondence. July 9, 1944 - June 1,,1949.
29 L. by Vicki-Baum
34 L. to Vicki Baum
12 third party L.
Correspondents include: Nelson Doubleday, Donald B. Elder, Ken McCormick.

12. Danger from Deer correspondence. March 16, 1948 - Dec. 16, 1951.
39 L. by Vicki Baum
49 L. to Vicki Baum
9 third party L.
Correspondents include: Donald B. Elder, Ken McCormick.

13. [Tale of Bali]. Das Ende der Geburt. Synopsis, in English. T. with some h. corr. 5p

14. Correspondence with Max Herzberg, 1932-1945, 1958-1959.
16 L. by Herzberg
3 L. by Vicki Baum

15. Miscellaneous correspondence. Oct. 1, 1929 - April 24, 1953.
57 L. by Vicki Baum
85 L. to Vicki Baum
122 third party L.
Correspondents include: Geoffrey Bles, Nelson Doubleday, Donald B. Elder., Lillian Glaser, Malcolm Johnson, Mary A. Leonard, Daniel Longwell, Ken McCormick, Winifred Nerney.

16.Obituaries, Vicki Baum

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Last updated August 9, 2004