Lotte Lehmann was an avid writer of letters. You may read some of them elsewhere on this site, especially when they’re to famous people or to her companion, Frances. You can view a PDF from one of my Lotte Lehmann & Her Legacy iBooks that contains many of the letters she wrote to me (Gary Hickling). Further, on this page, I’ll try to assemble letters that demonstrate many aspects of her life, both personal and professional.
This first letter demonstrates Lehmann’s constant support for young singers who asked her advice and support. This was written on train to Lincoln, Nebraska [postmark: Omaha], and sent to the Australian mezzo soprano Lieder singer, Katherine Castles (aka Kathleen Castles, Katrina Castles and Mrs. Michael Schwab), whom Lehmann had met on her 1937 Australian tour, New York, 19 February 1939.
Left address of people important for your studies in bag on way to Los Angeles. Write immediately to Hollywood Hotel. I shall give nightletter from there to Melbourne so there shall be no delay.
signed Lotte Lehmann
The following card, obviously sent shortly after the death of her husband, Otto Krause, was sent to Castles and is a rare occurrence of Lehmann using her husband’s name.
To Katrina Castles, [New York], . Printed black-edged card.
Gratefully acknowledging and thanking you for your kind expression of sympathy. Madame Lotte Lehmann Krause.
The next letter is addressed to an Edith for whom there is no last name or other information. It’s included because it demonstrates some of Lehmann’s domestic life.
April 29, 1944
I write this letter in English because I am dictating it.
Coming home to Santa Barbara a month ago I found your lovely Christmas present, which had not been forwarded to me. What must you think of me that I did not thank you in New York. Why didn’t you ask me if I had received it? Thank you very much for it. It is very practical and came at just the right moment of need.
The beginning of our Santa Barbara time has been very bad indeed. We lost our couple, and while in normal times this would not have been a great loss because they have not been ideal at all, now it seems like a catastrophe. It is very difficult to get people here.
We had to eliminate our animals from the household to make it easier. I gave away the chickens and forty lovebirds, and a parrot, and Frances’ two big dogs are now in a kennel, — poor souls. Only Mausi sits on the wreckage of the zoo and smiles!!!
Up to now we have cleaned the house ourselves (I must say much better than the servants) and Frances cooks quite wonderfully, but I cannot say that I enjoy this life of a housekeeper. I hope that we can get somebody and become ladies again.
How are you, dear Edith? I would be glad to hear from you.
Much love from Frances and myself,
The next letter demonstrates how active Lehmann was in answering fan mail.
Another service Lehmann provided was the pleading for financial help for her students. Below, for the same student, you can see a recital program that Lehmann prepared. She did this often.
The following LL letters are from 1910 during her first appearances at the Hamburg Opera. You’ll find her handwritten letters (in the old script that’s difficult for us now to read) and include English translations of her letters and one from her father to her brother Fritz.