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], [1939]. 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

Dear Edith:

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.

October 25, 1959
Dear Mr. Weisberg –
I am so very sorry that I cannot help you to get the record of my Farewell recital. It just does not exist any more – your wish which moves me very much. Thank you for your kind and good letter. With very best regards I am sincerely your
Lotte Lehmann
To her pianist of the 1930’s Ernö Balogh she wrote the following:
Postmarked February 29, 1972
Dearest Ernö-
Thank you for remembering my birthday with so good wishes. Today I am very tired from “Gefeiert-sein” (translated ‘being celebrated’)… Therefore only this short note. Much love to you and your lovely wife. Your very old friend
This following letter speaks of the Richard Strauss book Lehmann was involved in at the time.
Hope Ranch Park, Santa Barbara, California, 1963 February 9.
Dearest Ernö
The book has first to be translated. It is even possible that it will come out 1964, because that is Strauss’s 100 birthday – and it may be clever to have it out then! The title may be (not quite decided yet) ‘Five Operas and Richard Strauss.’ – Frances was in N. Y. only a short time, only for Grace Bumbry’s recital. She is all right – and we live in great and never disturbed harmony. Fritz and Therese live here, I bought a house for them. He is not well at all, had 8 years ago a stroke and is paralysed (sic) on his left side. But he teaches a little but – suffering rather many ills of old age. He will be 81 in June… Therese (whom he married as I am sure you know) takes care of him and does the work of three Nurses aid and housekeepers. I never can understand how she does it. Without her he would be lost. Pleases remember me to Malvina and, take very much love for yourself –
Ever yours
(signed) Lotte


Lehmann often heard singers who wished for some quick instruction or life altering words. Here’s a letter that displays Lehmann’s tack and kindness in such a situation.

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.