Archive for the ‘Compars Herrmann’ Category

My very dear friend Mr. Lippincott,

Most gratefully do I acknowledge your dear letter dated March 1st. The letter arrived here Saturday March 11th, wonderfully quick! and once again I have to thank you sincerely and with all my heart for the enclosed 15$. You say you did not receive an acknowledgement for the last 15$ you so generously sent me? As I keep a list of all letters that I send away, I can say it positively that I wrote February 21st and thanked you, oh so many times, for the 15$ you kindly enclosed. I also sent a registered letter January 1st returning the Morocco story. I hope you have received it.  Not hearing from you for one month, I thought surely that you have moved to New York with your firm, as I understood you to say that the gentleman who owned the business was moving to New York, that therefore you have lots to do, to finish your work, or your accounts.

Ere I continue, let me say may God bless you for your great great kindness and repay you a hundred fold! for unless marvels or miracles occur, I shall not be able to repay the sums you so generously let me have.

I have begun again, after letting it rest for years, to fight for my father’s inheritance. My father Professor C. Herrmann the Great and only Herrmann, the Magician, who died as multi millionaire—I have been shamefully cheated out of almost everything. I think I never told you anything about it, dear friend. I am now trying to find out if a millionaire lady cousin of mine, Madame Lucy Dollfus in Paris living 94 Boulevard Flandrin is still among the living. If so, I will write to her—perhaps she will help me to my rights, and then I hope to be able to return your kindness in some measure, for it is you and only to you that I am indebted to.

I could not answer before today as Sunday the 13th was election day and I was at my radio till 2 in the morning, very much excited, to learn the results. I confess I gave a sigh of relief at the result and think that all civilized good people did the same.

Then my daughter left again for Russia on the 15th at 7 P.M. She reaches her destination this very night. This time she will reside in Swanka, 5 hours distance from St. Petersburg (Leningrad), all in all 30 hours distance from Berlin. Last winter she was in Wischersky (Ural); letters took 15 days! to reach her and 15 days back—it took 1 month to get an answer.

So besides all the excitement, annoyances of business and house, I have gone through a pretty trying time, dearest friend. What is the world aiming at? Why do millionaires like Eastmann and Kreuger end their lives? Why? Have they no religion? no heart? Could they not have done a world of good in the United States for the poor unemployed? Is it a singular world?

I wish I could see your dear face again, your dear kind face, ere I close my eyes forever. I hope I will.

My little house, my 3 rooms are really lovely and as small as it is, yet there is always room here for my dear dear friend Hall Lippincott. I know you would feel happy and comfortable here. I would do anything in the world to make you feel at home and comfortable, and if you come to Berlin, be sure to come with your luggage direct to Nürnbergerstrasse 1. Won’t you? Where I can eat there is always enough for 3.

My pupil Mrs. Fasenmeyer is still learning. She has remitted everything till April 15th. I suppose she will learn till the summer vacations begin, which is July. I have another pupil, Miss Rose Meri, studying without pay as she really promises to become a prominent singer. If I live, I hope to receive my reward from her later on. I know her 2 years, she seems true and honest.

Heavens blessings for you! You dear dear friend! I always enclose you in my prayers, morning and night, begging the Almighty to guard your steps, to give you the best of health, long life, and prosperity, a host of good true friends! Such are my true wishes for you! Once more a world of thanks for the 15$ you so kindly enclosed in your letter dated March 1st. Believe me as ever your exceedingly grateful, true and sincere friend,


Kindly answer soon!

Mr. Hall Lippincott

My very dear friend!

Two dear letters of yours are before me—one dated May 5th, the other April 23rd. The letter of May 5th enclosed again 15$ for which I must say thanks—a 1000 times thanks—allow me to kiss your benevolent hand! The letter encloses also the few lines the clerk wrote you of the Surrogate Court of April 26th, New York. I hesitated answering, because you told me not to be impatient and await the answer of the judge of the Probate Court in Newark, New Jersey, to whom you were kind enough to write.  I do not think that Aunty’s will can be filed there, as my aunt lived since about 20 years at the Arlington House, New York. and always kept her room there, even when she was on the road.

But people are bad. I am sending you a copy of Mrs. Smith’s last letter in which she says I have no claim whatever and am no relation. In one of the letters she says that she has in hand several money orders, a proof she my aunt helped me but that my aunt was under no obligation to me!  I have to explain this much to you, dear Mr. Lippincott, that my aunt always sent me for Xmas, and for my birth day 5$ or 10$, and she did this through cheque through the Bank. Once I received a money order for 50 marks. Do you think Mrs. Herrmann would have done that were I not a relation? and were she not under obligation to me? It is really impertinent of Mrs. Smith to say I am no relation whatever. The fact is that Addie Scarcey married my father’s youngest brother, by the name of Alexander, and that she owes it to me, only to me, that he married her.

Of course, my hands are chained here. I am unable to do a thing, I cannot take a lawyer and fight the case. Even if my aunt left no will, I have a claim, but she did have a will. Mrs. Smith says so in her letter. And why? if she is sole heiress and can triumph, why does she hesitate to let me have a certified copy!! I know there is a saying in America: possession is nine points of the law and so it is in this case! Of course I grieve and pine over it—Aunt Herrmann liked me so much, was so proud of me, proud of the position and name I made myself in Berlin. You are right to say “It is difficult to believe that Mrs. Herrmann did not provide for me in her will.” The court could not possibly notify me, as they surely could not locate me, and perhaps my aunt called me in the will Mrs. Dora Herrmann, as Blanche Corelli is only my professional name. However it has upset my heart—the loss of my darling aunt—now this end! and tormenting you! You, you dear good young soul. You goodhearted being!

Now, I really meant to live to be able to show you my gratitude. There is a little souvenir coming to you, dear friend, a souvenir from your very old and grateful Corelli. You shall have it as soon as I can get hold of it. You see how frank and openhearted I am to you! It is my father’s watch chain, really the only thing I inherited from him. It is a dainty, wonderful thing. One link is platin[um], the next gold and between are black pearls and little diamonds. The middle pearl has been removed; as father wore the chain the middle has to be slipped through the buttonhole of the vest, and each end of the chain in the right and left waistcoat pocket.

Compars Herrmann's watch chain

When my father died it was the same story as now with my aunt. I happened to be in Vienna and of course wrote to the court that I was the only daughter and considered myself heiress. The court of course accepted my claim, I had to sign every page of the inventory. It took several months to settle affairs. I returned to the States to earn money but relatives notified me that my father died as multi millionaire, but that everything belonged to his 2nd wife Mrs. Rosalie Herrmann. It is too long a story to tell. All I received then from Mrs. Herrmann was 10,000 guilders—everything was in her name! as she kept the correspondence and bank accounts. It is a sad disgraceful story which the whole of Vienna knows. I am alas a poor poor defeated and cheated woman, who had to work hard all her life, to live an honest life.

Times are so hard now. My pupil has left and I dismiss my servant on the 1st of next month. I cannot keep her, it is too great a luxury. By letting her go, I save 130 marks a month. There are only 3 rooms to attend to now, and although I am nearly 80 years old, fancy dear friend, 80, I must do it. I am determined to do it.

I must go back to the little watch chain. About 6 months after my father’s death, Mrs. Herrmann, father’s 2nd wife, sent it to me with a little picture of father in an etudis and then a life sized bust of father—the original bronze bust made by Levi in Paris is in the Museum of Art in Vienna—furthermore she sent me marble pedestal for the bust—it is so heavy I cannot lift it. These 3 things are my inheritance from my millionair[e] father. I know of no one in the world more worthy to possess that chain that my dear good friend Mr. Hall Lippincott. I would not for the world have my son in law get it. No, indeed. At the present moment, I am sorry to say, the little chain is in pledge. I shall try and get it out and then I shall send it to your home address through Adams Express Co. registered and insured, to 1132 Ashland Avenue Wilmette – Evansville – Illinois. Please advise your dear folks at home should you be in the road or away from house, to be sure and accept the little parcel, and when you receive it dear friend, please wear it, and sometimes think of poor me! May it bring you the very best of luck. God bless you!

I enclose a little snap picture. I had to have my picture taken for my passport. All foreigners have to have passports and papers in order. I don’t think they class me under strangers—I belong to Vienna—I am an Austrian. However, Monday I am going to the Austrian Consulate to get my passport in order. People here advise me to write to the Austrian Embassy in New York (I have the address) about this Smith affair, and in case of expenses, to enclose 3$. I think, though, I shall wait until I hear from you again, which I hope will be very soon. Once more, a world of thanks for your wonderful kindness. Believe me as always, your very grateful sincere

B. Corelli

By the way, one pearl in the chain is a little damaged—it proves though – - – that, that the pearls are real and the little pearl can be polished again.

19 May 1932 enclosure—page 1

1st letter to me:  Copy of Mrs. Smith’s letter dated March 13th arrived in Berlin March 24th 1932

My dear Mme. Corelli,

In going through my Aunt’s papers (Adelaide Herrmann), I found your letter of Jan. 24th. I have very sad news to write you, if you have not already read it in the papers abroad. Aunt Addie passed on, on Febuary 19th—it was quite sudden and has been such a shock that I cannot realize it yet—she broke a front tooth, a periodontist advised her to have the others out. They were as beautiful and I begged her not to do it, it was a crime at her age to suggest such a thing, but she wouldn’t listen—went alone on a rainy day, had six out, then walked around in the rain and caught cold which developed into pneumonia. She was taken to a hospital on Sunday the 14th, had 2 nurses and every care and attention. I stayed right with her to the end. Her passing was beautiful. She must have seen a glorious vision, for she almost sat up with her beautiful blue eyes wide open with such a happy contented expression, then a golden light passed over her face and she was gone. She looked beautiful in her casket, jut asleep. I dressed her in white chiffon and with her glorious white bobbed hair, she was a picture we will all remember. I am satisfied she had lived a full life, acting right up to the end and reserved every attention and honor at the close. The service and eulogies were wonderful at the same little chapel where uncle laid, and every wish of hers that I could recall, was gratified. You will remember I was with her in Berlin and spent most of my life with her. She was more like my mother as I feel her love very keenly. She was devoted to uncle. Even when they brought a strange doctor, her first words were “Did you know my husband?” I have destroyed your letter as there were personal remarks about your father and I knew auntie would wish me to do so. Trusting you and your daughter are well, with all good wishes, sincerely

(Mrs.) Adele Smith, March 14th, 1932

69 Lincoln Park, Newark, N.J.

19 May 1932 enclosure—page 2

2nd letter of Mrs. Smith dated Newark, April 1st

Dear Mme. Corelli,

Your letter of March 27th received. Auntie did leave a will, dividing between my cousin John and me, but it does not mean a thing as she had lost all in stock speculation. All she had left was an annuity which of course stopped at her death. It is amusing how interested how people are in a will. We have a number of cousins who never did a thing for Auntie, but as soon as they heard she was critically ill, came up like mushrooms, and on learning there was nothing, are all missing again. Auntie always loved to speculate, she lost heavily when we were in Berlin years ago and kept at it right to the end, but it was her money, she worked hard for it, and she had a right to do as she wished for it. As long as she had every comfort and care while she lived, I am satisfied. She knew I loved her and did everything for her, for herself, not for any personal gain. She always told every one, a daughter would never have made the sacrifices I did for her, so I haven’t one regret. As we sow, we reap. I know everything about the family and all auntie’s affairs, so please do not say Auntie made any promises or is under any obligation to you. I know it is not so. I have receipts for money, etc. she sent you from time to time. I sent you a magazine last Sunday giving beautiful tributes to her memory. I have had hundreds of letters, everyone knows how dear she was to me. With all good wishes, sincerely

Adele O. Smith,  April 7th 1932 , 69 Lincoln Park, Newark, N.J.

19 May 1932 enclosure—page 3

A copy of Mrs. Smith’s letter, her 3rd letter to me

This letter arrived here May 12th 1932

Dear Mme. Corelli,

Please do not bother me with your foolish registered letters. You make me regret I was good enough to write you of Auntie’s passing. When I showed your letter to Auntie’s lawyer, it amused him very much. He said even if Auntie had left money, you would have no claim, you were not related to her. However, if you doubt my – - – and have money to throw away, it is your privilege to consult your lawyer. I am sending your letters to Johnie Nash. If he wishes you to have his address, he will write you. Any further letters to me will be returned unopened.

Yours very truly,

Adele O. Smith

April 30th 1932

My highly esteemed friend,

Dear Mr. Lippincott,

It is only today, Sunday, that I am able to answer your dear letter of June 4th enclosing again a kindhearted gift—the donation of 17$ which I here acknowledge and say a million of thanks to the noblest person in the world, to you!! I see I am hardly able to write, I am just exhausted. All these things in the world for me are just incredible, you can well imagine my heart is crushed, torn, and I am bursting with rage against that woman Mrs. Smith. If she is the heiress and if aunt has left a will, as she writes and tells herself, she has nothing to fear by sending me a copy. But no, it is jealousy and hatred—my lady friend Mrs. Gotshall living in – - – says: There is decidedly something wrong there.

However, I am not idle and doing my best to find out. I thank you with all my heart for the 2 copies you so kindly sent me, one of April 26th from the Surrogate Court County of New York and the second testimony from the Surrogate Court of Newark, N.J. dated May 7, 1932. I would have answered and thanked for the first but you told me not to write, to wait for further news and I object. What a rough, vulgar woman this Mrs. Smith must be! She shows her beautiful character in her third letter! she might say the same thing in other words. Did you read the letter, dear Mr. Lippincott? I hope you did, so form your opinion about Mrs. S. I have lots and lots to tell you. You will be surprised to hear the steps I am taking.

But before all, to another little matter. The watch chain left Berlin yesterday June 18th and will most likely go with the steamer Europa. I went myself in a taxey to the American Express. I of course insured it for 50$. 49$ is the insurance for the chain and 1$ insurance for a tiny tiny ivory elephant, holding in his mouth a four leaf clover. I send that along for good luck. Please put the little fellow on your writing desk. I take the liberty to remark that the middle pearl is missing. It was taken away because my father wore the chain, that place was drawn through the button-hole of the vest, and I see that one pearl is defect, but that proves that it is real–that pearl can be repolished by a jeweler—had it not been real, it would have smashed, but real pearls do not break. Then I noticed there is a tiny diamond missing. You will have to excuse all this. Will you kindly? Please let me know at once when the little box arrives. You must not misunderstand me, what I am telling now—I thought they were quite exorbitant in their charges. They charged 7 marks! Now please do not send me the money for that—I have received that over and over again and say once more, thanks! I hope you will like the chain—it is Parisian work. Please wear it! and may it bring you a world of good luck, and also the little elephant.

Do you remember, dear Mr. Lippincott, I asked you to read the Linking Ring for March,[?] an article about my poor aunt written by Mr. Christian Burgess, 101 West 84th Street, New York City. Mr. Burgess is a member and must certainly hold a high position in the  International Brotherhood of Magicians. Well, I took the liberty to write to Mr. Burgess and thanked him for the article about my aunt, about the kind words he spoke, about her character and her art. I took the liberty to ask him in the letter who gave him all this information because so many things were wrong, and as I am not mentioned among the survivors, I take the liberty to introduce myself as B. Corelli, the only daughter of the old genuine world renowned Professor Compars Herrmann. I said I could not imagine why my name has been forgotten! (I did not mention anything about Mrs. S nor the will affair.) I told Mr. Burgess that I was teaching in Berlin 40 years—sent him a list of my pupils, among which are many Americans very prominent in the States. Told him I myself was 16 years Prima Donna in the States, that I sang in California, Havana, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico—told him who my poor mother was, told him that I taught 8 years here (was leading teacher) at the Sterns Conservatory under Professor Gustav Hollander, told him that I had my own opera company 4 years in America, and that one summer season I sang with my company at the Cosmopolitan Theatre, manager Wood, in New York City—that now I am teaching privately in my studio Nürnbergerstrasse 1—oh yes, by the way, told him about Caruso! Well, Dear Mr. Lippincott, you ought to read Mr. Burgess’ answer, a wonderful letter! which I must copy for you so that you may read it. I will just copy the first few sentences:

Dear Madame Corelli, dated 5/21/32—This to promptly acknowledge the safe delivery into my hands this morning of your very wonderful long and interesting letter and to thank you for having written me. I wish to assure you that I feel highly honored by receiving a letter from you, dear Madame, the only living representative of the never-to-be-forgotten famous magical name of Herrmann. With your permission I will take certain excerpts from your letter and incorporate them into a little article I hope you will allow me the privilege of writing up about you, and your very close relationship to the Herrmanns. I would then be pleased to send you a copy of the issue in which the published article appeared. Meantime, if you can, will you kindly favor me with a late photograph of yourself, and if you would be so kind as to personally autograph it to me, I of course would then prize it doubly, and always keep it. But I would have a reproduction made of it to accompany the published article. This kindness will be more than appreciated, let me assure you.

42 lines follow yet—quite wonderful! I have not yet answered—I have too much care, too much worry, and too much work in my household. You see, dear Mr. Lippincott, though who I am! You also see that I did not write one word about the will, and now I will tell him all about it. . .and you see, dear Mr. Lippincott, that I will yet come rather get my dues and before all will prove that I am a relation.

Will not tire you more today. As for myself, I am actually done for! Once more, a world of thanks!! I hope to hear from you by return of mail.

Lots of good feelings, lots of thanks! Believe me as ever your very grateful, sincere and truthful but poor


My highly esteemed friend,

Dear dear Mr. Lippincott,

Before me is your dear letter dated April 5th bringing me your dear congratulations. I thank you sincerely! Nevermind, good wishes never come too late.

I am just shaking all over after something I have just read in the Sunday paper—but we are not allowed to speak or write about it. The article is in the Beiblatt of the Berliner Tageblatt of Sunday, April 16th. You can read it for yourself—that ever so many physicians are discharged and have lost their positions at the different hospitals—quite a quantity—and so it is every day! What in the world are these people going to do. People have to perish—to die—there is nothing else for them to do but to kill themselves.

One pupil which I had only 2 weeks, a Mrs. Schaller, wanted to study with me for light opera, but when the boycott began they fled to Holland, and so I am a looser.

I am happy that you are looking radiant in the future and feel quite proud that you will entrust me to try and write a story of my life. I have been asked to do so several times, but I never liked the idea, it looked too much like an advertisement and I have been very modest all my life, blooming modestly like a violet, but I must say myself, I have a rich life behind me, very successful and have done a world of good. Today, dear friend, only this short setback—I will begin to write tomorrow. Today I will only say that there is a book that came out in Chicago, Laird & Lee are publishers. It is called Herrmann the Great and written by H.J. Burlingame, and strange coincidence, on the very first page after the word Introduction are the following words “by Dr. Max Dessoir with special reference to the feats of mediums by H.J. Burlingame.” I am mentioning this now because the wife of Prof. Dessoir is a very prominent well known Concert Singer whose stage name is Susanne Triepel and she is one of my pupils. He is Professor here at the University. I am well acquainted with them. There is more of Alexander Herrmann in that book (father’s youngest brother) than of my father and on the top line of page 55 in the book you will find my humble name. On page 87 is a mistake! Mrs. Herrmann’s maiden name (the wife of Alexandre) was Adelaide Scarsey and not the way it is spelt in the book.

Another book called Moderne Salon Magic by G. Willmann published in Leipzig Germany, publishers and print by Otto Spamer 1891—it brings a number of magic tricks, also a number of pictures (faces), also my father’s portrait on page 37.

Another book called The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin by Harry Houdini—it gives no publishers, but he brings father’s picture on page 194 and he brings the following words under the picture: “The original Compars Herrmann who was Robert-Houdin’s very active rival during the latter’s first engagement in London. Best portrait now in existence and only one showing Herrmann in his prime. Original photograph loaned for this work by James I. Kernan of Baltimore, Md., U.S.A.

I must say it is a beautiful picture of father, but I will go to bed—it is 11 o’clock. If I write much longer, I will not be able to close my eyes—my thoughts keep me awake. I would have much to say.

Olga and her husband left for Braunschweig 3 days ago—it is later now—returning Tuesday, but how heartless she is—how improvident for she left me! You would not believe it! it is really incredible! Were I 10 years younger, I would emigrate—sell my home and leave. God be with you! Please answer by return of mail if this has arrived. A thousand greetings to you. Good luck! Will try my very best with that book. Most gratefully, Corelli