Date Published: 1896
Binding: No binding
Adolf Ladenburg, two illustrated anti-Semitic manuscripts written in French about his wife and his mysterious death at sea. 1896. Illustrations done in ink and watercolour, signed F.B., identity unknown. The manuscripts and drawings are intended to be satirical and humorous in tone. But the humor is grim and sadly anti-Semitic. During this period in France, anti-Semitism was quite prevalent, the most notable case of anti-Semitism being the case of Alfred Dreyfus, a French artillery officer of Jewish ancestry whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most controversial and polarizing political dramas in French society. In addition to the manuscripts, the collection has: an envelope of Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co., post-marked 6 October 1893, from the steamer Umbria addressed to Wm Spencer, Dulken, Germany; and printouts from the New York Times and other sources pertaining to the Ladenburg family.
The two mss. are as follows:
#1) “Mort de Ladenburg” [“Death of Ladenburg”]. 10 pp., 31 × 24 cm., 13 coloured illustrations (signed F.B., dated 1896). In this bizarre account, Ladenburg suffers from gallstones. He has received an invitation from Blanche C. to visit her in Paris. He journeys on the Liner Niagara to Le Hâvre, France. On board the steamer he meets a woman also named Blanche. He takes an injection of morphine and has a dream in which several naked black ladies dance in front of him. The next day he has disappeared and is not on the steamer. His company and family in New York are notified that he has probably been washed overboard during a storm and has died. Miraculously, however, he survives after floating three days on the ocean and lands on an island. He then shoots himself in the head. In the final paragraph God leads him to a special apartment of the Ladenburg house. Ladenburg is delighted to meet St. Peter who is a perfect gentleman with the purest English accent. Extract: “Il était d'une haute compétence en matière d'affaires et joignait à cette compétence une physionomie affable qui en faisait un des financiers les plus accomplis de New-York…. Le navire filait depuis plusieurs jours vers la France et le passager Adolf n’avait pas encore cesse d'avoir le mal de mer le plus terrible, quand le vent s’apaisant, il lui prit l'envie d'aller respirer sur le pont, idée malencontreuse s'il en fut, comme le prouvera du récit… Donnez moi votre injection superfine à la morphine, articula lentement le héros, et faites votre devoi… L’étourdissement qu'il ressenti dans l'eau le fit d'abord déraisonner quelque peu, mais âpres avoir appelé 2 ou 3 fois Blanche sa mère et la mer. Blanche ce qui était une erreur géographique indigne de lui, car il était en plein atlantique, il se mit à reflechir à sa situation…. Bien lire, répondit St Pierre…. Par ma foi, dit Adolf enchanté, vous êtes de parfaits gentlemen et vous avez le plus pur accent anglais.” Translation: “He was highly proficient in business matters and combined with this skill an affable countenance which made him one of the most accomplished financiers in New York…The ship had been heading for France for several days and the passenger Adolf had not yet ceased to have the most terrible seasickness, when the wind calmed down, he wanted to go and breathe on the deck, an unfortunate idea if there was one, as the story will prove… Give me your superfine morphine injection, the hero said slowly, and do your duty… The dizziness which he felt in the water made him at first err somewhat, but after having called 2 or 3 times Blanche his mother and the sea. Blanche which was a geographical error unworthy of him, because he was in full Atlantic, he began to reflect on his situation… Read well, replied St. Peter. By my faith, said Adolf delighted, you are perfect gentlemen and you have the purest English accent.”
#2) “La Vie et les oeuvres de Mme veuve Aldolf Lademburg [Ladenburg] Chapitre 1re” [“The Life and the Works of Madame widow Adolf Lademburg First chapter”). 6 pp., 21 × 25 cm, 6 coloured illustrations (signed F.B., dated 1896). In this narrative, the maiden name of Ladenburg’s widow is said to be Ellen Amoing, with kinship to the family of Plumkeck der Mac-Aron. Her children are Nathan, Salomon, and Rebecca. Mrs. Ladenburg, a sportswoman and a redhead, receives the news of her husband’s death while riding a horse in New York’s Central Park. She is assisted in the funeral of her husband by John Thalmann. The Ladenburg house has a large gallery, and Mrs. Ladenburg commissions a portrait of her husband in his military uniform, “Plongeurs à ch’vals captain”. Extract: “Au retour de l’enterrement, Ellen Amoing, veuve Ladenburg, pleure dans le sein de ses enfants; mais à cette occasion, permettez moi de vous les présenter: Nathan (15 ans), charmant youpin faisant les études les plus brillantes au Cantorbery New Colleg’ Yorks marists’and Cie… Quand au second Salomon, à ces paroles que sa mère prononça dans son désespoir: `Ah! mes enfants, c’était un homme!’ Il s’étonna de la justesse de cette réflexion memorable. La petite dernière, Rébecca, ne manifesta son chagrin que par un doigt dans le nez. La jeune chienne Sarah pleura également.” Translation: “Coming back from the funeral, widow Ladenburg Ellen Amoing cries in her children's bosom; but on this occasion, allow me to present them to you: Nathan (15 years old), a charming Yid doing the most successful studies at Cantorbery New Colleg’ Yorks marists’ and Cie. As for the second, Salomon, to these words his mother uttered in her despair: `Ah! my children, it was a man!’ He was amazed at the accuracy of this memorable reflection. The youngest, Rebecca, expressed her sorrow only by a finger in her nose. Her young dog Sarah also cried.”
Adolf Ladenburg was a senior member of the Wall Street bank, Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co. Born in Frankfurt am Main, where his father, Emil (1822-1902) was the head of the W.H. Ladenburg & Söhne (founded 1789), Ladenburg studied banking on the continent and in England. The family was Jewish. In 1852 Emil had married Eugenie Adèle Halphen, the daughter of a respected family related to the Paris Rothschilds. In 1877 Ladenburg immigrated to New York, and in 1880 he entered the firm of Limburger and Thalmann, subsequently changed to Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co. He was also a director and president of the Brooklyn Elevated Railroad Company and a director of the Madison Square Garden. In 1887 he married Emily Stevens, a daughter of Alexander H. Stevens, president of New York’s Sixth National Bank. On 20 February 1896, he was a passenger on the Ward Line steamship Niagara, travelling from Nassau to New York City. During a storm, feeling seasick, he apparently went on deck to get some fresh air and was washed overboard. At the time of his death, his estate, estimated at $10 million, was passed on to his wife and daughter (Eugenie Marie, later Mrs. Preston Davie). Mrs. Ladenburg was a prominent socialite and a horsewoman of note. She died in 1937. Ladenburg’s company, now known as Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, continues to operate as a business in investment banking and capital markets products and service with 4,000 financial advisors world-wide and $125 billion in client assets.
Collection on consignment with LDRB.