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Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

Franz Schoenberner:

An Inventory of His Correspondence at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Schoenberner, Franz, 1892-1970
Title: Franz Schoenberner Correspondence
Dates: 1933-1947
Extent: 1 document box (.21 linear feet)
Abstract: This collection consists entirely of incoming correspondence written to Franz Schoenberner between 1933 and 1947 by a number of significant European and American writers and artists. Correspondents include Henri Barbusse, George Grosz, Thomas Theodor Heine, Heinrich Mann, Romain Rolland, and Stefan Zweig.
Language: English and German
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 1961 (R593)
Processed by: Bob Taylor, 2010

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Franz Schoenberner was born in on 18 December 1892 as the eleventh and last child of a Berlin pastor. After graduation from Berlin's Humanistisches Gymnasium he pursued studies in cultural history and literature in the universities of Berlin and Munich in the years 1911 to 1914.
Following military service in the Great War, Schoenberner began his literary career, working for Musarion Verlag in Munich and, from 1923, as editor of the Auslandpost and other journals. He succeeded Georg Hirth as editor of the art periodical Jugend in 1927, later moving to the satirical weekly Simplicissimus, where from the end of 1929 until Hitler's accession to power in March 1933 he was the chief editor.
Like his coworker the satiric artist Thomas Theodor Heine, Schoenberner quickly left Germany after the Nazi consolidation of power, settling at Roquebrun-Cap-Martin in France, where he wrote for Klaus Mann's Die Sammlung and other German-language émigré periodicals. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 Schoenberner was interned by the French government as an enemy alien at a former brickyard at Les Milles near Toulon along with other German exiles.
With the assistance of the Emergency Rescue Committee and the Unitarian Service Committee, Schoenberner escaped from French internment during 1941, eventually settling in the United States with "very little money and even less English." For two years he lectured on behalf of the Council for Social Action of the Congregational Christian Churches; beginning in 1943 he worked for the Office of War Information as an editor and began writing articles for American publication.
The first volume of his memoirs, Confesssions of a European Intellectual, was published in 1946; it was followed in 1949 by The Inside Story of an Outsider. After surviving a brutal attack that left him with permanent physical handicaps, Schoenberner published the third and final volume of his memoirs under the title You Still Have Your Head: Excursions from Immobility (1957). Franz Schoenberner died at Teaneck, New Jersey, on 11 April 1970.


Heine, Thomas Theodor. Die Wahrheit ist oft unwahrscheinlich: Thomas Theodor Heines Briefe an Franz Schoenberner aus dem Exil. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2004.
Schoenberner, Franz. Confessions of a European Intellectual. New York: Macmillan, 1946.
________________. The Inside Story of an Outsider. New York: Macmillan, 1949.
________________.You Still Have Your Head: Excursions from Immobility. New York: Macmillan, 1957.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists entirely of incoming correspondence written to Franz Schoenberner between 1933 and 1947 by a number of significant European and American writers and artists. Correspondents include Henri Barbusse (2 letters, 1933), George Grosz (1 letter, undated), Thomas Theodor Heine (125 letters, 1933-1940, 1945-1947), Heinrich Mann (2 letters, 1933-1936), Romain Rolland (2 letters, 1933), and Stefan Zweig (4 letters, 1933-1936). The materials are arranged as one folder of letters in alphabetical order and four folders of letters from Heine ordered chronologically.
Within the Heine correspondence is one letter (dated 16 January 1939) from Dagny Gulbransson to her uncle Björn Björnson present in German translation. Also included with this group is a proof copy of the foreword for Heine's Das spannende Buch date stamped "28 vii 1934" along with a number of clippings, some with marginal notations by Heine.

Related Material

The Ransom Center's D. H. Lawrence collection includes seven letters from D. H. Lawrence to Schoenberner, written in 1927-1928. These letters arrived at the Center as part of the Lawrence collection and were never part of the Schoenberner materials described in this finding aid.

Separated Material

Prior to 1990, several groups of letters which were originally part of this collection were moved to other collections and cataloged separately in the Ransom Center's card catalog. Letters to Schoenberner from André Gide (9 letters, 1940-1949) are now part of the Carleton Lake Collection; those from Thomas Mann (2 letters, 1933-1952) are now in the Center's Little Alphabet collection; and those from Upton Sinclair (7 letters, 1942-1957) are located in the Center's Sinclair materials.

Index Terms


Barbusse, Henri, 1873-1935
Grosz, George, 1893-1959
Heine, Thomas Theodor, 1867-1948
Mann, Heinrich, 1871-1950
Rolland, Romain, 1866-1944
Zweig, Stefan, 1881-1942

Document Types

Newspaper clippings

Container List