An Inventory of His Correspondence at the Harry Ransom Center
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.
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.
Open for research
Purchase, 1961 (R593)
Bob Taylor, 2010