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Wiener Library

Mendelssohn, Moses (1729-1786): Correspondence with Friedrich Nicholai


Reference code(s): GB 1556 WL 1437

Held at: Wiener Library

Title: Mendelssohn, Moses (1729-1786): Correspondence with Friedrich Nicholai

Date(s): 1761-1785

Level of description: collection

Extent: 1 file

Name of creator(s): Wolff | Richard | 1886-1985 | chairman of the Paulusbund


Administrative/Biographical history:

The principal editor (and probable creator) of this collection, Richard Wolff, is thought to have been one time chairman of the Paulus Bund, a representative organisation for Jewish mixed-race Germans (See Werner Cohn, 'Bearers of a Common Fate? The Non-Aryan Christian Fate-Comrades of the Paulus-Bund, 1933-1939' in Leo Baeck Yearbook XXXIII 1988). He was born in 1886, emigrated in 1938 and since 1947 was a naturalised British citizen. He lived in Nairobi during the mid 1950s. He died 9 March 1985.

Moses Mendelssohn was born in 1729 and was a creative and eclectic thinker whose writings on metaphysics and aesthetics, political theory and theology, together with his Jewish heritage, placed him at the focal point of the German Enlightenment for over three decades. While Mendelssohn found himself at home with a metaphysics derived from writings of Leibniz, Wolff, and Baumgarten, he was also one of his age's most accomplished literary critics. His highly regarded pieces on works of Homer and Aesop, Pope and Burke, Maupertuis and Rousseau, to cite only a fraction of his numerous critical essays, appeared in a series of journals that he co-edited with G F Lessing and Friedrich Nicolai. Dubbed The Jewish Luther Mendelssohn also contributed significantly to the life of the Jewish community and letters in Germany, campaigning for Jews' civil rights and translating the Pentateuch and the Psalms into German. Mendelsohn died in 1786.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Moses Mendelssohn, 1761-1785, comprise draft typescript transcriptions of Moses Mendelssohn's letters to Friedrich Nicholai, 1761-1785, along with a draft forweard by Richard Wolff and draft editorial notes.


Language/scripts of material: German

System of arrangement:

Arranged in original order.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies can be made for personal use. Permission must be sought for publication.

Finding aids:

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by the Wolff family.



Archivist's note: Entry compiled Howard Falksohn.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: March 2008

German literature | European literature | National literatures
Jewish | Cultural identity
Jews | Religious groups

Personal names
Mendelssohn | Moses | 1729-1786 | philosopher
Wolff | Richard | 1886-1985 | chairman of the Paulusbund

Corporate names

Germany | Western Europe | Europe