Letters, postcards, and notes to or from Weill or Lenya in the form of originals, or photocopies acquired from other repositories (Series 40-47). Over the years, the Research Center has acquired several substantial collections of Lenya’s letters as well as a number of original letters written by Weill.
Weill’s and Lenya’s correspondence dominates this category. Weill’s general correspondence, distinct from the collection in the Weill-Lenya papers at Yale University, features correspondents including Maurice Abravanel, Theodor Adorno, Maxwell Anderson, Bertolt Brecht, Ferruccio Busoni, Cheryl Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Ira Gershwin, Langston Hughes, Edward James, Darius and Madeleine Milhaud, Caspar and Erika Neher, Ruth Page, Leah Salisbury, and the Theatre Guild. Also held by the WLRC are photocopies of Weill’s voluminous correspondence with his first publisher, Universal Edition, 1924-1950, the originals of which reside in Universal’s archives.
Lenya’s business correspondence after 1950 includes substantial files of letters pertaining to productions of Die Dreigroschenoper and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, correspondence with Helene Weigel, Stefan Brecht, and Elisabeth Hauptmann pertaining to Weill-Brecht-Hauptmann collaborations, correspondence with lawyers and agents, and letters and contracts covering her performances and public appearances. Lenya’s personal correspondence, again distinct from the collection in the Weill-Lenya papers at Yale, includes communications with Theodor Adorno, Hesper Anderson, George Davis, David Drew, Max Ernst, Dag Hammarskjöld, Caspar and Erika Neher, Ann Ronell, Lys Symonette, and Robert Vambery. Close friends of Lenya represented by substantial collections: Mary Daniel, Trudi Gill, Anna Krebs, Vivian Liff and George Stuart, and Ted Mitchell.
All surviving letters, postcards, and telegrams between Weill and Lenya, 1924-1948, approximately 400 items in all, are held by the WLRC. The collection was removed from Lenya’s home after her death by Kim Kowalke and Lys Symonette and is also available in published editions (English and German).
In 1989, the Foundation purchased from Weill’s niece, Hanne Holesovsky, over 250 letters and postcards that had been exchanged between Weill and his family between 1914 and 1950. Most of the letters date from 1917-1919, offering a detailed picture of Weill’s experiences as he moved from the provinces to Berlin. He continued to write to family members throughout his life, albeit less frequently after he reached adulthood. This correspondence is available in a published edition as well.
Correspondence of other people that pertains to Weill, Lenya, or Blitzstein rounds out the collection. Less cohesive than the other groupings, this nonetheless provides valuable supplemental commentary. Correspondents include Maxwell Anderson, Marc Blitzstein, Bertolt Brecht, Marc Connelly, Aaron Copland, Cheryl Crawford, Lehman Engel, Ira Gershwin, Elisabeth Hauptmann, Edward James, Gertrude Lawrence, Harold Prince, and Elmer Rice.