Uncommon ALS of Theodor Herzl, Father of Zionism

He arranges a meeting at the health resort of Kaltenleutgeben, possibly with Jewish journalist Ferdinand Gross

1888 was a major literary year for Herzl, who at age 28 was already an accomplished writer and journalist. In February of that year his play “Seine Hoheit [His Highness]” was produced in Prague and well received by public and critics alike. In March the play was transferred to Berlin. Herzl then...

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Uncommon ALS of Theodor Herzl, Father of Zionism

He arranges a meeting at the health resort of Kaltenleutgeben, possibly with Jewish journalist Ferdinand Gross

1888 was a major literary year for Herzl, who at age 28 was already an accomplished writer and journalist. In February of that year his play “Seine Hoheit [His Highness]” was produced in Prague and well received by public and critics alike. In March the play was transferred to Berlin. Herzl then traveled to Belgium and England, and it was on this trip that he first personally experienced anti-Semitism. While on the journey he wrote dozens of stories and sent the best of them to the “Neue Freie Presse [Vienna New Free Press]” which printed many of them, including his first article on social life in England. Herzl also published “Das Buch der Narrheit [The Book of Folly’”, a collection of articles, and together with Hugo Wittmann, a leading author, he wrote the comedy “Wilddiebe [Poachers]”. The play was produced by the Hofburgtheater in Vienna. By year’s end he was back home in Vienna.

Autograph letter signed, in German, Vienna, October 10, 1888. “Completely agree. Tomorrow afternoon I will have the honor to visit you in Kaltenleutgeben. With sincere greetings, Th. Herzl.” Kaltenleutgeben is a suburb of Vienna, and was something of a health resort [offering the “Austrian cold water cure”]. Mark Twain found himself there in 1898. The addressee cannot be determined for sure, but we speculate that it was possibly Jewish author and journalist Ferdinand Gross, who visited Kaltenleutgeben and died there in 1900. He and Herzl were known to correspond, and there is an informality about this letter that suggest it was not to a stranger.

ALSs of Herzl are uncommon, this being our first.

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