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

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

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.

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.

Arrangement

Arranged in original order.

Conditions Governing Access

Open

Acquisition Information

Deposited by the Wolff family.

Other Finding Aids

Description exists to this archive on the Wiener Library's online catalogue www.wienerlibrary.co.uk.

Archivist's Note

Entry compiled Howard Falksohn.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Geographical Names