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Wilhelm Söllmann Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCPC-DG-045

Scope and Contents

The Wilhelm Sollmann papers include biographical material, writings, and correspondence. The biographical material gives information about Sollmann's life in Germany and afterwards in the United States. Tributes and memorials are also included in the collection. Sollmann was a prolific writer and many of his speeches, essays, pamphlets, and newspaper articles may be found here. A large portion of this collection consists of Sollmann's correspondence with prominent men and women of Germany and other parts of the world. There are also many letters with fellow exiles who write of political, financial, and marital difficulties resulting from the Nazi regime.

After the death of Elfriede Sollmann additional material was deposited in the Peace Collection. This accession also included biographical material on William Sollmann and a large number of family letters. The letters, mostly written by Sollmann to his daughter Elfriede, reveal personal information about the family in Germany, their adjustment to life in the United States, family relationships, and William Sollmann's thoughts about his work in the 1930s and 1940s. There is also a small amount of information of biographical information about Elfriede Sollmann. Several photographs were included in this accession.

Dates

  • 1901-1991

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in English and German.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Yes, original documents are stored off-site, patrons must use microfilm for boxes 1-17; to view boxes 18-19 (not microfilmed), patrons must contact SCPC staff at least two weeks in advance of visit to request this material from off site storage.

Copyright and Rights Information

None.

Biographical

Friedrich Wilhelm Sollmann (1881-1951), German labor leader, journalist, and Reichminister, was born in Coburg, Germany. Exiled from Germany in 1933, Sollmann sought refuge in the United States and eventually became an American citizen, adopting William F. Sollmann as his preferred form of address. Sollmann, who is credited with the co-founding of the University of Cologne in 1919, became editor-in-chief of the Rheinische Zeitung that same year and served in this post until 1933. In 1919 he was a member of the German delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty conference and he served as a representative to the Constitutional National Assembly at Weimar. In 1920 Sollmann was elected to the first of his eight terms in the Reichstag where he was to be a prominent member of the committee on foreign affairs. Sollmann was also the Secretary of the Interior in two cabinets under Chancellor Gustav Stresemann. Attacked and nearly beaten to death by Nazi storm troopers in 1933, Sollmann, became a German exile, and took up the editorship of the Deutsche Freiheit, a daily paper of the Saar territory. Sollmann emigrated to the United States, where he became an associate staff member of Pendle Hill, a Quaker study center in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. Sollmann's views on the then-current world tension showed his deep confidence that the only solution would be conciliation and mutual adjustments by the nations concerned. His final advice was: "Maintain an equilibrium, however precarious, for 50, if necessary for 100 years. The deep changes which are required in society today cannot be hurriedly accomplished. Insist that high officials of the opposing governments and responsible persons of wide influence from both sides confer constantly in private, outside the orbit of the newspapers. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate." Sollmann's career as a lecturer and advisor on Germany and international affairs commenced in 1937 and continued until the time of his death.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (7 linear ft.)

Overview

Friedrich Wilhelm Sollmann (1881-1951), German labor leader, journalist, and Reichminister. Exiled from Germany in 1933, Sollmann sought refuge in the United States and eventually became an American citizen, adopting William F. Sollmann as his preferred form of address. Sollmann was a member of the German delegation to the Versailles Peace Treaty conference and he served as a representative to the Constitutional National Assembly at Weimar. In 1920 Sollmann was elected to the first of his eight terms in the Reichstag where he was to be a prominent member of the committee on foreign affairs. Sollmann's career as a lecturer and advisor on Germany and international affairs commenced in 1937 and continued until the time of his death.

Arrangement

The Sollmann papers were deposited in the Peace Collection in two sections. The first, and largest, part of the collection arrived in 1951 soon after Wilhelm Sollmann's death. This material was organized into biographical material, correspondence, printed writings, typescript material, and publicity about Sollmann's work. All items are arranged chronologically within each category.

The second accession arrived in 1998 and came from the estate of Elfriede Sollmann. This material was also organized into similar categories of biographical material, writings, correspondence, and materials pertaining to Elfriede Sollmann. Again all items were arranged chronologically within each section. The 1951 accession was microfilmed by the Peace Collection long before receipt of the materials donated by Elfriede Sollmann. Thus there was no attempt to integrate the later accession with the earlier. The later gift was placed in a separate box.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kate Sollmann, Elfriede Sollmann, and Hertha Kraus, 1951 and 1998.

Existence and Location of Copies

Yes, microfilm Reels 40.1-13.

Related Materials

For related materials, search the library's online catalog

Separated Materials

Items removed from collection include: several photographs of Wilhelm Sollmann and others, 3 pen and ink drawings of Wilhelm Sollmann, and 1 oil painting of W. Sollman. The photographs were removed to the photograph collection.

Bibliographic References

Guide to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2nd ed., p. 66.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by the SCPC staff; the finding aid was revised in 1998 and 2008 by Wendy E. Chmielewski.

Creator

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

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