Autograph album assembled by a later top lawyer of the Weimar Republic

[Frey autograph album]. Autograph album compiled by Erich Frey, containing autograph portrait postcards, letters, etc. by 93 notable artists, composers, Schriftstellern, Politikern und Gelehrten, darunter August Bebel, Ernst Haeckel, Maximilian Harden, Franz von Lenbach, Max Liebermann, Franz von Liszt, Theodor Mommsen, Arthur Nikisch, Richard Strauss und Rudolf Virchow.

Various places, ca. 1900.

Folio. Album of 52 ff. (the last two removed) with cards tipped in. Contemporary half calf with giltstamped cover title.


An album compiled by the young law student Erich Frey (1882-1964), who would later become known as one of the most colourful characters of the Weimar Republic: a devotee of Berlin's nightlife, a dandy with a taste for the margins of society, and an experienced criminal defence lawyer famous for his fur-rimmed checkered coat and a monocle that he was fond of removing or inserting at court to great dramatic effect when defending such illustrious clients as the Marxist Spartakists, burglars like Karl Friedrich Bernotat (whose penchant for early printing and first editions was legendary), the mobsters of the "Immertreu" convicts' association, serial killers like Friedrich Schumann and Carl Großmann, Germany's first nude dancer Lola Bach, or Paul Krantz, one of the young protagonists of the so-called "Steglitz tragedy".

Frey's success allowed him to own a villa in Teltow-Seehof and luxurious chambers in Bellevuestraße 21/22, above Café Josty. In October 1933, at the age of 54, he had to desert all this: warned by a colleague that the National Socialists had issued a warrant for him, Frey drove straight to Berlin's Anhalt railway station without even visiting his home and so escaped to Zurich and on to Paris. In 1939 he flew to Santiago de Chile, where he died in 1964, aged 82.

The writers of the letters and portrait postcards (most of which contain the signature only) sent to the young student in Munich and Berlin are Richard Alexander, Rudolf Ander, Marie Barkany, August Bebel, Rudolf Berger, Rosa Bertens, Ferdinand Bonn, Bernhard von Bülow, Wilhelm Burmester, Nuscha Butze, Rudolf Christians, Felix Dahn, Emmy Destinn (2), Marie Dietrich, Konrad Dreher, Louise Dumont, Georg Engels, Geraldine Farrar, Ludwig Fulda, Ludwig Ganghofer, Willi Geiger, Teresina Gessner, Jenny Gross, Wilhelm Grüning, Max Halbe (2 Karten und 1 Visitenkarte, 2 Kuverts), Ernst Haeckel, Maximilian Harden (3), Thomas Theodor Heine, Emilie Herzog, Joseph Joachim, Gustav Kadelburg, Friederike Kierschner, Adolf Klein, Ludwig Knaus, Paul Knüpfer, Max Kretzer, Isidor Landau, Else Lehmann, Franz von Lenbach, Rita Léon, Julius Lieban, Max Liebermann, Paul Lindau, Franz von Liszt, Paul Meyerheim, Theodor Mommsen, Karl Muck, Arthur Nikisch, Robert Philipp, Max Pohl, Max Pollandt (cabinet photograph and letter), Franceschina Prevosti, Emanuel Reicher, Marie Reisenhofer, Eugen Richter, Rudolf Rittner, Thaddäus Robl, Therese Rothauser, Marcell Salzer, Richard Schmidt-Cabanis, Gisela Schneider, Paul Singer, Kurt Sommer (2), Otto Sommerstorff, Adolf Rt. von Sonnenthal, Agnes Sorma, Friedrich Spielhagen, Curt Stern, Julius Stettenheim, Richard Strauss, Ludwig Thoma, Emil Thomas, Heinz Tovote, Albert Träger, Irene Triesch, Karl Uhlig, Rudolf Virchow, Siegfried Wagner (2), Harry Walden und Leonie Taliansky, Mia Werber, Charlotte Wiehe, Ernst von Wildenbruch, Marianne Wulf, Hermann Zumpe, as well as an unidentified singer in her Wagnerian costume.

Binding loosened; lightly stained, sunned and browned; edges and spine-ends bumped. Includes several memorial postcards for the Kingdom of Prussia's second centenary, Goethe's 150th birthday, the 19th century's last Christmas Eve, etc.