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Leonard R. Weitzel, Jr. and Madeleine DeBarthe Schuermann Correspondence Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MA.00382

Scope and Contents

The Leonard R. Weitzel, Jr. and Madeleine DeBarthe Schuermann Correspondence Collection contains letters between Leonard Weitzel and Madeleine DeBarthe Schuermann, but the bulk of the letters are from him to her. DeBarthe-Schuermann was the companion of Robert Frost's illustrator Julius J. Lankes during the last twenty years of his life, and Weitzel was both her cousin and, for a time in their early lives, a romantic interest. The letters document Weitzel's life in particular, including his time at Harrisburg Academy in Pennsylvania and his subsequent time in the military. DeBarthe-Schuermann's life is documented mostly through Weitzel's reflections about things she wrote to him, his view of their relationship, and references to shared knowledge or experiences.

Dates

  • 1925-1958

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Leonard R. Weitzel, Jr. and Madeleine DeBarthe Schuermann Correspondence Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Leonard R. Weitzel, Jr. and Madeleine DeBarthe Schuermann Correspondence Collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Leonard Rensselear Weitzel, Jr. was born on January 1, 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Leonard R. and Maye K. Joret Weitzel. He attended Harrisburg Academy in Pennsylvania and then joined the Army during World War II. He died in New Jersey in 2006.

Madeleine DeBarthe (spelled variously) was born on July 6, 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Penn (Pennsylvania) and Maud Barker De Barthe. In 1930, she was living with her parents in the home of her maternal grandmother, Juliet Barker. A lodger named John Schuermann (sometimes spelled or transcribed as Schurermann or Schurmann), aged 30, born in Germany, was living with them, and Madeleine appears to have married him in November 1930. The couple had two sons, John D. and Paul A. (born December 1931 and 1939 respectively) and may have divorced later -- records are unclear at the time of this writing. Madeleine lived with Julius J. Lankes from about 1940 to his death in 1960. She died on June 24, 1999.

In his correspondence, Leonard initially refers to Madeleine as his cousin, although the exact genealogical relationship isn't clear. They seem to have been romantically attached for some period of time until Madeleine severed that aspect of their relationship around 1930.

Extent

1.63 Linear feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Leonard R. Weitzel, Jr. and Madeleine DeBarthe Schuermann Correspondence Collection is comprised largely of correspondence from Weitzel to DeBarthe (later Schuermann). Schuermann was the companion of Robert Frost's illustrator Julius J. Lankes during the last twenty years of his life, and Weitzel was her cousin and, for a time, a romantic interest. The collection contains approximately 300 letters and several photographs.

Arrangement

The collection contains approximately 300 letters and several photographs, mostly of buildings. The photographs are located in the same folders as the letters with which they were associated. The collection is arranged chronologically and in one series. Letters written before the marriage of Madeleine DeBarthe to John Schuermann are noted with her married name in brackets, "DeBarthe [Schuermann]."

Author
Margaret R. Dakin, Archives and Special Collections Specialist
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299