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Braun Family Archive

 Collection

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The archive contains documents relating to Konrad Braun and Hildburg Braun, and their families, relations and ancestors. The history of many, though not all, families from whom Konrad and Hildburg were descended was well documented at least from the beginning 19th century, with some material in the collection concerning ancestors in earlier centuries. Although many of the papers were lost during the 1939-1945 war, a substantial quantity did survive, collected in particular by Konrad and Hildburg's elder son Thomas Braun, who added documents from a variety of other sources, including gifts from relatives. Konrad Braun's brother Gerhard Braun (1893-1946) and his wife Anneliese née Finster (1901-1996), who also emigrated to England in 1939, brought a significant number of family documents with them. These were mainly collected and sorted by Konrad and Hildburg's younger son Christopher Braun when he was clearing the house of Gerhard and Anneliese's daughter Ruth Braun (1926-1999) after her death.

The archive now includes correspondence, personal and legal papers, diaries, memoirs, eulogies, articles, occasional verses etc., dating from before 1800 to the 2000s, as well as family trees, secondary literature and other material accumulated in the course of genealogical research by Thomas Braun and Christopher Braun.

The archive also includes Thomas Braun's personal papers and the originals of a large collection of his writings, collected and arranged by Christopher Braun after his brother died in 2008 following a road accident.

Autograph letters and other papers from an eclectic variety of prominent people in both Germany and Britain with whom members of the family had contact over the decades were brought together in a separate Autograph Collection, which forms part of the archive.

The subjects touched on include the history of Berlin and Northeast Germany in the 19th and early 20th century, the role of the Jews and the process of assimilation, publishing and literary movements in 19th century Germany, especially Berlin, the 1914-18 war on the German side, the Nazi oppression and the holocaust, emigration from Germany, the life of German refugees in Britain, the internment of enemy aliens in Britain during the 1939-45 war, the Quakers in Germany and Britain, and academic life in Oxford.

Dates

  • 1685-2016

Extent

37.0 Linear metres (221 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

English, with occasional use of Latin, Greek (ancient), French, Hebrew, Czech, Polish.

Conditions Governing Access

Material of a sensitive personal nature is closed. Restrictions are indicated in the catalogue as (= closed).

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries (followed by shelfmark and folder number, e.g. MS. Braun 1, Folder 1)
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Braun 1-221

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 6842

Overview

Correspondence and papers of the Braun Family, including papers of Thomas Braun (1935-2008), classicist and Fellow and Dean of Merton College, and family history research material.

Biographical / Historical

The Braun family archive consists of family papers and documents inherited and collected by Thomas Braun (1935-2008, Dean of Merton College and Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History), and by his brother Christopher Braun (born 1943), who donated the collection to the Bodleian Library.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, family members were successful in business, the professions, government service and regional politics, and extensively involved in literary and artistic circles. With different branches of the family having both Jewish and non-Jewish antecedents, members of the family faced persecution in Nazi Germany. Although Konrad Braun (1896-1969) and Hildburg Braun née Weber (1910-2004), Thomas's and Christopher's parents, and other family members escaped from Nazi regime in the late 1930s by emigrating to the United Kingdom, some very close relatives were victims of the holocaust. After coming to Britain the Braun family were much involved with the Society of Friends (Quakers) and its commitment to peace and international development.

Arrangement

Based on the lists made by Christopher Braun when administering his brother Thomas Braun's and cousin Ruth Braun's estates, the collection was arranged in eight series. The arrangement of the material from Thomas Braun is based on the order in which he kept it.
  1. Papers from Hildburg Braun's house (1861-2004): Papers of, and collected by, Konrad Braun and Hildburg Braun née Weber, and brought from Hildburg Braun's house after she died in 2004. Mainly correspondence, personal documents, writings and memorabilia by, or relating to Hildburg Braun (1910-2004) and her husband Konrad Braun (1896-1969). Includes papers Hildburg Braun had kept of, and relating to, her parents Rudolf Weber (1861-1925) and Hedwig Weber née Fink (1867-1951) and her siblings Gisela Weber (1902-1990) and Heinrich Weber (1905-1965); and papers Konrad Braun had kept of, or relating to, his parents Felix Friedmann-Braun (1861-1934) and Gertrud Friedmann-Braun née Lehfeldt (1870-1942), and his siblings Hildegard Braun (1891-?1944), Johannes Braun (1900-1942) and Gerhard Braun (1892-1946).
  2. Family history research (1685-2006): Research material and collected family history documents relating to Thomas Braun's genealogical research. Mainly correspondence, personal documents and memorabilia of ancestors, family trees, photographs and printed material with annotations relating to relatives and ancestors of the Friedmann/Braun family, the Lehmann/Lehfeldt family, the Weber/Busse family and the Fink/Zeller family. B.3 paternal ancestors: Includes material relating to a projected new version of the 1906 Lehmann-Lehfeldt 'Familienchronik' compiled by Thomas Braun in the 1980s. B.4 maternal ancestors: Includes family history research material compiled by Heinrich Weber in the 1930s-1960s.
  3. Thomas Braun (1936-2010): Papers of Thomas Braun (1935-2008). Includes private correspondence; personal papers such as documents relating to education and travels, diaries, lists and notes; papers relating to academic career and university and college matters; and a collection of Thomas Braun's published and unpublished, academic and 'occasional' writings, as compiled by Christopher Braun. Also includes papers relating to publishing 'Tomfoolery – Occasional writings by Thomas Braun', 2010. Digital material from Thomas Braun's computers and his floppy disk archive, mainly consisting of correspondence, writings, notes and lists, 1980s-2000s, is to be added as part of ongoing preservation and cataloguing work.
  4. Autograph Collection (1812-2004): A collection of letters and other documents from artists, writers, musicians, politicians and other 'celebrities' of their times addressed to members of the Braun family and more distant relatives, mostly on Thomas Braun's father's side. The collection as present was compiled by Christopher Braun as part of a sorting of family papers after Thomas Braun's death in 2008.
  5. Audio-visual material (1934-2007): A collection of audio and video recordings of family members, or relating to family history.
  6. Family verse and writings (1826-2011): A collection of verse and other writings by the family, ancestors and relations, as compiled by Thomas Braun and Christopher Braun from the Braun Family Archive.
  7. Papers of Gerhard, Anneliese and Ruth Braun (1880-2008): Papers of, and collected by, Gerhard Braun (1893-1946), his wife Anneliese, née Finster (1901-1996) and daughter Ruth Braun (1926-1999), as cleared from Anneliese and Ruth Braun's house by Christopher Braun after Ruth Braun's death in 1999. Mainly correspondence, personal documents, writings and memorabilia by, or relating to, Anneliese and Ruth Braun; with some later additions by Christopher Braun.
  8. Miscellaneous (1921-2016): Miscellaneous papers, memorabilia and music, as well as later additions to the archive.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Bodleian Library by Christopher Braun in several tranches July 2010 and May 2017, together with a grant towards the cost of preparing this catalogue.

Related Materials

A considerable collection of family photographs, as well as the Thomas Braun estate papers, remains in the possession of the Braun family.

Various members of the Lehfeldt family, related to the Braun family on Konrad Braun's maternal ancestors' side, retain their own archives, mainly in Germany.
Title
Catalogue of the Braun Family Archive
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Svenja Kunze
Date
2017
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Catalogued with the generous support of Christopher Braun.
Edition statement
This is the second edition of this catalogue.

Revision Statements

  • 2017: Catalogue first published in January 2015. Series F-H (MSS. Braun 169-221) have been added, and minor revisions of series A-E been made, in December 2016 and between February and May 2017.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom