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Letters and postcards of Egon Wellesz


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Over 760 letters and postcards written between [1948] and 1972 by the composer and musicologist Egon Wellesz (1885-1974), with a few wholly or partly by his wife, Emmy (1889-1987) and almost all addressed to their daughter Elizabeth (1912–1995), who in 1961 became Mrs Kessler. The occasional letter is addressed to Elizabeth's husband Charles and several to them jointly. One letter (from 1949) is addressed to his son-in-law, Dr Kary Pole, who married the Wellesz's other daughter Magdalena. There also a few letters from other people or copies of Wellesz's letters to others. The earliest letter of 1940 is from Elizabeth (Lisi) to her father.

The letters, usually signed 'Pepi' or 'P.', tell of many Oxford events and personalities, occasions elsewhere as well as chronicle Wellesz's own compositional activity and performances of his works. The letters are mostly written from Oxford but also other places he visited. A few letters are present only in photocopy, with the location of the original noted. Some letters from the 1950s bear a stamp 'Alliierte Zensurstelle' with various numbers.


  • 1940-1972, n.d.


0.3 linear metres (2 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • German
Almost all the letters are in German, with a few in English.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 9626/1].
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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 9626/1-2

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 9626


Letters and postcards from the composer and musicologist Egon Wellesz to his daughter Elizabeth and others, 1940-1972.

Biographical / Historical

Egon Wellesz (1885-1974) was a composer, musicologist and lecturer. Having spent the first part of his career in Vienna, he moved to England with his wife Emmy and daughters. Elizabeth and Magdalena, at the time of the Anschluss in 1938. He became a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford in 1939, university lecturer in music in 1943 and Reader in Byzantine Music in 1947. For further details of his life and work see Oxford Music Online. The letters are addressed to Elizabeth (Lisi), his daughter, who returned to Vienna after the war.


The letters and postcards are arranged chronologically by year. Where undated correspondence includes an indication of a date (probably by Charles Kessler) or was kept together with letters for a given year, it has been included in the same group, usually at the end of the sequence. There are also several undated letters that are kept separately.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Kessler, by private treaty sale through Sotheby's, 20 March 2009.
Catalogue of letters of Egon Wellesz, 1940-1972, n.d.
Finding aid prepared by Margaret Czepiel
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom