Showing posts with label Georg Collin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georg Collin. Show all posts

Monday, June 6, 2016

Die Collins / The Collins Online!

Die Collins | The Collins

Geschichte und Bibliographie | History and Bibliography

 

Arbeit an der Geschichte von W. Collin und der Bibliographie der Schriften von Ernst ist jetzt auf Deutsch und Englisch abgeschlossen. Die bibliographische Aufzeichnung von Ernst Collins Schriften ist auch auf diesem Blog (oben) einsehbar mit Link zu einer Tabelle die zu digitalisierten Versionen bei HathiTrust von vielen der Schriften führt. 

Die Collins: W. Collin, Hofbuchbinder & Ernst Collin, der Autor des Pressbengels (126 Seiten, 60+MB, https://works.bepress.com/peter_verheyen/46/download).

Work on the history of W. Collin and bibliography of the writings of Ernst has been completed in German and English. The bibliographical listing of Ernst Collins writings found to date is available on this blog (above), with link to a spreadsheet linking to HathiTrust and other sources.

The Collins: W. Collin, Court Bookbinders & Ernst Collin, the Author of the Pressbengel (126 pp, 60+MB, https://works.bepress.com/peter_verheyen/45/download).

Deutsch

Die Collins: W. Collin, Hofbuchbinder & Ernst Collin, der Autor des  Pressbengels
Hier zum Download
https://works.bepress.com/peter_verheyen/46/download

English

The Collins: W. Collin, Court Bookbinders & Ernst Collin, the Author of the Pressbengel
Click to Download
https://works.bepress.com/peter_verheyen/45/download

Sunday, January 10, 2016

W. Collin Mappe und Etikette

[Geändert 5/11/16: Diese Abbildung meiner W. Collin Mappe und verschiedene Etikette und Stempel von W. Collin sind in Die Collins zu sehen]

Diese Geschichte der Collins und die folgende Bibliographie der Schriften von Ernst Collin beansprucht nicht vollständig zu sein, vor allem, weil sie aus der Ferne mittels digitalisierten Sammlungen, Fernleihe und angekauften Büchern zusammengestellt wurde. Sie will einen Anfang machen und darüber hinaus einen Einblick in die Welt der Familie Collin geben. Ernst Collins Ansichten und Schriften über Buchbinderei sind unter allen Quellen die wichtigsten. Die Arbeit soll auch dazu dienen, das Vermächtnis und die Leistungen dieser Berliner Familie wieder ins Gedächtnis zu rufen.

Es folgen in weiteren Teilen Kapitel zum Leben von Ernst Collin, seinen monographischen Schriften, Aufsätze in Zeitschriften, eine Beschreibung der Quellensuche, und ein Verzeichnis seiner einzelnen Schriften.
Das Gesamtwerk ist noch im Aufbau und wird Ende 2016 vollendet sein. 
Mehr hierzu können Sie unter „Colliniana“ wo einige Teile des Inhalts vorab beschrieben wurden.

Mappe von 1892







Sunday, May 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Ernst - Colliniana 2015

Today would have been Ernst Collin's 129th Birthday.

Heute wäre Ernst Collins 129. Geburtstag gewesen.

As in the past 2 years, there are numerous Ernst Collin (and family) related findings to report on this annual post, what I have decided to call Colliniana.

Most exciting to me is the serialized publication in Japanese by the "Laboratory for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration" of the Pressbengel based on my English translation at The Bonefolder. Beginning in March, each of the 6 days is being split into two parts and being released with about a month between installments. Google translation for English.

Wie in den vergangen 2 Jahren gibt es auch dieses Jahr wieder einiges von Ernst Collin (und seiner Familie) zu berichten, was ich fortan als Colliniana nennen werde. 

Am aufregendsten ist die Übersetzung vom Pressbengel ins Japanische durch das "Laboratory for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration" mit meiner englischen Übersetzung als der Bone Folder als die Grundlage. Seit Anfang März wird jedes der 6 Tage im Pressbengel in zwei geteilt mit ca. ein Monat zwischen Folgen. Hier zur Google Übersetzung ins Deutsche


Back in November, I was able to procure a copy of the first translation of the Pressbengel, into Czech by Arthur Novak (1925).

Im letzten November konnte ich ein Exemplar der ersten Übersetzung des Pressbengels, ins Tschechische von Arthur Novak erwerben (1925).


Like the ongoing Japanese translation, this publication was preceded by 2.5 installments that were published in Vitrinka, a Czech bibliophilic and graphic arts journal published by Arthur Novak. The installments were issued 1923/24, beginning with an excerpt of the last chapter, “Saturday: A Discussion about Gold Tooling and Finishing” that appeared in the first issue (Vol. 1, Nr. 1). This was followed by “Monday: A Discussion about Bookbinding” (Vol. 1, Nr. 3) and “Thursday: A Discussion about the Quarter-leather Binding” (Vol. 1, Nr. 4). Also published in Vitrinka (Vol. 2, Nr. 4), and not mentioned in Mejer's Bibliographie der Buchbinderei-Literatur was a translation into Czech of Ernst's article "Randbemerkungen zum 'Kunsteinband,'" published in Die Heftlade, Vol 1, Nr. 4, 1922.

Wie bei der japanischen Übersetzung, erschien die Tschechische zuerst in 2.5 Folgen in Vitrinka, eine bibliophile Zeitschrift herausgegeben von Arthur Novak. Die Folgen erschienen 1923/24, angefangen mit der ersten Hälfte von "Samstag: Gespräch von der Handvergoldung" (Vol. 1, Nr. 1). Dannach folgten "Montag: Gespräch vom Buchbinden" (Vol. 1, Nr. 3) und "Donnerstag: Gespräch vom Halbfranzband" (Vol. 1, Nr. 4). Auch in Vitrinka (Vol. 2, Nr. 4), und nicht in Mejers Bibliographie der Buchbinderei-Literatur erwähnt, war eine Übersetzung von Ernsts Aufsatz "Randbemerkungen zum 'Kunsteinband,'" der in Die Heftlade (Bd. 1, Nr. 4, 1922) erschien.

Ad for the Czech translation of the Pressbengel in Vitrinka
Werbung für die tschechische Übersetzung vom Pressbengel in Vitrinka

Work on the fine press edition of my English translation of the Pressbengel with a greatly revised introduction illustrated with photographs by John (Hans) Schiff is proceeding at the Boss Dog Press, with a release now most likely in 2016. The new introduction provides much more history and context for the Collins and Ernst's text, and will be available later this summer in downloadable sheets and as a POD edition, but with illustrations largely from Paul Adam's books. The Current downloadable edition in signatures contains 2010 introduction.

Arbeit an der pressendruck Ausgabe der Boss Dog Press von meiner Pressbengel Übersetzung geht voran, aber mit einem Erscheinungsjahr von 2016. Die neue Ausgabe wird Fotos von John (Hans) Schiff, aufgenommen bei der Bremer Presse in den 30ern (vermutlich), dazu kommt dann die neue Einleitung die die Collins und Ernst in viel größeren Umfang beschreibt. Diese neue Ausgabe wird auch in herunter-ladbaren Lagen zum Einbinden und als POD verfügbar sein, aber mit Abbildungen aus den Texten von Paul Adam.

Sample image from the Boss Dog Press edition of The Bone Folder
Muster Abbildung aus dem Boss Dog Press Pressendruck des Bone Folder

Work on the "history of the Collins" and bibliography of Ernst's writings is  ongoing in English and German. As it stands I am up to 253 publications with more (mostly under pseudonyms) in the works. It would be much easier if I stopped finding interesting aspects to include. I can live with that if I consider this to be a working/living publication...

Die Bibliographie von Ernsts Schriften mit "Geschichte der Collins" macht auch Fortschritte in der englischen UND deutschen Fassung. Bis jetzt sind es über 250 Schriften, und die die ich unter seinen Pseudonymen gefunden habe sind noch dabei. Ich wäre aber auch weiter wenn nicht immer mehr interessantes finde würde. Damit kann ich aber leben, besonders wenn ich es als lebendes Werk ansehe. Vollständig wird es eh nie. 

I was recently able to procure the catalog to Ausstellung handwerklicher Einbandkunst im Museum des Güstrower Kunst- und Altertumsvereins: 21. Sept. bis 15. Okt. 1924, a modest letterpress production (without illustrations) that featured an article by Ernst titled "Der Buchbinder in der Literatur." I had not been able to get this via interlibrary loan... Buying it did come with a bonus though, an attractive advertisement for Collin's Corvinus Antiquariat. Oh, and there were two bindings on Ernst's Pressbengel in the exhibit, one by Paul Kersten.

Vor kurzer Zeit konnte ich auch ein Exemplar des Katalogs zur Ausstellung handwerklicher Einbandkunst im Museum des Güstrower Kunst- und Altertumsvereins: 21. Sept. bis 15. Okt. 1924 finden. Dieser ist ein bescheidener Pressendruck (ohne Abbildungen) mit Aufsatz von Ernst mit dem Titel, "Der Buchbinder in der Literatur." Ein Bonus des Kaufs (da ich den Aufsatz nicht per Fernleihe bekommen konnte) war das ich den ganzen Kataog hatte, inklusive diese sehr schöne Werbung für Ernsts Corvinus Antiquariat. Oh, gab auch 2 Einbände vom Pressbengel in der Ausstellung, einer von Paul Kersten.


Lastly, and certainly not least for Ernst, my article "Stolperstein für Ernst Collin" appeared in Meister der Einbandkunst's Rundbrief, 2014.2. This is a condensed version of an earlier publication here.

Zu guter Letzt, mein "Stolperstein für Ernst Collin" Aufsatz erschien im Rundbrief der Meister der Einbankunst. Dieser ist eine gekürzte Version von einem früheren Aufsatz dazu.



Here the  Stolpersteine circa one year later.
Hier die Stolpersteine circa ein Jahr später.
[Edit 29.6.2015]






I am also happy to report some interesting discoveries about Ernst's father Georg Collin. First an image that includes their "storefront" at Leipzigerstr 19 taken by Waldemar Titzenthaler, 1909. Stadtbild Deutschland and its Berlin in Alten Bildern forum was also an amazing resource.

Ich bin auch froh berichten zu können das ich einige Entdeckungen zu Ernsts Vater Georg Collin gemacht habe. Die Erste ist von dem (vermutlichen) Schaufenster an der Leipzigerstr 19 in einem Foto aufgenommen von Waldemar Titzenthaler, 1909. Stadtbild Deutschland und das dortige Berlin in Alten Bildern forum waren auch eine unheimlich Quelle.

Click on image for large version and then look at top right corner to see W. Collin, Kgl Hof Buchbinder
Auf Bild klicken für die Großansicht, dann oben rechts das W. Collin, Kgl Hof Buchbinder

Below, the first advertisement I have been able to find for W. Collin in a publication.

Hier das erste Inserat von W. Collin, daß ich in einer Veröffentlichung finden konnte.

From the Beiblatt to Vol. 8, Nr 4., July 1904 in Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde.

Finally, a WW I era military backpack made by W. Collin. This was found on one of my regular trolling trips at eBay... Because Ernst wrote several articles on the subject of war production and austerity measures, including textiles from groundwood (i.e. paper) I am having fibers from this tested. Not expecting a surprise, but...

Zum Schluß, ein Tornister (gennant Affe) hergestellt von W. Collin aus dem WK I. Habe ihn auf eBay gefunden... Ernst schrieb mehrere Aufsätze zum Thema von Krieg und Auswirkungen auf die Buchbinderei..., und einer davon war "Papier als Spinnstoff" wobei Zellulose von Nadelhölzern (Papier) zu Textilfaser gesponnen wird. Ich lasse einige Proben analysieren... Mache mir keine großen Hoffnungen, aber...




Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bindings by W. Collin

Syracuse University Libraries' Leopold v. Ranke Collection can be considered as a time-capsule of sorts in that all books were bound before 1888 when the collection came to Syracuse to form the core of the new university library, largely as a circulating collection. Exceptions are (few) volumes that were rebound by library binders and conservation rebinds/treatments completed after the conservation lab was established in 1995 by me as a part of a grant funded project.

"Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886), a German historian and historiographer, was highly influential in shaping the modern approach to history, emphasizing such things as reliance on primary sources, narrative history and international politics. Ranke's personal and professional library, consisting of more than 10,000 books, several hundred manuscripts and approximately 5 linear ft. of personal papers, was purchased for Syracuse University in 1887 and formed the nucleus of what is now the Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center (SCRC)." (cite)

An Address by Professor C.W. Bennett Read at the Dedication of the Leopold von Ranke Library (pdf page 14), states that after the sale of the Ranke Library to Syracuse University during 1886 - 1887:
And now began the Herculean task of removal from the Royal Library, the completion of imperfect serials, the repairing of worn and damaged volumes, the binding of unbound numbers, the careful classification and binding of thousands of pamphlets, the complete cataloging of the entire collection, the examination and estimate of the more than four hundred manuscripts by a professional paleographer, etc. This work required many months of time and involved the expenditure of a very large sum of money.
Additional information about the sale can be found in Morrison, John J. "Charles W. Bennett's 'The Purchase of the von Ranke Library.' A Prefatory Note. The Courier 15.2 and 15.3 (1978): 15-18.

Image from: Dohrmann, Inken.
150 Jahre Jahre Verein Berliner
Buchbindermeister
. Berlin:
Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister
1849, 2001: 147
Having worked on the collection since coming to Syracuse in 1995 and knowing the variety of bindings in the collection, I decided to see whether there were any bindings identified as being bound by W. Collin, the firm started by Ernst Collin's grandfather in 1845. W(ilhelm) Collin was born 1820 in Beuthen/Bytom (PL) the son of a physician. He moved to Berlin with his family, and apprenticed with the Court Bookbinder Abraham Mossner from 1835-1840. In 1859 he was named Court Bookbinder by the Princess Victoria (later Empress). As a binder, he was especially known for his fine gilding. [Dohrmann, Inken. 150 Jahre Jahre Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister. Berlin: Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister 1849, 2001: 147].

A search of Syracuse's catalog revealed 135 titles (a few being multi-volume sets) in the collection, and all in the v. Ranke Collection. This was indicated by a note that said "Binder's label: W. Collin." and 3 cases "Binder's label:  W. Collin, K.K. Hofbuchbinder, Berlin." Things were starting to get interesting. Thanks to the generosity of a colleague in Special Collections I was able to go in the stacks with her, spreadsheet and pencil in hand, and in the course of 2 hours examined every binding on the list. Only two or three were rebound, and all had their binder's labels. Jackpot.

So, what were the results of this survey? All binder's tickets were of the "W. Collin, K.K. Hofbuchbinder, Berlin" variety indicating that the books had been rebound between 1871 when the Kings of Prussia became the Kings of Prussia AND German Emperors (formation of a unified German Empire), and the death of Ranke when the collection was boxed for sale in 1886-1887. The "K.K. Hofbuchbinder" means "Royal and Imperial Court Bookbinder." There was more than one of those a Carl Wilhelm Vogt being another, but still. Below a scan of the binder's ticket.

Click on image to see the small label at bottom left in its original size.
All tickets were pasted to the verso of the front flyleaf.
This date range puts the firm under the control of W. Collin and his son Georg who became co-owner with his father in 1886 after returning from his journeyman years in Vienna, Paris, Switzerland, and England, there studying with Joseph Zaehnsdorf, "one of the most well-known German binders" [Inheim, Heinrich. Georg Collin [obituary]. Archiv für buchgewerbe. v.56 (1919)]. W. Collin died in 1893. The firm was continued as W. Collin under his son Georg from 1886 until his death in 1918. Georg's daughter Gertrud (sister of Ernst) also learned the trade, and took over the firm following her father's death. In 1930, it become a part of the firm of Paetch & Collin until liquidation by the Nazis in 1939. [Dohrmann, Inken. 150 Jahre Jahre Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister. Berlin: Verein Berliner Buchbindermeister 1849, 2001: 181].

Even though the firm was W. Collin was "Court Bookbinder" and produced exquisite work for the Court, it was also a trade bindery that was involved in the binding of books for a variety of customers, from individuals (like Ranke) to libraries to publishers in all manner of techniques. There is scant mention of W Collin. An example of a cloth case trade binding by the firm of W. Collin can be seen in the University of Wisconsin's digital collections. I have found no information about the size and scope of the firm thus far, including advertisements/images, and whether it would have been described as a "dampfbuchbinderei" is unknown. Regardless, it is unlikely either W. or Georg did much binding except for the most exclusive commissions.Dampfbuchbinderein were large industrial trade binderies (dampf = steam) described in the catalog to the 1994 exhibition Gebunden in Der Dampfbuchbinderei: Buchbinden Im Wandel Des 19. Jahrhunderts.

From Inheim, Heinrich (Ernst Collin
pseudonym).
Georg Collin [obituary].
Archiv für buchgewerbe.
v.56 (1919)
The perceived state of German bookbinding at this time was described in The Profession Of Bookselling: A Handbook Of Practical Hints For The Apprentice And Bookseller by A. Growoll, London, 1895. A snippet describing this can be seen on pg 108, and was posted to this blog in March. Georg Collin himself is quoted as saying in an article about the 1900 World Exposition in Paris published in the Allegemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbindereien ( v.15-16 1900-1901: 267-270) that "bookbinding has attained the highest steps in France. Unfortunately we must stand back and let this happen, because even if we have the strength, drive, and talent to create work at this level, we just don't have the clients..., Germans just won't pay what the French and other foreigners will." The article concludes by saying that in binding at the highest levels, the honors go to France and England, with Germany being the leader in publishers' bindings. Bernhard Harms' Zur entwickelungsgeschichte der deutschen buchbinderei in der zweiten hälfte des 19. jahrhunderts. Technisch--Statistisch--Volkswirtschaftlich (Tübingen und Leipzig: Mohr, 1902) provides a great deal of statistical information about the bookbinding trade in German in the latter half of the 19th century, but unfortunately does not have any detailed information about the firm of W. Collin. Likewise, Hellmuth Helwig's Das Deutsche Buchbinder-Handwerk (Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1961-1965).

Georg went on to redefine and elevate German bookbinding in the late 19th early 20th century, created many presentation bindings and "adressen" (presentation portfolios for official declarations...), and contributed to the development of Paul Kersten, perhaps Germany's first and best known "fine binder." Later, Ernst Collin wrote and published a biography of Kersten as a Jakob-Krause-Bund festschrift under his Corvinus-Antiquariat imprint  in 1925. Kersten himself was a noted author of binding texts, his most noted title being Der Exakte Bucheinband first published in 1909. But back to the books at hand.

So, what did these bindings look like? The imprint dates of titles in the collection that we examined ranged from the late 18th century up to 1876. Some were monographs, some selected volumes from series or serials. Due to condition (spines missing or damaged), we could examine the structure on some of the bindings. All were rebinds in some form. NONE were stapled, but sewings were uniformly on recessed cords, with stuck on endbands, and quarter leather case bindings featuring a variety of marbled papers on the sides sides. Leathers were goat, sheep, and calf. Endpapers were all of the same gray paper as a reinforced single folio hooked around the first and last text signature sections and then sewn. This endpaper construction and others are described in the article "Die Vorsätze im Buche," Archiv für buchbinderei, v.13, 1913-1914. (66-71) that is preceded by an article about the firm of W. Collin, with image of Georg Collin. A translation of the endpaper article can be found in HathiTrust (as can Archiv für Buchbinderei...). Archiv für Buchbinderei was published by Paul Adam, and no authors are indicated for the articles, although W. Collin is listed among the contributors, many of whom were illustrious during that time.


Overall I would describe these as competent trade bindings, not glamorous, not especially precise, with some interesting quirks such as in the example below.

Exterior detail of the above book showing mismatched leathers on spine and corner.

Overall binding, sheepskin with fading due to exposed spine and smaller adjacent binding.

Below a selection of other representative bindings by W. Collin in the v. Ranke collection. Unfortunately no paper cases, pastepaper, vellum, or full leather... Still, great to see them all, especially knowing something about the history of the firm and people behind it. Important to remember when viewing these (and their wear) is that the v. Ranke Collection was a Syracuse's circulating collection for some time before it became a special collection.








All binding images permission of: Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries.

Thank you also to Stephen Ferguson, Assistant University Librarian for Rare Books and Special Collections Curator of Rare Books at Princeton University Library for examining the W. Collin bindings in their collections. Unfortunately they had been rebound. His blog, Notabilia, is worth following.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Story of Two Ernsts

Written with Ruth Wiseman

When I began translating Ernst Collin's Pressbengel (The Bone Folder) it was because I felt such an affinity for the text that wonderfully portrays the state of early 20th century binding in Germany and the tension between art, craft, and industrialization, all in the form of a charming dialog. There was actually very little information available to me about Collin, and what there was raised more questions than I could find answers for. As a result I focused on the dialog itself, a context for the work, and tried to provide some biographical information about Collin himself. Sources for this biographical information were Gustav Moessner's introduction to the 1984 illustrated reprint/new edition of the Der Pressbengel and Karl Wolfskehls Briefwechsel aus Neuseeland 1938-1948, the published correspondence of German emigre Karl Wolfskehl who corresponded with many of the creative elite who were able to flee Germany. Below the excerpt from page 1215 for Ernst Collin with a birth year matching that in Moessner's introduction (5/31/1886), as well as the direct link to two of Collin's most significant publications.

Ernst Collin came from Berlin and worked in publishing both there and in Munich
and was also active as a bookbinder and literary critic married M[argarethe] Pohl in 1924.
He was youth friend of the painter Albert Weisgerber, the first husband of M. Pohl. "Deutsche
Einbandkunst, 1918, and "Paul Kersten, the leader of German fine binding," 1925, were written by him."

For purposes of my introduction this was the best I could find in 2008, and while I was curious to learn more and had lingering doubts, I did not dig deeper with any urgency. It turns out that Moessner was also a bit confused on some of the other details in his introduction, that like mine focused more on what Collin's work meant for the craft of bookbinding. While the Wolfskehl Correspondence raised many questions, the linkages were there in the form of the specific titles, no Pressbengel however.

In late February, I was contacted by a Ruth Wiseman on the East Coast who is researching her genealogy, and believed she was related to Georg Collin (Ernst's father and the Hofbuchbinder/Courtbookbinder to the German Emperor) and Ernst Collin. She found my translation online (a benefit of "open access"). This intrigued me deeply and on many levels, and we have been actively corresponding ever since, 100+ emails since 2/20 with lots of shared resources. Given some other changes in my life related to work this was a very welcome diversion. So now, listening to the music of Kurt Weill that helped define the artistic life of Berlin between the wars, we will tell the story of two Ernsts. The video in my previous post frames this era visually.

A starting point was Wolfskehl's correspondence that provided several names including his wife, Margarethe whose first husband was the painter Albert Weisgerber. Weisgerber fell in WWI (ironically serving in the same unit as a certain Corporal), and his work as a painter was later labeled degenerate. Since originally translating Collin's Pressbengel, the papers of an Ernst Collin[-Schönfeld] (According to inventory 1886?-1953, but birth year of 1882 in biographical sketch in collection and death year of 1954 on headstone) came online at the Center for Jewish History/Leo Baeck Institute in NYC showing an Ernst married to just this Margarethe Collin. According to a biography provided by Margarethe, this Ernst was born in Nordhausen; lost his father, a Fritz Schönfeld at a young age; and his mother remarried Adolf Collin, a businessman who adopted Ernst and his older brother Paul. No mention of a Georg Collin or bookbinding. There was also information on the page of a genealogist that even included a picture. Dates were wrong though, never mind the fact that none of the publications were familiar. If this was "our" Ernst, it showed him as having gotten out of Nazi Germany and having died in London.

Naively, I had never thought of Collin as Jewish, "subversive," or degenerate, but the period in Germany between "The Wars" was very turbulent with civil war, hyper-inflation, depression... Moessner in his introduction had written that Collin was missing since 1933 (when the Nazis took power)... The book, Broken Glass, Broken Lives: A Jewish Girl's Survival Story in Berlin 1933-1945 written by Rita J. Kuhn, the mother of Ruth with whom I am corresponding, (and Georg Collin’s great-niece), provided a very good picture of the situation in Berlin during that period from the perspective of a child who survived it. Highly recommended reading on many levels, it also provided some good starting points for researching further. Anything could have happened to “our” Ernst.

I had also recently read Anna Nyburg's, From Leipzig to London: The Life and Work of the Émigré Artist Hellmuth Weissenborn (New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press 2012. ISBN 9781584563143. 192 pages. $29.95), a book that was just reviewed for Bonefolder Extras. While focusing specifically on the illustrator Hellmuth Weissenborn it did a very good job describing the period leading up the takeover of the Nazis in Germany, the increasing spiral of anti-semitism, emigration, and life in the diaspora.

After finding the obituary below for Ernst Collin in the April 1954 issue of the Association of Jewish Refugees Information I wrote to Professor Nyburg in London, this émigré community is her special area of interest and research, and I asked if she had any leads I could follow. That correspondence is still ongoing, but so far no leads. Another obituary written by Julius Bab, a German dramatist and theater critic, appeared in the Aufbau. Why would there not have been any mentions in the obituary of the prolific writings on bookbinding by Collin? Concurrently, my partner in this research was reaching out via the genealogy networks to peers in the UK and elsewhere, netting the gravesite below. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary they still believe that this is "our" Ernst.



Ernst Collin's grave in London. From https://www.usintranet.org.uk/burial_system/web_images/
?plot_id=13064&download=1&filename=Ernst%20Collin.jpg


Muddling the situation further was the catalog of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek that showed 2 Ernst Collins (records 46/47 and 50), the writer of so many articles and a few monographs on bookbinding (with a birth year of 1886 but no death date). and a Collin-Schönfeld (1882-1953) with few known publications (just one if Bab is correct).

Two Ernsts married to the same woman? So, who's who? What's the truth?

Our "other" Ernst studied at universities, enrolling in many classes primarily in literature, but never testing/completing these to the annoyance of his step-father who worked in banking in Berlin. He wrote poems, and was known to have affections for men and women. At age 19 he showed series of poems to the publisher now known as Axel Juncker who published a selection under the title of "Lieder eines Knaben," "Songs  by/of a Boy." Julius Bab's obituary indicated that he only published one work, most likely this one. Ernst also associated himself with the "art scene" in Berlin and Munich. To become more independent he moved to Great Britain to teach at the Berlitz School, spent some time teaching for Berlitz in Constantinople, and returned to Germany to fight in WWI. He was initially in the Bavarian cavalry, but was was then transferred to an artillery unit because he was Jewish. There he served with distinction, was awarded the Iron Crosses 2nd and 1st class, and reached the rank of Captain. It is not clear when he married Margarethe Weisgerber. Following the war he found it hard to reestablish himself, losing much of his assets during the period of hyper-inflation, but finally finding employment as an archivist among other things with the Berlin banking firm of Dreyfus & Co., working there until its "aryanization" in 1939 when he emigrated to Great Britain to work as a secretary with the Dresdner Bank. When WWII broke out he, like all "enemy"/German émigrés, lost his position, and began a gradual decline until his death. [From Ernst Collin Collection, biographical info and writings, Center for Jewish History/Leo Baeck Institute.]

This could not have been the Ernst Collin who wrote Der Pressbengel and other bookbinding related publications...



Digging through my own research library that contains among other things the complete set of the Meister der Einband Kunst's (MDE) Jahrbuch der Einbankunst, several of Collin's other writings, the 1927 Allgemeiner Anzeiger für Buchbinderein, HathiTrust, Worldcat, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Google...,  I began to develop a better picture of the extent of his publishing, the date range (well into the mid-1930s refuting Moessner's 1933 date), and became friends with our inter-library loan department requesting just about everything I could not find in my own library or online.

I also wrote to the archives of the MDE in Münster, the Jewish Community of Berlin, and other bookbinders and bookbinding organizations in Germany, with but a very small number of helpful leads. In one case, the response was does it matter and why are you doing this...?

The inventory for the archives of MDE is online and showed little, with the archivist making an effort - travel there is not really an option, though at some time I may engage a proxy researcher. However, Die Heftlade No. 1, 1922 did provide an address for Ernst Collin in Berlin. This was a journal produced by Collin for the Jakob-Krause-Bund, the precursor to MDE, and published by the same Euphorion Verlag as Der Pressbengel.



An address! Wandering through the myriad of archives and other collections I discovered the address/telephone for Berlin online, searchable and browseable back to 1799. Below the entry for [Collin], Ernst from 1922 at Sachsenwaldstrasse 25 in Berlin-Steglitz, a mixed residential commercial district with little pre-war architecture left.


A match! Note also the "Schriftsteller" following Ernst. This indicated profession/trade for many, and made it easier to distinguish between entries. "Our" Ernst lived here from 1922-23 as a Schriftsteller (writer), then 1924-28 as Redakteur (editor). Below the 1928 entry. Note that there is an Ernst described as a "bank beamt." above his listing.


Directly above "Ernst Schriftstell" is an Ernst working at a bank.Our other Ernst?

Meanwhile, Ruth had contacted the Jewish cemetery in  Berlin and located the grave of Georg Collin (10/22/1851 – 12/24/1918) whom we both believe to be the father of "our" Ernst. That W.  Collin was the father of Georg is established, but there was still no direct linkage between them and Ernst. Thanks to inter-library loan, I was able to read a number of articles written by Ernst and found the missing link in the 1925 article "Die deutsche Kunstbuchbinderei der Gegenwart," published in the Gutenberg Jahrbuch. A birth certificate for Ernst would still be desirable though.

"Around the turn the turn of the century, the Berlin bindery of W. Collin (at that time on the direction
of my father Georg Collin (Deceased in 1918), one of the best bookbinders of all time)
worked with artists like Sütterlin, Eckmann, Christiansen..." [Pg. 79)

"I'd also like to refer to the Pressbengel, my book that was published by
the Euphorion Verlag, and attempts to bring together traditional craft bookbinding
with the expectations of bibliophiles. My book about Paul Kersten, a festschrift in honor of
his 60th birthday, and the first biography of a bookbinder, was recently published for the
Jakob Krause Bund, of which Kersten was honorary president,
by my Corvinus-Antiquariat, Berlin Steglitz." [Pg.81]

Whether Ernst was also trained as a bookbinder is uncertain at this time, but what is known is that he was an antiquarian bookseller and publisher, doing business as the Corvinus-Antiquariat Ernst Collin Gmbh (Inc) at Mommsenstrasse 27 in Berlin Charlottenburg, a rather nice district. The listing below is from 1925, the same year as the article above.



In 1929, Collin moved to  Cicerostrasse 61 in Berlin Wilmersdorf where he lived into 1939, first from 1929-32 as Redakteur, then again from 1933-39 as Schriftsteller. Listing below from 1929.

Directly above "Ernst Schriftstell" the other Ernst still working at a bank.


Wilmersdorf was a fashionable area, and Cicerostrasse a beautiful apartment block designed and built by the architect Erich Mendelsohn between 1927-31. Mendelsohn was on the cutting edge of architecture at the time, also designing the Einstein Tower, an observatory in Potsdam near Berlin. Ernst was doing quite well for himself. Note, however, the "demotion" from editor to write in 1933. This would have been a result of the Schriftleitergesetz of October 4, 1933 that removed non-Aryans (Jews) from editorial positions, one of the early steps to isolate and marginalize in the Nuremberg Laws. These also forbade contacts between  the groups and made it increasingly difficult for the two groups to interact on any levels and for either Ernst to work. MDE decided to disband in 1937 because according to the MDE archive site it did not want to bow to the laws, laws that would have had an impact on some members and friends of the group such as Martin Breslauer, the famous bibliophile and antiquarian.

The last listing for Ernst from 1939.


After 1939 no more addresses or listings could be found for him. The Nuremberg Laws forbade Jews to live in the same buildings as Aryans (non-Jewish Germans), those that owned property had to sell it at staggering losses, and move to mini-ghettos that could be as small as an apartment house, so-called Judenhäuser, that were often over-filled. The impact of these laws on a personal level is well described in Broken Glass, Broken Lives, and a recent article in the New York Times entitled "The Holocaust just got more shocking." Ernst would probably have been relocated to one of these...

Putting together these different pieces I took the step of going to Yad Vashem, to the Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names where I found an Ernst Collin. His name is linked to both the List of murdered Jews from Germany (known as the Memorial Book/Gedenkbuch) and List of deportations from Berlin with links to the sources of that information.  Below are the search results for Collin, Ernst. The birth date matches that provided by Moessner in his introduction, the one biographical fact he had right.


From Gedenkbuch Berlins der jüdischen Opfer des Nazionalsozialismus, Freie Universitaet Berlin,
Zentralinstitut fuer sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung, Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1995. Note that the
print version also included the street address of Cicerostr. 61 we saw in the Adressbuch above...

While there are still loose ends to wrap up, we both believe we have sorted out the Ernsts, and given both back their own identities. Questions as to Ernst's professional activities, i.e. did he apprentice as a bookbinder or as an antiquarian, did he study...? What was his family/marital status. Some details may be still be uncovered, some lost in the mists of a turbulent time.

Subsequent posts here will describe the father and grandfather of Ernst, the Court Bookbinders W. Collin and Georg Collin, followed by an expanded bibliography of Ernst's writings.

A new edition of my translation of Collin's Der Pressbengel (The Bone Folder) will also appear in time and incorporate some this new information.