Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society


Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society


Article excerpt

My parents and grandparents were in the habit of saving everything written. Their papers have been arranged and catalogued in a Hoeber Family Archive, from which the letters in this book have been drawn. The illustrations are also drawn from this Family Archive.

Deciphering, editing, and translating the letters of Johannes and Elfriede Hoeber has occupied me for more than twenty-five years. I am indebted to a number of individuals who helped me on the way.

My good friend Achim Bonte, historian and Deputy Director of the State and University Library of Saxony in Dresden, first made me conscious of the importance of my parents' story. It was he who suggested to me that these letters merited publishing. I am grateful for his friendship and advice over the years.

Several individuals were particularly helpful with the transcription and translation of the letters. Britta Fischer developed the knack for deciphering Elfriede's eccentric handwriting and laboriously transcribed many pages for me. She also was able to identify many of the friends who made up the landscape of Johannes and Elfriede's life in Düsseldorf. Mark McGuigan helped me unravel the meaning of numerous complex passages, particularly related to issues of public administration. Linda Hansen-Gerheuser read the draft of several early chapters and suggested useful strategies to make the English translation read more smoothly and naturally.

My sister, Susanne Hoeber Rudolph-"Susie" in the letters-helped fill in gaps in the story through her recollection of numerous incidents at a distance of seventy years.

I am indebted to those who read one or more drafts of the manuscript and provided suggestions for many of the explanatory points contained in the commentary and footnotes. …

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