Else von Richthofen Collection, 1898 -- 1984


Title: Else von Richthofen Collection
Dates: 1898 -- 1984
Bulk Dates: 1900 -- 1915
Creator: Green, Martin
Call Number: MS008
Size: 1.25 Cubic Feet, 1 Digital Object(s)
Language(s): German English  
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10427/14609
    Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University


In the course of writing his two books, "The von Richthofen Sisters" (1974), and "The Mountain of Truth" (1986), Tufts University professor Martin Green collected original letters given to him by Else von Richthofen, and secondary material relating to his work studying the Ascona movement.

The principals in the correspondence are Else von Richthofen-Jaffe and Frieda Schloffer-Gross. Else von Richthofen-Jaffe was the sister of Frieda Weekley, wife of the British novelist D.H. Lawrence. Else was born in Metz in 1874 and married Edgar Jaffe, an economist of Max Weber's circle in Heidelberg.

Frieda Schloffer-Gross was the wife of the famous psychoanalyst Otto Gross. She was at one time a student of Sigmund Freud, but later became his adversary. Else, Frieda, Otto Gross, and a number of others mentioned in the letters were part of a larger movement in early twentieth-century Europe that advocated a return to "nature." They participated in the creation of what is now known as "modern" thought and culture.


This collection is organized into two series: Letters and correspondence, and Research material.


Elisabeth Helene Amalie Sophie Freiin (Baroness) von Richthofen (also known as Else Jaffé) was born in Château-Salins, France on October 8, 1874. Her parents were Friedrich Ernst Emil Ludwig Freiherr von Richthofen (1844-1915), an engineer in the German army, and Anna Elise Lydia Marquier (1852-1930).

Although Else von Richthofen first worked as a teacher, she earned her doctorate in economics from Heidelberg University in 1901 and started work as a labor inspector in Karlsruhe. She married Edgar Jaffé (1865-1921), a well-known economist and entrepreneur, in 1902. After Jaffé bought the journal Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, his former professor, Max Weber, became one of its editors. With Jaffé, Else had three children, Friedel (born 1903), Marianne (born 1905) and Hans (born 1909).

Else became acquainted with intellectuals and authors, including the psychoanalyst Otto Gross (with whom she had a fourth child, Peter), the writer Fanny zu Reventlow, and others. She also had affairs with her former professor Max Weber and his brother Alfred Weber with whom she later lived for several years after her husband died.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Please see "Reproductions and Use" on the Digital Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permission to publish.

Any intellectual property rights that the donor possesses have been transferred to Tufts University.

Collection History

Processing Notes

This collection is processed.

Custodial History

Martin Green collected these letters from Else von Richthofen. After completing the two books, Professor Green donated the original letters and his research material to Tufts University.

Subjects and Genre Terms
  • Green, Martin
  • von Richthofen, Else
  • Gross, Otto
  • Faculty research

Series Description

  1. Letters and correspondence, 1898 -- 1947

    Original letters and correspondence given to Martin Green by Else von Richthofen-Jaffe. Most have been written between 1900 and 1915. The bulk of the material is letters to Else from Frieda Schloffer-Gross. These letters are item-level cataloged, and have summaries in English. Some letters, principally from Otto Gross also have English summaries. Other letters, from Otto Gross and others, have not been summarized. The letters were not in order when they were received by Professor Green. An attempt has been made to reconstruct the original order of the letters, but some documents are clearly fragments of longer letters and their original order has been lost. There are typescripts (in German) of 45 of the letters (items 45-90) to Else von Richthofen.

  2. Research material, 1915 -- 1984

    Material collected by Tufts University professor Martin Green for research in writing the two books "The Mountain of Truth" and "The von Richthofen Sisters." The research material contains copies of letters, articles and photographs related to the Ascona (Switzerland) movement. Ascona was the center for "New Age" activities in the early part of the twentieth century. There are also letters from Hermann Muller, a German scholar, concerning Muller's work on Gusto Groser, the "nature man," and his influence on Hesse, the German novelist. There are also copies of letters from the influential German dance instructor Rudolf von Laban to Brandenberg. In addition, there are copies of essays by the criminologist Hanns Gross (father of Otto Gross), Alfred Weber, Nohl, and letters related to variious Ascona personalities, including Lisa Ullmann and the Perrottet family. Finally, there are copies of articles by and about Otto Gross and a program from the Ascona Festival of 1978.

  3. Unprocessed accessions, 1900 -- 1947

    This series contains an electronic transcription of von Richthofen's correspondence by Frieda Schlofer, November 2007.