Adolphe Baumgartner vers 1874-1875
Adolphe’s mother was Marie Baumgartner (1831-1897)*
(the picture is kindly provided to me by his great-grandson).
Publisher: TAB, Oosterhout. Book: Seelenbriefe by Marjolijn van den Assem
Part- arguable the major part- of the attraction Cosima Wagner held for Nietzsche was the fact that she was a mother, and it must be stressed that in the years when he was most drawn to her, he was also attentive towards other “motherly figures” such as Marie Baumgartner, the mother of one of his students**, who was at work translating the third of the Untimely Meditations (“Schopenhauer as Educator”) into French when Nietzsche wrote to his friend Rohde, in August 1875, that she was the best mother he knew.
Between the years 1875 and 1877, Nietzsche and Frau Baumgartner exchanged literally dozens of letters – three dozen each by the time of the crucial letter Nietzsche wrote to Marie on 28 October, 1878 in which he referred to himself as her “Freund”, a loaded word in German. At the same time, Frau Baumgartner was also corresponding with Nietzsche’s sister Elisabeth. There are ten letters to Elisabeth in the archive which reach what can only be termed a crescendo of friendly effusions, with Marie forgetting herself and referring to Elisabeth as “Du” in August 1878; then there is a gap until November 1894 (when Elisabeth, of course, was trawling all Nietzsche’s former friends in order to gain material for her books, at this stage her biography of Nietzsche). In her reply of 1894, Marie Baumgartner’s tone is drastically altered: no longer “Liebe Elisabeth”, but much more distanced and respectful “verehrte liebe Frau Förster”.
** Adolphe Baumgartner gained his Phd in July 1879.
(from: “Nietzsche’s Women” by Carol Diethe)
My studio in 2005, when I was working on the book Seelenbriefe…