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The Register of the Collection of



0.25 ft.

MSS 81


Monique Bourque

September 1990


Rudolf Cronau was born in Solingen, Prussia, in 1855.  He attended the Academy of Art in Dusseldorf, Prussia, before coming to the United States in 1880.  He married Margarethe (Margaret) Taenzier in 1888.  He settled in Phillips Manor, New York.

Cronau worked as an American reporter for the Cologne Gazette from 1893 to 1899.  He was a writer, traveler, and lecturer for most of his life, publishing ac counts of his travels in the West and histories of the discovery and development of America, of German American settlement and achievements, of the American Revolution, and of Prohibition and the destruction of the American brewing industry.

Cronau died in 1939.


The Rudolf Cronau collection was removed from the records of the National Carl Schurz Association, the records of which were donated to the Balch Institute in 1989 through the former Director, Mrs. Alice Finckh.  Because a number of the correspondents are famous, the originals of all correspondence have been removed and stored separately, as have Ernst Haeckel's drawings.  Two drawings by braves of Chief Sitting Bull have been removed to the museum.  Photographs have been removed to Photo Group 288.


The Rudolf Cronau collection is primarily an assemblage of autographs and autograph letters, accumulated by Cronau and apparently donated to the National Carl Schurz Association.

The bulk of the correspondence dates from the 1880s and 1890s, Cronau's most active period as a traveler, and appears to have been collected during his trips to the West.  These items are of interest for the information they provide about the West and the men who explored and wrote about it in the late nineteenth century.

The biographical material in Series Two is most concerned with German Americans, including many who were active as writers, lecturers, or poets.  The information is fragmentary but may be of interest to the examination of the late nineteenth-century German American cultural community.

The items of greatest interest in Series Three are Cronau's passport, and pictures by Ernst Haeckel, which are typical of the period but valuable because of the fame of their creator.


The Rudolf Cronau collection is divided into three series as follows: I. Correspondence. II. Biographical Material. III. Miscellaneous Papers.  Within each series materials are arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject.

SERIES I: CORRESPONDENCE, 1880-1930 and n.d. (2 folders).

This series contains letters and autographs from prominent German American and non-German American individuals.  Many of the documents are accompanied by typed or handwritten biographical notes on the individual.


This series consists of typed and handwritten notes and newspaper clippings concerning individuals of both German and non-German extraction.  It is not clear if all of the notes were compiled by Cronau.

SERIES III: MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS, 1858-1902 and n.d. (2 folders).

This series contains brief notes on the Cronau collection compiled by an unknown person, notes possibly made by Cronau on the history of an organization called "Mainzer Adelsverein," and a facsimile of Francis Daniel Pastorius' "Address to Posterity."  Also included are three watercolor and pen-and-ink drawings by the prominent biologist, Ernst Haeckel, and a passport issued to Cronau in Berlin in 1902 which bears the signature of Alfred D. White, then United States Ambassador to Germany.

The box list of the Register of the Collection of Rudolf Cronau is four pages long.