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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 475

Victor Léon photograph collection


Photographs collected by Victor Léon, librettist of the Viennese opera. Subjects include Viennese opera stars as well as his friends and family.


  • Creation: 1885-1940

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in German.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


15 linear feet (23 boxes)

Léon's photograph collection of 961 images consists primarily of portraits of prominent people in Viennese opera, production photographs of his operas, and other friends and family, including about 80 photographs of Léon's daughter, Lizzy. Includes photographs of Hans Heinz Bollman; Konrad Dreher (b. 1859); Alexander Girardi; Mizzi Gunther; Josef Josephi; Franz Lehar (1870-1948); Lizzy Léon; Victor Léon (1860?-1940); Lizzy Léons husband Hubert Marischka; Ferdinand Pagin; Oscar Straus (1870-1954); Carl Streitmann; Louis Treumann; and Mizzi Zwerenz. Also contains 34 photographs of Herr Reisenhofer, otherwise unidentified, who seems to have been an affluent member of Viennese society.

The production photographs represent shows primarily from the Carltheater, Burgtheater, Theater an der Wien, and the Theater in der Josefstadt, all in Vienna. Titles include Der Doppelganger; Der fidele Bauer; Die geschiedene Frau; Gluck bei Frauen; Der Gottergatte; Der gute Kamerad; Liebeszauber; Die lustige Witwe; Der Nachtschellzug; Der Rastelbinder; Vergeltsgott. The photographs are mainly cabinet photograph or carte-de-visite (card photograph) format, although there are also many snapshots, most of which are unidentified, and one tin-type. In addition, the collection includes an album from a New York production of Die lustige Witwe, several framed photograph portraits, and four glass negatives.

Biographical / Historical

The photographs in this collection belonged to Victor Léon (1858-1940), librettist of the Viennese opera. Léon was born named Viktor Hirschfeld in Vienna, Austira, and died there February 4, 1940. Léon was a stage manager of both the Theater in der Josefstadt and the Carltheater in Vienna and became a prolific writer of operetta librettos. [Source: Grove Music Online].


Organized into the following series:

  1. I. Portraits
  2. II. Scenes
  3. III. Portraits/Scenes: Unidentified-Inscribed
  4. IV. Portraits/Scenes: Unidentified
  5. V. Portraits (oversize)
  6. VI. Scenes (oversize)
  7. VII. Miscellaneous (oversize)

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2004MT-130 Purchase; received: 1978.

Léon, Victor, 1858-1940, collector. Victor Léon photograph collection, 1885-1940: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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