Katscher, Leopold, 1853-

Alternative names
Birth 1853
Death 1939
German, Hungarian, English

Biographical notes:

Epithet: Hungarian journalist

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000509.0x000100

Leopold Katscher (1853-1939), born in Csakova, near Temesvár, Hungary, and his wife and cousin Berta Katscher (1860-1903), born in Trencín, Slovakia, were authors, journalists and translators actively engaged in social reform and pacifist movements in Europe.

Leopold Katscher wrote on literary, ethnographic, and socio-political topics; co-founded and edited several journals; advocated copyright protection for authors; and co-founded and held office in various Austrian, German and Hungarian peace societies. Berta Katscher wrote children's books, popular fiction, and non-fiction pieces on social reform, pacifism and animal rights. Both wrote about and were active in the women's rights movement. Leopold Katscher studied in Vienna and other cities and traveled extensively in Europe. During the course of their marriage the Katschers resided in London, Berlin and Budapest.

From the description of Leopold and Berta Katscher papers, 1866-1939 (bulk 1873-1914). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 84693447

Leopold Katscher

Leopold Katscher was a journalist and social reformer. He was born on August 30, 1853 in Csakova near Temesvár (Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary), to Ignatz and Rosalie Katscher (née Engel, Ignatz Katscher's first wife; his second wife was also called Rosalie). As a young man, Katscher attended the commercial academies in Pest (1868-1869) and Vienna (1869-1871) and studied medicine, law, literature, and economics in Vienna, Budapest, and London, respectively. The fact that he was in later years addressed as "Dr. Katscher" may indicate that he held a doctorate. As a young man, he worked as a correspondence secretary in various businesses, including in a hardware store, a credit union, and a lumber and grain import business in Temeswar, Szegedin, and Vienna (1872-1875), respectively. Katscher traveled extensively throughout Europe from 1875. From 1881-1884 he resided in London, and subsequently lived in Berlin, Budapest, Baden, and in Switzerland.

Katscher began to write as a teenager and submitted his writings for publication in serials as early as 1869. Among his many pseudonyms, some of which he later shared with his wife, are Ludwig Koelle, Ludwig Ungar, Albert Kellner, Ludmilla Koelle, Berta/Bertha Katscher, Dr. L. Tschaker, Kosmopolit, Spectator, and Humanus. His earliest writings include poems and humorous short fiction; from 1870 on, he began to submit journalistic commentary pieces to the local press.

In his writings, Katscher progressed from literary themes to literary history and travel journalism to sociopolitical topics. His articles were distributed through several syndicates throughout Europe. In addition to his own writings, Katscher also translated works from English and French. He was especially interested in England's literature, society, and industrial and technical achievements. Katscher authored ethnographic essays, particularly on China and Japan. In later years, he largely abandoned his literary efforts, concentrating instead on the social movements of his time, including cosmopolitanism, pacifism, women's rights, workers' rights, postal reform, and socialism.

Katscher designed and co-founded several journals, most notably Weltstädtische Plauderspaziergänge, which he co-owned and edited together with O. Felsing. The journal contained gossipy articles about recent events in the European capitals. Other projects included a Hungarian edition of Moderne Kunst, 1-Kreuzer-Abendblatt, Eigene Monatsschrift, Internationales Literaturblatt (with M. Levin), Briefkasten-Korrespondenz, and Der Freimüthige (with Romeo Katscher). In 1887, Leopold Katscher assumed all responsibilities and renamed the publication Hauptstädtische Plauderspaziergänge .

Beginning in the early 1880s, Leopold Katscher criticized practices in the publishing industry that were at odds with authors' interests. He entered into a series of oftentimes successful litigation aimed at protecting his copyrights, collecting permission fees, and enforcing oral contracts. In 1888, he formalized and expanded on his concerns about copyright protection by establishing and directing the Überwachungsgesellschaft zur Nachdrucksverfolgung, whose express purpose was to trace unauthorized reprints in the European press and take legal action against publishers on behalf of the authors. The society received a percentage of the settlements and permission fees collected. The proceeds in excess of costs were in turn added to a fund, also established by Leopold Katscher, to support impoverished writers and their families, called the Lennertsfonds (after its first beneficiary, the Lennert family).

In the mid-1880s, Bertha von Suttner sparked Leopold Katscher's interest in the international peace movement. He had helped Suttner find a publisher for her anti-war novel Die Waffen Nieder! . Katscher served as the executive director of the Austrian Peace Society, founded by von Suttner in 1891, and subsequently held offices in the German and Hungarian Peace Societies and the Swiss Committee for the Preparation of the League of Nations. Beginning in the 1890s, Katscher involved himself increasingly in social reform movements and followed socialist and communist movements attentively. Notably, he showed great interest in the growing women's rights movement and in profit-sharing, and served as the director of the European Committee for Social Reform.

Between 1895-1901, Katscher actively pursued opportunities to broker real estate sales and development projects to investors, and to procure funding for a wide range of artistic projects and technical inventions. Renowned for his international network of contacts, Katscher would be approached by parties in need of a loan and would match them with suitable investors for a commission. Some of the negotiations seem to have been of a dubious nature; he was rebuked on several occasions by correspondents for unsolicited interference, for lack of discretion, and for misrepresenting himself as a non-existent client's spokesperson.

Leopold Katscher died on February 25, 1939 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

His writings include:

Marienbad (1872) Geschichte der englischen Literatur (1878) Zierden der englischen Literatur (1880) Bilder aus dem englischen Leben (1881) Bilder aus dem chinesischen Leben (1881) Charakterbilder aus dem 19. Jahrhundert (1884) Aus England (1885-1887) Nebelland und Themsestrand (1886) Aus China (1887-1891) Praktische Gedanken eines Schwärmers (1890) Frieden! Frieden! Frieden! (1890) H. Rollets Leben und Wirken (1894) Schuldlos verurteilt! (1894) China (ed. 1901) Bertha von Suttner, ein literarisches Porträt (1903) Japan. Interessantes aus dem Mikadoreich (1904) Mit-, nicht gegeneinander! (1905) Wie es in der Welt zugeht (1905) Russisches Revolutionstagebuch (1906) Das Postwesen einst und jetzt (1906) Interessante soziale Gemeinwesen (1906) Moderne Wunder der Technik (1909) Freimaurerei (1924)

Bertha Katscher

Berta Katscher was born on June 12, 1860, in Trencín (Slovakia) to Joseph Katscher and Therese Blumgrund. Berta's sister Rosalie was the second wife of Leopold Katscher's father, Ignatz. Berta Katscher grew up with an aunt; in her youth, she lived in Hungary and Turkey. Berta married her cousin Leopold Katscher at the synagogue in Temesvár/Fabrik on May 17, 1881. The couple went to live in London and Berlin; after 1897 they settled in Budapest where they lived until Berta's death. Their letters to each other are written largely in English.

Berta Katscher started her literary career at her husband's urging. Initially, she wrote children's books; later she contributed romantic and humorous fiction to magazines in Vienna and translated English literature into German (Hardy, Buckley, and Stevenson among others). Her journalistic pieces treated the peace movement, women's rights movement, social reform, and animal rights. Her fiction is often set in contemporary, albeit romanticized, Austria and displays strong English influences; it has been described as "popular literature."

Pseudonyms used by Berta Katscher, many of them shared with her husband, include Berta Kellner, Ludwig Ungar, Ludmilla Koelle, Ludwig Koelle, Albert Kellner, and Bela Keleti; possibly also L. Katscher.

Berta Katscher published the serial Novellette, between 1887-1889 in conjunction with Paul Victor Wichmann, and from 1889 alone.

Berta Katscher died in Budapest on September 16, 1903.

Her writings include:

Die Kunst, Mensch zu sein (1888) Aus jungen Ehen (1889) Weihnachtsgeschichten (1890) Aus Bädern und Sommerfrischen (1890) Vamberys Leben und Abenteuer (1892) Die beiden Toten (1892) Soldatenkinder (1897) Die Studentin (1900) Fremdartige Geschichten (1902) Die Stychows (1903) Das grosse Los (posthumous, 1912).

From the guide to the Leopold and Berta Katscher papers, 1866-1939, 1873-1914, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)


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  • Peace movements--Europe
  • Authors and publishers
  • Peace movements
  • Feminism
  • Internationalism
  • Copyright, International
  • Feminism--Europe


  • Journalists
  • Pacifists


  • Europe (as recorded)