Baum, Vicki, 1888-1960

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1888-01-24
Death 1960-08-29
Gender:
Female
Americans
German

Biographical notes:

Novelist. Works by Vicki Baum include GRAND HOTEL, SECRET SENTENCE, HELENE, MEN NEVER KNOW, THE SHIP AND THE SHORE, MARION ALIVE, THE WEEPING WOOD, DANGER FROM DEER, and HEADLESS ANGEL.

From the description of Vicki Baum papers, 1929-1953. (University at Albany). WorldCat record id: 84085248

Born (1888) and raised in Vienna, Vicki Baum first published stories as a teenager but then focused on musical studies at the Vienna Conservatory, where she made her professional debut in 1907. Shortly thereafter she met first husband, the writer Max Prels. Around the same time she won a juried prize for a story appearing in a Munich journal. By 1911 her marriage to Prels had fallen apart, and in 1913 their divorce was finalized. By 1914 she moved to Darmstadt to play in the orchestra with future husband Richard Lert, whom she married in 1916. During the 1920s she rose in prominence as a popular novelist, and in 1926 she moved to Berlin after being offered a job as an editor at the major book and periodical publisher Ullstein. Her novel Menschen im Hotel was so popular that it was adapted into a Broadway show in 1931, and later into the Hollywood classic film Grand Hotel . While on a promotional tour in the United States for this Broadway adaptation, she was offered a job as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Influenced by the increasingly hostile political climate in Germany, she decided to accept the job and remain in the United States. Lert joined her, and eventually became conductor of the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra. Although more of her novels were adapted for the screen and she secured a number of screenwriting jobs, she never enjoyed again enjoyed the level of success and celebrity which she experienced with Menschen im Hotel . She died of leukemia at home in the Hollywood Hills in 1960.

Carl Heinz Ostertag was born in 1910 in Stuttgart, Germany, and studied fine arts, art history, dance, and music at the Sorbonne, the University of Vienna, and elsewhere. By 1937 he had left Germany and Austria for England, where he worked as a ballet dancer, but by 1942 he had relocated to the United States. There he seems to have been involved in the military and worked briefly for the Office of War Information, before returning to the arts. He and Baum reportedly traveled in Asia together during the 1940s, and in 1950 he became a translator of Baum's novels. During the 1950s he traveled extensively in South and East Asia, and upon returning to the United States he took up various curatorial and teaching positions, mostly in California.

From the guide to the Vicki Baum Collection, 1920-1983, (Leo Baeck Institute Archives)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rv1dmp
Ark ID:
w6rv1dmp
SNAC ID:
56204932

Subjects:

  • Publishers and Publishing
  • Jews, Austrian--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century
  • Women novelists
  • World War, 1939-1945--Refugees
  • Jewish women authors--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century
  • Women screenwriters--United States

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)