Letter:GAUSS, Helen W. to Theodore Gauss - 1911-07-24

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From GAUSS, Helen Worthington (1881 - 1970)
To GAUSS, William Theodore Worthington (1884 - 1961)
Date: 24 Jul 1911
Family(s) Gauss
Collection Minna Gauss Reeves collection
Needs annotation: Yes

From Helen Gauss, Jr. to her brother Theodore)

Schrader's Hotel,

Brunswick, 24 July, 1911

Dear Theodore -

Here we are in the haunts of our ancestors - last night strolling round the corner, bareheaded, into the old marketplace, gazing on the same buildings that our great-grandfather did before us - seeing that the towering old church and the fine old Gothic Rathaus both date from the 12th and 13th centuries; and most of the other buildings from at least one to three centuries back. The town is fascinatingly picturesque - churches and "schlosses" galore, all the way from the 11th century down, and streets full of lovely old houses with the projecting upper stories you see in pictures. The Gauss-haus, dating from 1720, looks almost modern beside some of them. But to get down to facts, we almost evaporated day before yesterday on our way here from Berlin, 3½ hours, and the hottest day we've struck yet, unless yesterday beat it. It was 7.30 when we arrived, though, so we drove "in the cool of the evening" to this hotel - not starred in Baedeker - nor in our own minds since. But stars always come high, and as we have very comfortable first-floor front rooms, and a good dinner yesterday to make up for defects in Saturday night's supper - also two very nice English ladies to bear us company (of other guests we've seen no sign), we're tolerably satisfied; its an old house of good reputation - only not excessively grand - probably the best a few years back. I think these lengthy remarks on the same are because I feel rather responsible for being here, thinking Aunt Mary didn't want to go to high, though none of us have liked it since. But we were all influenced in its favor when the man showing us rooms asked if our name might be Gauss - and said that a gentleman had left word that if we came here, he was to be immediately notified, as he wished to take us round and show us all the Gauss memorials. It was quite a "glad hand" to be met with - and we didn't deny the allegation. Next morning, accordingly, (yesterday) at 10.30 he arrived, and proved, as we had thought, to be a friend of Carl Gauss in Hameln, who had written asking him to do this. He is an elderly man, an ex "Court Opera Singer", and famous as such, we've since learned from seeing his photographs in the Museum there[1], where we also found silver and bronze medallions such as we have, and a fine bronze relief - a smaller edition of our plaster one. To proceed with the morning, however, - he walked us about the streets, from the hotel past some interesting ld buildings which he pointed out, first to what he called the Honig-Kuchen house, because of its slice-like shape, tall and narrow, - the grand new Schloss, only a stone's throw farther down the street and blocking its end. But in this house Gauss' father lived before his son's birth. It's now a bier shop, but looks well kept-up and perfectly preserved. Then from there we proceeded presently to the school Gauss attended, a nice old building with the sun streaming in the school-room windows, and from there to the Gauss birth house, where we were cordially received by the present owner and his wife, and spent an hour or more in the room (front, to the right of the door) where are gathered some relics - this room arranged only since last April - and altogether through the efforts of this Herr Hieb who took us round. I'll enclose his card for Papa's benefit, thinking he might very properly drop him a few lines of appreciation of his interest and kindness to us. He said he supposed few members of the family took half the interest in these matters that he, an outsider, did. But he doesn't speak English and probably doesn't read it easily - so I don't mean to spur Papa on to a long letter; just a note of appreciation. I'm sure Mama will write you details in full, so I'll out. But the enclosed scrap of paper, in pencil, gives the various mottoes of Gauss, put up singly, on the walls of the room - just cardboard, printed, I mean; and also the inscription on the back of the monument - sent to you, but intended for Papa's perusal. The house-owner is just a working-man, but gives the room for this purpose, for what there may be in it in fees for him. We all wrote our names in his guest-book - not yet very full, as the room was opened only in April - but two pages covered, Carl Gauss of Hameln heading the list. From there we passed the old church to which Gauss went - where he was baptized and confirmed; and then went to the statue, which stands at the foot of a wooded hill, facing a fine park with some beautiful places along its drive, just outside, I suppose - though with their beautiful grounds seeming almost a part of it. Well - that finished the morning, with a street car back to the hotel; and in the afternoon we rested a while and then went to the Museum, where we saw the medallions I spoke of - in two adjoining very old churches, one dating from the 11th century, I think. That evening we rather hung round the hotel waiting for Herr Heib again, but he failed to appear then, as also next morning. Wife sick and servant off on vacation. But as we were heading hotel-ward for dinner Monday noon, we fortunately ran into him as he was just leaving, after bringing us the newspaper we send - about the Gauss room dedication in April. He explained his troubles and failure to appear earlier - and was most kind - though I wish he could have spoken English, as Mamma did of course still more. The ducal museum, the Schloss, the cathedral, and in the afternoon the statue and house again, as also a street-car ride through the better residence section, and trips to the parks - Oh! And also a trip to another Gauss house, where his father had lived, and which I liked better than the birth house, I think; it was more picturesque; - all this finished the day, and us too, pretty nearly. Then a hot trip to Hanover that evening, a hunt for rooms after nine o'clock, with a miserably poor result; and on top of it all, the discovery that I had sent the wrong forwarding address to Paris, and left it in Berlin. I telegraphed that same night to Paris and hope we don't lose any letters, though fear we may. They had the wrong address both in Paris and Berlin, from July 22 (Paris possibly July 21) until the 25th. I inquired at the Hanover postoffice, and also here (Hildesheim) but so far get track of no mail. Perhaps this helped to use up Aunt Mary, on top of the heat and our general exertions. Anyway, Monday night and Tuesday she was almost collapsed - and we are genuinely alarmed about her condition - though she won't see a doctor, and won't consent to stop the trip - at least not yet. Later I fear she may be forced to, and only wish she would now - or rather, after Goettingen, which will mean no great exertion. Her heart troubles her, and she feels miserable, aside from the constant trouble she has with her head. But she insists on going about just the same - which is what distresses us. She was plainly miserable in Hanover, though, and so eager to get out of it and come here to rest up, that we stayed only the 24 hours, going out to the Royal Schloss and Park, with its remarkable tropical green-houses, etc., in the morning; and in the afternoon, having a long and delightful call with two of our Hartmann cousins, though the one Papa and I have written to is just now in England. They have a pretty, modern house in a charming part of the city, and served us coffee and cakes, and were delightful to meet - particularly the older one, Paula, who quite won my heart. We stayed two hours and then took the train here, where we're at the best hotel the town affords no marvel, and are proceeding to rest, as well as we can for the heat. If only Aunt Mary would see a doctor, we could tell better; but I don't think we can finish the trip as originally planned - i.e., stops in Holland, Belgium and England, before Paris; and for my part, I hope we don't. It's too terribly worrying for enjoyment. This is fearfully long - but there was a lot to say, and I haven't even said I was glad the house was rented!

Goodbye and lots of love from -


  1. Brunswick, this letter was finished in Hildesheim.


Location of handwritten original unknown. Typed transcription from the Black Book, notes of Anne Durfee Gauss and Minna Gauss Reeves. Transcription to softcopy by Susan D. Chambless, 1999.

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