Elisabeth Schumann: 1921 Diary

In America with Richard Strauss. Elisabeth Schumann’s diary
14th October to 31st December 1921


14. Oct. 21. 10 p.m. in the sleeper.
Exactly 7 years ago today, shortly after the outbreak of the World War, I set out on my first trip to America, at that time from Hamburg. A strange coincidence, and I feel sadder this time: saying goodbye was really hard, but how wonderful that C. [Carl Alwin] still had time to come to my compartment without a platform ticket. Dead tired. Horrid sleeping-car attendant.

15. Oct. 21.
11 in the morning arrival at Munich. No problems at the border. Had a bath, ate, slept. On the dot of 4 o’clock Dr Strauss drove up in the car—I just happened to be in the hotel lobby—hurriedly gave me the train ticket to Paris and rushed off to the luggage office at the station, because ‘Bubi’s’ [Franz Strauss’s] cigarettes didn’t arrive until the last minute, and he still had to pack them into a secret compartment in his suitcase. We met a quarter of an hour later at the luggage office and chatted about America while it was all being weighed, which took forever. I complained about how long the tour will be, and he about how boring it will be, characteristically directing his eyes heavenwards as he spoke. ‘Well, I’ve brought manuscript paper with me,’ he then said cheerfully. At that moment we got our tickets, paid and quickly went back to the Excelsior to have a quick coffee. He asked about Vienna and the Opera, listened with great interest, grumbled about the Italian dress rehearsals [he thought opera in German-speaking countries should be performed in German] and [Franz] Schalk. He wanted to read the letters once he was on the train. We went for the train and saw [Clemens von] Franckenstein there, waiting with a bunch of violets for me; we got on the train and went into our separate compartments, which are next to each other. After 5 minutes Strauss asked me to join him: we talked about the [Frieda] Hempel fiasco in Vienna, about my engagement at La Scala—which made his face light up—about ‘Kuhreigen’ [opera by Wilhelm Kienzl] etc. Then we both read. He then went to the dining car, I ate half a chicken which I had bought in Munich. Soon after that he came back and gallantly presented me with a banana. We chatted a bit longer, then I said goodnight, feeling dead tired. He wanted to stay up until Karlsruhe, which we wouldn’t reach until midnight, because ‘Franzl’ [Franz Strauss] was getting on there. I went to bed fully dressed, because we were reaching the border at 2 o’clock when I would have to go to the luggage car. Someone knocked—passport control—I got up—greeted Franz warmly, who was standing in the corridor with his father’s passport. Nevertheless they had to open his door: I saw the great man in the top bunk blinking sleepily, and I was annoyed that he was woken—then quickly with Franz to the luggage car and back to bed.

16. Oct.
The three of us had breakfast in the dining car. Strauss talked a lot about the countryside we were going through, and was delighted by the colours. Then arrival in Paris where Hermann, Saerchinger and a man from the White Star Line were waiting for us. The latter dealt with our luggage. Suddenly Strauss heard that I was intending to stay in the Majestic, and persuaded me to move to the Grand Hotel. ‘We want to take a look at Paris, so we’ll need to be together.’ So I followed him. At 1 o’clock we met at Prunier, a wonderful restaurant. Strauss indulged in oysters while I feasted on lobster. We were very happy, he was enthusing about Paris, finding everything tasteful and saying he didn’t know of a more beautiful city. I congratulated him on Prunier and the delicious meal, but he just said: ‘Yes, I’m a good tourist guide, a mediocre composer and a lousy theatre director.’ Incidentally, he invited me to the table with the words: ‘I am treating you to our first luncheon.’ After eating we went straight to the Louvre. Wonderful impressions. Stood for ages in front of the Mona Lisa. Then by car to the Chateau de Madrid in the Bois. Beautiful drive, coffee, elegant people, discreet music with modern dances. We sat outside ‘au soleil’. Back by car to the Place de la Concorde from where we walked down to the Seine and enjoyed the view. Strauss spoke about architecture; I admire his many interests. We returned to the hotel. I announced that I had to go to bed otherwise I would drop with fatigue. Franz went for a night on the tiles with Saerchinger. The Dr stayed behind too. He has just shown me the separate entrance to his bathroom, which he says I should use as well. He is sweet.

17. Oct.
In the morning to Montmartre with Saerchinger. Lunch there too. Then the Louvre department store. Hotel. At 4 with Strauss, Franz, Saerchinger by car to the Dame des Invalides, unfortunately closed. On to the Eiffel Tower. Wonderful view. Had coffee. Strauss told me about his new ballet, which he wrote in the summer. It’s called ‘Schlagobers’ (whipped cream) and he said, jokingly: ‘Oh yes, when one gets old one has ideas like that.’ Folie Bergères in the evening. Dead tired. Must stop.

18. Oct.
Early by car to St Chapelle. Wonderful Gothic chapel with heavenly windows. Then browsed in an antiquarian bookshop. Bought a little old prayer book. Then sat in the sun in front of the Louvre. 1 o’clock Prunier, after that Louvre, met Director Gold. In the evening ate alone with Saerchinger in the Italian restaurant.

19. Oct. 21.
I am lying in a narrow, wobbly cabin. Franz just came by again and told me through the door that [Feodor] Chaliapin is on board. He was just having a bottle of wine with Papa: I should come upstairs too. But I’m already in bed. Then Strauss knocked and asked me for my ticket, because Chaliapin might manage to get us other cabins—we’re not happy with what we’ve got. What a wonderful voyage this is going to be, and with such interesting company! Most of the day was spent on the train. It was a happy moment when I received Ce’s [Carl Alwin’s] mother’s telegram on board!

20. & 21. Oct. 21.
Feeling awful. Headache. Had my meals served on deck. Unbearable tiredness.

22. Wonderful day, sunshine, completely calm sea, great boredom. I completely forgot to mention that we already met [Lucrezia] Bori on the train from Paris to Cherbourg. We don’t see much of Chaliapin; he sits all morning in the Turkish bath, and unfortunately only speaks French, not English…

23. Beautiful sunny day. Glorious sunset in the evening. Then enjoyed poker with Strauss, Franz, Bori, Chaliapin and a Swiss couple. Very jolly, till 11.30.

24. Nothing particular. In the evening the usual poker.

25. Oct. 21.
Charity concert for the widows and orphans of sailors. Had a great success with 3 Strauss songs. Chaliapin also sang. Wonderful artist. Unfortunately not quite on top form any more. Then a lady played a violin sonata by Strauss too. Strauss is so delightful and always intent on my success. Before the concert he said: ‘Why not hold your top notes a little longer, don’t always sing so precisely.’ Afterwards I asked him: ‘Well, did I sing the top notes long enough?’—‘Yes,’ he said gaily, ‘but always with a bit of a guilty conscience.’ He means because I always sing what’s written.
He beamed at my success. Afterwards we all sat cosily in the smoking room for a while.

26.X.21.
In the evening a farewell game of poker.

27.X. 11 o’clock in the evening.
We’ve been in New York two hours. Arrival with all the brightly lit skyscrapers absolutely fantastic. Overwhelming impression. I am beginning to feel well and to enjoy the journey. New York is the grandest thing in the world. If only C could experience all this with me! Diamond came on board, then 20 reporters and photographers rushed towards us like wild animals. Yes, we were even filmed—that sort of thing doesn’t happen every day. And tomorrow we get to see everything. We are staying in the Hotel St Regis 5th Ave., have a charming suite with a lounge, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and little dressing rooms. The most beautiful roses are resplendent in American quantities on all the little tables—for Strauss has lots of friends here—only the wonderful giant bouquet is from the hotel. They’ve even put a grand piano into the room. In my bathroom there are about a dozen hand towels, 3 large bath towels. By the basin and bath there is soap with the name of the hotel written on. I feel as if I’m in paradise. Incidentally, we’re on the 16th floor. On Monday there’s to be a huge reception for Strauss with the Mayor etc. Tomorrow more—I can’t keep my eyes open.

28.X.
First day in N.Y.. Practised in the morning, then had a long walk. Rehearsed in the afternoon with Strauss, and have just returned from a dinner of welcome which Diamond gave for all of us German artists. Elly Ney with husband, [Tino] Pattiera, [Claire] Dux, Strauss, Franz and two American gentlemen. It was very pleasant. I behaved to Dux as becomes a lady, but still managed some good tit-for-tat responses. She gives me the impression of a very common sort of person. Strauss is going to Philadelphia tomorrow for a rehearsal. So I’ll be alone with Franz. How nice that I have both of them here, otherwise I’d be too homesick.

29.X.21.
The Stross’s gave Franz and me lunch at the Ritz Carlton. In the afternoon both the Taylor brothers visited. In the evening meal with Franz—Blue Ribbon, cinema after that.

30.X.21.
Rehearsed a bit with Strauss first thing. 12 o’clock by car to the [Samuel] Untermyers—the most beautiful country estate I’ve ever seen. A garden with little Greek temples, an open-air theatre and wonderful Greek archaeological finds. ‘[Max] Reinhardt must put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream here when he comes next year’ said Strauss. A charming setting, right next to the Hudson, but very high up. Untermyer is the most famous advocate around—once someone paid him 300,000 dollars not to take part in a trial. At luncheon, apart from us, there were also [Artur] Bodanzky with wife, Elena Gerhardt with her friends Mr & Mrs Goldmann, to whom we also have an invitation this week, and about 10 more people whose names I don’t know. In the afternoon I sang Strauss songs, the new ones—everyone was very enthusiastic and full of congratulations. Tomorrow Mrs Untermyer is moving to her apartment in town, which is also on 5th Avenue, quite near to our hotel—and we are invited again for a meal for the day after tomorrow. If it goes on like this we’ll save a lot of money; up to now I haven’t paid for a single lunch. We left at about half past five—were given another whole box of flowers from the greenhouse and taken back to the hotel in the car. Now Strauss is playing skat next door—I want to get to bed quickly—it’s midnight.

31.10.21.
At noon a huge reception for Strauss given by the Mayor of New York. About 15 cars rolled up in front of the Hotel St Regis—all bearing the municipal arms at the back. In the first one Strauss was driven with 3 gentlemen, in the second Franz with someone, in the third me with Diamond, in the fourth Dux—I didn’t know the other people. There was a police convoy flanking the cars to left and right on motorbikes with sirens on the whole time; that meant that we crossed every road without having to stop: all other cars had to stop—there were people lining the streets—of course they had all read about the reception. Strauss travelled through New York like a king. The front of the Town Hall was teeming with photographers—we were filmed and photographed. Then we went into the Town Hall. Lots of guests were waiting in the great hall. First of all a nephew of [Karl] Goldmark spoke, then Mr Berlitzheim, then the Mayor. Strauss stood up and replied—at first very haltingly—then fluently and full of esprit. He replied in German and apologised for replying in his mother tongue. But his short speech was translated into English and immediately afterwards read out, whereupon there was tremendous applause.
Strauss was moved by the great honour—he looked quite pale. Then there was a big introduction ceremony in which Dux and I were introduced to the Mayor. After that lots of filming again and departure to the hotel, where Diamond gave a lunch. In the evening the big occasion of Strauss’s concert in the Carnegie Hall, which was like a victor’s triumph—afterwards we three sat up in our hotel room and had a midnight snack. He [Strauss] said among other things: ‘It is difficult composing endings. Beethoven and Wagner could do it. Only great composers can do it. I can do it too.’

1.XI.21. 2 p.m.
I’m in Philadelphia—we’ve just arrived having travelled with [Bronislaw] Hubermann and Diamond. Unfortunately I’ve got my period and want to go to bed at once. Strauss was tired and agitated on the journey—spoke with Hubermann about Brahms. ‘I like Spohr much more’ said Strauss, ‘I always get annoyed with Brahms—he is so overrated and mannered—he lacks imagination.’ At the moment Strauss is lunching downstairs with 1,500 ladies who are holding a reception—I declined the invitation as I’ve got to rest before the concert.
11.30 p.m. Well, I’ve survived the first concert—it was, thank God, a great and wonderful success. Of the new songs ‘Schlechtes Wetter’ won hands down—and we even had to do it again. I was in good voice, but I didn’t enjoy myself one bit—I was unbelievably nervous and agitated—oh, this profession! My nerves are not on top form at the moment. If only it were all over and I were at home! After the concert I ate quite alone with ‘Richardl’—he congratulated me so sweetly on my success and was charming. By tomorrow midday we will be back in New York, thank God. Franz stayed there. Now I shall sink dead tired into bed.

2.XI.21.
Journeyed back with Strauss in the morning. We talked about voices and studying. I asked him if he thought I could learn something from [Marcella] Sembrich. He said no and ‘any improvements you need to make I can tell you, or your husband. You ought to sing more legato and learn how to do with your facial expression what your voice can’t manage. You often sing too honestly—hide your weaknesses by cheating a little.’ He is right. Then he groaned about the country. ‘It’s simply not worth looking out of the window—this unpoetic landscape.’ We arrived in New York and found a lot of mail. What a happy moment! Then lunch at Mrs Untermyer’s—then immediately to bed. Strauss and Franz went to rent an apartment in the Wellington’, then they both sat at my bedside and read Ce’s press notices—Strauss brought me Pauline’s letter to read—tender lines, quite different from the way she talks. They’ve both just gone out to eat with the Stross’s, then to [Anna] Pavlova—unfortunately I couldn’t go, I must look after myself.

3.XI.21.
Delightful evening at Lady Speyer’s with Mrs Untermyer and the Bodanzkys. I did not sing—I don’t see why I always should. These people sit on their pots of money and never hand out fees or presents.
Strauss said to Mrs Untermyer: ‘Alwin is my loyalest friend.’ I was very proud. Early tomorrow off to Chicago, now quickly to bed.

Chicago, 5.XI.21.
Dreadful journey—slept and ate badly—we just played poker for hours—at first I won 30 francs then I lost everything again. Hundreds of people, including Dr Seybel, welcomed us here. Shortly after our arrival, saw a huge procession for [Marshal Ferdinand] Foch from the hotel window—then lunched with Dux, Pattiera, Diamond. Wonderful walk by the lake in the afternoon with Dr Seybel and Franz. Lovely impressions of the city. Went to bed early.

6.XI.21. evening
Wonderful concert—huge success—the hall holds about 4,800 people—but heavenly acoustics. Didn’t get at all tired. Countless repeats and encores. Mary Garden applauded like mad. Also saw [Giorgio] Polacco again. After the concert, supper at the German Club. Will sleep well tonight, am pleased with myself today.

7.XI.21.
Was alone in Chicago today. Strauss and Franz have gone to Detroit. 10-12 in the morning, drive with Dr Saurenhaus. At 1 o’clock, lunch with Dr Seybel at Mrs ?? (forgotten the name), lovely walk by the lake, back to Seybel’s Hotel, drank tea with him. He then read me a little novella he’d written. A nice clever man. It was a lovely day.

8. 11.30 p.m.
An hour ago the three of us met again here in the hotel, beaming and happy that we were together again. Mr Taylor is here too—the four of us ate together and Taylor gave me a talisman in the form of a charming little Egyptian archaeological find which Hans Heinz Evers had once owned and then given away. I was thrilled with it. Now quickly to bed. Tomorrow, concert and overnight journey.

9.XI.21.
Pittsburgh, terrible rain—impossible to put a foot outside. Dreadful boredom. Concert great success—audience not as warm as in Chicago. Strauss said: ‘You sing much too beautifully for these people.’ Had to repeat Wiegenlied and Schlechtes Wetter. The music was missing for the last number, ‘All mein Gedanken’. Strauss said: ‘I know it off by heart’. But he played such a hotchpotch of notes that I can’t think how I managed to stay in the right key. Otherwise I was very calm, I wasn’t even tired afterwards—I’ve worked out how to sing at half strength. We sang ‘Ständchen’ as an encore. After the concert, immediately into the sleeping car where I am now writing—the train hasn’t left yet but is about to.

10. Nov. 21.
9 o’clock in the morning, arrival in Baltimore. Strauss in a bad mood, venting all his feelings on Franz—scolding about everything. I drove with him to the hotel—Franz and Taylor in the second car. I said to him that I couldn’t understand how he could think of the tour as a sacrifice and reminded him how many marks we got to the dollar. ‘Yes, yes,’he said, ‘I’m only doing it so that I can one day afford to live in Italy again.’ I don’t understand why he can’t do that without earning these dollars. We were sitting at breakfast—his elbows were working—bad sign—at last I broke the spell and made such fun of everything—especially his scolding of Franz, that we started laughing like mad! Otherwise I couldn’t stand it if he moaned all the time. But mornings are a bad time—that I have learnt. At midday his mood clears—then he is sorry about his gruffness—and in the evening he is charming. He let a big bunch of grapes slip from his hands and said at once: ‘What would Mamma have said to that?’ Whereupon he told us very mischievously how he recently wanted to move the inkwell, and absent-mindedly took out only the top part and carried it across the tablecloth leaving a huge trail of ink. ‘What a rage that caused’ he said, characteristically directing his eyes heavenwards. But I think he needs this wife who won’t stand for anything—I see that now with Franz who is often bullied. Anyway, the two of them—father and son—are really amusing, the refreshing element in this eternal travelling. I’m looking forward to New York tomorrow—even if it is only one day.
Baltimore is a charming town and the people enthusiastic—it was a colossal success with countless repeats and encores. I was a tiny bit tired after the overnight journey, but paced myself well. I’ve now learnt how to sing at half strength all evening. After the concert there were masses of people in the artists’ room—everyone was thrilled. ‘Yes, that is how we sing in Germany,’ or ‘she sings like an angel, like a violin’ said Strauss. Then there was talk of an orchestral concert in which I absolutely had to be the soloist. Two sweet young girls, daughters of a musical director in Baltimore, came to me quite beside themselves. I was sitting on a chair in the artists’ room, they knelt on either side of me and kissed my hands. They were lovely young creatures, pretty as pictures. Incidentally, we are not leaving for Hartford until tomorrow morning and travelling directly, via New York, but without staying there. I’m so happy that I’ll be sleeping in a proper bed, even though we’ll miss out on our day in New York.

New York, 14. Nov. 21.
For 4 days I haven’t had time to write, but now I’ll quickly catch up despite being very tired. We arrived at Hartford at 5 in the afternoon—immediately went for a walk, then had a quick supper and went to bed. On the morning of the 12th, drove out to the big park and had a 2-hour walk. Beautiful. Strauss in a very good mood, we walked for an hour alone together—Franz behind us with a gentleman—then back in the car to the hotel; had a meal. The concert was at 8.30 in the evening, not sold out—but the success was so great that we had to come back on twice. At supper, conversation about Mexico. I absolutely refused, Strauss was trying to persuade me, because without me he can’t do the tour. I said that I definitely want to be in Paris by 7th January, whereupon he declared that it was so impractical to spend those few days there—one should go there in the holidays and then for longer. I replied very definitely: ‘Oh, not everything has to be practical—chasing after money doesn’t make me happy, and I shall certainly leave here on 31st.’ He said nothing and has said nothing on the subject up to now. At 8.30 in the morning of the 13th left for Boston where we arrived at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. The concert was at 3.30 and a great success! I’m still feeling very happy about it. A beautiful hall with 3000 people who cheered us on with feeling. And this very town is supposed to have been the most anti-German. It was wonderful, and I enjoyed performing hugely. ‘You are the greatest German singer we have ever heard’ and 1000 other such compliments were paid to me in the artists’ room, where we had to sign at least 50 autographs.
I’ve rarely before seen Strauss so radiantly happy about a victory as the one we won here, for we were both aware beforehand that it was not easy to conquer this city of music.
And the things he said to me: ‘It could not be sung more perfectly or more beautifully,’ he almost reminded me of Ce!!
Then he told me that he had recommended me to [Pierre] Monteux, the conductor of the Boston orchestra, as a soloist for Mozart etc. I said to him immediately how kind it was of him to make propaganda for me, whereupon he replied ‘but you make it for me too.’ ‘Well, you don’t really need that anymore.’ ‘Oh, the songs could be sung differently.’
In the evening (because I once again had a lobster on my plate) he christened me ‘Elobsterbeth’ (instead of Elisabeth) and promised to tease Ce thoroughly about being Mister Lobster. —10.30 in the sleeper, I fell into bed dead tired and woke up 10 minutes before arrival in Philadelphia at 8 in the morning. We had coffee in the station and went straight to the rehearsal which began at 9.30. At 12 it was over; quickly to lunch with [Leopold] Stokowsky and then quickly onto the train—at 3 o’clock in beloved New York.
Our apartment in the Wellington is delightful—and countless letters too from Ce, Mother, little Schnuck [her son, Gerd Puritz], Margarethe, Trudchen [Trude el Bedell] and Lilly [Reiff].
And tomorrow is the big day here. Pray God it will be a success like Boston!

15. Nov. 21.
The great day is over. I was received with great warmth right from the start—everyone still remembers my Sophie of 1914/15. The audience vociferously demanded a repeat of ‘Morgen’—incidentally the first time I have ever done an encore in an orchestral concert. At the end I had to come back on countless times—I can be proud of my success. Was not in good voice, was almost unbearably nervous—did not enjoy singing at all.
Afterwards, a huge supper at Mrs Untermyer’s—was so tired—I’m feeling the strain of the last few days very much. Now it’s 2 o’clock—quickly to bed.

16.XI.21.
Lunch at Henry Goldman’s, the friends of Gerhardt who was bursting with [envy about] my success yesterday and could not bring herself to say a single word about yesterday’s concert. Only when we were leaving, when we had our coats on in the hall, did she mumble a few words. Yes, one’s dear colleagues. But I am pleased, I think it is the best kind of compliment.
Dutiful Strauss had to travel to Wheeling this evening—I ate with Franzl in the ‘Blue Ribbon’and afterwards we went to a vaudeville.

17.XI.21.
Boring day—no invitations—ate with Franz, went for a walk, wrote letters in the evening. In the afternoon I was visited by Mr Irian, a relative of the Barreis in Zurich—very nice man.

18.
Lunch with Easton, in the afternoon went for a riverside walk with Franz; meal in the Clairmont—then greeted Strauss who came back from Wheeling and paid me many compliments after having performed there with Gerhardt. In the evening a chamber music recital which I didn’t go to as I was dead tired.

19.XI.21.
Lunch with Mrs Untermyer—then premiere of ‘Tote Stadt’ [opera by E.W. Korngold] —huge success for [Maria] Jeritza—in the box were Strauss, Otto H. Kahn and me!—in the evening supper at the Bodanzkys.

20.XI.21.
Lunch with Lady Speyer, Strauss and Franz at Mrs Untermyer’s. Left for St Louis at 4 o’clock—played poker in the evening.

21.XI.21.
Arrived in St Louis at 5 o’clock—great success, in good voice. Had dinner with [Michel] Piastro and his charming wife. Both of them are staying here until the 26th when the three of us leave for Indianapolis. Am so glad not to be here alone as Strauss and Taylor are travelling to Kansas City tonight where he’s doing a concert with Dux. Strauss insisted I should come too, but I want a bit of peace—10 hours’ train journey there and back—no, I’d rather stay here even if I am all alone.

23. and 24.XI.21.
Dreadfully lonely. Went for a walk in the park with the Piastros in the afternoon—went to bed early.
This morning was in the park all alone for an hour and a half. Lovely cold day after the thunderstorm in the night, which quite frightened me.
Oh, if only I could sing and travel every day so that I didn’t have to experience a town like this for longer than necessary.
By the way, I forgot to mention that on Strauss’s arrival here all the newspapers were full: ‘The Waltz King is here’. And there was a photo of the statue of Johann Strauss (in the Volksgarten in Vienna).
That’s typical of this town, but at least it’s funny.

25.XI.21.
Loneliness—ghastly town—am really depressed—oh, my beloved Vienna!

26.XI.21
8 o’clock in the morning departure from St Louis—met Strauss and Taylor at the station. Strauss immediately greeted me with the words: ‘Dear Dux has unfortunately become very mannered, I much prefer my little Schumann.’ Was glad to have them both again. Then we played poker until Indianapolis, took $2.60 off them. Ha, ha! It’s nicer here than in St Louis, quite a pretty town. Unfortunately no mail; I’d been counting on it so much. No news since 14th November.

27.XI.21.
Dreadfully foggy day—you couldn’t see a thing. I started the first song full of catarrh—felt that Strauss was laughing at me, turned my head slightly and saw him grinning from ear to ear. I wasn’t bothered by the frogs—in fact we were both in such a silly mood. Few people in the hall—virtually performed to ourselves—got through it fantastically so that Strauss said at the end: ‘One cannot sing more beautifully than that, no, one cannot sing more beautifully than that.’ Just now we played poker in the train and he told me that I look particularly pretty from the side when singing and that one day I should have myself photographed while singing. He often says nice things to me, strokes me a lot—he likes me very much.
Now in my sleeper. Tomorrow midday in New York, where I hope there will be lots of mail.

28.XI.21.9 o’clock in the evening
I’ve been in bed since 4; got my period on the journey. How nice! That means I’ll be alright for the next concert. Lovely, lovely letters were waiting for me—am so happy and keep reading them.

29.XI.21.
Spent the whole day in bed as my left tonsil is playing up too. Strauss wouldn’t let me go to Dux’s concert,
so I’m lying here all alone.

Washington 30.XI.21.
Just arrived alone with Franz, as Richard has a concert in Philadelphia. My tonsil better, it’s moved over to the right one, thank God.
Strauss greeted me this morning with the words: ‘My little Schumann, yesterday you achieved a great success. Dux sang quite nicely but she doesn’t sing out enough: Bodanzky also said that your voice fills a hall and carries better. And you sang the songs much more beautifully.’ (Yes, she sang the same ones, so one can compare.) How glad I am that she doesn’t put me in the shade with her singing—that I would begrudge her. At lunchtime we ate at Voisin and talked about Jews. Franz was absolutely anti, but he [Strauss] was very pro—everything he said was unbelievably magnanimous. I said that with C I had never noticed any difference between Jew or Christian, whereupon he said to Franz: ‘You just try and find a man like Alwin among the Christians—and he’s no coward or lickspittle.’ I was touched. Such a word from this great man is worth more than a good write-up by [Julius] Korngold. And even if he has many hard sides to him and often appears cold, in the 7 weeks of our tour I have come to recognise him as one of the noblest of men. Every hour spent with him is gain, even when he is silent.

1.12.21.
Washington big, big success; an At Home has come out of it—supposed to take place 23.12. In the morning visited all places of interest by car with Franz—charming capital city.
[Bronislaw] Huberman and Willicke played in the concert too, so I had an easy time of it. Now in the sleeping car—the train is about to depart.

Cleveland 2.XII.21. 12 o’clock at night.
Our successes are getting ever bigger—the audience here were beside themselves—I almost sang the concert twice over what with all the repeats and encores. I was aware of my achievement. Wonderful success. Richard beamed: ‘She sings more and more beautifully,
each time you think it couldn’t be more beautiful.’
He has just left with Taylor—Franz and I are driving to the Niagara Falls tomorrow morning.

3.12.21. in the sleeper to N.Y.
8 o’clock in the morning left Cleveland—arrival at Buffalo 12.30. Quickly ate something, then into a car for the Niagara Falls. Wonderful sight—the journey was worth it—we were even on the Canadian side although we had no passports—the falls look significantly better from there. But freezing cold in the car, in which we had to sit for 6 hours; froze terribly. 6.30 in the evening back in Buffalo, had supper in the Statler Hotel, and now in the sleeper—tomorrow morning in N.Y.

N.Y. 4.12.21. 12 o’clock at night
Lunch at Mrs Untermyer’s—3 o’clock Bodanzky’s orchestral concert, delightful Mendelssohn symphony; in the evening Strauss’s concert (orchestral) in the Hippodrome—wonderful Lohengrin prelude—Elly Ney burlesque—disappointing—after that together in the Plaza Hotel. Strauss talked very animatedly about [Hans von] Bülow—‘from whom I learnt conducting.’

5.12.21.
In the morning at Duveen—wonderful paintings, tapestries, carpets and china. Strauss said about one carpet ‘if I had that one I would make myself compose lying on the floor’ and threw himself full length onto the carpet and pretended to scribble away. Lunch at the Blue Ribbon—then to Diamond’s office—the money is all up-to-date. Welcomed Paul Eisler at 5 and had tea with him. Wrote letters in the evening.

6.XII.21.
Left for Detroit at 5 in the afternoon—played poker in the train.

Detroit 7.12/21.
Arrived 9 o’clock in the morning. Unlucky day. Trunk not arrived. Had to buy dress, shoes, stockings, while the manager rushed around trying to find music. He only got hold of some of it and we had to add Schubert to the programme. Strauss, as always, completely calm. Thank God, because I was a bit nervous. Nevertheless in good voice in the evening—great success. I announced each song individually, which the audience particularly liked.
Schubert songs: Musensohn, Frühlingstraum, Forelle, Geheimes and Lied im Grünen. We had managed to get various Strauss songs, and Strauss played some from memory. He’s not a good by-heart player, and something extraordinary happened with ‘All mein Gedanken’. Already after the third bar he couldn’t remember the accompaniment anymore and composed an entirely new song. I leapt along with him, the words fitted perfectly, no one in the audience suspected a thing, and when we had made it to the end I turned my eyes to the right to see what his reaction was. All I saw was him grinning from ear to ear—it was really difficult for me to find the calm and seriousness needed for the next song, ‘Freundliche Vision’. After the group we couldn’t stop laughing in the artists’ room, and I asked him to write down the new ‘All mein Gedanken’ straightaway afterwards, but he replied ‘Oh, I’ve already completely forgotten it.’ What a pity! I liked it much more than the original.

Madison 8.12.21.
Arrived at 1 o’clock in the afternoon after an awful overnight journey—back to bed straightaway—concert success, as always.
Trunk still not arrived.

Milwaukee 9.XII.21.
Arrived at 11 o’clock in the morning. Dead tired as I was kept awake in Madison by bed bugs. But immediately upon arrival had a wonderful walk by the lake with Strauss and Franz—after that at 1 o’clock fabulous lunch at Mr & Mrs Vinkler’s. About 50 people—had interesting conversations—there were beautiful orchids at my place at table
—everything extremely elegant, me in my travelling clothes as my trunk didn’t turn up until 5 o’clock. But thank God it came at all. Unbelievable success—had to repeat ‘Schlechtes Wetter’ 3 times—oh, but Strauss did play it like a dream.
After the concert had a very quiet supper with Strauss and Taylor—and now I’m falling into bed dead tired. The third concert running, and not one good night’s sleep.

10.12.21. in the sleeper to Cincinnati
Left Milwaukee this morning at 11 o’clock—1 o’clock in Chicago—
had lunch with Schubert, Gadowsky, Diamond and the Japanese manager—without Dux—she didn’t put in an appearance. Went to ‘Aida’ in the evening—singing full of dreadful scooping and sliding—Pattiera was best—voice small but beautiful—departure at 12 o’clock at night—am already in the sleeping car; we’ll be off soon.

11.XII.21. in the sleeper again
Arrival in Cincinnati at 9 o’clock in the morning, walk in the park for an hour, then in bed until 1.30. At 3 o’clock sharp concert—always the same success, but was in bad voice—no wonder. Left 5 o’clock sharp: they were going to hold the train for 10 mins, but we managed to get there a minute before departure time. Now we’re going to play poker for an hour, then quickly to bed.

12.XII.21. 9.30 in the evening
Arrived N.Y. 4 o’clock in the afternoon to masses of mail—then a phone call from Carlo who’s here. Went with him and a friend for supper—but was back by 9 o’clock, as I could hardly keep my eyes open.

13.XII.21.
Lunch with Carlo and Franz— walked in Central Park for an hour—in the evening Strauss’s concert in the Metropolitan—wonderful! Afterwards at Lücho’s—only us three and Taylor with Baroness Türk. Just now Richardl and Franz sat in my suite for a little while—we are like one family—a charming relationship. Strauss’s eyes sparkle when he looks at me. He is so touching—brought me a pill to my bed the day before yesterday, and when I couldn’t swallow it he ran for a glass of water and gallantly presented it to me.
Our digestion as well as other complaints are often topics of conversation—it is so funny.

14.XII.21.
Lunch at Mrs Untermyer’s with Strauss, Franz, Sir Edgar (Speyer) and Frau Bodanzky. Home in the evening.

15.XII.21.
Huge success in the Town Hall—was in very good voice—no catarrh, not at all nervous. Am blissfully happy—wired Ce. Strauss was beaming. Had supper with Carlo and friends. Strauss wanted me to do Otto H. Kahn’s favourite song ‘Mit deinen blauen Augen’ as an encore—but I was afraid of the low notes and didn’t sing it. He was a bit peeved.

16, 17, 18, 19, and 20.XII.21.
Nothing particular, only lunches at the Untermyers, Speyers, afternoon teas and boredom.
Duluth was cancelled, partly due to poor ticket sales—am therefore sitting with nothing to do in N.Y. and am recovering from my exertions.

22.XII.21.
Interesting afternoon at Knabe Pianos. At first I sang 3 songs with Strauss at the piano—then with the ‘Ampico’ with his accompaniments added in. 3,500 wireless sets were tuned in and I could be heard all over America and at sea. The audience, about 300 strong, were very enthusiastic—very interesting audience, the cream of society, and all the artists who are staying here, including the recently-arrived [Artur] Schnabel. Strauss got carried away again. He maintained that no one else could sing like that with the ‘Ampico’ because I was so musical, and when I sang with his accompaniment while he was sitting in the audience, he beamed like a child at Christmas. In the evening at Lady Speyer’s, sang a couple of songs too, unwillingly, but Strauss asked me to.

23.XII.21.
Spent the whole day with Franz chasing round town sorting out money and travel problems. At last I secured a passage on the ‘Olympic’—so departure on 31st is fixed. Oh, how wonderful!

24.XII.21. Christmas Eve.
Oh, what a sad day! I would so like to be at home decorating the tree! And then I keep thinking of my little Schnuck—he must be getting quite impatient now—I suppose that he’ll be getting his presents in an hour, as it will already be 5 o’clock over there then. And here I haven’t a soul to spend this evening with. I don’t know yet where I will be this evening—the big party at the Goldmans has been postponed to the 27th. Strauss has to conduct in Philadelphia. Franz is going to friends of Stransky’s where I should be going too, but I haven’t said I’ll come yet, am so undecided.

12.30 at night.
Was together with Elly Ney, her husband, Ehlers and Schnabel! Had a pleasant dinner in the restaurant and then went up to Schnabel’s room where we were till now. A tolerable evening but with a very heavy heart.

25.XII.21.
Lunched with Erich Simon, [Maria] Ivogün and Boos—
then Schnabel’s concert at 3 o’clock—he played wonderfully.
5 o’clock tea in my room: Ney with husband, Ehlers, Franz, Taylor—in the evening the three of us in Chinatown—slightly eerie.
Was given wonderful lace by Mrs Untermyer and an antique pearl bag by Lady Speyer.

26.XII.21.
Business discussion with Simon—ate alone in the Blue Ribbon. In the evening, concert in Brooklyn to a lot of empty seats—after that, banquet in the Bohèmia until 2 o’clock in the morning.

27.XII.21.
Lots of running around because of the journey, but how wonderful that I shall be in Paris on the 7.I.! Lunch at the Untermyers. 20 people. In the evening wonderful Strauss orchestral concert at the Met. with Huberman. Afterwards Blue Ribbon: Franz, Taylor, Türk and Frau Casella—very happy, we drank champagne—despite prohibition.

28.12.21.
Last leg of the tour—and a very lovely concert. Despite having my period was in good voice. Pretty theatre with good acoustics and a very warm audience. Lovely way to end.

29.XII.21.
Frightful night with beg bugs—didn’t sleep at all and was near to tears. Jolly journey back—and now quickly to bed, am dead.

30.12.21.
Journey preparations the whole day—in the evening dinner at Mr & Mrs Franko’s—
fabulous meal, but the hosts were not very nice. The Neys and Schnabel were there too, of course. Afterwards at 11 o’clock we were taken in police cars to see Chinatown. Big disappointment—nothing to see—all went home after an hour.

31.XII.21. evening on board the ‘Olympic’.
So Strauss did manage it after all that I should make records with him. He gets so much done on my behalf, and with what tenacity!
In Reading someone had asked him when records of him and me would be coming out, and he replied dryly: ‘Whenever Frau Dux permits it.’ He told this to the ‘International’, and that did the trick. For eight weeks we were in America, and on the last morning, two hours before my departure, I had to sing records. At 11.45 I raced on board, at 12 o’clock the ‘Olympic’ set sail. It was a frightful rush, I just hope the recordings turn out well. No one was happier over his triumph than ‘Richardl’, and at our parting (he still has some orchestral concerts to do) he folded me in his arms and kissed me on both cheeks.
Now I’m sitting here on the boat, and with every second I am getting closer to home. ‘Fresh blows the wind homeward' [Tristan und Isolde, Act 1 Scene 1].
Here I shall end this little diary. I think back over the whole tour, and of you, great man, of you Richard Strauss, I think with a grateful heart and thank you with all the sincerity I can muster. You were a wonderful friend—at your side I was protected from all intrigues and managers’ tricks.
You were always intent on my success, cared for my wellbeing and brought me medicine, like a father to his beloved child. I have got to know you as one of the noblest of people, who supports, with the whole of his personality, the cause of truth and honesty. It was a wonderful time, these two and a half months, being daily, even hourly at your side. You always have something to give, even when you are silent.
I am indebted to you for the rest of my life—one day you will see how grateful I am and that I will never forget!