Table of Contents
Gustav Klemp German World War I C0250
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Gustav Klemp (1882-1941) was an artist from West Prussia in what was Germany until 1919 and is now western Poland. He was a member of the Deutschen Maler-Bundes (German Painters' Association). Klemp was in his mid-thirties at the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and he served as a medic with the German Army. He sent a number of postcards from the Eastern front to his wife, Martha Klemp, and he also painted watercolors that portrayed camp life, landscapes of the war and troops. After the war and the creation of an independent Poland, he and his family were given the decision to become Polish citizens or emigrate. They emigrated to the United States and settled in the upper midwest, first in Iowa and then in Wisconsin. Klemp made his living in the United States primarily by painting murals for churches. He died in May, 1941, six months before the United States entered World War II.
The collection consists of 2 certificates, several postcards and artworks, 4 medallions, and a notebook that primarliy document people and places during World War I, particularly German soldiers on the Eastern Front. Many of the postcards are group portraits of soldiers in military uniforms. Several have messages from Gustav Klemp (the primary recipient appears to have been Frau Martha Klemp) and postmarks from areas along the Eastern Front, such as Russia, Poland, and Romania. One postcard from page 15 is postmarked Lautenburg on August 15, 1914, suggesting that Klemp may have been present at the nearby Battle of Tannenberg later that month. The artworks consist of both drawings and watercolors that document similar subject matter found in the postcards. The drawings and watercolors were created by the donor's grandfather, Gustav Klemp.
Series one contains two certificates, one from the Deutschen Maler-Bundes (German Painters' Association) in 1901 and one from the Handwerkskammer fur Westprussen zu Danzig in 1910. Series two contains postcards that feature soldiers and landscapes of the Eastern Front during World War I (1914-1918), as well as an artists' group from before the war (1906) and a group of soldiers after the war (1922). Series 3 contains sketches and watercolors illustrating camp life, soldiers, and landscapes on the Eastern Front from 1915-1918. Series four contains four medallions circa 1914, one of Kaiser Willhelm II of Germany, one of Kaiser Willhelm with Emperor Franz-Jozef of Austria, one of Vice Admiral Von Spee, and one of General von Mackensen. Series five consists of a journal circa post-1918 in which Gustav Klemp seems to have written a narrative of the World War I years. The majority of the collection is in German, with some postcards containing text in Hungarian and Polish.
Materials are arranged into three series by format.
There are no access restrictions.
There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the Gustav Klemp German World War I collection must be obtained from Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.
World War, 1914-1918
Digitized versions of items in Series 1-3 can be found here: Gustav Klemp German World War I collection.
Gustav Klemp German World War I collection, C0250, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.
Donated by Richard Passig in September 2014.
Processing completed by Elizabeth Beckman in November 2014. EAD markup completed by Elizabeth Beckman in November 2014. EAD revised by Elizabeth Beckman in December 2016. Finding aid updated by Lana Mason in December 2018.