Letters from Mary Wigman

To Joan Woodbury from 1957 to 1970

      It was fall.  The year was 1955–56.  I was to be the first Fulbright scholar at the Wigman Studio.  My husband, Charlie, and my ready-to-be-born first child had accompanied me to Germany.  A year in Berlin, a year of study with Wigman—I was elated.

      Mary Wigman was 70 years old at the time, and when she came to visit Charlie and me at our apartment on Reudesheimer Platz, two weeks after the birth of my son, she seemed eternal, even then.  Dressed in somber black, she was a warm, formal, generous, affectionate, distant, mysterious, human—all those things rolled into one creature.  As I looked down on that small, frail, enormous woman, I felt very small!

      My study at her school on Rheinbaben Allee began two weeks after the birth of my first child Todd.  From this woman one could sense the power of the artist—she possessed a philosophy that had its roots in the study of man, his relationship to his fellow men, and the magic of his powers of motion.  Constant probing, stretching of the psyche and the body, questioning, making, discarding, building, learning—it was a year of revelations—new and yet very old and basic.

      After leaving Germany in August 1956, I never saw Mary again, but we kept in touch though letters and through friends, and so her spirit was ever present—and still is, as it is for everyone who knew her.  Our correspondence took place mostly at festive times, just before or after Christmas (which she loved dearly), around her birthday (November 13), or in the early summer at the beginning of her summer session or prior to her vacation times, which she also loved.  And so there is a general thread of seasonal subject matter throughout the span of her letters.

      Sharing some of the things Mary wrote in her letters seems to be the best way I can contribute to another level of understanding about her, perhaps one that will give the reader more insight into Mary, the woman.  As I took excerpts from those letters, I realized that what interests one person about someone might not interest another.  And it is also impossible to convey the feeling of the fragile, crisp airmail paper on which the letters were always written, the bold German hand, and the flamboyant, and yet very personal and loving style.  I am sure that those people who corresponded with Mary over the years have a great twinge of deep love when they hold her letters in their hands.

      Always evident in her writings are her concern for her school and the quality of the students, her creative work (whether it be choreography, writing, or lecturing), her health, her positive spirit, and her will to go on.  One needs to realize that in 1956, when this correspondence began, Mary was 70 years old, and the letters cover a sixteen-year span, so the writing is not that of a physically young woman, and yet, even with her constant illnesses and pain, she had the spirit of eternal youth.

      In 1986, I wrote a preface for Walter Sorell’s book on Wigman, Mary Wigman, ein Vermächtnis (Mary Wigman, a Legacy).  In it I included excerpts from letters Mary Wigman had written me over the years.  Looking back through my treasured collection of materials, I found these excerpts and decided to share them.  For the most part, they include only Mary’s references to her choreography, her teaching, the school, her vacations, and her health, but not the very personal things she wrote to my family and me.

      As I re-read these letters I wept a little.

—Joan Woodbury

Aug 1, 1957

Dearest Joan,

      It is long ago that you have written me a long and very lovely letter. How often did I want to thank you for it, to answer it and how often did I think of you, wishing you, the three of you, would be with us again.

      I had a very hard time the last months; staging Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemp, planning it all, learning the music (and god, what a music. Loved and hated it at the same time, and so difficult that the dancers won’t learn it . . . only to a certain degree is it danceable! So I decided to use a chorus and put all the weight onto it. I cannot tell you if what I did is good or bad. Until July 6th, when the theatrical vacation began, I had got the work so far that I could say sketched all through, and I think of it composed.

      But my, I am dreading the first rehearsal (Aug 14th), knowing that the dancers will have forgotten everything, and I will have to start all over again.

      It is going to be performed during the Berlin Festival, and the first night is for Sept. 24th.

      No vacation for me this summer, though I could have needed them. I had an accident on the stage during one of the last rehearsals and have hurt my left foot rather badly. But it got so much better that I was able to teach here in Zurich. Funny, I like it, in spite of the strain it always is with too many people in one class and the standard of movement and dance being so very different. Two more working days and it will all be over. Back home to Hesschens’ care and the obsession [of] the Rite of Spring.

Dec. 1957

      If I would tell you about all the events, the creative work, the school, etc, it would turn into a volume. So I better try to make it as short as possible. First, about the Sacre Du Printemp. It has been the hardest creative process, and the most difficult job I have ever gone through. And there were moments when I lost all confidence in getting it onto the stage. It was only during the very last stage rehearsals that I discovered what a fine work I really had accomplished, and watching it during the first night’s performance and forgetting that, after all, I had created it, I simply fell in love with it and am still. If you could see it, how you would love it too.

      The public success was tremendous and goes on, the Sacre being in the repertoire of the opera and given once a week.

      During the Berlin Festival Sept/Oct, my life was next to crazy, as I was suddenly put in the center of the artistic and social activities, Joan, and met Martha Graham, Agnes DeMille, went to see the three different programs of José Limon and his company, met him and Doris Humphrey, quite a lot at my school and at other places. It was all very exciting and I loved it.

      And then, of course, after having taken up the daily routine of teaching and looking after all of those small duties you can’t escape when having a school, I suddenly felt I could not go on without some vacation. Or, better, it was my doctor who got quite serious about it and made me go away for a while.

Jan 30, 1958

      And the time to start on my American trip seems to approach terribly quickly. It can’t be a long one and I will have to cover big distances, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles. No work at all . . . Margaret Erlanger, University of Illinois Urbana, is going to arrange a Wigman meeting in Chicago. I wonder if you might be able to too. No dates fixed yet. It is difficult to get away from here, and there are so many things that have to be taken care without being able to fit the dates from my part. But I hope that I can leave around March 8th or so.

[Mary did come to the U.S. and unfortunately I was not able to go to Chicago to see her. I had just had my second child, Jeff, two weeks prior and didn’t feel that I could leave. In retrospect I wish I had just taken the baby along with me and gone, but I made the only choice felt I could make at the time. —JW]

Feb 4, 1958

      I am writing in my doctor’s waiting room with a big crowd of sick people around. It is always such a loss of time. Since weeks I have been living at the edge of a pneumonia, so today to get shots and photos again. It is not nice, as always when you think it is getting better, the whole mess has started again. Worst of all, my doctor won’t allow me to go to America in this condition. So I do what ever I can to get fit again and quickly.

      Last week we had a dance recital in one the other sections of Berlin. I had been dreading it a bit, not exactly knowing how our programs would look on the stage, and was happily surprised to watch it going on. Only solo dances, one following the other. They all danced exceedingly well.


My loving thoughts are with you.
YoursDevotedly, Mary

March 30, 1958
Santa Barbara, CA

      How I enjoy the beauty of this country. I have always wished to see it once in springtime, and here I am now. And, funny, when I started on my trip, I felt that this would be the last time in my life I would see America again. But since I am here, it seems quite different. I feel I will come again, and probably already next year, so, if you can’t manage to come down to the coast, I won’t be sad. We will see each other again the next time.

Aug 22, 1958 Ascona

      Vacation . . . and nearly over by now. I have been terribly lazy, had to probably, as I did not feel so good when arriving here. Just could not bring myself to move, to do something. It has been warm and sunny for quite a while, and I loved it

      Well, Berlin and our summer course there was quite successful and I did a lot, and as I believe, good work too. But there was my back, starting to hurt simply awful, and I had to have a lot of X-ray treatment for it and it was rather troublesome, and did tire me out. It is much better now and I can work again

      Every day I sit at my improvised desk, drawing and sketching stage designs and choreography for my next opera staging at [some part is missing, I think the name of the opera, probably Alceste —JW]. It is in three acts. I do not know how I shall ever manage. The opening performance will be November 23rd and I will be at Mannheim from October 9th on.

Jan 12, 1959

      1958 has been a wonderful year for me . . . with the U.S.A. trip and the outstanding experience of the Grand Canyon, which is beyond any description . . . and then, this fall the accomplishment of Alceste. What a job, what a tremendous piece of work. And of course, I have my heart’s blood into it, and that means the very last bit of bodily strengths too. But not a moment’s regret, Joan, it has been worthwhile, and this really for the first time, I already could not believe anymore that after all, the living beauty of it was the result of my own love, struggle and patience. January 15th I’ll go to Manheim to see one more performance. I’ll meet Marion Yahr, who was here for Xmas again, and will be back on her way home. And I believe Paul Reck, who is here just now, will come too.

      Darling, will you help me in encouraging dance interested people to come to Berlin for our summer course? Nobody is afraid in Berlin, but I know that foreigners are and it would be terrible for my school and its further existence, if travelers would not come to us.

Jan 12, 1959

      I am brooding over an article (in English) about Laban. It is meant for a book and to appear with other articles about Laban’s work. My title, given to me, is: “The extraordinary thing Laban gave to the Dance”. Awfully difficult for me as I really don’t know much of Laban’s later work, and can only write about his start and the earlier periods. I wish you were here to correct my English. But I have to write it quickly as in two days I’ll leave for Mannheim to see my Alceste once more and direct a rehearsal before performance.

Sept 16, 1959

Dearest Joan,

      Forgive me that I did not write for such a long time. I wanted to though, and have thought of you ever so often. But for quite a while there was so much work for me to do that I simply could not write, not even a single letter. And during the vacation weeks I was too lazy, or, to be quite honest, too exhausted.

      June first, Hesschen and I moved to a new apartment. What a strain that was. The searching for it took at least 7 months. And when the time came to leave old Warnemunder Str., Hesschen and I were rather sick and she had to make a terrible effort to get through with the whole mess. Afterwards, of course, it was fun to arrange it all in such a way that we liked it and felt at home again. I think our new home is very beautiful and like to live in it very much. And I believe you would like it too if you could see it.

      Well, Darling, our summer course went well, artistically and pedagogically seen, it was a great success. But as we expected, it did not become so financially. Not enough students. Many of those who had subscribed for it withdrew shortly before we started, as they were afraid to come to dangerous Berlin. It is hard on us that this struggle has started again and makes it all so difficult once more. But we go on, and the new term has begun fine.

      We, that is Hesschen and myself, spent 4 quiet and restful weeks at the lake of Lugano (Switzerland, Italian part) where, with the help of Swiss friends, we got a sweet little bungalow with the most beautiful view of the lake and hills, up to the high mountains. The country around us was too steep for me to walk much, so I was forced to keep quiet and spent most of the time in a lounge chair at our terrace. It did me a lot of good and I feel a different person by now, hoping that this state keeps a while.

Nov 29, 1959

      How I loved your letter, and l want to thank you for writing, and for remembering my birthday and your good wishes. It was a happy day and I enjoyed every minute of it. The birthday celebrations at school were very festive. Among other studies and dances there was especially one group dance so beautifully composed, and so well performed that I felt proud of the students and realized once more that the pedagogical work is a hundred percent worthwhile.

      At home the usual situation . . . the doorbell ringing from morning to night and towards evening our rooms seemed to be a gorgeous flowerbed. Guests for supper, of course. Berlin friends and quite a number of old time Wigman students (Hanya Holm’s generation mostly) some of them had come for the day from West Germany. We did have a lovely time. Hesschen and I were worn out afterwards, but what does that matter.

      I have had rather bad luck, as I got sick in the beginning of October, a rather bad bronchitis with all sorts of painful complications and the heart affected too. It got better so I was fine for my birthday but shortly afterwards, the whole mess started all over again. But now I believe it is getting better everyday and will be cured very soon. I go to school every morning and teach, but coming home I go to bed and stay there until next morning. And that does a lot of good.

Jan 12, 1960

      I [just] came back from a trip to the Rhineland, where I was invited as a guest of honor by our Western German president, for a dinner party. I had a good time, it was very interesting too and I enjoyed myself very much indeed.

      Besides it did me a lot of good as I had had some rather bad luck. Just before Xmas, being happily busy with the Xmas decoration of my room at home, I slid over a piece of metallic paper, fell on the floor and hurt my left hand very badly. Not broken, but the pains were and are still quite too unbearable. And it probably will take a long time until I get rid of them. But still, we have had a beautiful Xmas Holiday. The school and the students are in good shape. I have to work on a couple of lectures, one of which I have to deliver in Heidelberg in Jan 18th. So you see I am kept busy and I like it.

April 2, 1960

      I have been and am quite busy, teaching at the school even more than usual, writing articles on dance, giving lectures and so on. It is lovely to get out of Berlin from time to time, see other places and other people. In January I was invited by our president (Western Germany) to a gala dinner in his house in Bonn that was really fun, because it was a milieu I had never met before. In Heidelberg I opened an exhibition of American dance photographs with a talk about American dancers and choreographers. I have given lectures in Hamburg and Hannover and last not least, here in Berlin, where it went so well that it became something like a triumph. But darling, I worked very hard for it all.

      I still suffer from the fall on my arm and hand at Xmas. God, what a time and what patience it takes until it gets normal again . . .Manya is getting along beautifully. She gave a recital lately and danced beautifully. [Manya was a dancer/teacher at the Studio, who was a remarkable person, very grounded in her work, and quite unique. —JW]

Nov 20, 1960

      The birthday is over, and though it was a strenuous day for me as well as for Hesschen, it was also a day of deeply felt happiness. Impossible to answer every single letter from this overwhelming birthday mail personally. But I want you to know how delighted I was to get your wishes and greetings. This year Nov 13 was different from all the other years in so far that I did not go to the school but the school came to me. We had worked awfully hard for a television program showing “Mary Wigman and Her Studio” so I knew the students would not have time enough to prepare something decent and worthwhile. But they sent 4 students as representatives of the 4 nations working with us just now (Egypt, USA, Switzerland and Germany). They had made a record with the birthday wishes spoken by the teachers and every single student. With music and songs and dance rhythms brought forth by feet and hands and, of course, a lot of vital noise. I loved it.

      I have not been too well all these last weeks, but by now I am so much better that I can again enjoy teaching . . . am strong enough to go out, concerts, theatre, parties, etc. Next Saturday all the students will have a party at my house with the teachers included. We will be 42 people all crowded together in my small apartment. But being dancers they know how to sit on the floor and we will manage, I am sure. Besides, I got a big box with wine as a birthday present so the alcoholic problem is solved and need not be paid for.

Jan. 2, 1961

      Maybe the rehearsals for a TV Show “Mary Wigman and Her Studio” were too great a strain for me, and the cold I caught developed into pneumonia and left me with an abscess at the upper right side of the lung. A slow business to he healed . . . and I am still very weak.

      Well, in spite of that we did celebrate Xmas with the lovely students from the USA and other parts of the world and it was very lovely. I am not supposed, and really am not able, to write a long letter, but I want to send you my love.

Jan 25, 1961

      But good news anyhow. The last X-ray examination showed that the awful abscess at the lung has started to heal at last . . . and I know I’ll get and be healthy again. Since then the spirit is lifted up too and I am making plans. First I will go up to the Swiss mountains for a rest cure in March, and during May and June I will have to do the rehearsals for Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Euridice. This time not staging the whole opera by myself, but doing the choreography. It will be the first time in my life that I have to work with somebody else. But I respect the man and his artistic judgment very much and hope it will all work out well. The opera will be given during the first week of the reopening of West Berlin’s big opera house, which was destroyed during the war and has been rebuilt.

      I am surprised by my own courage, darling. But maybe my strengths will be restored perfectly by then.

Oct. 22, 1961

      Explaining that my birthday gift of money was not necessary. . . But you know me, Darling, don’t you. So you will imagine that I do spend a lot of money on other people. That’s what I am doing just now, even more than usual. There are so many people who need to be helped, after escaping East Berlin under life danger. One week ago a dancer, former Dresden student of mine, got out this way. Her husband, who had still the permission to cross the border between East and West Berlin by car, took the tank out of his sports car, his wife crept into that hole and though she was bruised all over her body, they did arrive safely. Of course he could not go back anymore. This morning they were flown out of Berlin and into Dresden. Germany, leaving back, of course, all their possessions. I could tell you hundreds of examples which show what is going on here.

      No, Dear, I am not going to leave Berlin. Why should I? And I do hope I am not forced to become a fugitive. So we try our best to get along. After August 13 when the East Section was barred against the West, the situation of the school seemed to be Dangerous. None of the newly inscribed students arrived. By now there is quite a group of newcomers, among them 5 girls from the U.S. (3 of them Fulbriqhts). I’ll give your greetings to Til, Manya, Ulrich and Nora. They are still with me and will be delighted to hear from you . . . Hesschen sends her special love to you.

      We had some restful summer vacation weeks together in Switzerland, so I could jump once more, strong and refreshed into my Orpheo work. It was a hard job. First: For the first time in my long life I had to work with and under another person. Thank God, a real fine artist. Nevertheless, I couldn’t follow my own ideas, the way I would have loved to, and I dreaded the way it would all turn out. But the premier was a wonderful success and a special one for the dancers and myself. Afterwards, at a big reception given to the whole staff of the Opera (900 people) from artist to workman, I was given the membership of honor of the Opera. That made me very, very happy. And the next day I was honored by the prize of the German critics organization. You see, honors enough. Only I was so tired by then, and so completely emptied that I could not enjoy it the way I would have loved to.

      There was somewhat like a breakdown then. I suddenly got a high fever and had to stay in bed some days. Better now, though I still fee1 a bit weak. It makes me sad to know that you have trouble with your back, Darling. How well I know what this does to you. I am fighting these pains by more than 20 years now and I know what a handicap they are. Still, you are young and something might be done about it. At any rate, you must take care of it in so far that it does not increase but can be brought to a stop.

Jan 25, 1962

      I have just come home from a very interesting luncheon given by the Academy of Arts in their beautiful building. It was given in honor of a cultural delegation from Munich and I was, as it happens quite often, the only woman among about 50 men. I was really spoiled by them and liked it. Besides, the conversations were very lively and some of them even fascinating.

      School is running smoothly, though always somewhat on the edge of financial balance. But being in Berlin it can’t be otherwise and maybe it keeps you elastic in mind and spirit. Tomorrow I will fly to Hamburg and will have a record made of one of my lectures. I am looking forward to the trip as I just love to escape every day’s duties from time to time.

      When in Berlin I teach every morning and am glad to say that I could do this all the time.

      January last (1961) I was very sick and never would have believed so, it is more than joy to know that you are still useful and needed.

November 24,62

      A lovely birthday again. At school as well as at home . . . strenuous also, and when the last telephone call came through long after midnight Hesschen as well as myself were utterly exhausted. At school everything goes well and your student Erica is fine to work with.

      Otherwise, the old body does not do quite as well as I wish it would. Too much pain, but heart, soul and spirit are in fine condition, so life is still beautiful and worthwhile to live it.

      The birthday mail is terrific. So I am forced to work hard on it. And this will be only a short letter, but it brings you my warmest wishes and greetings, embracing and including your husband and your sons together with you, Darling.

Jan 22, 1963

      Well, we did have a beautiful Xmas Eve here, we welcomed the new year with cool and refreshing champagne and after all the festivities we went back to the routine of everyday life once more. The school is fine. We don’t have many students. Berlin is still Berlin and nobody really knows what will, might, could and need not happen. But we have a nice group of students, young, eager, interested. It is fun to work with them. The spirit is excellent.

      After the summer vacation I felt just fine, and had a wonderful time enjoying work as much as other things, theater, concerts, meetings, etc. But then my right leg started to hurt a great deal and still hurts. No medical treatment did help until now. It is a nuisance, because I have to be careful. And that I don’t like so much. But I go to school every morning and teach. So it is not too bad, and spring will help the old body to get over its weakness.

      I have been writing about dance, and just now working on book about my own dance work. It will appear this fall. At least I hope it does.

      All my best and warm wishes come with these lines.

Feb 15, 1963

      How strong you are, Joan. To work so hard, to take care of a family besides and then producing a child without even mentioning the extra strain. But how happy you must be to have borne your children strong and healthy.

      I am sick, since 2 weeks, a very disagreeable, painful, “Grippe” with a lot more of coughing than should be allowed. My God, how weak one gets. Hardly able to speak with a normal voice. But that can and will be changed again, as soon as the temperature stays normal, until now it has been too jumpy to be trusted.

      Joan, Dear, our . . . Hesschen and mine . . . congratulations and a big bag full of love, to mother, father, the boys and to the young princess of the family.

Nov 27, 63

      God, it was good to hear from you, and to know that you are well, that you like the work you do and have your lovely family around you. Once more I was able to celebrate a beautiful birthday surrounded by young people at the school, who did their very best to please me. And I was pleased, as everyone had worked hard on what they did . . . and the whole program was on a real fine level. And then there were not only my Berlin students but quite a number had come from Western Germany, from Sweden, Switzerland and France, a former student even from Honolulu. We all had a lovely time together. Hesschen asks me to send her love to you. She had quite a hard time, as all our guests had to be fed, and there was quite a chain of them. Well, Darling, school is still alive and I am still teaching every day, loving it the same way as I did from my very beginning.

      I had a beautiful summer in Greece this year with a lot of the most wonderful experiences. And I have written a book, which just these days, is published, called Die Sprache des Tanzes [The Language of the Dance]. It has really become a fine book, and [he should] translate [it] into English. Only I don’t know someone who could do this in such a way that it would still be my language.

April 18, 1964

      My conscience is bad, because I did not write you early enough that I am in U.S.A. It all went so quickly. My decision to make the trip to California [was] following the invitation of my very dear friend in Santa Monica, California. I made the long trip from Berlin to San Francisco in one rush, and was quite exhausted for one week. And then the time seemed to race away under my feet. I had to leave, and can’t extend the journey, as the school in Berlin needs me. So, here I am longing for you, but knowing I won’t be able to see you, my Darling.

      I am here only for a couple of days, leaving for Boston on Monday and from there going to New York where I will be from April 23rd to April 28th and then back to Berlin.

      I have had a wonderful and restful time in California. I needed it. And would have loved to stayed longer. Anyway, it was lovely to have the experience once more and to take home with me the vision of that beautiful country in the glamour of its spring colors.

Nov 30, 64

      I was deeply happy that day (birthday) as we have a very interesting and talented group of students just now. I simply love to work with them, as they respond beautifully and show quite a lot of individually and creative spirit. God, would I love to see you dance once more. What a pity that Alwin Nikolais cancelled the European tour. It might have meant a “Wiedersehen”. Please, give Nik my love when you see him. I am very, very fond of him.

      Joan Darling, with the same mail I am sending you Die Sprache des Tanzes, the book I have written myself. Only I could not send it by airmail so it will take a few weeks until you get it. It brings you my love. Besides school every morning I have been quite busy writing and lecturing. Only during the winter months I have to stop this activity. As soon as it becomes cold and damp I start to cough and have to be careful not to get dangerously ill. Hesschen, who will be 70 by now, takes fine care of me. She sends you her best wishes and just reminded me of the Xmas we spent together in Berlin with your baby boy sleeping in her bed while we grown up people celebrated next door.

      It makes me happy to think and to know, that you are going on work your work, as dancer, teacher and choreographer. All my warmest and most intensive wishes are with you. Good luck and success.

February 2, 1965

      I have had bad luck because, a few days before Xmas and in the midst of the happiest preparations for it, I had an accident. That is, I fell down in my own room with the result of 2 broken ribs. That alone would not even have been so had. But I got pneumonia with it, and so the whole thing became not only extremely painful but also somewhat dangerous.

      Still, we did get through with all our planned festivities, though everything was concentrated more or less around my bed. Marian Yahr had come, Nahami Abbell was here too. We did think of you, Darling, remembering so well and very lovingly that Xmas Eve when we were together in Warnemunder Strasse.

      Time has passed very quickly, February by now. I have recovered quite well from my illness, though, to be honest I won’t feel yet as strong as I would like and need to feel. But I sometimes forget that I am old and can’t expect to get around and along like a teenager.

      And Joan Dear, it is just wonderful that you had the courage to build up and found that dance group of yours. Congratulations and my best wishes for your creative work.

Jan 8, 1967

      What an old woman I have become since then (Xmas 55) but still teaching and loving it, and even dreaming of another trip to the U.S. But then Hesschen would have to travel with me, because neither my doctor, nor anybody else will permit that I travel all by myself. Well, we’ll wait and see.

Dec. 29, 1969

      We had lovely Xmas days here, terribly cold, so that I was forbidden to leave our apartment. I have not been out of it for three weeks now. But I have been very busy to make look everything beautiful. You and your family should have been with us, I know you would have loved it.

      Now Xmas is over. The New Year starts the day after tomorrow. My love will be with you in 1970, just as it was with since I got to know you, Darling, and that is already quite a while ago.

      1969 has been a cruel year for me so I am glad it is ending and hope that the coming years will be a lot more kind. With the exception of 6 beautiful and fascinating weeks in Israel during springtime, nothing but illness, and what was the worst of all, it knocked my dear Hesschen lower. She had a terrible heart. But I got her back onto her feet and she sends her love to you all.

      It is not easy to become such an old woman as I really am now. I try my best to live up to what there still is possible for me to do and to be. But there is that queer weakness which does not leave one anymore. Well . . . it has to be accepted, as everything else in 1ife has to be . . .

Jan 8, 1970

      Darling, let me thank you from the depth of my heart. My best and warmest wishes are with you, wanting you all to be . . . and to stay in good health, able to lead a good life together and be as happy as human beings can he.

      I have been very ill, for 2 months, but now I feel a lot better and hope I can make it still for a little while. Hesschen is taking care of me beautifully.

      My love to you, Joan Dear, my greetings, my wishes. Very grateful I am and stay your old friend.


1 Berlin 33, October 1973

Wir Danken allen von Herzen, die mit unserer geliebten

Mary Wigman

In liebe und verehrung gerachte

Berlin 28, 73

      You will he homesick for Mary as I am always. But it is good that I have things round me which belong to Mary. Don’t you ever come to Europe? How Happy I would be, to see you once more.

      Being without my Darling Mary is very hard, and sometimes I think my heart would break. The last 2 years Mary has been quite ill, once she fell down and broke her feet, and the second time she broke her arm, and in the end she has been nearly blind. Her grave is in Essen, where the whole family is. With all my love I press you in my heart.

Yours, Hesschen