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Mathias Lang World War I Correspondence


Scope and Contents

Adminstrative Information

Detailed Description

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Mathias Lang World War I Correspondence, 1913-1918 | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

By Aaron M. Lisec and Tanja Burkhard

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Collection Overview

Title: Mathias Lang World War I Correspondence, 1913-1918Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1915-1918

ID: 1/7/MSS 316

Primary Creator: Lang, Mathias

Extent: 2.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 04/00/2005

Subjects: World War, 1914-1918

Forms of Material: Soldiers - Germany - Correspondence

Languages: German


Correspondence between Viennese soldier Mathias Lang and his fiancée (later his wife) Lorly Mottl during World War I.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

More than 200 letters (with envelopes) and postcards in German dated 1913 to 1918 between Mathias Lang and Lorly Mottl Lang, both of Vienna.  Almost all of the correspondence covers Mathias Lang's service in the Austrian Army during World War I.  Another correspondent is Fritz Mottl, brother-in-law of Mathias Lang.

Collection Historical Note

The day-to-day correspondence of Mathias Lang and his wife Lorly depicts upper (middle) class life in wartime Vienna, including frequent tea parties and opera and theater visits. Lorly’s letters focus on physical ailments and social gatherings, while Mathias describes his life as an army officer (lieutenant).  A 1917 letter reflects anti-semitism and racism in Viennese society.

The correspondence mentions that Mathias Lang achieved the rank of Leutnant (1916) and Oberleutnant (1918)); his brother-in-law Fritz Mottl was also an officer.  Mathias received the kleine silberne tapferkeitsmedaille (small silver medal for bravery) in 1917); Fritz earned the eisernes kreuz (iron cross).

Subject/Index Terms

World War, 1914-1918

Administrative Information

Repository: Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Access Restrictions: Unrestricted use.

Use Restrictions: To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the World Wide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright.  Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult Special Collections Research Center to determine copyright holders for information in this collection.  Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.

Acquisition Source: Charles Apfelbaum.

Acquisition Method: Purchase.

Preferred Citation: Mathias Lang World War I Correspondence, Special Collections Research Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence, 1913-1915Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1916 FebruaryAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Correspondence, 1916 MarchAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, 1916 April 2-17Add to your cart.

April 4, 1916.  Mathias gives a very detailed account of his life as a lieutenant, although he does not operate on the front, but in the back of the ‘baggagetrain’ K.u.k.j.R Frhr v. Albori No. 89.

He describes training his dog, hunting foxes for fur and roaming the forest on horseback. His position as ‘Oberleutnant’ mainly entails the supervision of soldiers.

Folder 5: Correspondence, 1916 April 22-May 14Add to your cart.
April 22, 27, 1916.  Mathias describes the battalion’s struggle with lice and the increasing problem of alcoholism among the soldiers.
Folder 6: Correspondence, 1916 JuneAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Correspondence, 1916 JuneAdd to your cart.
July 4, 1916.  Mathias mentions his gunshot wound but does not give a detailed account of what happened.
Folder 8: Correspondence, 1916 August 2-17Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Correspondence, 1916 August 21-30Add to your cart.
August 28, 1916.  Mathias comments on Romania’s entry of the war against Austria-Hungary: "Today I found out that Romania has finally decided to invade my beautiful fatherland… Hopefully this will be our last enemy to fight."
Folder 10: Correspondence, 1916 September-DecemberAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Correspondence, 1917 February-MarchAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Correspondence, 1917 April 1-2Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Correspondence, 1917 April 13-May 31Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Correspondence, 1917 June 1-7Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Correspondence, 1917 June 18-July 10Add to your cart.

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