While the level of knowledge of the various authors differs slightly, they agree on their ignorance concerning an exact date of Krähmer's death. And yet, with small steps during the last ten years it was still possible to narrow down the long-sought period to year and month. From the statement "nach 1839 ist sie nicht mehr feststellbar" (Antonicek 1967), to "als Solistin war sie nachweislich bis 1856 tätig" (Kornberger 2019), the state of knowledge eventually peaked in Theodore Albrecht's statement: "Dokumente des Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchivs legen nahe, dass sie [Krähmer] im April 1873 starb." (Albrecht 2013, 10). The path to this vital information (which was based on research by the late musicologist Bernhard Paul) is littered with guesswork and curiosities of which only Nicola Färber's ambitious 2008 dissertation about Caroline Krähmer shall be named. Concerning Krähmer's date of death, Färber (whose married name is now Buckenmaier) proudly writes: "bisher[sic] war unbekannt, wann Karoline Krähmer starb", only to show herself unable to provide this very information. In her short 2019 article about Krähmer, Buckenmaier uses Albrecht's data without giving him credit, and so does Anja Herold in her 2015 article for the Sophie Drinker Institut. On her website about Caroline Krähmer, Buckenmaier even claims that "she found out that Krähmer died in April 1873". As a matter of fact, she did not. Bernhard Paul did. Buckenmaier's work was gravely hampered by the fact that she received no competent guidance from her dissertation supervisor whose field was not historical musicology, but sociomusicology. It is one of the many problems of today's historical musicology that well-meaning gender researchers are being led to historical topics after never having received the necessary training. The various authors' search for Krähmer's circumstances of death failed due to the lack of deep archival research, a skill that is not being taught at Vienna's academic institutions.
Caroline Krähmer's late concerts
Because she owed her friend, the bassoonist August Mittag, 400 gulden, Caroline Krähmer, after the death of her husband, the oboist Ernest Krähmer on 16 January 1837, had no time to remain idle. Already on 23 April 1837, Caroline Krähmer entered the concert stage again (Wiener Zeitung, 13 April 1837, 4), together with her son Karl (1823–1839). On 10 March 1839 she appeared again in a concert at the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Wiener Zeitung, 5 March 1839, 322), together with her pianist son Karl who on 14 April 1839 was to die of a sinus infection (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt 184, CGK, fol. 25r). The death of her eldest son reduced Krähmer's concert activities. She had to wait until her cellist son Ernest (1826–1903) was ready to face the Viennese audience. In October 1840, together with this son, she gave a concert at the theater in Augsburg (Augsburger Tagblatt, 19 Ocober 1840, 1282) In September and October of 1841, in the course of a short tour, she visited Linz and Graz where, again together with her son, she performed concert pieces by Leopold Jansa and Ernest Krähmer's teacher Joseph Merk (Grazer Zeitung, 17 September 1841, and 4 October 1841). These concerts seem to have served as rehearsal for the big debut in Vienna which on 10 April 1842 took place at a lunchtime concert in the hall of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna (Wiener Zeitung, 7 April 1842, 720). Caroline Krähmer's last three documented public concerts had more the character of family events than of regular concert appearances. Since her son Ernest had moved to Graz, where he had been hired as Kapellmeister at the local theater, Krähmer now used her family visits to Graz as an opportunity to join her son in concerts at this venue. On 6 August 1846, during the entr'actes of Nestroy's farce Liebesgeschichten und Heiratssachen they performed several concert pieces (Grazer Zeitung, 6 August 1846, 375). In September 1847 Krähmer again peformed in Graz with great success (Wiener allgemeine Musik-Zeitung, 21 September 1847, 456). Krähmer's last documented public concert was the result of a family visit to Augsburg where her son, the cellist Ernest Krähmer, as of 1854, held the post of Kapellmeister at the local theater. On 26 April 1856, Caroline Krähmer applied for a passport to "Linz, the Austrian crown territories, and Germany" for a time of six weeks.
In this entry Krähmer's address is given as "Landstraße 630, currently staying at Wieden 381". Her physical appearance is described as having "medium stature, oval face, brown eyes, proportioned mouth, and no special features". Her Cavent (guarantor) was the municipal concept official Johann Staud who, at that time, was living at his parents' house Klimschgasse 198 in the Landstraße suburb ((Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Kaiserthumes Österreich, 1856, 8). Staud's relationship with Krähmer appears interesting, but must remain unclear for the time being.
Since Krähmer was not entitled to receive her monthly pension of 10 gulden (which legally was a Gnadengabe) while traveling abroad, she had to inform the paying authority, the K.K. Hofzahlamt, of her trip. As a result, on 25 April 1856, this authority issued the following notification.
Caroline Krähmer Oboisten Witwe bittet um ämtl[iche] Bestätigung der verfügten Einstellung ihrer Gnadengabe jährl[icher] 120f, für die Dauer ihrer beabsichtigten Reise in das Ausland
(ad copiam rubri)
dd° 25. April 1856
PensionsGnadenbezug der Bittstellerin wird unter Einem für die Dauer ihrer Abwesenheit im Auslande bei dem K.K. Hofzahlamte eingestellt und unterliegt demnach die Ertheilung eines Reisepaßes auf die Daueran dieselbe von hier aus keinem Anstand.
Intimat an das K.K. Hofzahlamt
Das K.K. &[Hofzahlamt] erhält den Auftrag, die Gnadengabe jährl[icher] 120f der K.K. Oboistenwitwe Caroline Kraehmer aus Anlaß
dereiner Reise derselben in das Ausland bis auf weitere Weisung zu sistiren.
Caroline Krähmer, oboist widow, asks for official confirmation of the decreed suspension of her annual gift of grace for the duration of her intended trip abroad.
(for the copy of the summary)
dated April 25, 1856
The petitioner's gift of grace is being suspended by the I. & R. treasury for the duration of her absence abroad, and accordingly, there is no objection from this authority to the issuance of a passport for the time being to the aforesaid person.
To be noted by the Court accountancy
Decree to the I. & R. treasury
The K.K. treasury receives the order to suspend the payment of the annual gift of grace to the I. & R. oboist widow Caroline Kraehmer on the occasion of a trip abroad pending further instructions.
In March 1856, the following note had been published in the Wiener Theater-Zeitung:
At the musical soirees of Mr. Joachim Hoffmann, Mrs. Krähmer, the famous virtuoso on the clarinet, could be heard on various occasions and she earned the most universal admiration and recognition for her enchanting gracefulness in the treatment of this difficult instrument. On the advice of musical friends, she will soon embark on an artistic journey via Linz to Germany, and notwithstanding the advanced age of this notability, she is likely to receive a similar applause everywhere which in earlier years she shared with her husband Mr. Krähmer during their artistic travels. (Wiener Theater-Zeitung, 2 March 1856, 208)
Although the announcement of a long "artistic journey" seems to have been a slight exaggeration, this information was widely circulated in the German press (for instance in the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung, 1856, 78, and the Augsburger Tagblatt, 1 April 1856, 614). On 6 May 1856 Krähmer gave a concert at the Landständisches Theater in Linz as a kind of entre'acte between the performance of two one-act comedies.
On 10 May 1856 Caroline Krähmer arrived in Salzburg and took up quarters at the hotel Zu den 3 Alliirten (Neue Salzburger Zeitung, 10 May 1856). Her concert in Augsburg was first advertised on 16 May 1856 in the Augsburg newspapers.
Although another entry in the 1857 protocol of passports (A-Wsa, Konskriptionsamt, B4/64, fol. 821) suggests a renewal of this passport, no other public concerts during Krähmer's stay in Germany are documented so far.
Krähmer's concert in Augsburg took place at the Pompejanischer Saal in the hotel "Drei Mohren" which had been created in 1844 by merging a big hall with adjoining dining rooms. This venue was destroyed in February 1944.
By 14 June 1856, Caroline Krähmer was back in Vienna and personally called on the Obersthofmeisteramt to have the payment of her pension resumed.
Intimat an das K.K. Hofzahlamt
dd°: 14. Juni 1856
Nachdem die K.K. Oboistenwitwe Caroline Kraehmer von ihrer Reise in das Ausland wieder zurückgekehrt ist, erhält das K.K. Hofzahlamt mit Beziehung auf das Intimat 25. April d.J. Z. 2633 den Auftrag, derselben die Gnadengabe jährl[icher] 120f vom Tage der Sistirung angefangen vorschriftmäßig wieder zu erfolgen.
Die Witwe Kraehmer hat sich persönlich vorgestellt und um die Wiederanweisung ihrer Gnadengabe gebeten.
Decree to the I. & R. Court treasury
dd°: June 14, 1856
After the widow of an I. & R. oboist Caroline Kraehmer has returned from her trip abroad, the I. & R. Court treasury, with reference to the decree No. 2633 of April 25th of this year, receives the order to continue to pay to the aforesaid the annual gift of grace of 120f as of the day of the suspension in accordance with the regulations.
To be noted by the Court accountancy.
To be noted.
The widow Kraehmer appeared in person and asked for the continuation of her gift of grace.
Krähmer's late addresses – and the birth of a son
Apart from her 1856 trip to Germany, Caroline Krähmer's family life during the last decades of her life has never been the subject of serious research. What has made research difficult so far is the simple fact that the archival sources that offer more detailed information can only be found through systematic and time-consuming searches. So far, three of Krähmer's late residential addresses from the time after 1850 have been identified. In 1850 Caroline Krähmer and her four children are documented to have lived at Landstraße 630 (today Mechelgasse 9).
Since the municipal conscription office was very much interested in the three Krähmer sons, this document from the period between 1850 and 1855 contains an astonishing amount of information which can be summarized as follows: Caroline Krähmer is erroneously described as " KK Hofmusik Directors Wittwe" which is followed by a note referring to her 1856 passport reading "26/4 856 6 W[ochen] Ausl[and]". Then follows the "Tonkünstler" Ernest Krähmer, born "on 27/4/826 in St[adt] Wien" who "on 1 October 1846 in Graz" was examined my the military which led tom the diagnosis of "goiter, a left-sided varicocele, varices, and a crippled small toe on the right". This is followed by a list of four passports abroad which between 1852 and 1855 were issued for Ernest Krähmer (the last one included his wife ["d° sammt Frau"]. The number "16" in the far right column refers to a category of military usability. The next Krähmer son in the list is Konrad, born "on 7/7/829 in Stadt Wien", who – to the possible disappointment of his parents – did not become a musician. On 10 October 1848 he voluntarily joined the military and, as of 1850, served in an artillery regiment ("freiwillig zum 4t Artill[erie] Rgt. assentirt bereits gutgeschrieben"). Emil Krähmer, also a "Tonkünstler" (he was a cellist like his brother), born "on 19/7/832 in Stadt Wien", was of no interest to the military, because in 1853 he had been classified as a weakling ("853 Schwächling"). Beside this note in red ink is a reference to two passports concerning "1 J[ahr] Kronl[änder]" that were issued for Emil Krähmer in 1853 and 1854. The next sibling in the list, Ernestine Krähmer, does not have an exact date of birth (she was born on 23 September 1830), because the conscription office basically registered women only for reasons of completeness. After Ernest Krähmer's wedding, which took place in Augsburg on 23 July 1855 (Augsburg, St. Moritz 11-H, fol. 16), Katharina Krähmer's name was added at the bottom of the list of household members. The date of the wedding appears on the bottom right of the conscription form.
As was shown above, at the time of her application for a passport in April 1856, Caroline Krähmer lived in the house Wieden 381 (today Wiedner Hauptstraße 73). This residence, although referred to as "zur Zeit [currently] Wieden
Two significant details in the list of family members have changed compared to 1850: first, the son Ernest Krähmer is gone because he has moved to Augsburg, and second, a mysterious 13-year-old foster son appears whose "mother is unknown". The above entry reads as follows.
Karoline Krähmer 794 Stockach G[roß] H[erzogtum] Baden k[atholisch] KK pens[ionierte] Hof u Kamer MusikantwitweWho was Caroline Krähmer's foster son "Karl Franz Schleicher"? Before we try to answer this question, we need to consider the legal situation at that time concerning the birth and baptism of an illegitimate child.
S[ohn] Konrad 829 Stadt Wien k[atholisch]/l[edig] Feuerwerker beim 3 Arttil[erie] Reg[iment]
Emil 832 d[ett]o [Stadt Wien] Tonkünstler 1853 Loß No 843
Ernestine 830 do
Z[ieh] S[ohn] Karl Franz Schleicher 2/3 843 Landstrasse [im Alter von 13-16 Jahren] [Anmerkung] Mutter unbekant
- A child born to a Catholic mother needed to be baptized Catholic as soon as possible.
- Since the mother, for reasons of quarantine, was not allowed to get out of bed for nine days after the birth, she was not present at the baptism. The child was brought to church by the midwife or the godparent who also informed the priest of the mother's identity. This is the reason why in such cases priests often used to adorn the mother's name with the cynical epithet "angeblich" (allegedly).
- If a widow gave birth to a child out of wedlock, the child could not be given the widow's surname, since her deceased husband was not the father of the child. The mother was entered into the register with her maiden name and the child was given this surname.
All requirements for attributing this child's birth to the widow Krähmer are fulfilled in this document. The mother's name is (as required by law) "Angeblich: Karoline Schleicher,ledig" whose profession is given as "Handarbeiterin" (manual worker – which ironically also applies to a musician). The child was born at Landstraße 557 (now Rennweg 55), the home of the midwife Anna Pogatschnigg who brought the child to the church and also officiated as godmother. And finally, at least, as of 1856, the child lived in Krähmer's household. One could argue that at the age of 48 Krähmer was too old to bear a child, but as long as the mother "Karoline Schleicher" cannot be identified to have been somebody else, Carl Johann Franz Schleicher must be considered to have been a son of Caroline Krähmer. As was often the case at the time, the newborn child was given into the care of a a foster mother and, in order to avoid a public scandal, was only taken into the mother's home at an age at which an adoption could appear plausible.
Krähmer's third late Viennese address is documented in two volumes of Adolph Lehmann's allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger. In the 1867 edition of this address book Krähmer's address is given as Steingasse 15 in Vienna's 3rd district.
In 1868 Krähmer appears again in Lehmann's address book at the same address (Lehmann's allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger 1868, 470). And yet, one should not attribute too much documentary significance to Krähmer's two-time appearance in Lehmann's allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger. Contrary to the assumption of many genealogists, owing to its sporadic updating process, Lehmann's address book is notoriously flawed and is vastly overrated as an exact source.
The pension ledgers of the Obersthofmeisteramt
Since her husband's death in 1837, Caroline Krähmer drew a Gnadengabe (gift of grace) from the court. She did not receive a regular pension, because according to an 1806 Imperial decree, members of the Burgtheater orchestra were not eligible for pension. That Ernest Krähmer had never joined the Tonkünstler-Sozietät may have been related to the fact that his wife had her own income by giving concerts and music lessons. In 1873 Krähmer's gift of grace amounted to 126 gulden per year and the reception of this financial support is recorded in the pension ledgers of the Obersthofmeisteramt (Lord Chamberlain's Department). A review of these registers leads exactly to Krähmer's date of death and this is certainly the source which Bernhard Paul, in his day, used to narrow down the time of Krähmer's death to April 1873. In February 1873 Krähmer received her monthly payment of 10 gulden 50 kreuzer (as of 1858, the Austrian gulden consisted of 100 kreuzer).
In April 1873 Caroline Krähmer's name is suddenly missing from the payment list of the Hofzahlamt. In May 1873 Krähmer's name reappears, but she only receives a payment of 6,65 gulden and there is the following note beside her name in the Sub-Journal: "Gdg, Ausst. lt Erbslegit.". This means that the payment for April consisted of an "outstanding sum according to a legitimation of inheritance". The reduced sum of 6,65 gulden was paid to bereaved parties which proves that Krähmer died in April 1873.
Based on the 6,65 gulden arrearage it is even possible to determine Krähmer's exact date of death. In April 1873 she received 1050/30 (=35) kreuzer per day which means that in this month she lived for a time of 665/35 (=19) days. Thus, she must have died on 19 April 1873. Accordingly, after May 1873 Krähmer disappears from the payment lists of the Hofzahlamt.
Caroline Krähmer in Fünfhaus
Krähmer's earliest sojourn in Fünfhaus – which then was a municipality located in Lower Austria west of Vienna – is documented by her application for a passport on 11 February 1862 for a time of six weeks. No address is given in the records, only a reference to Krähmer's listing in the 1857 census book (Volkszählungsbuch).
It is not known why Krähmer went to Fünfhaus, if she visited a family member there, or if she only wanted to spend a couple of weeks in the country. And yet, her trip to Fünfhaus in 1862 provides a vital clue to finally find out where Caroline Krähmer died. Based on the information gathered in the court records and the passport protocol, it is easy to determine the time and place of Caroline Krähmer's passing. Fol. 88 of the 1873 death register of the Church of The Holy Trinity in Reindorf, in whose parish Fünfhaus was located at the time, contains the following entry.
Zeit des Sterbens
den 19. April
Wohnung und Nr. des Hauses
Fünfhaus Kranzgasse 30
Namen der Gestorbenen und deren Condition oder Charakter, allenfalls Charakter des Ehegatten oder Vaters
Karoline Krämer, geb. Schleicher KK. Hofmusikus Witwe geb. von Stockau[sic] in Baden
Ort, wohin und Tag, an welchem das Begräbniß geschehen
den 21. April
Laut Beschauzettel N
Krähmer died in the house Kranzgasse 30 (formerly No. 287) which, according to the cadastre, consisted of two stories and 18 apartments (Kataster der Vororte Wiens. Lechner 1888, 40). In 1897 this building was replaced with a new six-storied one and today's address Kranzgasse 30 merely marks the entrance of the house Mariahilfer Straße 181.
Caroline Krähmer was buried in the Schmelz cemetery which, already as of 1874, was not used for burials anymore and was eventually closed in 1920. If Krähmer was buried in an own grave at all and the details of her estate, will be the object of future research.
Albrecht, Theodore. 2013. "Ernest Krähmer und seine Frau Caroline (geb. Schleicher) – musikalische Pioniere in der Wiener Biedermeierzeit", Wiener Oboen-Journal, vol. 57, March 2013, 3-10.
Antonicek, Theophil. 1967. Krähmer, Caroline; geb. Schleicher, Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon, Bd. 4, 184.
Buckenmaier, Nicola. 2019. "Caroline Schleicher-Krähmer: The First Female Clarinet Soloist", The Clarinet 46/4, September 2019.
Färber [Buckenmaier], Nicola. 2008. Caroline Schleicher-Krähmer: "Le comble du ridicule", Vienna, Univ. für Musik u. darst. Kunst, Diss., 2008.
Herold, Anja. 2015. "Krähmer, (Maria) Caroline, Karoline, Carolina, geb. Schleicher", in: Europäische Instrumentalistinnen des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts, Sophie Drinker Institut, Bremen.
Kornberger, Monika. 2019. "Krähmer, Familie", in: Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon online, accessed: 27.12.2020.
This post is dedicated to Lisa Hirsch in gratitude for her financial support.
© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2021. All rights reserved.
Because this post was written within nine days, some areas of research could not be fully covered owing to the current lockdown of Vienna's archives. A number of sources will be checked as soon as these institutions will reopen.