May 19, 2013

Who was Michael Klorf?

On 26 July 1791, Mozart's last child Franz Xaver Wolfgang (whom his parents called Wolfgang) was born in the house Rauhensteingasse 970 and baptized in St. Stephen's Cathedral. The baptismal entry in the official records of the parish was first published in 1919 by Emil Karl Blümml (and again in 1923).

Blümml's transcription is marred by two basic flaws: a) it is not complete and b) it is based on a copy that is at odds with the original baptismal entry (A-Wd, Tom. 100, fol. 96). This copy, which in 1956 also Walter Hummel used for his book Mozarts Söhne, was written about a decade later, because the handwriting in the 18th-century books was obviously considered not to be fair enough. The previously unpublished and undigitized original 1791 entry (A-Wd, original Taufrapular 1790-96, fol. 75), written by the officiating priest Ignaz Thonhauser, looks as follows.

(Namen des Taufenden.) [Ignaz] Thonhauser
([1]791. Jahr Monat Tag) 26 Julü
(Wohnung und Nro. des Hauses.) N 970
(Namen der Getauften.) Franciscus Xav.[erius] / Wolfgangus
(katholisch) |
(Protestantisch) —
(Knab) |
(Mädchen) —
(Ehelich) |
(Unehelich) —
(Vaters Namen und Kondition oder Karakter.) Amadeus / Wolfgangus / Mozart / kk. Hofkapell- / meister.
(Mutters Tauf= und Zunamen.) Constantia / gebohrne / Weber
(Namen) Johann / Thomas / Edler von / Trattner / kk. Hofbuch- / drucker und / Händler
(Stand) dessen / Stelle / vertrat / Michael / Klorf / Buchhändler
(Anmerkungen.) Maria Anna / Kautelkin.
The printer Johann Thomas von Trattner, who in 1784 had already officiated as godfather of Karl Thomas Mozart, could not attend the baptismal service, because he usually spent the summer in his country house Altlerchenfeld No. 12 (today about Josefstädter Straße 71). This estate, which had originally been built by Count Franz Sigmund von Lamberg (1663–1713), was purchased by Trattner in 1785 for 80,000 Gulden. His second wife Maria Theresia, née Nagel, the dedicatee of Mozart's piano sonata K. 457, died there on 12 July 1793 (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt 98, DT, fol. 23v). Trattner's second suburban office at Josephstadt 145 (today Albertgasse 35), which was built in 1768 (A-Wsa, Unterkammeramt, B2/8, Nr. 995), was used for the housing of workers and the storage of paper and its raw material (the so-called "Strazzen") (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/25, fol. 317f.).

 The two suburban facilities of Johann Thomas von Trattner's printing business on Joseph Daniel von Huber's 1778 map of Vienna: on the left Altlerchenfeld 12, on the right, across the Kaiserstraße (today's Josefstädter Straße), the house Josephstadt 145 (W-Waw, Sammlung Woldan).

Trattner's factory building at Josephstadt 145 listed in the 1788 tax register. Apartment No. 6 on the first floor is given as "Hadermagazin" (rag depot) (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/25, fol. 317).

Trattner's seal and signature from 1767

The names of the prominent godfather and his substitute, the bookseller "Michael Klorf" were duly copied into the later baptismal register with the words "dessen Stelle vertrat" translated into "Loco illius".

The second page of the later copy of Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart's baptismal entry with the Latin variants "Constantia ux:" and "Loco illius" (A-Wd, Tom. 100, fol. 96)

The mysterious bookseller "Michael Klorf" has never been identified. As a matter of fact, this person has achieved a somewhat special status, because searches on Google Books and in Viennese archival records show that the name "Klorf" is absolutely unique and appears only once, namely in Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart's 1791 baptismal entry whence it entered the Mozart literature. The explanation for this strange phenomenon is surprisingly simple: the entry in the baptismal register is flawed and a person named "Michael Klorf" never existed. The real name of Trattner's employee and substitute was Michael Klopf and he was not a bookseller, but the head accountant at Trattner's printing company.

Michael Klopf was born around 1764, son of the soldier Georg Klopf and his wife Gertrud. The fact that Michael Klopf's parents did not marry in Vienna makes it difficult to document his early years and to ascertain his relation to other people of this name. Klopf's earliest appearance in the records is the entry concerning his wedding on 28 October 1787 with Magdalena Holzinger (b. 30 September 1763) in the Piarist Church of Maria Treu.

The first half of the entry concerning Michael Klopf's wedding on 28 October 1787 (Maria Treu, Tom. 3, fol. 197)

Klopf's best man was Joseph Kestner, the executive director of Trattner's printing company. The bride was the daughter of Klopf's landlord, the Bavarian butcher Johann Georg Holzinger (1709–1801) who owned the house Josephstadt No. 34 (A-Wsa, Steueramt, B34/25, fol. 77), "Zum Römischen Kaiser" (The Roman Emperor, today Lange Gasse 36, torn down in 1891).

Three of Michael Klopf's documented residences: on the left the house Josephstadt 95, "Zum Weißen Hahn" ("The White Rooster", where Klopf died in 1811, in the foreground Josephstadt 34 where he lived at the time of his marriage in 1787, and above that Josephstadt 100, "Zum goldenen Kranz", where Klopf lived in December 1801 at the time of the death of his father-in-law. The Piarist Church of Maria Treu is at the upper right (W-Waw, Sammlung Woldan).

Michael and Magdalena Klopf had only one child, Joseph Ignaz, who was born on 28 July 1788 (Maria Treu 6, fol. 58), but already died of hydrocephaly on 7 August 1789 (Wiener Zeitung, 12 Aug 1789, 2059). On 1 April 1788, Joseph Holzinger, an employee of Vienna's tobacco tax office, got married at St. Peter's Church in Vienna. His brother-in-law, the "Rechnungsführer in der v. Tratt[nerischen] Hauptbuchdruckerei" Michael Klopf signed as best man.

Michael Klopf's autograph signature in the original marriage records of St. Peter's in Vienna (A-Wstm, St. Peter, [original marriage registers] Tom. I)

After Johann Thomas von Trattner's death on 31 Juli 1798, Michael Klopf stayed with the firm which was taken over by Trattner's grandson Johann Nepomuk Thomas (1776–1845). On 11 April 1805, Klopf and his wife Magdalena signed a belated marriage contract which amounted to an agreement of conjugal community of property and mutual inheritance.

Michael and Magdalena Klopf's marriage contract (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A10, 140/1811)

Michael Klopf's last appearance in the archival records of the Trattner company is his signature as a witness on a certificate of indemnity, issued on 5 January 1811 by the Viennese merchant August Mathes who, for 25,000 Gulden, had bought Trattner's paper mills in Ebergassing.

Michael Klopf's signature on a document dated 5 January 1811 (A-Wsa, Serie - IV/60)

Seven weeks later, on 27 February 1811 (on the same day as the horn player Joseph Leitgeb), Michael Klopf died of "Lungenbrand" (pulmonary gangrene, a symptom of tuberculosis) (Wiener Zeitung, 9 Mar 1811, 954) in the house Josephstadt No. 101, "Zum Weißen Hahn" (today Josefstädter Straße 22, torn down in 1879).

The cover page of "Großhandlungskassier" Michael Klopf's Sperrs-Relation (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A2, 699/1811)

Klopf's estate was estimated at 2513 gulden. It consisted of 2020 gulden in cash, a silver watch worth 25 fl., 219 fl. in clothing and linen plus 249 fl. in "Hauswäsch" (table clothes and sheets), and furniture. On 1 March 1811, Michael Klopf was buried in the Schmelzer Friedhof. It was not possible to determine the date of death of Klopf's widow. She probably married again after the death of her first husband.

Owing to the fact that the date and the location of the wedding of Klopf's parents are still unknown, it was not possible to determine Klopf's genealogical relation to several other individuals of that name who lived in Vienna in the eighteenth century. The most interesting among them is the violinist and dancing master Lukas Thomas Klopf (20 May 1724 – 17 February 1780), brother of the musician Mathias Klopf (1722–1798), and son of the chocolate maker, confectioner and musician Johann Andreas Klopf (ca. 1695–1752).

The entry concerning the baptism of the musician Lukas Thomas Klopf on 20 May 1724. The address "in d Eÿl" refers to the house St. Ulrich No. 9, "At the golden Owl", where the hornist Joseph Leitgeb was to live 40 years later (St. Ulrich, Tom. 19, fol. 28v).

The entry concerning the musician Lukas Klopf's wedding to Anna Maria Kreischer on 5 May 1748 at St. Ulrich's (St. Ulrich, Tom. 21, fol. 278r)

The entry concerning the Lukas Klopf's and Catharina Schott's wedding on 1 July 1764 at St. Ulrich's (St. Ulrich, Tom. 25, fol. 161r)

Since Lukas Klopf's son and grandson were printers by profession, a family relationship with Michael Klopf seems likely. Lukas's son Ulrich Klopf, born 5 Sep 1768 (St. Ulrich, Tom 32, fol. 302v) died a "privilegierter Buchdrucker" (privileged printer) at the age of ninety on 27 May 1858 (Wiener Zeitung, 31 May 1858, 591) at Spittelberg No. 130.

Ulrich Klopf's birth certificate from the file of his printing company in the holdings of the commercial court (A-Wsa, Merkantil- und Wechselgericht, Fasz. 3, 1. Reihe, K 483).

A certificate, issued on 21 February 1792 by the printer Johann Martin Weimar, stating that Ulrich Klopf has learned the printing craft and as Weimar's employee has a secure monthly income of five gulden (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A3, 637/1792). This document was issued on the occasion of Ulrich Klopf's upcoming wedding on 24 April 1792 (A-Wd, Tom. 78, fol. 15).

The name of Ulrich Klopf's print shop at the bottom of the poster of the premiere of Nestroy's Einen Jux will er sich machen on 10 March 1842 at the Theater an der Wien (Wienbibliothek)

Ulrich Klopf's son Franz Xaver (b. 1806), who owned a printing office, died on 10 January 1864 (Wiener Zeitung, 24 Jan 1864, 154) at Mariahilf No. 134.

 Franz Klopf in Adolph Lehmann's allgemeiner Wohnungs-Anzeiger of 1864.

To figure out Michael Klopf's relationship to the family of Lukas Klopf will be the task of future research.

Michael Klopf's seal and signature on his 1805 marriage contract (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A10, 140/1811)

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2013. All rights reserved.

Updated: 1 May 2023