Special Collections Spotlight: Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, also know as the Baroness, (1874-1927) was an avant-garde artist and poet associated with the Dada movement. She was born Else Hildegard Ploetz on July 12, 1874, in Swinemunde on the Baltic Sea, in present day Poland but then a part of Germany. In 1892 she ran away from home and moved to Berlin, where she lived with her mother’s sister and frequented Bohemian theatre circles. She eventually moved to New York and was active in Greenwich Village from 1913 to 1923, where her radical self-displays came to embody Dada. She was close friends with artist/writer Duna Barnes.

After her death in 1927, von Freytag-Loringhoven’s papers fell into Barnes’s possession. Beginning in 1932, Barnes attempted to write a biography of von Freytag-Loringhoven (based on a draft of an autobiography and miscellaneous notes and letters she had sent to Barnes), but the project was ultimately dropped.

The Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers are held in Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Maryland. The papers consist of correspondence, poetry, and biographical and autobiographical notes and manuscripts documenting her life and literary career. Among the significant correspondents are Djuna Barnes, Peggy Guggenheim, and Berenice Abbott.

View our online exhibit “In Transition: Selected Poems by the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Browse the finding aid to the Elsa von Freytag-Loringhiven papers.

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What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.

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