A Letter from America

Berthold Woltzearound 1860

German Historical Museum

German Historical Museum
Berlin, Germany

Parents and (presumably) daughter in rural clothing read a letter with a tense expression on their faces. The two women hold the paper sitting at the table in their hands, while the male figure leans over their shoulders and reads along. The laid-back knitting indicates that work was interrupted. 1.1 million Germans left their homes around the middle of the century (1850-1857). In addition to those who no longer hoped for political freedom in the Old World after the failed revolution, it was above all the news of the outrageous American economic boom and the myth of the unlimited opportunities for hard-working, daring entrepreneurs on the other side of the Atlantic that brought the impoverished craftsmen from Europe to emigration. The letter in this picture on its last page, which the viewer can read:"... will have so much money that you can also come here. Your Johannes greets you, Chicago, 2/1 86".


  • Title: A Letter from America
  • Creator: Berthold Woltze
  • Date Created: around 1860
  • Location: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: 94 x 77 cm
  • Subject Keywords: Emigration
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Deutsches Historisches Museum
  • External Link: DHM collection database
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Photographer: Sebastian Ahlers, Indra Desnica, Arne Psille
  • Inventory no.: 1987/344

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps