Search
  • Flea Market Love Letters

The Von Wymetal Family.

For the first time in the history of Flea Market Love Letter's we've shared a work in translation, most notably the childhood diary of William's daughter Charlotte. The diary details the summers between 1933 and 1935 at their family holiday home in Austria.


This project would not have been possible without Grete of the Photos without Family Blog. She very generously translated Charlotte's Diary, which you can read here.


Charlotte von Wymetal was born to Wilhelm (William) and Richilde (Hilda) von Wymetal in July of 1923.


Read on for a look into a fascinating family history involving duels, Opera and even Clark Gable.


Austria 1890- 1910:

In April of 1890, Charlotte's father Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr was born to Wilhelm von Wymetal Sr. & Wife. In 1892 Wilhelm's younger half-brother Erich von Wymetal was born. William's father, Wilhelm von Wymetal Sr., and Charlotte's Grandfather was a leader in the Operatic Scene of Austria. The "von" of the von Wymetal name comes from Charlotte's Great Grandfather's Military Service.



Austria 1910 - 1935:

In his teens to younger years, Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr attended military school. During World War I, Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr served as an Austrian army major and later as a member of the Austrian General Staff. Sometime after World War I, Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr took after his Father's interest and attended the Vienna Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Art. In 1918 Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr married Richilde, Charlotte's mother. After their marriage Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr joined his father in employment at the Vienna Opera.




In 1921 Wymetal Sr. moved to the United States of America "after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and [the] foundation of the Austrian Republic of 1918" (Source). Between 1922 and 1932, Wilhelm von Wymetal Sr. premiered 49 operas at the New York Metropolitan Opera. Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr. worked between Austria and the U.S. for many years starting in the late 1920s. Between 1930 and 1935, Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr. worked at several prestigious theaters. Between 1930 and 1935 Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr "premiered 19 operas. While at the Met, Wymetal Jr. worked with his fellow Viennese scene designer Joseph Urban” (Source).


In July of 1923, Hilde delivers Charlotta (Charlotte) von Wymetal. It is unclear if Charlotte and Hilde go with Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr when in 1927 he move to the U.S. and serves as director of the Curtis Institute of Music.




Hollywood 1930s- 1940s:


In November of 1935, Wilhelm, Hilda/e and Charlotte emigrate “permanently” to the U.S.A.. They arrived in New York when Charlotte was twelve, having left Hamburg, Germany on a ship named "President Harding".




On November 11, 1937 Wilhelm von Wymetal Sr. dies in Austria after an initially unsuccessful attempt to poison himself”.


In 1938 records indicate that Charlotte is enrolled at Beverly Hills High School. While there she was a member of S.P.Q.R or “Senatus Populous Que Romanus”, Latin club at Beverly Hills High School. Throughout the 1940s, Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr worked in Hollywood with MGM “on some of the Janette McDonald-Nelson Eddy musicals (May Time, Rose Marie), and also San Francisco with Clark Gable, I’ll take Romance with Grace Moore and The Phantom of the Opera with Claude Rains” (Source).




Charlotte graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1943 as “Conversant in several languages...Phi Beta Kappa...Alpha Mu Gamma...very charming and amusing...tell some very interesting stories about her home country, Vienna”.


From the late 1940s onwards, Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr divided his time around the U.S. for directing roles. In 1949 Wihlem, Hilda/e and Chartlotte returned to Austria for 6 months.





Pennsylvania 1940s - 2010s:


From 1947 to 1968 Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr was Director of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.



Wilhelm von Wymetal Jr died in 1970 in Pennsylvania. Upon his death, several prestigious characters in Hollywood history shared their sorrow at the death of a legend.









12 views