Postcards from Austria

Davison -> Howell

Earlier this summer J. Spencer Howell visited with Betty Howell Traver who passed along some fascinating old postcards showing Nellie Davison’s and Alfred Grunberger’s home in Vienna, Austria circa 1907, as well as one of piano virtuoso Theodor Leschetizky.

These cards reinforce two big themes we find running through Nellie Davison’s life, namely: politics (her father, her second husband), and music (her mother, herself, her first husband and his family.) The musical theme continued when Nellie’s daughter Atze married Paul Passini, the great grandson of composer Felix Mendelssohn.

Alfred Grunberger was Nellie Davison’s second husband, who in the Austrian government from 1920-1932 served as Minister of Public Nutrition, Minister of Commerce, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs ambassador to Paris and Madrid. Theodor Leschetizky, teacher of the famous Paderewski, was also Henry Howell’s music teacher. Henry of course was Nellie’s first husband.

The card of Theodor Leschetizky was sent to Nellie’s mother in law, Emma Berrien Heard Howell, in 1903 and the ones of her home were sent in 1907 to Helen F Kilpatrick, a cousin of Henry Howell, in White Plains after she and Henry were divorced.

Click images to see reverse side and larger images

Henry Howell describes life in Vienna

Howell <-> Howell
(click above to see relationships)

Julia Howell Traylor Dyar from LaGrange Georgia sent a copy of a letter she receievd from Henry Alonzo Howell over 71 years ago.

Julia writes:

“In this mailing I’m sending you a copy of a wonderful letter I have kept through the years because it was so special to me. My mother and father took me to Cuthbert in the spring of 1935. While there we went to visit my Mother’s relative “Cousin Henry Howell“. I was just 10 years old in May of 1935. Earlier that year, after our visit, I wrote him requesting of his memories of living in Vienna. This letter is his answer. I hope you will find it as special as I have – enough to keep it for these 71 years.”


Dated May 1, 1935 and written when he was 69, Henry describes his life in Vienna in 1902-4 where he was a piano student of the famous Theodor Leschetizky. A copy of the 5 page letter can be seen here.