Sep 11, 2014

Joseph Haydn's Real Wife

Haydn's Wedding

On 26 November 1760 in the Eligius Chapel of Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral Joseph Haydn married Maria Anna Keller. The entry in the marriage records of the parish concerning Haydn's wedding was first published in 1875 by Carl Ferdinand Pohl in his book Joseph Haydn. Since Pohl's transcription contains several inaccuracies that have found their way into the Haydn literature – with Robbins Landon's translation of Pohl's edition in Haydn: The Early Years (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980, 248) being particularly flawed – I herewith present the first correct transcription and translation of this document.

Joseph Haydn's marriage entry in the records of St. Stephen's Cathedral (A-Wd, Tom. 59, fol. 417v).
Dispensati in tribus / denunciationibus / Authoritate Ordinaria / deposito[que] utrimque / Libertatis juramento / Cop:[ulati] sunt 26ta / Novembris.
Der Hochgeehrte H:[err] Joseph  Haÿden, Musicæ Director Beÿ / Tit:[ulo] H:[errn] Grafen V: Marzin, Ledig, Von Rohrau beÿ Brugg / gebürtig, des H[errn] Martin Haÿden, eines Wagnermeisters, / und Annæ Mariæ Ux:[oris] Seel:[ig] Ehe[liche]n Tochter.[sic]
Mit der Hochgeehrt= und Tugendreichen J[un]gfr:[au] Maria Anna / Kellerin, allhier gebürtig, des H[errn] Johann Peter Keller, / Hofbefreÿten Beruqueenmachers, und Elisabethæ Ux:[oris] / Ehe[liche]n Tochter.
Testes: H:[err] Carl Schuncko, bürgl: Steinmetz=meister allhier / Und H:[err] Anton Buchholtz, bürgl: Markt= Richter.
Dispensed with the permission of the Ordinariate from the three readings of the banns, they were united on 26 November after a mutual oath of being unmarried.
The most respected Mr. Joseph Hayden, director of music at Titulo Count von Morzin, single, legitimate son of Mr. Mathias Hayden, master wheelwright and of his deceased wife Anna Maria.
With the highly respected and virtuous maiden Maria Anna Keller, born here [i.e. in this parish], legitimate daughter of Mr. Johann Peter Keller, court-appointed wigmaker, and his wife Elisabeth.
Witnesses: Mr. Carl Schuncko, civil master stonemason from here, and Mr. Anton Buchholtz, civil market judge.
Robbins Landon certainly never saw Haydn's original marriage entry, because in the chapter about Haydn's marriage in his Chronicle 1757-60 (249) he writes: "The fact that Haydn signs himself[sic!] boldly on the register of St. Stephen's (acting this time, as the local parish church as 'Music-Director'[sic!] at titl. [Herrn] Count v. Morzin', must mean that he was still in Morzin's service." Needless to say that Haydn did not sign himself in the marriage register. And "Music-Director" is not even the word that appears in the records. Robbins Landon's and Robert Franz Müller's musings as to whether Haydn kept his marriage secret from Count Morzin, are of course moot. Like every member of a nobleman's private staff, who wanted to get married, Haydn had to present a written declaration of consent from his employer.

Haydn's Supposed Wife: Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller

What does the standard Haydn literature tell us about Haydn's wife? In his Biographische Notizen über Joseph Haydn (1810) Georg August Griesinger writes:
In the house of a wigmaker named Keller in Vienna (on the Landstraße) Haydn had frequently received support; he also gave music lessons to Keller's eldest daughter and his affection grew as the acquaintance became closer; but she entered a convent and now, because with his fixed salary his livelihood was sufficiently secured, Haydn decided, at the hairdresser's urgent persuasion and out of gratitude, to marry his second daughter."
Because Haydn lived in the home of a wigmaker, who had two daughters, and the man had once said to him in jest: "Haydn, you should marry my eldest daughter!", Haydn married this daughter (even against his affection, because the younger one was the real object of his love), just to get a wife soon.
In his book Le Haydine (1812) Giuseppe Carpani writes:
I want to address his wedding with Madame Annuccia[!] Keller, daughter of the abovementioned wigmaker. Remembering what he had promised, and what he had in this family, our master Joseph, being provided with an honorable and safe livelihood, entered this marriage which for some time made ​​him happy.
In his biography of Haydn Carl Ferdinand Pohl did not really add much to the information that his predecessors had provided. The accounts of Griesinger and Dies however seem to have strongly narrowed his focus when he delved into primary sources, such as the Vienna church records.

C. F. Pohl: Joseph Haydn (1875), 195f.
Johann Peter Keller, "hofbefreiter" [entitled to also work on commission from the Court] wigmaker, got married on 12 November 1722 at St. Michael's to Marie Elisabeth Sailler. This marriage was blessed with many children. The eldest daughter, who on 9 February 1729 was baptized Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia (see appendix I,11), became Haydn's wife. The younger daughter, with whom Haydn was in love, was accepted as nun into the St. Nicholas Convent and took up the convent name Josepha. She was still alive in 1801 and Haydn mentions her in § 24 of his first will: "To my late wife's sister, the ex-nun 50 Fl." (this amount was later cancelled). She was not the only one in her family with an inclination towards the church; her sister, Haydn's wife, also showed this inclination and one of her brothers entered the Order of St. Augustine in Graz under the convent name Pater Eduard.
On p. 380 of his book (footnote I,11 referred to in the above passage) Pohl published the baptismal entry of Keller's supposed eldest daughter (and Haydn's supposed wife), Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller in the records of St. Stephen's Cathedral.


The original document shows that Pohl's transcription is flawed and incomplete. The father's profession is "hofb: Parouquenmacher" [no double f!], the words after the godfather read "Kaÿ[serlicher] Portir maritus" (her husband, an Imperial doorman) and the name of the midwife "Barb:[ara] Adalmannin Obst:[etrix]" was obviously not important enough for Pohl to include it in his transcription.

The entry concerning the baptism of Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller on 9 February 1729 (A-Wd, Tom. 65, fol. 221r)

Pohl's identification was the last word on this issue and as far as the identity of Haydn's wife is concerned Haydn scholarship in general is still referring to this supposed gospel. Concerning Haydn's wife James Webster writes in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: "On 26 November 1760 Haydn was married to Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller (bap. 9 Feb 1729; d 20 March 1800); [...] The bride was the daughter of the wigmaker Johann Peter Keller, who is said variously to have assisted him in his years of poverty or employed him as a music teacher." In the other major musicological reference work, the German encyclopedia Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (vol. 8, col. 909), Georg Feder writes: "Die Braut war Maria Anna (oder Anna Maria) Aloisia Apollonia (Rufname: Anna) Keller 1729-1800, Tochter des Perückenmachers Johann Peter Keller in der Vorstadt Landstraße.". Laaber's 2010 Haydn-Lexikon contains a long article about "Haydn (geb. Keller), Maria Anna (Aloysia Apollonia) getauft 9.2.1729" by Christin Heitmann and in the 2002 Oxford Composer Companion on Haydn, where of course "Haydn, Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia" makes a prominent appearance, Else Radant writes the following about Therese Keller: "Her uncle[sic!] Georg Ignaz Keller (1699-1771) was a violinist in St. Stephen's and introduced Haydn to his brother, Johann Peter Keller, a professional wig maker. He and his wife had seven[sic!] children of whom Therese was the third daughter." As I have shown in 2012 in an article on this blog, the musician Georg Ignaz Keller was not Therese Keller's uncle. He had no family relation to Haydn's bride.

On the occasion of the work on my recent blogpost about Haydn's godchildren I sorted out all the data related to the Keller family that I had collected in the last ten years. When I drew up a list of all of Johann Peter Keller's children with their dates of birth and death, I realized that Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller could not have been Haydn's wife. Pohl's information concerning the identity of Frau Haydn is false and so is the whole Haydn literature on this issue, where Pohl's error has been repeated for the last 139 years. The proof that Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller was not Haydn's wife is of utmost simplicity: Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller already died at the age of fifteen months.

The entry in the municipal death register concerning the death of Haydn's supposed wife Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller on 26 May 1730 (A-Wsa, Totenbeschreibamt, Totenbeschauprotokoll [henceforth TBP] 33, fol. 275v) . For the corresponding announcement in the Wiener Diarium see here.
[26 Maÿ 1730]
Dem Johann Peter Kellner, Hofbefr:[eiter] Paruquen= / machern, sein Kind Aloÿsia, ist in Fehrner:[ischen] Haus / am Hochenmarkt an der Zahnfrais b[e]s[c]h[au]t [worden], [alt] 5/4. Jahr.
The wigmaker to the court Johann Peter Kellner's child Aloysia was inspected in Ferner's house on the Hoher Markt as having died of teething cramps at an age of 5/4 years.
 Because of this child's age of fifteen months there can be no doubt that this is the daughter of Johann Peter Keller who was born on 9 February 1729 and is said to have become Haydn's wife. It is also interesting to learn that this child's forename was Aloisia and not Anna. Aloisia Keller was buried in the cemetery of St. Stephen's on the same day she had died.

The entry concerning Aloysia Keller's burial in the Bahrleihbuch of St. Stephen's (A-Wd, BLB 1730, fol. 125r). The "Fernerisches Hauß" was the so-called Leinwandhaus (today Hoher Markt 4), which at that time belonged to the merchant Franz Joseph Ferner. It was torn down in 1861.
[Den 26 Maij. (1730)]
Eingeseg:[net] / Kellnerin. / Des Johann Peter Kellner, Hof= / befreüten Baroquenmachers sein Kind Aloÿsia, ist in Fer / nerischen Hauß am Hochenm:[arkt] / an der Zahnfrais b[e]schaut, alt / 5/4 Jahr, zu St: Ste:[phan]
Grabstell . . . . . . . . . . ." 1 " –– "
Pahrtüchl . . . . . . . . . " –– " 45 "
1. mantl . . . . . . . . . . " –– " 12 "
Pohl's choice for the identity of Haydn's wife was basically arbitrary. He certainly did not conduct a systematic search in the Vienna church records. I suspect that he did not even do the research himself and got the information concerning the two sources from the parish archive of St. Stephen's, that he published, from somebody else. Had Pohl personally consulted the Cathedral's records he would certainly have realized that Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller was not her parents' first daughter. Anybody who would have personally checked Johann Peter Keller's 1722 marriage entry in the records of St. Michael's, would immediately have looked into the following baptismal registers of this same parish. This is the standard procedure to find the earliest children of a marriage. Pohl did no such thing. He also was not aware of the basic fact that a child's "Rufname", the first name, by which it is addressed, cannot be determined from a baptismal entry, but only from a later marriage entry, or an entry in the death records. Considering the high birth rates in the early eighteenth century, doing research on a Viennese family from this time by checking only the baptismal records, but ignoring the death records, is – from a scholarly point of view – an almost pointless enterprise.

Haydn's Real Wife: Maria Anna Theresia Keller

The daughter of Johann Peter Keller that Haydn really married was Maria Anna Theresia Keller who was born the seventh child of her parents on 25 September 1730 in the "Fernerisches Haus" on the Hoher Markt. As Carpani rightly noted in 1812 her "Rufname" was to be Anna.

The entry concerning the baptism of Haydn's future wife Maria Anna Theresia Keller on 25 September 1730 (A-Wd, Tom. 66, fol. 57v)
25. [September 1730] / Maria / Anna / Theresia
D[ominus] Joannes Petrus Keller. hofbefreiter Peruqu[en] mach[e]r
D[omina] Maria Elisabetha uxor.
D[omina] Anna Maria Schlegelhofferin.
D[ominus] Joannes Franciscus maritus keys[erlicher] Hatschir Chyrurgus
Barbara Adelmanin Obst[etrix]

The birthplace of Haydn's wife (and the Keller family's main residence from 1730 until at least 1741), the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (later to be numbered 526) on Joseph Daniel von Huber's 1778 map of Vienna.

Since Anna Keller signed her marriage contract and her first will "Maria Anna" (names that were also part of Aloisia's name) and appears as "Anna" in other documents, the mistaken identity never became apparent in documents from Haydn's later life.

Joseph and Anna Haydn, receiving the "Gewähr" (the right of ownership) for their house Windmühle No. 71 on 29 October 1793: "Herr Joseph Haydn, fürstlich Esterhazi:[scher] Capellmeister, und dessen Frau Ehewirthinn Anna empfangen mit magistratischer Bewilligung vom 29ten October dieses Jahrs zugleich die Gewähr um ein Haus und Grund N° 71 in der unteren Steingassen bey Gumpendorf [...]" (A-Wsa, Patrimonialherrschaften, B123/8, fol. 105r).

Anna Keller's godparents were the surgeon of the I. & R. Hartschiers (the Emperor's life guard) Johann Franz Schlegelhofer and his wife Maria Elisabeth. Schlegelhofer had been born around 1700 and died in the early hours of 28 October 1755 of "Blutbrechen" (blood vomitting) in the "Bischof-Hauß am Haÿdenschuß". This building, where in 1788 Lorenzo Da Ponte was to reside, has been dealt with extensively on this blog.

The entry in the Vienna Totenbeschauprotokoll concerning Franz Schlegelhofer's death in 1755: "Schlegelhofer, Herr Johann Frantz, K:K: Hartschirn Chyrurgus, in Bischof-Hauß am Haÿdenschuß Nachts-Frühe umb 1/2 1. Uhr an Blutbrechen versch:[ieden], alt 55. Jahr." (A-Wsa, TBP 50/2, fol. 86r)

To get an overview of the Keller offspring and to illustrate the flawed genealogical research that led to such a fundamental mix-up in Haydn's biography, we have to look at a list of Johann Peter Keller's fifteen children with their basic biographical dates (and their main forenames in bold type).

The Kellerkinder
  1. Joseph Johann Thomas Keller, baptized on 15 July 1723 (A-Wstm, Tom. 8, 385), godparents: Thomas Goldt and Johann Georg Ottho. Joseph Keller became a court official and by 1785 was employed as registrant at the secret Court Chancellery and Latin Registry. On 18 October 1790 (St. Joseph ob der Laimgrube, Tom. 2, fol. 18) he married his housekeeper Anna Maria Eschenbrucker (1766-1802) who was 43 years his junior. His only child Karl Joseph was born on 20 January 1791 (A-Wstm, St. Peter, Tom. 1, 234) and died on 29 April 1805 (Pfarre Hernals, Tom. 5, fol. 142). A highly educated man Joseph Keller owned a huge library (2,128 volumes) and was friends with many men of letters, such as the legendary singer Francesco Benucci. In 1797, owing to dementia, he physically attacked his wife and was brought into an asylum from which he was released after Haydn had submitted a written pledge in his favor. Joseph Keller died of exhaustion on 10 November 1801 at the "Postmeisterhaus" on the Landstraße (today Landstraßer Hauptstraße 61) (A-Wsa, TBP 112a, lit. CGK, fol. 121r), survived by his wife and his son Karl (A-Whh, RHR 104).

    Seal and signature of Haydn's brother-in-law Joseph Keller (A-Wstm, VKA SP 76/1785)

  2. Heinrich Anton Thomas Keller, baptized on 12 July 1724 (A-Wstm, Tom. 8, 528), godparents: Heinrich Reischmann and Thomas Gold; died on 3 November 1727 of "Kindsblattern" (chickenpox) (A-Wsa, TBP 31/1, fol. 152v) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Graben", then owned by the cloth merchant Anton Carl Ferner (today Graben 21, torn down in 1834).
  3. Johann Georg Thomas Keller, baptized on 12 January 1726 (A-Wd, Tom. 63, fol. 281v), godparents: Thomas Gold and Heinrich Reischmann; died on 1 October 1727 of "Zahn-Cathar" (tooth catarrh) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Graben" (A-Wsa, TBP 31/1, fol. 119v).
  4. Maria Barbara Helena Theresia Keller, baptized on 26 December 1726 (A-Wd, Tom. 64, fol. 100v), godparents: Barbara Osner and Anna Helena Reischmann. In January 1752 she married the future wigmaker Carl Scheiger. Two of her grandchildren were godchildren of Haydn. Her date of death is unknown.
  5. Maria Anna Elisabeth, baptized on 1 February 1728 (A-Wd, Tom. 64, fol. 397v), godparent: Anna Helena Reischmann. On 16 May 1752 she married the painter Joseph Bidermann (who died before 1795) with whom she had several children, of whom a son, Joseph, was still alive in 1819. She died on 3 July 1795 at the hospital of the Order of Saint Elisabeth on the Landstraße (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A2, 3023/1795).

    The entry concerning the wedding of Joseph Bidermann and Elisabeth Keller on 16 May 1752 at St. Stephen's Cathedral (A-Wd, Tom. 55, fol. 126v)

  6. Maria Anna Aloysia Apollonia Keller, baptized on 9 February 1729 (A-Wd, Tom. 65, fol. 221r), godparents: Maria and Thomas Glas. Pohl's wrong choice as Haydn's wife (see above). She died on 26 May 1730 (A-Wsa, TBP 33, fol. 275v).
  7. Maria Anna Theresia Keller, baptized on 25 September 1730 (A-Wd, Tom. 66, fol. 57v), godparents: Anna Maria and Johann Franz Schlegelhofer. She became Haydn's wife and died on 20 March 1800 in Baden (Baden, St. Stephan, Tom. 7, 113).
  8. Eleonora Maria Anna Keller, baptized on 8 January 1732 (A-Wd, Tom. 66, fol. 382v), godparents: Helena and Heinrich Reischmann, administrator at the Carmelite Convent of St. Joseph; died on 9 March 1732 of "Stickfrais" (whooping cough) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (A-Ws, TBP 35, fol. 109v).
  9. Theresia Helena Keller, baptized on 20 May 1733 (A-Wd, Tom. 67, fol. 160r), godmother: Helena Reischmann. In 1755 she entered the convent of the Poor Clares in the Singerstraße (which was disbanded in 1783) and took her vows in 1756 as Sister Josepha. She died on 3 January 1819 at Leopoldstadt No. 446 (last CNo. 503, today Praterstraße 33).

    Seal and signature of Sister Josepha Keller on a deed of donation in favor of her maidservant Eva Wassermann from 1818 (A-Wsa, Mag. ZG, A2, 23/1819)

  10. Ignaz Heinrich Keller, baptized on 10 November 1734 (A-Wd, Tom. 68, fol. 128v), godfather: Heinrich Reischmann (misspelled "Heischmann"); died on 17 October 1741 of "Hectica" (hectic fever) at the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (A-Ws, TBP 42, fol. 494v).

    The entry concerning the burial of Ignaz Keller on 17 October 1741 (A-Wd, BLB 1741, fol. 234v). This is an example of several very similar documents concerning the burials of eight of Johann Peter Keller's children.

  11. Johann Franz Keller, baptized on 21 January 1736 (A-Wd, Tom. 69, fol. 138r), godparents: Johann Franz and Anna Maria Schlegelhofer. He joined the Order of Saint Augustine in Graz (at today's Stiegenkirche) and became a monk under the name Pater Eduard. His date of death is unknown.
  12. Johann Peter Anton Keller, baptized on 16 June 1738 (A-Wd, Tom. 71, fol.64v), godfather: Anton Joachim "kayserlicher Camerdiener"; died of "Zahnfraisen" on 5 March 1739 at the "Fernerisches Haus am Hohen Markt" (A-Wsa, TBP 41, fol. 152v).
  13. Johann Anton Keller, baptized on 4 January 1741 (A-Wd, Tom. 72, fol. 364r), godfather: Anton Joachim "kayserlicher Camer Furir" (Imperial chamber fourier); died on 28 September 1741 "an der Zähnfrais in Fernerischen Hauß am Hohenmarckt" (A-Wsa, TBP 42, fol. 474r).
  14. Maria Catharina Aloysia Keller, baptized on 5 April 1743 (A-Wd, Tom. 74, fol. 112v), godmother: Maria Catharina Reischmann "Königliche Hatschierin" (Heinrich Reischmann's second wife). On 18 January 1766 Aloysia Keller married the wigmaker Johann Sommerfeld. She moved to Preßburg, had four daughters (Aloisia, Elisabeth, Anna and Franziska, who together inherited 200 gulden from Haydn) and after the death of her first husband married a certain Lindner. On 30 May 1778 she filed a lawsuit against Haydn and his wife because of an old loan that Haydn had been granted by her father. Owing to the loss of documents in the Eisenstadt archives, the outcome of this lawsuit is unknown. And so is Aloysia Lindner's date of death.

    The entry concerning the wedding of Johann Sommerfeld and Aloysia Keller on 18 January 1766. The groom's best man was the bride's brother-in-law, the wigmaker Carl Scheiger (1715-1803) (A-Wd, Tom. 63, fol. 298r).

  15. Anton Michael Wenzel Keller, baptized on 29 September 1744 (A-Wd, Tom. 75, fol. 137v), godfather: Anton Joachim "Königlicher Vice Hofquartirmeister" (deputy quartermaster at the Royal Court); died on 11 September 1747 "an der roten Ruhr" (of bloody dysentery) at his father's house, Landstraße No. 51 (A-Wsa, TBP 46, fol. 433r).

    The entry concerning the burial of Johann Peter Keller's last child Michael in the St. Nikolai cemetery on the Landstraße: "Einges: Keller Des H: Peter Keller Hofbefr: Parockhenmacher, sein Kind Michael, ist in der Ungergassen in sein Haus an d Ruhr bscht, alt 3 J: Landstras" (A-Wd, BLB 1747, fol. 162v). Keller's house was not located in the Ungargasse, but in the Raabengasse (today Beatrixgasse 21).

Conclusion

The belated identification of his wife changes very little in Haydn's biography. The fact that his wife was 593 days younger than hitherto assumed, is of downright comforting irrelevance. What is really important however is how this discovery reflects on Haydn research in general which in the last 140 years has failed to resolve a basic biographical issue in the composer's life. It appears to be time to doubt every bit of widely accepted information in the literature. The popular belief that "we already know everything about the lives of famous composers" is a misconception.

The entry concerning the death of Anna Haydn on 20 March 1800 at Stadt No. 83 (today Pfarrgasse 5) in Baden. The deceased is described as "Haÿdn Anna Maria des Joseph von Haÿdn / berühmten Kapelmeister et Doctor Musicæ Gemahlin". The cause of death is given as arthritis, the burial took place on 22 March 1800 at the old cemetery around St. Stephen's (Baden, St. Stephan, Tom. 7, 113)


An unauthenticated miniature of Anna Haydn attributed to Ludwig Guttenbrunn (Burgenländisches Landesmuseum, I.N. KS 1247)

© Dr. Michael Lorenz 2014. All rights reserved.

Updated: 9 April 2017

5 comments:

  1. If, as you say, this changes little in the biography of Haydn, it does change a lot however in our awareness of the biographers' different attention and care for different classes of facts. Haydn's wife had clearly a very intimate knowledge of this composer's character and music. We should care to know at least who she really was.
    Thank you for addressing this issue so thoroughly
    Pierpaolo Polzonetti

    ReplyDelete
  2. Once again, Dr. L., thank you for your careful research. As a student of Haydn, it saddens me to see how slipshod the way has been made before me. It seems that your sad comment about "we already know everything about the lives of famous composers" is never more true (false, that is) than it is about Haydn. Sheer intellectual laziness has distracted modern historians from even questioning Pohl, in whom I have, by now, no faith at all. I must say, I am pleased that a Mozartian has done so much to clean up the garbage surrounding his "best and dearest friend".

    Regards,
    GB

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you. Fascinating stuff.
    Presumably Joseph died without issue.

    ReplyDelete