Summary according to Gerd Nauhaus ‚We were seven – The Children of Robert and Clara Schumann’, in: Correspondenz Sonderheft II, Aachen 2013; and Thomas Synofzik‚ Clara Schumann und ihre Kinder, in: Clara Schumann. Ein Künstlerinnenleben, Leipzig 2019, p. 52-57 (both publications are available at the museum shop).
*Leipzig, September 1, 1841; †Interlaken, November 14, 1929
The first daughter, her father’s favourite and similitude. She was said to be cheerful and lively. After her father’s death she became the most important pillar for her mother, even her friend, and always stood close by her side. After her mother died she moved to Interlaken in Switzerland where she died in 1929. When establishing the Schumann Museum in Zwickau there were intense communications between Marie Schumann and Martin Kreisig, its first director. She donated numerous heirlooms of her parents to the new museum.
For her seventh birthday Robert Schumann gave her a booklet with compositions to “Mariechen”, as her family used to call her. Complemented and enhanced it was to become the basis of Schumann’s (financially) most successful piece of work — his ‚Album for the Young‘, Op. 68.
*Leipzig, April 25, 1843; †Haarlem, July 1, 1928
Elise Schumann was the first of the Schumann children who became independent by being appointed a domestic music teacher for the owner of the ironworks in Gräffenbach, near Kreuznach. During the winter months 1864/65 she was the lady’s companion of Princess Anna von Hessen. Afterwards she worked as piano teacher in Frankfurt/Main, until in 1872 she became the lady’s companion of her friend Marie Berna at Büdesheim Castle. In 1877 Marie Berna matched the then 34 years old Elise with her cousin Louis Sommerhoff. The couple lived in New York for six years, then the family moved to a magnificent country estate in Frankfurt/Main and lived off the interest of the capital Louis Sommerhoff had made at the stock market.
*Dresden, March 11, 1845; †Paris, November 10, 1872
Talented and gifted, but with a delicate health — that is Julie, the third daughter of Clara and Robert Schumann. Johannes Brahms fell in love with her but never confessed his love. As a young woman she married the Italian Earl Vittorio Radicati di Marmorito and moved with him to Passerano Castle next to Torino. She left behind two sons when she died only three years after her marriage. Robert Schumann dedicated his first sonata Op. 118 to his ‚petite doll‘.
*Dresden, February 8, 1846; †Dresden, June 22, 1847
Since his birth the couple’s first son had always been ‚sickly‘ as Robert Schumann wrote in a letter to his brother Carl on June 22, 1847. Emil died at the age of just 16 months.
*Dresden, January 20, 1848; †Colditz, January 9, 1899
In the beginning Ludwig grew up with his brother Ferdinand, later on he received his school education in Bonn and Jena. But soon he performed worse in comparison with his younger brother due to the fact that he had strongly defective vision. After Clara Schumann moved to Baden-Baden as her main residence in 1863, Ludwig attended the grammar school in Karlsruhe as a guest student. Later on in 1864 he went to the ‚Höhere Bürgerschule‘ in Karlsruhe and afterwards started an apprenticeship as a bookseller. When he resigned from this job in May 1867 Clara Schumann found a new apprenticeship as a music trader for him; but he was dismissed shortly thereafter. Being discharged as unfit for service in the army, Clara Schumann gave him piano lessons as Ludwig wanted to become a music teacher. Between August and October 1869Ludwig was treated in a psychiatric sanatorium in Egelshofen near Lake Constance for the first time. He was accommodated in the private asylum of Dr. Friedrich Oskar Lehmann in Pirna in May 1870; since December 4, 1871 he was permanently housed in the ‚Landesversorgungsanstalt für unheilbar Geisteskranke‘ (a Saxon state asylum for incurably insane patients) in Colditz.
*Dresden, July 16, 1849; †Gera, June 6, 1891
Ferdinand was Ludwig’s counterpart: He made a straight apprenticeship as banker and worked in this profession as long as he was healthy enough to do so. He served in the Franco-German war 1870/71 and came down with a severe articular rheumatism after a military exercise. Subsequently, he became addicted to morphine, which led to unemploayability and his early death. He had married in early years and fathered seven children — later on Clara Schumann took care of their education and training, accommodating the oldest siblings Julie (Julchen) and Ferdinand at her home and giving them piano lessons.
*Düsseldorf, Dezember 1, 1851; †Bern, September 25, 1938
The youngest daughter was born in Düsseldorf. As her siblings she grew up in various boarding schools at different places. She was the only child to attend a music college, being trained as a pianist by Ernst Rudorff in Berlin and lived with her mother in Frankfurt/Main where she became a music teacher at the Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory as well. In 1892 she moved to England, where she worked as a piano teacher for several years. This decision was made in particular due to the problems her mother had with her life companion Marie Fillunger (Fillu). After World War I they moved to the neighbourhood of her oldest sister Marie. Though she never really got to know her father, Eugenie wrote a biography of him and her ‚Memories‘ became influential and essential as a personal source.
*Düsseldorf, June 11, 1854; †Frankfurt am Main, February 16, 1879
Named after their friend Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the son Felix is said to have been the most talented Schumann child, despite his short life. When Robert was hospitalized in Endenich, Clara was pregnant; except for a photograph Robert should never see his son. Felix is said to have been his mother’s favourite. He passed the Abitur extraordinarily successful and loved music as much as literature — like his father. Three of his poems were set to music by his godfather Johannes Brahms. Like Robert Schumann Felix initially studied law in Heidelberg, but gave up his studies (as his father did) and continued studying philosophy in Zurich. Due to a chronic lung disease, which already became evident with its first symptoms during spring 1868, Felix needed more or less permanent cures in Italy and Switzerland since April 1874. But the young man did not recover and died not even 25 years old at his mother’s house in Frankfurt/Main.