Barthold Fles

Dutch-American literary agent (1902–1989)

Barthold Fles (February 7, 1902 – December 19, 1989) was a Dutch-American who worked as a literary agent, helping writers find publishers to print their books.[1] He also wrote books and articles, edited texts, translated books from German to English, and published poetry books.[1][2]

Barthold Fles
Born(1902-02-07)February 7, 1902
Amsterdam, Netherlands
DiedDecember 19, 1989(1989-12-19) (aged 87).
Laren, Netherlands
Pen nameJan van Straaten
Occupationliterary agent, author, translator, editor and publisher
Genrenon-fiction, for children
Subjectmusic, literature
Notable worksbooks: Slavonic rhapsody, Briefwechsel; translations: Music here and now, Bambi's Children; article: Chávez lights new music with old fires
SpouseRuth Grünwald

Life change

Barthold Fles was born in Amsterdam on February 7, 1902.[3] His family was Jewish but did not keep Jewish laws.[4] His father, Louis Fles, thought that it was wrong for Jews and other people to be religious.[4] Louis Fles imported typewriters and sold them, in addition to other office products, in several stores that he owned and to other stores.[4] Barthold was his oldest son so his father wanted him to help him at work.[source?] Barthold did not want to work for his father.[source?] He only wanted to read.[source?] Barthold read in Dutch, German, English, and French.[source?] He read a lot and very fast.[source?] Barthold found a job at De Lange publishers.[source?] In 1923 he left for the United States.[1]

In New York Fles first worked as a violinist, painting apartments, selling vacuum cleaners and for publishers.[5] In 1933 he started his own business, a literary agency, in Manhattan, New York. As a literary agent he mostly helped writers find publishers. He also sold stories for films or magazines and would find a writer to make a book that a publisher wanted. When Barthold started working as a literary agent, many of his clients were people who left Germany for the United States because of the Nazism in Germany.[6][7] He held meetings for these writers in New York so that they could learn about publishing books and stories in the United States.[8] Later, however, most of the writers he worked with were born in the United States.[9]

In 1936 Barthold married Ruth Grünwald, a dancer at the Metropolitan Opera who had been just one year in the United States.[10] Ruth helped Barthold with his work.[11] Later she left him.[12] Although he had no children of his own, Barthold Fles wrote two books for kids: Slavonic rhapsody: the life of Antonín Dvořák (in 1948) and East Germany (in 1973). He also wrote many articles and introductions to story collections. He translated three books from German to English. One of these books, Bambi's Children by Felix Salten, was also a book for children.

In 1986, when he was 84 years old, Fles stopped working. He went back to the Netherlands,[13] and lived three years in a home for retired artists.[6][14] He died on December 19, 1989 at the age of 87.

Books change

Written change

Compiled change

  • 1948 - The best short stories from Collier's[19]
  • 1949 - Seven short novels from the Woman's Home Companion[20]
  • 1951 - The Saturday Evening Post western stories[21]

Translated change

Published change

These German poetry books were published by Barthold Fles Verlag, New York

  • 1941 - Max Herrmann-Neisse: Letzte Gedichte
  • 1941 - Barthold Viertel: Fürchte dich nicht! Neue Gedichte
  • 1942 - Hans Sahl: Der hellen Nächte, Gedichte Aus Frankreich
  • 1942 - Max Hermann-Neisse: Mir bleibt mein Lied, Auswahl aus unveröffentlichten Gedichten (posthumous publication)

Articles change

Written change

Translated change

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Boberach, Heinz; Schulze-Bidlingmaier, Ingrid (1994). Quellen zur deutschen politischen Emigration 1933 - 1945 (in German). K.G. Saur. ISBN 978-3-598-23040-0. Korrespondenz Barthold Fles (1902-1989) Literaturagent, Verleger, Schriftsteller, Übersetzer holländisch-jüdischer Herkunft; seit 1923 New York, dort 52 Jahre als Literaturagent tätig.
  2. Bleiler, Everett Franklin (1983). The Guide to Supernatural Fiction. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-87338-288-5. FLES, BARTHOLD (1902 - ) American, of Dutch birth, long associated with the publishing industry in various capacities: editor, buyer, executive, literary agent.
  3. Reginald, Robert (1979). Science fiction and fantasy literature: a checklist, 1700-1974. Vol. 2 (2 ed.). Gale Group. p. 900. ISBN 978-0-8103-1051-3. BARTHOLD FLES Full Name: Barthold Fles. Born February 7, l902, at Amsterdam, Holland. Son of Louis Fles and Celine van Straaten.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gans, Evelien. "FLES, Levie". Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging in Nederland [Biographical Dictionary of Socialism and the Labor Movement in the Netherlands] (in Dutch).
  5. 5.0 5.1 Spoor A: Een literaire vroedvrouw; Briefwisseling van Heinrich Mann en zijn Amerikaanse uitgever[permanent dead link] (English: A literary midwife; Letter exchange of Heinrich Mann and his American Publisher). NRC Handelsblad 1994-05-06. Accessed 2008-07-15.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rietra M: "Muß man dann immer postwendend Geld senden um überhaubt mit Ihnen verkehren zu können? Joseph Roth und Barthold Fles in Briefen", in Onderdelinden S: "Interbellum un Exil", page 199. Rodopi Publishers, 1991.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ester, H: "Correspondentie Heinrich Mann-Barthold Fles: Soms waait er een gure wind uit de brieven, dan kan er geen groet vanaf", Trouw, September 30, 1993.
  8. Groth, M: "The Road to New York: The Emigration of Berlin Journalists, 1933-1945", page 248. K. G. Saur, 1988.
  9. Cazden, R: "German Exile Literature in America, 1933-1950", page 147. American Library Association, 1970.
  10. Mann, Heinrich (1993). Briefwechsel mit Barthold Fles, 1942-1949 (in German). Berlin: Afbau. p. 11. ISBN 978-3-351-02244-0. 1936 heiratet er Ruth Grünwald, eine Tänzerin an der Metropolitan Oper, die ein Jahr zuvor mit ihren Eltern aus Frankfurt nach New York ausgewandert war.
  11. "Barthold Fles" (limited view). Publishers Weekly. F. Leypoldt: 40. 1957. BARTHOLD FLES, New York literary agent, left July 5 for Europe. He will visit authors and publishers in 13 European countries and 30 cities, returning on September 15. In his absence the agency will be run by Mrs. Ruth Fles and Mrs. Robin McKown.
  12. Waters, Frank (1998). Of Time and Change, A Memoir. San Francisco: MacAdam/Cage. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-878448-86-6. Bart Fles, whose wife had just left him, shrugged. "You're no different from the rest of us, Frank. It happens to us all."
  13. "Agent Barthold Fles to retire to artists' colony near Amsterdam." Publishers Weekly 228 (Nov 29, 1985): 14.
  14. "Barthold Fles (Obituary)." Publishers Weekly 237 (Jan 12, 1990): 19.
  15. Typton G: "Review: Two Biographies." Music Educators Journal 35 (6) (May-Jun, 1949): 46-47.
  16. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  17. Jackson MM: "East Germany (Book Review)." School Library Journal 21(1): 103, 9/1974
  18. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  19. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  20. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  21. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  22. Birge EB: "Music here and now (bookreview)." Music Educators Journal 26 (4): 48, Feb 1940.
  23. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  24. Lewis Buell E: A Fine Sequel to That Modern Classic, "Bambi". New York Times Dec 3, 1939: BR105.
  25. Gould J: America Through a Refugee's Eyes. New York Times Nov 7, 1943: BR5.
  26. LC Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)
  27. Oja CJ: Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, page 445. ISBN 0-19-516257-9.
  28. Stevenson R: "Carlos Chávez's United States Press Coverage"[permanent dead link]. Aztlán 14 (1) (Spring 1983): 21-33.
  29. Gibson, Christin (2008). The music of Manuel M. Ponce, Julian Carrillo, and Carlos Chavez in New York, 1925--1932 (PhD dissertation). University of Maryland, College Park. ISBN 978-0-549-78766-2. During his 1928 interview with Barthold Fles for the Musical America cover story, Chávez expressed the hope that the League might produce his ballet, Los Cuatro Soles.[permanent dead link]