[Stravinsky, Igor. (1882–1971)]

World War II-Era Leather Briefcase

World War II-era leather briefcase belonging to the important composer, marked with a well-worn and largely torn partial travel tag adhered to the leather exterior, signed "Stravinsky" (only partially remaining) on the identification line and completed in his hand.  The briefcase, manufactured by German leather company "JDEHA," has a hard leather construction, brass corner footings still intact, and brass snap closures.  Adhered to the exterior is a worn and faded First Class luggage label for a transatlantic voyage from New York City to Bremerhaven aboard the Norddeutscher Lloyd Bremen, dated April 9 [1963].  Signs of aging and distressing to the leather exterior, else fine.  18.25 x 13.5 x 3.25 inches (46.3 x 34.3 x 8.25 cm.).

We have identified the briefcase as likely having been manufactured in the 1940s by JDEHA. However the tag suggests continued usage by the composer into his later years, as it was in April, 1963, that the 80-year-old composer traveled to Bremerhaven on board of passenger ship 'Bremen'.  The trip was undertaken in order to participate in the staging of his musical play 'The Flood' on 30 April, 1963 at the Hamburg state opera. 

Provenance: By family descent, from the collection of Robert Lawson Craft (1923–2015), the American conductor and writer best known for his intimate professional relationship with Igor Stravinsky.  Craft met Stravinsky in 1948, after a year of correspondence: "Stravinsky invited Craft to meet him during a stay at a hotel in New York.  In the lobby, Craft met the poet WH Auden, there to deliver the manuscript of the libretto for The Rake’s Progress.  In Stravinsky’s suite, it soon became apparent to the composer that this young man knew as much about literature as music, and could perhaps be useful to him.  Shortly afterwards, Stravinsky invited Craft to join him and his second wife, Vera, at their Hollywood home, to act as his secretary and musical factotum." (The Guardian)  Craft would have a profound impact on the latter portion of Stravinsky's career and wrote numerous volumes about both the composer and their time together. (19111)

Classical Music