Ludwig Lewisohn Has Ace Rival for Vermont Plaudits in Wife
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Ludwig Lewisohn Has Ace Rival for Vermont Plaudits in Wife

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Ludwig Lewisohn, novelist, poet, lecturer and essayist, has a serious rival for both the affections and the adulation of this State’s Jewish community.

The rival is Thelma Spear, young, Titian-haired, flashing of eye and possessed of as many talents as the multi-talented author himself. Although she is a serious rival for Jewry’s laurels, she must also be classed as a friendly one. For it appears that Thelma Spear is only part of her name. Her full name is Thelma Spear Lewisohn and she refused to hide her light under the bushel of her husband’s reputation.


Mrs. Lewisohn, between her many activities on behalf of her husband and their son James Elias, has managed to find considerable time to devote to many Jewish causes here. And the work she is accomplishing along these lines is bringing to her doorstep the hosannahs and the plaudits, which she doesn’t seek, of neighbors and a multitude of organizations she has aided.

Born in this city in 1902, Thelma Spear launched herself upon a literary and musical career that led her to the concert halls of Berlin, Paris, Nice and Jerusalem. At nineteen she sang Mimi in “La Boheme,” Marguerite in “Faust,” and Juliet in “Romeo, and Juliet.” Her literary talent has found its chief expression in poetry, of which she has a published volume. She has also written a book for students of the voice, “How to Teach Yourself to Sing.” And not the least of her accomplishments is the music to “Fuenf Lieder,” a group of poems by her husband which were published in Berlin and have enjoyed a large sale.


Thelma Spear met Mr. Lewisohn while he was literary critic of The Nation. From that time on she abandoned her own brilliant career to devote herself entirely to the career of her husband.

But the talents she possesses, made more luminous by her scintillating, vivacious personality, she has not abandoned. These she has placed at the disposal of scores of Jewish charitable and social welfare causes. More and more frequently of late she has given concerts and benefit performances for Jewish women’s clubs and other organizations throughout New England. Among her recent efforts along these lines have been radio appearances in which were prominently featured songs by Jewish composers banned in Germany. Scheduled for the near future are appearances in Montreal and Boston.


Although the composer-singer-poet is busy keeping up with her husband’s extensive lecture tour at the present moment, she still finds time to make a home in Burlington which is rapidly becoming a rendezvous for Vermont’s outstanding literary and musical figures. In this Mrs. Lewisohn is repeating earlier experiences in Vienna, Berlin and in the Quartier Latin of Paris, where she entertained such famed personalities as Arthur Schnitzler, Jakob Wassermann, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson and Sholom Asch. Her soirees are chronicled in Sisley Huddleson’s two books on Paris life: “Paris Salons, Cafes, Studios,” and “Back to Montparnasse.”

And through it all, Mrs. Lewisohn is forging a reputation for herself, as a woman who typifies the ideal crusader in Jewish work. Vermont’s Jewry these days is removing its hat and bowing low in homage to a gallant young worker in humanitarian causes.

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