Family and Children
Robert and Clara Schumann had eight children, two of which were born in Leipzig in the Inselstraße:
Marie (1841-1929), the Schumanns’ eldest daughter, was born to them on the Inselstraße. She was her father’s favorite; he would often take her on walks and he even started a memory booklet (“Erinnerungsbüchlein”) for her, as well as a piano booklet (“Klavierbüchlein”). The latter served as a template for the famous “Album for the Young” op. 68. After her father’s death, Marie took care of her younger siblings. To Clara she was a secretary, travel companion, and assistant at the Conservatory. She managed the household and later functioned as executor of her mother’s estate after Clara’s death.
Elise (1843-1928) was apparently more headstrong than her older sister, already an independent governess and piano teacher at the age of 20. She also married businessman Louis Sommerhoff, with whom she had four children and lived in the United States for several years. A few of her descendants are still alive today. During the last years of Clara’s life, the Sommerhoff family lived near her in Frankfurt.
Julie (1845-1872) was born in Dresden and was a tender, sweet, yet sickly child. Due to a lung disease, she spent most of her life in foster care in southern countries. In 1869 she married the Italian Earl, Radicati di Marmorito, with whom she had two children. She died of tuberculosis during her third pregnancy.
Clara and Robert Schumann’s long awaited first son, Emil (1846-1847), died at only 16 months of age.
Ludwig (1848-1899) had to be institutionalized into the asylum Colditz (in Saxony) at the age of 22. Clara stopped visiting him after 1876, since his condition was hopeless and, according to her own assertions, she could not bear the psychological burden any longer.
Ferdinand (1849-1891) pursued a career in trade and had six children with Antonie Deutsch. After suffering an injury in the German-French War, he became addicted to morphine and incapacitated for work, so that Clara took over caring for his family. Living descendants may also still be found from this line of the Schumann family.
Eugenie (1851-1938) was born in Düsseldorf. Though she did not remember her father, Eugenie collected testimonials from her family and published them. She also wrote “Ein Lebensbild meines Vaters” (a life portrait of my father). Together with her life partner, Marie Fillunger, she lived and worked in England for many years as a pianist and piano teacher.
Felix (1854-1879) was born just after his father’s hospitalization in the mental home in Endenich. He spent his childhood under the custody of a governess and his sisters, as well as in a boarding school for boys. Felix inherited his father’s dual talent in music and literature. However, he had to give up musical studies at the university level due to his deteriorating health. Three of his poems were set to music by Johannes Brahms. He died of tuberculosis at age 24.