Just like the Tellgmann compilation, the 299 photos of the Gutschmidt Collection are not part of the original, imperial portfolio. In 2001, Mr S.F. Schütz purchased these photos from an auction in Sugenheim, Germany. Thanks to him, they are now on
permanent loan to Huis Doorn.
A remarkable endowment, as it includes a series which, like the Tellgmann Collection, was taken in and around Huis Doorn in the 1930's. However, while Tellgmann was a professional photographer working on assignment, retired Major J. Gutschmidt was an amateur.
Based on the dates on the photos, Gutschmidt was in Doorn in the years 1933 and 1935. He possibly spent some time in Doorn as a "volunteer member" of the royal court, an honorary appointment which several German veterans held.
The photos were handed over to Huis Doorn in the original archive box, carefully sorted by topic and separated by pink tab dividers listing the categories and the number of photos for each category. In the right-hand top corner the tab dividers are
inscribed with ink, from A to U. The Major was obviously a frugal man, as the tab dividers had been used before: Numbers and letters were pasted over.
The front tab divider includes the name and address of the photographer:
Innsbrucker Str. 34
All of the photos of this collection were affixed to three different types of tab dividers made of cardboard: green (glued), crème-coloured (attached with photo mounting corners) and grey system cards (glued). The cardboard sheets were labelled on the front with a letter indicating the respective category, followed by a number. A white strip of paper with the title was glued below or next to the photograph.
Other objects which Gutschmidt photographed in Doorn include the town of Doorn, the gate building, and pictures taken in and around the house. Gutschmidt also eternalized the Emperor's wood yard and menu cards from the early thirties. It is noticeable that Hermine, the second wife of Wilhelm II, posed for Gutschmidt, but the Emperor himself did not. He is only captured on a few snapshots - taken from Hermine's parlour - on his way to the wood yard, feeding the ducks. The entire living quarters were photographed, including the rooms of Empress Auguste-Viktoria who passed away in 1921. Gutschmidt also took pictures of the room in the gate building where he was lodging.
According to the annotations on the backsides of the tab dividers, Gutschmidt divided the photos into two series: "Feeding the ducks", a series of 10 photos in which the Emperor and an employee are shown feeding the ducks from a bridge and "The Emperor goes to the wood yard". These four photos show the Emperor on his way to the wood yard located in the forest park. Both series were shot from Hermine's parlour from the first floor.
Gutschmidt's photographs were quite obviously newsworthy. According to the annotations on the backsides of the cardboard tab dividers, five photos were sold or given to the New York Times; one picture to publishing house Scherl for "Die Woche". It would be interesting to know whether the photos were ever published and if so, on which occasion. Prints of other photos were sold on bazaars which Hermine organized at Huis Doorn, in Berlin, and in her home town Greiz. These pictures can be identified by the letters "HW" (Hermine's relief organization); on the back someone pencilled in the word "Gutschmidt" - an indication for a repeat order? It would have been easy to reorder these photos from Gutschmidt. The back of the photos and tab dividers made of cardboard list the number of the films and the photo. Hermine's legal estate included a similar series, however in inferior quality.
A small number of photos of the collection were not taken in 1933 or 1935, but in 1941 and later. For example, the famous photo of the Emperor on his deathbed and the photo from the mausoleum, both taken by Doorner photographer W.N. van Oest.
These photos became part of the collection later on. In 1944 the German government asked Gutschmidt to put together a documentation of Huis Doorn, in case the air raid of the Allied forces destroyed the house. Gutschmidt compiled his earlier photos to
a series to which he added some later photos of other photographers.
It still remains unknown whether the archive box actually ended up in the hands of the German government. Unfortunately, the auction catalogue does not include any information on the origin of these photographs. One thing is certain: this Collection, complete and in its original packaging, is unique. Just like the Tellgmann Collection it is fundamental for the reconstruction of the park and the historic furnishings of the house.