The Poul Knudsen archive in Det Kongelige Bibliotek (The Royal Library)
Copenhagen, Denmark

Below are summaries of the letters from The Royal Library archive in Copenhagen, Denmark. They were photographed with permission from the archive and are named according to the following convention: year-month-dayWriterRecipientPage. Click the links to see full letter and its corresponding scans.

Letters in Danish from The Royal Library Archive

Letter dated 22 January 1931. To Poul Knudsen. From Lili Ilse Elvenes. Lili spends the majority of the letter talking about how the characters of Andreas and Lili are two separate people who are very different, “two souls in one body,” and that the character of Werner von Kreutz also holds this belief. Lili also agrees to change the name of the hero in the book and has chosen Hjalmar Hvide. She asks Knudsen to defend the book’s form to Ervin Magnus. Also mentioned: Niels, a character in the book; Vibeke Knudsen, Poul’s wife; Prof. Dr. Kurt Warnekros.

Letter dated 31 January 1931. To Poul Kudsen. From Lili Ilse Elvenes. Lili devotes most of the letter to her book. Loulou Lassen helped her tone down the manuscript, which Lili describes as “blunt” and “graphic” and “just as giddy as I am.” She frets about the delay in publication, discusses other publishers for the book, and disparages the title From Man Into Woman. She also touches on her need for money. Also mentioned: book character Werner von Kreutz; Erwin Magus; Director Steen Hasselbalch; Bé, a nickname for Einar; Ullstein (publisher); Drei Masken (publisher); Vibeke Knudsen, Poul’s wife.

Letter dated 6 March 1931. To Poul Knudsen. From Lili Ilse Elvenes. Getting the book published is intense enough to cause Lili to become sick, and Steen Hasselbalch is trying to convince her not to publish it. Her treatment by people in Copenhagen has been by turns malicious and pitying. She also is working on an exhibition. Also mentioned: Gerda Gottlieb Wegener, Einar’s wife; Vibeke Knudsen, Poul’s wife.


Letter dated 22 October 1933. To Poul Knudsen, a lawyer and friend of the Wegeners. From Gerda Wegener, now living in Marrakech with her second husband, Fernando Porta. Gerda discusses prices for publishing her artwork, especially in light of the financial crisis hitting Europe following the U.S. stock market crash of 1929, and expresses anger that a book of her drawings languishes with the French publisher Piazza. She mentions the success of the recently published British edition of Lili’s narrative, which she claims to have written. Employing a racist slur, she rails against Niels Hoyer for trivializing the book and taking all the profits. Also mentioned: Georges Briffaut, a French publisher; Piazza, a French publishing house L’Édition d’art H. Piazza; Henri Jules Piazza (1861-1929); Niels Hoyer; T. C. Thomsen, Lili’s brother-in-law; Vibeke Knudsen, Poul’s wife; Nando (Fernando Porta).