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Walter V. and Lily Dumont Mindus family papers

Identifier: MC-078

Scope and Contents

The collection includes correspondence, in German, between Walter and Lily throughout their lives together, with a significant amount in years 1944-46 when he was serving in the military. Additionally there is correspondence from their friends and family in the U.S., Germany, Israel and Brazil. Of significance is the correspondence from Walter’s parents, P. Israel and Johanna Mindus from 1937-1942. Among Walter’s papers are his Dissertation (1936), as well as his notes and Zionist writings for the Junggrauppen Blatter (1936). Military field school manuals as well as his other military records are included. Of special note is a series of documents, dated 1958-1977 in which Walter Mindus attempts to reclaim the estate of his parents in Germany. Dr. Mindus's signinficant collection of pamphlets, journals and monographs on early German Zionism, also donated to the library, are catalogued individually in Special Collections. A list of these publications is available upon request.

In addition to the correspondence, Lily's papers include records of a concert tour in the 1950s, board meeting notes on the Greater New Bedford Concert Series, and pocket diaries from 1953-1957. A large part of the collection consists of hundreds of photographs depicting family and friends from the early 20th century through 2006. Most compelling are an early photograph album and loose photos of Lily's life as a young girl/woman in Berlin, and Walter's scrapbook/photograph album from his service during World War II.

The collection is divided into eight series: Series I is vital documents and biographical material, 1908-1977; Series II is correspondence, 1937-2006; Series III are papers related to Lily Dumont's professional career, 1921-2006; Series IV is Walter Mindus's Zionist and medical writings, 1933-1940; Series V is Walter Mindus's military records, 1944-1946; Series VI is the claim on the Mindus estate, 1958-1977; Series VII is Notebooks and diaries; and Series VIII is photographs, 1900-2006.


  • 1908-2006

Language of Materials

Materials in English and German.

Language of Materials

Materials in English and German.

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Dr. Walter V. Mindus (1908-1985) and Lily Dumont Mindus (1911-2006) were prominent members of the New Bedford, Massachusetts community.

Lily Dumont Mindus was born in Berlin, Germany on July 12, 1911 to Jakob and Rosa Dymont (Dymont is the German spelling of the last name). Lily Dumont was a child prodigy in music whose talent was fostered by her father, a conductor and composer of liturgical music for a synagogue in Germany. Lily Dumont began playing the piano at a very early age and made her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1926 when she was only 15 years old. She studied under her father, and Theodore Bertram. She fled to the United States when Nazi pressures made it difficult for her to play in German concert halls, essentially forcing her to leave Germany in 1937. Her fiancé, Dr. Walter Mindus, joined her in the United States and they were married in 1938. The couple had two children, Lester and Paul. Lily Dumont continued to perform and tour in the United States, Europe and Latin America, eventually returning for a performance in Germany in 1957. She recorded for His Master's Voice, Polydor and Concert Society labels. For more than 40 years Lily Dumont was a piano instructor at the Longy School in Cambridge, MA. She also taught students out of her home in New Bedford and summer sessions for the SMU Music Department (now University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth). She performed recitals on New Bedford’s WNBH and Boston’s WCRB radio. She was the founder and long-time president of the New Bedford Concert Series. Lily Dumont Mindus died on March 6, 2006. Walter Valk Mindus was born January 7, 1908 in Berlin, Germany to Paul Israel and Johanna Mindus. He was educated at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and at age 27 was chief surgical resident at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin before immigrating to the United States. Dr. Mindus’ parents, Johanna and Paul Mindus, remained in Germany and died at Auschwitz. In 1944 Mindus joined the U.S. Army and served as both a physican and translator in the European theater of operations during World War II. During his tenure in the U.S. Army, Dr. Mindus attended the Medical Field Service School at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania and was a part of the 240th General Hospital in France and later the 20th Corps Medical group, attached to General Patton's Third Army. After the defeat of Germany, Mindus assisted with the interrogation of SS officers. In the United States, Dr. Mindus was a surgeon on the staff of Saint Luke’s Hospital and maintained a private practice in New Bedford. Walter Mindus died in August 1985.


9.7 Linear Feet (9 manuscript boxes, 1 oversized box, 4 photograph binders)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the estate of Lily Dumont Mindus through her sons, Lester and Paul Mindus, received, April 2006.

Related Materials

Lily Dumont Mindus’ papers relating to her career as a concert pianist have been donated to the International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Processing Information

November, 2006. Carolyn Ravenscroft as part of internship through Simmons College.

Walter V. and Lily Dumont Mindus family papers
Carolyn Ravenscroft
November, 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA