edgar speyer


After his trial Edgar returned to America, vehemently protesting his innocence.  He never returned to England and took US nationality in 1925. He lived in style in Washington Square and died in 1932, having returned to Berlin for a minor operation on his nose. He haemorrhaged and bled to death.


 Leonora reinvented herself when arthritis put an end to her career as a concert violinist. She became a poet, winning the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1927.  She lectured on poetry at Columbia University. Leonora died in 1956. Her granddaughter recalls that Leonora did describe her “wonderful life in England,” and how “she suffered  ostracism when the tide turned against them. Though she “rarely spoke about this episode of her life, when she did so, it was brief and bitter."


The two elder Speyer daughters returned to England in the 1930s.  The youngest daughter was in England during the Second World War as a member of the US Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. She died in Norwalk, Connecticut in 2004 aged 94.


No 22 Washington Square where Edgar lived out his life in exile belongs to New York University. It houses the Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice. The irony would not have been lost on Edgar.


Quote from book: Edgar’s obituary in the Manchester Guardian: “He will be chiefly remembered as the man who more than any other was the object of attack by those who sought during the war years to drive out of the country or to have interned every resident of German parentage.”

Washington Square22 Washington Square, New York