Who in the world is Eda Kuhn Loeb?

The full name of our library is the Eda (no “n”) Kuhn Loeb Music Library – not to be confused with the Frances Loeb Library at the Graduate School of Design or the Loeb Drama Center – and we are often asked about our namesake. Unfortunately, we do not have a picture, but we can tell you who she was:

Eda Kuhn Loeb was born to Solomon and Regina Kuhn, members of a prominent merchant and investment banking family in  Cincinnati in 1867. Largely at the prompting of her aunt Betty, the firm, Kuhn Loeb, moved to New York. There the Kuhns and the Loebs moved in the same social and business circles as the Warburgs and other prominent German Jewish banking and investment families.  Eda married her cousin, Morris Loeb, in 1895 and Morris became a renowned (and rather eccentric) chemist who taught at Columbia University.  Eda became an active philanthropist and spent her life in the lively social and highly musical circles of Kuhns, Loebs, Warburgs and Guggenheims in New York, colorfully described in Stephen Birmingham’s Our Crowd.  Her husband died in 1912.  Eda never remarried.  She was clearly close to her multitude of nieces and nephews. At her death in 1951, she left generous donations to  hospitals, colleges, and universities (including Harvard), and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, which houses a special collection of rare editions of books illustrated by artists (Loeb Collection), leaving the remainder of her estate to her great-nephew, cellist Gerald Warburg.  Warburg used this money to fund the construction of the Music Library at Harvard in 1956 which was then named in her honor.

N.B. One of Eda’s brothers-in-law was James Loeb, who was instrumental in funding the construction of Paine Hall and who also established the Loeb Classical Library series of books.

Read more about the history of our library.  We thank the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for this information.

-Virginia Danielson and Liza Vick

2 Comments

  1. I live in Cincinnati doing research on the Cincinnati Orchestra Association .
    Eda Kuhn appears as one of the lady directors of this organization to fund a world class symphony for our city in 1894. I was so happy to find this page to help in my research. If you can recommend additional material I would greatly appreciate learning more.
    Thank you!

    • Dear Diana,
      Unfortunately, everything we know about Eda Kuhn Loeb is in this post. Most of our information came from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

      You may be in touch with people from these two organizations already, but you may be able to learn more from the Friends of Music Hall (https://friendsofmusichall.org/) and the Cincinnati History Library and Archives (https://www.cincymuseum.org/cincinnati-history-library-archives/). My hunch is that a lot of the information you’re looking for will be in local/regional history collections.

      Best of luck with your research!
      -Kerry Masteller

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