BAUM, VICKI (1888–1960), novelist. Born in Vienna, Vicki Baum began her career as a professional harpist but her success as a short story writer led her to leave music. In 1921 she became an editor in the Berlin publishing house of Ullstein. Of her 25 novels, the best known is Menschen im Hotel (1929; Grand Hotel, 1930), which became a worldwide best seller and a popular film. In 1931 she settled in the United States. Vicki Baum often repeated the pattern of Grand Hotel – a montage of stories of interrelated characters – in her novels, for which she chose a wide range of historical, sociological, and psychological themes. Her autobiography, Es war alles ganz anders (1962), was published posthumously.
J. Bithell, Modern German Literature (19593), 333–5; Britannica Book of the Year 1961 (1962), 511.
[Samuel L. Sumberg]
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