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Q: possible19th century duel in Paris or Vienna ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: possible19th century duel in Paris or Vienna
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: jmb7-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 28 Apr 2005 19:44 PDT
Expires: 28 May 2005 19:44 PDT
Question ID: 515641
Is there an historical record of a duel involving Ignace D'ephrussi
(sometimes spelled Ephrussi) between 1865 and 1920?  There were
apparently two men named Ignace: one in Paris, the other in Vienna. 
Ideally, I would like a newspaper account of such an event but, so
your labor does not go unrewarded, I will accept any detailed
information about the lives of the two men.  A large tip for the
definitive, e.g. a Paris newspaper account of the duel; or something
extra for some good biographical info (other than purely genealogical
stuff) especially involving a dispute; otherwise just the price. 
Obviously, a yes or no answer is not acceptable.  Popular 19th c.
newspapers in Paris were: Le Figaro, La Gaulois, Le Petit Journal, La
Presse; I do not know about Vienna.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 28 Apr 2005 20:47 PDT

I've found a fairly detailed newspaper report (in English) of a duel
and another near duel involving a Michael Ephrussi during the same
time period you asked about.

Any chance it is Michael you're after, rather than Ignace?  Let me know.



Clarification of Question by jmb7-ga on 29 Apr 2005 04:20 PDT
Clarification: I am appraising a set of dueling pistols.  Their
history is an important part of their value. I would like the evidence
that links the pistols to: 1. an event, e.g. a duel but possibly only
a public dispute; and/or 2. the man for whom the pistols were made.

Your Judgment: The value to a collector is the historical evidence of
a pistol's violent past, thus, a newpaper account of a duel by the
possible-owner's half-brother Michel (Michael?) would indeed be better
than, say, a dispute by the owner himself that only resulted in a
public argument.  But either way, I wish the facts.

Additional Info: 
1. The pistols were made for "Ignace Eprhussi" about 1865 by a
reputable gunmaker-"Devisme a Paris".  They were moderately expensive
for the time and affordable only by someone fairly wealthy.

2. The name on the pistol case is "Ephrussi" not "D'Ephussi.  But such
addition to a surname was a common method to increase one's social
rank in France, akin to buying a title.  This may say something about
whether Ignace lived in Paris or Vienna.

3. The pistols are fairly ornate with silver inlay and blued barrels
but they are clearly dueling pistols and not target or sporting guns.

4.  The Ephrussis of Europe probably originated in Odessa, Russia and
immigrated to Austria and France.  One descendant married into the
American Rothschild family, I believe.  I do not know anything about

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 29 Apr 2005 18:51 PDT
Ah! Fin de siecle Paris.  Nothing will ever be quite like it...but
perhaps that's a good thing.

As you suspected, the Ephrussi's were a wealthy family that found
their fortune in their native Odessa, and relocated to Paris to
establish themselves as bankers.  Michel Ephrussi, brother to Ignace,
married into the Rothschild family, which was quite an event, covered
widely by the press in the US as well as (one must assume) in Europe. 
Michel and Ignace had two other brothers as well, and (I believe) two
sisters.  The father may have been named Ignace as well, but of this,
I am not certain.

The Rothschilds were embroiled in some nasty feuds that led to an
occasional spectular duel.  The Ephrussi's -- now family -- were
caught up in some of the same passions, much of which revolved around
some ugly anti-Semitic attacks on both the Rothschild's and
Ephrussi's, and wound up in a duel or two themselves. But Michel
Ephrussi seemed to find some reasons of his own to go at it now and

One newspaper article included this:

Count de Lubersac Ready to Meet Both Rothschilds

M. Michel Ephrussi, who was offended by an insulting passage in the
letter from...Lubersac...demanded immediated reparation...

Comte de Lubersac...wrote M. Ephrussi..."I am ready to fight -- the
sooner the better -- and I await your seconds."

Colorful stuff.  HOWEVER, there are a couple of caveats:

--the duels seem to be with swords rather than pistols.  I found one
account that was silent on the matter of weapons (an odd omission for
a newspaperman!), but I did not see anything that suggested pistols
were involved.

--Ignace was renowned for his skill at fencing, but I did not find any
accounts of his direct involvement in any duels.

It strikes me that you would do better to paint a story of the
Rothschild-Ephrussi proclivity for dueling in general, and the
widspread coverage of Michel Ephrussi's sword duel with the Comte de
Lubersac, in which both were wounded.  One can imagine Ignace on the
sidelines, pistol in pocket...!

If you would like some additional details and newspaper article
citations, I'd be glad to provide these as answer to your question. 
However, please be aware the information on Ignace is quite limited,
and there is no mention of pistols in the information I have.

Look forward to your reply,


Clarification of Question by jmb7-ga on 03 May 2005 03:50 PDT
yes, I'll take your research and call the question answered.  Please
include citations.

re 19th c. france: immigrants in a country known for its
inhospitality--duels were probably a frequent event.

if you read french and have access to european libraries, e.g.
gabriel, I have other similar questions.
Subject: Re: possible19th century duel in Paris or Vienna
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 03 May 2005 17:53 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Thanks for giving me the go-ahead on this.

Here are a number of chronological excerpts from historical newspaper
articles concerning the family Ephrussi.

They pretty much speak for themselves, but if you have any questions
about the articles posted, just let my know by posting a Request for
Clarification, and I'll do my best to add whatever information I can.

One was brother Maurice, not Michel, who married into
the Rothschild clan.



NY Times
Sept 2, 1882
pg 5

Foreign Business Interests

London...Ignace Ephrussi &Co., Jewish bankers at Odessa, and most
important house in South Russia, have given notice of the dissolution
of their Russian firm, in consequence of the insecurity caused by the
persecution of the Jews.


Washington Post
June 3, 1883
pg 2

Millions In Marriage
The Ephrussi-Rothschild Nuptials

The marriage of Mdlle. Beatrice de Rothschild, the second daughter of
the Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, to Maurice Ephrussi has only been
formally announced during the past week...but the negotiations for
this union between representatives of the two wealthiest Jewish
families of Paris have been in progress for many months...

...The Ephrussis are...Jews and of foregin origin.  The father of the
four brothers, Michel, Maurice, Ernets and Ignace, began life at
Odessa in very moderate circumstances.  A series of luck grain
speculations enabled him to retire from the grain business with an
enormous fortune.  Then he came to Paris, founded a banking-house and
brought his sons up as Frenchmen.

...Michel Ephrussi, the present head of the family, is a husband of
the niece of the great composer Meyerbeer....Ernest Ephrussi collects
pictures and art curios, while the claims of Ignace Ephrussi to fame
rest chiefly upon his skill in the art of fencing...


Minnesota | Albert Lea | The Freeborn County Standard | 1883-06-28 

Personal Paragraphs

Comte Ephrussi, who is to marry Mademoiselle de Rothschild, is in the
habit of presenting her with flowers.  They are not such as are to be
seen in the florists' windows or in cultivated gardens but wild
flowers, a good bunch of which could be bought for a few sous in Paris
a month ago.  This has been sufficient to set public taste in a
certain direction, and to cause a high price to be put upon buttercups
and daisies, so closely do the Parisian world follow a popular


NY Times
Nov 19, 1890
pg 1

Two French Duels

Paris...M. Ephrussi, the well-known race horse owner, recently became
involved in a quarrel with M. Treville, a journalist, which resulted
in the sending of a challenge to fight a duel.  The fight took place
to-day and M. Treille was lsightly wounded...


NY Times
April 3, 1900
pg 9

Four Duels In France
Count de Lubersac Ready to Meet Both Rothschilds

Paris...Baron Edouard de Rothschild has appointed Comte Louis de
Turenne and M. O'Connor to be his seconds in respons to the letter of
Comte de Lubersac threatening to throw the latter's glove in the
former's face wherever they met...

...M. Michel Ephrussi, who was offended by an insulting passage in the
letter from Comte de Lubersac...was informed by his seconds that the
Comte refused to fight.  They therefore consulted with the friends of
the Comte, and agreed to accept arbitration; but the proposed
arbitrator...declined to ace.  Thereupon they demanded immediate
reparation, so as not to prolong the affair.

...Comte de Lubersac...wrote M. Ephrussi expressing his willingness to
do without arbitration, and adding, "I am ready to fight -- the sooner
the better -- and I await your seconds."


Washington Post
April 5, 1900
page 9

Both Duelsits Wounded
Count Lubersac and Michel Ephrussi Meet on the Field of Honor

Paris...It is reported that the first of the series of duels arising
from the Count of Lubersac's letter to Baron Robert Rothschild took
place this afternoon between Michel Ephrussi and the Count of
Lubersac, on the island of the Grande Jatte, in the River Seine...At
the fourth onslaught, Ephrussi was wounded in the breast, the count's
sword striking a rib.

...The count attacked vigorously from the outset, and the combatants
parted at the finish without the customary handshake.

The count left the scene in a laudau, and was greeted with cries of "A
bas les Juifs" and "Vive l'Armee."


This has been a most enjoyable piece of research, so thanks for asking
the question.  And again, please don't rate this answer until you have
everything you need.  If there's something more I can do for, just say
the word.



P.S.  Sorry...but i don't read French, but there are certainly some
excellent researchers here at GA who are fluent in several languages.

search strategy:  search of various newspaper and historical document
databases for [ ephrussi ]

Request for Answer Clarification by jmb7-ga on 04 May 2005 20:11 PDT
thank you.  it gives me a lot of leads. 
where you posted:
"letter from Comte de Lubersac...was informed by his seconds"
"Maurice Ephrussi has only been formally announced during the past
week...but the negotiations"

Can you please send me the redacted parts from your research?  even
seemingly-superfluous language may help me identify which Ignace it
references.  This is much more complicated than I thought.  (the
younger Ignace lived in Paris but his uncle--Michel's
brother--apparenlty visited often.) Thanks again for your work.

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 05 May 2005 15:50 PDT
You're quite's tricky business sorting out who's who, when
their are so many similar family names and a rather spotty record to
go on.

Here are the missing passages...hope they help:

"letter from Comte de Lubersac TO BARON ROBERT DE ROTHSCHILD was
informed by his seconds"

"Maurice Ephrussi has only been formally announced during the past
the negotiations..."

Best of luck,


Request for Answer Clarification by jmb7-ga on 05 May 2005 16:36 PDT
I apologize, my clarification request was unclear.  I meant all the
redacted parts of your research.  I presume that this involves copying
what you have already obtained but if this requires additional
research please so state.  (In other words, if this crosses the line
from "profitable research" to "pain in the a** waste of time" let me

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 11 May 2005 12:19 PDT

My apologies...I just today saw your clarification request from last
week.  For some reason, I did not get the usual notification that a
request had been posted.

There is a limit to how much information I can post from the articles
I cited.  Although the articles are quite old, the sources they come
from still claim copyright protection for the materials they post
online.  Hence, I can only provide smallish excerpts, but not
extensive passages from the articles.

If there's a particular set of details you're looking for, let me
know, and I'll be happy to have a further look to see if there's
anything relevant.

But if you want to see the articles in their entirety, the best way is
to access them yourself in one of two ways:

1.  Check with your local library -- most librarians will be able to
secure copies of the articles for you.

2.  Access the articles yourself by signing-up for archive privileges
at the NY Times and Washington Post websites.  There is a small fee
(only a few dollars) for each article accessed.  The archive sites can
be found at:

Again, I'll be happy to provide additional excerpts on specific
details, if I can, but I simply don't think it would be acceptable to
post extensive excerpts from the articles.

jmb7-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
well done

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