Learn more about the woman behind the figurines
The power of her drawings lies in the way she captured the inner honesty of the young.
About Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel
I’ve always been interested in the history involving the creation of the M.I. Hummel figurines. In learning the history of these high quality porcelain items, you learn to appreciate them all the more when you realize what it takes to create just one.
The following is what I have located with references noted at the bottom of this article. This is by no means a comprehensive list of events but rather, what I was able to readily find. The reverse chronology of some of the more important events are presented beginning with the more recent events.
- 2018 Feb 19 – Hummel Manfaktur GmbH announced the acquisition of the exclusive North American sales activities and Hummel Club management formerly serviced by Newboden LLC (PRWeb, 2018) (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018b).
- 2017 Dec 22 – Bernd Förtsch, a businessman from Kulmbach, made public he intended to acquire Hummel Manufaktur in Rödental, Germany (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 2017 Dec – A new backstamp, TMK-11, has been introduced to signify the new ownership (Hummel Manufaktur GmbH, 2018).
- 2017 Sep 21 – Bi-Annual Convention in Memphis, TN (M.I. Hummel Licensing, 2018).
- 2017 Sep – Hummel Manufaktur GmbH declared bankruptcy (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 2015 Sep – Convention in Philadelphia, PA (M.I. Hummel Club, 2014).
- 2015 – The Moments in Time Collection comes to a beautiful conclusion with the 80th Anniversary figurine, Bee Creative (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 2015 – M.I. Hummel celebrated the 80th anniversary of its figurines (GDA Staff, 2014).
- 2014 – Newboden opened a headquarters in Bordentown, NJ and took the helm as the authorized Hummel distributor in North America (GDA Staff, 2014).
- 2013 – The TMK-10 is introduced (not sure of the date).
- 2013 Nov – German investors purchased the assets of the Hummel factory, and the factory is now operating again and producing Hummel’s under the name of “Hummel Manufaktur GmbH & Co.” (Sikorski, 2014).
- 2013 Oct – The M.I. Hummel Club, headquartered in New Jersey, by ruling of the German insolvency court, also declared bankruptcy, the staff fired and all assets liquidated (Sikorski, 2014) .
- 2013 Sep – The Hummel Factory, operated by Mr. Koster under the name of “Manufaktur Rödental GmbH & Co” was declared “insolvent” and the factory was closed (Sikorski, 2014) (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 2011 Sep – Berta Hummel’s sister Centa died just before her 100th birthday and passed the management of the museum to her son (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 2011 Jul – Newboden Brands was formed with the goal of rebuilding the Hummel brand in North America. They are the exclusive authorized distributor for both Hummel Manufaktur of Germany and ARS AG of Switzerland (M.I. Hummel Club, 2014).
- 2011 Mar 13 – The Donald E. Stephens Museum of Hummels opened in its current location in Rosemont, Illinois (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 2010 Jun 16 – 8-foot Merry Wanderer was unveiled at the home of the M.I. Hummel Club in Hamilton, NJ. The North American collector’s club has more than 50,000 members (Griff, 2010).
- 2010 – For the 75th Anniversary of M.I. Hummel figurines, some classic motifs are redesigned to more closely reflect Sister Hummel’s original artwork (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 2009 Sep 8 – The M.I. Hummel Club has a worldwide membership of more than 13,000. Staff is at 111 people (The Associated Press, 2009).
- 2009 Feb 9 – Hummel figurines were restored in the old rented production building in Rödental/Coburg (M.I. Hummel, n.d.).
- 2009 Jan – Production of Hummel figurines by Goebel was taken over in early 2009 by Manufaktur Rödental GmbH under the direction of Jörg Köster (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 2009 – The Hummel Jubilee Edition is revealed and the club was restarted (Hesemans, 2012).
- 2009 – TMK-9 is known as the Yellow Bee showing some color in the TMK.
- 2008 Oct – Goebel Germany discontinued the figures (Wikipedia, 2018 a ).
- 2008 – Due to the low dollar exchange, the export to America stagnated which is the reason why production came to a halt at the end of this year (Hesemans, 2012).
- 2007 Jul 1 – Master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek died near Coburg, Germany at the age of 85 (Fox, 2007).
- 2007 Jul – Since their inception, more than 20 million figurines have been sold worldwide (Fox, 2007).
- 2006 – Goebel Porcelain Factory files for bankruptcy. Goebel reorganized and decided to shutter the Hummel factory and let go all 230 employees (The Associated Press, 2009).
- 2002 – M.I. Hummel club reaches 300,000 members (Hesemans, 2012).
- 2001 – Sieglinde Schoen, one of the children depicted in her work established The Hummel Museum in New Braunfels, Texas but was discontinued that year (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 2000 – TMK-8 is known as the Big Bee also known as the Millennial Bee.
- 1994 – Berta’s nephew, Alfred Hummel and his daughter Veronika, founded Das Berta Hummel Museum Im Hummelhaus in the place she was born, Massing, Germany (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018a) (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1991 – TMK-7 is known as the Small Crown.
- 1989 – The Goebel Collectors’ Club expanded internationally and changed the name to the M. I. Hummel Club (World Collectors Net, 2018).
- 1984 -Mayor Donald Stephens donated his Hummel collection to the Village of Rosemont, Illinois to be displayed in a museum (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1979 – TMK-6 is known as the Missing Bee.
- 1978 – The M.I. Hummel Annual Bell Series begins in 1978 and lasts for the next 15 years (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1978 – A network of local chapters of the Goebel Collectors’ Club was organized (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1977 – The first Club Exclusive figurine, Valentine Gift, makes its debut (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1977 – The Goebel Collectors’ Club is established and has over 100,000 collectors joining the first year (World Collectors Net, 2018) (ThoughtCo., 2017) .
- 1972 – TMK-5 is known as the Last of the Bee and the company name Goebel is prominent.
- 1971 – Adventure Bound, sometimes known as Seven Swabians, is released. This complex figurine featuring seven boys confronting an unseen enemy is based on a well-known German tale (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1971 – Goebel issues the first M.I. Hummel Collector’s Plate with the Heavenly Angel motif, and boosts the popularity of plate collecting (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1971 – Goebel celebrates its 100th anniversary with a six-foot Merry Wanderer, sculpted by Master Sculptor Gerhard Skrobek (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1970s – The German city of Oeslau changed to the name to Rödental.
- 1970s – A vibrant speculator market in Hummel figurines developed in the 1970s, and Hummel figurines skyrocketed in price (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1964 – TMK-4 is known as the Three Line mark including the company name with the copyright.
- 1960 – TMK-3 has two stylized marks with a large and a small version. The large version was used through 1972 while the small version was used through 1963.
- 1960 – For the 25th Anniversary the M.I. Hummel figurines, Ring Around the Rosie is created, four dancing figures in one graceful design (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1959 – TMK-2 with the Vee Bee. The wings are no longer rounded but rather more stylized.
- 1958 – TMK-2 with the Baby Bee. The bee is smaller and lower within the letter V.
- 1957 – TMK-2 with the High Bee. the bee is shown rising above the letter V.
- 1956 – TMK-2 with the Small Bee. The bee is smaller than the Full Bee with the wings level with the top of the letter V.
- 1951 – The first M.I. Hummel Nativity Set is created (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1950 – The TMK-2 Full Bee mark shows a change reflecting the name of Hummel with a bumble bee.
- 1946 Nov 9 – Burial in the Convent Cemetery in Siessen (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.).
- 1946 Nov 6 – Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel died of tuberculosis at the age of 37 in Bad Saulgau, Germany (Hummels at a Discount, 2005) (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1946 – During her time at the convent Siessen, 1931-1946, she drew more than 600 paintings (M.I. Hummel Licensing, 2018).
- 1945 -the figurines would gain popularity in the United States when returning American soldiers brought them home (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1944 – Sister Hummel was diagnosed with tuberculosis (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1940 – The Siessen school was closed by the Nazi government and later seized the convent itself (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1939 Oct – Publication of second Hummel Book, “Hui, die Hummel” by Ars sacra Verlag Josef Müller (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.).
- 1939 – A branch of Ars Sacra is founded in the U.S. (M.I. Hummel, 2014).
- 1937 Aug 30 – made her final profession as a permanent member of the Congregation (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel OSF, 1934
- 1937 – She released a painting titled “The Volunteers”, which drew the enduring hatred of Adolf Hitler, who attacked the art, denouncing the depiction of German children with “hydrocephalic heads” (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1935 Dec – 46 M.I. Hummel motifs were on the market, sold in America at Marshall Field & Co. of Chicago and other American retailers (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1935 – Seven motifs premiere at the Leipzig Trade Fair: Puppy Love, Little Fiddler, Book Worm, Strolling Along, Sensitive Hunter, Begging His Share and Flower Madonna. By year’s end, 46 motifs are on the market (M.I. Hummel Club, 2015), (Das Berta Hummel Museum b. n.d.).
- 1935 – M.I. Hummel figurines were first introduced into the market place at the 1935 Leipzig Spring Fair (Hummels at a Discount, 2005).
- 1935 – The TMK-1 is the first backstamp showing a crown is stamped and/or incised on the bottom of the base of the figurines. Figurines prior to this time are known to not have a specific backstamp.
- 1935 Jan 9 – The first M.I. Hummel figurine was created by W. Goebel Porzellanfarik (Hummels at a Discount, 2005).
- 1935 – Ars Sacra’s founder, Josef Muller passes away, and the company is run by his wife and son-in-law, Herbert Dubler (M.I. Hummel, 2014).
- 1934 Nov 4 – Copies of her work were sent to Emil Fink Verlag and published in Das Hummel-Buch, a 62-page text along with post cards (Wikipedia, 2018 a) (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.) (M.I. Hummel, 2015).
- 1933 Aug 22 – Berta Hummel enters the Franciscan Convent of Siessen and takes the name of Maria Innocentia Hummel on taking her vows (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018a) (Das Berta Hummel Museum1 , n.d.).
- 1933 -Josef Müller, the owner of the renowned Catholic publisher, Ars Sacra of Munich, received a letter from the Convent of Siessen, along with drawing samples by one of their novices (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018a), (M.I. Hummel, 2014).
- 1931 Apr – Admitted as a postulant (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1931 – Berta Hummel graduates at the top of her class from the Munich Academy of Applied Arts (World Collectors Net, 2018) (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018a).
- Red chalk self portrait of Berta Hummel, 1929
- 1929 – Self portrait sketch made (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.).
- 1927 – Berta Hummel was enrolled by her father in the Munich Academy of Applied Arts (World Collectors Net, 2018) (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018a).
- 1922 May 22 – Master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek was born in Leobschutz, in Upper Silesia (Fox, 2007).
- 1909 May 21 – Berta Hummel was born in the home and above the store in Massing, Bavaria (World Collectors Net, 2018) (M.I. Hummel Gifts, 2018a) (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1896 – Ars Sacra publishing company was founded (M.I. Hummel, 2014).
- 1890 – Goebel produces a line of porcelain figurines (World Collectors Net, 2018).
- 1876 -Franz Goebel started a porcelain firm near the town of Oeslauby, Germany (Dr. Lori, n.d.).
- 1871 – Franz Detleff Goebel and his son William founded F&W Goebel began to produce slate pencils and marbles (World Collectors Net, 2018).
Das Berta Hummel Museum a. (n.d.). The Life of Berta Hummel: Biographica Dates and Events. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from hummelmuseum.de/english/02bertahummel/lebenslauf.html
Das Berta Hummel Museum b. (n.d.). From the pictures to the figurines – 80th Anniversary of the Hummel Figurines. Retrieved 7 August 2018 from hummelmuseum.de/english/04ausstellungen/vergangene_detail.php?id=35
Dr. Lori. (n.d.). Tips by Dr. Lori, Hummel figurines. Retrieved 2 July 2018 from drloriv.com/Tips/ID/21/Hummel-Figurines
Fox, M. (27 July 2007). Gerhard Skrobek, 85, Artisan Behind Hummel Figurines, Dies. Retrieved from nytimes.com/2007/07/27/arts/design/27skrobek.html
GDA Staff. (December 11, 2014). Newboden Rebuilds Hummels Collectibles. Retrieved 30 June 2018 from giftsanddec.com/article/494257-newboden-rebuilds-hummels-collectibles
Griff, M. (Jun 17, 2010). Happy home for Merry Wanderer – M.I. Hummel unveils 8-foot figurine outside its new Hamilton location. Retrieved 7 August 2018 from nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2010/06/happy_home_for_merry_wanderer.html
Hesemans, B. (2012). Biograhy and History M.I. Hummel. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from hesemans.nl/en/biography-and-history/biography-and-history-m-i-hummel/
Hummel Manufaktur GmbH. (29 June 2018). Personal correspondence on 29 June 2018
Hummels at a Discount. (2005). Hummel Figurines – MI Hummel Figurines – Hummels. Retrieved 27 June 2018 from hummelsatadiscount.com/hummel-figurines-history.html
M.I. Hummel. (n.d.). The history of Hummelfigurines. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from mihummel.at/history04.html
M.I. Hummel Club. (2014). INSIGHTS, Vol 38 No 1. Retrieved 30 June from hummelgifts.com/content/INSIGHTS_FALL_2014_website.pdf
M.I. Hummel Club. (2015). INSIGHTS, Vol 38 No 2. Retrieved 2 July 2018 from hummelgifts.com/content/INSIGHTS_WINTER_2015_website.pdf
M.I. Hummel Gifts. (2018a). The M.I. Hummel Story. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from hummelgifts.com/blog/the-mi-hummel-story
M.I. Hummel Gifts. (2018b). Good News for Hummel Collectors! Retrieved 2 July 2018 from hummelgifts.com/blog/good-news-for-hummel-collectors
M.I. Hummel Licensing. (2018). About Us. Retrieved 30 June 2018 from mihummellicensing.com/about-us
PRWeb. (February 19, 2018). Good News for Hummel Collectors. Retrieved 30 June 2018 from prweb.com/releases/2018/02/prweb15221799.htm
Sikorski, J. (Apr 12, 2014). Financial troubles chip away at Hummel company. Retrieved 27 June 2018 from ocala.com/news/20140412/financial-troubles-chip-away-at-hummel-company
The Associated Press. (Sep 8, 2009). Hummels Regain Fragile Foothold on Life. Retrieved 7 August 2018 from nytimes.com/2009/09/09/business/global/09hummel.html
ThoughtCo. (October 19, 2017). The History of the Cherished Hummel and Goebel Figurines. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from thoughtco.com/m-i-hummel-and-goebel-782629
Wikipedia. (2018). Hummel figurines. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummel_figurines
Wikipedia. (2018 a). Maria Innocentia Hummel. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Innocentia_Hummel
World Collectors Net. (June 27, 2018). A Hummel History. Retrieved 28 June 2018 from worldcollectorsnet.com/features/hummel/history/