This page is about the life of Berta Hummel (Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel) as well as the companies that brought her sketches to life in the form of the clay figurines that have been loved for many generations.
This page was updated on 2 February 2021.
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 a concise history of 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.
- 2021 Aug 16 – Donald Deeks Collection – Online auction bidding of one of the scarcest Hummel figurine collections with 496 of 2,000 pieces including 25 Internationals and original artwork (Blackwell Auctions, 2021).
- 2020 Nov 21 – Donald Deeks Collection – Online auction bidding of one of the scarcest Hummel figurine collections with 2,000 figurines (Blackwell Auctions, 2021).
- 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) (Hummel, 2018).
- 2017 Dec 22 – Bernd Förtsch, a businessman from Kulmbach, made public he intended to acquire Hummel Manufaktur in Rödental, Germany (Wikipedia, 2018) (Hummel, 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 14 & 15 – Kramer & Kramer – Robert L Miller Hummel Auction of 40,000 Hummels (Journal News, 2013)
- 2013 Nov 1 & 2 – Kramer & Kramer – Robert L Miller Hummel Auction of 40,000 Hummels (Journal News, 2013)
- 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.
- 2000 Jun 27 – Opening of the exhibition “Massing and Berta Hummel” on the occasion of the 650th anniversary of the granting of market privileges to Massing and the 125th Jubilee of the Hummel family in Massing (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1999 21 May – 90th anniversary of the birthday of Berta Hummel – Opening of the exhibition “Cheerful Beginning” ni the Berta-Hummel-Museum in the Hummel House (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1996 Nov 6 – 50th anniversary of the death of Berta Hummel: Opening of the exhibition “Last Gifts” in the Berta-Hummel-Museum in The Hummel House in Massing (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1994 Jul 22 – 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), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1993 Oct – Opening of the Hummel Museum in New Braunfels, Texas, USA (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1991 – TMK-7 is known as the Small Crown.
- 1990 – Goebel tried to make the Internationals again. They made an HUM 810 and a HUM 811 and took them to the Sießen Convent for approval. The Sisters said “NO” and supposedly returned the samples.
- 1989 – The Goebel Collectors’ Club expanded internationally and changed the name to the M. I. Hummel Club (World Collectors Net, 2018).
- 1986 Nov 6-Feb 1 – Exhibition in the Diocesan Museum of Regensburg “The Other Berta Hummel – Unknown Works by a Famous Artist” (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1985 Aug – Exhibition “The Other Berta Hummel” – on the occasion of the opening of the Berta Hummel Primary School in Massing (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1985 Jul-Oct – 50 years of M. Innocentia Hummel figurines, 1935-1985 in the Museum of the German Porcelain Industry, Hohenberg a. d. Eger (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1984 -Mayor Donald Stephens donated his Hummel collection to the Village of Rosemont, Illinois to be displayed in a museum (Wikipedia, 2018).
- 1980-1982 – Touring exhibition through various cities in the USA “Formation of an Artist” – early works by Berta Hummel (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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 – Opening of the Berta-Hummel-Museum in Massing; large collection of old and new Hummel figurines (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1978 – Opening of the present Hummel Room in the Sießen Convent with children’s pictures, altar pieces and the Stations of the Cross sketches (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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 Oct – Exhibition in Massing of Hummel pictures and Hummel figurines together with the A. Hummel Collection (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1950 – The TMK-2 Full Bee mark shows a change reflecting the name of Hummel with a bumble bee.
- 1948 Apr 17-25 – Cultural exhibition by the City of Friedrichshafen with works by Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1947 Aug 20-24 – Exhibition of the works of Sister Maria Innocentia in the Angslperger Inn in Massing (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1946 Nov 9 – Burial in the Convent Cemetery in Sießen (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1946 Nov 6 – Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel died in the Sießen Convent of tuberculosis at the age of 37 in Bad Saulgau, Germany (Hummels at a Discount, 2005) (Wikipedia, 2018 a), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000), (Koller, 1998).
- 1946 – During her time at the Convent Sießen, 1931-1946, she drew between 500 to 700 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 Aug to 1945 Sep – Period of treatment in the Wilhelmstift sanatorium in Isny in Allgäu and Wangen (Nitz, Hummel, 2000), (Koller, 1998).
- 1944 – Sister Hummel was diagnosed with tuberculosis (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1942 Oct – Visit to parents in Massing to recuperate (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1940 Nov – Visit to parents in Massing to recuperate (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1940 Nov 4 – Evacuation of the Sießen Convent by order of the National Socialist powers (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1940 April 18 – Dr. Herbert Dubler sent a telegraph in code that said “Hummels, Hummels” indicating an embargo between Germany and America. The Dubler company in New York began to produce Hummel products
- 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.), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1939 – A branch of Ars Sacra is founded in the U.S. (M.I. Hummel, 2014).
- 1938 Apr 9 – Arrival of the altarpiece for Massing, showing Brother Konrad, displayed at the left side altar in the parish church (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1937 Aug 30 – made her final profession as a permanent member of the Congregation taking her final vows (Wikipedia, 2018 a), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1937 Apr 24 – Conclusion of two years of art study in Munich to prepare herself to meet all coming demands and received a certificate for this work Koller, 1998).
- 1937 Mar 24 – After interruption due to ill health, conclusion of advanced studies at the State School of Applied Arts in Munich, again with a “Top mark” average (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1937 Mar 23 – National Socialists attack Sister Maria Innocentia’s children’s pictures in the journal “The SA Man” (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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).
- 1936 Aug 18-20 – Tour of the Porzellanfabrik Goebel in Oeslau; workers thank Sister Maria Innocentia for providing work through production of the “Hummel figurines” (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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 May 5 – Start of further studies at the State School of Applied Arts in Munich (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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 W. Goebel in Oeslau, today Rödental, near Coburg (Hummels at a Discount, 2005), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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 were published in Das Hummel-Buch Dichtungen und Vorwort von Margarete Seemann, 5,000 copies of a first edition of the 62-page book of her sketches and poetry along with post cards (Wikipedia, 2018 a) (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.) (M.I. Hummel, 2015), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1934 Aug 30 – 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.), (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1933 May 30 – Jun 8 – Final visit to parental home prior to investiture in the Sießen Convent (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1933 – Permanent exhibition in the “Hummel Room”, Sießen Convent (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 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).
- 1932 Dec – First edition of picture and postcards in Rottenburg and Munich (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1931 – Yearly exhibitions in Sießen, Beuron and Munich (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1931 Apr – Admitted as a postulant (Wikipedia, 2018 a).
- 1931 Mar 18 – 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).
- 1929 – Red chalk self portrait of Berta Hummel (Das Berta Hummel Museum a, n.d.).
- 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).
- 1926 Mar 25 – Conclusion of education in the Instutute of Marienhöhe (Nitz, Hummel, 2000).
- 1922 May 22 – Master sculptor Gerhard Skrobek was born in Leobschutz, in Upper Silesia (Fox, 2007).
- 1921 May 3 – Transfer to the Institute of Marienhöhe in Simmbach am Inn, a secondary boarding school for girls run by the English Sisters.
- 1915 1 May – Entered the first grade of a school run by an order of teaching nuns, the so called “Arme Schulschwestern”, Massing Primary School (Nitz, Hummel, 2000), (Koller, 1998).
- 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).
Blackwell Auctions (2021). Rarest Hummels: The Donald Deeks Collection. Retrieved on 1 January 2021 from https://blackwellauctions.hibid.com/catalog/254709/rarest-hummels–the-donald-deeks-collection/?q=95&ipp=100
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. (7 May 2018). News from Hummel in Rödental. Retrieved 2 February 2021 from https://hummelgifts.com/blog/
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
Journal News. (2013). 40,000 Hummel pieces to be sold at area auction. Retrieved 12 January 2021 from https://www.journal-news.com/news/local/000-hummel-pieces-sold-area-auction/688gYXZquHAh0L9JteNkOJ/
Koller, A. (1998). Hummel: The original illustrations of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel. Philadelphia, PA: Courage.
M.I. Hummel. (n.d.). The history of Hummel figurines. 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
Nitz, G., Hummel, M. I., & Berta-Hummel-Museum. (2000). Massing und Berta Hummel: Ausstellung, 28. Juni 2000 bis Juni 2001, das Berta-Hummel-Museum im Hummelhaus.
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/