Marija Dārziņa with Emīls’ son Volfgangs, 1927. Photograph by K. Iltners. RTMM 20557
The certificate drafted by Marija Dārziņa for the Latvian Teachers’ Association on her donation of Emīls Dārziņš’s personal belongings to the museum. 22nd October, 1930. RTMM 15123

The beginning of the museum’s music collection can be traced back to when, twenty years after he had tragically passed away, Emīls Dārziņš’s mother donated personal belongings of her son’s that she had kept to the Latvian Teachers’ Association. The inventory certificate which she signed on 22nd October, 1930, can be considered to be the beginning of the MLM’s music collection. The items listed serve as a testimony to Emīls Dārziņš’s life and death; however, the method by which they were selected and the way they were described reflects the role and the type of life that Emīls Dārziņš’s mother assumed after her son’s death. His mother, who did not show her heartache after the sudden death of her second son Hermanis in 1903, spent the rest of her life honouring his memory.

Marija Dārziņa not only kept his personal belongings and the severely damaged clothing that the composer had been wearing at the moment of his death, but she also used them herself. The list includes, to use Marija’s words, “a winter coat, which I have worn rather to tatters.” Dārziņš’s hairbrush was also quite “tattered”. In the list, Dārziņš’s mother mentions several items that she has not donated to the museum. For example, from the undergarments that her son was wearing at the time of his death, she sewed a small pillow that she intended to take to her grave. Jānis Greste recollected: “The museum had a corner dedicated to Dārziņš. His mother would come here every year on that one tragic day and spend an hour by her son’s possessions, in solitude. What a strange mother. In her old age – it could have been sometime in her fifties – she started learning to play the piano just so she could play her son’s compositions. I have never met another mother who adored her son in such a quiet, wordless manner.”

In 1936, it was decided to merge the collections of two recently disbanded organisations – the Teachers’ Association and the Theatre Association, and in doing so the Museum of Literature and Theatre was established. Since then, any documents related to the history of literature, music or theatre have been included together in the museum’s archives.