Hermann Speck von Sternburg

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1904 Sketch of von Sternburg, by Bob Satterfield

Hermann Speck von Sternburg (21 August 1852 Leeds, England – 23 August 1908 Heidelberg, Germany) was a German diplomat.


He was educated in the Fürstenschule Saint Afra, Meissen, Saxony, and the military academy of Potsdam, fought through the Franco-Prussian War in the Second Saxon dragoons, and remained in the military service until 1885. In 1890 he entered on his diplomatic career, being made successively first secretary of legation at Beijing, chargé d'affaires at Belgrade, Serbia, and first secretary of the embassy at Washington. In 1898 he was high commissioner on the Samoan Commission; became consul general for British India and Ceylon in 1900, minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary to the United States in 1903, and ambassador in July 1903, succeeding Theodor von Holleben.

In December 1904, he married American citizen Lillian Langham.[1]

He died of complications from lupus in Heidelberg on August 23, 1908.[2]

His connoisseurship as an art collector became evident upon an auction of his collection after his death. The illustrated catalogue of The Important Collection of Art Treasures, formed by his Excellency the late Baron Speck von Sternberg, German Ambassador to the United States <https://archive.org/details/b1500532> demonstrates that as a cultured aristocrat and German Ambassador in many countries he collected works of art all over the world. The list of buyers of his collection is most impressive and some of his collections survive in museums today.


  1. ^ WEDS BARON VON STERNBURG at the New York Times; published December 6, 1900; retrieved 7 December 2014
  2. ^ (25 August 1908). Sternburg, Kaiser's Ambassador, Dead, The New York Times