Árpád Plesch

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Árpád Plesch (1889–1974) was a Hungarian financier, banker, and lawyer. He owned a celebrated collection of rare botanical books and esoteric pornography. His botanical collection has been included in Douglas Cooper's Great Private Collections.

Plesch was mentor to the owner of the largest fortune in Italy, Gianni Agnelli, the president of Fiat.

He married three times, to:

  1. Léonie Caro Ulam
  2. Marysia Ulam Krauss Harcourt-Smith, daughter of the previous
  3. Contessa Maria von Wurmbrand-Stuppach, called Etti Plesch, his last wife and sole heir to his immense fortune.

Léonie Ulam was the aunt of the mathematician Stanislaw Ulam. In his memoir, Adventures of a mathematician, Ulam wrote:

'My uncle Michael's wife happened to live in Paris at the time and she kindly offered to receive me and to send to my modest hotel her chauffered limousine to take me sightseeing. I was so embarrassed at the thought of being seen arriving in a Rolls-Royce or a Duesenberg at the Louvre or some other museum, it felt so incongruous, that I declined her offer'


  • Botanique , 1954
  • Essais d'acclimatation de plantes tropicales en France, 1962
  • Mille et un livres botaniques de la collection Arpad Plesch, 1973