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Jakob und Wilhelm Grimm

Jakob und Wilhelm Grimm

*  Hanau Berlin

Jakob Ludwig Karl Grimm and his brother Wilhelm Karl Grimm were born in Hanau in 1785 and 1786, respectively. The brothers' father was a lawyer. Their youth was spent in Steinau, and they attended the lycée in Kassel. Both began studying in Marburg in 1806. The brothers subsequently received positions as librarians at the Hessian State Library in Kassel. They produced the essential parts of their world famous collection of fairy tales between 1812 and 1815. All of the fairy tales which the Grimms collected and wrote down were told to them by the story teller Dorothea Viehmann from Niederzwehren. The Brothers Grimm were not only collectors, retellers, and editors of "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" (children and house fairy tales) and "Deutsche Sagen" (German Sagas); they are also considered the founders of Germanic philology. At this time, they also began work on their etymological "German Dictionary." Jakob Grimm became a professor at the University of Göttingen in 1830 after the appearance of the ground-breaking work "German Grammar," and Wilhelm also received a position as professor at the same university in 1835. Despite their claim to be scholars, the Brothers Grimm were also politically engaged. From publishing political tracts to Jakob Grimm's activity as a delegate to the National Assembly in 1848, the brothers worked to unite the many small independent states which made up Germany at that time. The brothers also helped formulate human rights in Germany. Because of a polemical pamphlet against the breach of constitution by the King of Hannover, Ernst August II, they, along with five other professors, lost their positions in 1837. Jakob Grimm was banished, and the brothers lived together for three years in exile in Kassel. In 1840 the young Prince William of Prussia invited the two to Berlin to work on the "German Dictionary" with financial support from the Leipzig publishers Reimer and Hirzel. Wilhelm Grimm died in Berlin in 1859. His brother Jakob died there in 1863.