On the west side of the Karl-Liebknecht-Straße, one of the busiest and dustiest streets in Weimar, stands the Bertuch-Haus, a building with an imposing classical façade almost one hundred yards long, and the visitor, hurrying past on his way from the station to the historic town centre, may do no more than wonder briefly at the significance of the beehive and cornucopia which adorn its gable. For this building is not on the itinerary of those who visit the National Research and Memorial Places of Classical German Literature in Weimar (NFG for short), disparagingly called VEB Goethe und Schiller (Goethe and Schiller plc) by the inhabitants of Weimar. [See note.] Nevertheless the buildings in the care of the NFG, which include Goethe's House, Schiller's House, Wieland's estate in nearby Oßmannstedt, as well as important libraries and archives, do underline the way the town of Weimar became the intellectual capital of Germany in the late eighteenth century.
That it achieved this position is largely due to a remarkable woman, the Duchess Anna Amalia (1739-1807). Left a widow by the death of Duke Ernst August Konstantin in 1758, she became Regent on behalf of her young son Karl August (1757-1828) and was influential in bringing a series of glittering talents to the capital of the Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach.
Notable among these was Christian Martin Wieland (1733-1813). After a pietistic upbringing he had discovered the works of the French encyclopaedists in Zurich, and between 1762 and 1766 had published the first German translation of Shakespeare. He became famous for his psychological novel Agathon (1766-7). From 1769 to 1772 he was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Erfurt, only twelve miles from Weimar, where his writings attracted the attention of Anna Amalia who invited him to tutor her sons Karl August and Konstantin.
In 1775 the eighteen year old Karl August took over the government of the Duchy and one of his first acts was to invite Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749- 1832) to Weimar. Goethe, then only twenty-six, was already a national celebrity from such works as Götz von Berlichingen, an historical drama of the Storm and Stress movement which appeared in 1773, and Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, a sentimental novel in letter form which took Europe by storm in 1774. Wieland was delighted by Goethe's arrival. Three days afterwards, on 7 November 1775 he wrote to Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi: "If it is possible that any sense can be knocked into Weimar, then his presence will effect it." The young Duke saw that Goethe had gifts as an administrator as well as a writer and he was rapidly placed in a range of official posts from President of the Treasury to Overseer of the Mines.
It was at Goethe's suggestion that Johann Friedrich Herder (1744-1803) came to Weimar as chief pastor in 1776. Goethe had met him in Straßburg where Herder had introduced Goethe to the writings of Shakespeare and the glories of Gothic architecture. His essay The origin of language (1772), his work on folk songs and his evolutionary view of human history were to be further developed during his years in Weimar.
Around these three luminaries - the dramatist and historian Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) was to join them in 1787 - there revolved a cluster of lesser literary lights and the Duchess at her round table gatherings brought together representatives of the court and the town to exchange ideas on art, literature and science.
This active cultural life took place in a town of only 6,000 inhabitants, remote from the large centres of population. Adam Henß, formerly the manager of Bertuch's bindery in Weimar, writing in 1837 notes that until relatively late no post route led through Weimar, parcels being taken on a handcart to the nearest posting station at Buttelstedtt and only in the first years of the nineteenth century was Weimar connected to the rest of Germany by good highways. It was the capital of a Duchy of 100,000 inhabitants scattered in two separate tracts of land totalling little more than 1,000 square miles in area and a dozen or more smaller areas, some only a mile or two square. The whole made up an area a little smaller than the county of Cornwall. It was predominantly an agricultural region, the main industries being glass manufacture and copper and silver mining in Ilmenau and stocking weaving in Apolda.
It was into this mixture of an intellectual centre and a sleepy market town that our hero Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch (1747-1822) returned in 1773. Born in Weimar in 1747, he had attended school in his native town and, went on to study theology and law in the nearby university at Jena, athough his main inclinations were toward literature and the natural sciences.At the age of twenty-one, he broke off his studies and accepted a post as tutor to the sons of the former Danish ambssador to Madrid, Baron Ludwig Heinrich Bachoff von Echt at Dobitschen in the neighbouring Duchy of Altenburg. It was there that he learned Spanish. His early attempts at poetry were not successful. An early critic wrote: "Certainly the author must have wanted to write good verses, but that is certainly not how they have turned out!" More successful was the translationof Don Quixote on which he worked after his return to Weimar. The first volume was published by the author himself in the autumn of 1775 and met with critical acclaim.
Wieland offered great support to the impecunious young writer. In January 1773 he established the Deutsche Merkur, the first modern literary review in Germany, modelled on the Mercure de France, and Bertuch's writings appeared in it. Wieland introduced him to the court and Bertuch translated the tragedy Ines de Castro for Anna Amalia. In 1775 Wieland recommended him to the Duke Karl August who found him a post as his private secretary with an annual income of 300 taler. He joined the round table gatherings in Anna Amalia's palace and participated in the amateur theatrical activities of the town.
In 1774 he presented Anna Amalia with "A proposal to establish a drawing school at small expense". In it he enunciated some of his ideas for bettering the lot of the working classes:
A free drawing school is virtually the only means by which the improvement of artists and craftsmen can be achieved. The craftsman can only become perfect when he can produce good workmanship in a beautiful form. But how can he produce good forms if he himself cannot draw and he has not the remotest concept of what is beautiful and what is not? [...] And how can he learn this if he has no recourse to a free drawing school? The poor artisan, who can hardly feed himself, his wife and his children, has no money to have this taught to his children, rather is he glad if he can get his children to earn their own bread. The child learns badly from a bad master, and so the old ways go on."Anna Amalia and Karl August accepted these arguments and the school was opened in 1774 with Bertuch's friend the Frankfurt artist Georg Melchior Kraus (1737 -1806) as director. The school made no differentiation of social class, the only principle being that it should pursue serious art and not mere courtly dabblings. In a report in 1789 Bertuch wrote:
"The young lady and the young gentleman of first rank, just like the ordinary town lass and artisan's boy, must be content to come to the appointed place with their portfolios to hear lectures and, without exception, all do this willingly. [...] It is nothing less than a princely institution for the common good, aiming to spread good taste and craftsmanship through all classes and ranks in the land, and so to improve the standard of living of the artisan [...]The idea of setting up this beneficial academy, at which Goethe himself gave lessons in anatomy, may seem a purely disinterested proposal by an idealistic young man but, with hindsight, the more cynical may see this as a first step in Bertuch's master plan. Certainly the presence of the drawing school proved very useful to him later on.
In 1776 Bertuch married Friederike Elisabetha Caroline Slevoigt(1751-1810). His son Carl was born in the following year and a daughter Charlotte was born in 1779. To his salary as private secretary could be added income from his various publications; his translation of Don Quixote for example brought him in 2,000 taler. In 1777 he became tenant of the Baumgarten, a stretch of open land on the edge of the built-up area of Weimar. In the following year he extended his land holdings in that area and also acquired a disused grist mill which he converted into a paper and colour mill. Gradually he was building up his empire.
The years between 1780 and 1782 saw the north wing of the existing Bertuch-Haus rising beside the road which skirted the Baumgarten. In 1787 Schiller wrote of the resulting building: "Bertuch has indisputably the finest house in all Weimar ..." Once it was complete he installed a manufactory for artificial flowers in it. This was claimed by Bertuch to be his wife's idea and was entrusted to the supervision of his sister-in-law Auguste Slevoigt. Bertuch wrote to Knebel that it would "gradually become most beneficial to the greater part of those girls of the middling classes who are unfortunately unemployed. Its products [...] will eventually put the best Parisian items in the shade. So far only ten girls [...] work four days a week in my house, but as soon as the attic in my summerhouse [...] is ready, then we plan to have fifty." Among the first ten was Christiane Vulpius, later to become Goethe's wife.
Bertuch's publishing activities were continually growing. As early as 1781 he had been involved in the Buchhandlung der Gelehrten in Dessau, in 1782 he became a partner with Wieland in the Deutsche Merkur and, while returning from the Leipzig Easter Fair in 1784, he had the idea of a literary newspaper. The Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung was brought into life with the help of the Jena professor Christian Gottfried Schutz, the first issue appearing on 3 January 1785 with the statement that "the first law of our literary newspaper is to be non-partisan." Scholars from inside and outside Germany were enlisted as contributors and in the first ten years the number of subscribers grew from 600 to 2,400. Bertuch obtained an income of 2,400 taler a year from this publication.
Even more influential was the Journal des Luxus und der Moden, which Bertuch established with the painter and engraver Georg Melchior Kraus whom he had brought to Weimar ten years previously as director of the drawing school. The first issue came out in 1786 and it survived under various titles until 1827. It was one of the earliest periodicals devoted to fashion, and one where the illustrations played an important role. Indeed Bertuch secured the services of the six presses of the Starke copperplate printing works to assist this enterprise in 1786. In 1793 he explained the purpose of his journal:
"As is well known, the purpose and plan of this journal is to recommend the luxuries and fashions of Germany which, properly conducted, can be very beneficial mainsprings of the national economy, but certainly not to do so in a foppish manner, driving them to damaging excess and dissipation, but to supervise, them, to criticize publicly their wilder outbursts, and to subject them to the correcting ridicule of the rational world and good taste. Mainly however our aim is to make Germany more aware of its own artistic prowess, to give our artists and craftsmen more faith in their own powers and more love of art and taste in their work, and to make them knowledgeable about the discoveries and beautiful forms produced by foreigners, above all to secure our purses from the ravages of foreigners."There were many who thought that Bertuch was directing too much attention to the attractiveness of foreign fashions. Wieland objected: "What man of feeling and honour would wish to make a living from the foibles and follies of his age?" However Beruch was prepared to speak up for German inventiveness. In the second volume (1787) for example he puts the picture right over a report in no. 41 of the Journal de Paris that Levrier Delisle had discovered the use of plants and bark for paper making by pointing out that Schäfer had been doing the same in Regensberg and had published a book on the subject in 1767.
Each monthly issue contained black and white and coloured copperplates, as the title-page took pains to indicate, and the production of these occupied students and graduates of the drawing school which Bertuch had so foresightedly set up. The contents were devoted to new developments in clothing, jewellery, furnishings, technology, the fine arts, literature and manners. It set out to educate taste and improve manners, and there was also a section of advertisements.
One of the many fields in which Bertuch hoped to improve awareness was that of books and reading. He felt that the works of German writers and scholars should appear in a fitting garb, a parallel to the ideas of Boydell and Bulmer who at the time time in London were establishing the Shakspeare Gallery as a monument to England's greatest writer. In 1793 he wrote an article on typographical luxuriousness, provoked by the new edition of Wieland's collected works. He maintained:
"This honour is above all fitting for our classical authors, whose works will last for centuries and of whose worth, which is generally acknowledged even by other nations in Europe, Germany may rightly be proud. But we must promote fine editions of their works out of zeal and a sense of honour, not simply to give general and public thanks for the enlightenment, instruction and pleasure that we have obtained from them, no, we owe it to ourselves to do so if we care two figs for national glory and the regard of other peoples. Well may it have been in France - and well may it still be in England - a matter of mere fashion in the polite world to have magnificent editions on one's bookshelves; with us let it not be simply a blind following of fashion but a rational principle to have fine editions of our classical writers and great men. Indeed, when they have completed their works and put the finishing touches to them and when therefore there is no risk of further alteration (for otherwise it would be a misuse of our resources), let us collect them and by that means set up before our proud neighbours, whose typographical luxury is often nothing more than ostentation without sense, a series of carefully considered natioal monuments which, for all their national pride, they cannot but respect [...]"Bertuch was a keen advocate of the introduction of roman type into general use in Germany. In 1790 he publicized the type of the Prillwitz foundry in Jena:
Specimen of the new Didot letters which have been prepared by the undersigned type cutter and founder J.C.L.Prillwitz in Jena.The Prillwitz romans were acquired by Göschen, the Leipzig publisher, who wanted to print his edition of Wieland's works in "beautiful Latin types". It is scarcely surprizing therefore that when Johann Friedrich Unger published his Specimen of a new style of German types in Berlin in 1793 Bertuch spoke out against them:
The promotion of typographic beauty has always been the aim of my endeavours, in which I was always encouraged by the contemplation of the beautiful types of Baskerville, Bodoni and Didot, whose sight is so good to the eye. However I always feared that German printers would not reimburse a typefounder for the very considerable investment he would have to risk to provide a complete range of types in this style. But experience has nullified my fears as I see that both our esteemed public and our fellow booksellers and printers have a taste for it. Therefore I have taken the risk and cut a fuller range of Didot types than exists in any other German foundry, and now present the worthy public with the specimens and offer all booksellers and printers my new Didot letters at the following very reasonable prices [...] [There follow details of display and text types in roman and italic with prices] Those printers who have already obtained types from my foundry know that my sorts are good and long-lasting and that my work is beyond reproach. I hope therefore for the favour of your orders which I shall attend to without delay and will fulfil to the best of my ability.
It is really strange that in Berlin Herr Unger, that deserving artist who so far has been one of the keenest and warmest supporters of the introduction of the beautiful letters of Didot into Germany. and whose printing establishment produced excellent specimens of them. all at once leaves that good path and comes up with an attempt to improve German letters which, in the opinion of several knowledgeable persons with whom I spoke on this subject because I did not wish to trust my eyes alone, has not proved successful [...]"But Bertuch's strivings for typographical excellence were not confined to the erudite world of major scholars and literary figures or to the beau monde of fashionable circles. In 1790 it was also manifested in another major undertaking. his Bilderbuch für Kinder. This appeared between 1790 and 1825 in 237 parts with 1185 copperplates in an edition of 3,000. Bertuch's aim was to introduce the child to unusual but instructive objects that it would not see every day to arouse its enthusiasm for the unknown. The text, which in the early volumes was probably compiled by Bertuch himself from a variey of sources, was deliberately kept brief and not too learned so as not to deaden the enjoyment that the child could obtain from the visual image. Bertuch saw the work as being as indispensible in the nursery as a cradle, a doll, or a hobby horse. And indeed the child was to treat the book as if it were a toy: "It must browse through it at all times, it must colour it in and even, with the parents' permission, be allowed to cut the pictures out and stick them onto cards." For this reason he felt that the picture book should be handed over not as a bound volume but in parts as "enjoyable and rewarding presents for being good".
Bertuch' s care showed itself too in the choice of type face. as he explained on 16 April 1790:
Furthermore I have had the text, of the picture book printed in Latin types because I heartily wish that we could finally rid ourselves of our ugly old Frankish German monkish script and go over completely to the far more beautiful Latin types of the rest of Western Europe. just as England and France have done centuries ago. I know that one cannot proceed hastily in this and that we must first of all pave the way for the transition for a long time in the schools to accustom the eyes of the new generations to the new forms of letters from the very beginning. As I am now writing a book for children. I consider it my duty to make my own modest contribution. If 5.000 or 6.000 writers were to do the same in Germany as I, then the reform will soon be effected.Again the drawing school proved useful. Under the supervision of the director Kraus and the engraver Lips, Bertuch enlisted. both pupils and teachers, to prepare the plates. In volume 4 (1802) for example contributors included Henriette Westermayr née Stötzer (1772-1841) who had studied in Weimar and married her teacher Konrad Westermayr before leaving with him for Hanau and Konrad Horny (1764-1807) who had taught at the drawing school since 1795 and undertook work for Goethe, among other things helping him to decorate his house. The plates, which appeared in coloured and uncoloured versions, depicted animals, plants, flowers, fruits, minerals, costumes and other objects to illustrate the arts and sciences. Apart from the brief heading, which is in German and French to parallel the accompanying bilingual text, there was no text on the plates, many of which were very finely finished, numbers against each object depicted referring to the four or so text pages which accompanied the plate in each issue.
The text itself, although bilingual (in volumes four and six which appeared in 1802 and 1807 English and Italian were added) was found to be somewhat insubstantial and in 1796 Bertuch enlisted the support of the Dessau educationalist and inspector of schools Karl Philip Funke (1752-1807). The first volume of the Full text to Bertuch's picture book for children appeared in 1798 and its subtitle gave its purpose as providing "a commentary for parents and teachers who wish to use this work for the instruction of their children and pupils". Funke provided quite radical and anticlerical glosses to some of the pictures. For example his comments on the telegraph line between Paris and Lille which appeared in volume eight (1804) betray his sympathies with the French revolutionaries: "And so it was reserved to the French nation, swept up in its struggle for liberty, and in the midst of the most dreadful convulsions within the country, to make the first use of this invention." Everywhere he, speaks out for reason and enlightenment. Even lowly animals like toads or spiders should be looked at in this light: "It is high time that we act on our clearer insight and knowledge of nature and do not continue to instill in our children and successors an undeserved revulsion and horror against an innocent creature." This progressive stance was not so marked after Funke's death in 1807 when the text was compiled by a group of scholars.
The text is generally detailed and well researched. In volume seven for example to illustrate plates on horseracing Funke gives a vivid description of the English mania for gambling, mentioning the printed advertisements lottery agents issued, listing 31 racecourses and describing flea racing in Chelsea Hospital. However the section on aeronautics in the same volume descends to hearsay when, after detailed descriptions of hot air balloons, he cites a report from Scotland that a man had trained sixteen eagles to carry him through the air.
By 1791 Bertuch felt the need to bring all his multifarious enterprises under one umbrella and on 26 March he applied for a priVilege to the Grand Duke for his Landes-Industrie-Comptoir, roughly translatable as "Regional Repository of Industry". "I ask for no support, no monopoly, no limitation of any other trading enterprise" he wrote, asking only for the ducal seal of approval of it as an institution operating for the common good. "In order to forestall any doubts I declare furthermore that the business of my repository will mainly consist of my existing small publishing house and art business and that its overriding purpose will be to promote our active trade, to bring in money for goods sent out from this region, and not to allow more foreign goods to enter the retail markets here for ready money, thus increasing further our previous passive trade." Bertuch obtained his privilege and the Repository was established on 19 April.
And so, beside the Journal des Luxus und der Moden, the picture book for children and other publishing undertakings, such as Die blaue Bibliothek der Nationen, a series of twelve volumes of translations which appeared between 1790 and 1800, the Repository dealt in a wide range of arts and crafts. Besides the artificial flowers, the inhabitants of Weimar could obtain toys, educational aids, engravings, globes, optical and scientific instruments, tiles and ceramic stoves, as well as other ceramic items. Many of these last were the products of Martin Gottlieb Klauer (1742-1801), appointed court sculptor in 1773, who resided in Weimar from 1778 and taught at the drawing school from 1781. He modelled nearly all the important personages in Weimar, including Bertuch himself and particularly enjoyed working in clay. With the encouragement of Bertuch, Klauer set up his own ceramic workshop and kiln at the Rothäuser Berg in 1789 and the resulting products were offered on commission through the Repository, being listed in illustrated catalogues in 1792 and 1800. The success of the undertaking can be judged by the fact that branches were established in Rudolstadt in 1801 and Halle in 1804.
Once again Bertuch was not slow to justify his activities. In 1793 he wrote an article on the importance of the regional industrial institutes for Germany:
It cannot be denied that until now Germany has been lead by France on a slave's chain. She has provided an immeasurable flood of luxury articles for our ready money and it is staggering to realise that so far France has sent to Germany each year 67,000,000 livres worth of silk and fancy goods alone, thus losing our country an enormous sum each year in its balance of trade.The house by the Baumgarten was becoming too small to provide the answers to all these questions, and the middle section with its basrelief of a beehive and cornucopias, the symbols of industry and wealth, was constructed together with the southern wing in 1800. Behind the main building two wings stretched backward to another range of buildings running parallel to the street, the whole complex forming one enclosed court behind the central section with a second yard open to the south. There was now more space for manufacturing premises, warehouses, coach-houses, stables and conservatories (Bertuch was a keen gardener and plant breeder), as well as accommodation for workers.
Yet it is not only France whose magic wand we must fear. England and the perfected artistry of its factories must inevitably become just as dangerous to us. The tasteful simplicity and solidity, which England alone has known how to bestow on its products, is so extraordinarily commendable and enticing that the very word English, English wares, already has an irresistable enchantment for us.
I will now confidently make our public aware of an infallible means of invigorating German industry and spreading a decent livelihood and prosperity among our people, and this is through the regional industrial institutes. By a regional industrial institute I mean an official or private body working for the common good which takes it upon itself partly to seek out the natural resources of the region and further their exploitation, partly to arouse, develop and perfect the artistry of its inhabitants. It would be most beneficial for the region if all such undertakings were initiated by trading organizations objectives are individual or so-called joint stock companies or, if its not so grand, simply by an active and skilled private individual.
Provided then that a regional industrial institute, however organized or directed, does not extend beyond one province, but only has to single out what is locally useful and locally effective, then the entrepreneurs would have to address themselves to the following questions:
1. What natural resources does our province have which could be exploited and used, either for the first time or else better than before'?
2. What do we require for our necessities and for our luxury and prosperity and what of this do foreign countries provide?
3. Could we not already make some of these articles ourselves or easily reach the position of being able to prepare them ourselves'?
4. What workers o we have to do this and how can they be trained and supported purposefully?
5. How can we provide them with a livelihood? How can we make them prosperous and enterprising? And how can we provide them with the best distribution for their products?
For Bertuch was still expanding his operations. On 12 November 1800 he applied for a licence to open his own printing office. He reminded the Duke that "I have [...] undertaken the construction of my new and much larger house solely in the intention of bringing the considerable publishing undertakings of my business together and managing them more effectively." Previously Bertuch had to farm out printing to as many as nine premises in different places, something that he found inconvenient and which involved him in unnecessary costs as well as meaning, in Bertuch's own words, that "a considerable sum of money leaves the country [...] with which I could feed many useful workers here in Weimar."
Bertuch's request was granted and 1801, the year of Bertuch's silver wedding anniversary, proved in many other ways also to be a milestone in Bertuch's life. His daughter Charlotte married Ludwig Friedrich Froriep (1779-1847) and over thirty guests, including Herder, were invited to the dedication of the enlarged premises. In 1798 his son Carl had come of age and in 1800 he had become partner in the Repository. He had studied the history of art, geography and natural sciences in Jena and in 1800 took over the editing of the Bilderbuch für Kinder and this was followed by editorship of the Journal des Luxus und der Moden and the periodical London und Paris. He was sent to Paris to complete his education in 1803 and there he made contact with important scholars. A visit to Vienna followed in 1605 and he married in 1607. He soon became his father's right-hand man in all aspects of his wide-ranging business. In 1604 there appeared what described itself as a "Type specimen of the Royal Saxon Privileged Regional Industrial Repository". This specimen took the opportunity not only of providing interested parties with samples of the types available but of outlining the wide range of facilities in his newly enlarged premises. It informed the reader:
Because some time ago we extended our former establishment and have furthermore added our own completely new printing works, this new facility enables us to offer our services to our business friends for all types of printing commissions, and we therefore presume to offer you a brief guide to it. We have at present:There then follow clauses from an agreement by the typefounder:
1. Our own book printing works of six presses, which we can immediately enlarge to twelve or sixteen presses through a couple of associated printers.
2. A copperplate printing works of nine to twelve presses.
3. A map engraving establishment.
4. A copper engraving establishment for figures, scientific objects and decorative vignettes which also takes care of the preliminary drawing.
5. A large, well-equipped premises for colouring.
6. Our own binding workshop.
7. A type cutting and founding establishment which, although not our own, has been secured and fixed to it by a special pledge.
I therefore legally bind myself:The agreement is signed Just Erich Walbaum and bears witness to one of Bertuch's greatest coups, the luring of Johann Gebhard Justus Erich Walbaum (1766- 1637) from Goslar to Weimar.
1. that I will not diminsh or decrease my aforesaid type foundry whether by sale or by neglect of its several parts but will rather increase and improve it; likewise
2. neither will I without the prior knowledge and consent of Legations-Rath Bertuch borrow upon it or mortgage it; and
3. I will not regard the same as my own property until such time as the above two sections are annulled and thereby the security of Leg. Rath Bertuch is rescinded
To these several points I have myself drawn up this present obligation in a document, signed it and sealed it myself.
Walbaum had started his working career as a grocer and at one stage was a manufacturer of patty pans, He then discovered his talent for engraving and engraved sheet music for the publisher Spehr of Brunswick, In 1796 Ernst Kirchner, printer to the city of Goslar in the Harz, was granted a privilege to set up a typefoundry. He ceded his rights to Walbaum, who soon began to receive orders from various parts of Germany, including Weimar. A particularly large order by Bertuch was instrumental in his moving to Weimar in 1603 where, with the financial support of Bertuch, his foundry became one of the most important in Germany. He perfected the roman types developed by Prillwitz and his antiqua has been recut by the Monotype Corporation. In 1828 he handed over the control of the foundry to his son Theodor who predeceased him in 1836. He then sold the foundry to Brockhaus of Leipzig, but did not long outlive his son, dying in Weimar in 1837.
The mention in the advertisement of a map engraving establishment reflects another development in Bertuch's career. Since 1798 Bertuch had been publishing the Allgemeine geographischen Ephemeriden, the first important geographical periodical in Germany, which continued to appear until 1832. This had been established under the editorship of Bertuch and Franz Xaver Freiherr von Zach (1754-1831) who had been director of the astronomical observatory at Seeberg near Gotha since 1787. Within two years a difference with Bertuch had developed and he left to found a rival periodical, the Zachsche monatliche Korrespondenz in Gotha. Another colleague, Adam Christian Gaspari (1752-1830), immediately stepped in to take over the editorship. Gaspari had been known to Bertuch since at least 1789 when he had produced a programme for the reform of the teaching of geography. This was published by the Repository in 1791 and formed the roots from which the Geographical Institute was to grow. The first course required the provision of specially produced maps, burdened with as little detail as possible. This course, together with an atlas of fifteen maps specially produced by Franz Ludwig Güssefeld, appeared in 1792. In the following year appeared the second course, with an atlas containing thirty maps, this time more detailed. The third course, accompanied by conventional maps, but still not overburdened with detail, would take the teaching virtually to university level. The atlas intended for this began publication in 1797 as did the first volume of the full handbook of geography. The handbook completed its publication with the fifth volume in 1804, the atlas, delayed by the wars, was not completed until 1807. In 1800 Matthias Christian Sprengel (1745-1803) began a series of accounts of recent travels aiming to improve the knowledge of geography according to a systematic plan. This series was to run to 115 volumes over the next thirty-five years.
With such an emphasis on geographical publications and maps, it seems a logical development that Bertuch and Gaspari's plan should culminate in 1804 with the foundation of a separate Geographical Institute. The enterprising Bertuch soon found new work for the Institute to undertake. There was as yet no large-scale map of the German area, the project undertaken by the Prussians to produce an official series at a scale of 1: 200,000 having been interrupted by the French occupation of October 1806 after only six of the intended 342 sheets had appeared. Bertuch saw has opportunity to fill this gap and in January 1807 announced his intention to produce a topographical and military map of Germany at a scale of 1:180,000 in 204 sheets. Between three and four sheets were to appear each month, a rash undertaking in the midst of the Napoleonic wars, but by 1820 over 400 sheets had been published and the coverage had been extended to include Switzerland, Holland and Poland. A full second edition was called for from 1831. The novel idea was developed of printing a reference sheet on the back of each plan to show the progress of the whole undertaking by indicating each published plan with a diagonal mark.
Bertuch probably considered that the publication of maps would be a profitable undertaking during a period of war. On 4 October 1806 for example he wrote: "Yesterday and today eight regiments passed through here and my Repository often looks more like the office of the general staff because officers and messengers jostle to obtain maps." But the war did bring its share of problems to Bertuch. He had published the Prussian declaration of war in 1806 and withdrew to Jena in the face of e advancing French army. His son Carl was left to defend the house from plunderers, sword in hand, and this despite the fact that Goethe had mentioned the Repository to the French commandant as a cultural institution that was to be specially regarded. Bertuch returned at the end of October only to see his old friend Kraus die in his house on 5 November after rough treatment by marauding French soldiers. In the following year he published a generous tribute to his fellow worker. In 1807 Bertuch could still claim that he had been able to protect both his businesses and had so far not. had to layoff any of his workers. Nevertheless he had to suffer billetting of troops and in 1808 during the conference at Brfurt, where Napoleon met Tsar Alexander and Goethe met Napoleon, the King of Wurttemberg stayed in his house. In February 1810 however he wrote to the town council requesting that no soldier above the rank of captain should be billetted on him as he was a little embarrassed for accommodation during the winter. Even the peace deliberations brought their problems, as he explained to Duke Karl August in January 1815: "The geographical presses are standing empty as the negotiations at the Congress of Vienna are dragging on and the new boundaries are not yet fixed." It was as a result of the congress that Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach acquired the territory of Neustadt from Saxony and became a Grand Duchy and many of Bertuch' s maps had to be revised to cater for these and other changes.
An interesting link with the London publisher and printseller Ackermann is to be found during this period. In 1815 Bertuch was on the committee that distributed the funds raised through Watson and Ackermann for the relief of German suffering as a result of the Napoleonic wars,a sum of £1,650 being allocated to the Duchy out of a total of £100,000 raised.
On a personal level too these were years of suffering for Bertuch. On 14 December 1810 Bertuch's wife Caroline died and in 1813 Wieland's body was laid out in the hall of Bertuch's house. But an equally bitter blow was in store for Bertuch in 1815.
For many years he had fought against the "rascals, freebooters and pirates" who exploited the fact that there was no copyright legislation in Germany. Anyone could reprint without paying royalties and the market was flooded with cheap unauthorized editions which troubled even the great classical writers of Welmar. Bertuch was affected as an author as well as a publisher and supported all efforts to put the book trade in the hands of scholars. As long ago as 1781 he had been involved in the establishment in Dessau of the Buchhandlung der Gelehrten, a cooperative bookshop established by Karl Christoph Reiche to specialize in books that scholars had printed at their own expense. The author was guaranteed two thirds of the retail price, the bookshop undertaking to meet all other expenses from the remaining third. In 1783 when Georg Joachim Goschen entered the firm as manager the enterprise was flourishing and it had opened premises in Leipzig, but it received insufficient support from authors and closed in 1785.
In 1815 Carl Bertuch was on the deputation of German booksellers elected at the previous Leipzig autumn fair who presented the delegates at the Congress of Vienna with a petition to work towards a consistent legal protection of copyright in all German states. However the Confederation called into life by the Congress of Vienna was a grouping of sovereign states and had no power to legislate. Nevertheless article 18 of the declaration of 8 June 1815 commissioned the Confederate Assembly at its first session to look into the question of a unified copyright law. Carl Bertuch, who had represented his father on many such occasions, returned home to Weimar where he died on 15 October at the relatively early age of 37.
Bertuch was now 68 years old and there was no heir to his empire. His daughter had married Ludwig Friedrich von Froriep in 1801 and he had pursued a successful medical career. In 1802 he had become professor at the university at Jena and after studying in Paris and the Netherlands had become Professor of Gynaecology at Halle in 1806. In 1808 he became Professor of Surgery and Gynaecology at the University of Tübingen, was granted noble rank and in 1815 became the personal physician of the King of Wurttemberg. But Froriep felt himself too indebted to his father-inlaw not to step into the breach and in the spring of 1816 he arrived in Weimar , where Bertuch had obtained for him the position of Chief Medical Officer. Besides these official duties Froriep acted as partner in the business, taking over full direction in 1818, as well as practising as a doctor and writing important medical works. The publication of medical literature became an important part of the Repository's programme. Froriep was also instrumental in persuading the Munich lithographer Falger to move to Weimar and set up a printing works with three presses in 1819.
The liberal nationalism that had inspired Carl Bertuch survived his death. Carl had visited the site of the Battle of the Nations and experienced the pride of being no longer a member of the French dominated Confederation of the Rhein but a German once mere. He signed an appeal for contributions towards the arming of a Weimar contingent of volunteers and was clearly in sympathy with the young liberals who hoped that a united Germany would arise from the devastation of the Napoleonic wars. These feelings were especially strong in the University of Jena where Heinrich Luden was the young Professor of History. In 1814 he edited the periodical for politics and history Nemesis which was published by Bertuch. Its motto was to be "impartial towards what has happened but partial in the cause of truth, justice and freedom." The first Burschenschaft, a progressive student group, was established in Jena in 1815, and in 1817 it was instrumental in organizing a meeting of students from all parts of Germany at the Wartburg Castle, situated near Eisenach in Karl August's Duchy. Such meetings were looked on with alarm by reactionaries such as Metternich, but Bertuch was in a favoured location for the publication of liberal works. Grand Duke Karl August was the first German monarch after the Congress of Vienna to grant his people a constitution which included the freedom of the press. This positive attitude explains why on 1 January 1817 there appeared with Ducal privilege the first issue of Oppositions-Blatt oder Weimariscbe Zeitung, Weimar's first daily newspaper and an important organ of liberal opinion. However the court at Weimar had to cede to the pressures of Vienna and Berlin and in 1818 an official censor was attached to the newspaper. Nemesis was forced to cease publication that year, and the Oppositions- Blatt was severely affected by the repressive measures introduced by the Carlsbad Conference convened after the stabbing of the writer Kotzebue by a student in March 1819. These included strict regulation of the universities, the disbanding of subversive groups, enquiries into alleged revolutionary activities and the reimposition of censorship. The newspaper ceased publication in 1820.
On 27 January 1821 Bertuch's sister-in-law Auguste Slevoigt died. Since the death of Bertuch' s wife she had run the household and Bertuch now lived in the house with the Frorieps, Carl's widow and the grandchildren. On 3 April 1822 he himself died and was buried in his beloved garden. Charlotte and Ludwig Friedrich von Froriep inherited the house and business.
The size of the business that Bertuch left can be judged by an examination of the 1821 catalogue produced for the Leipzig fair. About 550 titles were listed in its eighty pages which can be broken down as follows:
2% Education, philosophy, philologyA note on a plan of Weimar published in 1826 reveals the extent of the business in the years immediately after Bertuch's death:
8% History, politics. law
7% Military science
12% Natural sciences
7% Medicine, surgery, pharmacy, veterinary medicine
The 224 geographical items include:9 textbooks and maps for schools
37 geographical maps
7 terrestrial and heavenly globes.
The Regional Industrial Repository and Geographical Institute, the former founded in 1791 by the worthy Bertuch, is one of the most extensive private literary enterprises in Germany. Apart from the scholars inside and outside the town, it gives employment to about 280 artists, engravers, rolling- press printers, lithographers, colourers, compositors and pressmen, has six presses, its own copperplate printing works and a lithographic printing works. In 1825 it maintained ten periodicals in production and supplied, not counting the maps, some sixty new publications or continuations for the two book fairs in Leipzig.This figure of 280 employees indicates that in a town of about 9,000 persons about one tenth of the economically active population was employed by Froriep. How was it possible for such an impressive undertaking to flourish in a small town like Weimar? The presence of the literary figures of Goethe, Schiller and Wieland are only part of the answer. Although they did contribute to his periodical publications, they had all their major works published outside Weimar, Goethe and Schiller for example by Göschen in Leipzig and later by Cotta in Tübingen. Göschen also published works by Wieland. In Berlin Unger printed many works by the classical authors of Weimar. Although he knew these writers well, Bertuch was not mainly involved in fine literature.
In fact the presence of these intellectual giants may have favoured Bertuch in another way. An anonymous writer says of Weimar in 1796:
"Everything lives from the luxury of a narrow court [...] whose lesser nobility is partly too poor and partly consists of learned and fine minds who think too philosophically to make any outward display on account of the court. Weimar possesses neither factories nor trade nor good communications. Admittedly the Industrial Repository of Herr Bertuch has made the term "industry" current in Weimar for a little while but this is the only trace of industry that exists there.Even in 1828 Karl Julius Weber could comment that "It seems that Bertuch's Industrial Repository, which has done as much for literature, geography, natural history, art etc. as for luxury and fashion, is the only evidence of industry that one can find here. People seem to rely too much on the court."
But to put Bertuch's success'down simply to lack of opposition neglects the personal qualities necessary for the success of such an enterprise; qualities such as his immense energy and his inexhaustible capacity for taking a detailed and informed interest in a wide range of activities. This paper is confined to Bertuch's publishing activity. It ignores the many years of public service that he gave in a variety of offices. The people of Weimar can thank him today for his work as head of the parks administration which laid out the gardens along the river Ilm, parts of them, significantly, in the "English style". He sought to export to the United States textiles from Weimar and Eisenach as well as porcelain from the factory that he directed on behalf of the Duke in Ilmenau. In the 1790s he was involved in mining operations in Ilmenau and the provision of weapons and equipment for the Prussian army in Mainz. During the Napoleonic wars he directed a hospital. Salt works in Nancy, Château-Salins and Bad Kissingen also attracted his attention, not always to his financial advantage. His scientific interests earned him an honorary doctorate at the University of Halle in 1806 and he was a member of a number of learned societies.
Even with his enterprises at their most extensive he was still able to involve himself in the technical details of book production. Here is for example the note by Bertuch on a proof of a map of Paris which he was publishing in 1805:
"N.B. These leaves have been dried for three days in my room before they were printed and the usual colours which, as is known, should have no gum, were used, and these proofs have turned out just as bad as the previous ones. FJB."On a more general level is a note detailing the number of individuals involved in the production of a map:
Draft for a practical organization of the map-publishing undertaken by the Regional Industrial Repository.Bertuch then continues by going into details of the responsibilities of each of these persons and many other procedures. Examples only can be cited here:
Before a map can reach the point of sale the following persons are involved with the same:
I. The person who draws [engraves?] the map.
II. The corrector of the drawing.
III. The engraver of the text.
IV. The proofreader.
V. The proof corrector.
VI. The copperplate printer.
VII. The person who prepares the directions for colouring.
VIII. The colourist.
IX. The corrector of the colouring.
17c. If the number of corrections whether for the whole map or for indi vidual squares of the same amounts to 1/8 of the number of words or more, then each mistake is to be fined 1 groschen.Another of Bertuch's notes reflects the complexity of workflow in his wide-ranging business. Almost each of the titles mentioned is an important periodical or part work:
17d. If the number of corrections [...] amounts to 1/16 of the words or more, then each mistake is to be fined 6 Pfennigs.
21. In order to give the maps appearing in the publishing house of the L. Industrie Comptoir the most complete uniformity of engraving style it will be necessary for once and for all to designate a certain number of styles of lettering to which the engravers of text will have to conform.
VIc. that the more fInely engraved plates should at least partly be printed warm so that, even if this makes the maps more expensive in the beginning, it will strengthen the sale on account of the more attractive appearance.
VId. that the water with which the printing paper is moistened should have some alum thrown into it, which will make the task of the colourer much easier.
Allocation of the literary work by days of the week.It is not surprising that Bertuch should experiment with ways Of improving efficiency in printing. For a number of years Gaspari's geographical textbooks were kept in standing type. On 27 June 1816 the manager of the Geographical Institute drew up an account for Bertuch:
Sunday - Book printing, copperplate printing, Geograph. Inst.
Monday - 1. London und Paris. 2. Moden Journal. 3. Gartenmagazin.
Tuesday - 1. A[llgemeine]. G[eographische]. E[phemeriden]. - Sprengels Bibliothek und Landchartenwesen. 2. Gasparis Handbuch und Lehrbücher.
Wednesday - 1. My tables of N[aturalJ Hist[ory]. 2. Outline and commentary. 3. Voigts Magazin.
Thursday - 1. Journal fur Kinder. 2. Bilderbuch. 3. T[eutscher] Merkur
Friday - 1. Handels Magaz[in]. 2. Histor[isches] Journal. 3. Kriegskunst [Military science].
Saturday - 1. A[llgemeine]. L[iteratur]. Z[eitung]. 2. Societ[äts] Buchhandlung. 3. Hallischer Verlag.
According to the following accurate statement of the printing accounts the cost of printing 13, 250 copies from standing type amounts to 1,236 taler. Supposing that the types, which as unemployed capital must be taken into account, became unusable after several impressions, they would only retain a scrap value of 17 taler a hundredweight. 14½ hundredweight of type are involved which at 17 taler accounts for 268, leaving 968 taler. It must also be noted that the types for the first course, which had already been used by the printers, can scarcely be accounted even as of half value, consequently if the types were newly cast the costs would rise significantly. From the preceding account it can already be seen that this undertaking has so far brought no advantages, since the 8th impression of the first course text book printed in 1806 in 21 sheets (thus 1½ sheets greater than the 10th and 11th) consisted of 5,000 copies and printing cost according to the printing accounts of that time 226 taler 23 groschen. Three such impressions cost 680 taler 2 groschen. Consequently 15,000 copies were printed in the normal manner for 287 taler 3 groschen less than 13,250 copies with standing type.Ludwig Friedrich von Froriep continued to run the business but without the commitment and success of his father-in-law. Already in 1832 he was thinking of selling the business, either completely or simply the Geographical Institute, to avoid the threat of bankruptcy. In 1844 he asked his son Robert (1804-61) to take over. But, like his father he was a successful academic, being Professor of Medicine in Jena in 1831 and in Berlin in 1833. He expressed his unwillingness: "either my career here or the Repository or I myself will be destroyed and I find neither of these three perspectives attractive." In an extensive memorandum to his father he pointed out the problems in which the business found itself and the conditions on which he would take it over. So in 1845 the father had to sell the business to Robert for 30,000 taler, but not so that he could conduct it to the end of his life as his father had intended, but only so that Robert could build it up to a point where he could sell the business for a reasonable sum and provide for his dependents. By 1855 he had built up the business to such an extent that he was able to sell it to Ludwig Denike, the manager of the publisher Cotta in Stuttgart, while retaining the possession of the house and grounds. Robert Froriep died in the house in 1861 and his widow, sister and two daughters continued to live there for many years. In the same year Denicke was forced to sell the business to the Leipzig booksellers Voigt and Gunther. The Repository was broken up in 1868 when the partnership between Voigt and Gunther's successor Karl Gräf was dissolved. The Geographical Institute passed through a number of hands with a generally diminishing reputation until it disappeared from Weimar directories in 1905. The house itself was used for a wide range of purposes including a period as the headquarters of the National Socialist Party for Thüringen. Since 1954 it has housed the Town Museum.
It would seem therefore that it was largely Bertuch's dynamism that had brought this immense structure into being and that it could not long survive his death. But a remark by Goethe may serve to explain how it was possible for such an undertaking to take foot in a small town like Weimar. Talking to Eckermann of the effect that German disunity had had on the spread of culture he comments: "Suppose that Germany had for centuries only two capital cities, Vienna and Berlin, or only one even, where would German culture be then, I should like to know? [...] Germany has over twenty universities, spread out all over the Empire, and more than one hundred public libraries, equally widely spread [...]" The very fragmentation of Germany meant that such institutions could flourish wherever one of the more than 300 petty states could offer favourable conditions. The third edition of the Almanach de la librarie, compiled by Antoine Perrin in 1781 listed 262 firms in 90 German towns which were significant enough to come to the attention of the Frenchman. This compares with 82 firms in only five towns in the more centralised kingdom of England. None of the German towns reached the figure of 73 firms listed for London, the most numerous being 29 in Leipzig, 19 in Berlin, 14 in Nuremberg, 13 in Frankfurt and 12 in Halle. Perrin's information is patchy and unreliable for firms outside France, but the general pattern of distribution is significant. Perhaps it would not be too much to suggest that it was the progressive unification of Germany after the Congress of Vienna as much as the lack of competence of Bertuch'S successors that led to a situation where a large business located in a small town like Weimar could no longer hold its own against the larger centres.
Whatever the final explanation of the rise and fall of Bertuch's Landes-Industrie-Comptoir, it is clear that it operated in political and economic circumstances very different from those in England and over a period of time when there were many changes. It is salutary for historians of the book trade in Britain to cast the occasional glance across the Channel and realize that there are other backgrounds against which the book trade had to operate. The background in Germany was indeed a complex one with its jigsaw of petty states, some liberal but many repressive, its lack of copyright protection, its variety of currencies, and its dependence on the trade fairs in Leipzig and Frankfurt to provide a point of focus. That Bertuch was able to build up a business that made a significant contribution in the fields of geography, education, fashion and many other areas speaks well for the diverse capabilities of the man who modestly styled himself a "literary midwife" .
Bertuch, Friedrich Justin. Wie versorgt ein kleiner Staat am besten seine Armen und steuert der Bettelei? : Nachdruck der 1782 anonym erschienenen Schrift. Weimar: Stadtmuseum, 1978. (Weimarer Schriften zur Heimatgeschichte und Naturkunde; Heft 39).
Bohadti, Gustav. Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch. Berlin: H. Berthold Messinglinienfabrik und Schriftgießerei, 1968.
Feldmann, Wilhelm. Friedrich Justin Bertuch: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Goethezeit. Saarbrucken, 1902.
Fink, F. Persönlichkeiten des klassischen Weimar: Heft 1: Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch: der Schöpfer des Landes-Industrie-Comptoirs. Weimar, 1934.
Fleischer, Elisabeth. Das Bertuchsche Landes-Industrie-Comptoir in Weimar und die Bedeutung des Anteils der Naturwissenschaften im Verlagsprogramm. 1964. Abschlußarbeit, Fachschule fur Museologen.
Heinemann, Albrecht von. Ein Kaufmann der Goethezeit: Friedrich Justin Bertuchs Leben und Werk. Weimar: Hermann BOhlaus Nachfolger, 1955.
Herbst, Wolfgang. Ludwig Friedrich Froriep (1779-1847): Leben und Wirken. 1961. Dissertation, Medizinische Fakultät der Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle- Wittenberg.
Holtzhauer, Helmut. Dem Andenken an Friedrich Justin Bertuch zum 150 Todestag am 3 April 1972. Weimar: Stadtmuseum, 1972. (Weimarer Schriften zur Heimatgeschichte und Naturkunde; Heft 18). Reprints: Über die Wichtigkeit der Landes-Industrie-Institute fur Deutschland (1793) and Über die Mittel, Naturgeschichte gemeinnütziger zu machen und in das praktische Leben einzuführen (1799).
Huschke, Wolfgang. Bertuch: 6 Seiten aus einem ungedruckten Manuskript. Weimar, 1954.
Kaiser. Paul. Das Haus am Baumgarten: Tei1 1: Friedrich Justin Bertuch, sein Haus "am Baumgarten" und die Wirksamkeit seines Landes-Industrie- Comptoirs. Weimar: Stadtmuseum, 1980. (Weimarer Schriften zur Heimatgeschichte und Naturkunde ; Heft 32).
Koch, Artur. Ein "Orbis pictus" der Goethezeit: Friedrich Justin Bertuch und sein Bilderbuch für Kinder. Weimar: Stadtmuseum, 1975. (Weimarer Schriften zur Heimatgeschichte und Naturkunde ; Heft 26).
Lesewuth, Raubdruck und Bücherluxus: das Buch in der Goethe-Zeit: eine Ausstellung des Goethe-Museums, Düsseldorf Anton-und-Katharina Kippenberg- Stiftung. Düsseldorf: Goethe-Museum, 1977. Reprints many contemporary documents.
Pischel, F. Friedrich Justin Bertuch: ein Unternehmer im klassischen Weimar. 1925. (Thüringer Heimatkundliche Blätter. Beilage der Allgemeinen Thüringischen Landeszeitung Deutschland; Nummer 6, Juni 1925.)
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