Anton Philipp Reclam

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Photography Reclams (ca.1887)

Anton Philipp Reclam (born June 28, 1807 in Leipzig ; † January 5, 1896 there ) was a publisher and bookseller in Leipzig.


Reclam came from a family of the Evangelical Reformed faith who had come to Berlin from Savoy via Geneva . His father Carl Heinrich Reclam (1776-1844) ran a bookstore and a publishing house in Leipzig since 1802 . Reclam completed a four-year apprenticeship with his uncle Friedrich Vieweg , who continued Joachim Heinrich Campe's school bookshop in Braunschweig . In 1828 Reclam acquired the “Literary Museum” in Leipzig, a lending library and reading room, to which he joined a publishing company. Since 1837 it traded as "Philipp Reclam jun." ( Reclam-Verlag). Reclam published the entertaining and the classic, magazines such as “Charivari” and the democratic people's newspaper “Leipziger Lokomotive”. He became involved with anti-restorative, anti- Habsburg writings, so that in 1846 his publishing house for Austria was banned and he himself was brought to justice in Leipzig “for publicly degrading religion” (publication of the religious book “Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine ). After a clever delay and the revolution that broke out in 1848, he did not serve the three-month prison sentence . After the revolution of 1848/49 he maintained a mixed publishing program: song collections, piano reductions from operas, Bible editions, ancient classics, dictionaries. Reclam, who had also had his own printing shop since 1839, was particularly keen to ensure high-circulation and inexpensive book production using the most advanced techniques ( stereotype ). 1867, with the revision of copyright law in the German Confederation , the historic hour struck for Reclam. The authors becoming in the public domain 30 years after their death regulated the reprint for German classics. Reclam founded - with the help of his son Hans Heinrich Reclam , who has been working in the company since 1863 - the " Universal Library " which promised "a publication of all classic works of our literature", plus "the best works of foreign and dead literatures ... in good German translations "And also works that" enjoy general popularity "announced. This universal library was not the only one on the German book market in 1867 as a low-price series and classic edition, but thanks to the social impetus from Vormärz , the educational tradition of the Goethe era and the publisher's business acumen, as well as a prosperous period in history. It distributed world literature on cheap terms.

Anton Philipp Reclam's grave in the old Johannisfriedhof in Leipzig

Anton Philipp Reclam died on January 5th, 1896 at the age of 88 in Leipzig and was buried there in the New Johannisfriedhof . In the course of secularization, the sarcophagus came from the family grave to the old Johannisfriedhof , where it was placed in the lapidarium. After his death, his son Hans Heinrich Reclam (1840–1920) continued the publishing house. The physician Karl Heinrich Reclam was his brother.

Later years

Until Reclam's death (1896) the universal library grew to 3470 "numbers", in 1945 the "number" 7610 appeared. Until the present day, after the great-grandson Heinrich Reclam carried out the reconstruction in Stuttgart after the Second World War , Reclam's universal library remained Library the longest existing book series in Germany. It became a factor in cultural history and had a lasting impact on educational life. As a publisher, Reclam was "the inventor of the mass editions for the masses, the forefather of the modern large publishing house and the pluralistic paperback programs" (Heinrich Friedrich).


  • From 1832 Reclam was a member of the Leipzig Freemason Lodge Minerva .
  • In 1892 Reclam was one of the founders of the Leipzig Freemason Lodge Phönix .
Plaque in honor of Reclam in front of the Reclam office building, completed in 1905, on Inselstrasse, Leipzig


The following places were named after AP Reclam:


Web links

Commons : Anton Philipp Reclam  - Collection of images, videos and audio files