Böhlau publishing house

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Commemorative plaque to Hermann Böhlau and his publishing house at today's City Archives Weimar, the former publishing house (Kleine Teichgasse 6)

The Böhlau Publishing is a scientific publisher and magazine publisher based in Vienna (Böhlau Verlag GmbH & Co. KG) and Cologne (Böhlau Verlag GmbH & Cie.), A branch in Weimar . According to his own statements, the focus of his program is on titles “from the historically oriented humanities ”. The publishing house was taken over by the Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht publishing group in early 2017 . The Böhlau brand will be continued.


The company goes back to a printing company that already existed at the court of the Weimar princes . It was set up in 1624 by order of Duke Johann Ernst I , who had granted the printer Johann Weidner the right to print in Jena and Weimar in 1618. In 1659 the printing house was transferred to private ownership.

1853 it acquired the from Halle (Saale) originating bookseller Hermann Böhlau (1826 to 1900) and founded the publishing house, became international with its legal and linguistic and literary historical works reputation. Among other things, he brought out Goethe's collected works in 143 volumes, the so-called Weimar or "Sophienausgabe", named after the patroness Grand Duchess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (the wife of Grand Duke Carl Alexander ), the authoritative edition of Martin Luther's works as well the journal for historical jurisprudence (today journal of the Savigny Foundation for legal history ). Soon after Böhlaus death, the publishing house was renamed Hermann Böhlaus successor .

During the Great Depression of the 1920s, one of the publishers' authors, the legal scholar Professor Karl Rauch (1880–1953), took over first the Zeitschrift für Rechtsgeschichte (1924), then the entire publishing house. After the end of the Second World War, Rauch founded a new publishing house in Marburg in 1947, which he named Böhlau Verlag in 1951; In 1957 the company was relocated to Cologne. Another publisher of the same name was set up in Graz and later moved to Vienna.

Despite the division of Germany and the founding of the GDR, the parent company in Weimar remained as a privately run publisher. The head and limited partner Dr. Leiva Petersen (1912–1992) received a personal operating license in 1946 and in 1947, with the consent of Karl Rauch, became a personally liable partner of the Weimar publishing house. Despite adverse conditions, Petersen managed to maintain the high scientific level for decades, the major editions of works - including the Schiller National Edition and the Luther Edition - as well as renowned yearbooks such as B. the Shakespeare yearbook and the Hanse yearbook to continue. In addition, she expanded the publishing program to include historical, art and cultural-historical literature. Business contacts continued to exist with the West German Böhlau Verlag within the framework of what was politically feasible.

However, as a private company in the socialist country became increasingly difficult to keep, Leiva Petersen decided in 1978 to sell the publishing house Hermann Böhlaus Successor Weimar to the Academy of Sciences of the GDR . The Rauch family agreed to the takeover in 1979. Petersen managed the publishing house until 1983.

After the end of the GDR, the Böhlau Verlag Cologne / Vienna was unable to reverse this sale. The Hermann Böhlaus successor publishing house was taken over in 1998 by JB Metzler publishing house , which belonged to the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group . On June 30, 2002 the publishing house in Weimar was closed. Since then, the publisher has only existed as an imprint at JB Metzler, who in turn was taken over by Springer Nature in 2015 .

The Böhlau Verlag Köln und Wien opened its own branch in Weimar in 1990 and after 1998 took over a number of book series from Hermann Böhlaus successor.


Title of the series Values ​​of the German Homeland published by Böhlau Verlag

Today's program of the Böhlau Verlag primarily includes publications from the field of history (including cultural, art and legal history) as well as literature and linguistics. Examples of series works are values ​​of the German homeland , the Rheinisches Archiv , Forum Ibero-Americanum , contributions to historical educational research , Eastern European handbooks, English studies and several dissertation series. There are also magazines such as the Archive for Diplomatics , the Archive for Cultural History , the International Journal for Communication Research and the German Dante Yearbook . Since 2001, Böhlau has been one of the shareholder publishers of the scientific Uni-Taschenbücher- Verlag (UTB).

Literature (selection)

  • Konrad Marwinski : From the Hofbuchdruckerei to the Böhlau publishing house. History of the Hofbuchdruckerei in Weimar from its beginnings to 1853 . Edited for the 350th anniversary of the publishing house. Böhlau, Weimar 1974.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 220 of September 20, 2016, p. 11.
  2. Böhlau goes to the German publishing group. In: orf.at , September 19, 2016, accessed on November 22, 2016.
    Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht publishing group takes over Böhlau Verlag. APA report at derStandard.at , September 19, 2016, accessed on November 22, 2016.
  3. Christoph Links, The fate of the GDR publishers. Privatization and its consequences, revised new edition, Berlin 2016, p. 111 f.
  4. Christoph Links, The fate of the GDR publishers. Privatization and its consequences, revised new edition, Berlin 2016, p. 112 f.
  5. Coming and going: The publishing house Hermann Böhlaus successor disappears from Weimar. Berliner Zeitung , February 13, 2002, accessed on November 22, 2016.