Constantin von Wurzbach

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End pages to "Biographical Lexicon of the Austrian Empire"
Obituary for Constant v. Wurzbach-Tannenberg
Signature of Dr Constant von Wurzbach-Tannenberg , 1859

Knight Constant Wurzbach von Tannenberg (born April 11, 1818 in Laibach , † August 18, 1893 in Berchtesgaden ) was an Austrian bibliographer , lexicographer and writer . His life's work is the 60-volume Biographical Lexicon of the Austrian Empire .



Wurzbach, who was baptized with the name Eduard Konstantin Michael, was the seventh of ten sons of the lawyer Maximilian Wurzbach (who was raised to the nobility in 1854 with the predicate "Edler von Tannenberg") and Josefina Pinter. He grew up in Ljubljana and completed a degree in philosophy at the Lyceum there . Inspired by contacts with writers from Ljubljana, he made his own poetic “steps” and worked for magazines. Inspired by the poetry of Nikolaus Lenau and Anastasius Grüns in his early youth , he wrote poems in German with his eldest brother Karl - both of whom belonged to the group of free-minded youth at the time. Several poems appeared in the Illyrische Blätter as early as 1834 . In 1835 he self-published his own poem, which he dedicated to one of his professors. In 1837 he published a translation of a sonnet by Cesare Betteloni (1808-1858).

Military time

His father, who disliked his son's poetic inclinations and " perhorresziert " them strictly , urged him to study law , which he started at the University of Graz in 1835 , but gave up after four semesters. He then joined the Galician Infantry Regiment "Count Nugent" in 1837 as a soldier , which was stationed in Krakow . As a cadet and under the pseudonym W. Constant , which was later used for lyrical and epic publications , he published his first volume of poems, Mosaik , in 1841 , which he dedicated to his father. Since he circumvented the censorship regulations for this, he negotiated a reprimand.

After being promoted to lieutenant in 1841, Wurzbach was assigned to a garrison in Lemberg . Parallel to his career as an officer , he studied at the university there and in 1843 was the first active Austrian officer to acquire a doctorate in philosophy . At the end of the same year he resigned from the army and took a job as a scriptor at the Lviv University Library. Then his father wrote to him to translate scriptor into German, then he would know what he is.

Private life, other activities

In 1843 he married Antonie Hinzinger, in the same year his daughter, the later actress and acting teacher, Theodora von Fiedler-Wurzbach and in 1845 the son Alfred , in 1849 the son Friedrich was born.

In 1847 Wurzbach took a position at the Lemberger Zeitung and experienced the revolutionary year of 1848 as a political journalist. From October, initially formally assigned to the court library in Vienna , he was offered the post of archivist in the Ministry of the Interior in December. He was given the task of building a library that would provide government agencies with the materials required for legislation. In April 1849 Wurzbach became the librarian of the administrative library and held this position until 1874.

Wurzbach had described his own work as "writing in the poetic, literary and cultural-historical and biographical field". During his several years' stay "in a Polish country" he learned its language, gained deeper insight into the interesting and rich literature of the Poles and was also active as a translator for the German people.

As part of this activity, bibliographical and biographical works were created, including the bibliographical-statistical overview of the literature of the Austrian imperial state that was published between 1853 and 1856 . After the years of construction, the importance of the library decreased and bibliographic work had to be stopped in 1859. Wurzbach's work Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich , begun in 1855 , of which three volumes had appeared by 1858, was subsidized by the Imperial Academy of Sciences until it was completed in 1891. Wurzbach brought together over 24,000 biographies.

The death of his first wife in 1873 was followed by marriage to Karola (Caroline) Varga (approx. 1851–1944) on July 15, 1874. In 1876, their daughter Constance was born.

Elevation to the knighthood

In recognition of his literary merits, Constantin von Wurzbach, KK government councilor and head of the administrative library in the Ministry of the Interior, was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Franz Joseph Order by the Austrian Emperor and, in 1874, the Order of the Iron Crown III. Class awarded. With the award of the Order of the Iron Crown, Wurzbach's elevation to the hereditary Austrian knighthood was connected.

coat of arms

Fourth shield: 1: in silver on green ground through which a blue stream flows, a natural fir tree; 2: in red on a green three mountain three cut natural tree trunks with two knots each; 3: in blue a golden ball between two golden diagonal bars each with a blue star; 4: in silver on a green lawn, a red fort with two tin towers and a gate with a half-raised black portcullis, on the three-stepped gable a blue eagle. On the shield two helmets, on the right helmet with blue-silver blankets a wild man growing forward in a green foliage apron, holding an uprooted natural fir tree with his right hand, his left hand on his hip; on the left helmet with red and gold covers an armored arm, whose hand holds an open book with the letters AEIOU ; Motto : Sincere et constanter (upright and constant).

Old age and death

Residential or Wurzbachhaus in Berchtesgaden

After his knighthood, Wurzbach lived in Berchtesgaden until his death in 1893.

Although he was always objective and open-minded about anything foreign, he had cultivated German traditions and at the same time - despite some disappointments - remained an Austrian patriot with all his heart. Wurzbach found his final resting place in the - now "old" - cemetery in Berchtesgaden, and as the inscription says: "Far from the fatherland, which remembers it gratefully."

In 1894, Wurzbachgasse in Vienna's Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (15th district) was named after him.


  • The folk songs of the Poles and Ruthenians . Vienna 1846
  • Parallels . Wiegand, Leipzig 1849
  • The proverbs of the Poles explained historically . 2nd edition, Vienna 1852
  • The churches of the city of Krakow . Vienna 1853
  • The emperor's page: a poem of loyalty. Düsseldorf: Arnz, 1854. Digitized edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf
  • Bibliographical-statistical overview of the literature of the Austrian imperial state . 3 parts, Vienna 1853–1856
  • Biographical lexicon of the Austrian Empire . 60 volumes, Vienna 1856–1891
  • The Schiller book . Vienna 1859
  • Joseph Haydn and his brother Michael . Vienna 1862
  • Historical words, proverbs and sayings . (3rd issue, Prague 1863)
  • Glimpf and Schimpf in saying and word . Vienna 1864
  • Mozart book . Vienna 1868
  • Franz Grillparzer . Vienna 1871
  • To the Salzburg biography . 1872
  • A Madonna painter of our time: E. Steinle . Vienna 1879

See also


  • Constantin von Wurzbach : Wurzbach-Tannenberg, Constantin Ritter von . In: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich . 59th part. Kaiserlich-Königliche Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1890, pp. 18–23 ( digitized version . Wurzbach's own contribution about his work).
  • Karl GlossyWurzbach, Constant von . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 55, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1910, pp. 135-138.
  • Elisabeth Lebensaft , Hubert Reitterer: Wurzbach aspects (PDF; 276 kB). Reprint from Viennese history sheets . 47 (1992), volume 1. (detailed biography of Wurzbach and evaluation of the work)
  • Attila v. Wurzbach: Constantin Wurzbach Ritter von Tannenberg - 100th anniversary of death. In: East German memorial days. 1993, pp. 130-134.
  • Attila v. Wurzbach: Constantin Wurzbach Knight of Tannenberg. On the 100th anniversary of the death of the Austrian writer and lexicographer. In: East German family studies. Volume XIII, Volume 41, Issue 3, p. 230 ff, Neustadt ad Aisch 1993. (Extensive genealogy)
  • N. Gšpan-Prašelj: Wurzbach Konstantin vitez Tannenberg, (WK Ritter T.) In: Slovenski biografski leksikon. (The Slovenian Biographical Lexicon, SBL), supplementary edition.
  • Nobility Lexicon. Volume XVI: Weg – Z (= Genealogical Handbook of the Nobility. Volume 137). Limburg Lahn 2005, ISSN  0435-2408 , ISBN 3-7980-0837-X .
  • Nora Mengel: Austria is in my work. On the understanding of the work of the lexicographer Constant (in) von Wurzbach . In: Ágoston Zénó Bernád u. a. (Ed.): Europe builds on biographies. Aspects, building blocks, norms and standards for a European biography. New Academic Press, Vienna 2017, ISBN 978-3-7003-2069-2 , pp. 23-48.

Web links

Commons : Constantin von Wurzbach  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Constantin von Wurzbach  - Sources and full texts
  • Literature by and about Constantin von Wurzbach in the catalog of the German National Library
  • Wurzbach . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 16, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 784.
  • Brigitte Biwald: archivist with passion. In: April 8, 2018 .;
  • Works in full text:
    • The proverbs of the Poles explained historically . 1852. (
    • Mozart book (
    • Biographical Lexicon of the Austrian Empire (60 volumes, 1856–1891); accessible z. B. scanned at Austrian Literature Online = " alo "; in Wikisource = " ws "; also with googlebooks via GenWiki.
      • alo ws  1st part (1856): A - Blumenthal
      • alo ws  2nd part (1857): Bninski - Cordova
      • alo ws  3rd part (1858): Coremans - Eger
      • alo ws  4th part (1858): Egervári - Foxes
      • alo ws  5th part (1859): Füger - Gsellhofer
      • alo ws  6th part (1860): Guadagni - Habsburg (Agnes - Ludwig)
      • alo ws  7th part (1861): Habsburg - Hartlieb
      • alo ws  8th part (1862): Hartmann - Heyser
      • alo ws  9th part (1863): Hibler - Hysel
      • alo ws 10th part (1863): Jablonowski - Karolina
      • alo ws 11th part (1864): Károlyi - Kiwisch and supplements (I. episode)
      • alo ws 12th part (1864): Klácel - Korzistka
      • alo ws 13th part (1865): Kosarek - Lagkner
      • alo ws 14th part (1865): Laicharding - Lenzi and supplements (2nd episode)
      • alo ws 15th part (1866): Leon - Lomeni
      • alo ws 16th part (1867): Londonia - Marlow
      • alo ws 17th part (1867): Maroevic - Meszlény
      • alo ws 18th part (1868): Metastasio - Molitor
      • alo ws 19th part (1868): Moll - Mysliveczek
      • alo ws 20th part (1869): Nabielak - Odelga
      • alo ws part 21 (1870): O'Donell - Perényi
      • alo ws 22nd part (1870): Pergen - Podhradszky and supplements (III. episode)
      • alo ws 23rd part (1872): Podlaha - Prokesch and supplements (IV. episode)
      • alo ws 24th part (1872): Prokop - Raschdorf and supplements (5th series) with general register
      • alo ws 25th part (1868): Rasner - Rhederer
      • alo ws 26th part (1874): Rhedey - Rosenauer and supplements (VI. episode)
      • alo ws part 27 (1874): Rosenberg - Rzikowsky
      • alo ws 28th part (1874): Hall - Sawiczewski and supplements (VII. episode)
      • alo ws 29th part (1875): Sax - Schimpf
      • alo ws 30th part (1875): Schindler - Schmuzer
      • alo ws 31st part (1876): Schnabel - Schröter
      • alo ws 32nd part (1876): Schrötter - Schwicker
      • alo ws 33rd part (1877): Schwarzenberg - Seidl
      • alo ws 34th part (1879): Seidl - Sina
      • alo ws 35th part (1877): Sinacher - Sonnenthal
      • alo ws 36th part (1878): Sonnklar - Stadelmann
      • alo ws 37th part (1878): Stadium - Stegmayer
      • alo ws 38th part (1879): Stehlik - Stietka
      • alo ws 39th part (1879): Stifft - Streel
      • alo ws 40th part (1880): Streeruwitz - Suszycki
      • alo ws 41st part (1880): Susil - Szeder
      • alo ws 42nd part (1880): Szedler - Taaffe
      • alo ws 43rd part (1881): Tabacchi - Terklau
      • alo ws 44th part (1882): Terlago - Thürmer
      • alo ws 45th part (1882): Thugut - Török
      • alo ws 46th part (1882): Toffoli - Traubenburg
      • alo ws 47th part (1883): Grape field - Trzeschtik
      • alo ws 48th part (1883): Trzetrzewinsky - Ullepitsch
      • alo ws 49th part (1884): Ullik - Vassimon
      • alo ws 50th part (1884): Vastag - Villani
      • alo ws 51st part (1885): Villata - Vrbna
      • alo ws 52nd part (1885): Vrčevic - Wallner
      • alo ws 53rd part (1886): Wallnöfer - Weigelsperg
      • alo ws 54th part (1886): Weil - Weninger
      • alo ws 55th part (1887): Weninger - Wied
      • alo ws 56th part (1888): Wiedemann - Windisch
      • alo ws 57th part (1889): Windisch-Grätz - Wolf
      • alo ws 58th part (1889): Wolf - Wurmbrand
      • alo ws 59th part (1890): Wurmser - Zhuber
      • alo ws 60th part (1891): Zichy - Zyka
        • " Praise God ..." ws alo " Praise God ..."

Individual evidence

  1. ^ on Constantin von Wurzbach: The proverbs of the Poles explained historically