Cotta'sche publishing bookstore

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Der Greif , publisher's mark since 1839

The Cotta'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung was a publishing house founded in Tübingen in 1659 , which was owned by the Cotta publishing family until 1889 and then by the Kröner publishing family until 1956 . When the publisher came to Ernst Klett Verlag in 1977 , it became part of the Ernst Klett-JG Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachf. GmbH publishing group , which is known under the short name Klett-Cotta .


In 1658 Johann Georg Cotta was appointed managing director of a Tübingen bookstore that was founded in 1596 by Erhard Cellius . The business belonged to Euphrosina Brunn, widow of the previous owner Philibert Brunn II, who married him on November 22, 1659. From 1681 this business was continued by his stepson Philibert Brunn III, from which the Osiander bookstore emerged. In 1659 Cotta had built a publishing house next to the bookstore, which he continued as the "Cotta'sche Verlagbuchhandlung". The wedding date is considered the foundation day. He took over several customers from Brunn's company. The publishing house had a close connection to the University of Tübingen and published books in the fields of law, philosophy and theology.

In 1722 Johann Georg III. Cotta acquired a printing company from the publishing house , and in 1730 he received the privilege of printing court and chancellery books from the Duke of Württemberg .

In 1787 Johann Friedrich Cotta took over the then economically troubled company from his father. Under his leadership, the Cotta'sche Verlagbuchhandlung became the most important literary publisher of the time. The trigger for this was Cotta's collaboration with the then already famous Friedrich Schiller , whom he met through a mutual acquaintance in 1793 and who brought him into contact with the Weimar classics and above all with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe . From 1795 to 1797 Cotta published Schiller's literary program magazine Die Horen , later also his Muses-Almanach and Goethe's art magazine Propylaen . Although these publications were short-lived, Cotta's long-standing publishing relationships with the leading authors of the time developed: In addition to works by Schiller and Goethe, Herder , Fichte , Hölderlin , Kleist , Jean Paul , Hegel , Schelling and Alexander von Humboldt also published in the publishing house.

The Cottasche Buchdruckerei in Stuttgart. Graphic by Robert Assmus.

The Allgemeine Zeitung was published for the first time in 1798 and became the leading German daily newspaper of the 19th century.

Invitation card from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to the Mecklenburg State Minister Leopold von Plessen for a reading by Hermann and Dorothea in the Cotta'schen Buchhandlung, 1814

In 1806 Cotta published a first complete edition of the works of Johann Wolfgang Goethe; From 1807 to 1865 the Morgenblatt for educated estates , a culture newspaper .

After a branch had already existed in Stuttgart from 1798 to 1803, the publishing house was relocated there in 1810 and the business in Tübingen was sold in 1816. From 1806 to 1867 the publisher was the only one with the right to publish works by Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. After Johann Friedrich Cotta's death, his heirs became owners of the company in 1832 and subsequently expanded it significantly. In 1839 they acquired the GJ Göschen'sche publishing bookstore from Georg Joachim Göschen, who had died a few years earlier, in Leipzig, and in 1845 they founded a Bible Institute. In 1868, long-time Cotta employee Ferdinand Weibert acquired the Göschen publishing house and moved its headquarters to Stuttgart.

In 1877 the company came under the sole management of Carl von Cotta, who leased the publishing house's printing works to Adolf Kröner and finally sold it in 1882. In 1889 Adolf and Paul Kröner also acquired the publishing house and continued to run it under the name of JG Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Successor. In 1892 Adolf's son Alfred Kröner also became a partner. After the publishing house was converted into a GmbH in 1899, a branch was set up in Berlin in 1901. In 1904 the GmbH was dissolved again after some changes in the inventory and the publishing house came into the sole ownership of Adolf Kröner, after his death in 1911 into the possession of his younger son Robert Kröner, who had been managing director since 1899.

In 1943 the publishing house was destroyed by bombs. From 1952 to 1954 the Stuttgarter Zeitung bought the Cotta publishing archive and handed it over to the Schiller National Museum in Marbach. In 1956 the Kröner family sold the publishing house to a group of Stuttgart publishers and booksellers. In 1977 Ernst Klett Verlag acquired Cotta'sche Buchhandlung and merged it with its own publishing house to form Ernst Klett-JG Cotta'sche Buchhandlung Nachf. GmbH, or Klett-Cotta for short .


  • Ute Liebert: History of the Stuttgart children's and youth book publishers in the 19th century . Stuttgart 1984
  • Liselotte Lohrer: Cotta - history of a publishing house, 1659-1959 . Stuttgart 1959
  • Peter Kaeding: The hand over the whole world. Johann Friedrich Cotta - The publisher of German classical music . Stuttgart 2009, Klett-Cotta, ISBN 978-3-7681-9712-0

Web links

Commons : Cotta'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans Widmann: Tübingen as a publishing town . JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck), Tübingen 1971, ISBN 3-16-933021-7 , p. 102-104 .
  2. ^ Brigitte Riethmüller, Hermann-Arndt Riethmüller: Osiander. History of a bookstore. (PDF, 4.8MB) Osiandersche Buchhandlung GmbH, December 28, 2012, accessed on February 22, 2020 .
  3. ^ Michaela Breil: The "Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung" and Bavaria's press policy . In: Studies and texts on the social history of literature . tape 54 . Tübingen 1996, p. 20 .