Georg Steinhausen

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Georg Steinhausen (born June 2, 1866 in Brandenburg (Havel) ; † March 30, 1933 in Kassel ) was a German librarian and cultural scientist. He is considered a pioneer of German letter research .


Georg Steinhausen grew up as the son of a grammar school director in Brandenburg an der Havel, in Küstrin (where the grandfather was mayor) and Friedland . He attended grammar schools in Friedland and Greifswald and studied history and German studies in Berlin and Greifswald from 1883 to 1887 . In 1887 he received his doctorate in Greifswald with a Latin dissertation on the origin of the Roman law of twelve tables , De Legum XII tabularum patria .

In 1887 Steinhausen became a trainee , in 1888 an assistant at the university library in Greifswald . In 1892 he went to the Jena University Library as a librarian . In the same year he married Frida von Normann, the daughter of a colonel. In 1901 he became head of the Murhard City Library in Kassel . In 1905 he was appointed titular professor there.

Steinhausen took part as a captain , later a major, in the First World War, in which his son Eberhard, born in 1893, was killed in 1918.

Georg Steinhausen died on March 30, 1933 at the age of 66.


Building on his studies of the history of the German letter, he also turned to questions of folklore and economic history. His work on German cultural history has long been regarded as standard works and has seen several new editions.

Steinhausen founded the journal Archiv für Kulturgeschichte , which was later published by Walter Goetz . For a while he had edited it together with Goetz, although he withdrew from it after differences with Goetz.

After the end of the First World War, Steinhausen published several writings on the First World War, including the pamphlet “The Guilt of Home” for the German national newspaper Der Tag , in which he propagated the stab in the back legend .

Fonts (selection)


  • History of the German letter. On the cultural history of the German people , 2 volumes, 1889–1891.
  • Cultural Studies , 1892.
  • The change in German emotional life since the Middle Ages , 1895.
  • Domestic and social life in the 19th century , Cronbach, Berlin 1898 (= At the end of the century , volume 4).
  • The merchant in the German past , Dieterichs, Leipzig 1899 (= monographs on German cultural history , volume 2).
  • History of German Culture , 1904.
  • Germanic culture in prehistoric times , 1905.
  • Cultural history of the Germans in the Middle Ages , 1910.
  • Cultural history of the Germans in modern times , 1912.
  • The Fundamental Mistakes of the War and the General Staff , 1919.
  • Homeland Guilt , 1919.
  • The political decline of Germany and its deeper causes , 1927.
  • German intellectual and cultural history from 1870 to the present , 1931.


  • Correspondence between Balthasar Paumgartner the younger and his wife Magdalena geb. Behaim (1582–1598) , literary association in Stuttgart, Tübingen 1895.
  • Monographs on German cultural history , Diederichs, Leipzig 1899–1908.
  • Monuments of German cultural history (sources)
    • German private letters of the Middle Ages. Volume 1: Princes and Magnates, Nobles and Knights , 1899 ( digitized ).
    • German private letters of the Middle Ages. Volume 2: Clergy, Citizens , 1907 ( digitized ).
    • German court orders of the 16th and 17th centuries. Volume 1: Brandenburg, Prussia, Pomerania, Mecklenburg , 1905.
  • Journal of Cultural History , 1894–1902.
  • Archive for Cultural History , from 1903.


  • Jürgen Herold: Georg Steinhausen and the cultural history. In: Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 85, 2003, pp. 29–70.

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