Johann Philipp Bethmann

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Johann Philipp Bethmann
(1715-1793). Fig from: Helbing 1948

Johann Philipp Bethmann (born November 30, 1715 in Nassau ; † November 27, 1793 in Frankfurt am Main ) was a German merchant and banker .


Bethmann was the eldest son of the Nassau bailiff Simon Moritz Bethmann (1687–1725). When he died, his widow Elisabeth, nee. Thielen (1680–1757) returned to Frankfurt and became a housekeeper in the family of her brother-in-law, the businessman Jakob Adami (1670–1745). After his death he bequeathed half of his fortune to his nephew. Johann Philipp and his youngest brother Simon Moritz acquired Frankfurt citizenship and took over the Jakob Adami trading business , which in 1748 became the Bethmann Brothers banking house , later the Bethmann Bank . The second brother Johann Jakob founded a trading branch in Bordeaux .

Bankhaus Bethmann quickly developed into one of the leading banks in Germany, primarily through trading in government bonds, which could only be compared with the later Rothschild bank .

Bethmann's garden house at Friedberger Tor , built in 1784, after an engraving by Johann Jakob Tanner from 1847

In 1762 Johann Philipp Bethmann married Katharina Margarethe Schaaf (1741–1822), the daughter of the Frankfurt lay judge and imperial councilor Anton Schaaf. The couple had six children, four of whom survived:

  1. Susanne Elisabeth (1763–1833) married the Frankfurt merchant Johann Jakob Hollweg (1748–1808 ) in 1780 , who was named Bethmann-Hollweg after the marriage . Her son Moritz August later became the Prussian Minister of State, his grandson Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg German Chancellor from 1909 to 1917.
  2. Simon Moritz (1768–1826) became one of Frankfurt's most important bankers, statesmen and philanthropists.
  3. Maria Elisabeth (1772–1847), married the banker Johann Jakob Bußmann (1756–1791) in 1790 . After he died the following year, she married the emigrated French aristocrat Alexandre Victor Francois Vicomte de Flavigny (1770-1819). Her daughter from his second marriage was Marie d'Agoult (1805-1876), which in turn had several children, among them - by associating Maries with Franz Liszt - including Cosima Wagner (1837-1930).
  4. Sophie Elisabeth (1774–1862) was married twice. In the first marriage she was called de Luze , in the second von Mettingh .

After his death in 1793 his only son Simon Moritz ran the house.

In 1783, Johann Philipp Bethmann acquired a small garden house in front of Friedberger Tor, built in 1760, which he had leased since 1773, had it converted into a spacious villa and enlarged the garden by purchasing neighboring properties. The villa served the family as a summer apartment from 1785. In 1813 it was the quarters of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was in retreat . In 1855 the villa became the main residence of the Bethmanns. A museum was added in 1856. At the end of the Second World War , the main house of the Villa Bethmann burned down, part of the east wing was rebuilt, the remaining areas of the family property belong to the Bethmannpark . The museum, which was bought by the city of Frankfurt am Main in 1941 along with part of the park, gave way to the new building on Friedberger Landstrasse.


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