Joseph Würth

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Joseph Würth (March 17, 1900 - October 12, 1948 ) was a German publisher .


Joseph Würth, also called "Pepi", was the youngest of the five children of Dr. phil. Johann Viktor Ernst Würth (1861–1923) and Maria Victoria Franziska, b. Fischer (1864-1953). He attended the Ludwig-Georgs-Gymnasium in Darmstadt and passed the Abitur there on February 22, 1918. Until 1920 he studied art history in Frankfurt am Main; In 1919, 1921 and 1925 he made trips to Italy, which were perhaps in connection with his studies.

In 1929 he married Charlotte Weygandt. In an air raid on Darmstadt, all of Würth's possessions, including the workshop and printing press, were destroyed on September 11, 1944. Kasimir Edschmid found accommodation in Ruhpolding for Joseph Würth, his wife and his mother . In 1946 the family moved back to Darmstadt, this time to Alicenstrasse. The hand press was repaired, but Würth did not put it back into operation. In 1948 he died after a short, serious illness. Joseph Würth was buried in the Darmstadt forest cemetery (grave site: L 8b 130).


Joseph Würth founded the magazine Die Dachstube on August 6, 1915 at the age of 15 in the attic of his parents' house in Darmstadt at Hoffmannstrasse 19 . The company emerged from a group of high school students interested in literature, the older of whom had to move to the First World War before they could start publishing. Würth's classmates at the FC Lehr grammar school, Ludwig Breitwieser, Karl Roller and Ernst Müller supported him in founding the magazines and the publishing house. Later they were all supposed to belong to the Darmstadt Secession . After the first editions had been hectographed , a printing press and a type case were soon acquired and distributed The Attic and later, from November 1918, The Tribunal in print. Würth had himself introduced to the craft of printing from the printer Menzlaw on Darmstadt Hügelstrasse and then bought a Boston press .

Staff members of the magazines included Max Beckmann , Carlo Mierendorff , Theodor Haubach , Hans Schiebelhuth , Kasimir Edschmid , Oskar Kokoschka , Max Krell , René Schickele , Ernst Toller and Fritz Usinger . These authors published e.g. Sometimes also later with Joseph Würth.

Carl Zuckmayer pays tribute to Joseph Würth in his memoirs: “Then, in the middle of the war, in 1915, the plan was put into practice by the students born in 1900 [...]. The engine of this venture was a then fifteen-year-old named Joseph Würth, a brilliant hobbyist, a […] fanatical bibliophile , […] an enthusiastic lover of the arts, with a cool and sharp-thinking, critical head, with a fiery heart, clear mind and harmless Energy, in one word: the born publisher. "

In 1917 the "Historical Association for the Grand Duchy of Hesse" published a book by Johann Viktor Ernst Würth with the title The Grand Ducal Hessian Coat of Arms in its Historical Development . The cover picture came from Joseph Würth. In the same year he won the second prize endowed with 200 marks in a competition for which he had submitted a packaging design for Marka Astra . In addition to Ludwig Breitwieser , Würth was the main illustrator in the attic . In addition to the attic he brought out the book series The Small Republic and Books of the Attic , later he then published the tribunal published by Mierendorff . Würth also printed the first catalogs of the Darmstadt Secession and its founding manifesto. In 1927 the Dachstuben-Verlag was renamed Darmstädter Verlag - Handpresse Joseph Würth , but as early as 1921 the Darmstädter Verlag had appeared, in which Würth published the theater papers Das neue Forum .

Würth's hand-printed books were very much appreciated by collectors and enthusiasts. Usually he published an edition of 250 copies, in later years also editions of 500 or 1000 copies. An exception was the Carmina Burana , which he offered in three languages ​​in an edition of 1700 copies. They were sold out before they even appeared, but were destroyed by the war before they were delivered to customers. Only the proof copy with the notes written by Carl Orff and the illustrations by Eva Schwimmer remained.

The first book in the Darmstadt publishing house was the volume of poems Irdisches Gedicht by Fritz Usinger. It was illustrated with four etchings by Carl Gunschmann . By 1931 Würth had also published five books by Edschmid, illustrated by Erna Pinner , and Das Drama von Panama , whose illustrator was Rössner. Afterwards Edschmid, whose works had become too extensive for hand printing, switched to other publishers until his Italian Chants came out again at Würth in 1947 . Fritz Usinger published Das Wort (1931), The Voices (1934), The Secrets (1937), Geist und Gestalt (1939), Hermes (1941), Das Glück (1947) and Das Real (1948) at Würth . Usinger's books were not illustrated, although from 1938 Würth used to publish large-format volumes illustrated by Albert Schaefer-Ast , Hans Meid and Max Unold . Schubelhuth's Schalmei vom Schelmenried was illustrated by Kubin . Fritz Kredel illustrated the new edition of the military satire Life, Work and End of Time printed in 1935 by his Excellency Baron Leberecht von Knopf by Wilhelm von Ploennies . By Eva Schwimmer illustrations for ancestral Carl Michael Bell's Bacchanal in the countryside , a collection of poems that had recompiled under the pseudonym Carl Willmer Carlo Mierendorff.

In order not to have to give up his publishing house under the difficult conditions of the war, Würth published the almanac A Good Year 1944 , a Christmas gift from the war support service, published by Henriette von Schirach . After the end of the war he published two years of the youth magazine Helle Segel ; he also worked with Eugen Claassen during the occupation after the Second World War . The publishing house name Claassen und Würth, Darmstadt , had tactical reasons: Claassen did not receive a publication permit in the American zone. In 1947 a souvenir volume for Carlo Mierendorff was published. Würth published it together with Fritz Usinger. Already after Würth's death the first volume of a planned but no longer fully published complete edition of the works of Hans Schiebelhuth was published by the publishing house. In addition to monographs, Würth also published anthologies, such as the 400-page anthology of Austrian poetry in 1931 and Thirty Czech Narrators in 1932 .


Grave of the publisher Joseph Würth (1900–1948) in the Waldfriedhof in Darmstadt

In 1940, Schiebelhuth and Usinger published the award song of two grateful authors for the 25th anniversary of their little-known publisher , to which Würth also contributed a comment.

In 1956 the Würthweg in Darmstadt was named after Joseph Würth.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl Wolfskehl and Kornelia Blasberg, Karl Wolfskehls Briefwechsel aus New Zealand 1938-1948 , Volume 2, Luchterhand 1988, ISBN 978-3630800028 , p. 1135
  2. Information board at the main entrance of the Waldfriedhof Darmstadt
  3.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  4. Carl Zuckmayer: As if it were a piece of me . Frankfurt 1986, ISBN 3-10-096534-5 , p. 264
  5. ^ Street naming ( Memento of March 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive )