Ludwig Bechstein

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Ludwig Bechstein
Signature Ludwig Bechstein.PNG

Ludwig Bechstein (born November 24, 1801 in Weimar ; † May 14, 1860 in Meiningen ) was a German writer , librarian , archivist and pharmacist . Today he is best known for the collection of German folk tales that he edited (including German fairy tale book and New German fairy tale book ).


Ludwig Bechstein was born as the illegitimate son of Johanna Carolina Dorothea Bechstein and a French emigrant under the name Louis Dupontreau. In 1810 he was adopted by his uncle Johann Matthäus Bechstein . Since then he has been called Ludwig Bechstein. His uncle made it possible for him to attend grammar school in Meiningen and, from 1818 to 1821, to do an apprenticeship as a pharmacist in Arnstadt , where he worked as an assistant until 1824. As early as 1823 he published the Thuringian folk tales as C. Bechstein . He then worked as a pharmacist's assistant in Meiningen until 1826 and as a provisional at the Schwan pharmacy in Salzungen until 1828 . However, this activity did not satisfy him professionally.

Bechstein's house in Meiningen 1840–1860

Duke Bernhard II of Sachsen-Meiningen granted Bechstein a scholarship to study philosophy, history and literature. He began studying in Leipzig in 1829 , where he joined the fraternity in the same year , and continued in Munich in 1830 .

In 1831 Bechstein was appointed ducal cabinet librarian in Meiningen and in 1833 head of the ducal public library. In 1832 he founded the Henneberg antiquity research association , of which he was director until 1857. Ludwig Bechstein published the "Chronicle of the City of Meiningen 1676–1834" in 1834. In 1840 he was given the title of Hofrat and moved into his own house on Halbestadtstrasse. In 1842 he entered the Meiningen Freemason Lodge Charlotte to the three carnations . In 1848, Bechstein took over the joint Henneberg archive as director and archivist .

Bechstein's patriotic poetry and his historical stories and novels such as B. The dark count are hardly known today. His fairy tale collections have remained , including those published under the title German Fairy Tale Book (1845). With the aim of having an educational effect, he made many changes to the traditional stories. His collection of folk poetry was also intended to contribute to promoting the national unity of Germany. Bechstein also collected legends . His extensive German book of sagas (1853) was not as popular as his collection of fairy tales, but is still used today as a compendium of German sagas. Bechstein's publications on Thuringia also saw repeated editions, for example his volume in the series The picturesque and romantic Germany . With the biography of his adoptive father, Dr. Johann Matthäus Bechstein and the Drei 30acker Forest Academy. A double monument by Ludwig Bechstein , he created the first independent biography of a German forester in book form in 1855. Bechstein wanted to complete his collection of folk poetry with the volume Deutsches Mythenbuch , but his early death prevented this project.

Bechstein was married twice. In 1832 he married Caroline Wiskemann (1808–1834) from Oechsen . The only child from this marriage was the son Reinhold Bechstein , who later became a philologist and Germanist. After only two years of marriage, Caroline died. In 1836 Bechstein married his second wife Therese Schulz (* April 7, 1806, † February 26, 1876) from Untermaßfeld . This marriage resulted in seven children, including Adolf Emil Ludwig Bechstein (1843–1914) a well-known draftsman and illustrator of his time.

The family grave of Ludwig Bechstein with his wife Therese is located in the Meininger Parkfriedhof .


Bechstein fountain in Meiningen

Today in Meiningen remind of Ludwig Bechstein next to the plaque on his house the Bechstein-Straße, the elementary school "Ludwig Bechstein", the Bechsteinbrunnen , as well as the "Bechstein pharmacy" in Untermaßfeld . Another elementary school named after Ludwig Bechstein is located in Bad Liebenstein .

In 2001 the asteroid (23520) Ludwigbechstein was named after him. Also since 2001, in honor of Ludwig Bechstein, the Thuringian Fairy Tales and Legends Prize "Ludwig Bechstein" has been awarded to deserving fairy tale tellers, illustrators, publishers and others with special reference to fairy tales and legends.



  • From Home and Foreign (Tales), 1839
  • Hainsterne ( short stories), 1853
  • Volkserzählung , 1853, Verlag Rockstuhl, Reprint, ISBN 3-936030-92-8


  • The Haimons Children (poems), 1830
  • Luther (poem), 1834, Rockstuhl Verlag, reprint, ISBN 3-936030-94-4
  • Poems. 1836
  • New natural history of the house birds , didactic poems 1846
  • Wartburg (poems), 1859

Regional studies and travel literature

  • Chronicle of the city of Meiningen 1676–1834. 1834
  • Meiningen and its surroundings. Kesselringsche Hofbuchhandlung, Hildburghausen 1842
  • Thuringia and the Harz Mountains. 1842
  • Landsberg Castle near Meiningen. 1847
  • Hikes through Thuringia
  • Dr. Johann Matthäus Bechstein and the Drei 30acker Forest Academy. A double monument by Ludwig Bechstein. Meiningen 1855
  • Thuringia's royal house. 1860


fairy tale

* also with Grimm's fairy tales


  • Stories and Fantasy Pieces (13 short stories in 4 volumes), 1831
  • Arabesques (short stories), 1832
  • Novellas and fantasy paintings. 1832
  • Novellas and fantasy blossoms. 1835
  • Journeys of a musician (novellas), 1837
  • Peter Schlemihl’s manuscripts . Cosmological-literary novella. 2 parts. Berlin, 1851



fairy tale



  • Fairy tale pictures and stories. 1829
  • Two hundred German men in portraits and descriptions of their lives. 1854 (digitized edition under: urn : nbn: de: s2w-7093 )
  • Journeys of a musician (the adventurous life story of Johann Daniel Elster ), edited by Ludwig Bechstein, second improved and fourth volume increased edition in two parts 1854
  • Witch stories. 1854, Georg Olms Verlag, Reprint 1984, ISBN 3-487-08260-8
  • Romantic legends and fairy tales. 1855, Verlag Rockstuhl, Reprint 2003, ISBN 3-936030-93-6
  • Masonic writings . Edited by G. v. Goeckingk-Farnbach. Meiningen (1926)
  • The morose one. 2010 (illustrated by Axel Scheffler ), Jacoby & Stuart, Berlin ISBN 978-3-941087-81-1


  • Reinhold BechsteinBechstein, Ludwig . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 2, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1875, p. 206 f.
  • Werner Bellmann : Ludwig Bechstein . In: Encyclopedia of Fairy Tales . Edited by Kurt Ranke. Vol. 2. Berlin / New York 1977. Col. 15-19.
  • Rainer Bens: Some “dropouts from pharmacy” (=  sources and studies on the history of pharmacy, vol. 53). Deutscher Apotheker-Verlag, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-7692-1226-6 .
  • Adalbert Elschenbroich:  Bechstein, Ludwig. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 1, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1953, ISBN 3-428-00182-6 , p. 692 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Alfred Erck, Hannelore Schneider: From unpublished letters from Ludwig Bechstein. In: palm tree. Vol. 9, No. 1/2, 2001, ISSN  0943-545X , pp. 21-28.
  • Hans Graetz, Andreas Seifert: Ludwig Bechstein's letters to Catharina and Wilhelm Sattler. In: Yearbook of the Hennebergisch-Franconian History Association. Vol. 19, 2004, ISSN  0940-8940 , pp. 289-314.
  • Silke Hermann: Ludwig Bechstein as a librarian in Meiningen. In: Yearbook of the Hennebergisch-Franconian History Association. Vol. 16, No. 1, 2001, pp. 71-90.
  • Karin Richter, Rainer Schlundt (eds.): Living fairy tale and legends. Ludwig Bechstein's work through the ages. Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler 2003, ISBN 3-89676-739-9 .
  • Ludwig Bechstein: Le livre des contes (=  Collection Merveilleux, No. 45). Présenté, traduit et annoté de l'allemand by Corinne and Claude Lecouteux. José Corti, Paris 2010, ISBN 978-2-7143-1045-3 .
  • Harald Lönnecker : "Arrived in Leipzig, accepted as a little fox" - connections and associations at the University of Leipzig in the long 19th century. In: Jens Blecher, Gerald Wiemers (ed.): The register of the University of Leipzig. Part 2: The years 1833 to 1863. Publishing house and database for the humanities, Weimar 2007, ISBN 978-3-89739-589-3 , pp. 13-48.
  • Harald Lönnecker : Between the Battle of Nations and the First World War. Associations and associations at the University of Leipzig in the 19th century (=  annual edition of the Society for Burschenschaftliche Geschichtsforschung e.V. (GfbG), 2007). Society for Burschenschaftliche Geschichtsforschung e. V., Koblenz 2008, ISBN 3-9807164-6-5 .
  • Konrad Marwinski: Bechstein, Ludwig. Poet, collector of fairy tales and legends, archivist, librarian, regional historian, November 24, 1801 Weimar - May 14, 1860 Meiningen. In: Paths of life in Thuringia. 2, 2002, ISSN  0943-9846 , pp. 20-24.
  • Hanns-Peter Mederer: The court theaters Meiningen and Coburg-Gotha. 1831-1848. Ludwig Bechstein's letters to Friedrich Wilhelm von Kawaczynski . Rockstuhl, Bad Langensalza 2007, ISBN 978-3-938997-75-8 .
  • Hanns-Peter Mederer: Fabrics from myths. Ludwig Bechstein as a cultural historian, novelist and novelist. Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2002, ISBN 3-8244-4497-6 .
  • Johannes Mötsch : Ludwig Bechstein as archivist. In: Yearbook of the Hennebergisch-Franconian History Association. Vol. 16, No. 1, 2001, pp. 53-70.
  • Heiko Postma : fairytale flowers and the sweet charm of legend. About the researcher and collector, poet and narrator Ludwig Bechstein (1801–1860). jmb-Verlag, Hannover 2008, ISBN 978-3-940970-06-0 .
  • Burghart Schmidt : Ludwig Bechstein and the literary reception of early modern witch persecution in the 19th century (=  publications of the working group for historical witchcraft and crime research in Northern Germany, vol. 4). DOBU-Verlag, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-934632-09-2 (also: Hamburg, University, habilitation paper, 2004).
  • Klaus Schmidt: Investigations into the fairy tale collections of Ludwig Bechstein (=  Form and Spirit. Vol. 37, ZDB -ID 533299-0 ). Eichblatt, Leipzig 1935 (At the same time: Greifswald, Universität, Dissertation, 1935), (Reprint: (=  Folklore Sources 3 Märchen und Schwank ). Olms, Hildesheim et al. 1984, ISBN 3-487-07520-2 ).
  • Susanne Schmidt-Knaebel: Text Linguistics of the Simple Form. (The demarcation of fairy tales, sagas and legends from the literary art form of the novella). Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 1999, ISBN 3-631-31191-5 .
  • Susanne Schmidt-Knaebel: "You have to have someone against whom you speak out". Ludwig Bechstein's letters to Dr. Ludwig Storch. Shaker, Aachen 2000, ISBN 3-8265-7952-6 .
  • Heinrich Wagner: Ludwig Bechstein as a historian. In: Yearbook of the Hennebergisch-Franconian History Association. Vol. 16, No. 1, 2001, pp. 21-32.
  • Heinrich Wagner: Ludwig Bechstein. A biographical sketch. In: Frankenbund (Hrsg.) Frankenland - magazine for Franconian regional studies and culture. Born in 2001. Frankenbund, Würzburg 2001, ISSN  0015-9905 , pp. 356-360 ( PDF ).
  • Heinrich Weigel: The "Wartburg Poet" Ludwig Bechstein (1801-1860). In: Wartburg yearbook. Vol. 10, 2001 (2002), ISSN  1617-0059 , pp. 119-142.
  • Heinrich Weigel: Ludwig Bechstein in letters to contemporaries. Lang, Frankfurt am Main a. a. 2007, ISBN 978-3-631-54270-5 .

Web links

Commons : Ludwig Bechstein  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Ludwig Bechstein  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft. Volume II: Artists. Winter, Heidelberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-8253-6813-5 , pp. 46-48.
  2. Flyer “The Meininger Parkfriedhof - A Guide to Notable Graves” (4: Bechstein Family Grave)
  3. Minor Planet Circ. 43048 (PDF)