Robert Gradmann

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Robert Julius Wilhelm Gradmann (born July 18, 1865 in Lauffen am Neckar , † September 16, 1950 in Sindelfingen ) was a German pastor , geographer , botanist and regional historian .

Live and act

Gradmann attended the Dillmann Realgymnasium in Stuttgart and studied theology at the Evangelical Monastery in Tübingen from 1883 to 1887 . During his studies he became a member of the Roigel Royal Society of Tübingen . After vicariates in Öhringen and Kuchen, he became parish priest in Forchtenberg in 1891 . During this time he dealt with botany and published essays on the flora of Württemberg . At the suggestion of Eugen Nägele , the chairman of the Swabian Alb Association , he began to compose a plant guide for the Swabian Alb : With the resulting work " The Plant Life of the Swabian Alb " Gradmann received his doctorate in 1898 at the University of Tübingen without studying botany.

In 1909 Gradmann completed his habilitation in geography on the subject of " Grain Cultivation in German and Roman Antiquity ". During this time he worked as a librarian in the University Library of Tübingen. His scientific interest was, among other things, the relationships between soil , climate , vegetation and settlement history , from which he developed his “steppe theory”, which was trend-setting for historical cultural landscape research.

In 1919 Gradmann received three professorships in geography. He chose the chair at the University of Erlangen , where his main research areas were plant geography , settlement geography and geomorphology . His regional studies of southern Germany , published in 1931, is considered exemplary and was reprinted several times unchanged until the 1980s. In Erlangen Gradmann supervised Walter Christaller's doctoral thesis on The Central Places in Southern Germany . In 1925 Gradmann was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

From 1922 to 1929 Gradmann was chairman of the Central Commission for Scientific Regional Studies in Germany and the editor of research on German regional and folklore studies . He was also chairman of the central committee of the German Geographers' Day from 1931 to 1933.

At the University of Erlangen Gradmann was, among other things, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and rector from 1925 to 1926. Gradmann retired in 1934. He spent the last years of his life in Tübingen and Sindelfingen . He is the father of the botanist Hans Gradmann and the grandfather of the physicist Ulrich Gradmann and the biophysicist Dietrich Gradmann as well as of Hans Hirzel and Susanne Hirzel , who belonged to the " White Rose " resistance group in the Third Reich during the Second World War .


Tübingen city cemetery


  • Life memories. W. Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 1965.
  • The plant life of the Swabian Alb . 4th edition. Swabian Alb Association, Stuttgart 1950.
    • Volume 1: Plant geographical representation
    • Volume 2: The flora of the Swabian Alb
  • Southern Germany. Engelhorn, Stuttgart 1931. Reprint: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft , Darmstadt, ISBN 3-534-00124-9 .
    • Volume 1: General Part
    • Volume 2: The individual landscapes

Articles available online:

  • Pile dwellings and climatic fluctuations , in: Writings of the Association for the History of Lake Constance and its Surroundings , 69th year 1949/50, p. 11–26 ( digital copy )


  • Martin Müllerott:  Gradmann, Robert Julius Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 6, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1964, ISBN 3-428-00187-7 , pp. 703-705 ( digitized version ).
  • Winfried Schenk (Ed.): Robert Gradmann. From country pastor to professor of geography , DRW-Verl., Leinfelden-Echterdingen 2002 (Writings on Southwest German Regional Studies, Volume 42), ISBN 3-87181-742-2 .
  • Uwe Albrecht: Between Faith and Knowledge: The Pastor and Geography Professor Robert Gradmann (1865–1950). in other words: Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Evangelical pastors as natural scientists and discoverers , Stuttgart 2007, pp. 64–72.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Excerpt from the publication "Alumni Portraits" of the Dillmann Foundation ( Memento from August 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.5 MB)
  2. ^ Robert Gradmann: The cultivation of grain in German and Roman antiquity. Jena 1909.
  3. cf. DNB 550926461
  4. ^ Honorary members of the Association for Patriotic Natural History in Württemberg
  5. Schwäbisches Heimatbuch 26 (1940), p. 133.