Wilhelm Carl Grimm

Portrait of Wilhelm Carl Grimm

Wilhelm Carl Grimm was a German author and anthropologist, and the younger brother of Jacob Grimm, of the Brothers Grimm fame. He was born in Hanau, Germany on 24th February 1786 and died in Berlin on 16th December 1858 aged 73.

Major Works

“Altadanische Heldenlieder, Balladen und Marchen” (Old Danish Heroic Lays, Ballads and Marches (1811)
“Uber Deutsche Runen” (On German Runes) (1821)
“Die Deutsche Heldensage” (The German Heroic Legend) (1829)

Note:Grimms’ Fairy Tales” or “Kinder- und Hausmärchen” (Children’s and Household Tales) is a joint collection of 86 stories by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm first published in 1812.

Biography Timeline

1786: Wilhelm Carl Grimm is born on 24th 1786 in Hanau, to solicitor and town clerk Phillip Wilhelm Grimm and his wife Dorothea (née Zimmer).

1787: His brother Carl Friedrich Grimm is born on 24th April.

1788: His brother Ferdinand Phillip Grimm is born on 18th December.

1790: His brother Ludwig Emil Grimm is born on 14th March.

1791: His father becomes a magistrate in Steinau and the Grimm family moves to Steinau.

1793: His sister Charlotte Amalie is born on 10th March.

1796: His father dies on 10th January of pneumonia aged only 44. This means the family must leave their lodgings in Steinau.

1798: He attends “Lyceum Fridericianum” boarding school in Kassel in October. He and his brother Jacob stay with their mother’s sister Henriette Philippine Zimmer.

1803: Hesse becomes an electorate. Wilhelm attends law school in Marburg with his brother.

1805: His mother and the rest of the family move to Kassel.

1806: He graduates from law school. After a victory by Napoleon Bonaparte over Prussia and its allies on 14th at the Battle of Jena and Auerstedt Kassel becomes occupied by French troops. He and his brother Jacob begin their studies of old German tales and fairy studies.

1807: In August the Kingdom of Westphalia is established under Jerôme Bonaparte with Kassel as its capital. He meets the writer Achim von Arnim in Kassel. Wilhelm works on the second and third volume of “The Boy’s Magic Horn” with Clemens Brentano and Jacob.

1808: Death of his mother on 20th May aged 52. Wilhelm is now ill and is unemployed until 1814.

1814: He goes for a cure in Halle and visits Achim von Arnim in Berlin and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Weimar.

1811: The first independent books of the Brothers Grimm are published.

1812: Editions of “Song of Hildebrand” and the “Wessobrunn Prayer” as well as “Children’s and Household Tales” appear as the first joint publications of the Brothers Grimm.

1813: After the Battle of Leipzig from 16th-19th October Napoleon is defeated and the Elector Wilhelm I returns to Kassel. The first volume of the periodical “Old German Forests” by the Brothers Grimm appears.

1814: On 4th February he is appointed secretary at the Electoral Library. The second volume of the Brother’s Grimm “Children’s and Household Tales” is published.

1815: Wilhelm and Ludwig Emil travel to Frankfurt, Heidelberg and to the Rhine River where they meet up with Savigny, Brentano, Görres and Goethe. The editions of the “Poor Heinrich” and “Edda” are published.

1816: He travels to Wiepersdorf and Weimar. The first part of the “German Legends” is published

1819: The Brothers Grimm are given an honorary doctorate from the University of Marburg. Wilhelm travels to the Bökendorf estate owned by the Haxthausen-family.

1821: He travels to Frankfurt. His treatise “On German Runes” is published.

1822: His sister Lotte marries the lawyer and future electoral Hessian Secretary of State, Ludwig Hassenpflug. The Brothers Grimm move into a flat at “Fünffensterstraße 7” in Kassel.

1823: The first English edition of the Grimm’s fairy tales is published in London.

1825: He marries Dorothea Wild, a pharmacist’s daughter on 15th May. The “Small Edition” of the “Children’s and Household Tales”, illustrated by his brother Ludwig Emil Grimm, is published.

1826: His first son Jacob dies after birth. Wilhelm and Jacob travel to Hannoversch Muenden with Savigny,

1828: His son Herman is born in Kassel on 6th January.

1829: The Brothers Grimm are not promoted to Librarian and instead accept a position at the University of Göttingen. on Wilhelm’s major work “The German Legend” is published.

1830: On 2nd January Jacob and Wilhelm take up their their positions in Göttingen, Jacob as a librarian and a professor and Wilhelm as librarian. On 19th January they move into what has become known as the “Brothers Grimm House” in the “Allee 6”. Wilhelm’s son Rudolf is born in Göttingen on 31st March.

1831: He is appointed associate professor on 19th February. Wilhelm travels via Kassel and Fulda for treatment in Wiesbaden.

1832: Ludwig Hassenpflug, the Grimm’s brother in law, is appointed Secretary of State for Internal Affairs and Law. Wilhelm’s daughter Auguste is born on 21st August in Göttingen.

1833: His sister Lotte dies on 15th June aged 40.

1835: He becomes Associate Professor.

1837: Ernst August of Cumberland ascends the throne and repeals the constitution of 1833. In November seven Göttingen professors protest against this including Jacob and Wilhelm. They are all tried buy the University court and dismissed on 4th December.

1838: He returns to Kassel with his family in October. A Leipzig publisher, Salomon Hirzel, contracts the Brothers Grimm to create a “German Dictionary”.

1841: In March the Brothers Grimm travel to Berlin to see the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm the Fourth. Afterwards Wilhelm journeys to Steinau and down the Rhine.

1845: His brother Ferdinand dies in Wolfenbüttel on 6th January.

1846: The Brothers Grimm move to “Dorotheenstaße 47”.

1848: His “Kassel Commentaries” are published.

1852: His brother Carl dies in Kassel on 25th May. Wilhelm quits his teaching work. The first edition of the “German Dictionary” is published.

1853: He travels to the Rhine.

1857: The last of his editions of the “Children’s and Household Tales” is published.

1859: On 25th October his son Herman marries Gisela von Arnim.

Wilhelm Grimm died on 16th December 1859 in Berlin after complications with a carbuncle. He is buried in the local Matthäi Cemetery.