The Grimms

The Brothers Grimm

Biographical summary

of Jacob and Wilhelm:

  • 1785/1786 Birth and early childhood in Hanau

  • 1791 New home in Steinau

  • 1798 - 1802/03 Schooling in Kassel

  • 1802/1803 - 1805/06 Law studies in Marburg

  • 1805 Jacob spends time in Paris, the younger siblings and their mother move to Kassel, Jacob’s first appointment as secretary to the Hessian War Commission

  • 1809 Private librarian to King Jérôme Bonaparte

  • 1814 Wilhelm's first appointment as secretary at the Electoral Library in Kassel, Jacob travels to Paris and Vienna as a diplomat, later Electoral librarian in Kassel

  • 1821 Wilhelm is educator of the Hessian Prince Friedrich Wilhelm

  • 1830 Call to the University of Göttingen: Jacob as librarian and professor, Wilhelm as librarian

  • Wilhelm called to a professorship in Göttingen in 1835

  • 1837 Protest of the Göttingen Seven against the breach of the constitution by the King of Hanover - dismissal from the civil service.

  • 1838 Return to Kassel, start of work on the "German Dictionary".

  • 1840 Jacob’s and Wilhelm's appointment to the Academy of Sciences in Berlin; they move to Berlin

  • 1844 Jacob travels to Denmark and Sweden.

  • 1846/47 Jacob chairs the first two assemblies of Germanists in Frankfurt a. M. and Lübeck and serves for a few months in 1848 as a member of the National Assembly in Frankfurt a. M.

  • 16.12.1859 Death of Wilhelm Grimm

  • 20.9.1863 Death of Jacob Grimm in Berlin.

A few hours of leisure would have done us good

They could not inspire any joy in learning, and they gambled away the scholars’ respect, because the lessons ended in chaos

Six hours of school classes every day, followed by four to five private lessons in Latin and French! Constant learning and lack of movement led to serious health problems for Wilhelm, preventing him from going to school for a long time, so he was only able to join Jacob at university a year later.

His illustrations helped the fairy tales to succeed. The painter brother: Ludwig Emil Grimm

In addition to the linguists and legendary fairy tale collectors Jacob and Wilhelm, there was another, not so well known, brother in the Grimm family, the painter and illustrator Ludwig Emil Grimm. With his illustrations, he contributed significantly to the success of the Children's and Household Tales.


  • 1790 Ludwig Emil Grimm was born on 14 March in Hanau

  • 1791 New home in Steinau

  • 1803 - 1805 Ludwig Emil Grimm attends the Lyceum in Kassel

  • 1809 - 1814 Studies at the Academy of Arts in Munich

  • 1814 Return to Kassel

  • 1816 Travel to Italy

  • 1816 - 1818 Work in Munich

  • 1819 A first copper engraving as frontispiece for the Children and Household Tales, taken from the fairy tale "Little Brother and Little Sister"

  • 1823 First commissioned portraits of scholars, professors and doctors

  • 1832 Marriage to Marie Böttner

  • 1832 Appointment of Ludwig Emil as professor and teacher of the class for history painting at the Academy of Visual Arts in Kassel

  • 1833 Birth of daughter Friederike

  • 1842 death of his wife Marie

  • 1844 Marriage to Friederike Ernst

  • 1863 Death of Ludwig Emil Grimm in Kassel (April 4)

Ludwig Emil Grimm's best-known drawings include the portrait of Dorothea Viehmann in the Grimms’ personal copies of the Children's and Household Tales, on exhibition in the GRIMM WORLD, and the frequently published double portrait of his brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

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