GRIMM, Jacob Ludwig Carl and Wilhelm Carl

Born: January 4, 1785 and February 24, 1786, in Hanau, Germany

Died: September 20, 1863 and December 16, 1859, in Berlin, Germany

The Brothers Grimm collaborated to create one of the most popular collections of folk tales worldwide, Kinder-und Hausmärchen, or Grimm's Fairy Tales. These were popular with both adults and children of the middle and lower- class. Today, the tales continue to influence folklore narrative and have been translated into over seventy languages. They stand out from other writings of the time for their portrayal of realism as opposed to fantasy.

Jacob was the oldest child in a family of five brothers and one sister. Their father, Philipp Wilhelm, was a lawyer and the town clerk of Hanau. Philipp's father and grandfather were both ministers of the Calvinistic Reformed Church. The death of both parents left Jacob to care for the family at the age of twenty-three.

The Brothers Grimm went to high school in Kassel and then, like their father, went on to study law at the University of Marburg from 1802 to 1806. At university, the brothers developed an interest in folk poetry through their relationship with the poets Clemens Brentano, Friedrich Karl von Savingy, and Johann Gottfired Herder.

The Brothers Grimm first collected folk tales and songs for Clemens Brentano's influential collection of folk songs. The Brothers Grimm set out to publish their own collection, which has become known as Grimm's Fairy Tales.

The Brothers Grimm began to work independently in their study of literature and folklore. Wilhelm edited medieval texts of German legends while Jacob established a scientific method of studying folklore and the German language. Jacob's works include Deutsche Mythologie, which was written in 1835, and Deutsche Grammatik, which was written from 1819 to 1837.

In 1829, both brothers took positions at the University of Gottingen as librarians and professors. However, when the king repealed the constitution of 1833 on the basis that it was too liberal, the brothers protested as part of the Gottingen Seven. All seven members were let go from the university. Jacob and two other members were exiled from the kingdom of Hanover.

In 1840, Frederick William IV, king of Prussia, invited the Brothers Grimm to Berlin to lecture at the university. The brothers remained members of the Royal Academy of Sciences for the next twenty years. They continued their work on the Deutsches Wörterbuch, a respected linguistic study of the German language, which they had begun for financial reasons after their dismissal from the University of Gottingen. The brothers never saw the work completed. Wilhelm died when the work was completed only to the letter "D" and Jacob at the letter "F". The work, which was continued by a succession of scholars, wasn't completed until 1960.

Chronology of their life

1785. Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm is born January 4, 1785, in Hanau, Germany, son of Philipp Wilhelm Grimm (a lawyer and court official) and his wife Dorothea Grimm, née Zimmer.

1786. Wilhelm Carl Grimm is born February 24, 1786, in Hanau, Germany, son of Philipp Wilhelm Grimm and Dorothea Grimm.

The children of Philipp Wilhelm Grimm and Dorothea Grimm

1. Friedrich Hermann Georg Grimm (1783-1784)
2. Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm (1785-1863)
3. Wilhelm Carl Grimm (1786-1859)
4. Carl Friedrich Grimm (1787-1852)
5. Ferdinand Philipp Grimm (1788-1844)
6. Ludwig Emil Grimm (1790-1863)
7. Friedrich Grimm (1791-1792)
8. Charlotte (Lotte) Amalie Hassenpflug, neé Grimm (1793-1833)
9. Georg Eduard Grimm (1794-1795)

1791. The Grimm family moves to Steinau.

1796. Philipp Wilhelm Grimm, father of eight Grimm brothers and one Grimm sister, dies January 10, 1796, at the age of 44. Three of his nine children have preceded him in death. His oldest surviving child, Jacob, is 11 years old.

1798. Jacob and Wilhelm move to Kassel, their mother's home city, to enter secondary school. The 13 and 14 year old boys will live with an aunt.

1802. Jacob begins his study of law at the University of Marburg.

1803. Wilhelm begins his study of law at the University of Marburg.

1806. Jacob and Wilhelm, influenced by the folk poetry collection of Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, begin to collect folktales (Märchen).

1808. Dorothea Grimm, mother of eight Grimm brothers and one Grimm sister, dies May 27, 1808, at the age of 52. In order to support his younger brothers and sister, Jacob takes a position as a librarian at Kassel. Wilhelm will follow soon.

1812. The Grimm brothers publish volume one of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children' and Household Tales), an unpretentious book containing 86 numbered folktales.

1814. Volume two of Kinder- und Hausmärchen appears in print, pre-dated 1815, adding 70 stories to the previous collection. This famous work will see six additional editions during the Grimms' lifetime. In its final version it will contain 200 numbered stories plus 10 "Children's Legends." It is destined to become the best known and most influential book ever created in the German language.

1816, 1818. The Grimms publish two volumes of Deutsche Sagen, a collection totalling 585 German legends.

1819. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm receive honorary doctorates from the University of Marburg. Their scholarly work on linguistics, folklore, and medieval studies continues, resulting in many publications.

1825. Wilhelm Grimm marries Henriette Dorothea (Dortchen) Wild, who -- together with other members of her family -- had provided the Jacob and Wilhelm with many of their best folktale texts.

1829-1830. The Grimms resign their positions as librarians in Kassel and accept positions at the University of Göttingen as librarians and professors.

1837-1841. Professors Grimm join five of their university colleagues in a formal protest against a constitutional violation of Ernst August, King of Hannover. The seven professor (Die Göttinger Sieben) are fired. The Grimm brothers receive many offers for new positions, and finally accept appointments at the University of Berlin.

1842-1852. The Grimms continue their scholarly work and political activities, but finally give up their formal appointments at the University of Berlin (Jacob in 1848, Wilhelm in 1852) in order to dedicate themselves to their own studies and research.

1859. Wilhelm Grimm dies December 16, 1859, at the age of 73.

1863. Jacob Grimm dies September 20, 1863, at the age of 78.