Friedrich Ludwig Georg von Raumer

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Friedrich von Raumer.

Friedrich Ludwig Georg von Raumer (14 May 1781 – 14 June 1873) was a German historian. He was the first scientific historian to popularise history in German. He travelled extensively and served in German legislative bodies.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Historian person who studies and writes about the past

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.



He was born at Wörlitz in Anhalt-Dessau. His father (who died in 1822), was Kammerdirektor (i.e. chamber director, head official in the financial department) in Anhalt and did great service to agriculture. After studying at the Joachimsthal Gymnasium, Berlin, and at the universities of Halle and Göttingen, Raumer began to practise law. He entered the Prussian civil service in 1801 as a civil magistrate, and rose in the service to become councillor to Chancellor Hardenberg in 1809.

Wörlitz Ortsteil of Oranienbaum-Wörlitz in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Wörlitz  is a town and a former municipality in the district of Wittenberg, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2011, it has been part of the town Oranienbaum-Wörlitz. It is situated on the left bank of the Elbe, east of Dessau.


Anhalt-Dessau was a principality of the Holy Roman Empire and later a duchy of the German Confederation. Ruled by the House of Ascania, it was created in 1396 following the partition of the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst, and finally merged into the re-united Duchy of Anhalt in 1863. The capital of the state was Dessau in present-day Saxony-Anhalt.

University of Göttingen university in the city of Göttingen, Germany

The University of Göttingen is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded in 1734 by George II, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover, and starting classes in 1737, the Georgia Augusta was conceived to promote the ideals of the Enlightenment. It is the oldest university in the state of Lower Saxony and the largest in student enrollment, which stands at around 31,500.

He was made a professor at the University of Breslau in 1811, where he served until 1816. In 1819, he became professor of political science and history at the University of Berlin holding the chair until 1847, and giving occasional lectures until 1853. He was for some time secretary of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. That position he also resigned in 1847.

Prussian Academy of Sciences A college in Berlin from 1700–1946

The Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences was an academy established in Berlin, Germany on 11 July 1700, four years after the Akademie der Künste, or "Arts Academy," to which "Berlin Academy" may also refer. In the 18th century, it was a French-language institution, and its most active members were Huguenots who had fled religious persecution in France.

At different times between 1816 and 1855, he travelled extensively through Europe and the United States. In 1815, he carried on historical investigations in Venice, and in the two following years he travelled in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. He went to England in 1835, to Italy in 1839 and to the United States in 1841-1843. He revisited the United States 1853-55. These visits led to the publication of various works.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

Returning from his 1841 journey through the United States Raumer was deeply impressed by the broad knowledge of average US citizens, whom he had encountered travelling on a Mississippi steam boat. [1] His travel acquaintances ascribed their interest and knowledge to their access to books from public libraries and public lectures on various subjects. [2] Raumer then started an initiative to open public libraries in Berlin too. [2]

By the end of 1841 Raumer and other enthusiasts first founded the Verein für wissenschaftliche Vorträge (i.e. Association for scientific public lectures). [1] The Verein, using the Singing Academy concert hall as its venue for lectures, succeeded to collect Thaler 4,000 (then about £ Sterling 592,59 [3] ) forming the starting capital for Berlin's to-be-founded public libraries in 1846. [1] Until the end of the 1870s the Verein raised and provided funds amounting to the sixfolds of this initial sum. [1] The Verein, however, wanted the city of Berlin to give a helping hand and take the libraries under its auspices. [1]

Sing-Akademie zu Berlin choir

The Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, also known as the Berliner Singakademie, is a musical society founded in Berlin in 1791 by Carl Friedrich Christian Fasch, harpsichordist to the court of Prussia, on the model of the 18th-century London Academy of Ancient Music.

The Thaler was the currency of Prussia until 1857. From 1750, it was distinct from north German Reichsthaler unit of account in that it contained ​114 of a Cologne mark of silver, rather than ​112, and was minted as a coin. This change was implemented by Johann Philipp Graumann and the system of 14 thaler to the mark was known as the Graumannscher Fuß.

Raumer presented his ideas on public libraries, termed as Volksbibliotheken (people's libraries), in a memorandum in 1846, resonating his democratic opinions. [1] As a result, in 1847 Berlin's magistrate (city government) established a standing committee for the establishment and administration of public libraries, consisting of members of the afore-mentioned Verein and of the City Representatives' Assembly (Stadtverordnetenversammlung; then Berlin's city parliament), of which Raumer was member in the parliamentary term of 1847/1848. [4] In December 1848 King Frederick William IV of Prussia approved the foundation of public libraries, however, his decision remained unpublished due to the repercussions of the March Revolution of that year. [5] With effect of 1 August 1850 the first four public libraries opened, numbered I to IV. The Library No. I was named after Raumer in 1955. [6]

Grave of Friedrich von Raumer and his wife Louise, nee von Gorschen Berlin, Kreuzberg, Bergmannstrasse, Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof II, Grab Friedrich von Raumer.jpg
Grave of Friedrich von Raumer and his wife Louise, née von Görschen

In 1848 he was elected a member of the Frankfurt Parliament, where he associated himself with the right centre, supporting the proposal for a German empire under the supremacy of Prussia. He was sent to Paris as ambassador by imperial regent Archduke John of Austria, and was one of the deputation which offered the imperial crown to Frederick William IV. After the breakdown of the German parliament, Raumer returned to Berlin, where he was made a member of the House of Lords of Prussia.

He died at Berlin in 1873. His grave is preserved at a cemetery in the Kreuzberg section of Berlin, the Friedhof II der Dreifaltigkeits-Kirchengemeinde on Bergmannstraße, Berlin.


His most famous works are Geschichte der Hohenstaufen und ihrer Zeit (1823–25) and Geschichte Europas seit dem Ende des 15ten Jahrhunderts (1832–50). His first work, published anonymously in 1806, was entitled Sechs Dialoge über Krieg und Handel.

Other works include:

In 1830, Raumer began the Historisches Taschenbuch published by F. A. Brockhaus, which was continued by Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl after 1871.


According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, “Raumer's style is direct, lucid and vigorous, and in his day he was a popular historian, but judged by strictly scientific standards he does not rank among the first men of his time.” According to Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography , “He is justly considered as one of the great historians of the 19th century.”


His brother, Karl Georg von Raumer, was a geologist and educator. Their cousins were Ernst Ludwig von Gerlach, a judge, politician, and editor, and Ludwig Friedrich Leopold von Gerlach, a general and confidant of Bismarck.

Awards and honours


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen, 150 Jahre: Von den Berliner Volksbibliotheken zur Stadtbibliothek Kreuzberg; eine Chronik, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Bibliotheksamt, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Kunstamt Kreuzberg, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Kreuzberg Museum and Verein zur Erforschung und Darstellung der Geschichte Kreuzbergs (eds.), Berlin: Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Bibliotheksamt, 2000, p. 5. No ISBN.
  2. 1 2 Arend Buchholtz, Die Volksbibliotheken und Lesehallen der Stadt Berlin 1850-1900: Festschrift der Stadt Berlin zum 50jährigen Bestehen der Volksbibliotheken, 1. August 1900, Berlin: Holten, 1900, pp. 10 and 19.
  3. Frederic Scherer, Quarter notes and bank notes: The economics of music composition in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004, p. 210. ISBN   0691116210.
  4. Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen, 150 Jahre: Von den Berliner Volksbibliotheken zur Stadtbibliothek Kreuzberg; eine Chronik, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Bibliotheksamt, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Kunstamt Kreuzberg, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Kreuzberg Museum and Verein zur Erforschung und Darstellung der Geschichte Kreuzbergs (eds.), Berlin: Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Bibliotheksamt, 2000, pp. 5seq. No ISBN.
  5. Frauke Mahrt-Thomsen, 150 Jahre: Von den Berliner Volksbibliotheken zur Stadtbibliothek Kreuzberg; eine Chronik, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Bibliotheksamt, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Kunstamt Kreuzberg, Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Kreuzberg Museum and Verein zur Erforschung und Darstellung der Geschichte Kreuzbergs (eds.), Berlin: Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin / Bibliotheksamt, 2000, p. 6. No ISBN.
  6. "Friedrich-von-Raumer-Bibliothek", in: Kathrin Chod, Herbert Schwenk and Hainer Weißpflug, Berliner Bezirkslexikon: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Berlin: Haude & Spener / Edition Luisenstadt, 2003, p. 158. ISBN   3-7759-0474-3.

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