Otto Wilhelm Masing

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Otto Wilhelm Masing Owmasing.svg
Otto Wilhelm Masing

Otto Wilhelm Masing (8 November [ O.S. 28 October] 1763 in Lohusuu, Kreis Dorpat, Livland Governorate15 March [ O.S. 3 March] 1832 in Äksi, Livland Governorate) was an early Baltic German Estophile and a major advocate of peasant rights, especially regarding education.

Old Style and New Style dates 16th-century changes in calendar conventions

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Lohusuu Small borough in Jõgeva County, Estonia

Lohusuu is a small borough in Mustvee Parish Jõgeva County, in northeastern Estonia. It was the administrative centre of the Lohusuu Parish. As of 2011 Census, the settlement's population was 317.

Kreis Dorpat was one of the nine subdivisions of the Governorate of Livonia of the Russian Empire. It was situated in the northeastern part of the governorate. Its capital was Tartu (Dorpat). The territory of Kreis Dorpat corresponds to the present-day Tartu County, most of Jõgeva County, parts of Põlva and Valga counties and a small part of Ida-Viru County.



He received schooling at the town school of Narva (1777–1779) and then (1779–1782) at the Gymnasium of Torgau (Germany) before studying theology, music and drawing at the University of Halle, returning to Estonia in 1786.

Narva City in Ida-Viru, Estonia

Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, at the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.

Gymnasium (school) type of school providing advanced secondary education in Europe

A gymnasium is a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, and providing advanced secondary education in some parts of Europe comparable to British grammar schools, sixth form colleges and US preparatory high schools. In its current meaning, it usually refers to secondary schools focused on preparing students to enter a university for advanced academic study. Before the 20th century, the system of gymnasiums was a widespread feature of educational system throughout many countries of central, north, eastern, and south Europe.

Torgau Town in Saxony, Germany

Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nordsachsen.

In 1796 he married Dorothea Amalie Ehlertz (1776–1809) in Dorpat (Tartu), [1] a daughter of the city councillor Carl Ulrich Ehlertz (1739–1790) [2] and his wife Louisa Dorothea née Stockenberg (1755–1803), a great-granddaughter of the sculptor Johann Gustav Stockenberg.

St. Johns Church, Tartu Church in Tartu, Estonia

St. John's Church, Tartu is a Brick Gothic Lutheran church, one of the landmarks of the city of Tartu, Estonia. It is dedicated to John the Baptist.

Tartu City in Tartu County, Estonia

Tartu is the second largest city of Estonia, after Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn.

A Councillor is a member of a local government council.


Church of St. Andrew in Aksi (2015) Aksi Andrease kirik 20150510-124201 3X4 panoraam.jpg
Church of St. Andrew in Äksi (2015)

His first employment after concluding his studies was as private tutor at Püssi Manor for the children of the nobleman Otto Magnus von Toll.

Püssi Town in Ida-Viru County, Estonia

Püssi is a town in Lüganuse Parish, Ida-Viru County, in northeastern Estonia, with a population of 917 as of 2018. It is located near the road between Tallinn and St. Petersburg.

In 1788 he became the pastor of the (Lutheran) church in Lüganuse (1788–1795), then serving from 1795 in Viru-Nigula (1795–1815) and from 1815 in Äksi, where he remained as pastor until his death. [3]

Lüganuse Small borough in Ida-Viru County, Estonia

Lüganuse is a small borough in Ida-Viru County, northern Estonia. It is the administrative centre of Lüganuse Parish. As of 2011 Census, the settlement's population was 439, of which the Estonians were 423 (96.4%).

Viru-Nigula Small borough in Lääne-Viru County, Estonia

Viru-Nigula is a small borough in Lääne-Viru County, Estonia. It is the administrative centre of Viru-Nigula Parish. Viru-Nigula has a population of 336.

Äksi Small borough in Tartu County, Estonia

Äksi is a small borough in Tartu Parish, Tartu County in Estonia. It is located on the southern shore of Lake Saadjärv, and has a population of 477.

From 1818 he also took on the post of assessor of the consistory of Livonia and from 1821 onwards he was also Provost for Tartu.

Contributions as publicist and linguist

Title page of 'ABD' by Otto Wilhelm Masing, published in 1795 Masingu aabitsa tiitelleht.jpeg
Title page of 'ABD' by Otto Wilhelm Masing, published in 1795

In 1795, Masing compiled and published a children's textbook for learning reading, the ABD. (The letter 'C' does not appear in Estonian words, and back then, was not considered a member of Estonian alphabet. This considered, the title could be translated as "ABC.") He published a further textbook with methodical reading instructions, the Luggemislehhed, in 1821.

From 1821 to 1823, Masing published a newsletter Marahva Näddala-Leht (Estonian for Peasant's Weekly), one of the earliest regular publications in the Estonian language.

Among other linguistic contributions, Masing is credited with creating the letter 'õ' to denote an Estonian phoneme not found in other nearby languages.


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