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07/23/2015 | Pressemitteilung

Hand copies of the Brothers Grimm now available online

They are among the most valuable treasures from the legacy of the famous linguists: the hand copies of the Children's and Household Tales collected by the Grimms and published for the first time in 1812/15 and in a second edition in 1819. Now, in coordination with the city of Kassel, Kassel University Library has digitized them - including a volume of annotations published in 1822 - with every single page in high quality.

Image: University of Kassel
Photograph of page 48 of the first volume from 1812. It shows an excerpt from the fairy tale "Von dem bösen Flachsspinnen" (in later editions: "Von den drei Spinnerinnen"). Handwritten additions are clearly visible.

The volumes have been part of the World Documentary Heritage since 2005 and will be the centerpiece of the exhibition in the newly opened GRIMMWELT Kassel from September 2015. With numerous comments and annotations by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the volumes provide information about the contributors and the editing stages of the individual fairy tale narratives and are therefore of particular importance for research.

The University Library has now digitized the several thousand page editions in high quality and made them available via its online archive ORKA. This enables scholars from around the world to use the copies for their research without straining the fragile originals.

"The digitization of the Brothers Grimm's hand copies by the University makes it clear that the City of Kassel and the State of Hesse are jointly assuming the responsibility declared to UNESCO - Preservation and Access. Not only will visitors to the new GRIMMWELT in Kassel be able to see the hand copies as precious exhibits from September 2015, but digital access for research purposes will also be possible worldwide," said Lord Mayor Bertram Hilgen.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Brinker-von der Heyde, Vice President of the University of Kassel, said, "The digitization of the hand copies makes it clear once again that our university has become the central location for Grimm research."

Prof. Dr. Holger Ehrhardt, who holds a professorship at the university on the work and impact of the Brothers Grimm, emphasized, "For the first time, all five volumes of the first two fairy tale editions have now been digitized in such a way that they meet all requirements on the part of scholars. Of particular interest is the volume of annotations from 1822, because it contains many previously unknown handwritten marginal notes by the Brothers Grimm."

The digitization of the hand copies of Grimm's Kinder- und Hausmärchen is part of a cooperative project between the city of Kassel and the University of Kassel. In another project, here with the Hessian State Archives in Marburg, the university has already made numerous letters and other documents of the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm available online. In 2012, the University of Kassel established Germany's first professorship devoted exclusively to the lives and works of the Brothers Grimm. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm spent their most productive time in Kassel.


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Caption: Photograph of page 48 of the first volume from 1812, showing an excerpt from the fairy tale "Von dem bösen Flachsspinnen" (in later editions: "Von den drei Spinnerinnen"). Handwritten additions are clearly visible. Image: University of Kassel.


The 2 volumes published by Realschulbuchhandlung, Berlin, 1812 and 1815:

The 3 volumes in the publishing house Reimer, Berlin, in 2nd edition 1819 and 1822 published :


Dr. Axel Halle
Kassel University Library
- Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek der Stadt Kassel
Diagonale 10, 34127 Kassel
Tel.: 0561 804-2117 or -3726
E-Mail: halle[at]bibliothek.uni-kassel[dot]de


Dr. Holger Ehrhardt
University of Kassel, Department 02, German Studies
Kurt-Wolters-Str. 5, 34125 Kassel
Tel.: 0561 804 7455
E-mail: holger.ehrhardt[at]uni-kassel[dot]de