The Grimms

The Brothers Grimm

Jacob and Wilhelm in private

In well-known pictures they are portrayed seriously and in black and white. It is therefore an interesting fact that Jacob hated black clothes and much preferred colourful ones, especially coloured shoes. In general, he was reportedly inclined to extremes, both in his work and in everyday life. He walked quickly, he watched closely, he was a good observer.

He found it difficult to bear injustices, and he wrote texts protesting against them when he was still at school. His character was resolute, unconventional, but reserved, and he even felt embarrassed when he had to laugh out loud. Jacob had the urge to bring order into everything that caught his eye. He felt most at ease when he was alone in the midst of his beloved books.

GEBRÜDER, in German an old plural form of ‘brother’, specially emphasising togetherness. Although they were very close to one another in their lives and their work, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm never described themselves as ‘Gebrüder Grimm’. They published jointly or separately under Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm, or called themselves Brothers Grimm.

After he had gone through all childhood illnesses as a boy, Jacob enjoyed robust health into old age. Later, his hearing deteriorated, but that hardly bothered him, because he considered eyesight to be of greater importance; when finally health problems did arise, he proved to be a difficult patient.

To do research without financial worries – that was a dream for the hardworking brothers.

Not just by birth, Wilhelm was the perpetual runner-up. He was certainly no less intelligent, but from an early age his health was more fragile than that of his older brother, and he usually took longer for his studies and his career. Wilhelm’s performance matched that of Jacob, but he had to take his time - whether taking a walk in the country, travelling, being constrained to take the waters at a spa, or finding his first job. Like Jacob, Wilhelm was addicted to books and reading.

Jacob was a quick walker, Wilhelm was slower – they never took walks side by side.

Unlike his quiet brother, he also liked music. He was a friendly, sociable person, and finally the one who married "Dortchen" Dorothea Wild, who finally took over the household in the Grimm family, long a purely male domain. Wilhelm Grimm was a patient and emotional man, while the resolute Jacob Grimm was the unquestioned head of the family.

The other siblings: The life story of the world-famous brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm was closely connected with their brothers and sisters. Brother Carl was the only one to train for commerce, but he had no good fortune in his profession. He was finally able to earn a living as a language teacher and the editor of a treatise on double-entry bookkeeping. The brothers Ferdinand and Ludwig Emil were able to attend grammar school. On the advice of the family, the poetically talented Ferdinand became a proof-reader in a bookshop in Berlin, while Ludwig Emil attended the academy of arts in Kassel. Ferdinand was the first of the brothers to die, without having achieved literary fame. Ludwig Emil gained renown as a painter, draftsman and illustrator who also recorded important information about the life of the Grimms. The latecomer was Charlotte, the sister known as "Lotte", who was only three years old when the father died. After her mother's death, Lotte kept house for the Grimms for 14 years until her marriage.