Johann Samuel Ersch
Johann Samuel Ersch was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Bibliography , as a practice, is the academic study of books as physical, cultural objects; in this sense, it is also known as bibliology...

, generally regarded as the founder of German bibliography.


He was born at Großglogau (now Głogów), in Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

. In 1785 he entered the University of Halle with the view of studying theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

; but soon became more interested in history
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, bibliography and geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

. At Halle he made the acquaintance of Johann Ernst Fabri
Johann Ernst Fabri
Johann Ernst Fabri was a German geographer and statistician.In 1776 he began his studies of theology at the University of Halle, but his focus soon turned to geography and history...

, professor of geography; and when Fabri was made professor of history and statistics at the University of Jena, Ersch accompanied him there, and helped him in the preparation of several works.

In 1788 he published the Verzeichnis aller anonymischen Schriften, as a supplement to the 4th edition of Meusel's Gelehrtes Deutschland. The researches required for this work suggested to him the preparation of a Repertorium uber die allgemeinen deutschen Journale und and ere periodische Sammlungen für Erdbeschreibung, Geschichte, und die damit verwandten Wissenschaften (Lemgo
Lemgo is a city in the Lippe district of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of c. 42,000.It was founded in the 12th century by Bernhard II at the crossroad of two merchant routes. Lemgo was a member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval trading association of free cities in several...

, 1790–1792). The fame which this publication acquired him led to his being engaged by Schütz and Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland
Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland
Christoph Wilhelm Friedrich Hufeland was a German physician. He is famous as the most eminent practical physician of his time in Germany and as the author of numerous works displaying extensive reading and a cultivated critical faculty.-Biography:Hufeland was born at Langensalza, Thuringia and...

 to prepare an Allgemeines Repertorium der Literatur, published in 8 volumes (Jena
Jena is a university city in central Germany on the river Saale. It has a population of approx. 103,000 and is the second largest city in the federal state of Thuringia, after Erfurt.-History:Jena was first mentioned in an 1182 document...

 and Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, 1793–1809), which condensed the literary productions of 15 years (1785–1800), and included an account not merely of the books published during that period, but also of articles in periodicals and magazines, and even of the criticisms to which each book had been subjected.

While engaged in this great work Ersch also planned La France littéraire, which was published at Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 in 5 vols, from 1797 to 1806. In 1795 he went to Hamburg to edit the Neue Hamburger Zeitung, founded by Victor Klopstock, brother of Gottlieb Klopstock, but returned in 1800 to Jena to take active part in the Allgemeine Literaturzeitung. He also obtained in the same year the office of librarian in the university, and around 1802 was made professor of philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...


In 1803 Ersch accepted the chair of geography and statistics
Statistics is the study of the collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation of data. It deals with all aspects of this, including the planning of data collection in terms of the design of surveys and experiments....

 at Halle, and in 1808 was, made principal librarian. He here projected a Handbuch der deutschen Literatur seit der Mitte des 18. Jahrh. bis auf die neueste Zeit (Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, 1812–1814) and, along with Johann Gottfried Gruber
Johann Gottfried Gruber
Johann Gottfried Gruber was a German critic and literary historian.-Biography:Gruber was born at Naumburg on the Saale....

, the Allgemeine Encyclopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste
Allgemeine Encyclopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste
The Allgemeine Encyclopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste was a 19th-century German encyclopaedia published by Johann Samuel Ersch and Johann Gottfried Gruber, therefore also known as the "Ersch-Gruber." One of the most ambitious encyclopaedia projects ever, it remained uncompleted.It was designed...

(Leipzig, 1818) which he continued as far as the 21st volume. The accuracy and thoroughness of this monumental encyclopaedia made it an indispensable book of reference.
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