Ernst Förstemann: German historian, archivist and librarian (1822 - 1906) | Biography
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Ernst Förstemann
German historian, archivist and librarian

Ernst Förstemann

Ernst Förstemann
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German historian, archivist and librarian
Was Librarian Writer Archivist Historian
From Germany
Field Literature Social science
Gender male
Birth 18 September 1822, Gdańsk, Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland
Death 4 November 1906, Charlottenburg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin, Germany (aged 84 years)
Star sign Virgo
Father: Wilhelm August Förstemann
The details (from wikipedia)


Ernst Wilhelm Förstemann (Danzig, September 18, 1822 – Charlottenburg, November 4, 1906) was a German historian, mathematician, Dr. of linguistic and librarian, director of the Saxon State Library (German: Sächsische Landesbibliothek) in Dresden. He is known as a founder of onomastics and folk etymology studies in Germany, and also for his seminal contributions made in the early years of Mayanist research, towards the decipherment and understanding of calendrical elements in the pre-Columbian Maya script.


He was born in Danzig. In 1865 he became chief librarian at the Royal Library (now the Saxon State Library) in Dresden, which contained the Dresden Codex. He prepared an edition of the Maya manuscript as well as several treatises on it. His services in behalf of the reorganization of the library were most important. In 1894 he deciphered the Maya numbering systems.

Works (selected)

  • Altdeutsches Namenbuch, 2 vols., 1856/59. A discussion of old German proper names, the first volume being devoted to names of persons, and the second to places.
  • Über die Gräflich Stolbergische Bibliothek zu Wernigerode, 1866
  • Mitteilungen der königlichen öffentlichen Bibliothek zu Dresden, 1866 ff.
  • Geschichte des deutschen Sprachstammes, 2 vols. 1874/75 (Reissued 1966; called by some his most important work)
  • Graf Christian Ernst zu Stolberg-Wernigerode, Hannover 1886.
  • Zur Entzifferung der Mayahandschriften, 7 vols. 1887/98
  • Aus dem alten Danzig, 1820-40, 1900
  • Zur Geschichte der Bücher-Sammlungen in der Grafschaft Wernigerode bis zum Dreißigjährigen Kriege, insbesondere der Sammlung Graf Wolfgang Ernst zu Stolberg (angelegt von etwa 1569–1606)., undated MS.
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