Gleim, Johann Wilhelm Ludwig, 1719-1803

Gleim, Johann Wilhelm Ludwig, 1719-1803



  • Existence: 1719 - 1803


Gleim was born at the small town of Ermsleben in the Principality of Halberstadt, then part of Prussia. His father, a tax collector, and his mother died early. He attended school in Wernigerode and from 1738 onwards studied law at the University of Halle, where he established a circle of young poets together with his friends Johann Uz and Johann Nikolaus Götz.

Having obtained his final degree, he worked as a tutor in Berlin, where in 1743–44 he became secretary to the Hohenzollern prince Frederick William of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Gleim accompanied his employer in the Second Silesian War and made the acquaintance of Ewald Christian von Kleist, whose devoted friend he became. When the prince was killed during the Prussian siege of Prague, Gleim became secretary to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau; but he soon gave up his position, not being able to bear the roughness of the "Old Dessauer".

In 1747, after again living in Berlin for a few years, he was appointed secretary of the Halberstadt Cathedral chapter. From 1756 he also served as a canon at the nearby Walbeck monastery. He became known as "Father Gleim" throughout all literary Germany on account of his kind-hearted though inconsiderate and undiscriminating patronage alike of the poets and poetasters of the period.

He died at the age of 83 in Halberstadt, then completely blind, but a wealthy and respected citizen. He was buried in his garden on the Holtemme river.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jonann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim letter

Mss 771277
Identifier: Mss 771277
Date(s): 1771-04-27
Scope and Contents

Two page letter from Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim in Halberstadt to an unidentified recipient (a friend), he is upset because some friends passed through Halberstadt without visiting; asks that some books be delivered.