January 4th is the birthday of Jacob Grimm of Grimm Fairy Tales fame, Jacob being the elder. He was born in Hanau, Germany in 1785. According to The Writers”Almanac,
He and his brother volunteered to help some friends gather oral folktales for a research project. The Grimms did such a great job that one of their friends suggested that they publish the stories in book form. They did, and the stories filled several volumes, called Children’s and Household Tales (1812-22). The collection was later renamed Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and it included many stories whose names are familiar to us today: “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” and “Rapunzel,” to name a few. The stories have been significantly toned down over the years, and most modern readers would be shocked at how violent and scary the original Grimm versions were.
Jacob Grimm went on to study language. He published a book of German grammar and also developed a theory – called “Grimm’s Law” – of how different languages are related to each other. He became a librarian, and was working on a dictionary when he died in 1863.
By the way, this date is also Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday (1643).
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