On This Day In History--January 4th: Jacob Grimm was born in 1785
Jacob Grimm, eldest of the famous storytelling duo The Brothers Grimm, was born on January 4th, 1785 in Hanau, Germany. He and his younger brother Wilhelm were mythologists, linguists, and authors of hundreds of folktales. They also collected and revised many traditional German folktales, believing the stories to be great expressions of German culture and literature.
Some of their most famous works include stories that are still highly popular and well-known today, like Snow White, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. Though many versions of their stories exist today, the original Grimm fairy tales contained common themes of violence and brutality. For instance, at the close of the original Snow White, the evil queen is forced into iron shoes and made to dance until she drops dead. Seen as inappropriate for children, their stories weren't very popular when they were first published, but the brothers worked to make them more child-friendly as they produced newer editions, and their popularity grew.
Many of their stories can be found in AADL’s Fairytales and Folklore collection, including ones that have been re-written, re-told, or re-interpreted by other cultures. Some, like Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel have been made into popular movies, as well as operas and ballets. The Grimm Brothers and their lives were the subjects of a fantasy film in 2005.