Johann Friedrich Palm

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Johann Friedrich Palm (* 2 October 1813 in Prettin; † 14 February 1871 in Bautzen) was a German classical philologist and lexicographer. His most important achievement is the new edition of the Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache by Franz Passow (1841-1857).


He was born as the son of the Dautzschen pastor Johann Elias Palm in the house of his maternal grandfather in Prettin due to the war. Growing up in Dautzschen only for the first three years, the family moved to Dommitzsch, where his father received the position of head pastor. Palm first received private lessons and from 1826 attended the Nikolaischule in Leipzig. After graduation (Easter 1832) he studied theology and philology at the University of Leipzig. Under the influence of Gottfried Hermann, Palm turned more and more to philology. However, he had to give up his plans of an academic career after the death of his father (1834), because he had to provide for the family. So in 1835 Palm accepted a position as an adjunct at the Nikolaischule and in 1837 was appointed a full teacher. During this time Palm also produced an edition of the Histories of Herodotus, which appeared in three volumes in 1839. This work and his success as a teacher were decisive for his transfer to the Landesschule Grimma and his appointment as Gymnasium professor in December 1842. In this position, Palm also participated in the debate about Gymnasium and Real education and published a programmatic paper in 1848, Ueber Zweck, Umfang und Methode des Unterrichts in den classischen Sprachen auf den Gymnasien.

In October 1850 Palm was appointed rector of the grammar school in Plauen. His reforms ensured that this institution flourished again. In addition to the Gymnasium branches, he also established Realklassen, which had become a necessity for the emerging industrial town. Palm was rewarded for his success in October 1861 with a transfer to the grammar school in Bautzen, which he had long desired. Here he worked as principal until his death.

In addition to his edition of Herodotus, which was reprinted as late as the 1920s, Palm was particularly noted as a new editor of the Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache by Franz Passow (1841-1857). He also published selected speeches and a biography of his colleague Friedrich Kraner (Leipzig 1864).


  • Richard Hoche: Palm, Johann Friedrich. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Vol. 25, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1887, p. 104.
  • Johannes Poeschel: The college of the prince and country school Grimma from 1849 to 1900. Grimma 1901, S. 33-34.
  • Hans-Joachim Böttcher: “Palm, Johann Friedrich”, in: Important historical personalities of the Dübener Heide, AMF – No. 237, 2012, p. 77.

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