Storm Tina
Life and Works of Theodor Storm

Theodor Storm (1817-1888). 
Painting by Nicolai Sunde in Heiligenstadt, 1857. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.Theodor Storm (1817-1888).
29 May Johann Casimir Storm (1790-1874), lawyer, marries Lucie Woldsen (1797-1879) member of  an established patrician family in Husum.
1817 14 September. Birth of Hans Theodor Woldsen Storm at 9 Markt in Husum in the Duchy of Schleswig. 9 Markt in Husum.  
Birthplace of Theodor Storm: 
Drawing by Jan Hamkens. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Birthplace of
Theodor Storm
1818 Family moves to Neustadt 56 in Husum.
1820 Birth of sister Helene.
1821 Enters 'Mother Amberg's' Klippschule (private nursery  school).
1822 Birth of  sister Lucie.
1824 Birth of brother Johannes.
1825 (3 February 1825). The great storm. Loss of life and extensive damage in North Friesland. Features indirectly in future key works.
1826 Birth of brother Otto.  

Autumn: Enters the Gelehrtenschule (Latin school) in Husum.

First readings of Goethe's poetry and Schiller's drama. Key interests: music and foreign languages.


Gelehrtenschule (Latin school) in Husum. 
Drawing by Jan Hamkens. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Gelehrtenschule in Husum.

Frequently visits Lena Wies, the story-teller of his youth and later model for Trin' Jans in Der Schimmelreiter (1888).

Lena Wies (1797-1869). 
Original photograph from the Storm estate. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Lena Wies (1797-1869)
1829 Death of sister Lucie. Occasion of his first poem.
1833 First preserved poem 'An Emma' ('To Emma'). Emma Kühl from the island of Föhr.

Birth of brother Aemil.

On leaving the school submits an own literary work in verse: 'Mattathias, der Befreier der Juden' ('Mattathias, the liberator of the Jews').

Enters the prestigious and selective grammar school, the Katharineum Gymnasium, in the city of Lübeck. Studies the works of Goethe (1749-1832), Eichendorff (1788-1857) and Uhland (1787-1862). Through the writer and schoolfriend Ferdinand Röse (1815-59) becomes acquainted with the poetry of Heinrich Heine (1797-1856). Heine's collection of verse Buch der Lieder (Book of Songs,1827)) profoundly influences his future work. Through Röse meets the poet and dramatist Emanuel von Geibel (1815-84) in the Salon of the Lübeck Consul Nölting.
The Katharineum Gymnasium in Lübeck: 
Lithograph by L. Heinrich Hautmann, around 1840. 
Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the museum.
The Katharineum Gymnasium in Lübeck
Goethe (1749-1832) at the age of 30. 
Reproduced by kind permission of Komet MA-Service und Verlagsgesellschaft,Frechen.
Goethe (1749-1832) at the age of 30.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856): Contemporary portrait. 
Reproduced by kind permission of Komet MA-Service und Verlagsgesellschaft, Frechen.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)

Meets 10 year old Bertha von Buchan in Hamburg.

Writes ballad: 'The Construction of St Mary's Church in Lübeck' ('Der Bau der Marienkirche in Lübeck').

Sends his parents his book of poems as Christmas present.


Enters University of Kiel to study jurisprudence.

Writes fairy tale Hans Bär and poetry for Bertha von Buchan.

Becomes engaged to Emma Kühl.


Enters University of Berlin. Interests himself in the theatre and visits Dresden.

Breaks off engagement to Emma Kühl.

1839 Continues studies at University of Kiel. Establishes friendship with the historian and Nobel prize winner Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903) and his brother Tycho. Discovers the poetry of Eduard Mörike (1804-1875).

Together with the Mommsen brothers begins collection of legends, fairy tales and songs of Schleswig-Holstein and Lauenburg (later published by Müllenhoff).

First publication of poems in 'Album der Boudoirs' and 'Lyrischen Album der Europa'.


Bertha von Buchan refuses Storm's proposal of marriage.

Passes state examination in law at Kiel University and returns to Husum. Works in his father's law practice.       


February: Begins to practise law in Husum. Establishes own solicitor's practice (Rechtsanwaltkanzelei)  in 11Großstraße.

Founds choral society (Gesangverein) in Husum.

Appearance of Liederbuch dreier Freunde (Songbook of Three Friends), a joint work with the Mommsen brothers that includes forty of Storm's poems.


Engagement to his cousin Constanze Esmarch (1825-65), oldest daughter of the mayor of Segeberg, Ernst Esmarch (1794-1875), and his wife Elsabe, née Woldsen (1795-1873).

Attends the first North Frisian National Festival (Nordfriesenfest) in Bredstedt.

Constanze Esmarch (1825-1865): Storm's first wife. 
Painting by Nicolai Sunde in Heiligenstadt, 1857. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Constanze Esmarch

Acquires house at 56 Neustadt, Husum.

1846 September 15: Marriage to Constanze.

Death of Storm's sister Helene (Lorenzen).

Love affair with Dorothea (Do) Jensen (1828-1903), daughter of a Husum patrician and Storm's second wife to be. Poems: 'Rote Rosen' ('Red Roses'). 'Mysterium'.


Storm's first prose sketch, Marthe und ihre Uhr.

Christmas Day: Birth of Hans Storm whose future difficult relationship with his father formed the basis of the 'father-son conflict' in Novellen such as Carsten Curator (1878) and Hans und Heinz Kirch (1882)

Involvement in the Schleswig-Holstein Freedom Movement (Freiheits-bewegung) against Denmark.

Beginning of Schleswig War.

Appearance of political poems 'Ostern' ('Easter') and 'Oktoberlied' ('October Song') and poem 'Abseits' ('Apart').

Secretary of Patriotic Volunteers Society (Patriotischen Hülfsverein).


May: Signatory to a petition for breaking the personal union with Denmark.

Prussian and Swedish troops occupy Schleswig.

October: Joint signatory to a letter of protest against Denmark's changes to the State Basic Law.

Sketch Im Saal (Trans. In the Great Hall, 1964 ).

Completes Novelle Immensee. (Trans. Immensee, 1999)


Fairy tale: Der kleine Häwelmann (Trans. Little Hans, 2013)

Organises new elections to the State Assembly. Act declared illegal.

2 July. Denmark concludes peace with Prussia.

24 July: Danish army defeats Schleswig-Holstein troops at battle of Idstedt.

Autumn: Bombardment of Danish-occupied Friedrichtstadt by Schleswig-Holstein forces. Friedrichstadt. Coloured lithograph by P. J. du Ferrang. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Stadtarchiv Friedrichstadt.

Political poems 'Im Herbst' 1850 ('Autumn 1850'), 'Gräber an der Küste' ('Graves on the Coast') and 'Ein Epilog'.

End of Schleswig War.

Begins correspondence with Eduard Mörike (1804-75).


Birth of son Ernst.

Tale Posthuma.

Fairy tale: Hinzelmeier.


8 May. London Protocol -- Denmark agrees not to tie Schleswig more closely to Denmark than to its sister duchy of Holstein.

Storm's post as lawyer abolished by the Danish king. Seeks new position in the Prussian Courts.

Moves to Berlin. Acquaintance with members of  the literary club 'Tunnel über der Spree' founded in 1827. Members include Emanuel Geibel (1815-84), Paul Heyse (1830-1914) and Theodor Fontane (1819-98).  First separate edition of poems including 'Die Stadt' ('The Town'), a poem describing his home town of Husum, the 'grey town by the sea'. Theodor Fontane (1819-1898). 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Theodor Fontane

Begins correspondence with Theodor Fontane.

Birth of son Karl.

Begins correspondence with the writer Paul Heyse (1830-1914).

Family moves from Husum to Potsdam. Begins work at the Potsdam Court; trial unpaid appointment as court official.

1854 Novellen: Ein grünes Blatt (Trans. A Green Leaf, 1964) and Im Sonnenschein (Trans. In the Sunlight, 1964). Poem: 'Für meine Söhne' ('For my Sons') .

Birth of first daughter Lisbeth.

Visits Eduard Mörike while journeying to Stuttgart. .

Novelle Angelika.

Appointed Kreisrichter (Stipendiary Magistrate) in Heiligenstadt, near Göttingen.  Moves from Potsdam. Heiligenstadt (c.1845). 
Storm's residence in exile 1856-1864. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Heiligenstadt (c.1845)

Publication of second edition of  'Gedichte' ('Poems') including: 'Gräber an der Küste' ('Graves on the Coast') and 'Meeresstrand' ('The Shore').


House in centre of Heiligenstadt in Wilhelmstraße opposite the prison, later to form the setting for Pole Poppenspäler, (1874). Forms early friendship with Alexander von Wussow (1820-89), Landrat von Heiligenstadt.

Humorous tale Wenn die Äpfel reif sind.


Novelle: Auf dem Staatshof  (Trans. The Last Farmstead, 2009).

Forms choral society in Heiligenstadt.

Receives Tafelklavier (piano) for Xmas from his father.

Third edition of 'Gedichte' ('Poems').


Birth of daughter Lucie.

Novelle: Späte Rosen.


Novellen:  Drüben am Markt; Veronika.

Wilhelm I becomes King of Prussia.


Ghost stories: Am Kamin (Trans. By the Fireside, 2009).

Novellen: Im SchloßUnter dem Tannenbaum – includes the poem ‘Knecht Ruprecht

Bismarck appointed Minister-President of Prussia.


Birth of daughter Elsabe.

Novellen: Auf der Universität, Abseits.

Death of Danish King, Frederik VII. End of agnate succession.

Death of Storm's sister Cäcilie.

Prince Friedrich of Augustenburg proclaims himself duke of an independent Schleswig-Holstein. Demands for the separation of the duchies from Denmark and for their entry into the German Confederation (1814-15).

German troops occupy Holstein.


Fairy tale: Die Regentrude (Trans. The Rain Maiden, 2013)

Austro-Prussian ultimatum to Denmark. Beginning of German-Danish War. Austrian and Prussian troops occupy the duchy of Schleswig.

Storm elected Landvogt (Judge and Chief Constable) for the district of Husum in absentia. Returns (12 March) to take up post in Süderstraße.

Re-forms the Husum Choral Society.

July 20. End of German-Danish War. Schleswig-Holstein comes under the joint administration of Prussia and Austria.

Fairy tale:  Bulemanns Haus.

Novelle Von Jenseit des Meeres.


Birth of daughter Gertrud.

May 20. Death of his wife, Constanze, from childbed or puerperal fever. Begins poem-cycle 'Tiefe Schatten' ('Deep Shadows') describing her grave.

May 24. Quiet burial of Constanze Storm.

20 August. Convention of Gastein. Prussia takes over the administration of Schleswig, Austria that of Holstein.

Sept.5-13. Guest of Ivan Turgenev in Baden-Baden.

Fairy tale: Der Spiegel des Cyprianus.

Re-establishes relationship with Dorothea (Do) Jensen.

Beginning of correspondence with Paul Heyse (1830-1914).

June 13. Marriage to Dorothea Jensen (1828-1903) in the parsonage in Hattstedt.

Seven Week's Austro-Prussian War. Austrian defeat at battle of Königgrätz (3 July). Prussian troops invade 'Austria-controlled' Holstein.

October. Move to 31 Wasserreihe, Husum. Now the Theodor Storm Museum and centre for the Theodor Storm Society (see main menu). 

Dorothea Jensen (1828-1903). 
Storm's second wife "Frau Do". 
Old photo. Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Dorothea Jensen

Formation of North German Confederation. Bismarck Chancellor.

Both duchies annexed to Prussia.

Eine Malerarbeit.


Storm's office as Landvogt abolished by Prussian authorities.  Officially becomes Amtsrichter (District Court Judge) at much reduced salary. Lets ground floor of house in Wasserreihe to supplement income.

Novellen: In St. Jürgen (Trans. The Swallows of St George's, 2009).

Birth of daughter Friederike (Dodo).

First edition of Sämtliche Schriften (Collected Works) in six volumes by G. Westermann.
1869 Death of Lena Wies (Magdalena Jürgens), Storm's childhood story-teller and model for Trin' Jans in Der Schimmelreiter (1888).

Speaks out against Franco-Prussian War (1870-71).

Novelle:  Der Amtschirurgus-Heimkehr.


France defeated by Prussia. Founding of the German Empire.Wilhelm I, King of Prussia, proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.

Novelle: Eine Halligfahrt (Trans. Journey to a Hallig, 1999).

Begins correspondence with Emil Kuh, Austrian writer and critic (1828-76).

1872 Novelle: Draußen im Heidedorf (Trans. The Village on the Moor, 2004).

Sketch: Lena Wies and  reminiscences: Von heut und ehedem.


Storm promoted to the position of Oberamtsrichter (District Higher Court Judge).

14 September. Death of Storm's father.

Novellen: Viola tricolor (Trans. Viola tricolor, 1956); Beim Vetter ChristianPole Poppenspäler (Trans. Paul the Puppeteer, 2004); Waldwinkel.

Novellen: Ein stiller Musikant (Trans. A Quiet Musician, 2003); Psyche; Im Nachbarhause links.

Poem: 'Über die Heide' ('Across the Heath'); thoughts on his first wife Constanze.


Novelle: Aquis submersus (Trans. Aquis submersus, 1989).

August. Visits oldest son Hans Storm studying medicine in Würzburg.


February. Second visit to Würzburg to assist his eldest and difficult son Hans with his medical exams. Meeting with literary historian and professor in Straßburg, Erich Schmidt (1853-1913).

Begins correspondence with writer Gottfried Keller (1819-90).

Meine Erinnerungen an Eduard Mörike (My Memories of Eduard Mörike).

Gottfried Keller (1819-1890): 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Gottfried Keller
1878 Novellen:  Carsten Curator (Trans. Carsten the Trustee, 2009); Renate (Trans. Renate, 2004).

Novellen:  Zur 'Wald- und Wasserfreude'Im Brauer-haus;  Eekenhof (Trans. Eekenhof, 1908).

Promoted to Amtsgerichtsrat (County Court Judge).

July 28. Death of Storm's mother.


Early retirement. Sells house in Wasserreihe and parents' house. Leaves Husum for Hademarschen. Builds "Altersvilla".

Novelle:  Die Söhne des Senators (Trans. The Senator's Sons, 1965).


April 30. Occupies "Altersvilla" in Hademarschen.

Novelle: Der Herr Etatsrat.

Visits daughter Lisbeth in Heiligenhafen. Acquires material for Novelle Hans und Heinz Kirch (1882).

Visit by Paul Heyse (1830-1914).


Novelle: Hans und Heinz Kirch. (Trans. Hans and Heinz Kirch, 1999).

Visit by Erich Schmidt (1853-1913).


Novelle: Schweigen.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria confers on Storm the Maximilian Order for Science and Art.


Novellen:  Zur Chronik von Grieshuus (The Grieshuus Chronicle). 'Es waren zwei Königskinder' .

May. Visits Berlin. Banquet in his honour. Meets among others Theodor Fontane and Theodor Mommsen, Alexander von Wussov and Ludwig Pietsch.

1885 Novellen: John Riew'; Ein Fest auf Haderslevhuus (Trans. A Festival at Haderslevhuus, 1909).

May. Journeys to Weimar. Attends first meeting of newly-founded Goethe Society.

Novelle: Bötjer Basch.

Beginnings of severe ill-health.

December. Lone death of son Hans in Aschaffenburg. Hans' brother Ernst attends funeral.


Novelle: Ein Doppelgänger (John Glückstadt). (Published together with Bötjer Basch under the title Bei kleinen Leuten).

Novelle:  Ein Bekenntnis.

August.  Holiday on Sylt; Fragment: Sylter Novelle.

September 14. Celebrates 70th birthday in Hademarschen. Made freeman of the town of Husum.

Stomach cancer.


February 9. Completes the Novelle: Der Schimmelreiter (Trans. The Dykemaster, 1996).

Fragment: Der Armesünderglocke.

July 4. Dies of cancer in Hademarschen.

July 7. Laid to rest in family vault in St. Jürgen's cemetery, Husum.

Theodor Storm (1817-1888). 
Bronze bust by Adolf Brütt (1855-1939). 
Unveiled in Husum in 1899. 
Reproduced by kind permission of the Theodor Storm Society, Husum.
Theodor Storm

Sources and Acknowledgements

Freund, Winfried. Theodor Storm. (Stuttgart, 1987).

Fashold, Regina. Theodor Storm. (Leipzig, 1988).

Goldammer, Peter. Theodor Storm. (Leipzig, 1990).

Laage, Karl Ernst. Theodor Storm. Leben und Werk. (Husum, 1979), 5th edition 1993.

Laage, Karl Ernst, Theodor Storms Welt in Bildern (Heide, 1987).

Laage, Karl Ernst. Theodor Storm. Eine Biographie (Heide, 1999).

Vinçon, Hartmut. Storm (Hamburg, 1972).



[Return to top for Navigation]

site created by The Word Pool