[Brahms, Johannes. (1833–1897)]
Map of Hamburg, Brahms' Birthplace - Owned by the Composer
Hamburg: S. Berendso.
Original map of Hamburg, owned by the important composer and titled in his hand on the outer slipcase label "Plan von Hamburg" and with the printed title "Grundriss von Hamburg / nach dem unglücklichen Brande von 5ten May bis den 9ten 1842" ("Plan of Hamburg / after the unhappy fire of May 5th to 9th, 1842"). The map shows Brahms' birthplace, with a fold-out flap, outlined in red ink, bringing attention to the affected central area before and after the fire. Folding creases, light toning and edge wear, overall very good. 19.5 x 14.75 inches (49.5 x 37.6 cm), 4 x 5 inches (10.5 x 13 cm) folded and in slipcase.
Together with a contemporary broadside, "Zum Andenken an die Schreckens-Tage / in Hamburg" ("In memory of the days of terror in Hamburg") with a hand-colored wood engraving of the fire at the head, hand-colored decorative border, a listing of the affected streets, a "prayer during the fire" and a poem. Published by F. C. Werber and printed by J. Kahlbrock Witwe. Folding creases and foxing; overall very good. 8.75 x 14 inches (22 x 35.5 cm).
The Great Fire of Hamburg began early on May 5, 1842 in Deichstraße and burned until the morning of May 8, destroying about one third of the buildings in the old city. 51 people were killed and 1,700 residences and several important public buildings were destroyed. Brahms was a boy at the time and must have witnessed the fire, although it is not mentioned in any of his surviving correspondence.
History & Historiography