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Karl Baedeker, founding father of travel guides, dies in Germany

Karl Baedeker, detail
10/04/1859
Karl Baedeker was born in Essen in Germany's Ruhr Valley in 1801, the son of a bookseller and printer. He began producing guide-books in Germany after seeing British tourists using John Murray's book in the Rhine Valley. He went on to found the firm of Baedeker and Sons, headquartered in Koblenz, publishing guides in several languages for the leading tourist sites in Europe. Scrupulous and honest, Baedeker never described anything he had not seen and measured himself and indignantly refused bribes for inclusion from tourism operators. He was never convinced of the profitability of his guides, though, and when he died in 1859 Baedeker assumed that his sons would discontinue them. But the distinctive red covered books went from strength to strength and famously survived into the modern day. (By John Osborne)

 

Source Citation: 
Francis Rufus Bellamy, "The House of Baedeker," The Outlook 83 (1906): 224-229

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