1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pertz, Georg Heinrich

PERTZ, GEORG HEINRICH (1795–1876), German historian, was born at Hanover on the 28th of March 1795. From 1813 to 1818 he studied at Göttingen, chiefly under A. H. L. Heeren. His graduation thesis, published in 1819, on the history of the Merovingian mayors of the palace, attracted the attention of Baron Stein, by whom he was engaged in 1820 to edit the Carolingian chroniclers for the newly-founded Historical Society of Germany. In search of materials for this purpose, Pertz made a prolonged tour through Germany and Italy, and on his return in 1823 he received at the instance of Stein the principal charge of the publication of Monumenta germaniae historica, texts of all the more important historical writers on German affairs down to the year 1500, as well as of laws, imperial and regal archives, and other valuable documents, such as letters, falling within this period. Pertz made frequent journeys of exploration to the leading libraries and public record offices of Europe, publishing notes on the results of his explorations in the Archiv. der Gesellsch. f. deutsche Geschichtskunde (1824—1872). In 1823 he had been made secretary of the archives, and in 1827 principal keeper of the royal library at Hanover; from 1832 to 1837 he edited the Hannoverische Zeitung, and more than once sat as a representative in the Hanoverian second chamber. In 1842 he was called as chief librarian to Berlin, where he shortly afterwards was made a privy councillor and a member of the Academy of Sciences. He resigned all his appointments in 1874, and on the 7th of October 1876 died at Munich while attending the sittings of the historical commission.

The Monumenta began to appear in 1826, and at the date of his resignation 24 volumes folio (Scriptores, Leges, Diplomata) had appeared. This work for the first time made possible the existence of the modern school of scientific historians of medieval Germany In connexion with the Monumenta Pertz also began the publication of a selection of sources in octavo form, the Scriptores rerum germanicarum in usum scholarum; among his other literary labours may be mentioned an edition of the Gesammelte Werke of Leibnitz, and a life of Stein (Leben des Mininsters Freiherrn vom Stein (6 vols, 1849–1855); also, in an abridged form, Aus Steins Leben (2 vols., 1856).