Max Toeppen (1822-1893). Erforscher der Historiographie und Stadtgeschichte Preußens und Herausgeber preußischer Quellen

Marian Biskup


Max Toeppen (1882-1893), born in Königsberg/Prussia, studied history at Albertina (the Königsberg university) where he habilitated in 1847. From the beginning, he took a particular interest in the manifold history of Prussia, mainly in the Middle Ages, but also in Modern Times (Prussia when ruled by the Teutonic Order as well as Ducal Prussia). As he could not get a professorate at Albertina, he became a teacher at gymnasiums in Elbing and Posen, then, after 1854, director at gymnasiums in Hohenstein/ East Prussia, Marienwerder and Elbing. During his whole lifetime Toeppen has worked on research. He published critical investigations of sources and also sources of Prussian history. He was very well informed about the estate system in Prussia when ruled by the Teutonic Order, partly also in Ducal Prussia. He studied the historic geography of Prussia as well as the ethnography of Mazuria (East Prussia) and also knew the Polish language. We owe him the first attempt of a general history of Mazuria (1870). Also his town histories (Hohenstein, Marienwerder) were of value, his best works, however, dealt with the town of Elbing. Toeppen was in contact with Polish researchers,
f.e. Wojciech Kętrzyński in Lwów. Some of his works on Mazuria were published also in Polish translation.