Wilhelm Oechelhäuser

* 26.08.1820 in Siegen; ✝ 25.09.1902 in Niederwalluf (Rhineland)

Scholar, Industrialist, Politician



Wilhelm Oechelhäuser, having completed his primary and Latin school in Siegen, became an apprentice in his father’s a paper mill. At the age of eight his uncle presented him with a volume of the Eschenburg translation of the works of Shakespeare, for whom he immediately conceived a huge enthusiasm. In order to read Shakespeare’s works in English, he learnt that language – which was undoubtedly useful to him on his numerous visits abroad in Europe. In the 1850s Oechelhäuser was elected to the Prussian House of Representatives, committed himself to improving the lot of the city of Mühlheim an der Ruhr as its Mayor, and between 1878 and 1893 even was a member of the German Reichstag. In 1856 he moved to Dessau, where he took over (and retained until 1890) the direction of the recently founded Deutsche Continental gas company.

Despite his intensive political and economic activity, Oechelhäuser never neglected his cultural interests: in 1864 he founded, in concert with many renowned writers, theatre-folk, university scholars and members of the Weimar Court, the German Shakespeare Society, and was a member of its governing board from the first day, before going on later to serve as its President for twelve years. Alongside numerous national-economic and sociological writings, Oechelhäuser published a cheap complete Works of Shakespeare, which enjoyed great success: there were thirty printings in just ten years!

For his great efforts in publicizing and propagating Shakespeare’s works Oechelhäuser was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Erlangen in 1893.




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Citation and Licence

Oechelhäuser, Wilhelm, in: The Digital Shakespeare Memorial Album. Edited by Christa Jansohn. URI: http://www.shakespearealbum.de/uri/gnd/118735977. (Accessed on 26.09.2023)

This text is published under the following licence: CC BY-ND 3.0 DE. Digitzed media reproduced with the permission of the library of Birmingham.

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