Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3 - Karl Baedeker

Bookseller and publisher Karl Baedeker was born on November 3, 1801, in Essen, Prussia, the eldest of 10 sons of a printer and bookseller. In 1827, at age 25, he started a bookselling and publishing business in Koblenz, a hub of tourism in the Rhine region. He acquired a publishing house that sold a traveler’s handbook for Rhine journeys, which he revised as a single-source guide that included information he believed would be useful, such as tourist sights, routes, transportation, hotels, restaurants, tipping and prices. Such data distinguished his books from English travel guides published from 1836 by John Murray, which Baedeker admired and emulated. He was known for being incorruptible in his dealings, often checking the quality of establishments by making incognito visits, and used a system of stars to denote places of special interest. His red-bound Baedeker handbooks became indispensable for their clearness, accuracy, detail and reliable maps. One historian has said of Baedeker, "It is a moot point whether he invented tourism or tourism invented him."

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