With great sadness we announce to our business colleagues that this morning at 5 o’clock our dear father, the founder of our music business

Herr Friedrich Hofmeister

died in his 83rd year, from old age. We wish to inform you of this, with deep sadness, on behalf of the entire bereaved family.

Leipzig, 30 September 1864

Adolph Hofmeister

Prof. Dr. Wilh. Hofmeister

Friedrich Hofmeister, born in Strehla on 24 January 1782, moved to Leipzig with his parents at an early age, where his father died shortly afterwards. He began a broad-based education at the recently-founded Rathsfreischule [Free Town School], spurred on by his own enthusiasm and assisted by the affectionate interest of excellent teachers. Men such as Plato and Dolz continued to show an interest in the gifted, orphaned boy even after his school days. It was on their recommendation that Hofmeister moved into a patrician house for a short period, the head of which chose a career as a merchant for him; however, this man’s early death prevented these plans being fulfilled. Thus in 1797, almost by coincidence, Hofmeister joined the company of Herren Breitkopf und Härtel, already one of the leading businesses, as an apprentice.

Soon after this, he became managing director of the newly-established Bureau de Musique, a position which he gave up in 1802 in order to be able to found his own business. He chose Riesa for this, where he established himself as a grocer and draper.

After a few years (1805) this small sphere of activity was no longer sufficient for him; he moved with his wife and son back to Leipzig in order to sort out and wind up the business of his late father-in-law, who had owned a major furniture shop. Following this, he returned to the career he had started in, the one which appealed to him most. In 1807 he founded his music business, then only the third such in Leipzig. He also quickly brought to fruition his first idea of a music lending library, a venture which was exceptionally well received.

His charming personality enabled him to make friendships with young, rising talents; publishing their works brought benefit and honour to his publishing house. We are reminded of Heinr. Marschner, Friedr. Schneider, Alb. Methfesssel, Aug. Pohlenz etc. Similarly, there was also a friendly relationship with Privy Counsellor Ludw. Reichenbach in Dresden, who has since become extremely famous, and who introduced Hofmeister to the natural sciences. He studied botany until late in life with more than amateur enthusiasm, and published exclusively botanical works in the sister branch of his company.

He lived through the toughest time in Leipzig, the year 1813, in the suburbs, experiencing various privations and even danger, even if he now only had to be concerned for himself; for the previous year he had been widowed and his son had been sent to live in a pension out of town. Scarcely had peace been restored in the town than he remarried, and his house soon became a popular meeting place for musician friends, scholars and others. He needed company, in the best sense of the word. Most of the charitable and private societies counted him amongst their patrons and most enthusiastic members. He was less involved in the actual public life of the town, although he maintained a keen and often active interest particularly in all progressive innovations.

In 1834 he took up residence in the neighbouring village of Reudnitz and later, after he had handed his music business over to his two sons, he participated in the community life of the village in a senior position with great devotion and fruitful activity.

The last years of his life, which he enjoyed in an exceptionally happy state, were full of contented leisure activity with many useful hobbies (including business interests) and travels, whilst continuing to work in some enterprises. His oft-expressed wish to celebrate his golden wedding was not fulfilled. His wife predeceased him by four years. The day that would have been his golden wedding was his last day of good health and his life, an active one during which he had seldom suffered from poor health, ended after an illness that lasted ten months.

Hofmeister’s funeral took place at 3 o’clock on the afternoon of 3 October 1864, with many of his friends present. The cortege was followed by members of the Apollo lodge, of which he had been a member for 39 years, the Reudnitz local council, several publishers, members of the gardening association, the polytechnic society etc. At the grave, Herr Privy Counsellor Dr. Lucius spoke representing the lodge (in verse) and Herr Pastor Schmidt from Schönefeld. May he rest in peace!