"Das Pfenning-Magazin" Emulates "The Penny Magazine" in Germany

5/4/1833 to 1855

On May 4, 1833 Das Pfennig-Magazin, produced jointly with the "Gesellschaft zur Verbreitung gemeinnütziger Kenntnisse"  (Society for Disseminating Shared Practical Knowledge) began weekly publication in Leipzig. Copying the publication format of Charles Knight's Penny Magazine, Das Pfennig-Magazin was the first weekly illustrated magazine published in Germany. Like the Penny Magazine, it contained numerous wood engraved illustrations. Circulation peaked around 100,000 copies in 1847. Like the Penny Magazine, each issue published in Germany included 8 pages.

"Journalism in the German Confederation during the 1830s was governed by press laws. All publications up to twenty printed pages had to be submitted to the censor, and incurred a stamp tax which was calibrated so as to limit discussion of political matters as far as possible. The way in which the Pfennig-Magazin restricted itself to subjects such as ethnology, archaeology, art history, religious, technical and natural history themes was based not on some conception of what was appropriate for popular education, but on the desire to minimise taxes driven by items on current affairs and politics.[2]

"During the 1840s the appearance of rival illustrated magazines forced the Pfennig-Magazin to adapt itself to changes in consumer taste. The journal carried beneath its main title the sub-title "für Belehrung und Unterhaltung" ("For instruction and entertainment"). Starting in January 1843 a longer sub-title was added: "Wir glauben dem Zweck unseres Magazins, gemeinnützige Kenntnisse zu verbreiten, dahingehend erweitern zu müssen, daß dies nicht mehr, wie bisher blos in der Form der Belehrung, sondern so weit es möglich ist, auch in der Form der Unterhaltung geschehe." ("We believe it is axiomatic that the objective of our magazine, to disseminate shared practical knowledge, must be broadened, so that it no longer crudely didactic, but also enhances the entertainment side of things.") Nevertheless, after 1847 circulation declined, and the Pfennig-Magazin ceased publication in 1855" (Wikipedia article on Das Pfennig-Magazin, accessed 10-13-2018).

According to Repertorium der gesammten deutschen Literatur, Volume 1 (1834) pp. 618-619, several illustrated magazines of the Pfennig-Magazin type began publication in Germany in 1834, including Das Pfennig-Magazin für Kinder.



Timeline Themes