Johann Georg Justus Perthes, who came from Rudolfstadt an der Saale, took over the publication of the “Gothaischen Genealogsichen Hofkalenders” (Gotha Genealogical Court Calendar) in 1785 – today it would probably be called a “Who is who in aristocratic circles”. This was later continued under “Der Gotha”.
The Gotha court official Adolf Stielfer recommended that Perthes publish a “Hand Atlas of all Parts of the Earth”. The first edition was published in 1817-1823 and went into more than ten editions. In the course of the years, further atlases were added, thus establishing the rise of the publishing house, which was already almost unrivalled as a map publisher in 1850. Gotha thus developed into the geographical centre of the world.
Today, the Perthes map collection is one of the largest and most beautiful in Europe with 185,000 maps, 120,000 books, 1650 copper plates, journals, atlases, according to Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. On 1 June, the station showed the documentary “Perthes, Haack and Heidi – From Gotha to the World”. The programme is still available via the media library. It is worth watching.