Goethe, Ottilie von

BORN 31 Oct 1796, Gdansk - DIED 26 Oct 1872, Weimar, Thüringen
BIRTH NAME Pogwisch, Ottilie, Freiin von
GRAVE LOCATION Weimar, Thüringen: Historischer Friedhof (Alter Friedhof, Neuer Friedhof, Friedhof vor dem Frauentor), Poseckscher Garten (at the western wall)

Ottillie von Pogwisch married Johann Wolfgang Goethe's son August in 1817. After their marriage she went to live at J.W. Goethe's house at the Frauenplan. It wasn't a happy marriage, but she was popular among the many guests that visited the old Goethe. She had three children with August. Her sister Ulrike lived with them for ten years. In 1829 she started the magazine "Chaos", to which Goethe attributed.

Her husband was drinking heavily and died in Rome in 1830 and was buried in that city. She stayed with Goethe and took care of him when he fell ill. He died in her arms in 1832. His will prevented her from marying again. But now that Goethe was dead she planned a rendez vous with the Irish officer Charles Sterling, who had been a favourite of Ottilie since she had met him in 1823 when he visited Goethe on Lord Byron's request. After another rendez vous with Sterling in 1834 she became pregnant. But Sterling had disappeared and she went to Vienna where she gave birth to her daughter Anna on 15 Feb 1835. The child was named after Anna Jameson and was boarded with a Viennese family, but little Anna died op 4 Jul 1836. By that time Ottilie had returned to Weimar.

In Weimar she had an affair with the English author Edmund Phipps and even showed him the room where Goethe had died, unlocking it for the first time in years. But Phipps left, married someone else and to her bitter regret he used the experience in his novel "The Fergusons" (1839).

From 1839 onwards she had a permanent place to live in Vienna and there knew Eduard von Bauernfeld and Franz Grillparzer. She returned to Weimar in 1841, but from 1842 to 1843 she was once more in Vienna. She was there during the revolution of 1848 as well. In 1869 she left Vienna and moved to Jena. In 1870 she returned to the house at the Frauenplan in Weimar. She died in Weimar in 1872.

Among her friends were Annette von Droste-Hülshoff and both Johanna and Adele Schopenhauer.

• Daughter: Goethe, Alma
• Son: Goethe, Walther Wolfgang
• Son: Goethe, Maximilian Wolfgang
• Husband: Goethe, Julius August Walter (1817-1830)

Related persons
• met Lewald, Fanny
• was a friend of Schopenhauer, Adele
• was a friend of Schopenhauer, Johanna


The graves of the Goethe family at the Friedhof vor dem Frauentor, Weimar.
Picture by Androom (29 Apr 1999)


• Dressler, Roland & Jochen Klauss, Weimarer Friedhöfe, Böhlau Verlag, Weimar, 1996
Grosse Frauen der Weltgeschichte, Neuer Kaiser Verlag, Klagenfurt, 1987
• Gorys, Erhard, Thüringen, Artemis Reis- en Cultuurgids, Kok Lyra, Kampen, 1996
Ottilie von Goethe – Wikipedia

Goethe, Walther Wolfgang

Published: 18 Nov 2017
Last update: 05 Jul 2022