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Karl Gottfried Maeser

16 January 1828–15 February 1901

Born 16 Jan. 1828 in Meissen, Saxony, Germany.[1] Son of Johann Gottfried Maeser and Johanna Christina (Christiana) Fredrica Zocher.[2] Suffered from eight months of complete blindness caused by intense scholastic studies, 1839.[3] Attended Gymnasium Kreuz Schule (College of the Cross) at Dresden, Saxony, 1838, and Fredrichstadt Normal School, graduating with high honors, 1846–May 1848.[4] Vice director of the Budich Institute in Neustadt, Dresden, under the direction of Karl Benjamin Emmanuel Mieth, 1852–1853.[5] Married Anne Henriette Therese Mieth, 11 June 1854, in Dresden.[6] Investigated the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1853–1855.[7] First man to be baptized as a member of the Church in Germany, 14 Oct. 1855, by Franklin D. Richards; his wife was the first woman baptized in Germany, 19 Oct. 1855.[8] Moved to London, where he was asked to organize branches of German Saints and to serve a mission to Scotland, 1856.[9] Immigrated to the U.S., arriving 4 July 1857; appointed to serve a mission in the southern U.S., settling his family in Virginia, 1857–1859.[10] Migrated to Utah Territory with the John Smith pioneer company, arriving 1 Sept. 1860.[11] Opened his first school in Salt Lake City, 15 Nov. 1860.[12] Elected as regent of the University of Deseret, 1860, 1863, 1865.[13] Appointed to the Union Academy and the Salt Lake City Twentieth Ward Seminary, 1862.[14] Private tutor for the children of Brigham Young, 1864.[15] Appointed to serve in the Swiss, Italian, and German mission, 27 Apr. 1867; served as mission president, Jan. 1868–5 Aug. 1870; created and published Der Stern.[16] Professor of German at the University of Deseret, 1874–1875.[17] Began his career at Brigham Young Academy, 24 Apr. 1876.[18] Appointed as general superintendent of all Church schools, 8 June 1888.[19] Received the first doctorate degree conferred by the Church Board of Education, 7 May 1889.[20] Spoke at the dedication of the Brigham Young Academy building, attended by EBW, 4 Jan. 1892.[21] Served as mission president in California, 19 Jan.–17 Aug. 1894.[22] Spoke at the Brigham Young Academy Founder’s Day celebration, attended by EBW, 16 Oct. 1896.[23] Died 15 Feb. 1901 in Salt Lake City.[24]

 

[1] Evangelical Church of St. John, “Maeser, Karl Gottfried (1828) Birth Certificate,” in “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 10 Mar. 2020), Karl Gottfried Maeser (KWJ8-M5S), Memories. Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 10. “Karl Gottfried Maeser,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary/, accessed 11 Mar. 2020).  

[2] Evangelical Church of St. John, “Maeser, Karl Gottfried (1828) Birth Certificate,” in “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 10 Mar. 2020), Karl Gottfried Maeser (KWJ8-M5S), Memories. Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 10. “Karl Gottfried Maeser,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary/, accessed 11 Mar. 2020). Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background, 1828–1856: The Making of Zion’s Teacher,” BYU Studies Quarterly 17, no. 2 (1 Apr. 1977): 158n10.

[3] Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 11. Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background, 1828–1856: The Making of Zion’s Teacher,” BYU Studies Quarterly 17, no. 2 (1 Apr. 1977): 159.

[4] Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 11. Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background, 1828–1856: The Making of Zion’s Teacher,” BYU Studies Quarterly 17, no. 2 (1 Apr. 1977): 168.

[5] Douglas F. Tobler, “Karl G. Maeser’s German Background, 1828–1856: The Making of Zion’s Teacher,” BYU Studies Quarterly 17, no. 2 (1 Apr. 1977): 159–169. Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 14.

[6] “Dresden, Germany, Weekly Church Reports of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1685–1879,” database, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com, accessed 20 Mar. 2020), Karl Gottfried Moser and Anna Henriette Therese Mieth.

[7] Karl G. Maeser, “How I Became a ‘Mormon,’” Improvement Era, Nov. 1899, 23.

[8] Karl G. Maeser, “How I Became a ‘Mormon,’” Improvement Era, Nov. 1899, 23. Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Latter-day Saint Educator,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1950, 779. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 27 May 2020), Anna Henrietta Theresa Mieth (KWJ8-M53). 

[9] Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 28. Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Latter-day Saint Educator,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1950, 779.

[10] Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 11. Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Mormon Educator” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950), 21.

[11] “Karl G. Maeser,” Pioneer Database (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/, accessed 11 Mar. 2020). 

[12] “Deseret Lyceum,” Deseret News, 7 Nov. 1860, 288. Mabel Maeser Tanner, “My Grandfather, Karl G. Maeser,” p. 13, MS 13188, CHL.

[13] Journal History of the Church, 24 Dec. 1860; 13 Jan. 1863; 20 Jan. 1865, CHL.

[14] Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Mormon Educator” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950), 25–26.

[15] Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Mormon Educator” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950), 31.

[16] “Karl G. Maeser,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary/, accessed 11 Mar. 2020). Switzerland Zurich Mission, Switzerland Zurich Mission Manuscript History and Historical Reports, 1850–1977, vol. 4, LR 8884 2, box 1, folder 5, image 5/266, CHL.

[17] Circular of the Academical Department of the University of Deseret for the Year 1874–1875 (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Steam Printing, 1875), [3].

[18] Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 77–78.

[19] Alma P. Burton, “Karl G. Maeser, Mormon Educator” (Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950), 105–106.

[20] Reinhard Maeser, Karl G. Maeser: A Biography by His Son Reinhard Maeser (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1928), 97.

[21] EBW, Diary, 4 Jan. 1892.

[22] “Karl G. Maeser,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary/, accessed 27 May 2020).  

[23] “Founder’s Day,” Woman’s Exponent, 1, 15 Nov. 1896, 68. “News from Nearby Cities and Towns: Founders’ Day Celebrated at the Brigham Young Academy,” Salt Lake Herald, 17 Oct. 1896, 6.

[24] “Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records, 1849–1949,” p. 141 (1901), Karl G. Maeser, Salt Lake County Management and Archives, Salt Lake City. “Karl Gottfried Maeser,” Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., UT, Find a Grave, posted 15 Apr. 2002, memorial no. 6350386 (http://findagrave.com, accessed 10 Mar. 2020). “Death of Dr. Karl G. Maeser,” Deseret Evening News, 15 Feb. 1901, 8.