Since not even the best courses of instruction alone can attain the university’s primary goal if good manners be not simultaneously promoted through every possible means as equally useful learning, the university did not simply make do with legally punishing transgressions.
Here the Karzer, the official university lockup or detention cells, in Jena and Heidelberg (Heinrich Schneider, Die Burschenschaft Germania zu Jena [Jena 1897], 388; R. Flick, Auf Deutschlands hohen Schulen [Berlin 1900], 168):
Instead, it spared no efforts in preventing its young students, through diligence and good comportment, from embarking on detrimental and erroneous paths in the first place. Although an overall regnant atmosphere of diligence among both teachers and students has hitherto contributed most to attaining this goal, neither has the university left anything undone that might promote a closer acquaintance between professors and students. [Discussion of contact between professors and students in connection with courses and lectures.] . . .
Moreover, during the winter, public concerts are offered from 5:00 till 7:00 in the Council House and generally attended by not only professors, but also respected individuals in the town itself as well as from among the occupation forces and their families. [Pütter’s fn: Since 1779, the academic concert has been organized by musical director Forkel such that performances include not only larger and smaller vocal pieces, including whole oratorios and cantatas, individual arias both with obbligato and free instrumental accompaniment, duets, chorales, etc., but also concerts and solo pieces for several instruments alongside the very best symphonies.]
(König. Großbrit. und Churf. Braunschw. Lüneb. Genealogischer Calender, auf das 1772. Jahr; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
Occasionally remnants and samples of older Greek and Roman musical pieces or other musical rarities are included so that the curious aficionado may gradually gain an acquaintance with the musical styles of all ages and nations, and so that a collection of such in part ancient and in part foreign pieces may serve as a kind of practical history of the art form.
For the sake of maintaining these concerts and providing for better accoutrements, the musical director has since 1779 also invited Hofrath Heyne and Dr. [Ludwig] Kulenkamp to the concerts as university deputies. Each winter, an outside proficient is engaged as first violinist. A certain young singer, Demoiselle Golde from Gotha, has sung to considerable approval since Michaelmas 1784. Piano accompaniment is provided by the musical director himself, who from time to time also himself performs obbligato pieces.
Nor is there generally any lack of aficionados from among students or other attendees who variously perform concerti, solos, or quartets etc. on violin, flute, violoncello, or piano. A printed announcement is distributed for every concert several days beforehand that includes the words to individual arias and occasionally also annotations.
(Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1812: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet [Frankfurt]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
Those who sign up for the concert subscription for an entire winter prepay 1 louis d’or; those who do not subscribe pay 12 Groschen per concert. Ladies can attend free. Throughout the year, private concerts similarly take place each Monday from 5:00 till 6:00 at the house of Professor Pütter and occasionally also on any given Wednesday at the house of Herr Volborth after 8:00.
For the past several years, excepting during Advent and Lent, a pickenick is held every second or third Sunday during the winter from 5:00 till 12:00 at the Mercantile; on the remaining Sundays, there is an assemblée at the houses of, alternating, Böhmer and Pütter.
(Der Freund des schönen Geschlechts: ein angenehm und nützlicher Taschenkalender für das Jahr 1808):
[Pütter’s fn: In 1767, the commandant at the time, the late General von Zastrow, often invited the families of various professors to his residence on Sunday afternoons, entertaining then with a company of whist.]
[Spiel-Almanach (Berlin 1800); Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung:]
On other Sundays, he himself was entertained similarly at the homes of various professors. In both instances, there were generally also one or several students present as well.
One event that finally acquired popularity for the entire winter in several families with sufficient space — apart from the commandant’s house such was possible in the homes of Böhmer, Pütter, and Achenwall from one Sunday to the next — was to have a social gathering or company from 4:00 or 5:00 till 8:00, in which students, professors, officers, magistrate administrators, etc. along with their families could participate if they wanted.
After the late Professor Achenwall’s death, the gatherings were held in the other three homes, and also after the late General von Zastrow’s death in that of the late General von Walthausen, but after his death only at the homes of the other two, previously mentioned families. In the meantime, in 1776 a society for arranging pickenicks had also formed, whose organization Professor Martens had taken over in 1786, and Professor Böhmer in 1787.
At these events, there is dancing from 5:00 till 9:00, and simultaneously, at several tables in an adjoining room, whist or ombre etc. is played, after which there is then dinner. Then there is yet more dancing till midnight. The fees without wine are 1 Reichsthaler per person from 6:00 till 12:00. Ladies are admitted free.
(Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1814: Der Liebe und Freundschaft gewidmet [Frankfurt]; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
(William Hogarth, “The Ball” (1745)):
See also Johann Stephan Pütters Selbstbiographie zur dankbaren Jubelfeier seiner 50jährigen Professorstelle zu Göttingen, 2 vols. (Göttingen 1798), 2:513–15:
Amid all these activities, a new institution, one associated especially with Göttingen’s social intercourse, also commenced that in fact has maintained its popularity during the entire ensuing period and has proven to be not entirely without benefit to the university itself. —
General Lieutenant von Zastrow, who became our commandant after peace was concluded, was a man with some fortune who lived without a family and yet was quite fond of company, and who through the way he dealt with students, teachers, and other members of the university, as well as with the occupying forces and municipal authorities, often performed quite meritorious service to the university.
Almost every Sunday, he invited to dinner a mixed company of both sexes from the occupying forces, the university, the town itself, or from the neighboring area, and usually also several students. After the meal, when other visitors often appeared as well, he entertained this company with various gaming tables. Among the families of professors at the time, such invitations most frequently included us three, namely, the Böhmers, the Achenwalls, and my own.
And even were we not invited to dine, he was always glad to have us assist in arranging a few groups of whist. Or if he was aware that there was an afternoon gathering in one of the three families’ homes, he would himself make an appearance. —
Eventually an alternating social gathering emerged that especially in winter would take place from one Sunday to the next from 4:00 till 8:00 in our four homes, with coffee and tea being passed around and whist, ombre, tarot, or reversi was played at as many tables as were needed to accommodate the members of the company. Anyone who was an acquaintance of at least one of the homes had free admittance here. This entire institution came to exert a not inconsiderable influence on the cultivation and maintenance of good manners. —
Among these four households, death alone unfortunately sundered ties, since in 1772 we lost Achenwall, in 1774 General von Zastrow (similarly afterward as well, in 1776 his successor General Lieutenant von Walthausen), and finally in 1797 Böhmer, after which it was in my house alone (alternating with the newly — 1776 — instituted pickenick or thée dansant) that this institution continued.
See also “Auszüge eines Briefs über Göttingen,” Der teutsche Merkur (1786), 1:90–96, here 93–94:
In the meantime, since this peace and quiet [in Göttingen] is absolutely never disrupted by public entertainment, it did begin to seem a bit much to those persons who happen to be constrained, as it were, to constitute the beau monde, whence the notion to remedy this lack at least a bit. Although weekdays are indeed wholly devoted to study, excepting Saturday evenings, when a rather pathetic concert is arranged, on Sundays the professors do organize social gatherings among themselves to which women and daughters are admitted as well as whichever students also desire to attend.
The activities in these gatherings vary; on any given Sunday there may be dancing, on another perhaps gaming or cards, in which case they are referred to as pickeniks or assemblées; the latter are arranged and organized by two professors, the former wholly by a few students, and since the location does not really allow too great a number of persons, and the professors, who in any event alone can provide the ladies, must naturally always be present, it is then up to the students themselves to invite other students by means of invitation cards, always following a certain series.
I confess I myself find this particular institution quite splendid. Through it, the perpetual, uninterrupted activities and labors of the mind during an entire week are interrupted at least once (indeed, I have observed that attendees have amused themselves quite nicely on more than one occasion until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning); students who generally come to Göttingen at a rather young age and with little acquaintance with the broader world have the occasion here to make precisely that acquaintance, notwithstanding that, admittedly, the “broader world” here is in fact rather tiny. Moreover, the dignified and respected men who work as teachers here also thereby have an occasion to distract and amuse themselves, to forget their otherwise profound scholarly investigations for a bit amid cheerful jesting and amid the joy and entertainment of others.
(Goettinger Taschen Calendar für das Jahr 1791; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
See Justus Conrad Müller, Versuch einer kurzen mahlerischen und charackteristischen Beschreibung der berühmten Universität Göttingen und derselben benachbarten Oerter . . . Für Studirende und andere Liebhaber (Göttingen 1790), 32 (who essentially cites from Pütter, Gelehrten-Geschichte, though in a bit more concentrated form; he also mentions the balls and other events):
Public concerts take place during the winter on each Saturday from 5:00 till 7:00 in the council house. Herr Hofrath Heyne and Dr. [Ludwig] Kulenkamp attend as deputies of the university. Music director Forkel directs the event. —
Subscription for the entire winter is one louis d’or, otherwise 12 Groschen per concert, though ladies, of course, attend free. Free concerts take place each Monday between 5:00 and 6:00 at the home of privy Justizrath Pütter.
Pickenicks take place every two weeks during the winter at the mercantile (excepting Advent and Lent) from 5:00 till 12:00, directed by Professor Böhmer. There is dancing from 5:00 till 9:00, and in an adjoining room whist or ombre is played at several tables. — then there is an evening meal and then dancing again till midnight.
(Goettinger Taschen Calendar fu2r das Jahr 1797; Inhaltsverzeichnis deutscher Almanache, Theodor Springmann Stiftung):
Cost (without wine) per person is 1 Reichsthaler 12 Groschen. Ladies are admitted free. An assemblé alternates between the homes of Böhmer and Pütter. A scholarly clubb meets weekly between 6:00 and 10:00 in a third house, attended by the most renowned teachers at the university — members of the municipal authorities and persons in the king’s service, occasionally also students (if taken as guests). Here a person can arrive and depart at will — and have dinner if he orders it beforehand. There is no gaming. There are often balls — but never redoutes. Grand caffée is not really fashionable — and comedies are not tolerated.
Translation © 2011 Doug Stott