Gregory Brown
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Department of Philosophy
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-3004

Friedrich Leibniz

Friedrich Leibniz was the son of Ambrosious Leibniz and Anna Deuerlin, the daughter of a Leibzig nobleman.  He was first married in 1625, and from that union there was produced a son, Johann Friedrich, and a daughter, Anna Rosina.  Johann Friedrich, whom Gottfried Wilhelm described as good-natured and pious, became a schoolmaster, and into old age he stayed in touch with his famous half-brother.  Friedrich's second wife died childless in 1643.  In 1644 Friedrich married the daughter of a famous Leipzig Lawyer, Catharina Schmuck. Catharina, who became Gottfried Wilhelm's mother, was born in Leipzig in 1621.  She was orphaned at the age of eleven and brought up in the home of Johann Hopner, Professor of Theology.  Before her marriage to Friedrich, Catharina was living with her guardian Quirinus Schacher, Professor of Law.

At the time of Gottfried Wilhelm's birth, Friedrich was Vice Chairman of the philosophy faculty and Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Leipzig, as well as an actuary.  In his family journal, Friedrich entered the following note: "On Sunday 21 June [NS: 1 July] 1646, my son Gottfried Wilhelm is born into the world after six in the evening, ¾ to seven [ein Viertel uff sieben], Aquarius rising."  Friedrich was then already 48, and at the time of Friedrich's death in 1652 Gottfried Wilhelm would be only six years old.  Friedrich and Catharina also had a daughter, Anna Catharina, who was born on 11 August 1648.  She married the archdeacon of the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig and on 19 August 1669 gave birth to a son, Friedrich Simon Löffler, who became Gottfried Wilhelm's only heir.  Anna died on 3 March 1672.


  • E. J. Aiton, Leibniz: A Biography (Boston: Adam Hilger, 1985).
  • Albert Heinekamp and Isolde Hein, Leibniz und Europa (Hanover: Schlütersche, 1994).