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Maximilian Berlitz

AKA David Berlitzheimer

Born: 14-Apr-1852
Birthplace: Württemberg, Germany
Died: 6-Apr-1921
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Linguist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Berlitz Language Schools

David Berlitzheimer was born and raised in the Black Forest region of Germany, and always had a fascination with languages. When he came to America in his late teens his surname was shortened and, for reasons unknown, he adopted a new first and middle name, calling himself Maximilian Delphinus Berlitz. He settled in Rhode Island, worked for several years as a private language tutor, and opened the Berlitz Language School in Providence in 1878. He developed his "Berlitz immersion method" by accident, when he hired a French teacher based on extensive correspondence in French, only to discover when the man arrived in Rhode Island that he spoke no English. Listening to a teacher who spoke only French, students were much more engaged and learned that language more quickly than in traditional English-language lectures with only occasional phrases in French. In 1880 Berlitz opened a second school in Boston, and by the mid-1880s he had schools in numerous American and European cities. He wrote numerous books on his method, and reportedly spoke eight languages fluently and another 38 languages well enough to teach. His grandson was Charles Berlitz.

Wife: (m.)

    Naturalized US Citizen 1869
    German Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
The Berlitz Method for Teaching Modern Languages (1892)
English Literature with Extracts and Exercises (1902)
First Book for Teaching Modern Languages (1907)
Second Book for Teaching Modern Languages (1908)
Course in Business English (1910)
First Book for Teaching English (1911)
English Idioms and Grammar (1915)
German With or Without A Master (1915)
Second Book for Teaching English (1916)

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