Schläger Mensur; Heidelberg, Germany, 19th ct.

A biedermeier meeting of the minds

Thanks to Mark Twain and Jerome K. Jerome, Anglo-Saxons on both sides of the Atlantic consider the Mensur — a pan-German ritual of passage practised wherever quality German is spoken Heidelberg Mensur — synonymous with Heidelberg.

Here are a few images on how the scenery developed… from the interiors of private quarters (Buden) to the renowned locality of the Hirschgasse Inn.

Mensur photographs like the one above were taken every semester. Postcards, cabinet cards, and large-format photographs of scenes just like this abound well into the 1930’s. Dating them without further information is quite difficult: The change of costumes and the distance between the fencers provide some clues. As do the lighting fixtures of the Hirschgasse.

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