Johanna Spyri

Johanna Spyri
Johanna Spyri

Johanna Heusser Spyri was born on June 12th, 1827, in Hirzel, Switzerland to Dr. Johann a doctor and Mera Scherzer Heusser a poet. She was the fourth out of six children.

Johanna Spyri grew up with her parents, siblings, grandmother, two aunts, and two cousins. The environment where she grew up inspired in writing Gritli’s Children. As a young girl, her environment inspired her a lot, and that’s why she used it in her novels. She went to a residential school in a French-speaking city of Yverdon in East Switzerland.


She got married at an early age 25 to Bernard Spyri, a lawyer, and journalist in 1852. They lived in Zurich where Bernard became the town secretary. Johanna became a devoted wife and mother to their one and only son Bernard Diethelm Spyri. Her husband and son later died in 1884 of tuberculosis. She started writing professionally even before the death of her husband.


Johanna Spyri’s books were originally written in German. They were translated to English in the 1900s and later into more than 50 languages. Johanna’s first story was written and published in 1870. She wrote “A Leaf on Vrony’s Grave” in 1871 which was her first adult story.

Heidi appeared in 1881. The book was written in German, then English, and later translated into several languages. Heidi was in two parts; Heidi – Years of wandering and learning. In the second part, Heidi – makes use of what she learned.

Grittli’s Children: A story of Switzerland and other of her books were published in the 1880s and 1890s. Her last book, The Stauffer Mill, was published in Berlin in 1901. And some of her books include; Gay Little Herbli, The Fairy of in Intra,  Eveli, The Story of Rico, The Pet Lamb, Veronica, and other friends.

The 1968 film “Heidi”, starring Sir Michael Redgrave and Jennifer Edward was also a success with crowds. Be that as it may, the 1955 spin-off, “Heidi and Peter”, another film of the second book was produced having various TV Series and cartoon series. Fans of Heidi created a tourist center and called it Heidiland Holiday Region and even visited the Mansfield.

The author’s work lives on after her. Johanna died in her home town Zurich in 1901, but the lessons she dropped will guide many generations to come.


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