Cotta, a family of Italian origin, settled in Germany since the 15th century. I. Johann Georg about 1640 founded an establishment at Tubingen, which at present is one of the leading publishing houses in Germany. II. Johann Friedrich, an eminent theological writer, born May 12,1701, died Dec. 31,1779. His Kirchen-historiedesNeuen Testaments(3vols., 1768-73) was highly esteemed. III. Johann Friedrich, baron von Cottendorf, grandson of the preceding, born in Stuttgart, April 27, 1764, died Dec. 29, 1832. He studied law and natural philosophy, sojourned for some time in Paris, and settled in 1787 in Tubingen, where he assumed the management of the publishing house of his father. His energy in business, and his superior literary attainments, soon placed him in a prominent position. He became acquainted with Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Fichte, Schelling, Jean Paul, Tieck, Voss, A. W. von Schlegel, Humboldt, and others; and ' many authors, in whose juvenile effusions Cotta recognized the marks of genius, were introduced by him to the public. In this respect his merits can scarcely be too highly appreciated.
He established the Allgemeine Zeitung (1798), which to this day remains at the head of the daily press of Germany. He removed to Stuttgart in 1810, and in 1824 opened the Cotta'sche Verlags-expedition in Augsburg, as the publication office for the Allgemeine Zeitung and several other literary and scientific periodicals. Among them were the Horen, a literary magazine, to which Schiller was one of the most active contributors; the Politische Annalen, the Morgenblatt, the Flora, the Ausland, and the Polytechnisches Journal. He was the first among the landholders in Wurtemberg to abolish servitude on his domains (1820). He was also an active promoter of scientific agriculture, and of steam navigation on the lake of Constance and the Rhine (1825-6), and introduced the first steam press in Germany (1824). IV. Georg, son of the preceding, born July 19, 1796, died Feb. 1, 1863. He studied law, was chamberlain to the king of Bavaria and equerry to the king of Wtirtem-berg, and held several public offices. On the death of his father in 1832, he took control of the publishing business, which he largely extended.
This business, which is still conducted by the Cotta family, comprises large establishments in Stuttgart, Augsburg, Munich, and Leipsic. V. Bernhard, a German geologist, only distantly connected with the family, born at Zillbach, Oct. 24, 1808. From 1827 to 1831 he studied at the mining academy of Freiberg, and afterward at Heidelberg, where he began the study of law, which he soon abandoned for the natural sciences, and in 1842 became professor in the school of mines at Freiberg. His works in the department of geology are numerous, many of them having passed through several editions. Among them are: Geognostische Wanderungen (2 parts, 1836-'8); Anleitung zum Studdum der Geognosie und Oeologie (1839); Briefe uber Humboldt's Kosmos (1848-'51); Geologische Bilder (4th ed., 1861); Gesteinlehre (2d ed., 1862); Ent-wickelungsgesetz der Erde (1867); and Geo-logie der Gegenwart (3d ed., 1871).