Johannes Hermann August Wilhelm Max Spohr (November 17, 1850 in Braunschweig – November 15, 1905 in Leipzig) was a German bookseller and publisher. After two more trials Oscar Wilde was convicted and sentenced to two years' hard labour, the maximum penalty, and was jailed from 1895 to 1897. In Paris, the French-American poet Stuart Merrill drew up a petition asking for the sentence to be reduced. Almost everyone refused to sign, including Émile Zola. A British petition, prepared by More Adey, was even less successful. Magnus Hirschfeld had wider aims and a more diverse audience and was consequently more effective. He and his journalist friend Leo Berg sent letters of protest to the newspapers and Hirschfeld set to work on the first of his many books: Sappho und Sokrates, or ‘How can one explain the love of men and women for people of the same sex?’ It was published pseudonymously in 1896 by a young Leipzig publisher called Max Spohr. Spohr had already published two pro-homosexual works and was to prove remarkably resistant to prosecution.
Spohr was one of the first publishers worldwide who published LGBT publications. Later Adolf Brand in Berlin published the first LGBT periodical magazine Der Eigene. Spohr was born in 1850 as the son of businessman Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Spohr and Ferdinande Lisette. He worked in Pécs, Hannover and Leipzig. With Rudolf Wengler he founded the publishing company Wengler & Spohr in Braunschweig. On December 20, 1880, he married Elisabeth Hannöver-Jansen, and fathered three sons with her. In 1897, Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with Spohr, the lawyer Eduard Oberg, and the writer Franz Joseph von Bülow. In 2001, 96 years after his death, a street in Leipzig was named by his family name. In honor of Max Spohr, the German LGBT organisation Völklinger Kreis established the Max-Spohr-Management-Preis for companies in Germany that have a good record of diversity management.
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