Son of painter Wolfgang Adam Toepffer (1766-1847), of German origin, who had made of Geneva his second homeland,
Rodolph Toepffer was unable to embrace the same career as his father, due to an
eye defect. He devoted himself to literature and wrote charming little texts (My
Uncles Library, Geneva News and, especially, Zigzag Travels, accounts of his walking trips in Switzerland).
Author of two novels, Toepffer owes his
renown above all to his illustrated books (The
loves of Monsieur Vieux-Bois, Monsieur Jabot, and The Adventures of Dr. Festus, etc.) which were the forerunners of
today's comic strips.
This man of great spirit was also a
teacher, having founded a boys' boarding school in 1825 before being called to
take the chair of rhetoric and letters at the Academy (1832).