The surname GRUPE was a Low German occupational name for a maker of metal or earthenware vessels and pots. The name was originally derived from the Old German word GROP, and is also spelt GRAP, GRAAP, GROPIUS, GRAPER and GROPER. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. A notable member of the name was Walter Adolph GROPIUS (1883-1969) the German born American architect, born in Berlin. He studied in Munich and worked in Berlin. After World War I he was appointed director of the Grand Ducal group of schools in art in Weimar. In 1937 he emigrated to the United States where he became professor of architecture at Harvard University and designed the Harvard Graduate Center in 1949, and the American Embassy in Athens in 1960. His other major constructions include the Fagus shoe factory at Alfeld (1911) a model shoe factory and office for the Cologne Exhibition in 1914 and large housing estates in Germany. He also designed Adler car bodies (1929-33). Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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