Johann Peter Eckermann was born in Winsen an der Luhe. He was a child of a chapman and grew up in poverty. At the age of sixteen he started his work as a clerk. Later he worked in various offices of the Prefecture of Lüneburg. In 1813 he joined the Kielmanseggschen Military Corp as a volunteer. After its dissolution in 1815 he accepted a job in the war office.
His first book was published in Hannover in 1821. It was a collection of poems by subscription.
In the same year he started his degree in law at Göttingen and wrote his first letter to JohannWolfgang von Goethe. He sent him a CV and a collection of poems. He traveled toWeimar in June 1823.
Goethe received him warmly and invited him to help him while arranging his writings. Eckermann remained as Goethe's friend and secretary in Weimar.
Eight years Eckermann consoled his fiancée Johanna Sophie Katherine Christine Bertram in distant Hanover because he lacked the means to marry her. He married his fiancée finally on 09 November 1831. His wife died three years later during the birth of their son Karl. Eckermann became a broken man and a loner.
Although Johann Peter Eckermann lived in several houses in Weimar only the house in the Brauhausgasse 13 is called “Eckermannhaus”. Here he lived for nine years until Goethe's death in 1832. It was the house where he wrote his only but world famous literary work “Conversations with Goethe".
His subsistence activity was teaching language of English travelers.
Goethe stipulated in his last will that Eckermann accomplish his literary work.
From 1836 Eckermann worked as a private librarian to the Grand Duchess Maria Pawlowna.
He was appointed to the court counselor in 1843 but the disposable income was not enough.
Johann Peter Eckermann died on 03 December 1854 in Weimar. He is buried near the royal crypt.