Rudolf Carnap was born on May 18, 1891, in Ronsdorf (now Wuppertal), Germany, to the family of Johannes S. Carnap and Anna (née Dorpfeld) Carnap.
His father came from a family of poor weavers, but after long and hard work became the prosperous and respected owner of a ribbon-making factory. Rudolf's mother was a teacher and an aspiring author. As he watched his mother write, the young Rudolf became fascinated by what he came to regard as the magical activity of putting words on paper.
Rudolf had one sister whose name he neglects to mention in his autobiography. Their mother obtained permission to teach the children at home, but did so for only an hour a day. His father died when he was only four years old. Then the family moved to Barmen.