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Heinrich Laubmann
(1865-1951)

Dr. Heinrich Laubmann, one of Bavaria's most important mineral collectors, was born in Lorenzreuth near Marktredwitz, Germany on October 2, 1865. His instructor at the Wunsiedel junior high school, Dr. Christoph Kellermann, instilled in him a love of chemistry and mineralogy. Kellermann's public lectures were so inspiring that many teachers, civil servants and private individuals in the region also become eager mineral collectors. Laubmann studied Chemistry in Erlangen and Würzburg – years which he later described as “the most exhilarating of my life.” In the field of chemistry, he studied under Prof. Emil Fischer, and was able to deepen his knowledge of mineralogy under his father's friend, Prof. Friedolin Von Sandberger.

After receiving his doctorate in Organic Chemistry in 1888 Laubmann took a job as a chemist in the spring of 1890 at the Hoechst Dyeworks in Frankfurt am Main. Following an active career in the chemical industry he retired to private life in Munich in 1912 and thereafter devoted himself entirely to mineralogy, serving as curator of the important mineralogical collection of the Geologischen Landesanstalt in Munich, while publishing numerous mineralogical works, including his magnum opus, Die Minerallagerstätten von Bayern in 1924.

As a scientific consultant he arranged the extensive mineral collections at the National Geological Institute of Munich. The labels he prepared at that time are characteristic and easy to recognize for their left-slanting Art Nouveau font. There are versions in different sizes and on green or gray cardboard. In addition, simple paper labels with his handwriting are known from the collection of the Oskar Gebhardt. Because of his extensive contacts with scientists and collectors, numerous other mineral specimens and labels from his private collection are found in other collections. He undertook collecting trips with, for example, Prof. Catherein, Oskar Gebhardt, Georg Gebhardt and Dr. Albert Schmidt.

In April 1944, the collections of the Geological Institute that he had so lovingly looked after were destroyed by a bombing raid. “The whole Institute along with the collections is now a heap of rubble. Irreplaceable treasures were destroyed,” he wrote sadly to his friend Wilhelm Müller in Wunsiedel. Then, in an air attack on November 16, 1944, Laubmann's own apartment at Lucile Grahnstrasse 38 was bombed out. He had to take an emergency apartment and then found modest accommodations at Possartstrasse 14, where he then lived until 1946. At this difficult time during the destruction of Munich, suicidal thoughts plagued him again and again.

In April 1946, Laubmann moved in with old acquaintances at a farmhouse in Garching, called the Römerhof, where he worked until 1950, writing numerous treatises on mineralogical subjects and regional studies. On Easter Sunday 1949 he suffered a stroke, but he recovered well from it. That same year Clifford Frondel at Harvard University named the new species laubmannite in his honor; unfortunately it proved later to be a mixture of dufrenite, kidwellite and beraunite, and had to be discredited.

Laubmann died on February 7, 1951. He is buried at the cemetery in Wunsiedel, near his friend and fellow collector Dr. Albert Schmidt. His considerable regional collection is preserved in the Prehistoric World Museum Bayreuth.

References:
MEIER, S., and GERL, K. (2013) Historische Mineralienetiketten: Die Laubmann-Sammlung. Lapis, 38 (11), 32-35.

MEIER, S. (2002) Bemerkenswerte Etiketten aus der Oskar-Gebhardt´schen Mineraliensammlung (Teil2). Mitteilungen über Mineralfunde aus Nordostbayern, 7, 25-28.
MüLLER, W. (1940) Dr. phil. Heinrich Laubmann zu seinem 75. Geburtstage. Der Siebenstern, 14 (9/10), 65-68.
STRUNZ, H. (1980) Schmidt und Laubmann; Zwei Mineralogen aus dem Fichtelgebirge. Der Aufschluss, 31, 466-468.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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