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Friedrich H. A. Freiherr von Humboldt
HUMBOLDT, Friedrich Heinrich Alexander, <i>Freiherr von</i>.

HUMBOLDT, Friedrich Heinrich Alexander, Freiherr von.
(1769 - 1859)

(Born: Berlin, Germany, 14 September 1769; Died: Berlin, Germany, 6 May 1859) German explorer & scientist.

Humboldt travelled in Central and South America (1799-1804) and wrote extensively on natural history, meteorology, and physical geography. He proved that the Amazon and Orinoco river systems are connected, and ascended to 5,877 m (19,280 ft) in the Andes, the highest ascent ever made at that time, researching the relation of temperature and altitude. He spent the next 20 years in Paris writing up his results, returning later to Berlin, where he served at the Prussian court. He wrote a popular work in several volumes, Kosmos (1845-62), describing the structure of the Universe as it was then known.

Biographical references: ABE: I 451, 44-124; II 975, 392-408; II 456, 110-124; III 307, 315-369. ADB: 13, 358. Barr, Index to Biographical Fragments, 1973: 129. Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists: 611-2 [37 portraits listed]. Cleevely, World Palæontological Collections, 1983: 158. DBA: I 580, 275-318; II G 5, 91-95; 629, 2-74. Diccionari Biogràfic. Diccionario Porrúa. Drugulin, Sechstausend Portraits, 1863: nos. 2644-72. DSB: 6, 549-55. Hamberger & Meusel, Gelehrte Teutschland, 1796-1834. Hirsch, Biographisches Lexikon, 1884-8. ISIS, 1913-65: 1, 602-5. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 214. Larkin, Robert P. and Gary L. Peters. Biographical dictionary of geography. Westport, Ct., Greenwood Press, 1993. xii, 361 p: p. 134-7. López Piñero, Diccionario Histórico, 1983. NDB: 10, 33-43 [by E. Plewe]. Poggendorff: 1, cols. 1157-9. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 1317-43, Suppl. 1 (1985) 1, 507-12 & Suppl. 2 (1996), 1, 745-8. Wagenitz, Göttinger Biologen, 1988: 85-6. WBI. World Who's Who in Science: 842.

Mineralogische Beobachtungen, 1790

1. German, 1790.
Mineralogische | Beobachtungen | über | einige Basalte am Rhein | [tapered rule] | Mit | vorangeschickten, zerstreuten Bemerkungen | über den Basalt der älteren und neuern | Schriftsteller. | [tapered rule] | Braunschweig | in der Schulbuchhandlung 1790.

8°: A-G8 H7; 63l.; [i]-viii, [2], 11-126 p.

Contents: [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; [iii], Dedication to Georg Forster.; [iv], Blank.; [v]-viii, "Vorrede."; [9], Sectional title page.; [10], Blank.; [11]-74, Text.; [75], Sectional title page.; [76], Blank.; [77]-122, Text.; [123], "Nachtrag."; [124], Blank.; [125]-126, Text of the Nachtrag.

Rare. Published anonymously, with only the initials, "H-t", at the end of the introduction to indicate the actual author. This is Humbolt's first book written while he was still a student at the Universities of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and Göttingen and in which he attacks the theories of volcanism but without fully supporting neptunism. During vacations, Humboldt made several geological excursions to the Harz Mountains and the Rhine and the present book is the result of his observations on basalt. This study foreshadowed Humboldt's life-long interest and investigations of volcanoes and earthquakes which were his most important contributions to geology. Humboldt dedicated the work to Georg Forster, who was the author's guiding influence and role model. Interestingly, the library of the Bergakademie in Freiberg possesses a presentation copy of the book dated 25 July 1790 which had been sent by the author to Werner, who later became Humbolt's most influential teacher.

The text is divided into two major sections. The first reviews the commentary on basalt by old and contemporary authors, with an introductory essay (pp. 11-37). Several subsections follow. The first describes the Syenite of the ancients (pp. 38-40). Another examines the views of Pliny and Strabo on basalt (pp. 41-67), while the file subsection describes the rocks and geology of the ancients (pp. 68-74). The second portion of the book provides Humboldt's observations on the basalt outcrops located along the Rhein river (pp. 77-126).

Facsimile reprint, 1991: Mineralogische Beobachtungen über einige Basalte am Rhein mit vorangeschickten, zerstreuten Bemerkungen über Basalt der ältern und neuern Schriftsteller. Freiberg (Sachsen), Bergakademie Freiberg, c1991. 136 p., with new preface. [Library of Congress, QE462.B3 H85 1991].

Bibliographical references: BL [B.259.(2.)]. DSB: 6, 549-5. Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen: 1790, St. 135, p. 1355 [review]. Hamburger Correspondent: 23 Sept. 1790 [review]. LKG: XIV 285. Löwenberg, J., Alexander von Humboldt: bibliographische Ubersicht seiner Werke, Schriften und zerstreuten Abhandlungen. Stuttgart, Brockhaus, 1960. 68 p. [Bibliography of Alexander von Humboldt]: no. 5. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 1134. Zittel, Geschichte der Geologie, 1899: p. 64-7.

2. French, [1805]-34.
Voyage | De Humboldt Et Bonpland. | Première Partie. | Relation Historique. | [wavy rule] | Tome Premier. | [wavy rule] | A Paris, | Chez F. Schoell, Rue Des Fossés-Montmartre, N.° 14. | [wavy rule] | 1814.

6 parts bound in 30 vols. 2°: with numerous hand-colored maps and plates. Includes bibliographical references. Page size: 525 x 334 mm.

Very rare. The famous Voyage aux Régions Equinoctiales du Nouveau Continent, Fait en 1799-1804 is an account of Humboldt and Aimé Jacques Bonpland 1773-1858] scientific survey of Central and South America. It is not clear if any portion of this huge work contains any mineralogy; however, the 6th part is a famous and rare, richly illustrated botanical work. This massive work was published in 30 volumes over 25 years, describing the natural history, economy, ethnography and archaeology of Cuba and Central and South America. Considered one of the greatest publications in the history of exploration it is today still an important primary source for its contributions to topography, geography, zoology, botany, ethnography and geology. It describes three expeditions to different regions, each with its own scientific objectives:

1. The exploration of the Orinoco River, 16 July 1799 to 24 November 1800, covering 2000 square miles of uncharted and mostly unexplored jungle.

2. Travels to Cuba and through Peru, Colombia and Equador, from 24 November 1800 to 5 December 1802.

3. Researches in Mexico, from 5 December 1802 to May 1804.

The voyages led to many discoveries and scientific by-products, and the participants catalogued and drew 8000 plants, 4000 not previously described. They established the cause of periodic meteor showers, and gave a scientific basis to the geography of the territories visited. The many hand-colored illustrations of the original are today highly sought after.

Contents: 1. ptie. v. 1-3. Relation historique du voyage aux régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent. v. 4-5. Atlas pittoresque du voyage; vues des Cordilléres. v. 6. Atlas géographique et physique des régions équinoxiales du nouveau continent. v. 7. Examen critique de l'histoire de la géographie du nouveaux continent: analyse de l'Atlas géographique et physique. v. 8. Atlas géographique et physique du royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne.

2. ptie. Recueil d'observations de zoologie et d'anatomie comparée. 2 v.

3. ptie. Essai politique sur le royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne. 2 v.

4. ptie. Recueil d'observations astronomiques, d'opérations trigonométriques et des mesures barométriques. 2 v.

5. ptie. v. 1. Tableau physique des Andes et pays voisins. v. 2. Essai sur la géographie des plantes.

6. ptie. Botanique: Section 1. Plantes équinoxiales. 2 v. Section 2. Monographie des melastomaciées. 2 v. Section 3. Nova genera et species plantarum. 7 v. Révision des graminées. 3 v. Section 4. Mimosa et autres plantes légumineuses.

Facsimile reprint, 1971-3: Voyage aux Regions Equinoxiales du Nouveau Continent, fait en 1799-1804, &c. Friedrich Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt and Aime Bonpland. Amsterdam, New York, Theatrum Orbis Terarrum, Da Capo Press, 1971-1973. 30 vols. (20 in Atlas folio and 10 in Royal 4°) with 1470 plates and maps (1240 in colour). This edition is limited to 200 copies and is a reprint of the complete work, "Facsimilé intégral de l'édition de Paris, 1805-1834."

Bibliographical references: Löwenberg, J., Alexander von Humboldt: bibliographische Ubersicht seiner Werke, Schriften und zerstreuten Abhandlungen. Stuttgart, Brockhaus, 1960. 68 p. [Bibliography of Alexander von Humboldt]. Monglond, La France Révolutionnaire, 1930.

3. German, 1808.
Ansichten der Natur mit wissenschaften Erlauterungen. Von A. von Humbolt. Tubingen, 1808.

2 parts in one vol. 8°: xiii, 376 p.

Very scarce. Humboldt's favorite book, published in 1808 this contains the author's opinions of nature. It expresses strongly and definitively the proof that experience of nature and scientific realization do not have to be a contradiction. Its overview reaches from the steps of and deserts of the waterfall at Orinoco up to the nocturnal animal life in the jungle. Today, the book is a treasure for geographers, botanists, historians, ecologists, meteorologists and biologists and an early, important work in pure science.

Many reissues, new editions and translations of this book appeared.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 921d. Löwenberg, J., Alexander von Humboldt: bibliographische Ubersicht seiner Werke, Schriften und zerstreuten Abhandlungen. Stuttgart, Brockhaus, 1960. 68 p. [Bibliography of Alexander von Humboldt].

4. French, 1808.
Essai politique sur le royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne, ouvr. qui presente des recherches sur la geographie du Mexique, sur l'etentue de sa surface et sa dicision politique en interdances, dur l'aspect physique sol, sur sa population actuelle etc. Avec un Atlas fonde sur des observ. astron. Tubingue, 1808.

3 vols. Published as: Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland 3. ptie.. Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 924g. Löwenberg, J., Alexander von Humboldt: bibliographische Ubersicht seiner Werke, Schriften und zerstreuten Abhandlungen. Stuttgart, Brockhaus, 1960. 68 p. [Bibliography of Alexander von Humboldt].

5. French, 1823 [First edition].
Essai géognostique sur le gisement des roches dans les deux hémisphères par Alexandre de Humboldt. Paris, F.G. Levrault, 1823.

8°: [i]-viii, [1]-379 p.

Contents: [i-ii], Half title page, verso blank.; [iii-iv], Title page, verso blank.; [v]-viii, "Préface."; [1]-360, Text.; 361-379, "Tableau."

Very scarce. Subject Petrology. Geology.

6. English, 1823 [English transl.].
A geognostical essay on the superposition of rocks, in both hemispheres by Alexander de Humboldt... Translated from the original French. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1823.

8°: [i]-viii, [1]-482 p.

Contents: [i-ii], Half title page, verso blank.; [iii-iv], Title page, verso blank.; [v]-viii, "Preface."; [1]-459, Text.; [460], Blank.; 461-482, "Tablular Arrangement | Of | Formations."

Very scarce. Translation of: Essai geognostique sur le gisement des roches dans les deux hémisphères.

7. German, 1889? [Collected works].
Gesammelte Werke | von | Alexander von Humboldt. | Erster Band. | [rule] | Kosmos I. | [ornament] | Stuttgart. | Verlag vei J.G. Cotta'schen Buchhandlung.

12 vols. [Vol 1] 8°: [i]-xii, [1]-349 p., frontispiece portrait of Humboldt. [Vol 2] 8°: [4], [1]-366 p. [Vol 3] 8°: [4], [1]-466 p. [Vol 4] 8°: [4], [1]-575 p. [Vol 5] 8°: [i]-xii, [1]-298 p. [Vol 6] 8°: [4], [1]-304 p. [Vol 7] 8°: [4], [1]-294 p. [Vol 8] 8°: [4], [1]-304 p. [Vol 9] 8°: [i]-xi, [1], [1]-312 p. [Vol 10] 8°: [4], [1]-264 p. [Vol 11] 8°: [i]-xii, [1]-362 p. [Vol 12] 8°: [4], [1]-336 p.

Contents: [Vol 1] [Frontispiece portrait of Humboldt].; [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; [iii-iv], Title page to Kosmos.; [v], Dedictation to Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm IV.; [vi], Blank.; [vii]-xii, "Vorrede."; [1]-349, Text.

[Vol 2] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-366, Text.

[Vol 3] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-466, Text.

[Vol 4] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-575, Text.

[Vol 5] [i-ii], Blank, verso series title page.; [iii-iv], Title page, verso blank.; [v]-xii, "Vorrede."; [1]-298, Text.

[Vol 6] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-304, Text.

[Vol 7] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-294, Text.

[Vol 8] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-304, Text.

[Vol 9] [i-ii], Blank, verso series title page.; [iii-iv], Title page, verso blank.; [v]-xi, Dedication.; [1 pg], Errata.; [1]-312, Text.

[Vol 10] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-264, Text.

[Vol 11] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [v]-xii, Forword.; [1]-362, Text.

[Vol 12] [2 pgs], Blank, verso series title page.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1]-336, Text.

Rare. The collected writings of Humboldt, presented with essentially no illustrations. This series of volumes was thought to have been published around 1889 in Stuttgart.

Bibliographical references: NUC: ??, ??.

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