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Alexander von Humboldt, Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Heinrich (1769-1859), Baron von Humboldt

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 MSS.7080-7093
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Alexander von Humboldt, Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Heinrich (1769-1859), Baron von Humboldt
Date(s): 1799-1858
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 19 files
Name of creator(s): Humboldt | Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr | von | 1769-1859 | naturalist and explorer
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in Berlin, 1769; educated, Freiberg Academy of Mines under the famous geologist A G Werner; hiked around Europe with George Forester, Captain James Cook's scientific illustrator from his second voyage; government mines inspector in Franconia, Prussia, 1792-1800; expedition with botanist Aime Bonpland in South America, 1800-1803; lived in France, 1804-1827; King of Prussia's advisor, 1827-; invited to make geographical explorations of Russia by the tsar: discovered permafrost and recommended that Russia establish weather observatories across the country which were set up in 1835; gave public lectures in Berlin, 1827-1828; Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, 1856-1859, died, 1859.

Publications: Kosmos (1845)


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence and papers of Alexander von Humboldt relating to his many scientific interests, publications, and professional and social life. Most of the letters are written to French men of science, publishers, officials and others, with a smaller number to German, British and other correspondents.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
French, German and Spanish

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

Described in typescript supplements, by Christopher Hilton and Richard Aspin, to the Library's published finding aids.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Most of the letters and papers were purchased in Paris between 1930 and 1936, mainly from Degrange. Other items were acquired at Sotheby's and Stevens' sales, and from Glendinning. (various accession nos.)

Allied Materials

Related material:

In the Wellcome Library: Humboldt occurs as a correspondent within the Hodgkin family papers (PP/HO). Letters to him occur at PP/HO/D/A2413 f15v; PP/HO/D/A2423 f18v; PP/HO/D/A2447 f7r; and PP/HO/L/B24.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Copied from the Wellcome Library catalogue by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Jan 2009

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