2nd International Conference of
the European Society for the History of Science

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The Global and the Local:

The History of Science and the Cultural Integration of Europe

Cracow, Poland, September 6-9, 2006

Last modification: 25 September 2008

Online Book of Abstracts - A Thematic List:


Edited by Michal Kokowski


Symposium R-11.



Nicolas ROBIN (Jena, Germany)

John Dixon HUNT (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Volker WISSEMANN (Jena, Germany)


Nicolas ROBIN (Jena, Germany)

Volker WISSEMANN (Jena, Germany)


Did colonization boost international relations between botanical gardens? The Belgian situation

Denis DIAGRE (Bruxelles, Belgium)

My Ph.D. work on the Brussels Botanical Garden gave me the opportunity of studying the interactions between this institution and the creation of a Belgian colony in Congo. Indeed, the lust for new territories had major consequences on the scientific work undertaken in the B.G., and on the international relations it succeeded in building.

Amongst these consequences let us mention that taxonomy was again afforded some respect after years spent in the shadow of other branches of Botany. This implied that herbaria came back into the spotlight, and that exotic collections of dried material were once again regarded with envy. The situation of the Brussels herbarium was highly typical of such phenomena.

Indeed, once despised because of its poor collections, it was not until specimens from Congo arrived in Brussels (1895) that the B. G. reached a prominent rank. The administration even created the Bulletin du Jardin botanique to publish the flow of pages stemming from Belgian pens.

When it comes to contacts with other institutions, let us mention the ceaseless travels of Belgians to other countries to compare Congolese material with specimens preserved there. Scientists from abroad came to Brussels for the same reason and even Kew courted the Belgian Garden (1907). This would not have been possible without the huge number of African specimens that were piling up there.

Hence the paradox: patriotic, imperialistic countries, competitive on economic, symbolic and scientific levels, as well as competitive characters involved in taxonomic researches reinforced personal and institutional contacts thanks to overseas territories. These conclusions fit the history of the Belgian National B. G., and may well be a path to follow when trying to write a still-awaited global history of such institutions. In Brussels, a "local", "national", situation opened onto the creation of an international, "global", scientific network.


Private botanical gardens in Russia: between noble culture and scientific professionalization (1760s - 1917)

Olga ELINA (Moscow, Russia)

State patronage and leading role of academic institutions have been considered as main characteristics of science in Russia. This paper argues that in some areas, botanical collecting among them, private initiatives played important role as well.

Private gardens in Russia had a long history rooted in the epoch of Peter I, who was the most active of the"supreme" patrons of gardening. Thanks to him, the construction of gardens became fashionable among the court elite. One of the famous private gardens was Oranienbaum (1727) of Peter's associate count Menshikov. Among others exotic plants, laurels and oranges were cultivated there (the latter gave Oranienbaum its name).

To the middle of 18th collecting of plants became a part of a culture for the Russian manorial aristocracy: an amateur pastime, and sometimes a sophisticated formula for relieving the boredom. Some of the aristocrats hired academic specialists to create botanical gardens.

The first was Neskuchny botanical garden (1756) set up for the prominent industrialist Demidov near Moscow. This garden owed its existence to the union of Demidov and academician Pallas. According to the 1806 catalogue, the garden possessed 4363 varieties, including unique plants of American and Indian flora.

Demidov's estate near Solikamsk in the Urals also had a wonderful botanical garden, rich, in particular, in Siberian plants. It is known that Karl Linne received seeds from Solikamsk.

The most famous was Gorenki botanical garden (1798) of count Razumovsky near Moscow, which cost its owner more than one million rubles; tens of professional botanists worked for him. Gorenki collections of Siberian and Chinese plants were best in the world; a herbarium of 10,000 species was unique. In 1809 Razumovsky created in Gorenki the first professional botanical society in Russia. Its members were the leading botanists of the time, Alexander von Gumboldt among them.

About 10 private botanical gardens existed in Russia before 1917; some were known as world-wide centers of botany, conducting research in introduction, acclimatization, systematization, and morphology of plants.


The "Society of corresponding botanists" as Pflanzschule of botanical gardens

Daniela FEISTAUER (Halle/Saale, Germany)

Uta MONECKE (Halle/Saale, Germany)

Bastian RÖTHER (Halle/Saale, Germany)

In 1815 several Frankish naturalists founded the "Society of corresponding botanists" (Gesellschaft correspondirender Botaniker) to strengthen their contacts. This society, which was almost unknown in history of science so far, formed its own regional network which soon extended beyond the German borders. The society did not only serve to exchange plants and knowledge about botany but also "as educational institution" for young friends of botany who could not afford scientific classes. In other words: There, besides established educational institutions, like-minded people had the possibility to exchange botanical knowledge.

Besides the directors David Heinrich Hoppe, Heinrich Christian Funk and Christian Gottfried Nees von Esenbeck, the society comprised about 70 botanists, pharmacists, teachers, medical students as well as businessmen and manufactures in the beginning of the 1820ies. For some members, the contacts resulted from the membership of this society turned out to be helpful to start a scientific career at a German university or other important institutions. For example, Christian Friedrich Hornschuch, who, on Nees von Esenbeck´s urging, did his doctorate without studying, and who was in close contact with the directors of the society, became a short time later a director of the botanical garden of the University of Greifswald; Johann Becker, who played a decisive role in founding the botanical garden of the Senckenbergische Stiftung in Frankfurt (Main), profited enormously from contacts with his former colleges, who helped him collecting plants now.

In the following years many members kept in contact, which was still helpful when the society more and more "fell asleep". Now, the former members of this society were in leading positions in several academic institutions such as botanical gardens and were responsible for exchanging plant material on a complete different level. This is shown by the extensive exchange of plants and seeds in the botanical gardens of Bonn and Breslau under the direction of Nees von Esenbeck, whose credo was: a botanical garden should pursue its object by changing constantly its possession and not just hold on individual plants. Besides the exchange of material, the exchange of ideas as well as mutual visits of the scholars played a very important role.

On the basis of the annual reports on the botanical gardens in Bonn and Breslau, which were collected in the Prussian ministry of education and cultural affairs, we would like to discuss by illustrating life and work of Nees von Esenbeck the exchange of material (plants, seeds) and knowledge (publications, correspondence, journeys) at different times.


Andreas Gryphius and the instructive garden

Patricia D. HARDIN (Lexington, Virginia, USA)

Stemming primarily from Humanist and Renaissance influences the garden had evolved in Europe by the mid-sixteenth century to become a focus for the dissemination of knowledge, both scientific and cultural. As noted by Roy Strong in The Renaissance Garden "... by the mid-sixteenth century the garden had become the location for solitary meditation and for philosophical discussion ...horticultural encyclopedia, a center for botanical and medical research and a source for moral instruction. The garden evolved into a series of separate yet interconnected intellectual and physical experiences which required the mental and physical co-operation of the visitor as he moved through them" (Strong, 20). Throughout the Renaissance there also existed a well-established literary tradition in which fiction was set in a garden or labyrinth. Therefore, it is not surprising that Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664), a significant seventeenth-century German author of tragedies, comedies, lyrical poetry and festival plays, chose a garden as the setting for one of his festival plays, Majuma.

To better understand Gryphius' choice of the garden setting this paper will first present a brief overview of the history of the Renaissance and Humanist garden and the literary traditions associated with the garden. It will then trace Gryphius' knowledge of the Italian Renaissance garden and the literary traditions that led him to purposefully choose the garden setting for this festival play. It will be seen that the literary garden served two simultaneous functions that coincided with the raison d'etre for much of Gryphius' other works: to provide entertainment and to present instruction, prodesse et delectare. Thus the paper will also examine both Gryphius' didactic concepts within this play and his specific use of the literary garden as the means of transmitting those concepts. As also noted by Strong, "the garden evolves from a series of separate enclosed emblematic tableaux ..." (Strong, 11) Therefore, this paper also examines Gryphius' emblematic use of the garden setting to transmit his beliefs and ideas. Through such an examination of the specific use of the garden by a major German author, our understanding of the role of the garden in seventeenth-century literature is broadened.


Three little-known botanical gardens at Versailles (1762-1851): a comparative analysis of their project and of the social and intellectual trajectory of their creators

Antoine JACOBSOHN (Versailles, France)

Although many aspects still remain to be studied, the botanical significance of the Trianon gardens during the reign of Louis XV is relatively well known (see Gabriela LAMY, "L'éducation d'un jardinier royal au Petit Trainon: Antoine Richard (1734-1807)", Polia - Revue de l'art des jardins, n. 4, automne 2005, p. 57-74). On the other hand three other "botanical gardens" created, cultivated and finally closed between 1755 and 1851 at Versailles seem to have received very little if any attention. This paper proposes to follow the instigators of these gardens and to present their respective goals. The social and intellectual trajectory of these men and the examination of the conceptual project of these gardens, for as much as they can be determined as exemplary, seems to support the hypothesis of a transition, during this period, from a medical and aesthetic approach to botany to an agronomic and popularizing one. As the three principal protagonists of these three botanical gardens were all active members of the "Société d'agriculture" of Versailles, we will look closely at the role of this society.

Louis-Guillaume Le Monnier (1717-1799) was born into a rich and highly educated family. He became professor of botany at the Jardin du Roi in Paris and one of the principal doctors of Louis XVI at Versailles. He was instrumental in the creation of the botanical garden at Trianon but he also participated in the creation in the 1760's, and finally became the proprietor in 1792, of a private botanical garden situated in the Versailles Montreuil neighborhood. This garden was destroyed soon after his death in 1799.

Antoine-Nicolas Duchesne (1747-1827) was the son of a Superintendant of the Royal buildings of Versailles. He published a botanical treatise at the age of seventeen (1764) and is best known as the author of a treatise on strawberries (Essai sur l'histoire naturelle des fraisiers, 1766) and of another on squash (Essai sur l'histoire naturelle des courges, 1786 and 1793). But he was also the author of a proposal to convert a large portion of the King's Kitchen Garden at Versailles into a botanical garden under the responsibility of the "Société d' agriculture". This botanical garden existed starting in 1798 with Antoine Richard as gardener and, it seems, with Duchesne as director. In 1805, the King's Kitchen Garden was returned to the State and the botanical garden dismantled.

François-Haken Philippar (1802-1849) was the son of one of the head gardener's of Trianon. Working first as a gardener and then as manager in several different establishments he is said to have accumulated an important collection of notes and documents. At the creation of the Agriculture School at Grignon (future National Institute of Agronomy), he was invited to teach there and to manage the plantations. In 1834, based on a project submitted by Philippar, the city of Versailles opened a municipal botanical garden. Although he continued to teach at Grignon, Philippar was its first and only director. The garden was closed in 1851, shortly after Philippar's death.


Space, state, territory, region and habitat: Alpine gardens in the Habsburg countries

Marianne KLEMUN (Vienna, Austria)

Botanical gardens represent institutionalised space, in which epistemes are not only present as elements, but are put into practice on many different levels. Moreover, the self-referential connection to space of each botanical garden receives its dimensions by various space connotations, and variable scientific allocations of meaning also communicate with entirely different, overlapping political spaces of connotation. The aim of this paper is to look at constellations between politics and science as well as between concepts and practices, but also to try to answer the question in what context this specific form of a botanical garden, namely an alpine garden established itself and what scientific questions were solved in those gardens.

It was no coincidence that the first alpine garden in the Habsburg Countries was laid out in the centre of this political formation, in Vienna, and here even within the Imperial Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace. While the entire palace area with the system of Roman figures represented the traditional cosmic order of the imperial power with reference to Rome regardless of space and time, the so called "Dutch Garden" represented a place within the same area, in which plant mercantilism abounded and in which getting a hold of colonial resources after successful collecting expeditions took place. However, together with the "Tiroler Hof" as a counter place to the "Dutch Garden" and its exotic flair, the alpine garden within the Schönbrunn area showed the connection to rural areas, to a region invested with a special nature and culture (also called "fatherland") and owes its origins (around 1800) to the initiative of Archduke Johann, a liberal opponent of the Emperor Franz II. A representation of the flora of all Habsburg Countries, whose political growing together of judicially different territories to a single state developed, was not realised in Schönbrunn, but at another place, namely in the gardens of Prince Eugene in Belvedere Palace (Vienna), in correspondence with the floristic activities of the botanist Nikolaus Host.

About fifty years later, the idea of an alpine garden was not realised in the center of the Habsburg Monarchy but at its periphery, namely in the botanical garden of the University of Innsbruck, in the heart of the Alps. Anton Kerner (as of 1877 von Marilaun), a professor of natural history who was the head of the botanical garden from 1860 to 1877, turned the garden into a centre of internationally renowned alpine studies. The cultivation of alpine plants, carried out in long-term experiments on various experimental surfaces and various altitudes was to document non-hereditary changes caused by the environment. The controversial hypothesis of characteristics acquired by hereditary transmission was being discussed.

In the midst of the mountains, the variable habitat formed the focus of the investigation, while Kerner was laying out the garden area in Innsbruck planted with alpine plants as a fixed "schematic reflection of orographic and geognostic conditions in the Tyrol", which was to represent the Tyrol in its entirety. While at first, the alpine plants had been transferred from the periphery to the centre in Vienna and the work of the botanists was limited to collection activities - which, at the same time, documented the idea of a stabile unchangeability of the large variety of the alpine plants - the Innsbruck concept mobilised the consciousness on the chances of organisms as modifications of habitats, while, at the same time, the origin of alpine plants was represented in a more stable schema of garden design.


Janczewski's collections of Ribes sp. at Botanic Garden, Museum and Herbarium of the Institute of Botany of the Jagiellonian University, Cracow

Kamil KULPINSKI (Krakow, Poland)

Edward Janczewski (1846-1918) was a plant taxonomist, anatomist and morphologist working at the Jagiellonian University. One of his most important works was Monographie des Groseilliers (Geneve, 1907), which contains the results of his work on genus Ribes. It describes 133 species and 21 hybrids of currants and gooseberries, according to Janczewski approximately half of world's taxa. Many species were first described by him. This monograph is still one of the most important publications regarding taxonomy of genus Ribes.

For his work Janczewski maintained in Botanic Garden of Cracow a vast collection of different species of Ribes from all around the world. It contained (including hybrids) over 300 specimens. Part of this collection still exists and probably contains some specimens planted by Janczewski himself. The specimen Ribes warszewiczii Janczewski 1904 is probably the same specimen on which the taxon was described.

Apart from the living plants many other materials were preserved. Two particular groups are worth noting. One is a library of over 400 microscope slides, preserved at the Botanical Museum of the Jagiellonian University. Most preparations were probably made using plants from the Botanic Garden. The other important part of Janczewski's collection is his herbarium, preserved at the Herbarium of the Jagiellonian University (KRA). It consists of over 600 sheets and includes some type specimens of Ribes. The herbarium includes species from Europe, Asia, North and South America, many of them collected by Janczewski himself. Others were obtained thanks to his worldwide contacts with herbariums, botanic gardens and scientists.


'Mixing foreign trees with the natives':
The form and ideology of Irish botanic gardens and arboreta

Finola O'KANE (Dublin, Ireland)

Irieland's National Botanic Garden was founded in 1732, by the Dublin Society, a group of gentlemen amateurs in science and letters. Comprised predominently of the landed gentry, who were principally concerned with improving farming on their own estates, the Society purchased a site for the garden in 1795. Initially somewhat reminiscent of a suburban villa landscape, one its founders was the astute politician Speaker Foster, who helped to gain funding for the garden from the Irish House of Commons and possessed a notable arboretum of his own at Collon, Co. Louth. As with many of Ireland's great nineteenth-century institutions, Dublin's Botanic Garden came to be modelled on that of London. The order of plants became a reflection of the order of empire.

Ancient Irish mythology had an order of trees, which predated the arrival of the Normans. With the flowering of the Irish Arts and Crafts and Irish nationalism in the early twentieth century, this order of plants became a vehicle of nationalist expression. Many political figures were commemorated with arboreta: Charles Stewart Parnell at Avondale Arboretum, Co. Wicklow and Patrick Pearse in an aboretum of 'native trees' at St. Enda's Rathfarmham. New empires of influence and emigration saw the creation of an arboretum to the memory of John F. Kennedy in Co. Wexford in the 1960s.

Ireland's botanic gardens and arboreta are of interest in the European context for two reasons. Firstly, Ireland was a colonial European country, where many British experiments in empire were first carried out. Colonial institutions, and their planning and management, were developed in Ireland and then disseminated to colonies further afield. Secondly, in the postcolonial environment, such institutions have had to blend their indentities with contemporary nationalism and independence. Modern patterns of interpretation and design manipulate and distort the imperial vision, and the professionalism, which created these institutions, is also questioned and interrogated by political and cultural schism.

This paper will examine the history and form of the Irish Botanic Garden and Arbortem. The role of the amateur scientist and designer in its early design and management will be contrasted with that of the later professional institution. The political and cultural resonance of the idea of a botanic collection will be explored with reference to Ireland's past, present and future.


Botanical gardens as places of sociability and meeting places for amateurs and professionals: Balancing the interplay between botanic gardens and schools

Dawn SANDERS (London, The Great Britain)

Although the generic subject of garden history is well - documented, botanical gardens lack a considered and reflective historical commentary on the work of their institutions, or apart from individual garden monographs [e.g. Minter, 2000, Mickulas, forthcoming], and the work of Prest (1981), and Spary [1993], there is little of substance. urthermore, few authors have examined the social or educational history of botanical gardens. Exceptions to this absence are Gilberthorpe' doctoral thesis, which critiqued hanges in British botanical gardens in the 1980s as reflected by bibliographical and social survey [Gilberthorpe 1987], and Kleinman' PhD. study 'The Museum in the Garden', which considered research, display, and education at The Missouri Botanical Garden since 1859 [Kleinman, 1997]. Gilberthorpe's study highlighted the lack of socio-historical documentation on British botanical gardens and Kleinman's study on the Missouri Botanical Garden considered the struggle, 'to balance and integrate the sometimes complementary, sometimes conflicting demands of scientific research, public display and education of graduate students, amateur gardeners, and school children' [Kleinman 1997]. These silences and struggles are still salient issues for botanic gardens today. Drawing on a completed doctoral thesis [Sanders, 2004], this paper considers the interplay between professionals within botanic gardens and schools. The author utilises documentary evidence, unearthed from school and garden archives, to consider evidence for both the exclusion and encouragement of children in botanic garden histories and the sometimes competing roles of institutional ideology and personal interest. The paper will end with an examination of how these cultural memories might inform current debates on the socio-educational roles of botanic gardens in the 21st century.


Botanical networks in the 18th and early 19th century: a sociological investigation

René SIGRIST (Geneve-Lausanne, SWITZERLAND)

Eric WIDMER (Geneve-Lausanne, Switzerland)

Wladimir BERELOWITCH (Geneve-Lausanne, Switzerland)

Botany has been practiced since the Antiquity and botanic gardens developed from the middle of the 16th century. But the profesionnal botanists appeared only in the early 19th century, their social emergence being the result of a long process that stretched over the whole "age of academies", i. e. roughly between 1700 and 1830. The purpose of our presentation will be to examine this process, or in other words the place of botanists in an emerging scientific field that we call the "Republic of science". This analysis will be centered on the personal and scientific links between the major botanists of the period. We will also examine a set of related topics like the autonomy of botany as a discipline or the formation and social status of botanists.

Our first task will be to select a representative sample of the major botanists of this period. Considering all the botanists who are registered in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography or were members of at least two of the six majors academies of the period (Paris, London, Berlin, St-Petersburgh, Stockholm, Bologna), we will thus get group of 182 scientists, including 81 specialized botanists and 55 other naturalists who had botany as their main field of investigation.

Our network analysis will be based on the biographical datas registered in the Dictionary of Scientific Biography as well as in the databank compiled by Saur AG. Four major types of relationships will be investigated:
- The relations between teachers and students.
- The relations of patronage (between patrons and "protégés").
- The intellectual influences.
- The various forms of effective scientific collaborations.

Through a systematic study of these different kinds of links, we will get a broad picture of the emerging community of botanists in the age of academies. Among other results, we hope to determine where the main centres of research developed, who were the best connected scientists of the time, and what kind of shifts did eventually happen between the major institutions (universities, gardens) from 1700 to 1830.


Friedrich Welwitsch and the knowledge of materia medica in nineteenth century Angola

José Pedro SOUSA-DIAS (Lisboa, Portugal)

During his activity as a collector in Angola, the Austrian naturalist Friedrich Welwitsch (1806-1872) revealed a remarkable interest both in medicine and in the local materia medica. His compilation of informations on the utilization of medicinal plants is presented in Sinopse explicativa das amostras de madeiras e drogas medicinais (...) coligidos na Província de Angola, e enviados a Exposiçao Internacional de Londres em 1862 (Lisboa: 1862) and other writings. Welwitsch did not publish all his notes on indigenous Angolan medicines, and several of them were used by Conde de Ficalho, in Plantas úteis da África Portuguesa, or published in the Catalogue of the African Plants collected by Dr. Friedrich Welwitsch in 1853-1861 by W. P. Hiern, concerning that part of Welwitsch's herbarium deposited in London at the Natural History Museum. Other authors also gathered information or wrote in the nineteenth century about Angolan materia medica, such as Father Augusto Severino Freire de Figueiredo, Agostinho Sisenando Marques e Joao Cardoso Júnior.

In this paper we aim to weigh the role played by Welwitsch and the other authors in the development of knowledge concerning Angolan materia medica in the nineteenth century. Welwitsch's studies were the apex of a new age of botanical exploration in Angola marked by a further investment by colonial authorities on the knowledge of the Empire's natural resources. This period put an end to a previous one (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries) characterized by collections carried only by laypersons and outside European scientific production. During this new phase, initiated by Portuguese naturalist Joaquim José da Silva at the end of the eighteenth century, the interest in materia medica proper was often left aside in benefit of pure botanical studies, but still there was a considerable volume of data begathered concerning Angolan materia medica.








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