Humboldt, Alexander von, German naturalist and explorer (1769-1859). 5 autograph letters signed.

Paris, Potsdam, Berlin, and no place, ca. 1817 to 1848.

Various formats. Altogether 3¾ pp. on 9 ff. Some with autogr. address.


Fine collection of letters to various recipients, concerning Arnold Mendelssohn and the so-called "Casket Affair" (I), an appointment (II and III), etc.

I: N. p., [presumably ca. 1830]. Written during the European revolutions of 1848 to an unnamed minister about Arnold Mendelssohn (1817-54), a cousin of the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy: "Darf ich es wagen, theuerste Excellenz, mitten unter den zunehmenden unheimlichen Bewegungen der Hauptstadt Sie an Ihr Wohlwollen für mich, an die Bittschrift zu erinnern, die Sie die Gewogenheit haben wollten, in meinem Namen (in Angelegenheit der hoch betrübten Mendelssohnschen Familie) dem König zu überreichen. Die Sache liegt mir schmerzhaft am Herzen! [...]". Somewhat wrinkled; the reverse of fol. 2 slightly spotty. In 1846, Arnold Mendelssohn had become involved in the so-called "Casket Affair", which ruined his life: for the theft of a casket, the content of which was thought to be vital to Ferdinand Lassalle's court case, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment and lost the privilege to practise as physician. His accomplices, Alexander Oppenheim and Lassalle, were acquitted. Alexander von Humboldt interceded on his behalf, and Mendelssohn was pardoned in 1849, but was banished from Germany.

II: N. p., 19 Nov. (n. y.). To "Herr Boguslawski", i. e. the meteorologist Georg von Boguslawski (1827-84), about an appointment. Folded for mailing, torn where unsealed, a bit marked, pencil notations by a previous owner on one blank portion, and with some denting.

III: Paris, [ca. 1817]. To an unidentified recipient: "[...] Les travaux de Mr le Chevalier Millin [!] meriteroient des encouragemens bien plus grands et par la profondeur des recherches et par le noble desinteressement de l'auteur [...]".

IV: "Berlin Sonntag Abend". Somewhat spotty. To Prince Adalbert of Prussia, with thanks for granting him something he had asked for.

V: "En dimanche", n. p. To the wife of the composer Gasparo Spontini, Catherine Marie Céleste, born Erard: "Mr de Humboldt [...] profitera à Paris de la permission d'admirer les beaux tableaux de Mr. Erard, l'homme célèbre dont la génie est admiré dans l'Europe entière [...]". Slightly browned due to paper and somewhat spotty; right edge strongly creased; clipped section on f. 2 due to broken seal (not touching text).

V: Paris, 1821. In French, to a Paris bookseller, ordering several volumes. Folded, with remnants of a wax seal and corresponding abrasion where unsealed; few marks.

Stock Code: BN#28704 Tags: ,