Seeking assistance in botanical identification

Cramer, Carl Eduard, Swiss botanist (1831-1901). Autograph letter signed ("Prof. C. Cramer"), with a small drawing.

Fluntern near Zurich, 11 June 1876.

Large 8vo. 3 pp. on bifolium.


In German, to the British botanist and publisher Alfred William Bennett (1833-1902), telling him that he has heard through "L. Hegnauer, who had the good fortune to stay with you some time, [...] that you are kindly going to identify for me some unusual tropical wood specimens that I have been researching anatomically [...]", apologising for not sending them sooner: "Now that at last I have a little more free time, I would first of all say how [...] grateful I am for your Memoirs. The wood will reach you soon, but I would like to draw your special attention here to nos. 1 and 2, then nos. 3 and 4, because most depends on the identification of these. All the specimens are transverse sections [...] The portions of no. 1 reveal a fairly tall trunk with a weakly spiralling and twisting longitudinal edge. No. 2 is, as its dark colour shows, steeped in Paraffin. Its trunk is like that of no. 3 (Tripteris?), with only weak grooves on the outside. Nos. 5 and 6 should rightly be distinguished. I wonder if 3 and 7 should also? All specimens are for you to keep [...]", wondering if Bennett can obtain for him "a piece of the stem of the Serjania with totally separate bodies of wood from 1 to 3 cm long and about 1 cm thick (I already possess a Serjania 2-3 mm thick)", with a sketch of the cross-section showing a cluster of stems within the main stem. "Equally welcome too would be specimens, not too thin, of other unusual stems, namely of Bignoniaceae, Dilleniaceae, Ampelidaceae (Cissus) Phytolaccaceae, Nyctaginaceae, Leguminosae (Rhynchosiascandens Bauhinia, Caulotretus)", sending in exchange a Spatolobuslittoralis Haukarl, promising his "paper on Podisomafuscum and Roesteliacancellata", and praying that "you will not take offence at my heavy demands, or be in a hurry to answer my questions, if anything is thereby likely to cause you trouble [...] My niece will have told you, that I am well able to read English, but, unfortunately, I write it badly".

Cramer succeeded Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-91), whose life he wrote (1896). With Nägeli he researched the physiology of plants, including their irritability and movement. He also worked on the fossil Arctic flora and on bacteria during the Zurich typhoid epidemic of 1884. Cramer founded the Institute of Botanic Physiology at the Polytechnical College and was Director of the Zurich Botanical Gardens from 1882 to 1893.

Bennett was Lecturer in Botany at Bedford College, London, and at St Thomas' Hospital. He translated and edited Julius Sachs's "Lehrbuch der Botanik", 1875, and collaborated on the "Handbook of Cryptogamic Botany", 1889.

Traces of mounting on blank final page.

Stock Code: BN#32346 Tags: ,