Mueller, Ferdinand von
Selected Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller
Volume I: 1840-1859
Edited by R. W. Home, A. M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D. M. Sinkora and J. H. Voigt
Year of Publication: 1998
Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt/M., New York, Paris, Wien, 1998. 842 pp., 20 ill.
ISBN 978-3-906757-06-3 hardback (Hardcover)
Weight: 1.300 kg, 2.866 lbs
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This first of three volumes of Mueller's selected correspondence covers his early life in Germany prior to his migration to Australia, his years in South Australia, and his first years as Government Botanist of Victoria. This was the period during which Mueller undertook his major exploring expeditions in the southeast of the continent and in northern Australia, and also took on the development of Melbourne's famed Botanic Garden. The volume includes family and other letters from Mueller's youth, and later correspondence, both official and private, documenting his formation as a scientist, his building of links with scientists in other parts of the world, his activities as an explorer, and his role in the establishment of new scientific and cultural institutions in Australia during the hectic gold-rush years. There is a substantial historical introduction and an extensive editorial apparatus that will serve all three volumes.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Editors: R. W. Home is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. He has numerous publications on 18th-century physics and on the history of Australian science to his credit, and is Editor of Historical Records of Australian Science.
A. M. Lucas is Principal of King's College London, where he also holds the Chair of Science Curriculum Studies. He has published widely on environmental and science education, museology and public understanding of science, and the history of science.
Sara Maroske is a historian of Australian science and social history. She has published on various aspects of Mueller's life and work and is currently writing a book entitled Science by Correspondence.
D. M. Sinkora was born and raised in Germany. She was for many years at the National Herbarium of Victoria where, in addition to working as a marine phycologist, she made Mueller a special focus of her research. She retired in 1992.
J. H. Voigt has published extensively on Australian history since his research fellowship at the Australian National University, 1968-1971. He was Professor of Overseas History at Stuttgart University until his retirement in 1996.
«These volumes represent a shining example of historical scholarship, providing us with a glimpse into the practice of science in the nineteenth century, outside the European centres.» (Gail Clements, Journal of the History of Biology)
«These letters open a window onto the pioneering world of nineteenth-century Australian science. Their interest is both personal and public. They bring under fresh scrutiny a complex personal story of aspiration and failure, of high ambition and personal disappointment. In their preoccupation with indigenous plants of Australia, and with the introduction of exotic species, these letters speak to the environmental concerns of the twenty-first century. In a larger context again, these letters and Mueller’s own professional life have much to say about the workings of Australian science, the pull and push between ‘centres’ and ‘peripheries’, issues that, even in a time of globalisation, remain intensely relevant today.» (John Thompson, Australian Book Review)
«...this volume is a model of what an enterprise of this kind ought to produce. Scholars in numerous fields will have much reason to be grateful.» (David E. Allen, Medical History)
«The five editors spread over different continents have done a wonderful job. I thought it is one of the books phycologists should be aware of.» (Sophie Ducker, Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany)
«Australian botanists will be forever grateful for the dedicated work of the editors and their many contributors to produce this first volume.» (David E. Symon, Australian Systematic Botany Society Newsletter)
«This book is wonderful reading because one can uncover so many different facets of Mueller. He was involved in an enormous number of academic pursuits during his early years in the colony of Victoria: he was a member of the North Australian Exploring Expedition of 1855-7; he planned and hoped to write the flora of Australia; he was on the Victorian Board of Agriculture; he was a member of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, later the Royal Society of Victoria.» (Sophie C. Ducker, Historical Records of Australian Science)
Life and Letters of Ferdinand von Mueller. Vol. 1
General Editor: R.W. Home