Mueller, Ferdinand von
Selected Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller
Volume II: 1860-1875
Edited by R. W. Home, A. M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D. M. Sinkora and J. H. Voigt
Year of Publication: 2002
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2002. 865 pp., 23 ill.
ISBN 978-3-906757-09-4 hardback (Hardcover)
Weight: 1.300 kg, 2.866 lbs
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This second of three volumes of Mueller's selected correspondence covers the central period of his life, years during which his letter-writing expanded and diversified to an astonishing extent. Throughout the period, Mueller continued as Government Botanist of Victoria, for much of the time he was also director of the Melbourne Botanic Garden. The volume includes both official and private correspondence documenting his work in these two capacities, the political difficulties associated with the latter position that eventually led to his dismissal from the Garden, and his wider role as one of the leading figures in Australian scientific life. His international standing is shown by letters exchanged with many of the world's other leading naturalists, as well as by the honours showered upon him. His collaboration with George Bentham in the preparation of the latter's Flora australiensis is thoroughly documented, as are his exchanges with Bentham and others on the basis of biological classification and on Darwin's controversial ideas about the origin of species, his active participation in an international network of exchanges of plants and animals for acclimatization or museum purposes, his leading role in furthering the exploration of inland Australia, and various aspects of his personality and private life.
There is a substantial historical introduction, and the biographical register begun in Volume 1 is extended to cover names newly appearing in this volume.
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.
«...it is already clear from the first two volumes that the high editorial standards and meticulously accurate transcriptions will allow scholars to come to a much richer understanding of Mueller, and of the possibilities - and limitations - of colonial careers more generally. [...] This correspondence project represents an invaluable opportunity to re-evaluate not only Mueller, but colonial science more generally.» (Jim Endersby, The British Journal of the History of Science)
«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)
Life and Letters of Ferdinand von Mueller. Vol. 2
General Editor: R. W. Home