The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Forster, Johann Reinhold, 1729-1798
Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798)
0.25 linear feet (1 box)
The Johann Reinhold Forster
collection contains correspondence from Forster to Thomas Pennant.
Scope and Content Note
The Johann Reinhold Forster collection contains correspondence from Forster to Thomas
Pennant. The subjects of the correspondence are primarily books and translations on
which Forster was working and his financial difficulties. Also included in this
collection are transcripts and photocopies of the correspondence.
Johann Reinhold Forster was born October 22, 1729 in
Dirschau (Tschew), Polish Prussia (now Germany). He studied languages and history,
eventually becoming a pastor at Nassenhüben near Danzig. In 1765, Forster was
invited by Empress Catherine of Russia, to investigate conditions at Saratov on the
Volga River. This was not a paid position and having overstayed his leave of absence
from his job, he lost his ministry. In 1766 he moved to England, where he received
an appointment at the Dissenters' Academy at Warrington, Lancashire. There he taught
languages and natural history, but after some problems, left the next year. In 1770
he wrote A Catalogue of British Insects and in 1771 he
wrote about North American flora and fauna, translated Osbech's Voyage to China, and used his knowledge of languages to
make a living. His publications led to his meeting fellow naturalists Joseph Banks
and Daniel Solander, and procured Forster's election as a fellow of the Royal
Society in 1772.
In 1772, when Banks refused to sail on James Cook's second expedition, which was
then getting ready, another influential friend of Forster was able to procure for
him the position of scientist on it. Forester took his son, Georg, with him as an
assistant. After the expedition returned, Georg published A
Voyage Round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop Resolution Commanded by
Capt. James Cook, During the years 1772, 3, 4, and 5, from his father's
journals. In 1778 Forster published his own Observations Made
During a Voyage Round the World, on Physical Geography, Natural History, and
Ethic Philosophy. This was supplemented by Descriptiones Animalium Quae in Itinere ad Maris Australis Terras per Annos
1772 1773 et 1774 Suscepto Collegit Observavit et Delineavit Loannes Reinholdus
Forster, which was posthumously published at Berlin in 1844. Forster
returned to Germany and was appointed to a chair at the University of Halle. He
continued to translate, edit, and review accounts of voyages.
In 1754 Forster married a cousin, and a year later, their son Johann Georg Adam
Forster was born. Forster died on December 9, 1798
Thomas Pennant was born on June 14, 1726 in Downing,
Wales. He was a naturalist and one of the foremost zoologists of his time. His book,
British Zoology, published in 1766, is credited
with stimulating zoological research, particularly in ornithology, in Great Britain.
His History of Quadrupeds (published in 1781) and Arctic Zoology, 2 vol. (published in 1785) were also
widely read. Pennant died on December 16, 1798.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Pennant, Thomas, 1726-1798
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) Papers, MH 100, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was donated by Stephen Phillips on June 29, 1966 (accession
Collection processed by Jane Ward, March 1997. Updated by Hilary
Streifer, April 2015.