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Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) Papers

Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) Papers

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Open Finding Aid

JOHANN REINHOLD FORSTER (1729-1798) PAPERS, 1768-1786





Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Forster, Johann Reinhold, 1729-1798
Title:Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) Papers
Dates:1768/1786
Quantity:0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:The Johann Reinhold Forster collection contains correspondence from Forster to Thomas Pennant.
Collection Number:MH 100

Series List


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.


Biographical Sketch

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.


Index Terms

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
Books
Naturalists
Science publishing
Translators

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

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 Museum.

Preferred Citation

Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798) Papers, MH 100, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

This material was donated by Stephen Phillips on June 29, 1966 (accession #17,275).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jane Ward, March 1997. Updated by Hilary Streifer, April 2015.


Related Material


Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Thomas Pennant", accessed April 29, 2015, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/450031/Thomas-Pennant


Iredale, Tom. "Forster, Johann Reinhold (1729–1798)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University: 1966. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/forster-johann-reinhold-2057/text2555 Accessed online 30 April 2015.


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