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Karl Hlawatsch

Karl (or Carl) Hlawatsch was born in Vienna, Austria, on November 25, 1870, the son of Maria Phillippi and Rudolf Karl Ferdinand Hlawatsch (1840-1913), a manufacturer of cashmere and woolen wear. He attended school at the Mariahilfer Real- und Obergymnasium for eight years, then enrolled at the University of Vienna in 1890 and studied mineralogy and chemistry under the guidance of professors Albrecht Schrauf and Gustav Tschermak (among others). In the winter semesters of 1892/3 and 1893/4 he served as a Demonstrator at the Mineralogical Museum of the University and was an Assistant to Prof. Schrauf in 1894/5. He received his PhD in 1895, with a dissertation on "new copper-antimony compounds from the k.k. Brixlegg smelter." He then entered compulsory military service for the required period. From 1903 to 1912 he worked as a volunteer at the k. k. Naturhistorisches Hofmuseum (now the Museum of Natural History) in Vienna, where he compiled a 300-page catalog of the Mineralogy and Petrography Department's library.

In 1912 (a year before his father's death) he was compelled to suspend his work at the Museum in order to take over the operation of his father's company, Hlawatsch & Usbary. But he deepened his knowledge of mineralogy with studies under Viktor Mordechai Goldschmidt (1853-1933) at Ruprecht-Karls University in Heidelberg and Paul Heinrich Ritter Von Groth (1843-1927) at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. He traveled extensively, probably for business but also acquiring minerals along the way, visiting St. Petersburg in 1897, Paris in 1900, Mexico City in 1906, Salzburg in 1909, Stockholm in 1910, Toronto in 1913 and Kosice in 1917. In 1914 he assembled his own home laboratory for mineralogical and crystallographic investigations. Between 1923 and 1924 he toured the Fichtelgebirge and the Dunkelsteiner Forest; in 1925 he visited St. Gotthard in Switzerland; in 1926 the Laacher See area; and in 1927 the Riesenbgebirge, the Polish village (Sleza) and the Lower Silesian town of Striegau (Strzegom).

Following the First World War his company went into decline, and he was forced to sell paintings, jewellery and a valuable book collection assembled by his ancestors, but he retained his family landholdings. After his uncle Anton Reiner died in 1922, Hlawatsch married Reiner's widow (his aunt) Josephine Rainer, who was a year younger. He worked once again as a curator for the museum, and from 1927 until 1937 he served as a scientific assistant at the museum. On the occasion of his retirement in 1937 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Austrian Order of Merit by the President of Austria, Wilhelm Miklas. His extensive scientific research was published in about 50 papers, mostly classical mineral descriptions followed by chemical and crystallographic analyses.

Karl Hlawatsch died in Vienna on December 17, 1947, at the age of 77. He had assembled a well-documented personal mineral collection of more than 3,600 specimens which was presented to the Natural History Museum by his heirs (descendants of Anton Reiner). His printed labels do not carry his name but have a distinctive border design and were always accompanied by a smaller handwritten label.

HAMMER, V. M. F., and PERTLIK, F. (2006) Karl Hlawatsch (*25. 11. 1870 Wien, 17. 12. 1947 Wien). Ein verdienstvoller Mitarbeiter an der Mineralogisch-Petrographischen Abteilung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien (Eine Biographie mit Schriftenverzeichnis). Annalen Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, 107 A, 1-22.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Karl Hlawatsch Karl (Carl) Hlawatsch, age 60.
The Mineralogical Record - Karl Hlawatsch 61 x 99 and 57 x 71 mm (Simone & Peter Huber collection)
The Mineralogical Record - Karl Hlawatsch 61 x 98 and 51 x 66 mm (Simone & Peter Huber collection)
The Mineralogical Record - Karl Hlawatsch 62 x 100 and 51 x 63 mm (Simone & Peter Huber collection)
The Mineralogical Record - Karl Hlawatsch 60 x 92 and 50 x 86 mm (Simone & Peter Huber collection)
The Mineralogical Record - Karl Hlawatsch Bookplate
(Simone & Peter Huber collection)
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