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Hans J. Karabacek

Hans J. (Ritter von) Karabacek was born on 5 March 1878 in Vienna, Austria. His father, Joseph Ritter von Karabacek (1845-1918) was a university professor in the department of Oriental Studies, and a member and secretary of the Imperial Academy of Natural Science in Vienna. Hans attended the Technical Hochchule in Vienna, receiving his diploma in mechanical engineering in 1904. He took a position with the Witkowitz mining and smelting company in Mähren, while working on his PhD dissertation, and was awarded his doctorate in technical sciences in 1910. He held various important positions in Austrian and German industry throughout his career.

Karabacek began collecting minerals at the age of nine, and developed a refined sense of taste in selecting only the very best specimens. Huber and Huber (1982) wrote of it: "The number of items is not very large considering the lengthy period of active collecting, amounting to 4,892 specimens. The collection could not be any larger because only the best minerals were acquired over a period of nearly half to century. In this beautiful collection a very large number of minerals have come from what are now long extinct discoveries. In the course of time the most beautiful specimens were acquired from the old well-known private collections, such as the collection of Isidor Weinberger (1838-1915), Müller von Aichholz, Dr. Perlep, Kretschmer, Toeply, Uslar, Frenzel, Beroldingen, Lill, Scherzer, Don Pedro etc. Three specimens from the collection of the German poet Wolfgang von Goethe are even found there. Also present is a specimen of fluorite from Crown Prince Rudolf's private collection."

Karabacek was not a field collector, preferring instead to build his collection by purchase and exchange from the leading collectors, dealers and museums of his day. He died on 9 June 1963. Much of his superb collection was ultimately acquired by Harvard University following his death.

NIEDERMAYR, G., and PERTLIK, F. (2000) Hans J. (Ritter von) Karabacek (*5.3.1878 †9.6.1963) Ein später Nachruf. Mitteilungen der Österreichischen Mineralogischen Gesellschaft, 145, 15-20.
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