Johann Jacob Schmidt
Johann Jakob Schmidt (1784-1855) was a member of a well-known family of pharmacists which, beginning in 1768, operated the Wunsiedler City Pharmacy. The Schmidt family mineral collection was assembled by Johann for his son Friedrich around 1830. Johann Jakob Schmidt was an enthusiastic mineralogist and at that time also a member of the Mineralogical Society of Jena. His son, Dr. Friedrich Heinrich Schmidt (1819-1863), studied the geology and mineralogy of the Fichtelgebirg area. His son again, Albert Schmidt (1849-1917), earned his doctorate in 1895 with the dissertation topic of "observations on the occurrence of rocks and minerals in the Central Group of the Fichtelgebirges." In addition, Albert Schmidt was actively involved in literary work on the historical mining and economic interests of his homeland.
The Schmidt family founded the Fichtelgebirg Museum and the Fichtelgebirg Society, and also published the first up-to-date guide to the Fichtelgebirg area (1907). Under Albert Schmidt the collection grew to the point where visitors arrived regularly to see it. Sadly, his only son, Max, died in the war in 1918, and with his passing the male line of the pharmacist family became extinct.
At the beginning of the 1930's, owing to the efforts for many years of Dr. Heinrich Laubmann, the city of Wunsiedel succeeded in acquiring a large part of the Schmidt collection (while part remained in the family). In 1933 the collection was examined and arranged by Laubmann and exhibited tastefully in glass-topped showcases made available by the city. The care of the collection was taken over at that time by the Wunsiedel senior assistant schoolmaster, George Gebhardt.
Like many other collections, the Schmidt collection has not been spared from losses and decimation. After the establishment of the museum, the great Wunsiedel city fire of 1835 caused the destruction of a large portion of the specimens from the mines of Upper Franconia. In the 20th century, when the majority of the collection was already in the possession of the city of Wunsiedel, a disastrous flood resulted in heavy losses. Today the collection is in the Fichtelgebirg Museum, where it helps to educate local and foreign visitors about the precious mineralogical heritage of the Fichtelgebirg area.
The part of the collection that remained in the family estate after the death of Albert Schmidt was inherited by his son-in-law, Dr. Walter Haardt, a mining engineer and geologist. He enlarged the collection and completed the labeling. The collection soon grew again to considerable size. However, the Second World War brought heavy losses from bombing. In 1996 Wolfgang Haardt (the son of Walter Haardt and grandchild of Albert Schmidt) from Reinbek in Schleswig-Holstein, formally bequeathed the collection to the Fichtelgebirg Museum, where the specimens today supplement the collection of his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather.
LAUBMANN, H. (1934) Die Schmidt`sche Mineraliensammlung in Wunsiedel. Der Siebenstern Nr. 4.
GERL, K. (2005) Unpublished manuscript.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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