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BYTEMEISTER, Heinrich Johann.

(1698 – 1746)

(Born: Zelle, Niedersachsen, Germany, 5 May 1698; Died: Helmstädt, Germany, 22 April 1746) German Lutherian theologian & bibliographer.

Bytemeister began attending the Academy at Wittenberg in 1716. In 1725, he became professor of theology at the University of Helmstädt. Throughout his lifetime, he accumulated a large and varied collection of artificial and natural objects, which included minerals.

Biographical references: DBA: I 172, 308-315. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51: 1, cols. 527-8. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 70. WBI. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994.

1. Latin, 1731 [First edition].
Appendix Bibliothecæ Henr[ici]. Jo[annes]. Bytemeister, sive Catalogus Apparatus Curiosorum Artificialium et Naturalium Subjunctis Experimentis a Possesore ed. in usum Prælectionum Academicarum Experimentalium ... [Helmstadii:] 1731.

8°: 46 p. Very rare.

Bibliographical references: BL [no copy listed]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 261. GV (1700-1910): 22, 414-5. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 148 & 2, 151. NUC [no copy listed].

Bibliothecae Appendix, 1735.

2. Latin, 1735 [2nd edition].
[Engraved title, with an ornate border containing motifs of flowers, shells, and insturments surrounding the text:] Henrici Johannis Bytemeister | Bibliothecæ Appendix | Sive | Catalogus Apparatus | Curiosorum | Artificialium Et Naturalium | Subjunctis Experimentis | A Possessore Editus | In Usum | Prælectionum Academicarum | Experimentalium | Mathematico - Physcico - Curiosarm | [rule] | Editio Altera Auctior | Accedunt Tabulæ Figurarum Ænearum XXVIII. | [rule] | [The next two lines braced on their right side by a "":}] Inveniat | Colligat et | quod quisque velit, non omnibus unum est, | Quod placet; hic [The next two words are written on above another and braced on both sides:] { spinas [above:] gemmas } colligitille [The next two words are written on above another and braced on both sides:] { rofas [above:] lutum. } | [rule] | In Academia Julia | A.R.S. MDCCXXXV. | Sumtibus Auctoris.

4°: )(4 A-G4 H1; 33l.; [8], [1]-58 p., frontispiece (portrait of Bytemeister), 28 engraved plates (numbered Tab I-XXVIII; plate XVII folding). The pagination and collation formulas are complicated by the first leaf which although blank has a portrait of Bytemeister pasted on the verso that acts like a frontispiece. Page size: 300 x 190 mm.

Contents: [1 pg], Blank.; [1 pg], Blank with a portrait of Bytemeister pasted down that acts like a frontispiece.; [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [4 pgs], Dedication, dated MDCCXXV [=1735].; [1]-34, "H.J. Bytemeister | Apparatus | Curiosorum | Pars I. | Curiosa Artificialia Mathematico. | Physica."; 35-56, "Pars II. | Curiosa Naturalia, | quæ commonstrantur, | Subjunctis Passim Experimentis, Et Discursu."; 56-58, Text in German describing various ores.

Plates: The work contains a engraved frontispiece portrait of Bytemeister and 28 other engraved plates. The frontispiece is actually a smaller picture that has been pasted down to the verso of the leave facing the title page, and therefore does not constitute a true plate. However, it is a finely executed picture of Bytemeister within a rectangular frame, showing his head and torso. It contains the text immediately under the portait, "Henric, Johanes Bytemeister º Libb. Artt. Met. Philos. D. Academic‘ º Julice Assessor. º Sym. Ex verbo fides, ex fide salus. º ad Rom. C. X. 17. et C. III. 28." The picture is signed at the bottom, "Joh. Georg Schmidt sculpsit Brunsvig‘. 1734." Plates I-VIII show renderings of artifical items such as mechanical apparatus, insturments, scales, looms, and other man-made curiosities, while plates IX-XXVIII illustrate items thought to be natural. These include arch‘ological artifacts, corals, dendritic patterns, and fossil shells and fish. Each individual illustration is numbered so that its picture may be matched with the description in the text. The plates are numbered Tab I to Tab XXVIII, with Tab XVII folding. All of the plates at the end are signed in a fashion similar to Ant. Aug. Beck delin, Io. Georg Schmidt sculps. Brunvici. Tab I is dated 1734.

Rare. Apparently, Bytemeister had a large and extensive collection of both artifical and natural objects. This edition of the collection catalog has been enlarged and augmented with further descriptions and 28 fine plates. It is divided into two parts. The first covers the artificial or man-made objects, including insturments, tools and old coins. This portion is further separated into sections on arithmatic, geometry, optics, astronomy, economics, mechanics, hydralics, physics, money and other curious artifical devices. The second part of the work describes the natural objects, including fossilized remains of animals and plants, minerals, stones, and crystals. At its conclusion a short text in German describes various ore specimens. Enhancing the text is a fine portrait of Bytemeister that is utilized as a frontispiece, and 28 engraved plates illustrating many of the more interesting items from the collection. Plates 1 to 8 picture the artifical items, while the remainder show the natural objects.

Bibliographical references: BL [458.b.25.]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 261 ["Enthält vortressliche Abbildungen von allerley Versteinerungen, Bildsteine, etc."]. GV (1700-1910): 22, 414-5. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 148 & 2, 151. NUC: 88, 298 [NB 1025358]. Schröter's Journal für die Liebhaber: 4 (17??), 40-2.