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DOLOMIEU, Dieudonné (Deodat).

(1750 – 1801)

(Born: La Tour-Du-Pin, France, 23 June 1750; Died: 16 November 1801) French mineralogist.

Dolomieu was born to aristocratic French parents on June 24, 1750. His father got him inducted into the Order of Malta at age 2 and enlisted in the army at the age of 4. By 16, he was a second lieutenant and shipping out with the Order of Malta. In 1768 he killed a man in a duel and was sentenced to life in prison. Intercession on the part of government officials and the Pope gained his release to a regiment at Metz. Dolomieu learned the natural sciences from a pharmacist there and fell in love with his daughter, Mademoiselle Thyrion. By the late 1770s, Dolomieu had published some essays and established himself as a mineralogist and geologist. He resigned from the military in 1779, aged 29.In the 1780s, Dolomieu traveled extensively in Spain, Sicily, Italy, and France. He became an authority on volcanism and his 1788-1789 expedition in the Trentino and Tyrol districts resulted in naming of the particular type of rock found in this region dolomite. Dolomieu's life was a little different from the average MIT geologist's, though. In 1786 he wrote "Every moment that is not spent in the company of the most loving of women is spent at the Laboratory of Natural Science."In 1797, Dolomieu sailed for Egypt with Bonaparte. In failing health, he left Alexandria in 1799 to return to France. A storm forced the boat into port at Taranto (in the south of Italy) which happened to be part of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, with which France was at war. The prevailing state of hostilities landed Dolomieu in prison for 21 months, during which he was mistreated due to a denunciation by angry rivals in the Order of Malta. Bonaparte's victory over the Court of Naples in Feburary 1801 finally resulted in Dolomieu's freedom and return to Paris. He died on November 28, 1801 of a "putrid fever."

Biographical references: ABF: I 323, 88-115. Barr, Index to Biographical Fragments, 1973: 70. Beauchamp, Biographie Moderne, 1816. Catalogue of Portraits of Naturalists: 369 [1 portrait listed]. Cooper, A., "From the Alps to Egypt (and back again): Dolomieu, scientific voyaging, and the construction of the field in 18th-century natural history" (pp. 39-63), in: Crosbie Smith, Jon Agar, eds., Making space for science: Territorial themes in the shaping of knowledge. London, Macmillan, 1998. Dolomites: a volume in honour of Dolomieu edited by Bruce Purser, Maurice Tucker, and Donald Zenger. Oxford ; Boston : Blackwell Scientific Publications, c1994. vii, 451 p., ill., maps. [Special publication ... of the International Association of Sedimentologists ; no. 21; ISBN 0632037873]. Drugulin, Sechstausend Portraits, 1863: nos. 1376-7. DSB: 4, 149-50. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition. Feller, Biographie Universelle, 1851. ISIS, 1913-65: 1, 353. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 117. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). Poggendorff: 1, cols. 588-9. Principe, Volcanology in the 18th Century. 2000. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 910-2, Suppl. 1 (1986), 1, 390-1 & Suppl. 2 (1995), 1, 583. WBI. World Who's Who in Science: 429-30.

1. French, 1783.
Voyage aux iles de Lipari, fait en 1781 ou, Notices sur les Iles Æoliennes, pour servir a l'histoire des volcans; suivi d'un mémoire sur une espèce de volcan d'air, & d'un autre sur la température du climat de Malthe, & sur la différence de la chaleur réelle & de la chaleur sensible par M. le Commandeur Déodat de Dolomieu, correspondant de l'Académie des Sciences, &c. &c. Paris, Sous le privilège de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, 1783.

8°: π4 A-N8, 108l.; [i]-viii, [1]-208 p., one wood engraved textvignette. Page size: 193 x 120 mm.

Very scarce. One of the author's most important books, which is concerned with the volcanoes of the Lipari Islands in southern Italy. This account of the volcanic activity in the Lipari Islands was, with his other volcanic researches, 'a worthy continuation' of Sir William Hamilton's work. Unlike his predecessors, Dolomieu did not confine himself to describing the superficial aspects of volcanic mountains and their eruption but studied lavas, loose ejecta, sublimations, etc., and compared these volcanic products with other rocks. He showed that all transitional stages exist between the coarsely crystalline lavas and the glassy rocks and confirmed the igneous origin of basalt. The Dolomites are named after him (Zittel pp. 96-97).

Bibliographical references: DSB: 4, 150. LKG: XIV 698. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 668. Zittel, History of Geology, 1901: pp. 96-98.

2. German, 1783 [German transl.].
Reise nach den Liparischen Inseln oder Nachricht von den Aiolischen Inseln, zur nahern Aufklarung der Geschichte der Vulkane etc. von Deodat de Dolomieu. Aus dem Franz. von L.C. Lichtenberg. Leipzig, 1783.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 699a.

3. French, 1788.
Histoire naturelle de la France meridionale ou recherches sur la mineralogie du Vivarais, du Viennois, du Valentinois, du Forez de l'Auvergne etc. Paris, 1788.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 371.

4. French, 1788.
Mémoire sur les iles Ponces et catalogue raisonné des produits de l'Etna pour servir à l'histoire des volcans suivis de la description de l'éruption de l'Etna, du mois de Juillet 1787 par Déodat de Dolomieu; ouvrage qui fait suite au Voyage aux Iles de Lipari, 1 vol. in 80. du même auteur ... A Paris, Chez Cuchet ..., 1788.

8°: π4 A-I8 χ1 K-Kk8 (fold. table fol. 2G5, 4 fold. maps at end); 267l.; [2], vi, 525, [2] p., folding table, 4 folding maps. Title vignette; head-pieces.

Very scarce. Descriptions of volcanoes and eruptions, with special reference to Mt. Etna's eruptions in July, 1787. Included is a descriptive catalog of the geological objects Dolomieu collected during his visit.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 700b.

Beiträge zur Mineralogie von Italien. (Frankfurt am Mainz, 1789).
See under: Beiträge Zur Mineralogie.

5. Latin, 1790.
Memoria del Sgu. Abb. Alb. Fortis al S. Deod. de Dolomieu, sopra le Minere di Carbone de Sogliano. Cesena, 1790.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 544.

Sur la Philosophie Minéralogique, 1801

6. French, 1801 [First edition].
Sur | La Philosophie Minéralogique, | Et Sur | L'Espèce Minéralogique, | Par le Citoyen D. Dolomieu, [...3 lines of titles and memberships...] | [tapered rule] | A Paris, | De l'Imprimerie de Bossange, Masson et Besson. | [rule] | An IX. [1801.]

8°: A-H8; 64l.; [1]-128 p.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; [3]-10, "Avant-Propos."; [11]-20, "Sur La Philosphie Minéralogique."; [21]-122, "... Sur L'Espèce Minéralogique."; [123]-128, "Sommaire."

Rare. This book, Dolomieu's last, examines the defects in previously published mineral classification systems and attempts to define the direction mineralogy should take to frame a correct system. When it was written, practical mineralogy was distinguished from philosophical mineralogy. The latter term as used in the title of this work refers to the investigation of mineralogical properties such that general truths about all minerals may be deduced.

After a short introduction, in which the philosophy of mineralogy is defined, Dolomieu considers in this work the nature, concept and definition of "mineral species." In the text he reflects upon the pervailing knowledge and theories, and discusses mineralogical species in general, why do species exist, the chemical makeup of minerals, what represents a mineral species, what modifies a species, the properties of minerals, analogs to mineral species, the classification of mineral species, improper mineralogical species and Dolomieu's definition of a mineral species.

Bibliographical references: Edinburgh Review: 4 (1808), 289-96. LKG: XII 200.

7. German, 1802 [German transl.].
D. Dolomieus | [...2 lines of titles and memberships...] | Ueber die | Philosophie der Mineralogie | und über | das mineralogische Geschlecht, | nebst | einigen Nachrichten über das Leben dieses | Gelehrten. | [ornate rule] | Aus dem Französischen übersetzt. | [tapered rule] | Hamburg und Mainz, | bey Gottfried Vollmer, | 1802.

8°: π8 1-98 104; 84l.; [i]-xvi, [1]-151, [1] p. Page size: 176 x 104 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; [iii], Sectional title page, "Ueber | die philosophische Mineralogie | und das | mineralogische Geschlecht."; [iv], Blank.; [v]-xvi, "Vorerinnerung."; [1]-12, "Von der mineralogischen Philosophie."; 13-140, "Von der mineralogischen Philosophie und | der mineralogischen Gattung."; [141]-151, "Vorzüglicher Inhalt."; [1 pg], Blank.

Rare. German translation from Sur la Philosophie Minéralogique (Paris, 1801). According to the title page, there is included in the text an account of the life of Dolomieu. However, the copy examined appeared to be a direct translation from from original French edition with little or no additional commentary, and no life of Dolomieu.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XII 201a.

Beschreibung einer Sammlung von meist vulcanisirten Fossilien, die Deodat-Dolomieu im Jahre 1791 von Maltha aus nach Augsburg und Berlin versandte mit verschiedenen dadurch veranlassten Aufsatzen herausgegeben von Karl Wilhelm Nose. Frankfurt am Main, In der Gebhard- und Korberschen Buchhandlung, 1797.
See under: Nose, Karl Wilhelm.

8. German, 1792.
Briefe zweier auslandischer Mineralogen uber den Basalt. Zurich und Lipzig, 1792.


Rare. Letters between foreign mineralogists on the mineralogical orgin of basalt.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XVI 119.

9. French, 1784.
Memoire sur les Tremblemens de terre de la Calbre pendant l'année 1783 par Déodat de Dolomieu. Rome, A. Fulgoni, 1784.

8°: 70 p.

Very scarce. About an earthquake that occurred in Calabre in 1783 that Dolomieu experienced.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 556*.

10. Italian, 1784 [Italian transl.].
Memoria del Commendatore Deodato de Dolomieu sopra itremuoti della Calabria nello Anno 1783, tradetto del Frances. Rome, 1784.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 557a.

11. German, 1789 [German transl.].
Abhandlung über das Erdbeben in Calabrien im Jahr 1783. Aus dem Französischen von Deodat de Dolomieu ... Leipzig in der Joh. Gottfr. Müllerschen Buchhandlung, 1789.

8°: 80 p.

Very scarce. Translation of Mémoire sur les tremblemens de terre de la Calabre pendant l'année 1783.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 558b.