Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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LEYSSER, Friedrich Wilhelm von.

(1731 – 1815)

(Born: Magdeburg, Germany, 7 March 1731; Died: Halle, Germany, 10 October 1815) German naturalist.

Preussian advisor to the crown on military and domestic issues, Leysser was president of the Hallischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft (Halle Naturalist Society) and a member of the Berlinischen Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde (Berlin Society of Naturalist Friends).

Biographical references: Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: p. 262. Mayer, Gaston. "Friedrich Wilhelm von Leysser (1731-1815) als Mineralogen und Mineralienlieferant der Markgräfin Caroline Louise von Baden (1773)," Der Aufschluss, 28 (1977), 157-8. Meusel, Verstorbenen Teutschen Schrifsteller, 1802-16. Poggendorff: 1, col. 1447. Schmid, G., "Linné und Leysser," Zeitschrift für Naturwissenschaften, 88 (1928), no. 6, 191-266. Tornier, Gesellschaft Naturforschender, 1924 [p. 32].

1. German, 1772-3 [Sale catalog].
Verzeichniss | einer | Mineraliensammlung | welche einzeln | um die beygestzten Preise | verkauft werden soll. | [rule] | Erstes Stück. | [ornament] | [double rule] | Halle, | bey Johann Gottfried Trampe. | cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C] cc lxxii.

4 parts.

Rare. Published in a series of four Theilien or parts, this catalog describes a comprehensive collection of minerals put up for sale beginning in May 1772. In the preface to the first Theil, Leysser extolls the virtue of mineral collecting as a pleaurable pastime persuit, and in particular, he directs the reader to the fine selection of specimens offered for sale in this publication. Unusual for the time, each specimen described has a fixed price for which the individual piece could be purchased.

Bibliographical references: BL [974.b.3.]. Freiesleben, Sächsische Mineralien-Verzeichnisse, 1828: no. 26. Katalog Bergakademie Freiberg, 1879: p. 407 [VI. 264.]. NUC [no copy listed].

Mineralogische Tabellen, 1787

2. German, 1787.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Leysser, | [...3 lines of titles and memberships...] | mineralogische Tabellen | nach | Kirwans Mineralogie | entworfen, | nebst einem Anhange | von | Versteinerungen. | [ornament] | [rule] | Halle, | in der Hemmerdeschen Buchhandlung. | 1787.

2°: [8], 34 p. Page size: 285 x 200 mm.

Rare. In order to arrange his own extensive mineralogical cabinet, Leysser developed this series of mineralogical tables based upon Richard Kirwan's Elements of Mineralogy (1st ed., London, 1784). On pages 25-34 a classification plan for fossils is presented.

Bibliographical references: Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek: 86, no. 2, 777. Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung: 1787, pt. 2, 667. BL [443.f.23.]. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 354. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 38-9 ["Sehr gut und bequem."]. LKG: XII 108. NUC. Reichardt, Bibliotheca Rerum Metallicarum, 1857: I 87.

3. German, 1806 [Collection catalog].
Fridr. Wilh. v. Leysser | Königl. Preuss. Krieges- und Domainenraths | Verzeichniss | der | von ihm gesammelten | Mineralien | mit | mineralogischen Bemerkungen. | [ornament] | Erster Theil, | die Erd- und Steinarten enthaltend. | [ornate rule] | Halle, 1806. | Hendels Verlag.

8°: [i]-viii, [1]-296 p. Page size: 202 x 118 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; [iii]-viii, "Vorwort."; [1]-296, Text.

Rare. No more published. According to the preface, Leysser collected earths, stones, minerals, metals and petrifications for over 60 years, accumulating over 10,000 specimens. He had collected minerals to enrich his knowledge of the science, and pursue in his own measured way, the theoretical aspects. No species escaped his notice and the collection includes examples of almost all the known ones, and many of their seemingly endless varieties. He writes at the end that his age and lack of time to study mineralogy have caused the collection to be put up for sale, through a Herrn Buhle, Inspector of the reform Gymnasium.

This work, the only part published of two (the other to list the salts, inflammables, metals, semi-metals, and petrifications), classifies and describes the specimens of the earths and stones of this extensive collection, and includes besides the species name, information on the locality, and infrequently the year acquired, the source and references to other minealogical works. The collection was ultimately purchased by a collector of the name Bähr (finance advisor in Köthe) between 1806 and 1826, and was aftwards lost.

Bibliographical references: BL [953.i.17.]. Freiesleben, Sächsische Mineralien-Verzeichnisse, 1828: no. 61. Katalog Bergakademie Freiberg, 1879: p. 407 [VI. 87.]. Leonard's Taschenbuch: 1 (1806), 323-4. LKG: XV 49. Mayer, Gaston. "Friedrich Wilhelm von Leysser (1731-1815) als Mineralogen und Mineralienlieferant der Markgräfin Caroline Louise von Baden (1773)," Der Aufschluss, 28 (1977), 157-8. NUC [no copy listed]. Partsch, Katalog der Bibliothek, 1851: no. 474. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 3944. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 159 & 180.