SCHMIDEL, Casmir Christoph.
(1718 – 1792)
Schmidel was the first son of Georg Cornelius Schmidel, a Brandenburg financial councillor and physician ordinary to the margrave in Bayreuth. In 1728, after the death of his parents, Schmidel first moved to Arnstadt and then in 1733 to Gera. In 1735, he began medical studies at the University of Jena and continued them the following year at Halle. He returned to Jena in 1739, receiving his M.D. in 1742 for the work, Dissertatio inauguralis de exulceratione pericardii et cordis exemplo illustrata (Jena, 1742??).
After completion of his studies, Schmidel won an appointment as professor of pharmacology at the newly opened Friedrichs-Akademie. Similtaneously, he opened a medical practice in Beyreuth. In 1744, when the academy was moved to Erlangen, he accepted the second professorship of medicine at its new quarters. There he lectured on physiology, anatomy, surgery, pathothology and forensics. But disagreements with his university colleagues caused Schmidel to resign his position. In 1763 he traveled to Ansbach to serve as physician ordinary to Margrave Carl Alexander. In recognition of his services to the sovereign, Schmidel was appointed a privy councillor and head of the board of health. In 1750 he was elected a member of the Kaiserliche Akademie der Naturforscher in Halle, and on 16 July 1783, Schmidel was awarded an honorary M.D. at the University of Erlangen. Mental disorders plagued Schmidel the last years of his life.
Biographical references: ADB: 31, 700. DBA: I 1122, 16-111; II 1159, 315-316. DSB: 12, 185-86 [by A. Geus]. Gelehrtes Fürstenthum Baireuth., Nürnberg: 7 (1804), 112-27 [by G.W.A. Fickenscher]. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 384. Leydig, F., "Kasmir Christoph Schmidel, Naturforscher und Arzt 1716-1792", Abhandlungen der Naturhistorischen Gesellschaft zu Nürnberg, 15, (1905), 325-55. Poggendorff: 2, cols. 813-4. WBI. Wohnhaas, T., "Miscellanea anatomica zu Kasimir Christoph Schmidel", Sitzungberichte der Physikalisch-medizinischen Sozietät in Erlangen, 82, (1963), 27-32.
1. Latin & German, 1753-71?.
[Engraved German title page:] Erz Stuffen | und | Berg Arten | mit Farben genau | abgebildet. | beschreiben | durch | Kasimir Christoph | Schmiedel: | Verlegt und herausgegeben | durch | Johann Michael Seligmann, | Kupferstecher in Nürnberg. | Nürnberg im Jahr 1753.
[Engraved Latin title page:] Fossilivm | Metalla | Et | Res Metallicas | Concernentivm | Glebae | Svis Coloribvs Expressae | Qvas | Descripsit Et Digessit | D.Casimirvs Christophorvs | Schmiedel | Impensis | Iohannis Michaelis Seligmanni | Chalcographi Norimbergensis. | Norimbergae MDCCLIII.
4°: π2 A-O2 2A-2O2; 58l.; , 56, 56 p., 46 hand-colored engraved plates. Both sets of pages 41-44 are misprinted as 41, 44, 43, and 42.
Contents: [2 pgs], Engraved Latin title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs], Engraved German title page, verso blank.; 1-56, German text.; 1-56, Latin text.; [At end], 46 hand-colored plates.
Very scarce. The objective of this volume was to accurately portray minerals of economic importance in their "exact" colors, so that miners and prospectors could use it as a handbook and a guide to locate valuable ores. The noted engraver Johann Michael Seligmann [see note below] was responsible for the majority of the fine copper plates which show various specimens of copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold ores. The text, written in both Latin and German, meticulously describes the physical properties and modes of occurrence of the figured specimens, thus anticipating the importance of external characteristics in mineralogy. The specimens shown on the plates are unfortunately not fine crystallized specimens, but typical examples of valuable ores; therefore, one will be disappointed if too much is expected of the illustrations as mineral specimen depictions. They are, however, well executed pictures of ores samples.
The Berlinischer Sammlungen review notice of Fossilium Metalla et res Metallicas indicates that sections containing 3 plates were to be issued every 2 months. Probably due to an insufficent number of subscribers however, the flow of new descriptions and plates became erratic, and with only twenty-eight plates distributed, eventually halted in 1765, although by this time, Schmidel's book was highly admired and much used as a practical tool. Yet, no new descriptions or plates appeared until after 1771. At this point, new sections were published until a total of forty-two plates were issued, then apparently publication again ceased, for copies with 42 plates are considered complete in the standard bibliographic references. Nevertheless, a very few copies exist with descriptions and four additional plates, thereby totaling 46 plates. Since the added plates do not identify their engraver or year of creation, it is assumed they were issued at some later time, and therefore not included in many copies.
The signiature collation of the leaves clearly shows that the text was published in such a way that the book could be sold in separate German and Latin volumes as well as the configuration described here with the German and Latin combinded into a single volume. Since most copies of this work appear to be the combination text, it can probably be assumed that both sets of text were sent to subscribers, and it was the subscribers who made the final determination as to what should be bound or not.
Johann Michael Seligmann. (Born: Nürnberg, Germany, 12 October 1720; Died: Nürnberg, Germany, 25 December 1762) German illustrator/engraver. Seligmann received his training in both drawing and copper engraving at the Nürnberg Malerakademie. He became an associate of Johann Georg Ebersberger [1695-1760] and Johann Justin Preißlers [1698-1771]. Seligmann created illustrations for many religious, scientific and natural history works.
Bibliographical references: Berlinische Sammlungen: 3, 550-51. Boehmer, Bibliotheca Historiæ Naturalis, 1785-9: 1, 59 [The note indicates the work was issued in 28 parts each with 3 plates between 1753 and 1765. As explained above this is, however, not the case.]. Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 2, 685 ["Schätzbar"]. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 480 [21 plates]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 250. Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen: (1757), 424 & 1374. Hoover Collection: no. 728 [46 plates]. LKG: XII 38. NUC: 527, 184-5 [NS 0231679 & NS 0231680]. Vogels Medical. Bibliographie: 2, 663. (Seligmann) ADB: 33, 679-80. • DBA: I 1174, 266-274. • Hirsching, Historisch-literarisches Handbuch, 1794-1815. • Thieme & Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon, 1907-50: 30, 477. • WBI. • Will, Nürnbergisches Gelehrten-Lexicon, 1755-1808.
2. Latin, 1794.
D. Casimiri Christophori Schmidel ... Descriptio itineris per Helvetiam, Galliam et Germaniæ partem anno CI[Backwards C]I[Backwards C]CCLXXIII et CI[Backwards C]I[Backwards C]CCLXXIII institvti, mineralogici, botanici et historici argvmenti. Erlangæ: Svmtv J.J. Palmii, 1794.
8°: , -102 p., 2 folding hand-colored plates (figuring algae and seaweed.).
Very scarce. Edited by Johann Christian Daniel Schreber. In 1773 and 1774 Schmidel accompanied the ailing daughter of Margrave Freidrich of Bayreuth on a journey to Lausanne, where she consulted Simone-André Tissot [1728-1797], and then on to Dieppe, in Normandy. Schmidel's descriptive account of the natural history of the regions they traveled through was edited by Schreber and published as this work. Although the work mostly describes botanical wonders, several short passages relate to mining and minerals.
Bibliographical references: LKG: XIV 503. NUC: 527, 183 [NS 0231657]. Stafleu & Cowan, Taxonomic Literature, 1976-88: 10.860..