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TREBRA, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich von.

(1740 – 1819)

(Born: Allstedt, Weimar, Germany, 5 April 1740; Died: Freiberg, Germany, 16 July 1819) German mining expert.

Earlier in his career, stationed at Ilmenau, Trebra met Goethe, who had charge of the Ilmenau mines. They became friends, and it is known that the poet/scientist collaborated in the production of Trebra's famous Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge (Dessau & Leipzig, 1785). In 1779, he became inspector of mines for the government of Hannover and spent over a decade at Zellerfeld, in the Harz Mountains, where he greatly developed the mining and metal industry of the region. It is well known that Trebra accompanied Goethe in his wanderings through the Harz Mountains as a friend and geological adviser.

Biographical references: ADB: 38, 550-1. Anon., "Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich von Trebra (1740-1819)", Z. Harz-Ver. Gesch. Altertumsk., 61, (1928), 17-45. DBA: I 1282, 1-5; II 1315, 328-331. DSB: 13, 455-6 [by M. Koch]. Freyberg, Geologische Erforschung Thüringens, 1932. Herrmann, W., "Goethe und Trebra. Freundschaft und Austausch zwischen Weimar und Freiberg", Freiberger Forschungshefte, 1955, no. 9. ISIS, 1913-65: 2, 556. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 435. Poggendorff: 2, col. 1127. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 3, 2286. Sarjeant, Geologists, Suppl. 2, 1995: 2, 1147. Schiffner, Alter Freiberger Bergstudenten, 1935-40: 1, 115-33, portrait. Serlo, Männer des Bergbaus, 1937. Trommsdorff, H., "Der Clausthaler Berghauptmann von Trebra und Georg Christoph Lichtenberg", Nachr.Graetzel.Ges.Göttingen, 1, (1925), 1-28. Wappler, A.F., Oberberghauptmann von Trebra und die drei ersten sächsischen Kunstmeister Mende, Baldauf und Brendel. Freiberg, 1906. WBI.

Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge, 1785

1. German, 1785 [First edition].
Erfahrvngen | vom | Innern Der Gebirge, | nach | Beobachtungen gesammlet | und | herausgegeben | von | Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich von Trebra, | [...4 lines of titles and memberships...] | [hand-colored rectangular vignette] | [rule] | Dessau und Leipzig, | auf Kosten der Verlagskasse für Gelehrte und Künstler. | 1785.

2°: π2 a-c2 A-Z2 Aa-Zz2 Aaa-Ppp2; 130l.; [6], [i]-x, [1]-244 p., 8 folding and very large hand-colored plates, 5 hand-colored engravings in the text (the first on the title page and three others on the sectional title pages and one hand-colored tailpiece). Colophon (p. 244): "Clausthal, | gedruckt bey Johann Heinrich Wendeborn." Page size: 360 x 236 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page (with colored vignette), verso blank.; [4 pgs], Dedication to Georg the III.; [i]-x, "Vorrede."; [1], "Briefe | and den | Königlich Grossbrittannischen und Churfürstlich Braunschweig-Lüneburgischen | Hern Berhauptmann | August von Veltheim." (with a large colored landscape on the page).; [2], Blank.; [3]-222, Text (colored landscape on page 222).; 223-224, "Extract."; 225-228, "Anmerkungen zu I & II."; 229-244, "Erklärungen der Kupfer."; [At end], 8 plates

Plates: The plates and engravings are signed F.H. Spoerer del., G.M. Krauss Sc. The plates consist of: I. Landscapes and geological outcrops. II-III. Ore samples. IV. Viens of ore in place. V. Map. VI. Geological cross-section. VII. Map showing mineralized veins in place. VIII. Map.

Very scarce. One of the most beautiful German scientific books of the eighteenth century, illustrated with finely hand-colored large plates and smaller text engravings, likewise colored. Dedicated to George the III, this is a classic work in geological and mining literature, compiled with the assistance of Trebra's longtime friend, Wolfgang Goethe. It contains Trebra's observations and theories on the rich mineralization of the Harz Mountains in Germany, anticipating modern theories of ore body formation through metamorphism and mineral replacement. It is finely illustrated on the plates and vignettes that incorporate on one plate ground mica to give realistic `sparkles' to the rendering of a mineralized vein of ore.

Bibliographical references: Adams, Birth and Development, 1938: pp. 315-8. BL [457.e.19.]. DSB: 13, 455-6. Fischer, Gesteins- und Lagerstättenbildung, 1961. Hoover Collection: no. 796. LKG: XIII 158. Zittel, History of Geology, 1901: p. 56.

2. French, 1787 [French transl.].
Observations | De | M. De Trébra, | Sur | L'Intérieur Des Montagnes, | Précédées | D'un Plan d'une Histoire générale de la Mineralogie, | par M. de Veltheim; | Avec Un Discours Préliminaire Et Des Notes | De M. Le Baron De Dietrich, | [...4 lines of titles and memberships...] | [ornament] | A Paris, | De L'Imprimerie De Monsieur. | se trouve chez [the next two lines braced on the left-hand side:] { Didot le jeune, Libraire, quai des Augustins. | Didot fils aîné, Libraire, rue Dauphine. | A Strasbourg, | Chez Treuttel, Libraire; et chez tous les Libraires de France et des Pays étrangers. | M. DCC. LXXXVII. | Avec Approbation, Et Privilége Du Roi.

2°: π2 a-h2 i2 2i2 k-p2 2a-2b2 A-Z2 2A-2I2 2K2 ([2K2]+"2K2") 2L-4H2; ??l.; [4], lxiij p., [6] folded leaves, vj, [1], 308 p., [10] leaves of plates (8 folded), 5 hand-colored text etchings, 9 hand-colored plates, map (of the Hartz Mountains), 7 tables. The etchings were done by G.M. Kraus. "Errata": pp. [309]-[310], bibliography: pp. [lvij]-lxiij. Page size: 11 x 15.5 inches

Very rare. Translation of two German works on mineralogy and mining by Philipp Friedrich Baron von Dietrich [see note below]. The high mining official Wilhelm Heinrich von Trebra had orginally published his important scientific observations of the Hartz Mountains as Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge (Dessau & Leipzig, 1785), and that is what constitutes the bulk of this work. However, also included is a translation of August von Veltheim's Grundriss der Mineralogie (Braunschweig, 1781). The plates belong to Trebra's work and are the reengraved versions of the original edition. Baron Dietrich, of Strassburg, was a commissioner of the mining works in France, and in his translation he brings much insight and expertise.

This edition was privately printed at Trebra's expense and distributed from Paris among his immediate circle of friends and associates, unlike the original German edition which was sold to the general public.

CONTENTS: Half title page, hand-colored plate mounted on title page, folding copper engraved map hand-colored in the outline of the Hartz region numbered 3, pp. [vi, preface], 308 (with colored plate facing page 230), 9 hand-colored plates and plans double-page or extending (numbered I to VIII with Va & Vb), 7 folding tables on 6 leaves, no table III (perhaps the colored map bound at the beginning), table 4 numbered in Arabic not Roman.

Bibliographical references: BL [32.k.5.]. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 533. LKG: XIII 159a. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 2198.

Mineralienkabinett, 1795

3. German, 1795 [Collection catalog].
Mineraliencabinett | gesammelt und beschreiben | von | dem Verfasser | der Erfahrungen vom Innern | der Gebirge. | [double rule] | Clausthal 1795.

8°: [A]-N8 O3; 107l.; [1]-212, [2] p., one plate (folding). Page size: 190 x 118 mm.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; [2]-12, "Zweck und Anordnung des | Cabinetts."; 13-60, "Felsarten oder Bergarten."; 61-87, "Gangarten."; 87-123, "Ganggesteinarten."; 123-125, "Gangarten im eigentlichen Sinn. | Salze."; 125-135, "Brennliche Stoffe."; 135-136, "Metallische Wesen."; 136-212, "Metalle."-includes manganese, cobalt, antimony, nickel, bismuth, arsenic, mercury, zinc, tin, iron, copper, lead, silver and gold.; [2 pgs], "Wiederholung der Anzahl nach Beschrei= | ung von Seite 13 bis 190."

Plates: The large (230 x 285 mm.), folding engraved plate bound at the end illustrates the cabinet Trebra used to store his mineral collection. It is signed H. Fuss.

Very rare. Published semianonymously. The title indicates the author to be the same as the writer of another work, Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge (Dessau & Leipzig, 1785), and this is known to be Von Trebra. Mineralcabinett is a description of Trebra's mineral and ore collection, and its reason for existance. The text begins with an overview of the organization, which was specifically taylored to benefit mining experts. The collection is grouped into rocks and vein material, gangue, gangue rocks, the composition of matrix rocks, combustible materials, metallic deposits and metals proper. Von Trebra correctly believed that by studying all geological and mineralogical aspects of working mines, other similar ore deposits could be discovered while conducting regional geoloical surveys. The book is illustrated with a beautiful plate showing the long case where the specimens described in the volume are stored.

A few years after this work was published, Von Trebra's mineral collection was sold at auction. It was described by Friesleben (1828) as being a "well prepared, correct and accurate catalog in customary form." It was published under the title: Verzeichnis von dem Mineraliencabinet des Königl. Großbrittan. Berghauptmann von Trebra, welches derselbe zu Clausthal durch Auction will vereinzeln lassen. [Clausthal:] 1797. 8°: 216 p.

Bibliographical references: BL [990.f.26.]. BMC: 3, 1317. Freiesleben, Sächsische Mineralien-Verzeichnisse, 1828: no. 56. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 269-70. LKG: XV 45. Neue Allgemeine deutsche Bibliothek: Supplement to volumes 1-28, no. 1, 351. Partsch, Katalog der Bibliothek, 1851: no. 483. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 226.

Verzeichniss, 1797

4. German, 1797 [Sale catalog].
[Printed on the front wrapper:] Verzeichniß | von dem | Mineralien=Cabinette | des | Königl. Großbritt. und Churfürstl. Braunschw. | Lüneburg. | Berghauptmanns von Trebra, | welches | derselbe zu Clausthal am 21sten Aug. d. J. | und folgenden Tagen | Morgens um 9 Uhr und Nachmittags um 2 Uhr | durch | öffentliche Auction will vereinzeln | lassen. | [tapered rule] | Clausthal | gedruckt bey J. C. Wendeborn, | 1797.

8°: π4 A-N8 O3 (including front cover); 112l.; [i]-viii, [1]-216 p. Page size: 172 x 108 mm.

Contents: [i-ii], Title page, verso blank.; iii-vi, "Vorbericht."; vii-viii, "Inhalt | dieses Verzeichnisses."; [1]-216, Text.

Very rare. Auction catalog of a portion of von Trebra's mineral collection, which was sold on the 21 August 1797 and subsequent days. According to the introductory material, the specimens sold at this sale were those described in Trebra's 1795 work, Mineraliencabinett gesammelt und beschreiben von dem Verfasser der Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge. This sale is organized in the same classification system outlined in Trebra's earlier work.

Bibliographical references: BL [no copy listed]. Freiesleben, Sächsische Mineralien-Verzeichnisse, 1828: no. 57. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: p. 226.

5. German, 1804.
Merkwürdigkeit der tiefen Hauptstölln des Bergamtsreviers Freyberg zur Begleitung der Charte von diesen Stölln angefügt von dem Verf. der Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge [Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich von Trebra]. Dresden, 1804.

8°: 96 p., one folding leaf (map). Rare.

Bibliographical references: BL [no copy listed]. LKG: XIV 225.

6. German, 1822 [Sale catalog].
Auctions Verzeichniß zweyer sehr gut gehaltener Mineralien=Sammlungen aus der Verlassenschaft des verstorben Herrn Oberberghauptmann von Trebra zu Freyberg, welche 1822 zu Dresden den Meistbietenden a. 1. überlassen werden sollen, durch C.E. Heinrich. [Dresden:] 1822.

8°: 71 p.

Rare. Auction catalog of the mineral collection von Trebra's left at his death. It is particularly heavy in metallic species and native elements.

Bibliographical references: BL [no copy listed]. Freiesleben, Sächsische Mineralien-Verzeichnisse, 1828: no. 79. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: p. 226.