Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

Return to main Biobliography page

VELTHEIM, August Ferdinand.

(1741 – 1801)

(Born: Castle of Uarbke, Harbke near Helmstadt, Germany, 1741; Died: Braunschweig, Germany, 2 October 1801) German mineralogist & geologist.

Veltheim decided at an early age that he would persue the study of mineralogy, and as a consequence his parents made arrangements for him to attend mineralogical courses at the University of Helmstädt. In 1762 he was appointed as a financial advisor to the Duke of Braunschweig, and in this position made extensive journeys with his father to the mines and saltworks of the region. On his return in 1766, Veltheim was made inspector of the mines in the very rich mining district of the Hartz Mountains. In 1779, after the death of his much beloved wife, Veltheim resigned the post and for several years withdrew from public life. He often recounted a story about how having been offered a fine collection of minerals but no money to purchase the specimens, his wife unselfishly sold here jewelry to acquire the collection for her husband. The Duke of Braunschweig appointed him a privy counicillor, and in 1790 Empress Catherine of Russia named Veltheim as general inspector of mines and saltworks in the western regions of the Russian empire. As attractive as these posts were, Veltheim apparently preferred the calm life of Harbke, his home town, to which he soon returned. On the grounds of the Castle Uarbke, he established a widely acclaimed garden which he opened to the public, and his home became a meeting place for many people who had attained social, scientific or literary status. There vistors found a large, carefully selected library, a fine cabinet of minerals and fossils, some collections of engravings, etc.

Geology was a favorite interest of Veltheim. He conceived a plan to write an extended work on the formation of the earth, but only the first part, Etwas über die Bildung des Basalts (1st ed., Leipzig, 1787; 2nd ed., Braunschweig, 1789) appeared. This work is of importance to the history of geology because Veltheim is the first to correctly attribute the origins of granite to a vulcanic mechanism. For the most part, Veltheim was an original thinker, not hindered by the fanatical adherence to Wernerian doctrine, then predominant throughout German geological science. Unfortunately, his number of publications was small, and based on there scarce nature probably not widely circulated. Veltheim received an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Helmstädt in 1793.

Biographical references: ADB: 39, 585-6. Biographie Universelle: 43, 89-90. DBA: I 1303, 366-436; II 1336, 127. Drugulin, Sechstausend Portraits, 1863: no. 5627. Fischer, Gesteins- und Lagerstättenbildung, 1961: 21. Henke, H.P.C., Elogium A.F. Comiti de Veltheim. Helmstadii, 1802. 60 p. Hirsching, Historisch-literarisches Handbuch, 1794-1815. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 441. Poggendorff: 2, col. 1191. WBI.

1. German, 1787 [First edition].
Etwas uber die Bildung des Basalts und die vormalige Beschaffenheit der Gebirge in Deutschland. Leipzig, 1787.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: LKG: XIII 174.

2. German, 1789 [2nd edition].
Etwas uber die Bildung des Basalts und die vormalige Beschaffenheit der Gebirge in Deutschland. 2nd. ed. Braunschweig, 1789.

8°: Very scarce.

3. German, 1797.
Etwas uber die Onyxgebirge des Ciesias, und den Handel der Admsten nach Ostindien. Helmstadt, 1797.

8°: Very scarce.

Bibliographical references: BL. CBN: 205, cols. 173-4. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 2, 51. Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen: Dec., 1797, 2073 [Enthält die Resultate einer großen Belesenheit und eines tiesen Forschungsgeistes.]. GV (1700-1910): 150, 170-1. LKG: II 16. NUC: 632, 145 [NV 0078086].

Grundriss einer Mineralogie, 1781

4. German, 1781.
Grundriss | einer | Mineralogie. | [ornate rule] | Braunschweig, | Im Verlage der Fürstl. Waisenhaus-Buchhandlung, 1781.

2°: A-G2; 14l.; [28] p. (no page numbers).

Very scarce. Veltheim wrote this work after his appointment as inspector of mines in the Hartz Mountains.

Bibliographical references: Allgemeine Deutsche Bibliothek: 49, no. 1, 138 [ganz tabellarisch, aber überaus gründlich oder lehrreich]. BL. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 28. GV (1700-1910): 150, 170-1. LKG: XII 83. NUC: 632, 145 [NV 0078082].

5. German, 1800.
Sammlung | einiger | Aufsätze | historischen, antiquarischen, mineralogischen und | ähnlichen Inhalts, | von | A.F. Grafen von Veltheim, | [...6 lines of titles and memberships...] | [vignette] | Erster [-Zweiter] Theil. | [ornate rule] | Helmstedt | bey C.G. Fleckeisen. 1800.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 8°: π5 A-Q8 R6; 139l.; [10], 1-268 p., one folding engraved plate. [Vol 2] 8°: π2 A-S8 T2; 146l.; 1-291, [1] p., text illus. (p. 72).

Rare. A collection of essays on geological, mineralogical and gemological subjects that are here collected into a single work. Included in the subjects are the formation of basalt, the ironworks on Germany, reformation of mineralogical sciecne, what is a species in mineralogy, determining authentic gemstones, the Onyx mountains of the Ctesias in India, etc.

Bibliographical references: BL. GV (1700-1910): 150, 170-1. Hoover Collection: no. 812. LKG: II 17a. NUC: 632, 145 [NV 0078083]. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 6834.

Reformen in der Mineralogie, 1793

6. German, 1793.
Ueber | der Herren | Werner und Karsten | Reformen in der Mineralogie; | nebst | Anmerkungen | über | die ältere und neuere Benennung | einiger Stein-Arten. | von | A.F.v. Veltheim | [...5 lines of titles and memberships] | [tapered rule] | [...8 lines of quotation in German, signed on the 9th line, "Lessings Ant. Br. 57 Br.S. 269."] | [rule] | Helmstedt | bey C.G. Fleckeisen. 1793.

8°: A-E8 F2; 42l.; [1]-84 p. Page size: 196 x 120 mm.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; [3], Dedication to Ferber and Von Born.; [4], Blank.; [5]-84, Text.

Rare. This monograph is a very strong criticism of Werner's mineralogical theories and the support of these theories given by Dietrich Ludwig Gustav Karsten in Ueber Herrn Werners Verbesserungen in der Mineralogie (Berlin, 1793). Veltheim presents his arguments as counterpoints to quotations taken from the publications of Werner and Karsten.

Bibliographical references: Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung: Feb., 1796, 311. BL. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 268. GV (1700-1910): 150, 170-1. Hoover Collection: no. 813. LKG: XII 193. NUC: 632, 145 [NV 0078084]. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 6832 [no detail].

7. German, 1793 [Supplement].
Etwas | über | Memnons Bildsaule, | Neros Smaragd, Toreutik | und | die Kunst der Alten in Stein und Glas | zu schneiden, | als Zustse zur Abhandlung | über | die Reformen in der Mineralogie. | von | A.F. v. Veltheim. | [vignette] | [rule] | Helmstedt, | bey C.G. Fleckeisen. 1793.

8°: A-D8; 32l.; [1]-61, [3] p., title vignette. Very scarce.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; [3]-4, Dedication.; 5-61, Text.; [1 pg], Blank.; [1 pg], Errata.; [1 pg], Blank.

Bibliographical references: BL. CBN: 205, cols. 173-4. GV (1700-1910): 150, 170-1. LKG: XII 197a. NUC: 632, 145 [NV 0078079]. Sinkankas, Gemology Bibliography, 1993: no. 6833.

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 um discours preliminare et des notes de M. le Baron de Dietrich. (Paris, 1787).
See under: Trebra, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Von.