MENDEL, GREGOR | A remarkable letter, in German, from Mendel to his parents, in which he mentions Friedrich Franz
A remarkable letter, in German, from Mendel to his parents, in which he mentions Friedrich Franz
2 pages (7 x 8½ in.; 187 x 216 mm) [Brno], 19 March 1845, on a single sheet of paper folded, postmarked "21.MAR"; some toning and staining, old folds.
A rare letter penned by the father of modern genetics
Mendel warmly begins: "Wenn ich auch auf die Feiertage kommen wollte (daran ist gar kein Zweifel), und auch die Erlaubniss dazu hätte, könnte ich mich dannach schwer entschließen bei dieser Witterung eine so weite Reise zu unternehmen." ["Even if I wanted to come for the holidays (there is no doubt that I do) and had permission to do so, I might have a hard time making such a long journey in this weather."]
Given the tone of the letter, one could perhaps assume that it dates to the 1840s, when Mendel, upon the recommendation of his physics teacher Friedrich Franz, entered the Augustinian St. Thomas's Abbey in Brno. Mendel had not planned to be a monk, but the Augustinian's valued science, research, and education. Franz thought Mendel would be a good candidate because of his talent in physics and mathematics. and he was admitted to the order on September 7, 1843. He was at home in the monastery's botanical garden where he spent many hours a day breeding fuchsias and pea plants.
In the same intimate manner, Mendel continues: "In meinen Verhältnissen ist durchaus keine Veränderung eingetreten, ich bin noch immer recht gesund, zufrieden und glücklich. Professor Franz aus Olmütz, mein großer Wohlthäter, ist auf Besuch bei uns." ["There is no change in my circumstances; I am still quite healthy, content and happy. Professor Franz from Olomouc, my great benefactor, is visiting us."]
Mendel was one of Franz's favorite students. The professor of physics and applied mathematics immediately recognized Mendel's talents, and the two men eventually became good friends. Franz and Mendel debated a number of topics, including the origin of the solar system and of life as such, Goethe's philosophy, and the purpose of human life. Franz also provided the newest scientific literature to Mendel.
Mendel died in complete obscurity, and as a result manuscript material relating to his life appears very rarely at auction. We locate no other autograph letters by Mendel at auction.
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
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