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Humboldt, Alexander von (1769-1859)
Autograph Letter Signed, Paris December 25, 1830, a letter of introduction to French Chemist Jean Antoine Chaptal

quarto, two pages, formerly folded, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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An autograph letter signed in Von Humboldt’s unmistakable crabbed and slanted hand.

         Von Humboldt introduces and seeks help for the son of a friend hoping to make his fortune in Mexico. He writes to Jean Antoine Chaptal1 (1756-1832) French chemist, manufacturer and statesman.

Baron Alexander von Humboldt, German naturalist, traveler, and statesman, born in Berlin, educated at the University of Frankfurt on the Oder, Berlin, and Gottingen, and the mining school in Freiberg. Accompanied Georg Forster on journey through Belgium, Holland, England, and France (1790); superintendent of mines in Frankish principalities (1792). Accompanied French botanist Aimé Bonpland on a scientific journey to South America, Cuba, and Mexico (1799-1804); settled in Paris (1808), worked on the description of his American travels. Resided in Berlin (after 1827); on scientific expedition to Russian Asia (1829); on several diplomatic missions for Prussian government. By writings, fostered introduction and use in Europe of Peruvian guano; provided means by his delineation of isothermal lines, for comparing climatic conditions of various countries; studied rate of decrease in mean temperature with increase of elevation, also the origin of tropical storms; wrote on plant distribution; discovered decrease in intensity of the earth’s magnetic intensity from the poles to the equator; studied volcanoes, demonstrated igneous origin of certain rocks. Chief among his works is Kosmos (pub. 1845-62), a description of the physical universe.

         Dictionary of Scientific Biography, volume VI, pp., 549-555       


1.Chaptal, Jean Antoine, Comte de Chanteloup, (1756-1832), French chemist, manufacturer and statesman, Graduated in medicine from Montpellier, where he became a professor of chemistry (1781); established factory for production of sulphuric acid, alum, etc., head of powder works at Grenelle (1793). Councilor of state, then minister of interior (1800-04); appointed senator by Napoleon and, later, director–general of commerce and manufactures and a minister of state. Author of works on applied chemistry, esp. dyeing, agriculture, viticulture, and wine making.

Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. III, pp., 198-203