The American Travel Journals

The journals of the American Journey (1799–1804) are the key source for understanding Humboldt’s travel work and provide the basis for the reappraisal of his scientific heritage. The approximately 3,500 pages combine descriptions of the itinerary with measurement results, literary travel sketches, scientific essays, drawings, and sketches.

Further information

The Russian-Siberian Travel Journals

The journals of the Russian-Siberian Journey (1829) consist of three parts: »Fragments of the Siberian Travel Journal 1829« and two journals with notes and measurements on geodesy and geomagnetism. The recordings of this journey provide the basis for Humboldt’s three-volume work on Central Asia.

Further information

Today, 211 Years Ago

30.11.1811

H. nimmt an der Taufe des späteren Königs Maximilian II., Joseph von Bayern (geb. am 28.11.1811) teil. Die Taufe erfolgte um 5 Uhr abends in der Grünen Galerie des [...]

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The data from the Alexander von Humboldt Chronology – edited by Ingo Schwarz – were also provided via the Twitter account @AvHChrono as part of a seminar at the University of Cologne.


Humboldt's Papers

In addition to the travel journals, the project edits selected collections from Humboldt’s personal papers: documents, letters, notes, and maps that are directly related to Humboldt’s hemispheric journeys. First, we focused on the topic life sciences, in particular Humboldt’s notes on phytogeography (editing period: 2015–2018). Since then, the focus has been on the topic scientific journeys.

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Letters And People

The correspondence partners that have recently been edited in the topics »Phytogeography« and »Scientific Journeys« include Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg, Carl Sigismund Kunth, Franz Julius Ferdinand Meyen, Samuel Thomas von Soemmerring and Karl Ludwig Willdenow. The personal name index records all edited correspondence.

Open correspondence

The Project

At its core, the 18-year Academy Project involves the complete publication of Humboldt’s manuscripts on the topic of journeys at the intersection of cultural and natural sciences. These manuscripts provided Humboldt with a lifelong basis for writing the Personal Narrative, his American travelogue, as well as for elaborating the entire 29-volume oeuvre of his journey through the Americas. In his later days, they became a cornerstone for his work on Asie centrale (1843) and the Cosmos (1845–1862).
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Background image: Plate XLII, Vue du Cayambe, in: Humboldt, Alexander von ([1810-]1813): Vues des Cordillères et monumens des peuples indigènes de l’Amérique. Paris: Schoell. (source: Wellcome Library, London)