New in Version 7 (September 2021)

  • Correspondence with Johann Moritz Rugendas

    Complete edition of the correspondence (1825-1855). The 26 letters provide the first comprehensive insight into the relationship and longstanding collaboration between Humboldt and the landscape painter Johann Moritz Rugendas.
  • Letter to Karl Friedrich Schinkel

    Alexander von Humboldt comments on Rugendas' American travel plans and elaborates on his concept of a physiognomy of plants.
  • Voyage de Paris en Italie avec Gay Lussac 1805

    The journal of Humboldt's trip to Italy in 1805 contains geological notes and measurement data as well as, above all, reflections on the history of culture and art in Humboldt's typical comparative perspective.
  • Glossary

    For the first time the edition humboldt digital is extended by a glossary of the most important terms (under construction).

Today, 182 Years Ago


H. schickt den Philologen Paul Ackermann, den ihm „als Litterator dringend empfohlenen Franzosen“, zu Christian Daniel Rauch.

 To the chronology entry

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.

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

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.

Discover Humboldt's Papers

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).
To the Project

About the Edition

Based on a „digital first“-approach and working with a text corpus created in TEI-XML, the project develops both a print and a digital edition. The printed edition of the travel journals focuses on restoring the original itineraries and is designed for a general audience. The digital edition aims at a comprehensive text-oriented transcription and commentary of the manuscripts and implements an intelligent use of authority file-based web services and information retrievals (Kraft/Dumont 2020). The digital edition goes beyond the possibilities of scale and layout of the printed edition and presents the current editing progress on the texts and datasets even before printing.

Editorial standards

Humboldt’s Articles, Lectures and Contributions

In addition to his books, Alexander von Humboldt published a large number of articles, lectures, and written contributions (treatises, reports, prefaces) between 1789 and 1859. A database of these writings is available since 2008. In cooperation with the German Text Archive (DTA), 164 of these papers were digitally processed and published as full texts in 2015–2016. All texts were encoded by the DTA in TEI-XML (DTA Base Format) and complemented with corresponding digital images.

To the texts in the DTA

HiN – International Review for Humboldt Studies

HiN is an international open access journal and has been publishing current research on Alexander von Humboldt since 2000 in German, English, Spanish, and French. The semi-annual periodical is a digital publication of the University of Potsdam and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Since 2018, the journal appears both online and in print (ISSN online 1617-5239, print 2568-3543).
To the journal is an online information platform about worldwide activities regarding Humboldt. It is also the succeeding project, which has been collecting and commenting information and materials about the life and achievements of Alexander von Humboldt since 1999.

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)