Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/243

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SKETCH OF DR. PETERMANN.

mation in our view of things, which, as I have said, is without a parallel in the history of thought, and which it has been the great, the individual glory of this age and nation to achieve.—Nineteenth Century.

 
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SKETCH OF DR. PETERMANN

AUGUST HEINRICH PETERMANN, the world-renowned geographer, whose death under peculiarly painful circumstances was announced a few weeks ago, was born April 18, 1822, at Bleicherode, a small town in the Prussian province of Saxony. His parents destined him for the ministry of the church, and to this end sent him at an early age to the gymnasium or college of Nordhausen, one of the principal towns of his native province. Here he pursued the usual course of study in preparation for the university; but having in the mean time evinced a special liking and aptitude for geographical research, and especially for cartography, he abandoned the idea of entering the ministry, and gained admission to the Royal School of Geographical Art, founded three years previously at Potsdam by the well-known geographer Heinrich. Berghaus, who was himself principal of the institution. Here Petermann remained for six years, first as a student, later as Berghaus's secretary and librarian, assisting him also in constructing and designing his great "Physical Atlas." Through this association with Berghaus, Petermann was brought into relations of friendship and intimacy with many of the great travelers and savants of the time in Germany, and in particular was so fortunate as to attract the favorable notice of Alexander von Humboldt, who in 1841 employed him to draw a map illustrating his great work, "Asie Centrale."

In 1845, on the completion of Berghaus's "Physical Atlas," Petermann went to Edinburgh, where for two years he assisted the late Alexander Keith Johnston in adapting that work for the use of English readers. From Edinburgh he went to London, whither the fame of his meritorious services to the science of geography had preceded him.. He was elected to the Royal Geographical Society, and became one of its most active members. During the seven years which he passed in the British metropolis he weekly contributed to the Athenæum notices; of geographical progress, reviews of books, and the like. He also wrote geographical articles for the "Encyclopædia Britannica" and for the "English Cyclopædia." In association with the Rev. Thomas Milner he prepared a popular "Atlas of Physical Geography;" he also published many separate maps. He was in no mean degree instrumental in promoting the Richardson-Bartli-Overweg expedition sent out in 1849 by the British Government to explore Central Africa. Richardson having died at Unguratua in the spring of 1851, Barth succeeded to the leadership, and on his return to England published in three vol-