ONE of the best known of the botanical collectors of this country who worked shortly after the middle of the last century was August Fendler. He, like numerous others, came to America from Germany in the late thirties. From 1864 to 1871 he lived at Allenton, Missouri, about thirty miles from St. Louis. While living at Allenton Fendler arranged the first botanical specimens in the herbarium which was just being started by Henry Shaw for his Botanical Garden. These numbered about 60,000 and consisted of the herbaria of Bernhardi and Eiehl, the latter containing a considerable number of local species. Because of his extensive and excellent collections, he became known to botanists and botanical institutions. While he was widely known by reputation, he seems not to have been well known personally, because of his excessive diffidence.
August Fendler was born August 10, 1813, in the town of Gumbinnen, in eastern Prussia. When he was six months old his father died, and two years later his mother married again. His parents had but scanty means and his school training for a number of years could scarcely be called schooling. When about twelve years old he was sent to the Gymnasium, and was here for about four years, when his parents were obliged to take him from school because of financial troubles. He was apprenticed to the town clerk's office, and here began to think of traveling in foreign countries.
At the end of his apprenticeship he had an offer to accompany a prominent physician as his clerk in a journey of inspection along the Russian frontier of Prussia where the cholera was beginning to be feared. Fendler was soon in the midst of the cholera and remained for some time, returning home when the disease had abated. He now learned the trade of tanning and currying during the next two years. In the fall of 1834 Fendler was admitted to the Royal Gewerbeschule, but the strain upon his already frail health caused him to abandon it after finishing the first year with credit.
- Canby, W. M., Bot. Gaz., 9: 111-112, 1884; 10: 285-290, 301-304, 319-322, 1885.
Gray, Asa, Amer. Jour. Sci. and Arts, 3d series, 29: 169-171, 1885.
Sargent, C. S., "Silva of North America," 12: 123-124, 1898.