Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Franz von Paula Hladnik

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 7
Franz von Paula Hladnik

by Joseph Rompel


Botanist and schoolmaster, b. 29 March, 1773, at Idria, Carniola, Austria; d. 25 November, 1844, at Laibach, Carniola. He was the son of a mining official; he studied philosophy and theology and became a priest in 1796. His weak health prevented his undertaking parish duties, and in 1796 he occupied the post of Skriptor in the library of the Laibach Lyceum, but soon gave this up, and for forty years devoted himself to teaching in the different schools of Laibach. In 1803 he was already director of the Normal School and in1807 prefect of the gymnasium, which post he held till his sight failed. In his last years he was blind. Hladnik was a true teacher, who brought the gymnasium of Laibach to a flourishing condition, for which he was honourably distinguished by the Emperor Francis. During the French occupation, Hladnik was appointed professor of botany and natural history in the Central School of Laibach, and presented with a piece of land to be laid out for the cultivation of the flora of Carniola. It soon contained 600 kinds of local plants.

Whilst occupied with his botanical garden, he was also delivering lectures on botany and spent his holidays for thirty years in making researches in the crownland of Carniola. These researches form his most important contributions to science. He bequeathed his rich botanical collection to the Rudolfinum Public Museum, founded in Laibach in 1831. The museum owes him much and contains his portrait, painted by A. von Hermannsthal. Among Hladnik's pupils was Skofitz, the founder of the "Oesterr. Bot. Zeitschrift", now in its sixtieth year of publication. Hladnik discovered several new kinds of plants and certain genera have been named after him. He did not publish any scientific works; his manuscripts now in possession of the Carniola Historical Society are written in Latin, German, French, and Slavonian, proving the learning and industry of the author. They treat of ascetic theology, history, botany, and mineralogy.

VON WURZBACH, Biogr. Lexikon des Kaisertums Oesterreich, IX (Vienna, 1863); Oesterr. Botan. Zeitschrift, XXV (Vienna, 1875); Botanik u. Zoologie in Oesterreich, (Vienna, 1901); DALLA TORRE AND HARMS, Genera Siphonogamarum (Leipzig, 1900-7).

Jos. H. Rompel.