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The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Bechstein, Johann Matthäus

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BECHSTEIN, Johann Matthäus, beH'stīn, yô'hän mä-tā'oos, German naturalist: b. Waltershausen, Gotha, 1757; d. 1822. He studied theology for four years at Jena, but never felt in his element unless hunting in the fields or roaming the forest. After teaching for some time he resolved to devote himself to his favorite pursuits, and in 1800 the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen made him director of the Forest Academy of Dreissigacker, in the vicinity of his capital. This academy, under Bechstein's management, became one of the most celebrated establishments of the kind in Germany. His chief work is his ‘Natural History of Germany,’ in four volumes. In Great Britain he is best known by a treatise on singing-birds.