Author: Eichwald Eduard , 1795 - 1876
Title: Naturhistorische Skizze von Lithauen, Volhynien und Podolien in geognostisch-mineralogischer, botanischer und zoologischer hinsicht.
Title in English: Properties of Nature in Lithuania, Volhynia, and Podolia from the Perspective of Minerology, Botany, and Zoology.
Published: Auf Kosten des verfassers, in Commission bei Leopold Voss in Leipzig. Gedruckt bei Joseph Zawadzki. Wilna, 1830.
Format: 256 p.
Binding: contemporary binding.
After returning from his expedition, professor Eichwald set himself a task to publish the material collected during his journey. On 7 November 1829, he informed the Rector of Vilnius University, His Excellency Vaclovas Pelikanas about his intentions to publish “the stories from his journey across the Governorates of Vilnius, Grodno, Volhynia, and Kherson, up to the Black Sea”. He asked the Rector to find out, with the help of the University’s Chancery, how many copies of the future book could be bought by the gymnasiums and other educational establishments of the Vilnius Educational District. The estimated price was one silver rouble. [...] On 9 May 1830, the Vilnius University Council received a reply from the directory of the Vilnius Educational District that 10 silver rubbles have been collected for the printing costs of Eichwal’s book “Naturhistorische Skizze...” Copies had been ordered by the gymnasiums of Vilnius, Kražiai, Troškūnai and Chvalainai, and the schools of Kaunas, Dotnuva, Telšiai, Vidai, Gorūnė, and Ilukštainis. On 25 October of the same year, the University Council informed the directors of the areas of the Vilnius Educational District that professor Eichwald’s book had been printed, but the printing costs for one copy had been twice as big as estimated, and therefore the price of the book would be doubled. Throughout the Vilnius Educational District, 48 copies of the book “Naturhistorische Skizze...” were ordered.
The costs for publishing this beautifully bound and illustrated work were covered by the author himself, and the book was dedicated to Alexander Humboldt. The work includes some interesting material from the geological studies carried out on the banks of river Nemunas in the area of Vilnius and Grodno, and the animals of the Bialowieza Forest, especially the European bisons, 700 of which were counted at the time by Eichwald himself. In the chapter on the geology of the studied regions, the author provides a general description of the rocks, dividing them into Urgebirge (primary formations or rocks), Uebergangsgebirge (transition formations or rocks), Flözgebirge (secondary formations or rocks), and Tertiargebirge (tertiary formations or rocks). Besides providing such an unusual and interesting division, Eichwald also specifies the location of the rocks mentioned, and indicates where they can be found at the surface. A large part of the work is dedicated to descriptions of paleontological findings (Eichwald, 1830b). The work includes material from the studies by Andrzejowski and Jakowicki. Judging from the stratigraphic division of rocks, the work may be based on Werner’s ideas. Jakowicki’s work “Obserwacye geognostyczne” and the lectures on minerology, given in Vilnius University between 1825 and 1831, further support this theory.
Reference: Gailė Žalūdienė. Vilniaus universiteto profesoriaus Eduardo Eichwaldo ekspedicija. - Geologija. – Vilnius: Lietuvos mokslų akademija. 2004. No. 47. P. 1-7.
Eduard Karl Eichwald (1795–1876), Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at Vilnius University, organised a scientific expedition in Lithuania, Belarus, and other neighbouring areas in 1829. The geological, mineralogical, and natural data he collected was published in the book Properties of Nature in Lithuania, Volhynia, and Podolia. It includes information from geological studies of the banks of River Nemunas in the Vilnius-Grodno strip, and describes the animals of the Białowieża Forest, including the European Bison. Publishing was financed by the author. The book was printed in Józef Zawadzki’s printing house.
Map of the Białowieża Forest. From Eduard Eichwald’s Naturhistorische Skizze von Lithauen, Volhynien und Podolien..., Vilnius, 1830.The Białowieża Forest is a large forest in the area of Brest and Grodno in modern Belarus and the Podlaskie Voivodeship in modern Poland. The largest forest in the North European Plain, it is around 1,460 km2 in size and is named a World Heritage Site. The forest was a popular hunting place of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Polish Kings, and Russian Tsars.
Reference: "The Collection of Lawyer Jaunius Gumbis: the Past Preserved in Books". Museum and Collector - 7. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2018, p. 187,189.
Published: "The Collection of Lawyer Jaunius Gumbis: the Past Preserved in Books". Museum and Collector - 7. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2018, p. 186-189.