Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

Archives Collections List

Christiaan Hendrik Persoon (1761–1836)

Lichenologist, mycologist, taxonomist

Letters

HI Archives collection no. 30
Seven pamphlet files, three reels microfilm, one oversized plant list, shelved

Persoon, Christiaan Hendrik
Copy of engraving by Schwenterley Sc. after Borneman, 1796?
HI Archives portrait no. 1

Biographical note
Christiaan Hendrik Persoon (1761–1836) is generally regarded as the father of systematic mycology. Persoon was born at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, to Christian Daniel Persoon and Elizabeth Wilhelmina Groenwald, a Dutch farmer’s daughter, who died a few weeks after his birth. Christiaan and his sisters became charges of the Orphan Official Institute in Cape Town. Persoon was sent to Europe to be educated in 1775; his father died a year later, and Persoon never returned to the Cape of Good Hope. He studied theology at Halle beginning around 1783, was studying medicine at Leiden in 1786, and then moved on to Göttingen for botanical research, ultimately earning a doctorate from the Academy of Natural Sciences in Erlangen in 1799. In 1803 he settled into a reclusive life in Paris, where he corresponded with botanists around the world from his sixth-floor room. Amazingly, Persoon never held an official appointment; after a poverty-stricken life devoted to fungi, he did manage to negotiate a government pension in exchange for his herbarium. In 1830 Persoon’s herbarium was taken to Brussels, and following the Belgian uprising of that year, it was taken from there to Leiden. In 1834 Persoon proposed to donate his library and his newly acquired collections to the King of the Netherlands. This offer was accepted, and when Persoon died at Paris in 1836, his library, manuscripts and dried plants were added to his collections already present in Leiden. In 1959, the Rijksherbarium in Leiden named its mycological journal Persoonia in his honor.

Persoon’s chief rival was the younger Elias Magnus Fries (1794–1878): “Almost simultaneously Fries and Persoon each started on the publication of a large compilation of mycology. But the work of Fries, the new, young genius on the scene, was soon to win out from that of the much older man, who was finding it more difficult to hold his own and who finally abandoned its completion.…In the philosophical background of the two mycologists, however, there was a subtle difference that was sensed by a few French mycologists, who took to calling themselves the bearers of the ‘Persoonian tradition.’ The first of these was Persoon’s diligent correspondent [Jean Baptists] Mougeot [1776–1858], and it is significant that in the part of France where Mougeot lived, a phenomenal group of famous mycologists evolved and flourished. Mougeot handed the torch to [Lucien] Quélet [1832–1899], [Jean Louis Emile] Boudier [1828–1920], and [Narcisse Théophile] Patouillard [1854–1926]; and it is this school who introduced an entirely new taxonomy for fungi and who gradually outdistanced the Friesian tradition, finally thrusting it aside.” (Hugo 1966, p.15).

Compiled from:
Barnhart, John Hendley. 1934. Botanical correspondents of Schweinitz. Bartonia 16:19–36.
Gunn, Mary and L. E. Codd. 1981. Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Published for the Botanical Research Institute by A. A. Balkema.
Hugo, C. E. 1966. Christiaan Hendrik Persoon: His grave now restored. J. Bot. Soc. South Africa 52: 12–16.
Hugo, C. E. 1965. The restoration of the grave of Christiaan Hendrick Persoon—“Prince of Mycologists.” J. Bot. Soc. South Africa 51: 37–40.
Nationaal Herbarium Nederland. 2006. Herbarium Persoon. In: Nationaal Herbarium Nederland. 2002. Collection Database. http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/virtual/content.htm
Ramsbottom, J. 1933–1934. C. H. Persoon and James E. Smith. Proc. Linn. Soc. London 146: 10–21.
For more biographical sources, contact the Archivist.


Content note
This collection consists of photocopies and microfilm: seven pamphlet files, three reels of microfilm, and one oversized plant list. Original documents are at the University Library, Leiden University.

Other resources
Individual portraits of this subject are available from the Hunt Institute portrait collection. Thumbnails of the individual portrait holdings are available as a PDF for research purposes. For publication-quality images, contact the Archivist to place an order.

Biographical citations for this subject are available from the Hunt Institute biographical collection as a PDF.

Contents

Box 1
Letters from Persoon, Paris (unless otherwise noted)

Unknown recipients:
N.d. (11); n.d. (to Dutch gemachtigde connected with Cl[?] of the Orphan office in Capetown); n.d. (to N.N., New York); 9 May 1812; 26 September 1812; 3 February 1815; 21 April 1815; 10 November 1815 (to a friend of Smith and of Hooker); February 1816 (to a British correspondent); June 1816; 17 September 1816 (to a Brussels botanist); 28 February 1818; 8 May 1821; 24 February 1823; 1 October 1823; January 1826; 3 July 1826 (to a Paris student of Roses); 7 April 1828; 20 May 1828; 27 March 1827; Spring 1830; 16 March 1831; 30 October 1831 (to Professor of Botany in Genua); 23 December 1831; January 1832; 1834

Dutch certificate legalizing Persoon as a Netherlands’ subject
4 July 1828

Persoon’s Societe Royale des Sciences, Orleans, diploma
26 February 1823

Persoon’s diploma from Academy of Sciences at Dijon
10 December 1823

Power of attorney authorizing T. Groenweg to act for Persoon
2 January 1789

Authorization to A. L. van Harpen to act for Persoon
2 January 1789

C. H. Persoon’s Doctor’s diploma
10 March 1788

Will
19 April 1776

Inventory of Christian Daniel Persoon’s estate
(Persoon’s father, d. 1776)
19 April 1776

Inventory of Christian Daniel Persoon’s estate
(General Reckoning)
19 April 1776

Extracts, account books, Orphan Official Institute of Capetown
n.d.

Remarks
1 November 1828

Report on Persoon’s Herbarium
(plant list)
n.d.

Document
n.d.

Persooniana
n.d.

Inventory of Margaretha Ketting Groenwald’s estate
(Persoon’s maternal grandmother)
n.d.

Inventory of letters, or drafts of replies, in Persoon’s collection
n.d.

Korthals, P. W.
Inventory of Persoon’s herbarium
n.d.

Inventory of letters by Persoon
n.d.


Box 2
Letters from Persoon, Paris (unless otherwise noted)
Recipients A–G

Academie Royale des Sciences
n.p.

Acharius, Erik (1757–1819)
n.p.
7 August 1815

Balbis, Giovanni Battista (1765–1831)
n.p.
8 September 1805; 1812; 27 November 1813; 1814; 12 December 1815; February 1816; 11 May 1816; December 1816

Banks, Mr. [Joseph? (1743–1820)]
n.p.
14 November 1810

Barton, William Paul Crillon (1786–1856)
Philadelphia
6 June 1816

Barton, Benjamin Smith (1766–1815)
Philadelphia
November 1811; 15 July 1814

Bertoloni, Antonio (1775–1869)
n.p.
4 December 1811; 6 February 1812; n.d.; 30 June 1812

Birnardi, Berona
n.p.
October 1817

Bonnemaison, Theophile (1773–1829)
n.p.
May 1816; 20 October 1816; 14 September 1817

Brunnhof, Giovanni Brignoli de
n.p.
n.d.

Brondeau, Louis de (1794–1859)
n.p.
n.d., n.d.

Brown, R[obert (1773–1858)]
n.p.
n.d.

Candolle, Augustin Pyramus de (1778–1841)
n.p.
n.d.

Cauvin, Thomas (1762–1846)
n.p.
17 December 1813; 30 June 1818

Cavanilles, Antonio Joseph (1745–1804)
n.p.
18 June 1802; n.d.

Clemente, Simon de Rojas (177–1829)
n.p.
3 December 1811

Cloete, J. P.
n.p.
25 December 1817

Covelli, Nicola
n.p.
5 June 1817

Desmazieres, Jean Baptist Henri Joseph (1786–1862)
n.p.
10 February 1827

Desveau, Augustin Nicaise (1784–1856)
n.p.
September 1831

Dielwyn, L. W.
n.p.
12 May 1811

Florke, Heinrich Gustav (1764–1835)
n.p.
21 November 1816

Gaertner, Phillip Gottfried (1754–1825)
n.p.
n.d.

Geelus, ?
n.p.
1 February 1829

Gowerby, J.
December 1813; 28 June 18?

Greville, Robert Kaye (1794–1866)
Edinburgh
20 March 1832; 1832; 16 August ?


Box 3
Letters from Persoon, Paris
Recipients G–S

Gubhard, Charles
n.p.
October 1833

Haisper, C.
n.d.

Hanin, ?
n.p.
n.d.

Horker, W. J. [Hooker, William Jackson (1785–1865)?]
n.p.
n.d.

Hope, [John (1725–1786)? Rev. Frederick (1797–1862)?]
Amsterdam
February 1824

Korthals, Pieter Willem (1807–1892)
n.p.
March 1830

Kunze, G[ustav (1793–1851)]
n.p.
11 March 1825

Lamouroux, Jean Vincent Felix (1779–1825)
n.p.
29 November 1832; 15 February 1816

Letellier, Michel Jacques (1817–1898)
29 November 1832

London, J. C.
n.p.
n.d.

Merklein, A.
n.p.
n.d.

Mougeot, Jean Baptists (1776–1858)
n.p.
22 July 1812; October 1813; 28 November 1813; 10 August 1814; 30 March 1816; 9 October 1816; November 1816; 11 May 1828; 24 April 182?; 5 March 1832; n.d.; n.d.; n.d.

Muhlenberg, Gotthilf Henry Ernest (1753–1815)
n.p.
18 January 1815

Nees von Esenbeck, Christian Gottfried (1776–1858)
n.p.
12 December 1819; 15 April 1818

Palm, Frederic Christian (1742–1827)
n.p.
21 April 1818; 7 July 1830

Paulet, Jean Jacques (1740–1846)
n.p.
n.d.

le Prefet, M.
n.d.

Prevost, J[ean Louis] (ca.1760–after 1810)
n.p.
21 April 1823

Prost, T. C. (d. 1848)
n.p.
March ?; n.d.

Raddi, Giuseppe (1770–1829)
n.p.
n.d.

Reenen, J.
n.p.
15 November 1810; 14? November 1810; 12 March 1815

Reynier, Louis (1762–1824)
n.p.
6 May 1817

Risso, [Joseph] Antoine (1777–1845)
n.p.
7 February 1818

St. Amans, Jean Florimond Bouden de (1748–1831)
n.p.
August 1823

Savi, Gaetano (1769–1844)
n.p.
9 March 1821; n.d.

Schlechtendal, D. T. L. von (1767–1842)
n.p.
July 1835

Schrader, Heinrich Adolph (1767–1836)
12 January 1827

von Schweinitz, Lewis David (1780–1834)
n.p.
n.d.

Sabastiani, A. M. [Francesco Antonio (1782–1821)?]
Rome
17 December 1815

Smith, James Edward (1759–1828)
n.p.
5 November 1813; 1 April 1818; n.d.

Storm, Mej. Persoon
15 October 1832; n.d.

Tenore, Michele (1780–1861)
3 November 1838

Thore, Jean (1762–1823)
15 September 1808

van Rensselaer, Jeremiah (1793–1870)
n.d.

Wallich, Nathaniel (1786–1854)
8 August 1820

Zea, Franciso Antonio (1770–1822)
n.d.


Box 4
Letters to Persoon, Paris

Acharius, Erik
Vadsteni
23 December 1797; 22 March 1800; 6 August 1800; 12 December 1809; 20 November 1812; 11 March 1815

Andrews, Henry C. (fl.1790s)
London
1802

Antoir, [Giuseppe] (1781–1847)
Florence
1821

Balbis, Giovanni Battista
Turin
n.d.; n.d.; n.d.; 1809; 1806; 17 May 1807; 13 January 1812; 22 April 1812; 24 September 1813; 13 October 1813; 1813; 22 January 1813; 24 March 1816; 11 September 1816; 8 October 1817; 16 November 1817; 1818; 15 May 1819
Lyon
20 January 1820; 15 February 1820

Banks, Joseph
London
5 April 1799; 8 February 1881

Barth, W. A.
Leipzig
11 October 1811

Batsch, August Johann Georg Karl (1761–1802)
Jena
19 February 1793; 27 March 1794; 8 August 1796; 17 November 1800; 28 May 1901

Behere, Jean Baptiste Joseph (1763–1839)
Rouen
19 February 1824; 15 May 1825; 16 January 1827

Berteri, Carlos Giuseppi (1789–1831)
n.p.
30 January 1827

Bertoloni, Antonio
Souzana
26 April 1811; 11 March 1812; 28 April 1813; 17 November 1814

von Besser, Wilbald Sweibert Joseph Gottlieb (1784–1842)
Krzemieniec
20 April 1823; 4 December 1825

Blandow, Otto Christian (1778–1810)
Waren
14 September 1807; 1807; 17 April 1809; 6 May 1809


Box 5
Letters to Persoon

Bonnemaison, Theophile
Quimper
20 September 1817; 22 June 1816; 30 September 1816; 14 January 1817, 27 January 1818; 2 June 1818; 30 October 1818; 7 December 1819; 30 March 1820

Boreau, Alexandre (1803–1875)
Nevers
2 July 1828

Bosc, Louis Augustin Guillaume (1759–1828)
Paris
n.d.

Bridel, Samuel Elisee (1761–1828)
Gotha
19 October 1798

Brignoli de Brunnhof, Giovanni
Urbino
25 April 1810

Brondeau, Louis de
Estillac sur Ager
31 July 1824; 20 December 1824; 7 April 1832; 23 May 1832

Brotero, Fel[ix de] Av[ellar] (1744–1828)
Coimbra, Lisbonne
2 January 1801; 8 September 1808

Brugmans, [Sebald] Justinius (1763–1819)
Leiden
3 July 1796

Causin, L.
Le Mans
27 August 1830; 10 October 1879; 17 November 1830; 10 May 1830; List of Plants, nos. 20–31, n.d.

Cauvius, [Honoré or Onorato?] n.d.
Pontivy
18 March 1817; 23 December 1816; 15 July 1816

Cavanilles, Antonio Joseph (1745–1804)
Madrid
5 April 1802

Cernagai, Joseph Charles [Giuseppe Carlo] (1773–1849)
Udine
31 October 1809

Chaillet, [Jean] F[rederic] de (1747–1839)
Neuchatel
January 1816; April 1816; 23 March 1817; 27 April 1817; 19 June 1817; March 1818; 9 November 1818; 13 July 1819; 14 March 1820; 17 April 1821; September 1821; 30 April 1822; 18 October 1822; Remarques sur les Champignons qui m’on èté envoyes par M. Chaillet, n.d.

Chevreuse, F. de
n.p.
2 April 1821

Cloeke, J. F.
Groot Constante, Cape Colony
10 June 1833

Corda, August Carl Joseph (1809–1849)
Rokitzam
27 July 1832

Cousin, L.
Travel Report?
n.d.

Covelli, Nicola
Naples
26 November 1815; 8 April 1817; List of Distances in Italy, Kingdom of Naples


Box 6
Letters to Persoon

Delastre, Charles Jean Louis (1792–1859)
Paris, Chatellerault
20 April 1823; 3 November 1825; 1825; 17 May 1825; 24 January 1826; 4 May 1825; 6 April 1825

Delise, Dominic François (d. 1841)
Fougeres, Vive
13 January 1817; 28 June 1818; 12 February 1822; 31 December 1822

Denijssen, D.
Capetown
26 July 1820

Desmazieres, Jean Baptiste Henri Joseph
Lille
1 March 1819; October 1818; 3 January 1819; 19 May 1829; 19 April 1824; 4 January 1825; 4 March 1829; 28 April 1829; 28 May 1826; 9 August 1826; 8 December 1826; 21 April 1827; 8 October 1824; 29 December 1827; 1 March 1820; 13 February 1824; 12 February 1828; 12 November 1828; 17 November 1828; 21 November 1829; 14 February 1830; 20 May 1831

Desvaux, Nicaise Auguste (1784–1856)
Angers
n.d., n.d., 10 July 1824; 15 May 1824

Dillwyn, Lewis Weston (1778–1855)
Swansea
20 April 1816; 31 October 1815

Dufour, Leon (1780–1865)
Saint-Sever, Reus
17 December 1806; 14 November 1804; 19 July 1811; 31 January 1827; 4 March 1827

Box 7
Letters to Persoon

Ehrenberg, Christian Gottfried (1795–1876)
Leipzig, Berlin
8 October 1819; 1819

Ehrhart, Jakob Friedrich (1742–1795)
Herrenhausen
27 November 1791; 1 December 1793; 13 January 1794

Fischer, Friedrich Ernst Ludwig von (1782–1854)
Erlangen, Gorenki
29 October 1800; n.d.; 29 November 1809; 16 February 1810; 7 May 1810; 21 February 1811; 19 June 1811; 15 January 1812; plant list ca.1811; plant list n.d.

Florke, Heinrich Gustav
Berlin, Rostock
2 January 1811; 7 December 1823

Frege, Christian August (1759–1834)
Zwochan bei Leipzig
10 May 1810; 17 August 1810

Gärtner, G.
Hanau
22 March 1820

Gaudin, Jean François Gottlieb Philippe (1766–1833)
Nijon
24 February 1807; 4 January 1805; 20 April 18?

Gay, Jacques (1786–1864)
Ardennes
5 January 1813; n.d.

Gibbs, Humphrey
London
February 1830

Grasses, A.
Nierce, Charite
26 September 1831; 23 October 1831; 26 November 1831

Graves, Louis (1791–1857)
Beauvais
9 April 1822; 13 December 1823; 5 July 1825; 18 February 1826

Greville, Robert Kaye
Edinburgh
19 March 1831; 6 March 1833


Folder 1 (shelved)
Plant list (ca.50–60 pp.)
n.d.


Microfilm reel 1
Letters to Persoon from various botanists
Bonnemaison to Greville


Microfilm reel 2
Letters from Persoon to various people, many unknown

Microfilm reel 3
Letters from Persoon
Academie Royale des Sciences and various
Includes a list of correspondents at start of reel

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