Alexander von Humboldt’s Secretary

Recumbent lion on Alexander von Humboldt's secretaryAlexander von Humboldt's Secretary

Standing approximately six feet tall and capped by two carved gilt recumbent lions, Alexander von Humboldt’s mahogany secretary is an impressive reminder of his intellectual career.

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)

Von Humboldt was a scientist and explorer whose work contributed to the fields of geography, geology, cartography, botany, climatology and anthropology. Charles Darwin described him as “the greatest traveling scientist who ever lived.”

The Berlin native travelled throughout the Americas, documenting his findings in 30 volumes. At age 60, he ventured across Russia to Mongolia and wrote another three books about his Asian experiences. In his later years he worked on Cosmos, a five-volume encyclopedia in which pursued a systematic study and presentation of all natural and human phenomena.

Connection to Gettysburg College

This secretary, which has been restored, is part of the John Henry Wilbrandt Stuckenberg collection that came to the College in the early 20th century. Stuckenberg had acquired it in 1885.

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