Research Paper Completed: Professor Gottfried Albrecht Germann’s Botany Excursion of 1804

Published 25.02.2021

In 1804, a botany excursion was led to Finland by Professor Gottfried Albrecht Germann, the first Director of the UT Natural History Museum and of the Botanical Garden. Based on their research ON the excursion’s journal, Wolfgang Ilg, Heldur Sander and Ari T. Taponen have written a research paper about the excursion. 

On 11 June 1804, Professor G. A. Germann and six students of the University of Tartu set out on a botany excursion. In five weeks, they had travelled through Narva, St. Petersburg, Vyborg and Hamina and reached Savonlinna in Finland. The task of keeping a journal of the excursion was entrusted to J. L. Jochmann, a 19-year-old medical student. His handwritten journal is preserved at the University of Tartu Library.  

An annotated edition of the journal and a research paper expanding it was published by  Wolfgang Ilg, Heldur Sander and Ari T. Taponen in Hoppea – Denkschriften der Regensburgischen Botanischen Gesellschaft [Hoppea – the Memoranda of the Regensburg Botanical Society]. The paper focuses on the participants of the excursion, details the route it took and sets out a list of the plants mentioned in its journal. The keeper of the journal did not limit his duties exclusively to the documentation of plants found on the way, but also described natural landmarks and meetings with influential people – compatriots as well as foreigners – and, above all, with young people and soldiers, providing a detailed description of their uniforms and and an introduction to the warships that the excursion encountered. In addition, he also recounted the inconveniences experienced by the excursion party in relation to their means of transport and travel documents. The manuscript of J. L. Jochmann contains notes concerning the first five weeks of the eight-week trip.  

The research paper and the excursion journal can be accessed HERE.  

An annotated copy of the journal has also been published in another recent edition – the fourth volume of research papers on Jochmann, edited by Horst Gundlach – Die Brüder Jochmann aus Pernau: Getrennte baltische Lebenswege [The Brothers Jochmann of Pernau: Separate Baltic Lives] – which was published in 2020 by the Universitätsverlag Winter in Heidelberg, Germany. 

G. A. Germann  held the position of Professor of Natural Sciences and Botany at the University of Tartu during 1802–1809. His duties included management of the Naturalien Kabinet [the University’s natural history collections].  In 1803, he founded the University of Tartu Botanical Garden and was its first Director. The student J. L. Jochmann who kept the excursion journal later became Head of the University’s Surgery Clinic. Professor Germann was also a member of the Regensburg Botanical Society.  

Further information:

UT Natural History Museum

Tel. (00372) 737 6076

loodusmuuseum@ut.ee