The Natural History Collection of the Imperial Medical School, Istanbul,
in the early 1870s.
Translation by Feza Günergun
The first natural history museum in Turkey was founded in 1839 in the Imperial Medical School, Istanbul. The specimens for the collection were brought from Europe. The herbarium of the school was founded in 1844 by the German pharmacologist Friedrich Wilhelm Noë (1798-1858) following his appointment to the direction of the School's botanical garden. In 1848, a fire devastated the whole collection as well as the building of the school including the library and the laboratories.
The museum owes its re-establishment to Dr. Karl Eduard Hammerschmidt, alias Macarlı Abdullah Bey (1799-1874) who was appointed as professor of zoology and geology in 1870. Following his nomination, Dr. Hammerschmidt started to create a new collection in the Medical School. The collection was formed thanks to his initiatives before European institutions and natural historians. As a result of his efforts, a large number of material (specimens and books) was dispatched from Vienna to Istanbul, including 11.821 specimens of mineralogy and geology. Dr. Hammerschmidt, during his fieldwork in Anatolia, had also collected many specimens and had sent duplicates to the natural history collections in Europe. This article introduces the natural history collection of the school as based on an article published by Dr. Hammerschmidt himself in 1872 in the Gazette Médicale d'Orient (Istanbul).
Key words: Natural history studies, natural history museums, natural history collections, Imperial Medical School at Istanbul, Karl Eduard Hammerschmidt, Macarlı Abdullah Bey, history of geology, history of botany, history of zoology.