A Heart for Minerals and Meteorites
Today is the birthday of the Austrian naturalist and botanist Karl Franz Anton Ritter von Schreibers.
Now, the Austrian Empire had a special affinity for plants and horticulture. And, they funded expeditions regularly to collect new materials for the Natural History Museum. Many famous botanists were involved with these expeditions, including Carl Phillip Von Martinus.
In 1806, Karl von Schreiber became the director of the Vienna Natural History Museum. And although he was an excellent botanist and ecologist, his heart belonged to minerals and meteorites. One of Karl's smartest moves was to make Leopold Trattinick the curator of the Museum's herbarium, which was founded in 1807.
For over forty years, Karl grew the Museum, but then things took a bad turn. In 1848, during the revolution in Vienna, the Natural History Museum caught on fire. Protesters not only destroyed the library Karl had carefully built up, but they also destroyed Karl's home since his living quarters were right inside the Museum. The destruction of the Museum was too much for Karl - it broke his heart. Karl immediately retired, and he died four years later.