Ernst von Bibra


(August Weger ?, Nuremberg 1823-Leipzig 1892)
Weger in Leipzig engraver

Baron Ernst von Bibra, nature researcher and author, born the 9th of June 1806 at Schwebheim in Franconia started studying law in Würzburg but soon changed over to the natural sciences, especially chemistry.  He produced: “Chemical Research on Various Varieties of Pus” (Berlin 1842); “Chemical Research on the Bones and Teeth of Humans and Other Vertebrates” (Schweinfurt 1844) and “Helpful Tables for the Recognition of the Substances of Zoological Chemistry” (Erlangen 1846).  Then in cooperation with Geist he published: “Investigations of the Diseases of the Workers in the Phosphorous Match Factories” (Erlangen 1847) as well as with Harleß “The Events of the Investigations of the Effects of Sulphur Fumes” (Erlangen 1847).  After he had published “Chemical Fragments Concerning the Liver and Gall-Bladder” (Branschweig 1849), he went to Brazil and around Cape Horn to Chile so as to move out in all directions.  He reported on this trip in his “Trips in South America” (Mannheim 1854, 2 vols.).  After his return, he lived mostly in Nuremberg where he also set up his rich collections of natural history ethnographics and died on the 5th of June 1878.  Here he published “Comparative Investigations of the Human Brain and Those of Other Vertebrates” (Mannheim 1854); “The Narcotic Substances of Enjoyment and the Human Being” (Nuremberg 1855); “Bread and the Various Grains” (Nuremberg 1860); “Coffee and its Substitute” (Reports at the Meetings of the Academy of Sciences in Munich, 1858); “The Bronze and Copper Alloys of the Old and Most Ancient Peoples” (Erlangen 1869) and “Concerning Old Discoveries of Iron and Silver” (Nuremberg 1873).

Starting with travel sketches and culturally historic descriptions rendered in novelistic style (“Memories of South America”, Leipzig 1861, 3 vols.; “About Chile, Peru and Brazil”, Leipzig 1862, 3 vols. and others) von Bibra preferred to busy himself in his later years with fictional works and developed an astonishing fruitfulness in this field.  Of these writings which stand out especially because of successful characterizations and descriptions of beautiful landscapes we mention: “A Jewel” (Leipzig 1863); ” A Woman with a Noble Heart” (2nd ed., Jena 1869); “The Adventures of a Young Peruvian in Germany” (Jena 1870); “The Nine Stations of Mr. von Scherenberg” (2nd ed. Jena 1880); “The Children of the Rogue: (Nuremberg 1872); “Brave Women” (Jena 1876).

English Translation of Biographical Entry apparently Meyers Konversationslexikon of 188 Band 2 von Atlantis bis Blatthornkäfer  page 895: “Biblist bis Bichat ”

Related Links
Learn more about Ernst von Bibra on Wikipedia (English) and Wikipedia (German).
Download the section about Ernst in the Bibra Family History Biography (in German).
Check out the photos of Schwebheim, Ernst’s home castle.
Learn more about Willerhausen, the apparent source of much of Ernst’s wealth, and the near blood relationship of his parents.

Painting of Ernst v. B. by Wolfgang von Bibra – this was probably painted 10 years or more after his death by a relative who was 16 at Ernst death.

Ernst’s father, Ferdinand Johann von Bibra, 1756 – 1807, fought under General Jean Baptiste de Rochambeau in the American Revolutionary War on behalf of colonies. Later he married his brother’s daughter, Lucretia Wilhelmine Caroline, 1778 – 1857.

August 1885 Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly illustration of Ernst von Bibra
Ernst von Bibra by Lorenz Ritter

Ernst von Bibra’s Trip to Chile

Ernst made a trip to Chile. On this trip he kept a diary. It was listed in a Sotheby’s auction on November 2004, but was apparently unsold. It is now for sale through book seller(s).

One of the results of this trip was the following books: “Beiträäge zur Naturgeschichte von Chile. Wien, W. Braumüüller, 1853. 4to (310 x 245 mm) & atlas oblong-folio (307 x 405 mm). pp. 70, with 5 chromo-lithographed plates, 4 showing sceneries of the Andes mountains. Publisher’s printed wrappers. A beautifully illustrated work on the natural history of Chile. It was published in volume V of the’Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akad. der Wissenschaften. Math.-Naturw. Classe’, pages 73-142.”

Partial List of Works
Chemische Untersuchungen verschiedener Eiterarten: und einiger anderer krankhafter Substanzen. Berlin, Albert Förstner 1842 (reprinted c. 2003 Elibron Classics)

Chemische Untersuchungen über die Knochen und Zähne des Menschen und der Wirbeltiere. Schweinfurt, 1844 (reprinted 2003 Elibron Classics)

Hilfstabellen zur Erkennung zoochemischer Substanzen. Erlangen 1846

Untersuchungen über die Krankheiten der Arbeiter in den Phosphorzündholzfabriken.
 Erlangen 1847

Emil Harless, Ernst von Bibra: Die Ergebnisse der Versuche über die Wirkung des Schwefeläthers. Erlangen 1847
Emil Harless, Ernst von Bibra Die Wirkung des Schwefeläthers in chemischer und physiologischer Beziehung (May be work just above.)

Chemische Fragmente über die Leber und die Galle.
 Braunschweig 1849

Untersuchung von Seewasser des Stillen Meeres und des Atlantischen Ozeans (Liebig-Woehlers), Annalen der Chemie und Pharmazie, Vol. 77 (1851)

Die Algodon-Bay in Bolivien.  : K.K. Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1852 (75-116 p. plates. 37 cm. Series: Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna. Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse. Denkschriften, Bd. 4, 2. Abh.) Beiträge zur Naturgeschichte von Chile, Wiener Denkschriften, Mathem.-Naturw. Klasse, 1853, II

Reisen in Südamerika. 
2 Volumes, Mannheim 1854

Vergleichende Untersuchungen über das Gehirn des Menschen und der Wirbeltiere. Verlag von Basserman & Mathy, Mannheim 1854

This modern translation is the best resource in English and perhaps in any language on Ernst’s most famous work. It not only includes translation but modern research on each topic.

Die Narkotischen Genussmittel und der Mensch. Nürnberg, Verlag von Wilhelm Schmid, 1855 /reprinted Leipzig,Wiesbaden 1983 / Also republished as Haschisch Anno 1855: Das narotische Genußmittel Hanf und der Mensch Rauschkunde(apparently 1996) ISBN 3-930442-07-8 / translated into English Plant Intoxicants: A Classic Text on the Use of Mind-Altering Plants Translated by Hedwig Schleiffer, Forward by Martin Haseneier and extensive technical notes by Jonathan Ot, an ethnobiologist- ISBN 0-89281-498-5 Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vermont 1995

Purchase Plant Intoxicants: A Classic Text on the Use of Mind-Altering Plants on Amazon

Der Kaffee und seine Surrogate. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in München 1858

Die Getreidearten und das Brot. Nürnberg 1860, 2nd Edition 

Erinnerungen aus Südamerika. 3 Volumes, Leipzig 1861 (reprinted 2007 as one volume with modern forward, ISBN 10:3865030459 ISBN 13: 9783865030450)

Aus Chile, Peru und Brasilien. 3 Volumes, Leipzig 1862

Die Bronze- und Kupferlegierungen der alten und ältesten Völker. Erlangen 1869

Über einen merkwürdigen Blitzschlag, Gaea, vol. 5, 1869.

Über den Blitz, Gaea, vol. 6, 1870.

Über alte Eisen- und Silberfunde. Nürnberg, Richter & Kappler 1873 (reprinted 2003 Elibron Classics)

Some of his novels include:
Ein Juwel. Leipzig 1863
Reiseskizzen und Novellen. Jena ; Leipzig : Costenoble, 1864
Tzarogy. Jena ; Leipzig : Costenoble, 1865 (3 volumes)
Ein edles Frauenherz. 1866, 2nd Ed., Jena 1869 (reprinted 2003, 3 volumes Elibron Classics)
Die Schatzgräber. Multiple volumes Jena : Costenoble, 1867
Aus jungen und alten Tagen : Erinnerungen. Jena : Costenoble, 1868 (may be nonfiction)
Abenteuer eines jungen Peruaners in Deutschland. Jena 1870
Die Kinder des Gauners. Nürnberg 1872
Hieronimus Scottus : ein Zeitbild aus dem 16. u. 17. Jahrhundert Multiple Volumes. Berlin, 1873
Wackere Frauen. Jena 1876
Die neun Stationen des Herrn v. Scherenberg. Jena 1880

Publication Featuring Ernst
Ersnt von Bibra and Anesthesia
Frühe Erlanger Beiträäge zur Theorie und Praxis der äther- und Chloroformnarkose : Die tierexperimentellen Untersuchungen von Ernst von Bibra und Emil Harless
U. v. Hintzenstern, H. Petermann, W. Schwarz
Der Anaesthesist Issue Volume 50, Number 11 / November, 2001
Just three months after the first application of sulphuric ether to a patient in German-speaking countries the monography Die Wirkung des Schwefeläthers in chemischer und physiologischer Beziehung was published. In this book, Ernst von Bibra and Emil Harless presented their experimental research on the effects of ether on humans and compared it to those on animals. The contents of the book are described. The authors “Theory on the action of ether” will be discussed in the context of contemporary criticism. Their hypothesis affected the discussion on the mechanisms of anesthetic action up to the twentieth century.