Art & Sculpture Inventory

Essay by Steve Couch

German Garden Main Page


Photograph of the Humboldt bust.

Alexander von Humboldt: (1769-1859) Geographer

Born in Berlin, Germany September 14, 1769, Alexander von Humboldt is thought to be one of the founders of modern geography.  He made a series of expeditions to South America, where he studied the flora, fauna and topography.  He mapped 1700 miles of the Orinco River, made a trip to the Andes and climbed Mt. Chimborazo (Ecuador); he also discovered and measured the Peruvian Current.

When in Russia von Humboldt recommended weather observatories be established across the country, then was able to use the data to develop the principle of Continentality (that the interiors of continents have more extreme climates due to a lack of moderating influence from the ocean). He also developed the first isotherm map, containing lines of equal average temperatures.

The first volume of his life’s work, the Kosmos, was published in 1845 at the age of 76.  The fifth volume was published after his death on May 6, 1859 from his notes.

Further Reading:

Library Weekly

Alexander von Humbolt Foundation

Germans in Cleveland, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

Humboldt Digital Library

Library Weekly