Correspondence of Paul von Kühlewein and G. W. Clinton
Edited by P. M. Eckel
Res Botanica
Missouri Botanical Garden
December 4, 2005
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The Correspondence of

Paul von Kühlewein (1798-1870) and

George William Clinton (1807‑1885)


Edited by P. M. Eckel, P.O. Box 299, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 63166‑0299; email:





In the index to the George W. Clinton correspondence, Research Library, Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences in Buffalo, New York, there appear to be two individuals with the surname Kühlewein: a Dr. Paul de Kühlewein, and a W. Kühlewein. From the appearance of the associated letters it is apparent that there is only one individual represented: Paul Kuehlewein, a physician once living in St. Petersburg, the capital of Russia 1712-1914, now Leningrad, but, when the correspondence commenced in 1865, then living in Rostock, Germany.


Rostock is seaport, manufacturing and commercial city of the former north German state of Mecklenburg, Schwerin the capital, the city established on the Warnow river 8 miles from the Baltic Sea. There is a university there founded in 1419. Rostock is an old town, commercially important from early times, being a Hanse Town from 1200's. The Duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz joined the North German Confederation in 1867, two years after Dr. Kühlewein began writing to Clinton.


Under the heading of "Important Collections" in the Index Herbariorum (Holmgren et al. 1990), only an A. Kühlewein is listed  with collections at Tartu (TU), Herbarium, Botany and Ecology Dept., Tartu State University, Estonian S. S. R., U.S.S.R.  founded 1802. Kühlewein is not listed under the important collections of the Komarov Botanical Institute (LE) in Leningrad. The herbarium (LE) is associated with the Botanical Garden of the Komarov Botanical Institute. Leningrad, Tartu and Rostock (which is just east of Hamburg, Germany) are in a straight line, cutting across the Baltic, the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland (Tartu inland on Lake Peipus).


In the index of botanists published on line by the Harvard University Herbaria, there occur several variants of the name Kühlewein. Paul Eduard von Kühlewein is given floruit dates 1798-1870. A. Kühlewein is also listed, as is M. von. Kühlewein, with a specimen collected in 1925, 55 years after P. E. Kühlewein's death. Further information from this database indicates A. Kühlewein is associated with Pl. Altaica with specimens at Wageningen (WAG) in the Netherlands. Specimens associated with Dr. Kühlewein from Italy are noted. There is a Hans Kühlewein with a birthdate of 1911 who specialized in Fungi and Lichens (Authors of Plant Names). Hans was born 41 years after Paul's death. P. E. von Kühlewein specialized in algae and lichens, with specimens from Germany, Russia and Switzerland that are curated at Leningrad (LE). In the 1990 edition of the Index Herbariorum, LE did not give Kühlewein in its list of important collectors, but it apparently does have Kühlewein's specimens. It seems clear that our letters between Clinton and Kühlewein refer to Dr. Paul Eduard von Kühlewein. The International Plant Names Index indicates that Paul's areas of research interest included Pteridophytes and Spermatophytes (not, for example, fossils, fungi, algae, bryophytes and so forth) and that he has described species in those groups. However, there is no indication of his publications, if any, in Taxonomic Literature 2. He was perhaps a collector only, although possibly it may be a Kühlewein as authority for the name:  Equisetum arvense × fluviatile = E. × litorale Kühl. ex Rupr. , Shore Horsetail.


In the first letter to Clinton (1865), it is stated that "Mr. v K. possesses particularly a rich collection of Caucasian, and Siberian plants" for exchange. In Kühlewein's second letter of 1865 he states " I have refused in the list the exchange of other, but european plants, with the exception of the Algae, Filices and Carices, but will except the following. I would request you for one American Local flora, Phanerogamen and Cryptogamen as complete as you possible could get them. The flora of Buffalo is welcome." He is also interested in W. S. Sullivant's moss and hepatic exsiccatae, of which he appears to have the first set, that is, the Musci Alleghanienses of 1846. Kühlewein appears to be unaware of the Musci Boreali-americani, coauthored with Leo Lesquereux in 1857. At the time of the Kühlewein letters to Clinton, Lesquereux was just about to issue the Editio Secunda (1866) and successfully sent it from Columbus to Rostock via Neufchatel. Kuehlewein wishes: "1) an American Local Flora, as perfect as possible. 2) American Carices, Filices and Algae, 3) American specie which only occur there." Kühlewein offers in exchange a number of Russian plants (Sibirian and Caucasian) and other European species, especially from France (Montpellier) and plants of Switzerland.


In the first letter of 1866 Kühlewein reiterates: "1.  Would it suit you to receive a collection of about 500 specimens of plants from Southern France (in particular from Montpelier and Helveticae variae)? [=Switzerland]  2. I shall be very glad to receive the Western American and Rocky Mountain Plants you allude to but what will please me most will be to get a set as complete as possible of any American locality for instance from Buffalo. In a general point of view I take a lively interest in American Filices, Algae et Carices" and also Sullivant's mosses and hepatics.


In the second 1866 letter, Kühlewein is not too pleased with the quality of Clinton's specimens and reemphasizes his interest in local species from the vicinity of the City of Buffalo, New York. He wishes Lesquereux and Sullivant's new exsiccat and asks Clinton to forward to Asa Gray a list of Russian species, should Gray be interested in an exchange. Kühlewein apparently has not made contact with Gray until the end of 1866.


In April 1867, Kühlewein sent a parcel by sea of specimens  "of Western Europe" but these did not reach Clinton, which became apparent to Kühlewein by April of 1868. Perhaps this parcel was lost, but in his final letter of September 1869, Kühlewein promises to send his Russian duplicates. These, at any rate, appear to have arrived in Buffalo, for there are specimens today in the Clinton Herbarium (BUF). As many of the specimen-labels in the General (non New York and Ontario) Herbarium at BUF are not digitalized, the exact number and nature of Kühlewein's specimens is not known. Kühlewein died of a lengthy illness perhaps not long after shipping his Russian duplicates to Buffalo.


Although Clinton usually mentioned the individuals by name to whom he sent specimens in his collecting diary or botanical journal (Archives, Buffalo Museum of Science), no mention of Kühlewein was ever made there.


A small number of specimens at BUF have been computerized. Graminoids include those from a "Flora Caucasica" and many are from Leningrad (Petropoli, at Petropolis, or St. Petersburg). Some are from Sitcha (Sitka) in Russian Alaska. Perhaps the most interesting specimen is "Equisetum litorale Kuehl. In Ruprecht Symbolae etc. 1846 pag. 215" which possibly is a type. Franz Joseph Ruprecht (1814-1870) was a Russian botanist born in Praque with herbarium and types at LE. Kühlewein may have been a collector for Ruprecht as Ruprecht was for Opiz and H. L. Reichenbach (TL2). Ruprecht became director of the Botanical Museum of the St. Petersburg Academy in 1855 and at one time "traveled widely all over the territory of what is now the Soviet Union and published critical regional floras" including the Flora ingrica (flora of the Leningrad region). Ruprecht's botanical interests seem to parallel Kühlewein's, his interest in algae and graminoid genera, vascular cryptogams (ferns or filices), the focus on the flora of the Leningrad area. The Symbolae ad historiam et geographiam plantarum Rossicarum, published by Ruprecht in St. Petersburg in 1846 would contain Kühlewein's Equisetum species.


Note should be made that the interpretation of Kühlewein’s labels suggesting that “Petropolis” is the city of Leningrad in the former Soviet Union derives from (Stearn 1992). The associated adjective ‘petropolitanus’ also refers to this city. Note should also be made that Petropolis is also the name of a city in Rio de Janeiro state in southeastern Brazil, north of Rio de Janeiro. As this is a sort of resort town it is possible that specimens may have derived from this area. So far, from the species names on the labels and biographic information regarding Kühlewein, there is no real evidence that any of the specimens sent to Clinton derive from South America.


The transcribers from the labels have written Kühlewein's name with the "de" or the "von", but quite frequently the surname is preceded by a capital or lower case "a", often between the "Dr." and the surname, as in "Dr. a Kuehlewein." As it is not clear that an "A." Kühlewein existed, perhaps this is a mistake for a lower case "v." as in "von" Kühlewein, as the letter "a" in cursive, may be variously open or closed at the top of the stroke. From the label transcriptions from the specimens at BUF, there is often a "Dr. a Kuehlewein" or "Dr. A. Kuehlewein" in addition to "Dr. De Kuehlewein" or "de Kuehlewein."


Since nearly all of the specimens entered at BUF are from Russia, especially the Leningrad region (Flora Petropolitana), one might assume the first package did indeed go astray, but the Russian duplicate package, sent in the few months before Kühlewein died, did arrive in Buffalo.


The "young son" of Mr. Sherman Jewett contacted George Clinton at a meeting of the young Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences (BSNS) and gave him a letter of introduction, care of Herrn General Consul von Reinecke. This consul may have been either related to Ottomar Reinecke and his son Edward, who were both involved in the Buffalo Society, especially in the ornithological and entomological departments, or related to them. Ottomar was "one of Western New York's greatest naturalists and an expert taxidermist" (Goodyear p. 183). He was one of the founders of the BSNS.  Ottomar "was in the printing business with his father" in Buffalo, New York (Goodyear p. 15), which, perhaps, makes it unlikely he was the Consul, von Reinecke, who, after all, may have resided in Mecklenburg. Ottomar and his relations may derive from Mecklenberg originally.



Ottomar von Reinecke



In Clinton's Botanical Journal, Clinton is associated with the friendly company of E. R. Jewett. The Jewett name was and is a prominent one in the City of Buffalo, but no Jewett is associated with the founding and operating of either the BSNS or the later Buffalo Museum of Science.


The index of correspondents that Clinton prepared himself, and that more recently prepared catalogue (1980's) of letters in the Clinton Correspondence in the Research Library at the Buffalo Museum of Science (herbarium: BUF) gives the following for The Kühlewein letters:


NAME: Kühlewein, W. von, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

V1:   1:68,180

V2:   2:190

V3:   3:173

(Care of Herrn General Consul Von Reinecke) Rostock, Mecklenberg [Clinton

index Vol. 1]

Rostock, Mecklenburg, Schwerin [Clinton index Vol. 2]

Rostock, Mechlenburg-Schwerin [Clinton index Vol. 3]




NAME: Kühlewein, Dr. Paul de, Rostock, Mechlenburgh Schwerein [Germany].

V4:   4:173

V5:   5:118

V6:   6:89

Rostock, Mecklenburgh-Scherein [sic: Clinton index Vol. 4]

Rostock, Mecklenburg [Clinton index Vol. 5]

Rostock (Danhut?)[sp.?] [Clinton index Vol. 6]


As noted above, these letters represent one correspondent.


P. M. Eckel, St. Louis



The Letters




Kühlewein Herbarium Labels from Clinton Herbarium (BUF)




Goodyear, 1994. Society and Museum, a history of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 1861-1993 and the Buffalo Museum of Science  1928-1993. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, Vol. 34. Buffalo, New York.


Grun, Bernard 1979. The Timetables of History. After Werner Stein's: Kulturfahrplan. Simon & Schuster. New York.


Holmgren, Patricia K., Noel H. Holmgren & Lisa C. Barnett, eds. 1990. Index Herbariorum Part I: The Herbaria of the World. International Assn. for Plant Taxonomy and New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.


Stearn, W. T.  1992. Botanical Latin. ed. 4. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.


The proper citation of this electronic publication is:


"Eckel, P. M. 2005. Correspondence of Paul von Kühlewein and G. W. Clinton. Res Botanica, Missouri Botanical Garden Web site. [and lastly cite the date you actually read the publication]."