Heinrich Handel-Mazzetti: [A Botanical Pioneer In South West China] - Biographical notes . . . Schneider, Amundsen and Andrews


Camillo Karl Schneider 1876 - 1951

Camillo Schneider was born on 7th April 1876 on an estate at Gröppendorf in Saxony, where his father was a tenant farmer. After attending the village school at Glossen he received his secondary education at Zeitz in Thuringia. He wanted to study science at university, but because of his father's bankruptcy he had to leave school early. He worked as a gardener's boy at Zeitz from 1892-94, and was then employed for two years at a horticultural college in Dresden and later as a gardener in the botanical gardens in Berlin and Greifswald. After this, while working in the City Parks Department in Berlin, he became involved in editorial work for the well known periodical Gartenwelt. This led to engagements as assistant to several garden architects in Darmstadt and Berlin. In 1900 he moved to Vienna, now as a freelance garden architect and horticultural writer, and attended Wettstein's lectures at the University Botanical Institute. He travelled widely, visiting Italy, Switzerland, France and England in 1904, Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia in 1905 and the Caucasus in 1908. In 1904 he pub lished his first books, including the commencement of his Illustrated Handbook of Broad-leaved Trees, a work of 2016 pages issued in parts from 1904 to 1912.The next year saw the appearance of his preliminary studies for a monograph on the genus Berberis. This was to have been his magnum opus, but in March 1943 the manuscript, together with hundreds of drawings and photographs, was lost when the Botanical Museum in Berlin was destroyed in an air raid.

During his years in Vienna Schneider joined the Austro-HungarianDendrological Society and became its general secretary. The society's president, Count Silva Tarouca, set aside three hundred hectares of his estate at Pruhonitz near Prague for the society's use and under the direction of Franz Zeman this became a famous park where rare trees, shrubs and herba ceous plants were grown and propagated The experience gained at Pruhonitz was put to good use in his work as a landscape architect and garden planner. Between 1910 and 1913 he wrote a series of illustrated books on garden plants, the first entitled Unsere Freiland-Stauden (OurHardy Perennials); this was followed by similar works on broad-leaved trees and on conifers. In his capacity as secretary of the Dendrological Society he published six issues of Die Gartenanlagen Österreich-Ungams (The Parks and Gardens of Austria-Hungary), which he made full use of his skills as a photographer.

In 1913, at the instigation of the Dendrological Society, he travelled to China to collect plants and seeds for the garden at Pruhonitz. He was accompa nied by Heinrich Handel-Mazzetti, whose interests were directed towards botanical taxonomy and plant geography rather than horticulture. In the foreword to the third edition of his Unsere Freilandstauden (1922) Schneider says that part of the material that he collected in China in 1914 — several hundred seed samples and some three hundred photographs — was lost. Furthermore, the seeds which he sent from China, or later from the USA via Norway to Germany and Austria-Hungary, did not all receive proper care owing to the disruption of garden work caused by the war. However, the herbarium material arrived intact and duplicates were supplied to botani cal institutes .in Germany and Switzerland. In 1920 the Dendrological Society was dissolved and the garden at Pruhonitz was converted into a commercial nursery. This enabled much of the stock to be preserved, including the plants raised from seed of Chinese origin. Some survived in other commercial nurseries, such as Arends, Spa'th and Sundermann, and in 1925 there were still numerous species of Berberis and Cotoneaster raised from his seed in the garden at Pruhonitz.

In 1915 Schneider left Yunnan and travelled via Shanghai to Boston where he was offered a post in the Arnold Arboretum. He worked there with Sargent, Rehder and Wilson from April 1915 to September 1919, identifying the plants that Wilson had collected in China and writing parts of Plantae Wilsonianae together with papers on Salix. He also wrote articles on his stay in China. Though they do not add much to Handel-Mazzetti's account of their travels in 1914, Schneider's photograph gives a vivid impression of their camp below Yulong Shan (Westermanns Monatshefte, 1915, 119, 861).

In October 1919 he returned to Vienna via Norway, though to raise money for the fare he had to sell most of the herbarium specimens he had collected in China. In 1921 he moved to Berlin, where he worked on the periodical Gartenschonheit which Oskar Kühl and Karl Förster had just started. It was the best publication of its kind in German, and continued until 1942. After its demise he work ed on its successor Gartenbau im Reich. His work at Pruhonitz had gained him an international reputation and he continued to work as a landscape architect, laying out and remodelling gardens and parks in Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany until 1944. He also served as adviser on landscaping to the German autobahn authorities. He visited Pruhonitz every year until the death of Count Silva Tarouca, his last visit being in 1944. The end of the war left him in straitened circumstances and he had to go on working almost to the end of his life, his last book Hecken im Garten (Hedges in the Garden) [p.178:] appearing in 1950. He died of a stroke in Berlin on 5th January 1951.

Stearn,W.T. Gard. Chron. 1951,129, 32.

Kriechbaum. Garten-Zeitschrift Illustrierte Flora 1951, 74, 27-29 (with portrait and partial bibliography).

Edward Amundsen 1873 -1928

Edward Amundsen, a Norwegian missionary and explorer, was born on the island of Kirkholmen near the town of Kragero on 27 January 1873. At the age of twenty, having graduated at the Norwegian Missionary Society's College in Oslo, he went to England for further training and in 1894 joined the Tibetan Pioneer Mission led by Annie Taylor, who planned to enter Tibet via Sikkim. He spent two years in Sikkim, occupying his time in the study of Tibetan. He became so fluent in Lhasa Tibetan that he was subsequently invited to translate booklets into that dialect. During his stay in Sikkim he made several journeys into Tibet, once coming within eight days' travel of Lhasa.

Because he found the British authorities obstructive, he and another Norwegian missionary moved to a new base in Western China from which to continue their work in Tibet. Travelling in Chinese dress, he reached Tatsienlu (now Kangding). In the winter of 1898-99 he made the journey for which he is best known, into the Tibetan province of Kham. He visited the independent "kingdoms" of Chagla and Mili, and was probably the first white man to see the latter. He also saw the great bend of the Yangtze north of Lijiang. He reported his journey in the Geographical Journal and became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1909.

In 1899 he married Petrea Naess, but because of the Boxer rebellion he was obliged to leave China in 1900. He went back to Sikkim, continued his Tibetan studies, and wrote a Primer of Standard Tibetan. In 1903 he became a superintendent in the British and Foreign Bible Society and was sent to Western China. He was based in Yunnanfu (now Kunming), the capital of Yunnan, with responsibility for missionary work in Yunnan and Eastern Tibet. He travelled widely and served as correspondent for the North China Daily News and Herald.

He came home on leave in 1910, but soon after returning to China he was obliged to leave Yunnan because of the rebellion. After a long spell of sick leave he went back to Yunnanfu at the end of 1913.

In the summer of 1915 trouble arose between Amundsen and Herbert Goffe, the British consul in Yunnanfu. Goffe complained to the Bible Society that he made no attempt to conceal his anti-British and pro-German sympathies, that he frequently flew the Norwegian flag from the Society's premises, and that he had imported stores in his own name for the German consul. Goffe alleged that Amundsen's actions were most prejudicial to British interests and were detrimental to the Bible Society's prestige. After the Society's secretary had read an article from the Hankow Daily News under the headline "An English-Norwegian Hag Story. Bible Society's Representative Must Resign His Position", the committee decided to recall Amundsen and ordered him to return to London at once.

After an interview at which he accepted six months' salary in lieu of notice, he returned to Norway where he bought a substantial property named Orebukta on an island not far from Kirkholmen — clear evidence that he was not a poor man. However, he sold the property in 1917 and went back to Yunnanfu in 1919, this time in the service of the Norwegian Mission Society, and he held the post of German consul there until 1924. He then returned to Norway and settled in Larvik, where he died on 21 November 1928.

Kohler, Kai Arvid. Edward Amundsen - en norsk misjonaer, sprakforsker og oppdagelsesreisende (1873 - 1928). Telemark Historic. Tidsskrift for Telemark Historic-lag, 1985, Nr. 6.

Amundsen, Edward. A Journey Through South-West Sechuen. Geographical Journal, 1900, 25, 620-625 and 26, 531-537.

Bible Society, London. Extract from the minutes of the committee, 4 November 1915.

Roy Chapman Andrews 1884 -1960

Born at Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1884, Andrews owned his first gun at the age of nine and became a skilled taxidermist before he left school. He graduated in science at Beloit College in 1906 and got a job at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, at first doing menial tasks such as washing floors and mixing clay. Despite this unpromising start, his progress as a naturalist was swift. He went on whaling voyages as the Museum's representative, rediscovered the Californian grey [p.179:] whale, then believed to be extinct, and in 1913 gained his master's degree from Columbia University Current Biography 1953 for a thesis on the grey whale.

In 1916 he travelled to China to study mammals, accompanied by his wife Yvette as photographer and Edmund Heller as collector. In 1919 he went to northern China and in 1921 to Central Asia, where the expedition found the first dinosaur eggs ever discovered.

More of an explorer and publicist than a research worker or scholar, in 1942 he was "bumped" from his post as director of the museum and spent the rest of his life until his death in 1960 writing popular books and articles.

Andrews, Roy Chapman and Yvette Borup Andrews, Camps and Trails in China. New York, Appleton, 1918

Frontiers of a Forbidden Land. Silent film of the AMNH First Asiatic Zoological Expedition to Yunnan and Fukien, 1916 -1917.