Tuesday, March 04, 2014

A Picture of Pehr Kalm

I've enjoyed reading Travels in North America, an English translation of Pehr Kalm's En Resa til Norra America.

Also known as Peter Kalm or Pietari Kalm, he wrote of his research & travel along North America's east coast from 1748-1751. A protégé of Carl Linnaeus, and in the close scientific lineage of Johannes Palmberg, Kalm was commissioned in 1747 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to explore and report about the natural sciences in the New World, with a special eye for agriculture that might prove promising for Sweden - notably, mulberry for the silk industry. He was then a 31-year old professor, both highly skilled & energetic enough to succeed on a multi-year voyage. He subsequently returned to Sweden and served as professor and three-time rector of Turun Akatemiaan (Royal Academy of Turku; Kungliga Akademien i Åbo), until his death age 63 in 1779.

Kalm met & worked alongside many key scientists of the day, including Benjamin Franklin.

I'd like to find pictures or drawings of Pehr Kalm - the image in his Wikipedia entry is reportedly disputed. Surely such an influential person would have drawn attention...